Category Archives: Al Qaida

Nathan Lean, the Islamophobia Industry: How the Right Manufactures Fear of Muslims (Book Review)

Book review

Nathan Lean, the Islamophobia Industry: How the Right Manufactures Fear of Muslims, Pluto Press (2012)

by Elias Davidsson, 12 October 2016

The book represents genuine efforts by the author to expose the racist nature of Islamophobia, particularly as it affects the United States, and the main promoters of such racist propaganda. He focuses on what could be termed the lunatic fringe of US Islamophobia, i.e. on individuals and outfits whose main agenda is to incite the population against Muslims and Islam. His book provides very useful, und largely unknown, details about this coterie, including on the nexus between this lunatic fringe and mainstream media and politics. Largely due to this focus, the author ignores institutional and less blatant efforts that induce popular  distrust towards Muslims and Islam.  In his study of Islamophobia, the author hardly mentions the decades-long demonization of Arabs by Hollywood.

The author describes in some detail FBI-led stings in Muslim communities, which understandably created a lack of trust among Muslims towards law-enforcement authorities. Unfortunately, the author erroneously designates these FBI efforts as efforts to merely “monitor” these communities.  In fact, most FBI stings consist of actively nurturing extremism and inducing terrorist plots by vulnerable Muslims. Trevor Aaronson’s book, The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terrorism, presents conclusive details about such FBI policy. Ignoring such important evidence about FBI efforts to manufacture terrorism does not speak favorably about the author’s scholarship.

The author downplays the public impact of the official Global War on Terror, which is largely understood and presented as an “Islamic terrorist threat”.  When governments and mainstream media harp on a particular threat, their message has far greater impact on public opinion than hysterical rantings by Zionist zealots.  By focusing on the lunatic fringe, the author unwittingly paints a distorted reality.

Apart from a number of minor errors that do not affect the author’s tenor but tar his scholarly rigor (see below), his book suffers from two major factual errors, that lead the author to false conclusions about the purpose of Islamophobia:

First, the author claims that Muslim terrorists carried out the mass-murders of 9/11, and in Madrid and London (pp. 3, 17-18, 38-39, 41, 63). Such claims are baseless. There is no evidence whatsoever that these mass-murders were carried out by Muslims. Available evidence supports far better the presumption that the US government, or more specifically, the Pentagon, planned and carried out 9/11 and that the events in Madrid and London were similarly covert state operations. The present book review does not permit even a short substantiation of this argument. Those who are interested in reviewing the arguments are invited to consult my study “Hijacking America’s Mind on 9/11”, also available on Amazon. It contains all necessary facts – richly annotated – that allow the definite dismissal of the official legend on 9/11.

Second, the author claims that Osama bin Laden was “the villainous mastermind of 9/11” (p. 9). There is no evidence either for this claim, notwithstanding his reference to a statement allegedly made by bin Laden, in which he allegedly claimed responsibility. In any case,  the FBI was not convinced by such statements, as it refrained from accusing Bin Laden for 9/11 (see FBI’s own poster on Osama bin Laden on FBI’s website). Asked why the FBI has not accused Bin Laden for 9/11, FBI’s spokesperson Rex Tomb said in June 2006, that the FBI has no hard evidence to link him to the mass-murder. Anyone interested in that issue, can simply google these names and terms and verify what I am writing.

Relying on a flawed factual base, it is not surprising that the author wrote: “[I]t must have felt quite natural and right after September 11, 2001 to ask uncomfortable questions about Islam.” Natural? The preoccupation with Islam was not at all natural: It was not prompted by personal experience but induced by unverified media accounts. Far more surprising is, that no journalist asked the following uncomfortable questions: “Why has no one been allowed to see the authentic passenger lists of the four aircraft that were allegedly hijacked on 9/11?  Who saw the alleged hijackers board these planes?  Why did the FBI refuse to forensically identify the wreckage of the allegedly crashed planes? Why did the White House oppose a public investigation of 9/11?  Why has no person, including those interned in Guantánamo, been charged and prosecuted for planning, financing, coordinating or participating in 9/11?

These blind spots undermine the implicit thesis of the author, namely that Islamophobia is essentially the work of a fringe cabal of Zionist Islam-haters. The truth is that Islamophobia is part and parcel of the institutional Global War On Terror needed to keep the military-industrial complex churning profits, to justify wars of aggression and the military occupation of African countries, and to establish a national security state within the United States. Islamophobia in today’s world serves a similar purpose as antisemitism was by the Nazi regime: To serve the interests of the ruling wealthy elite and pit ordinary people against each other.

I recommend this book for those who wish to know more about the professional Islam-bashers of the United States (although the coverage of this scene is by far not comprehensive). For those who wish to understand the political agenda of Islamophobia, its strategical role for US imperialism and to the role played by government-manufactured “Islamic terrorism”, the book will be of little value.

Book Review of Steve Coll’s “Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden”

Book Review of Steve Coll’s “Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001” (Penguin Books) (Paperback)

By Elias Davidsson, 18 October 2014

Unreliable author or disinformation agent?

While hailed by the New York Times as the “finest historical narrative so far on the origins of al-Qaeda” and by Washington Post as “authoritative”, I beg to differ. Here is a random sample from the book, manifesting the vagueness of the author’s claims and their unverifiable nature:

“Within the morass of intelligence lay ominous patterns. One was an interest by bin Laden’s operatives in the use of aircraft. A classified September 1998 threat report warned that in bin Laden’s next strike his operatives might fly an explosive-laden airplane into an American airport and blow it up. Another report that fall, unavailable to the public, highlighted a plot involving aircraft in New York and Washington.”(p. 420)

“A second pattern in the threats that fall did galvanize attention: It seemed increasingly obvious that bin Laden planned to attack inside the United States…[T]he CIA picked up reports that bin Laden had authorized $9 million bounties for the assassination of each of four top CIA officers. Many of the intelligence reports were vague. Still, the pattern was unmistakable. (p. 420-1)

Note (1) the author’s use of classified sources that readers cannot verify; (2) the vagueness of the claims; (3) the anonymity of the actors allegedly involved.

While the above manifests only lousy journalism, the following falls already into the category of plain deception:

“By late 1999, [Mohamed] Atta and others in the Al Quds group had committed themselves to martyrdom through jihad….Bin Laden and his senior planners had already seized on the idea of using airplanes to attack the United States.” (p. 476)

“After Atta was selected as the mission’s leader he met with bin Laden personally to discuss targets. The Hamburg group already knew how to operate comfortably in Western societies, but before returning to Europe some of them spent time with Mohammed in Karachi, studying airline schedules and discussing life in the United States” (p. 477-8)

“Among the [9/11] plotters there were tensions, accusations, and apparent changes of heart as the launch date approached. Jarrah and Atta clashed as the former operated on his own and spent time with his girlfriend…Atta selected early September after determining Congress would be in session. Although bin Laden continued to lobby for the White House as a target, Atta still favored the Capitol.” (p. 570-1)

Now, for the facts:

(a) There is no evidence that Atta (and others) “had committed themselves to martyrdom.”
(b) There is no evidence that Bin Laden and his senior planners had ever “seized on the idea of using airplanes to attack the United States”
(c) There is no evidence that Atta “was selected as the [9/11] mission’s leader” by anyone, let alone by bin Laden
(d) There is no evidence that members of the Hamburg group “spent time with Mohammed in Karachi studying airline schedules”
(e) There is no evidence that “Jarrah and Atta clashed,” let alone about the attacks.
(f) There is no evidence that Atta “selected early September after determining Congress would be in session.”
(g) There is no evidence that bin Laden “continued to lobby for the White House as a target” nor that Atta “favored the Capitol.”
(h) The author implies throughout that Mohamed Atta and his friends participated in the 9/11 attacks. This insinuation is unsubstantiated and represents a gross defamation of innocent people. Those who find my statement puzzling are invited to see it substantiated in my book “Hijacking America’s Mind on 9/11.”

The author’s claim that Osama bin Laden selected Atta and his friends as suicide pilots is not endorsed by the FBI. The FBI admitted in June 2006 to journalist Ed Haas that the agency possesses no evidence linking bin Laden to 9/11. Steve Coll could have spared himself ridicule, had he first consulted with the FBI before making his claims.

An author who offers readers unsubstantiated legends must either be incompetent or act as a purveyor of disinformation. As a Pulizer-prize winner, the author can hardly be regarded as incompetent. This leaves us with the alternative.

Book Review of Michael Scheuer’s “Osama bin Laden”

Book Review of Michael Scheuer’s “Osama bin Laden”

By Elias Davidsson, November 5, 2013

A book distinguishing itself by significant omissions 

The author omits:

  • The absence of a definite accusation by the US government against bin Laden regarding his responsibility for 9/11 (even President Bush only qualified bin Laden as a “suspect”)
  • The admission of the FBI to journalist Ed Haas in June 2006 to possess no hard evidence linking bin Laden to 9/11
  • The absence of an evaluation of bin Laden’s controversial videos (which the FBI has not considered as evidence)
  • The absence of a theological or textual analysis of bin Laden’s fatwas of 1996 and 1998
  • The absence of an explanation for the consistent failure by the US to find and detain or kill bin Laden, from 1996 to 2011
  • The reported offer by Sudan to extradite Osama bin Ladn (OBL) for trial (rejected by the US)
  • The reported offer by the Taliban to extradite OBL for trial (rejected by the US)
  • The reported meeting between OBL and a CIA employee in the hospital in Dubai, August 2001
  • The failure of the US to destroy the numerous “terrorist camps” run by bin Laden in Afghanistan and Pakistan
  • The collaboration between the British MI6 and Al Qaeda to murder Libyan President Gaddafi
  • The issuance by the Libyan authorities of an international arrest warrant against OBL
  • The role of MI6 and the CIA in moving Al Qaeda fighters to Bosnia and Kosovo
  • The role of the CIA in providing U.S. visas to Arab militants at the U.S. consulate in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) in the 1980s, for terrorist training in the United States (as reported by the chief of the visa section, Michael Springmann)
  • The omission, when discussing the WTC bombing of 1993, of mentioning the role of the FBI and Emad Salem in the bombing. See War on Truth p. 37-8
  • The omission of the role of Ali Mohamed, an important link between the FBI and CIA and Osama bin Laden. See: Triple Cross: How bin Laden’s Master Spy Penetrated the CIA, the Green Berets, and the FBI
  • The fact that Al Qaeda has rarely, if ever, attacked Israeli or Jewish facilities (the author claims that a central issue for bin Laden was the liberation of Palestine from Zionist/Israeli occupation).These numerous omissions cannot be attributed to oversight or forgetfulness. It follows that the book is tendencious and deliberately deceptive. It was, in my opinion, a serious mistake by Oxford University Press to publish this book.

Book review of Jason Burke’s Al Qaeda – The True Story of Radical Islam

Jason Burke: Al Qaeda – The True Story of Radical Islam (Penguin Books, 2004)

Book Review by Elias Davidsson, October 19, 2014

Pretentious and disingenious

Burke’s book appears at first sight as a serious, scholarly, contribution to the study of Al Qaeda. It is heavily annotated, contains a glossary and a useful index, a map of Afghanistan and is well structured. Yet, as I will attempt to show, the book is essentially a slick fraud. The purpose of my review is to warn potential readers, nothing more and nothing less.

A substantial part of the book is devoted to the history of the so-called jihadist movement. Due to the nature of the subject matter, we may surmise that most sources used to compile such a history cannot be verified by readers, because of the inaccessibility of witnesses and the difficulty to authenticate documents allegedly issued by Islamic militants. There are, however, other means to gauge the credibility and integrity of the author, particularly in cases where sources are not only accessible to the wide public, but should have been cited by the author, had he been faithful to the truth.

Let us first consider how the author covered the role of one Ali A. Mohamed, a mysterious but crucial figure  to whom author Peter Lance devoted an entire book (“Triple Cross”). Author Burke mentions Mohamed at two locations in his book (p. 104 and 147). He presents Mohamed casually as a “former American special forces supply sergeant” who trained Islamic militants in Peshawar and cased the US embassy in Nairobi (Kenya) for bin Laden. In an extended endnote on p. 311, the author provides  slightly more information for those particularly interested. Yet, the author completely obfuscates Mohamed’s intimate cooperation with the FBI and the CIA and the fact that he also trained Islamists in the New York and New Jersey area with the knowledge of the FBI. In short, the author obfuscates the fact that Mohamed worked for the U.S. government while helping Al Qaeda. Given that the book was published in 2004, the author also obfuscated the fact that Mohamed, arrested and charged in the U.S. in connection with the bombings of the US embassies in East Africa, was spared a sentence and placed into the witness protection system, as is typical with US agents.  The author could hardly have been oblivious to the above facts. If he was, it would represent gross incompetence on his part.

On p. 102 the author claims that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (widely known as KSM), reportedly incarcerated in Guantánamo, “was one of the key planners of the 11 September attacks.”  The author does not bother to substantiate this claim.  It is true that this claim was published in the mainstream press but its basis is merely an unauthenticated transcript issued by the Department of Defense that purports to represent a confession by said person.  That piece of paper contains also the claim by the alleged confessor to have planned the murder of the Pope and the destruction of a bank in Washington State that did not exist at the time of that person’s arrest. If this is the type of evidence on which the author relies, how can readers trust those sources that they cannot even access?

On. p. 59 the author debunks the straw-man claim that bin Laden was funded by the CIA. Actually no serious person has made that claim. But he conceals from his readers evidence of a relationship between the CIA and Bin Laden, sustained until 9/11. This relationship was revealed by the  French daily Le Figaro and Radio-France International in October 2001. According to these fairly reliable sources, CIA agent Larry Mitchell visited bin Laden at the American Hospital in Dubai on July 12, 2001, during bin Laden’s treatment there.  Although both the CIA and bin Laden denied to have met each other at this opportunity, author Richard Labévière cites in his book “Les coulisses de la terreur” further sources confirming this meeting.  Even if one would consider such sources as controversial, concealing these reports from readers does not inspire confidence in the author’s integrity.

Chapter 15 is devoted to the 11 September attacks, namely to the event that, as it were, crowned the terrorist accomplishments of the global Islamic terrorist movement, that is the subject of the book.  In this case the author did not need to rely on evidence gleaned from dark corners in Afghanistan or on dubious statements made by dubious characters in interrogations. The evidence regarding 9/11 is readily accessible and could be gleaned from U.S. mainstream media, Congressional hearings and other open sources.

The author apparently acknowledges this fact, albeit in a slightly different formulation, writing on p. 235: “The mechanics of the [9/11] plot have been examined in infinitesimal detail.” While many details have been revealed, it is not accurate that the plot had been examined in “infinitesimal detail”, and certainly not by the U.S. authorities. Already on the morning of September 12, 2001, Attorney General John Ashcroft warned that the task of the FBI was not to “solve a crime” but to prevent new attacks.  This warning was repeated four weeks later by the Director of the FBI, Robert Mueller, as revealed by the New York Times.  The White House, for its part, fiercely opposed a public inquiry into the events and only grudgingly accepted to establish a Commission of Inquiry 411 days after the events. The terms of reference of this Commission, its budget and its composition were all meant to render its findings stale. Even the chairman and vice-chairmen of the Commission admitted later that the Commission had failed.  Nothing of that is found in Burke’s Chapter 15.

The author blithely claims that Islamic terrorists “armed with simple box cutters,” took control of airliners.  The team that hijacked flight UA175 was allegedly led by Marwan Alshehhi, while that of flight AA11 by Mohamed Atta. (p. 234).  Yet the names of these individuals do no appear on any authenticated passenger list (or flight manifest), no one saw them at the respective airport and their bodies were not identified at the crash site. Actually the names of none of the 19 alleged hijackers appear on any authenticated passenger list, none were seen by airport personnel and the body of none was identified at the crash sites. Incidentally, the official story only mentions “box-cutters” in relation to flight AA77, not because box-cutters were found at the crash site, but because “box-cutters” were mentioned in one phone call allegedly made from that aircraft.

A third “suicide pilot” named by Burke is Hani Hanjour, a diminutive bungler, who allegedly steered a Boeing 757 at more than 400 mph horizontally (20 feet above the ground) into the second floor of the Pentagon, a feat that even professional pilots would hardly be able to accomplish with a passenger airliner. Hani’s flight instructors designated his flight skills “so shoddy…that they questioned whether his pilot’s license was genuine.”  One former employee of the flight school quoted by the New York Times on May 4, 2002, said about Hani “I’m still to this day amazed that he could have flown into the Pentagon. He could not fly at all.” One flight school repeatedly complained to the FAA about Hanjour but apparently the FAA ignored these complaints. Hani clearly enjoyed protection from “higher ups”. These facts, again, are obfuscated by the author, as they would undermine the legend he blithely presents as truth.  The fact that the U.S. authorities never produced evidence in support of their official legend on 9/11 – neither regarding the identities of the alleged hijackers, nor about the identities of the crashed aircraft – is not mentioned by the author.

It is difficult to believe that the author was entirely oblivious to the above facts. The question arises why a perceptive intellectual such as Noam Chomsky was led to write in a blurb to the author: “Based on careful on-the-ground investigation and penetrating inquiry, this fine study, the most illuminating I know, gives remarkable insight into Islamic militancy.”

I call on Burke to explain to his readers his omissions and his unsubstantiated claims, as presented above.

Tapes Depict Proposal to Thwart Bomb Used in Trade Center Blast

The New York Times, Thursday October 28, 1993 Page A1

Tapes Depict Proposal to Thwart Bomb Used in Trade Center Blast

By Ralph Blumenthal

Law-enforcement officials were told that terrorists were building a bomb that was eventually used to blow up the World Trade Center, and they planned to thwart the plotters by secretly substituting harmless powder for the explosives, an informer said after the blast.

The informer was to have helped the plotters build the bomb and supply the fake powder, but the plan was called off by an F.B.I. supervisor who had other ideas about how the informer, Emad Salem, should be used, the informer said.

The account, which is given in the transcript of hundreds of hours of tape recordings that Mr. Salem secretly made of his talks with law-enforcement agents, portrays the authorities as being in a far better position than previously known to foil the February 26th bombing of New York City’s tallest towers.

The explosion left six people dead, more than a thousand people injured, and damages in excess of half-a-billion dollars. Four men are now on trial in Manhattan Federal Court [on charges of involvement] in that attack.

Mr. Salem, a 43-year-old former Egyptian Army officer, was used by the Government [of the United States] to penetrate a circle of Muslim extremists who are now charged in two bombing cases: the World Trade Center attack, and a foiled plot to destroy the United Nations, the Hudson River tunnels, and other New York City landmarks. He is the crucial witness in the second bombing case, but his work for the Government was erratic, and for months before the World Trade Center blast, he was feuding with the F.B.I.

Supervisor `Messed It Up’

After the bombing, he resumed his undercover work. In an undated transcript of a conversation from that period, Mr. Salem recounts a talk he had had earlier with an agent about an unnamed F.B.I. supervisor who, he said, “came and messed it up.”

“He requested to meet me in the hotel,” Mr. Salem says of the supervisor.

“He requested to make me to testify, and if he didn’t push for that, we’ll be going building the bomb with a phony powder, and grabbing the people who was involved in it. But since you, we didn’t do that.”

The transcript quotes Mr. Salem as saying that he wanted to complain to F.B.I. Headquarters in Washington about the Bureau’s failure to stop the bombing, but was dissuaded by an agent identified as John Anticev.

Mr. Salem said Mr. Anticev had told him,

“He said, I don’t think that the New York people would like the things out of the New York Office to go to Washington, D.C.”

Another agent, identified as Nancy Floyd, does not dispute Mr. Salem’s account, but rather, appears to agree with it, saying of the `New York people’:

“Well, of course not, because they don’t want to get their butts chewed.”

John O. Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security, justifies drone attacks

The White House  Office of the Press Secretary
June 29, 2011

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/06/29/remarks-john-o-brennan-assistant-president-homeland-security-and-counter

Remarks of John O. Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, on Ensuring al-Qa’ida’s Demise –

As Prepared for Delivery
Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Washington, D.C.

Good afternoon.  Thank you, Dean Einhorn, for your very warm welcome and for your decades of service—in government, global institutions and here at SAIS.  And it’s a special pleasure to be introduced by John McLaughlin, a friend and colleague of many years and one of our nation’s great intelligence professionals.

It’s a pleasure to be here at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, an institution that has instilled in generations of public servants the pragmatic approach to problem-solving that is essential for the effective conduct of foreign policy.  I especially want to thank the Merrill Center for Strategic Studies for its emphasis on national security and for joining with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to introduce students to our Intelligence Community and inspiring the next generation of intelligence professionals.     

It’s wonderful to see so many friends and colleagues who I’ve had the privilege to work with over many years.  You have devoted your lives to protecting our nation from many threats, including the one that brings me here today, and one that has claimed the lives of some of our friends and colleagues—that is the continued terrorist threat from al-Qa’ida.  

Today, we are releasing President Obama’s National Strategy for Counterterrorism, which formalizes the approach that we’ve been pursuing and adapting for the past two and half years to prevent terrorist attacks and to ensure al-Qa’ida’s demise.  I’m pleased that we are joined today by dedicated professionals from across the federal government who helped to shape our strategy and who work tirelessly every day to keep our country safe.  Thank you for being here.

An unclassified summary of our strategy is being posted today to the White House website, WhiteHouse.gov.   In the time I have with you, I’d like to put our strategy in context, outline its key goals and principals, and describe how we’re putting these principles into practice to protect the American people.    

I want to begin with the larger strategic environment that shapes our counterterrorism efforts.  This starts with the recognition that this counterterrorism strategy is only one part of President Obama’s larger National Security Strategy.  This is very important.  Our counterterrorism policies do not define our entire foreign policy; rather, they are a vital part of—and are designed to reinforce—our broader national security interests.

Since taking office, President Obama has worked to restore a positive vision of American leadership in the world—leadership defined, not by the threats and dangers that we will oppose, but by the security, opportunity and dignity that America advances in partnership with people around the world.  This has enhanced our national security in many areas against many threats.  

At the same time, many of the President’s broader foreign policy and national security initiatives also help to achieve our more focused counterterrorism goals.  They do so by addressing the political, economic and social conditions that can sometimes fuel violent extremism and push certain individuals into the arms of al-Qa’ida.

For instance, when our diplomats promote the peaceful resolution of political disputes and grievances, when our trade and economic policies generate growth that lifts people out of poverty, when our development experts support good governance that addresses people’s basic needs, when we stand up for universal human rights—all of this can also help undermine violent extremists and terrorists like al-Qa’ida.  Peaceful political, economic, and social progress undermines the claim that the only way to achieve change is through violence.  It can be a powerful antidote to the disillusionment and sense of powerlessness that can make some individuals more susceptible to violent ideologies.

Our strategy recognizes that our counterterrorism efforts clearly benefit from—and at times depend on—broader foreign policy efforts, even as our CT strategy focuses more narrowly on preventing terrorist attacks against our interests, at home and abroad.

This, obviously, is also the first counterterrorism strategy to reflect the extraordinary political changes that are sweeping the Middle East and North Africa.  It’s true that these changes may bring new challenges and uncertainty in the short-term, as we are seeing in Yemen.  It also is true that terrorist organizations, and nations that support them, will seek to capitalize on the instability that change can sometimes bring.  That is why we are working closely with allies and partners to make sure that these malevolent actors do not succeed in hijacking this moment of hope for their own violent ends.  

But as President Obama has said, these dramatic changes also mark an historic moment of opportunity.  So too for our counterterrorism efforts.  For decades, terrorist organizations like al-Qa’ida have preached that the only way to affect change is through violence.  Now, that claim has been thoroughly repudiated, and it has been repudiated by ordinary citizens, in Tunisia and Egypt and beyond, who are changing and challenging their governments through peaceful protest, even as they are sometimes met with horrific brutality, as in Libya and Syria.  Moreover, these citizens have rejected the medieval ideology of al-Qa’ida that divides people by faith and gender, opting instead to work together—Muslims and Christians, men and women, secular and religious.

It is the most profound change in the modern history of the Arab world, and al-Qa’ida and its ilk have been left on the sidelines, watching history pass them by.  Meanwhile, President Obama has placed the United States on the right side of history, pledging our support for the political and economic reforms and universal human rights that people in the region are demanding.  This, too, has profound implications for our counterterrorism efforts.

Against this backdrop, our strategy is very precise about the threat we face and the goals we seek.  Paul Nitze once observed that “one of the most dangerous forms of human error is forgetting what one is trying to achieve.”  President Obama is adamant that we never forget who we’re fighting or what we’re trying to achieve.

Let me start by saying that our strategy is not designed to combat directly every single terrorist organization in every corner of the world, many of which have neither the intent nor the capability to ever attack the United States or our citizens.

Our strategy of course recognizes that there are numerous nations and groups that support terrorism in order to oppose U.S. interests.  Iran and Syria remain leading state sponsors of terrorism.  Hezbollah and HAMAS are terrorist organizations that threaten Israel and our interests in the Middle East.  We will therefore continue to use the full range of our foreign policy tools to prevent these regimes and terrorist organizations from endangering our national security.

For example, President Obama has made it clear that the United States is determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.  And we will continue working closely with allies and partners, including sharing and acting upon intelligence, to prevent the flow of weapons and funds to Hezbollah and HAMAS and to prevent attacks against our allies, citizens or interests.

But the principal focus of this counterterrorism strategy—and the focus of our CT efforts since President Obama took office—is the network that poses the most direct and significant threat to the United States, and that is al-Qa’ida, its affiliates and its adherents.  We use these terms deliberately.

It is al-Qa’ida, the core group founded by Usama bin Laden, that has murdered our citizens, from the bombings of our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania to the attack on the U.S.S. Cole to the attacks of September 11th, which also killed citizens of more than 90 other countries.

It is al-Qa’ida’s affiliates—groups that are part of its network or share its goals—that have also attempted to attack our homeland.  It was al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), based in Yemen, that attempted to bring down that airliner over Detroit and which put explosives on cargo planes bound for the United States.  It was the Pakistani Taliban that sent Faisal Shahzad on his failed attempt to blow up an SUV in Times Square.

And it is al-Qa’ida’s adherents—individuals, sometimes with little or no direct physical contact with al-Qa’ida, who have succumbed to its hateful ideology and who have engaged in, or facilitated, terrorist activities here in the United States.  These misguided individuals are spurred on by the likes of al-Qaida’s Adam Gadahn and Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen, who speak English and preach violence in slick videos over the Internet.  And we have seen the tragic results, with the murder of a military recruiter in Arkansas two years ago and the attack on our servicemen and women at Fort Hood.

This is the first counterterrorism strategy that focuses on the ability of al-Qa’ida and its network to inspire people in the United States to attack us from within.  Indeed, this is the first counterterrorism strategy that designates the homeland as a primary area of emphasis in our counterterrorism efforts.       

Our strategy is also shaped by a deeper understanding of al-Qa’ida’s goals, strategy, and tactics. I’m not talking about al-Qa’ida’s grandiose vision of global domination through a violent Islamic caliphate.  That vision is absurd, and we are not going to organize our counterterrorism policies against a feckless delusion that is never going to happen.  We are not going to elevate these thugs and their murderous aspirations into something larger than they are.

Rather, President Obama is determined that our foreign and national security policies not play into al-Qa’ida’s strategy or its warped ideology.  Al-Qa’ida seeks to terrorize us into retreating from the world stage.  But President Obama has made it a priority to renew American leadership in the world, strengthening our alliances and deepening partnerships.  Al-Qa’ida seeks to portray America as an enemy of the world’s Muslims.  But President Obama has made it clear that the United States is not, and never will be, at war with Islam.   

Al-Qa’ida seeks to bleed us financially by drawing us into long, costly wars that also inflame anti-American sentiment.  Under President Obama, we are working to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan responsibly, even as we keep unrelenting pressure on al-Qa’ida.  Going forward, we will be mindful that if our nation is threatened, our best offense won’t always be deploying large armies abroad but delivering targeted, surgical pressure to the groups that threaten us.

Al-Qa’ida seeks to portray itself as a religious movement defending the rights of Muslims, but the United States will continue to expose al-Qa’ida as nothing more than murderers.  They purport to be Islamic, but they are neither religious leaders nor scholars; indeed, there is nothing Islamic or holy about slaughtering innocent men, women, and children.  They claim to protect Muslims, but the vast majority of al-Qa’ida’s victims are, in fact, innocent Muslim men, women, and children.  It is no wonder that the overwhelmingly majority of the world’s Muslims have rejected al-Qa’ida and why its ranks of supporters continue to decline.

Just as our strategy is precise about who our enemy is, it is clear about our posture and our goal.  This is a war—a broad, sustained, integrated and relentless campaign that harnesses every element of American power.  And we seek nothing less than the utter destruction of this evil that calls itself al-Qa’ida.

To achieve this goal, we need to dismantle the core of al-Qa’ida—its leadership in the tribal regions of Pakistan—and prevent its ability to reestablish a safe haven in the Pakistan–Afghanistan region.  In other words, we aim to render the heart of al-Qa’ida incapable of launching attacks against our homeland, our citizens, or our allies, as well as preventing the group from inspiring its affiliates and adherents to do so.

At the same time, ultimately defeating al-Qa’ida also means addressing the serious threat posed by its affiliates and adherents operating outside South Asia.  This does not require a “global” war, but it does require a focus on specific regions, including what we might call the periphery—places like Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, and the Maghreb.  This is another important distinction that characterizes this strategy.  As the al-Qa’ida core has weakened under our unyielding pressure, it has looked increasingly to these other groups and individuals to take up its cause, including its goal of striking the United States.

To destroy al-Qa’ida, we are pursuing specific and focused counterterrorism objectives.  
For example:

    We are protecting our homeland by constantly reducing our vulnerabilities and adapting and updating our defenses.
     
    We are taking the fight to wherever the cancer of al-Qa’ida manifests itself, degrading its capabilities and disrupting its operations.
     
    We are degrading the ability of al-Qa’ida’s senior leadership to inspire, communicate with, and direct the operations of its adherents around the world.
     
    We are denying al-Qa’ida any safe haven—the physical sanctuary that it needs to train, plot and launch attacks against us.
     
    We are aggressively confronting al-Qa’ida’s ideology, which attempts to exploit local—and often legitimate—grievances in an attempt to justify violence.
     
    We are depriving al-Qa’ida of its enabling means, including the illicit financing, logistical support, and online communications that sustain its network.
     
    And we are working to prevent al-Qa’ida from acquiring or developing weapons of mass destruction, which is why President Obama is leading the global effort to secure the world’s vulnerable materials in four years.

In many respects, these specific counterterrorism goals are not new.  In fact, they track closely with the goals of the previous administration.  Yet this illustrates another important characteristic of our strategy.  It neither represents a wholesale overhaul—nor a wholesale retention—of previous policies.

President Obama’s approach to counterterrorism is pragmatic, not ideological.  It’s based on what works.  It builds upon policies and practices that have been instituted and refined over the past decade, in partnership with Congress—a partnership we will continue.  And it reflects an evolution in our understanding of the threat, in the capabilities of our government, the capacity of our partners, and the tools and technologies at our disposal.        

What is new—and what I believe distinguishes this strategy—is the principles that are guiding our efforts to destroy al-Qa’ida.

First, we are using every lawful tool and authority available.  No single agency or department has sole responsibility for this fight because no single department or agency possesses all the capabilities needed for this fight.  This is—and must be—a whole-of-government effort, and it’s why the Obama Administration has strengthened the tools we need.

We’ve strengthened intelligence, expanding human intelligence and linguistic skills, and we’re constantly working to improve our capabilities and learn from our experiences.  For example, following the attack at Fort Hood and the failed attack over Detroit, we’ve improved the analytic process, created new groups to track threat information, and enhanced cooperation among our intelligence agencies, including better information sharing so that all threats are acted upon quickly.  

We’ve strengthened our military capabilities. We increased the size of our Special Forces, sped up the deployment of unique assets so that al-Qa’ida enjoys no safe haven, and ensured that our military and intelligence professionals are working more closely than ever before.

We’ve strengthened homeland security with a multi-layered defense, bolstering security at our borders, ports and airports; improving partnerships with state and local governments and allies and partners, including sharing more information; increasing the capacity of our first responders; and preparing for bioterrorism.  In taking these steps, we are finally fulfilling key recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.

Learning the lessons of recent plots and attempted attacks, we’ve increased aviation security by strengthening watchlist procedures and sharing information in real-time; enhancing screening of cargo; and—for the first time—ensuring 100 percent screening of all passengers traveling in, to, and from the United States, which was another recommendation of the 9/11 Commission.  And we are constantly assessing and improving our defenses, as we did in replacing the old color-coded threat system with a more targeted approach that provides detailed information about specific, credible threats and suggested protective measures.

In addition, we are using the full range of law enforcement tools as part of our effort to build an effective and durable legal framework for the war against al-Qa’ida.  This includes our single most effective tool for prosecuting, convicting, and sentencing suspected terrorists—and a proven tool for gathering intelligence and preventing attacks—our Article III courts.  It includes reformed military commissions, which at times offer unique advantages.  And this framework includes the recently renewed PATRIOT Act.  In short, we must have a legal framework that provides our extraordinary intelligence, counterterrorism, and law enforcement professionals with all the lawful tools they need to do their job and keep our country safe.  We must not tie their hands.

For all these tools to work properly, departments and agencies across the federal government must work cooperatively.  Today, our personnel are working more closely together than ever before, as we saw in the operation that killed Usama bin Laden.  That success was not due to any one single person or single piece of information.  It was the result of many people in many organizations working together over many years.  And that is what we will continue to do.

Even as we use every tool in our government, we are guided by a second principle—the need for partnership with institutions and countries around the world, as we recognize that no one nation alone can bring about al-Qa’ida’s demise.  Over the past decade, we have made enormous progress in building and strengthening an international architecture to confront the threat from al-Qa’ida.  This includes greater cooperation with multilateral institutions such as the United Nations, our NATO allies, and regional organizations such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the African Union.

Over the past two and a half years, we have also increased our efforts to build the capacity of partners so they can take the fight to al-Qa’ida in their own countries.  That is why a key element of the President’s strategy in Afghanistan is growing Afghan security forces.  It’s why we’ll soon begin a transition so that Afghans can take responsibility for their own security.  And it’s why we must continue our cooperation with Pakistan.

In recent weeks we’ve been reminded that our relationship with Pakistan is not without tension or frustration.  We are now working with our Pakistani partners to overcome differences and continue our efforts against our common enemies.  It is essential that we do so.  As frustrating as this relationship can sometimes be, Pakistan has been critical to many of our most significant successes against al-Qa’ida.  Tens of thousands of Pakistanis—military and civilian—have given their lives in the fight against militancy.  And despite recent tensions, I am confident that Pakistan will remain one of our most important counterterrorism partners.

These kinds of security partnerships are absolutely vital.  The critical intelligence that allowed us to discover the explosives that AQAP was shipping to the United States in those cargo planes was provided by our Saudi Arabian partners.   Al-Qa’ida in Iraq has suffered major losses at the hands of Iraqi security forces, trained by the United States.  Despite the ongoing instability, our counterterrorism cooperation with Yemen continues, and I would argue that the recent territorial gains made by militants linked to AQAP only makes our CT partnership with Yemen more important.

Around the world, we will deepen our security cooperation with partners wherever al-Qa’ida attempts to take root, be it Somalia, the Sahel or Southeast Asia.  For while al-Qa’ida seeks to depict this fight as one between the world’s Muslims and the United States, it is actually the opposite—the international community, including Muslim-majority nations and Muslim communities, united against al-Qa’ida.

This leads to the third principle of our strategy—rather than pursuing a one-size fits-all approach, we recognize that different threats in different places demand different tools.  So even as we use all the resources at our disposal against al-Qa’ida, we will apply the right tools in the right way and in the right place, with laser focus.

In some places, such as the tribal regions between Afghanistan and Pakistan, we will deliver precise and overwhelming force against al-Qa’ida.  Whenever possible, our efforts around the world will be in close coordination with our partners.  And, when necessary, as the President has said repeatedly, if we have information about the whereabouts of al-Qa’ida, we will do what is required to protect the United States—as we did with bin Laden.

In some places, as I’ve described, our efforts will focus on training foreign security services.  In others, as with our Saudi Arabian and Gulf state partners, our focus will include shutting down al-Qa’ida’s financial pipelines.  With longtime allies and partners, as in Europe, we’ll thwart attacks through close intelligence cooperation.  Here in the United States—where the rule of law is paramount—it’s our federal, state, and local law enforcement and homeland security professionals who rightly take the lead.  Around the world, including here at home, we will continue to show that the United States offers a vision of progress and justice, while al-Qa’ida offers nothing but death and destruction.

Related to our counterterrorism strategy, I would also note that keeping our nation secure also depends on strong partnerships between government and communities here at home, including Muslim and Arab Americans, some of whom join us today.  These Americans have worked to protect their communities from al-Qa’ida’s violent ideology and they have helped to prevent terrorist attacks in our country.  Later this summer, the Obama Administration will unveil its approach for partnering with communities to prevent violent extremism in the United States.  And a key tenet of this approach is that when it comes to protecting our country, Muslim Americans are not part of the problem, they’re part of the solution.    

This relates to our fourth principle—building a culture of resilience here at home.  We are doing everything in our power to prevent another terrorist attack on our soil.  At the same time, a responsible, effective counterterrorism strategy recognizes that no nation, no matter how powerful—including a free and open society of 300 million Americans—can prevent every single threat from every single individual who wishes to do us harm.  It’s not enough to simply be prepared for attacks, we have to be resilient and recover quickly should an attack occur.

So, as a resilient nation, we are constantly improving our ability to withstand any attack—especially our critical infrastructure, including cyber—thereby denying al-Qa’ida the economic damage and disruption it seeks.  As a resilient government, we’re strengthening the partnerships that help states and localities recover quickly.  And as a resilient people, we must remember that every one of us can help deprive al-Qa’ida of the success it seeks.  Al-Qa’ida wants to terrorize us, so we must not give in to fear.  They want to change us, so we must stay true to who we are.

Which brings me to our final principle, in fact, the one that guides all the others—in all our actions, we will uphold the core values that define us as Americans.  I have spent more than thirty years working on behalf of our nation’s security.  I understand the truly breathtaking capabilities of our intelligence and counterterrorism communities.  But I also know that the most powerful weapons of all—which we must never forsake—are the values and ideals that America represents to the world.

When we fail to abide by our values, we play right into the hands of al-Qa’ida, which falsely tries to portray us as a people of hypocrisy and decadence.  Conversely, when we uphold these values it sends a message to the people around the world that it is America—not al-Qa’ida—that represents opportunity, dignity, and justice.  In other words, living our values helps keep us safe.

So, as Americans, we stand for human rights.  That is why, in his first days in office, President Obama made it clear that the United States of America does not torture, and it’s why he banned the use of enhanced interrogation techniques, which did not work.  As Americans, we will uphold the rule of law at home, including the privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties of all Americans.  And it’s because of our commitment to the rule of law and to our national security that we will never waver in our conviction that the United States will be more secure the day that the prison at Guantanamo Bay is ultimately closed.

Living our values—and communicating to the world what America represents—also directly undermines al-Qa’ida’s twisted ideology.  When we remember that diversity of faith and background is not a weakness in America but a strength, and when we show that Muslim Americans are part of our American family, we expose al-Qa’ida’s lie that cultures must clash.  When we remember that Islam is part of America, we show that America could never possibly be at war with Islam.

These are our principles, and this is the strategy that has enabled us to put al-Qa’ida under more pressure than at any time since 9/11.  With allies and partners, we have thwarted attacks around the world.  We have disrupted plots here at home, including the plan of Najibullah Zazi, trained by al-Qa’ida to bomb the New York subway.

We have affected al-Qa’ida’s ability to attract new recruits.  We’ve made it harder for them to hide and transfer money, and pushed al-Qa’ida’s finances to its weakest point in years.  Along with our partners, in Pakistan and Yemen, we’ve shown al-Qa’ida that it will enjoy no safe haven, and we have made it harder than ever for them to move, to communicate, to train, and to plot.

Al-Qa’ida’s leadership ranks have been decimated, with more key leaders eliminated in rapid succession than at any time since 9/11.  For example, al-Qa’ida’s third-ranking leader, Sheik Saeed al-Masri—killed.  Ilyas Kashmiri, one of al-Qa’ida’s most dangerous commanders—reportedly killed.  Operatives of AQAP in Yemen, including Ammar al-Wa’ili, Abu Ali al-Harithi, and Ali Saleh Farhan—all killed.  Baitullah Mahsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban—killed.  Harun Fazul, the leader of al-Qa’ida in East Africa and the mastermind of the bombings of our embassies in Africa—killed by Somali security forces.

All told, over the past two and half years, virtually every major al-Qa’ida affiliate has lost its key leader or operational commander, and more than half of al-Qa’ida’s top leadership has been eliminated.  Yes, al-Qa’ida is adaptive and resilient and has sought to replace these leaders, but it has been forced to do so with less experienced individuals.  That’s another reason why we and our partners have stepped up our efforts.  Because if we hit al-Qa’ida hard enough and often enough, there will come a time when they simply can no longer replenish their ranks with the skilled leaders they need to sustain their operations.  And that is the direction in which we’re headed today.

Now, with the death of Usama bin Laden, we have struck our biggest blow against al-Qa’ida yet.  We have taken out al-Qa’ida’s founder, an operational commander who continued to direct his followers to attack the United States and, perhaps most significantly, al-Qa’ida’s symbolic figure who has inspired so many others to violence.  In his place, the organization is left with Ayman al-Zawahiri, an aging doctor who lacks bin Laden’s charisma and perhaps the loyalty and respect of many in al-Qa’ida.  Indeed, the fact that it took so many weeks for al-Qa’ida to settle on Zawahiri as its new leader suggests possible divisions and disarray at the highest levels.

Taken together, the progress I’ve described allows us—for the first time—to envision the demise of al-Qa’ida’s core leadership in the coming years.  It will take time, but make no mistake, al-Qa’ida is in its decline.  This is by no means meant to suggest that the serious threat from al-Qa’ida has passed; not at all.  Zawahiri may attempt to demonstrate his leadership, and al-Qa’ida may try to show its relevance, through new attacks.  Lone individuals may seek to avenge bin Laden’s death.  More innocent people may tragically lose their lives.

Nor would the destruction of its leadership mean the destruction of the al-Qa’ida network.  AQAP remains the most operationally active affiliate in the network and poses a direct threat to the United States.  From the territory it controls in Somalia, Al-Shabaab continues to call for strikes against the United States.  As a result, we cannot and we will not let down our guard.  We will continue to pummel al-Qa’ida and its ilk, and we will remain vigilant at home.

Still, as we approach the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, as Americans seek to understand where we stand a decade later, we need look no further than that compound where bin Laden spent his final days.  There he was, holed-up for years, behind high prison-like walls, isolated from the world.  But even he understood the sorry state of his organization and its ideology.

Information seized from that compound reveals bin Laden’s concerns about al-Qa’ida’s long-term viability.  He called for more large-scale attacks against America, but encountered resistance from his followers and he went for years without seeing any spectacular attacks.  He saw his senior leaders being taken down, one by one, and worried about the ability to replace them effectively.

Perhaps most importantly, bin Laden clearly sensed that al-Qa’ida is losing the larger battle for hearts and minds.  He knew that al-Qa’ida’s murder of so many innocent civilians, most of them Muslims, had deeply and perhaps permanently tarnished al-Qa’ida’s image in the world.  He knew that he had failed to portray America as being at war with Islam.  In fact, he worried that our recent focus on al-Qa’ida as our enemy had prevented more Muslims from rallying to his cause, so much so that he even considered changing al-Qa’ida’s name.  We are left with that final image seen around the world—an old terrorist, alone, hunched over in a blanket, flipping through old videos of a man and a movement that history is leaving behind.

This fight is not over.  But guided by the strategy we’re releasing today, we will never waver in our efforts to protect the American people.  We will continue to be clear and precise about our enemy.  We will continue to use every tool at our disposal, and apply them wisely.  We will continue to forge strong partnerships around the world and build a culture of resilience here at home.  And as Americans, we will continue to uphold the ideals and core values that inspire the world, define us as people and help keep us safe.  

President Obama said it best last week—we have put al-Qa’ida on a path to defeat, and we will not relent until the job is done.  Thank you all very much.

U.S. Counter-terrorism Strategy to Rely on Surgical Strikes, Unmanned Drones

U.S. Counter-terrorism Strategy to Rely on Surgical Strikes, Unmanned Drones

By Ken Dilanian
June 30, 2011″LA Times”

The Obama administration has concluded in a newly released counter-terrorism strategy that precision strikes and raids, rather than large land wars, are the most effective way to defeat Al Qaeda.

“Al Qaeda seeks to bleed us financially by drawing us into long, costly wars that also inflame anti-American sentiment,” John Brennan, President Obama’s counter-terrorism advisor, said in a speech Wednesday unveiling the new strategy. “Going forward, we will be mindful that if our nation is threatened, our best offense won’t always be deploying large armies abroad but delivering targeted, surgical pressure to the groups that threaten us.”

Brennan, a longtime former CIA officer, spoke at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, as the White House posted the new strategy on its website.

The strategy codifies policies the administration has been pursuing for 2 1/2 years, and much of it mirrors the practices of the Bush administration, Brennan said.  But at its core is a repudiation of the thinking that sent large numbers of American troops to Iraq and Afghanistan. Al Qaeda’s leadership has been decimated, Brennan said, thanks not to the wars but to “unyielding pressure” from U.S. operations to kill the group’s leaders one by one in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region.

The more acute threats to the U.S. these days come from Al Qaeda affiliates in Yemen and perhaps Somalia, U.S. officials have said, and no one is contemplating sending large numbers of American troops to those countries.

Instead, the U.S. will pursue a war in the shadows, one relying heavily on missile strikes from unmanned aerial drones, raids by elite special operations troops, and quiet training of local forces to pursue terrorists.

Brennan said the recently announced troop reduction in Afghanistan would have no impact on U.S. counter-terrorism strategy in that country and Pakistan, where, he said, the U.S. has been delivering “precise and overwhelming force” against militants.

In the peculiar dance that marks the administration’s discussions of this issue, Brennan did not explicitly mention the vast expansion of drone strikes the U.S. has undertaken in Pakistan since January 2009— 213 of them, according to the New America Foundation, which counts them through media reports. That is because the program technically is secret, even though it is widely discussed and openly acknowledged by U.S. and Pakistani officials in private.

Later, when asked whether a policy of targeted killing was appropriate for the United States, Brennan responded that the U.S. is “exceptionally precise and surgical in terms of addressing the terrorist threat. And by that I mean, if there are terrorists who are within an area where there are women and children or others, you know, we do not take such action that might put those innocent men, women and children in danger.”

He added that in the last year, “there hasn’t been a single collateral death because of the exceptional proficiency, precision of the capabilities that we’ve been able to develop.”

Brennan presumably was referring to covert strikes by the CIA and the Joint Special Operations Command, because in April, two American servicemen were killed by a Hellfire missile fired from a military drone after apparently being mistaken for insurgents moving to attack another group of Marines in southern Afghanistan.

Brennan’s willingness to boast about the precision of the drone strikes without actually acknowledging them underscores one of the implications of the Obama counter-terrorism strategy: It will be conducted largely in secret, without public accountability. When the military makes a mistake in a drone strike, as it has done in Afghanistan, there is an investigation and some transparency.

But when it comes to targeted killing by the CIA or clandestine special operations units, government officials are able to avoid public scrutiny, citing the need for secrecy. They are willing to make claims about limited civilian casualties, but are not willing to document those claims by, for example, releasing the video taken of each strike.

While members of Congress briefed on the drone program, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), back the administration’s claims that civilian casualties are minimal, other experts, including Bruce Riedel, a former CIA officer and Obama advisor, question how officials can be so sure.

Asked about this, the White House declined to comment.

Muslim terrorists recruited by the CIA

I used to be in charge of the Visa Section at the CIA’s consulate at Jeddah, the principle city of the Hejahs in Western Saudi Arabia. There, for a year and a half, I issued visas to terrorists recruited by the CIA and its asset, Osama Bin Laden. At the time I thought it was basically visa fraud. Somebody was paying $2500 bribes to State Department officials. I was ordered by these same high State Department officials to issue the visas, to shut up, to do my job and ask no questions. http://www.unansweredquestions.org/transcript.shtml

Written Transcript
9-11 and the Public Safety :
Seeking Answers and Accountability

Meeting held in Washington, D.C. on June 10, 2002 at the National Press Club

Michael Springmann:
..
I used to be in charge of the Visa Section at the CIA’s consulate at Jeddah, the principle city of the Hejahs in Western Saudi Arabia. There, for a year and a half, I issued visas to terrorists recruited by the CIA and its asset, Osama Bin Laden. At the time I thought it was basically visa fraud. Somebody was paying $2500 bribes to State Department officials. I was ordered by these same high State Department officials to issue the visas, to shut up, to do my job and ask no questions.

And this wasn’t simply a difference of opinion as was alleged later on. It wasn’t one of these things where they wanted to visit their father in America and there was a question of where they worked, that sort of thing. It was basically two Pakistanis came to me one day and said, “We want to go to a trade show in America.” And I asked, “What’s the trade show?” They didn’t know. “What city is it going to be held in?” They didn’t know. And I asked a few more questions and I said, “No. Visa denied. You haven’t proved to me that you’re going to come to the United States, accomplish your business and then return home.” Well a few minutes later I had a phone call from a CIA case officer assigned to the commercial section. “Issue the visas.” I said, “No.” He said, “Well, it’s important they get a visa.” And I said, “No.” And a few minutes later he was over talking to the chief of the consular section, reversed me, issued the visas and these guys took off. And this was typical. I had a Sudanese who was unemployed in Saudi Arabia. He was a refugee from the Sudan and I said, “You don’t get a visa” And he kept coming back and coming back and coming back. And after a bit I started getting calls from a woman I believe was a case officer who was in the political section. “We need this guy.” And I said, “No. He hasn’t proved to me that he’s going to America and he’s going to come back, as the Immigration and Nationality Act says and that the State Department’s Foreign Affairs Manual says.” Well, in short order I got reversed again and he got his visa for national security reasons. And this went on for a year and a half. I had people, not every day perhaps, but every week. And I estimate as many as 100 people got visas through me getting overruled on my analysis of their ability to go to the United states and then return.

And I protested this. I protested to the Counsel for Consular Affairs in Riad. I protested to the Bureau of Consular Affairs in Washington. I protested to the State Department’s Inspector General. I protested to the State Department’s Office of Diplomatic Security. I talked about this to the FBI, to the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility, and I went to a couple of Congressional Committees. And by and large I was told, “Shut up. You don’t know what you’re talking about. This is a difference of opinion. You don’t know what you’re doing. You’re far to junior to question the Counsel General in Jeddah’s interest in doing this.”

And I came back to Washington after a trip to Germany and I was assigned to the Bureau of Intelligence Research in the State Department. And eventually my appointment was cancelled. After this and after I tried mightily for several years to find out what had happened to me, and the Freedom of Information Act requests were being stonewalled on the basis of national security, I ran across a journalist, Joe Trento. And about the same time I ran across two people, one of whom was a government official and the other was a person attached to a local university here in Washington. All three confirmed that what I was protesting was not visa fraud but people being rounded up by the agency and Osama Bin Laden to come to the United Sates for training as terrorists to be sent to fight in the war against the then Soviet Union in Afghanistan. They used roughly a million dollars in liquor sales a year from the consulate in Jeddah to fund this. And you might ask, well, as the Washington Legal Times did, that was then, this is now, fifteen years later. Well, from what I read in the Los Angeles Times, fifteen of the nineteen people who allegedly flew airplanes into buildings in the United States got their visas from the same CIA consulate at Jeddah. And according to a journalist in Florida, Sidney Friedberg, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, they got this through the Visa Express program where you handed in your documents and they packed them off in a bunch of other documents, people traveling to the States for legitimate reason with a legitimate travel agency. Well Sevarino Castillo, the former DEA officer, told me this was common practice for the CIA in Central America. They put their guys in, hoping that the paperwork would be overlooked, that they wouldn’t get too many questions asked. And when I raised this with the Los Angeles Times, with the New York Times, with the Washington Post, with 60 Minutes, nobody wanted to talk about it.

 

The case of Muhammad Haidar Zammar



 

The case of Muhammad Haidar Zammar1

By Elias Davidsson (January 2014)

How German leaders conspired with the U.S. and Syria in covering-up a secret operation

1. Who is Zammar?

Muhammad Haidar Zammar (also written Mohammad or Mohammed Haydar) was born in Aleppo, Syria in 1961. He moved to Germany with his family when he was ten years old and became a German citizen in 1982. According to intelligence services, he participated in the war against the occupation of Afghanistan by Soviet forces and in the civil war in ex-Yugoslavia, on the Bosnian side. According to these sources, Zammar decided in 1991 to dedicate himself fully to “jihad”, whatever that means.

2. Why is Zammar’s case relevant for understanding the conduct of Mohammed El Amir Atta?

The reason for examining thoroughly the case of Zammar, is that he reportedly claimed to have recruited Mohamed Atta, Marwan Alshehhi and Ziad Jarrah, three of the alleged suicide-pilots of 9/11,into the Al Qaeda network and induced them go to Afghanistan for military training.1While Zammar’s claims have not been confirmed independently, U.S. and German authorities have not denied these claims. According to unnamed U.S. investigators, Zammar is indeed believed to have recruited Mohamed Atta and his Hamburg group to become “suicide attackers”.2

Should that have been the case, the question would arise whether he acted on his own or as an operative for “higher-ups”. In the latter case, discovering the identity of these “higher-ups” would help explain the role played by Mohamed El Amir Atta and his friends, in relation to 9/11.

The present study demonstrates that Zammar was no marginal figure in relation to the group around Mohamed Atta; that the German government was aware of his key role long before 9/11; that it facilitated his departure from Germany after 9/11; and that it remains determined to hide the true function of Zammar.

3. Zammar was monitored by German intelligence long before 9/11

According to the German weekly Der Spiegel, unnamed officials said that Zammar, who obtained a German passport in 1982, had been already known to Germany’s Federal Office of the Protection of the Constitution (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz, or BfV) since the end of the 1980s as a militant Muslim and recruiter for “jihad”.3 According to diverse mainstream sources, German and U.S. intelligence services had Zammar under extensive observation at least since 19984, probably earlier.5They reportedly interceptedhis phone calls6, monitored his meetings7 and surveilled his movements.8 Information about the surveillance of Zammar “from the files of various German police and intelligence agencies”, was provided to the New York Times “by someone with official access to the files of the continuing investigation into the events leading to the Sept. 11 attacks.”9 German officials did not dispute the authenticity of these documents.

According to the German weekly Der Spiegel,10 the newspaper Stuttgarter Nachrichten11 and a later Spiegel article12, Turkish authorities informed their German colleagues already in 1996 that Zammar had flown more than 40 times through Istanbul and Ankara on the way to, or back from war zones. This fact was withheld from the Commission of Inquiry of the Bundestag (COI) and was not mentioned in the commission’s final report.Yet, such extensive travel by an unemployed person who depended on welfare payments, should have raised immediate alarms.

A German investigator, EKHK Kröschel, was asked by the Commission of Inquiry what was known to German intelligence about Zammar before 9/11. As part of his answer, he read from a dossier on Zammar from the Hamburg Office for the Protection of the Constitution (LfV), that predates 9/11:

“On the base of numerous information, Zammar is known to the Hamburg Office of the Protection of the Constitution as a follower of Osama bin Laden and is considered as belonging to the network of ‘Arab Afghans’. According to his own wish, Zammar underwent already in 1991 military training as a Mujahedeen in the use of infantry weapons and explosives in Pakistan and participated thereafter in combat in Afghanistan. He had presumably personal contact to Osama bin Laden, whom he admires.”

According to an unnamed investigator quoted by Der Spiegel, Zammar acted as a kind of “travel agency to Afghanistan.”Long before 9/11, it was suspected by German intelligence that Zammar organized military training for wanabee German “jihadists” in Bin Laden’s camps. According to Azam Irschid, deputy director of the Al-Muhadjirin mosque in Hamburg, Zammar was known within the Islamic community in Hamburg as a full-fledged apostle of “jihad”.13

According to Der Spiegel, the BfV tried to recruit Zammar in 1996 as an informant, an offer he supposedly declined: He was said not to serve Westerners, “only Allah and the jihad.”14He reportedly claimed to have been militarily trained in a “mujahedeen” camp already in 1991 and had got to know Bin Laden personally. Zammar, however, supposedly said that Al Qaeda considered him of little value.15 His statements cannot be independently verified. No open-source evidence exists regarding the period of surveillance, its extent, purpose and nature. There is, however, no plausible reason why mainstream media would fabricate evidence of Zammar’s surveillance by intelligence agencies, nor why such agencies would wish to promote Zammar’s bluster. In fact, when reports appeared about pre-9/11 surveillance of the Hamburg group in general and that of Zammar in particular, Germany’s intelligence agencies tried to downplay the significance of its surveillance. Yet, according to the German weekly STERN, German investigators informed the CIA about their surveillance of Zammar, suggesting thereby that they considered his activities sufficiently significant to report them to their U.S. colleagues.16

The name of Haydar Zammar did never appear in German media prior to 9/11. Public evidence of his existence appeared in German media only after he left Germany with the knowledge of the German authorities in the end of October 2001.

4.  What was the purpose of monitoring Zammar?

There is no public evidence that Zammar was questioned by German criminal investigators prior to 9/11. Had he been considered as a security threat – as later claimed by German authorities – they would have possessed at least five good reasons to invite him for questioning prior to 9/11: (1)Three Yemeni men, suspected of being members of Islamic Jihad, were arrested in Torino, Italy, on October 2, 1998, alleged to have prepared attacks on U.S. facilities in Europe. On their address list, Italian authorities found contacts of Mohamed Haydar Zammar;17 (2) The arrest of Al Qaeda suspect Mamduh Mahmud Salim in Munich in the fall of 1998, equally led to Zammar;18 (3) Zammar’s modest financial means (he was on welfare) were not commensurate with his extensive international travel of which intelligence agencies were aware; (4) After he was detained in Jordan in July 2001 and expelled from there to Germany, there existed ample grounds to debrief him;19 (5) other known “suspected extremists” or “Al Qaeda sympathizers” among Hamburg’s Muslims, monitored from as early as 1996,20 included the group around Mohamed Atta and were in permanent contact with Zammar.21If such questioning or debriefing did not take place, German intelligence and investigative authorities owe the public an explanation. Was it the result of gross negligence, or were they ordered to leave him alone? If such questioning or debriefing had taken place before 9/11, the question would arise why this fact is being suppressed and what did these interrogations reveal.

After mainstream media revealed the extensive surveillance of Zammar by German intelligence agencies prior to 9/11, German officials did not issue a denial but rather tried to downplay the significance and the extent of the surveillance. They claimed that Zammar was then not considered as an “extremist”; that “what we did not see, were concrete signs for such a violent act as occurred in New York”;22 that the surveillance had been a “routine operation,”23that intercepted phone calls did not allow to determine the identities of the later “9/11 terrorists” because callers used only first names;24 that at the time, German officials were not overly concerned of a threat emanating from Osama bin Laden25; and that nothing Zammar did was illegal at the time. As a “final proof” of Zammar’s benign intentions, Spiegel’s journalists presented the fact that he did not attempt to flee from Germany after 9/11.26

The above explanations revealed themselves later as contrived: According to Der Spiegel 45/2002, Zammar admitted in interrogations conducted in Syria, that he planned in 1998, together with several other “Islamists”, to carry out a bombing attack in Hamburg, Germany. He and his colleaguesreportedly surveilled the target to be bombed but ultimately found the attacks too risky to carry out because of security considerations. If he actually made this admission, it is surprising that nothing of these plans had transpired in the massive surveillance to which he was subjected. If his statement was the result of torture, the question arises why it was presented by Der Spiegel as a genuine admission.

5. Why was Zammar detained in Jordan in July 2001?

The German authorities reportedly knew that Zammar had been detained in July 2001 in Jordan for several days and expelled to Germany.27 He most probably was debriefed by German officials upon his return to Germany. It is, therefore, surprising that the German authorities did never mention such debriefing (or explained the lack thereof).The reasons for his detention in Jordan have never been clarified. Surprisingly, the 1460-page report by the Commission of Inquiry of the Bundestag (COI), does neither mention Zammar’s detention in Jordan nor his alleged admission to have planned a terrorist attack in Hamburg.

6. Zammar was interrogated after 9/11 in Germany and released immediately

The German authorities interrogated Zammar already six days after 9/1128. He reportedly admitted to a German judge that he had previously distributed Osama bin Laden’s “Declaration of War against the Americans” to Muslims in Germany.29 It was not clear why he was presented to a judge. According to Der Spiegel journalist Holger Stark, this was no mere interrogation but actually a “trial”, which was “not open to the public”.30 At the time he made the aforementioned admission, Osama bin Laden was already widely considered as the instigator of the 9/11 attacks. German officials knew after 9/11 that Zammar had in the past entertained “intensive contacts” with the alleged perpetrators of 9/11, i.e. to Atta, Alshehhi and Jarrah, as well as to the fugitive Ramzi Binalshibh.31 The authorities also knew that Zammar travelled extensively but had not the financial means to pay for his travel himself. The fact that Zammar was interrogated shortly after 9/11 was not reported at the time in German media. Yet, Der Spiegel was apparently informed of Zammar’s interrogation, for it interviewed Zammar four days later.32 But Der Spiegel mentioned its interview only in 2002. In its extensive report regarding the Hamburg group published on October 15, 2001, Der Spiegel did not mention Zammar at all.33 The contents of Der Spiegel’s interview with Zammar were never published.

It took four weeks after Zammar’s interrogation for Germany’s Attorney General’s Office to initiate a criminal investigation of Zammar as a suspected supporter of a terrorist organisation. The evidence prompting this criminal investigation included – in addition to what the authorities knew before 9/11 –incomplete and untrue statements made by Zammar to the judge on September 17, particularly about his contacts withthe alleged perpetrators of 9/11.34 It was revealed in 2007 that the investigation of Zammar, initiated in 2001, had not yet been closed.35

It was revealed in the report of the Commission of Inquiry of the Bundestag, that merely hours after the 9/11 attacks, the decision was adopted by the German Federal Criminal Police (BKA) to establish a special unit, entitled “Besondere Aufbauorganisation USA” (BAO USA) – a peculiar name given to that unit – whose role was to “take the appropriate measures regarding the investigations by the Office of the Attorney General in relation to the attacks of 9/11 and to ensure national and international obligations of informational cooperation.”36The unit employed at times more than 600 people37, and hosted at one time fifteen FBI agents.38 The then director of the Office of the Chancellor, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, told to the Commission of Inquiry: “It was and remains for me entirely self-evident that we cooperate – within our law – with the USA.The USA together with our European partners are and remain allies, also and particularly in the struggle against international terrorism.”39

Manfred Klink, who headed in 2001 the BAO-USA task force, informed the Commission of Inquiry, that Zammar was considered at the time “a very dangerous islamist fundamentalist, who could be expected at any time to participate in plotting new terrorist attacks.”40 Due to the alleged dangerousness of Zammar, the Office of the Attorney General also instituted after 9/11 a covert and systematic observation of Zammar. On the base of this observation, German officials learned that Zammar had booked a flight to Morocco.The Attorney General kept Germany’s Chancellor’s Office informed about both the investigation and the surveillance.41 Germany’s leaders manifestly considered Zammar as a key player in a murky operation.

Yet, officials explained later that the evidence on Zammar they possessed was not sufficient for detaining him as a suspect.Transcripts of his interrogations by German officials have not been released to the public, though The New York Times somehow obtained a copy of one such transcript from which it selectively quoted certain phrases.42

7. Officials allowed Zammar to leave Germany while he was under investigation

Germany’s Office of the Attorney General (OAG) was aware early on, that Zammar, while being investigated in relation to 9/11,planned to travel abroad, allegedly for personal reasons.On the base of surveillance, the OAG knew that Zammar inquired on October 17, 2001 about travel plans at the Hamburg airport.The OAG was also aware that on October 18, Zammar – claiming that he had lost his passport43 – attempted to obtain a temporary replacement passport, booked on October 24 a return flight from Hamburg to Casablanca and applied and obtained on that same day a temporary passport. The chief of the Customer Service Center at Hamburg North, Ms. Wolter, whose competence includes the issuance of passports, testified before the Commission of Inquiry that immediately after Zammar left the Center, a police officer came and told her that Zammar was under police observation. The officer wanted to know what Zammar was doing there.44

The authorities admit that they did not attempt to impede or at least delay Zammar’s travel, although he was under criminal investigation in relation to the mass-murder of 9/11. The German Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) was actually advised by the OAG that in the case of Zammar’s departure from Germany, he should not be arrested,45 suggesting thereby the need to override an existing injunction to ban Zammar’s departure from Germany.

According to Kay Nehm, who served in 2001 as Germany’s Attorney General, he claimed before the Commission of Inquiry, that the authorities possessed in 2001 no legal means to prevent Zammar’s departure from the country.46 His claim was endorsed by the former head of the German “FBI” (BKA), Dr. Ulrich Kersten.47 This claim was, however, rejected as ludicrous by members of the opposition.48 Mounir el-Motassadeq, for example, who in the fall of 2001 was also designated by German authorities as a suspect by virtue of his friendship with Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi, was actually arrested and detained in order to prevent him from leaving Germany. Yet, in his case, no evidence existed at the time – or at any time later – of any connections between him and Osama bin Laden or Al Qaeda. The differential treatment of Mounir el Motassadeq and Zammar suggests that German authorities were not truthful about their alleged inability to prevent or delay Zammar’s departure from Germany.

The President of the BfV (Germany’s domestic intelligence service), Heinz Fromm, asked by members of the Commission of Inquiry why the authorities let Zammar, a “dangerous suspect”, leave Germany, gave the curious answer that “when he is not here, he cannot do much damage.”49 It was not reported whether the Commission’s members sniggered.

According to the German newspaper Welt Online, Zammar left Germany for Morocco on October 27, 2001. His car was reportedly found abandoned in a [Hamburg] street.50

Dr. Hansjörg Geiger, who at the time served as the Chief of the Ministry of Justice, told the Commission of Inquiry that Kay Nehm informed him on October 25, 2001 of the impending departure of Zammar from Germany scheduled two days later.51 In parallel, the coordinator of the German BND (Federal intelligence service),, Ernst Uhrlau, informed the Office of the Chancellor on October 22 or 23 about Zammar’s plans to leave Germany.52 A discussion about Zammar’s impending departure from Germany took place on October 26, 2001 at the Office of the Chancellor.53 Such high level interest in the movements of Zammar and the reluctance to arrest him, suggests that he was as a key government asset.

Another person connected to the group surrounding Mohamed Atta, who was also under surveillance by German intelligence, was Sa’eed Bahaji. He also left Germany while under observation. An unidenfied official of the BfV, using the pseudonym Jürgen Lindweiler, testified in Mounir el Motassadeq’s trial in 2003, that border control officials had to notify the BfV, should Bahaji leave Germany. He was not to be arrested but his departure date had to be immediately notified to the BfV. Yet, when Bahaji left Germany, the system surprisingly failed because the BfV was not notified about his departure.54 Was Bahaji’s departure from Germany also facilitated by the authorities?

8. German officials informed Dutch, Moroccan and U.S. intelligence services in advance about Zammar’s travels

The German authorities informed on October 26, 2001, Dutch55, Moroccan56 and U.S. authorities57 about Zammar’s travel plans, flight numbers, etc., and requested that they check whether he actually carried out his flights.58 The Moroccan authorities were reportedly informed by their German counterparts that Zammar was under criminal investigation in Germany for allegedly supporting a terrorist organisation and that he was known to have had contact with the fugitives Bahaji, Binalshibh and Essebar, accused to have been indirectly involved in the mass-murder of 9/11.59 Mr. Kröschel, who testified before the Commission of Inquiry, claimed that the main reason for informing the Moroccan authorities of Zammar’s travel was to warn the Moroccans: “Beware, here comes someone who is suspected here to have had strong contacts with the perpetrators of 9/11! He is suspected and accused here to be a supporter. Beware!”60 On November 26, 2001, German officials transmitted to the FBI information about Zammar’s family circumstances, in addition to travel details.61 It is not known what was the purpose of providing such information to the FBI.

German officials claim that they could not have envisaged at the time that, should Zammar leave Germany, he might be abducted by U.S. officials and “rendered” to a third country.62 Yet, according to a report by the Special Expert of the European Council on U.S. renditions, Dick Marty, U.S. allies were informed at a secret meeting held at the fringe of the NATO Council, as early as on October 2, 2001, about the U.S.rendition practice.63 The European chief of the CIA, Tyler Drumheller, corroborated in an interview with the German weekly STERN of March 11, 2008, that European governments and intelligence services were aware of the renditions’ practice already in the fall of 2001.64 He emphasized that he knows both Ernst Uhrlau, the then President of the BND and Dr. Steinmeier, personally, whom he said he met in the Chancellor’s Office in the fall of 2001. According to him the Germans expressed their displeasure at the time about unilateral U.S. “renditions” of terrorists from European soil, carried out without the permission of the respective governments. The CIA had then, according to Drumheller, “promised to involve our allies in the operations.” German officials, including Uhrlau and Steinmeier, emphatically rejected Drumheller’s allegations. Uhrlau said he “does not remember” having met Drumheller in the fall of 2001 but remembers having met him in Russia during a conference in 2002.65 However, he denied to have discussed renditions with him. Dr. Steinmeier, for his part, denied to have ever known, let alone met, Mr. Drumheller.66 Due to the status of Tyler Drumheller,as the chief of CIA in Europe,it is difficult to take these denials at face value.

9. Zammar disappears

Zammar was supposed to return from Morocco to Germany on December 8th, 2001. However, he did not show up to his flight. He later, when he was in Syrian detention, told a German consular official that he had been arrested in Morocco on December 8th, 2001, held there for 23 days and moved to Syria in the beginning of 2002.67

On December 13, 2001, an official of the BKA, Mr. Calame, learned that Zammar had been arrested by the Moroccan authorities.68 Yet, upon requests for information, the Moroccan authorities lied repeatedly to their German counterparts about Zammar’s fate: First, they denied that Zammar entered Morocco on October 27, 2001.69 Then they told the Germans that Zammar had left Morocco on August 15, 2001, i.e.long before his current entry into Morocco (there was no evidence that Zammar had at all traveled to Morocco in August 2001).70 Zammar was then said to have left Morocco through Agadir airport.71 Another time, that he left for Spain.72 A third time that he was expelled to Spain.73 A fourth time that he left for an “unknown destination.”74 Although aware of Morocco’s lies regarding Zammar, German officials refrained from asking their Moroccan counterparts about the circumstances of Zammar’s arrest.75 German leaders – previously anxious to be informed about the movements of that particular individual – allegedly refrained to inquire about Zammar’s fate.76 On June 5, 2002 – five months after his “rendition” – the Moroccan authorities informed the BKA that Zammar was expelled to Spain on December 27, 2001 and was now in Syria.77

According to a Spiegel report of January 8, 2007, based on a memorandum from the German embassy in Washington, D.C., representatives of the State Department told German embassy officials that Germany “should not undertake steps against Morocco regarding Zammar because Morocco had acted expressly at the request of the United States.“78 Asked whether to his opinion Germany had been lied to by ”friendly partners”, Mr. Uhrlau admitted that this had been the case.79 He added that one cannot always expect from partners truthful answers to questions.80 Indeed, “friendly partners” are not necessarily true friends.

At this point, it might be useful to recall that Zammar was a German citizen who was at the time under investigation in Germany as a extremist Muslim with an Al Qaeda background, and a friend of the alleged perpetrators of 9/11.The officially displayed disinterest in seeking information about the fate of Zammar was therefore most likely contrived.

At no time then or thereafter, did German officials criticize Morocco for the arrest and the kidnapping of Zammar.Not in the least offended by Moroccan lies, a delegation of the BKA that comprised the vice-president of the agency, Bernard Falk, visited Morocco between April 8 and 12, 2002 in order to strengthen the cooperation between the BKA and the respective Moroccan agency.81 Between May 14 and 17, 2002, a delegation of the Moroccan DGST (the Moroccan secret services), visited the headquarters of the BKA in Meckenheim (Germany), to further develop intelligence cooperation.82 These meetings did not – according to testimonies before the Commission of Inquiry – yield information about the fate of Zammar.83 Officials of the DGST claimed they had no idea of hisfate.

10. Zammar was “rendered” by the CIA to Syria

In June 2002, it was reported for the first time that Zammar had been “rendered” by the CIA from Morocco to Syria after being detained by the Moroccan authorities. The exact circumstances of his transfer to Syria were not revealed. The Commission of Inquiry of the Bundestag concluded in their final report that, in spite of questioning hundreds of witnesses, including high officials, it could not determine when and where Zammar was arrested and when and how he was transferred to Syria.84 Were German officials unable to obtain this information from Morocco and the U.S. or did they suppress their knowledge while testifying before a parliamentary commission?

Yet, three months earlier, in March 2002, a delegation of the BND visited Syria and was given a five-page “study” on Zammar. The “study” was not released to the Commission of Inquiry because its release would – so the German government – endanger Germany’s the state’s welfare (Staatswohl).85 One may be justified in asking what prompted the BND to travel to Syria in March 2002, and what prompted the Syrian government to hand such a “study” to the BND. According to a BKA memorandum of June 20, 2002, cited in the Commission’s report, the Zammar “study” contains “detailed information to his personal surroundings, in relation to his presence in Hamburg and his contacts there. The study also designates Zammar as a recruiter of the 9/11 perpetrators and their supporters who lived in Hamburg.”86 No further details of the “study” are included in the Commission’s report. German officials, interviewed by the Commission, purported not to know who compiled the Zammar” study” and on which basis it was compiled.

Another delegation, headed by the President of the BND, visited Syria on May 16/17, 2002 to further develop intelligence cooperation.87 This was followed by a week-long visit in Germany between July 6 to July 13, 2002, by a Syrian delegation headed by General Asef Shaukat, vice-chairman of Syria’s military intelligence service, who is apparently also the brother-in-law of Syria’s president.88 At this meeting, the German side did not request to obtain access to Zammar. Those who participated in the meeting said that the case of Zammar was not discussed.89

Shortly thereafter, a delegation headed by Dr. Kersten, president of the BKA, visited Damascus between July 29 to 31, 2002. The declared purpose of the visit was to ameliorate the cooperation between the countries in the fight against illegal migration and the struggle against “islamist terrorism”.90 The case Zammar was only mentioned as an aside.Cooperation between Germany and Syria in police and security matters began decades ago and continued at least until the year 2012:Syrian refugees in Germany, including teenagers, were routinely deported to Syria, in the knowledge that they might be arrested and tortured in their home country.91 According to a CIA official, cited by Dick Marty, “when one wishes to have prisoner seriously interrogated, one sends him to Jordan. When one wants him to be tortured, one sends him to Syria.When one wishes him to disappear from this earth, one sends him to Egypt.”92 The German BND, incidentally, cooperates also with the Egyptian secret services.

Another delegation from Germany, composed of representatives from the BND, the BfV and the BKA, visited Syria weeks later, in order to continue its discussions on intelligence cooperation between the countries.93Not much is known about the real purpose of that particular visit.Asked whether the German delegation requested from the Syrian side that Zammar be allowed to be questioned in Germany, Fromm told the Commission of Inquiry that he does not remember whether this was mentioned. He said: “I guess that this issue was not pursued, perhaps the idea did not even occur [to us], because it appeared unrealistic at this juncture to make this demand.”94

According to media reports that appeared in 2002, possibly based on the Zammar “study”, Zammar claimed to have recruited Mohamed Atta and other members of the “Hamburg group” as volunteers for training in Osama bin Laden’s camps in Afghanistan.95 On that ground alone, Germany’s judicial authorities should have possessed a vital interest in having him testify before a German court. Their aversion to such a deposition indicates that, on the contrary, their vital interest(and that of the German leadership) resided in keeping Zammar beyond the reach of German courts and media.

Indeed, after learning that Zammar was detained in Syria, German authorities undertook no efforts to have this German citizen returned to Germany, even in the knowledge that he might be tortured and could be sentenced to death.

At the time, Germany held in custody two Syrian nationals, who were arrested in December 200196 and accused of spying on Syrian nationals living in Germany.97 Under pressure from Syria, the German government waived criminal charges against these two Syrian intelligence agents and accepted to upgrade its intelligence cooperation with Syria. German officials emphatically denied that their decision to free these agents had anything to do with Syria’s cooperation regarding Zammar (whatever the nature of this cooperation!)98, Germany Ministry of Justice advised on July 22, 2002, that lifting the charges against the Syrians agents was related to the “geopolitical situation concerning the war on terrorism”, whatever that meant.99 The former Director of the Ministry of Justice, Dr. Geiger, testified before the Commission of Inquiry that the decision not to press the charges against the Syrian agents was based on an “overriding public interest”, whatever that meant.100 He said that the Zammar case did not play any role in lifting the charges. The sole reason for doing so were “the security considerations of the German Federal Republic”, whatever that meant.101

11. Germany acquiesces to Zammar’s incarceration and torture in Syria

German authorities knew that political detainees in Syria are routinely tortured but did not ask the Syrian authorities to spare Zammar from torture. They accepted to interview Zammar in the knowledge that he may have been tortured. Before they met to interview Zammar in November 2002, they Syrian authorities had for three days “prepared Zammar for questioning to make him sufficiently cooperative.”102 as formulated in the report of the Commission of Inquiry. German officials were allowed to meet him on November 21, 22 and 23, 2002 for a total of 13 hours and 20 minutes in the presence of a Syrian official.103 The report by the Commission does not explain what was the nature of Zammar’s three-day “preparation” and apparently no Commission member was curious to know. German officials interviewed by the Commission conceded that torture is practiced routinely in Syria, but argued that Germany must also cooperate, including on intelligence and police matters, with countries that practice torture.104 According to Dr. Hanning, the only possibility to interrogate Zammar was that provided by the Syrians on Syrian soil:“Zammar was deemed one of the main threats in the Hamburg environment and we possessed therefore an overriding interest, from a security perspective, to access Zammar and question him.” German officials did not provide details about the content of their questioning of Zammar; in their testimony to the Commission of Inquiry the mainly described Zammar’s outward appearance, demeanor and willingness to talk, and the logistics surrounding the interrogations.105

According to Amnesty International, Zammar was described in October 2004 in a “skeletal” physical condition as a result of “three years’ incommunicado detention in Far’ Falastin without charge, in prolonged, solitary confinement in cruel, inhuman and degrading conditions.”106 In 2006, the Syrian Higher State Security Court sentenced Zammar to life imprisonment, commuted to 12 years, accused of being a member of the banned Muslim Brotherhood.107 Apparently the Syrian prosecutors used information provided by German services, including evidence of Zammar’s stints in training camps in Afghanistan and Bosnia, to convict Zammar.108 According to German officials, they did not attend Zammar’s trial. According to a report by Amnesty International from 2005, Zammar has not been seen by any outsider, including family members and representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross, after German officials saw him last in November 2002.109

12.German court is denied protocols of Zammar’s interrogations

The BND sent to the Syrian secret service on July 20, 2002, a catalogue of questions to submit to Zammar and repeatedly received results from interrogations carried out by Syrian officials.110

On January 29, 2003, counsel for Mounir el Motassadeq, who was standing trial in Hamburg, requested that (1) Zammar be allowed to testify as witness for the defense and that (2) the protocols of the interrogations of Zammar as well as the answers to the catalogue of questions submitted to the Syrian interrogators, be entered as exhibits to the trial.111 Counsel argued that Zammar’s testimonies might exculpate their client.

On February 3, 2003, the Office of the German Chancellor sent to the Attorney General, the Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Justice and the BND, a declaration in which it justifies its endorsement of BND’s refusal to release to the court evidence and documents relative to Zammar.112 The main justification for the refusal was that it would cause “disadvantage to the welfare of the Federal Republic of Germany”, whatever that means. According to the Chancellor’s Office, the BND is entitled to withhold from the court information about the whereabouts of Zammar, as well as the contents and the source of documents about him. On the same day, the Ministry of Interior issued a similar paper.113

One day later, on February 4, 2003, the Hamburg court– having presumably been informed of the above documents –issued two Decisions. In its first Decision,114 it rejected the request by defense counsel for the protocols of Zammar’s interrogations that took place in Morocco.The court claimed that such protocols do not exist.

In its second Decision,115 the court rejected the request by defense counsel to produce Zammar as a witness and to produce the protocols of Zammar’s interrogations in Germany and Syria. The court claimed that Zammar’s testimony is not necessary for establishing the truth in the case before trial. The court also argued that it is unlikely that Syria would permit Zammar to testify, even if this were done through a simultaneous video transmission. The court based its conclusion on the decisions by Germany’s Office of the Chancellor and by the Ministry of Interior of January 30, 2003 and February 3, 2003 to refuse access to documents concerning the interrogations of Zammar in Syria.The court added that, on the base of Zammar’s interrogation of September 17, 2001 in Germany, it appears unlikely that Zammar, even if he were allowed to testify, would provide new information relevant to the present trial, for in theinterrogation of September 17, 2001, Zammar refused to answer questions regarding Mohamed Atta, Marwan Alshehhi and Ziad Jarrah, three of the alleged suicide-pilots of 9/11. In that interrogation – according to the court’s Decision – Zammar claimed that he did not know Binalshibh and Essabar.Should he have lied about these facts in October 2001 – so the court – he would certainly refuse to contradict his former statements and thus incriminate himself in perjury.It was therefore unlikely, so the court, that Zammar would make any statements that might exculpate the accused. The court thus reasoned, that his appearance before the court would be superfluous!

On appeal by defense counsel to the Federal Administrative Court (FAC), the FAC upheld on February 10, 2003116 the lower court’s refusal to ask for the appearance of Zammar and for the release of the protocols of his interrogations, arguing that the German authorities had pledged to the Syrian services strict confidentiality. The FAC uncritically espoused the government’s position that releasing such information to the court would “significantly harm the “welfare of the Federal Republic of Germany”, whatever that means.117 The FAC argued that if the confidentiality promise were breached, Germany would be excluded from further information exchange between intelligence services in the so-called war on terrorism and particularly from cooperation with Syria.118 The FAC did not explain in its ruling how the release of protocols of Zammar’s interrogation, in so far as they relate to the particular court case, could harm the welfare of the nation.The decision by the FAC did not, incidentally, spell out the limits beyond which it would be unlawful or even treasonous for German government officials to promise foreign governments total confidentiality and thereby undermine their democratic accountability to their own citizens.

13. Zammar and Germany’s alleged national interest

A central argument proffered by the German government in support of its suppression of information obtained from Zammar, was that it pledged to the Syrian government not to reveal this information. To violate this pledge would endanger intelligence cooperation with Syria and more generally the credibility of German intelligence agencies. Syria, said Dr. Steinmeier, “belonged at the time to the allies of the West in the war on terror” and was no longer a “rogue state” because it condemned the 9/11 attacks and announced its readiness to participate in the “war against terrorism”. “We needed Syria’s active cooperation,“ said Steinmeier, “because the perpetrators of 9/11 maintained contacts to members of the Syrian Muslim brothers” and “we needed Syria as a constructive partner to prevent an explosion of the Middle East conflict after 9/11.”119The former president of the BND, Dr. Hanning, also emphasized to the Commission of Inquiry the importance of intelligence cooperation with Syria in the war on terror. Syria played a very important role in this matter, he said.120 He did not specify the nature of that “very important role.”

More generally, the German administration, through its various departments, argued that intelligence cooperation with other countries would suffer grave damage, if information transmitted confidentially by foreign services to German intelligence agencies, would be provided to “third parties”, including judicial authorities.

The Commission of Inquiry repeatedly requested, through the Syrian Embassy in Germany, to be allowed to interview Zammar. The Embassy reportedly did not answer a single request. Was this refusal solely based on Syrian domestic considerations or did the governments of the United States and Germany ask Syria to ignore these requests”The fact that the United States kidnapped Zammar and forcefully transferred him to Syria and that German authorities did not press for his return to Germany, suggests, however, a collusion between the three governments.

14. Why do German authorities want Zammar outside the reach of German courts?

As shown above, every move by the German authorities in relation to Zammar demonstrates the existence of a policy, adopted at the highest echelons of German politics, to remove Zammar from the reach of German courts and media. The interest shown by the highest echelons of German politics to the case of Zammar indicates that he was certainly not a “marginal figure” from their perspective.

If Zammar was no “marginal figure”, what was his role? He either was an Al Qaeda operative believed by the German authorities to be highly dangerous, or an asset of German and/or American intelligence services, whose role was to induce Muslims to become “jihadists” and spend some time in an alleged Al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan or Pakistan. After their return home, they would become ideal targets for a media-savvy “war on terrorism.”

Had Zammar been regarded by the German authorities as a highly dangerous Al Qaeda operative, the question would arise why they did not interrogate or detain him before 9/11 and why they let him leave Germany after 9/11, although they had known virtually everything about him for years, including his alleged radical views, his contacts with suspected terrorists, his trips to Afghanistan and his lack of means to finance his frequent trips. Apologists for the German government, such as journalists of Der Spiegel, argue that before 9/11 “no one was concerned about Al Qaeda” and that those who listened to Zammar’s phone calls before 9/11 did not “connect the dots”. This explanation is tenuous and does not explain why he was not arrested after 9/11, when it transpired that he may have facilitated the travel of the alleged perpetrators of 9/11 to Afghanistan.After the bombings of the U.S. embassies in East Africa in 1998 – the largest terrorist attacks committed anywhere in that year – the U.S. designated Osama bin Laden as the main suspect for these attacks. As a U.S. ally, the German authorities would have certainly been asked to cooperate in the investigation by monitoring and interrogating individuals residing in Germany suspected of connections to Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. Zammar was known at the time as one of the most prominent contacts to Al Qaeda living in Germany. His contacts to other “jihadists”, as mentioned above, provided further reasons for the German authorities to consider him, even before 9/11, a dangerous person, had he been a genuine “jihadist.”

The failure of the German authorities to act on Zammar’s alleged menace, both before and after 9/11, strongly suggests that Zammar played a radically different role from that attributed to him by government officials.

Is it possible, for instance, that Zammar actually accepted the reported proposal of the German BfV in 1996 to act as an informant (see above)”In that case, he would have been an asset in a covert strategy managed by U.S. and German intelligence and abetted by Moroccan and Syrian services. His role would have been to pose as a true “jihadist” and induce young Muslims to go for training to Pakistan or Afghanistan in camps led by Osama bin Laden. In order to understand the rationale for such a policy, we must briefly digress from our subject and point out what strategical benefits the West would gain by such a policy.

Around 1990, the Soviet bloc imploded. For over 40 years, the Warsaw Pact, led by Moscow, served as the main threat to the West, contributed to NATO’s political cohesion and justified a high level of military expenditures by the United States and its allies. The disappearance of that external perceived threat threatened to make NATO redundant and severely affect the revenues of the extremely profitable military-industrial complex. While the majority of ordinary people could then hope to enjoy the “peace dividend”, those dependent upon an external threat for their profit, searched for a new epochal threat that would maintain their revenues. In addition, the United States – now the sole remaining super-power – faced a unique historical opportunity to secure its long-term global hegemony. To do so, however, required the support of the American public and such support depended upon public perception of an external existential threat. It was thus both imperative and urgent for U.S. strategists to find a credible “threat” that would profitably supplant the Red Threat. No single state or group of states could at that time be credibly regarded as fulfilling this role. An alternative was therefore sought. It was found in the guise of an “Islamic global terrorist network” that would be manufactured and nurtured.121 This invention was a genial – and Machiavellian – strike of the mind:As most oil resources in the world lie under the feet of Muslims, the quest to control these resources by military means could be usefully be concealed behind policing efforts to battle “Islamic terrorists” hosted in such countries. Another advantage of this mythical construction was that authorities in Western nations could justify increased “security” measures, such as mass surveillance of telephone and internet communications, by the need to discover potential “Islamic terrorists” among the Muslims living in the particular country.

To successfully implement this strategy, Western intelligence agencies need to maintain an large pool of wannabe terrorists, agents provocateurs, hate preachers and big-mouthed jihadists, whose mainly verbal feats are useful media feed and help to promote the myth of Islamic terrorism. The initial “raw material” for that mythical network – trade-marked Al Qaeda – were the so-called Arab Afghans, who after the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan, found themselves unemployed and looking for new sponsors. Their new sponsors were Western intelligence agencies, acting behind the façade of Saudi and Pakistani handlers, in order to conceal their own hands.122 In order to maintain the supply of such “jihadists”, recruiters ensure a continuous flow of wannabe fighters to training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan, who could later be arrested as terrorist suspects and ensure regular media coverage of the “terrorist threat.”It is beyond the scope of this study to elaborate upon this development. This network – financed and managed by Saudi and Pakistani intelligence services, but ultimately serving a Western strategical concept – is now operating globally in furtherance of imperial design (the most recent example being Syria).

The conduct of German officials strongly suggests that Mohammad Haydar Zammar played a role within this covert strategy.He reportedly said he ensured that Mohamed Atta, Marwan Alshehhi and Ziad Jarrah would go to Afghanistan for training. These three persons were famously accused by the United States authorities to have flown three of the four aircraft that allegedly crashed on 9/11. There is, however, no evidence whatsoever, that they boarded these aircraft.123

For two of them – Atta and Alshehhi – there is no reliable evidence, that they ever went to the United States.124 By inducing them to make a stint in a training camp in Afghanistan, they could later be linked to Al Qaeda. Their presence in Afghanistan was indeed relied upon by the Hamburg Higher Regional Court (Oberlandsgericht) in the case of Mounir el Motassadeq in order to “prove”, as it were, their terrorist inclination.125 Had this been one of Zammar’s roles, it would explain why he had to be removed from German jurisdiction, maintained outside the reach of German courts and media and why the intercepts of his phone calls, surveillance logs and protocols of his interrogations are kept secret.

The present case provides a glimpse into the systematic deception of the tax-paying public carried by German intelligence agencies, the absence of effective parliamentary control of these agencies, the lack of independence of German judicial authorities, and the deplorable deference of German leaders to Washington’s imperial strategy.

NOTES

1. Acronyms used in this chapter:

BAO USA: Besondere Aufbauorganisation USA

BfV: Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz

BKA: Bundeskriminalamt (German Federal Criminal Police Office)

BND:Bundesnachrichtendienst

COI: Commission of Inquiry of the German Parliament (Bundestag) set up to investigate the cooperation of German government bodies with CIA “renditions” of alleged terror suspects

FAC:Bundesverwaltungsgericht (Federal Administrative Court)

OAG:Bundesstaatsanwalt (Germany’s Office of the Attorney General)

1. Klaus Brinkbäumer et al, “Attas Armee”, Der Spiegel, 2 September 2002, p. 9

2. DW, “Plante er den 11. September?”Welt Online, 13 June 2002

3. Andreas Ulrich, “Operation Zartheit”, Spiegel Online, 15. July 2002

4. Desmond Butler, “Germans were tracking Sept. 11 conspirators as early as 1998, documents disclose”, The New York Times, January 18, 2003

5. According to Ulrich – supra n. 3 –, German officials started already in 1997a monitoring operation of Zammar and his contacts, entitled Operation Tenderness (Operation Zartheit). According to Dominik Cziesche, Georg Mascolo and Holger Stark, “Das Puzzle lag auf dem Tisch”, Der Spiegel, 3 February 2003, the German BfV intercepted telephone communications of the group surrounding Mohamed Atta since 1996.According to Peter Finn (“Hamburg’s Cauldron of Terror”, Washington Post, 11 September 2002), Brinkbäumer (supra n. 1) and Ulrich (supra n. 3), German intelligence placed Zammar under surveillance after being tipped by Turkish authorities that he had passed Istanbul and Ankara on his way to various war zones over 40 times. According to Vanity Fair (“The Price of Failure”, November 2004), the BfV was tipped off by Turkish intelligence in 1996 that Zammar had been traveling the globe to trouble spots: more than 40 journeys in all, to such places as Bosnia and Chechnya.

6. Butler, supra n. 4

7. Ibid.

8. Ibid.

9. Ibid.

10. Ulrich, supra n. 3

11. Franz Feyder, “11. September Geheimdienst – Operation Zartheit”, Stuttgarter Nachrichten, 8 September 2011

12. Klaus Brinkbäumer et al, “Atta’s Army”, Der Spiegel Online, 23 November 2006

13. Peter Finn, Hamburg’s Cauldron of Terror, Washington Post, 11 September 2002

14. Dominik Cziesche, Georg Mascolo and Holger Stark, “Das Puzzle lag auf dem Tisch”, Der Spiegel, 3 February 2003; and Feyder, supra n. 11

15. Cziesche et al, supra n. 14

16. Finn, supra n. 13

17. Feyder, supra n. 11

18. “Früher Verdacht”, Der Spiegel, 29 October 2001

19. DW, supra n. 2

20. Cziesche et al, supra n. 14

21. Butler, supra n. 4

22. Comment by Peter Frisch, former head of the German Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV); and Finn, supra n. 13

23. Cziesche et al, supra n. 14

24. Ibid.

25. Ibid.

26. Brinkbäumer, supra n. 1

27. “Atta von Deutsch-Syrer angeworben”, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 13 June 2002; also DW, supra n. 2

28. According to Butler (supra n. 4), “10 days after the attacks” of 9/11.According to DW (supra n. 2) “in the middle of October [2001]”.Ultimately, it was revealed in an address to the German parliamentary commission that Zammar was made to appear before a judge on September 17, 2001, that is six days after 9/11.See infra n. 29, p. 217.

29. Final Report of the Commission of Inquiry of the Bundestag (“Beschlussempfehlung und Bericht des 1. Untersuchungsausschusses nach Artikel 44 des Grundgesetzes”)Berlin, 18 June2009, Document 16/13400, p. 217

30. Private communication to the author of June 8, 2012

31. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 217

32. Dominik Cziesche, Georg Mascolo and Gerhard Spörl, “Die zweite Welle”, Der Spiegel, 24 June 2002

33. Klaus Brinkbäumer et al, Anschläge ohne Auftrag, Der Spiegel, 15 October 2001

34. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 218

35. N/A

36. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 58

37. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 58.In October 2001 that number had already reached 615 (source: Brinkbäumer, supra n. 33)

38. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 222

39. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 59

40. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 218

41. Final Report (…),supra n. 29,p. 218

42. Butler, supra n. 4

43. “Geheimdienste: Ausser Kontrolle”, Stern, 8 Mai 2006

44. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 220

45. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 218

46. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 218-219

47. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 219

48. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 442-3

49. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 866

50. DW, supra n. 2

51. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 219

52. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 866

53. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 221

54. Oliver Schröm and Dirk Laabs, “Unser Mann in der Moschee”, Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, 2 February 2003

55. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 443

56. “Geheimdienste: Ausser Kontrolle”, supra n. 43; and, Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 443

57. The BKA informed a FBI investigator about Zammar’s return date, two weeks in advance (“Geheimdienste: Ausser Kontrolle”, supra n. 43)

58. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 221-222. The U.S. authorities were informed about Zammar’s travel plans on the day on which he booked his flight (p. 925)

59. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p.444

60. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 222

61. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 926

62. Renditions is the term used for the practice by the CIA to abduct alleged terror suspects and transfer them to various secret prisons around the world, or deliver them to certain states in order to be tortured or “eliminated.”This unlawful and criminal practice has called forth widespread outrage.

63. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 445

64. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 445; also Uli Rauss and Oliver Schröm, “Ex-CIA Mann belastet deutsche Kollegen”, Stern, 11 März, 2008

65. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 62

66. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 457

67. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 925

68. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 867

69. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 225

70. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 228

71. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 867

72. Final Report (…),supra n. 29,p. 228; and DW, supra n. 2

73. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 228.In a latter communication from the Moroccan Ministry of Interior, January 22, 2002, Zammar was said to have been “deported” from Morocco, but the destination was not anymore given as Spain.It was unspecified; see also Georg Mascolo and Holger Stark, “Mysteriöse Auskunft”, Der Spiegel, 15 April 2002

74. Mascolo et al, supra n. 731

75. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 868

76. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 867

77. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 232

78. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 932

79. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 229

80. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 232

81. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 231

82. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 231

83. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 231-2

84. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 226

85. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 230

86. Final Report (…),supra n. 295, p. 230

87. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 238

88. “Geheimdienste: Ausser Kontrolle”, supra n. 43

89. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 239

90. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 242

91. Hans Georg, “Deutsch-syrische Kooperation begann schon in den frühen 50er Jahren”, Neue Rheinische Zeitung, 6 April 2011

92. Ibid,footnote 16

93. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 243

94. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 245

95. “Atta von Deutsch-Syrer angeworben”, supra n. 27; also DW, supra n. 2

96. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 239

97. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 446

98. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 238

99. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 240

100. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 240

101. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 241

102. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 931

103. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 250

104. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 245

105. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 250-256

106. Amnesty International: Muhammad Haydar Zammar

107. “Terror suspect Zammar gets twelve years”, Der Spiegel, 12 February 2007

108. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 934

109. Amnesty International: Muhammad Haydar Zammar

110. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 927

111. Antrag des Strafverteidiger von el Motassadeq vom 29. Januar 2003

112. Bundeskanzleramt, Sperrerklärung, 3 Februar 2003

113. Bundesministerium des Inneren, Sperrerklärung, 3 Februar 2003

114. Beschluss des OLG Hamburg, Anlage 96, 4. Februar 2003

115. Beschluss des OLG Hamburg, Anlage 95, 4. Februar 2003

116. Antrage auf Übergabe von Akten des BND and das OLG Hamburg im Motassadeq-Prozess abgelehnt, Pressemitteilung des Bundesverwaltungsgerichts, 10. Februar 2003

117. Ibid.

118. Ibid.

119. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 235

120. Final Report (…),supra n. 29, p. 236

121. No empirical evidence has ever been produced by NATO, the United Nations and Western governments, that international terrorism is a serious threat to any Western nation, let alone to “world peace”. More people did in the Western world from lightning strikes than in terrorist attacks.More people are killed yearly in the U.S. alone than worldwide in terror attacks.In Germany, home to approximately four million Muslims, no German national has ever been killed in Islamic terrorism. Yet, the myth of the terrorist threat is regularly promoted by the authorities and by complying media.

122. See, for example, Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed, “The War on Truth: 9/11, Disinformation and the Anatomy of Terrorism”, Interlink Pub Group (2005)

123. See, in particular, Elias Davidsson, “Hijacking America’s Mind on 9/11”, Algora Publishers (New York, 2013), pp. 29-58

124. Ziad Jarrah, however, credibly pursued flight training in the United States prior to 9/11.

125. Court documents in the case of Mounir El Motassadeq (in German)

 

US is Allied with and Actively Supports Al Qaeda

http://www.globalresearch.ca/us-is-allied-with-and-actively-supports-al-qaeda/5309866

US is Allied with and Actively Supports Al Qaeda

By Prof. James F. Tracy and Kourosh Ziabari
Global Research, October 27, 2012
Iran Review 24 October 2012

American political commentator professor James F. Tracy believes that the United States has been constantly allied with Al-Qaeda and has supported it militarily and financially.

“Major media have recently had to acknowledge that US-NATO interests are aligned with Al Qaeda in Syria, of course overlooking the fact that the US and Sunni States also recruited and armed these soldiers of fortune. What the Obama administration has sought to do with the alleged murder of Bin Laden in May 2011 is to close the chapter on the old, villainous Al Qaeda and open a chapter on the new and friendly Al Qaeda. This narrative is slowly unfolding, while Americans are instructed on a different bogey to fear, which now appears to be homegrown terrorism,” he said in an exclusive interview with Iran Review.

Prof. James F. Tracy is the Associate Professor of Media Studies at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, where he teaches courses on media history and the role of journalism in the public sphere. Tracy’s scholarly work and commentary on media and politics have appeared in numerous academic journals, edited volumes, and alternative media news and opinion outlets. He is editor of Democratic Communiqué, journal of the Union for Democratic Communications, an affiliate of Project Censored, and a regular contributor to GlobalResearch.ca. Tracy’s latest work assessing Western press coverage of US-NATO military ventures and the human costs of war appears in Censored 2013: The Top Censored Stories and Media Analysis of 2011-2013 (Seven Stories Press, 2012).

Prof. Tracy took part in an interview with Iran Review to answer some questions regarding the influence of advocacy organizations on the U.S. government and the mutual relationship between these entities, the further limitation of civil liberties and individual freedoms in the United States, the challenges ahead of progressive, alternative journalism in the United States, Western mainstream media’s coverage of Iran and Syria affairs and the prospect of U.S. military expeditions in the Middle East.

Q: What do you think about the role of influential American think tanks and public diplomacy and advocacy organizations such as the Council on Foreign Relations or the National Endowment for Democracy in creating unrest and instability in the countries which are opposed to the United States policies? Do you find traces of their footsteps in the ongoing violence in Syria? Do they have plans to destabilize Iran so as to realize their mischievous objective of regime change in Tehran?

A: One can contend that the Council on Foreign Relations and the National Endowment for Democracy are much more than advocacy organizations. The question suggests the popular view that Western states and especially the United States are above such organizations in terms of decision making power and responsiveness to the populations they purportedly serve.

This is the idealization of a transcendent governing apparatus upheld in public opinion and touted in Western mainstream media. This is the myth the CFR specifically perpetuates about itself and the liberal state. In fact, the CFR is a branch of the Royal Institute of International Affairs and it has more or less dictated US foreign policy from within entities such as the US State Department since before World War Two.

This is not to say that every member of the CFR is involved in such maneuvers. Some are in the organization because they’re flattered to be asked and they see it as prestigious and fashionable, or they wish to network with other influential figures. Yet it is no mistake that membership is exclusive and participants all occupy strategic positions of power in major global corporations, in academe and the media, and in government, and thus can be mobilized to exert their influence as the CFR inner circle desires. They also openly share in the ideology of weakening the nation state and privileging global-regional and international bodies, such as the European Union and the United Nations.

It is through such organizations that they can get their policies enacted with little if any interference from the common people or their representatives at the national level. The CFR’s interests and activities, alongside the interests supported by the major philanthropic foundations such as the Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundations, and the Gates Foundation, are demonstrable manifestations of the deep state that truly runs the world, has priorities that differ greatly from the bulk of humanity, and has sought to exert itself since the 1920s.

The “Arab Spring” appears to be largely a maneuver of organizations such as the CFR and NED. This was evident from the onset with the high degree of Western media exposure afforded the fairly modest demonstrations in Tahrir Square that preceded Mubarak’s ouster by the Central Intelligence Agency. The same media outlets unquestioningly covered the Western and Sunni-backed deployment of Al Qaeda mercenary forces and NATO airpower against the most modern and socially progressive state on the African continent under the Obama administration’s “Responsibility to Protect” cover. A central bank was reportedly created in the back of a mercenary pickup truck. This was a colossal war crime that Western public opinion is left largely in the dark about. It also underscored liberal-progressive hypocrisy and credulousness in the US, evident in the pronouncements of public figures such as Juan Cole and Amy Goodman, who led the cheering section for Libya’s destruction. If the Bush administration successfully vanquished the probable leader of the African Union those on the Left would have been in a huff. When one of their purported own oversees such a campaign it’s not only condoned but applauded, much like the “humanitarian” bombing of Yugoslavia by Clinton.

As many of your readers are likely aware, Libya is significant because some of the same mercenary forces recruited by US intelligence and Sunni states that were employed there are now deployed in Syria. Like Libya, Syria is also a fairly modern state that is not hostile to the West but is regarded as being autonomous, particularly in its alliance with Iran and Hezbollah. It is also seen as a strategic threat to Israel in terms of Iran, and so must be dismantled before a more concerted campaign against Iran is to take place. I’m inclined to think that those determining policy for the Obama administration want compliant fundamentalist regimes installed throughout the Middle East. This will be disastrous to overall security in the region but I don’t believe that’s their goal. War is much more profitable and has much greater potential than peace for those who wish to exert control over resources.

Q: In one of your articles, you argue that the United States has become a police state, with such restrictive legislations and programs which the government has put into effect to limit the citizens’ personal freedoms and different types of civil liberties, such as the Sedition Act of 1798 which criminalizes the publication of “false, scandalous, and malicious writing” against the government and governmental officials. Would you please elaborate more on your notion of the United States becoming a police state?

A: I believe this was “The Paranoid Style of American Governance,” where I pointed out that the laws, policies, and organizational structure of the US government, how its exaggerated concern over surveillance and security is arrayed against the American people. The situation is comparable to how an increasingly delusional paranoid might approach human relationships s/he is involved in.  As a result of the 1996 Effective Death Penalty and Anti-Terrorism Act following the Oklahoma City Murrah Federal Building bombing and the 2001 PATRIOT Act enacted after September 11, 2001 many of the civil liberties Americans have been guaranteed under the Constitution have been stolen, never to return.

Citizens cannot expect to be secure in their persons and papers. We are subjected to humiliating warrantless searches at transportation facilities. As a result of a string of legislation capped off by President Obama’s National Defense Authorization Act of December 2011 the government now reserves the right to jail or murder citizens on political grounds. There is little if any recourse because our political representation has to a large degree been bought off by private interests. The US increasingly looks like a totalitarian state and is one major event away from fully resembling the Soviet Union or an Eastern Bloc state circa 1970. The extent of the rollback in civil liberties is very overdone because a majority of Americans are ill-informed, politically unsophisticated, and in many instances even functionally illiterate. Thus they are unaware of the police state’s accelerated formation since the mid-1990s and unprepared to contest it. A combined regime of poor public education and the stultifying effects of mass media and culture have dumbed the American public down to the extent that its republic has been taken right out from underneath its nose.

Q: It’s widely believed that the United States, as its leaders claim, is a “beacon of freedom” since the mass media are allowed to publish every critical material at will, even if they threaten the national security, in such cases of war with another nation. Is this widely-accepted belief true? Don’t the mass media face any restriction or impediment by the government to censor certain stories or withhold from the public sensitive information?

A: The major, agenda-setting US news media—USA Today, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and their broadcast and cablecast amplifiers—that the small strata of semi-politically adept and literate citizens rely on for information are all controlled by interests that are overall supportive of the US police state and US-NATO foreign policy. To return to your initial question, many of the owners or top editors and journalists are also CFR members. Together they perform a central propagandistic function of the state through selective reportage of issues and events, omission of key information, and heavy reliance on “official” government or corporate sources.

Such a set of procedures is worse than outright falsehoods because a falsehood can be disproved and a journalist or news organization called out on the carpet. However, by owning most of the newsgathering and distribution outlets, by using official sources and employing careful editing procedures such media retain credibility in the public mind. In the Soviet Union much of the citizenry knew that by reading Pravda they were being fed outright lies so they learned to “read between the lines” to interpret what was really going on. That requires a degree of political sophistication that is beyond most Americans.

The government and major news media are also being challenged by alternative news media and thus resort to a more blatant form of disinformation that jeopardizes their perceived trustworthiness, which is now at an all-time low. This is the case with their coverage of the US-NATO actions and Libya and Syria—specifically the fact that the US is allied with and actively supporting its alleged arch enemy Al Qaeda.

For over a year corporate media tried to cover this up when it was there in plain view. Alternative outlets reported otherwise and in the face of this mainstream media had to eventually relent and admit that the US is indeed supporting Al Qaeda.

As an example, one case involved a US-based alternative media outlet reporting on the Department of Homeland Security and other government agencies collectively purchasing over one billion rounds of lethal, “hollow point” ammunition. Major media sought to assuage growing public concern on this by focusing on a single government agency’s (the Social Security Administration) purchase of 180,000 rounds of such ammunition, asserting that it was for target practice. This was absolute propaganda likely pitched to these outlets by covert government sources. It’s fairly common knowledge among American gun enthusiasts that “full metal jacket” ammo is used on the range because it’s far less expensive than hollow point and performs the same function. Nevertheless, the 180,000 SSA story was widely circulated, performing the intended propaganda function, mainly through conscious omission of the most important information that alternative media honestly chose to highlight.

Another argument that I need to make in light of the world wide expanse of news and information now available on the Internet is that the US citizenry doesn’t need to rely primarily on USA Today or New York Times editors for what it is exposed to. This remains the case so long as the Internet remains free from government or corporate encroachment and regulation. In this regard there is a wealth of information for those who have the time, discernment, and initiative to seek it out and become informed. Investigative journalists and commentators have much to draw on in terms of analyzing and explaining the meaning and significance of issues and events. This is essentially what newspapers and journals did before the application of scientific objectivity to journalism and the pretentious separation of news from analysis and opinion.

Q: What challenges do the independent, progressive journalists of the United States face today? In one of your articles, you had criticized some of the progressive media for failing to give coverage to important topics such as the truth about the 9/11 attacks. Would you please elaborate on that? In my view, the progressive media outlets such as CounterPunch or The Nation have to some extent broken apart the monopoly of the mainstream media and allowed the free flow of information while the mainstream media steadfastly try to suffocate the truth. Don’t you agree?

A: Independent progressive journalists often produce important investigative work on issues and events ignored by mainstream outlets. One example is the attention they’ve brought to bear on hydraulic “fracking” and its immense environmental destruction. They have also been helpful in raising awareness of the Bush-Cheney administration’s many crimes.

My main criticism with so-called progressive alternative news media is how they are usually tethered to philanthropic foundations and thus restricted in what their writers can comment and report on. They’re also strongly influenced by partisan politics. Democracy Now and The Nation, for example, regularly fell over themselves to interrogate and expose the Bush-Cheney administration’s abundant malfeasance. However, when the Obama regime continues and intensifies such policies, or unconstitutionally commits US troops to fight in Libya, such outlets are either close to silent or condone such measures. This is a double standard. Imagine if the Bush-Cheney cabal deposed the likely heir of the African Union. Left-liberals would have a variety of raucous criticisms. Obama does it and no eyebrows are raised. The case is even more evident with regard to the US-NATO support of mercenary armies terrorizing the Syrian population. In their partiality the progressive media are hypocritical in the extreme, and it’s difficult to have much faith or respect for them.

Another example of this is the collaboration between John Nichols, political correspondent at The Nation and libertarian Constitutional attorney Bruce Fein, who were both outspoken during the Bush administration on the case for impeachment. Nichols also wrote a very critical biography of Cheney. Fein is still calling for impeachment—this time of Obama. Nichols is nowhere to be found, even though Obama’s crimes are comparable to Bush-Cheney’s.

There are also several issues that require investigation and discussion that the left-progressive media won’t even acknowledge. 9/11 is certainly one. Others include the related phenomenon of false flag terror, and the United Nations’ Agenda 21. There’s abundant information on all of these phenomena, and independent activists and genuinely alternative news media have covered them—some in great depth. Progressive media won’t, and I believe this in part is due to their fear of being labeled “conspiracy theorists” by the thought police at the Southern Poverty Law Center, Anti-Defamation League, Media Matters for America, Think Progress—all of which are, perhaps not coincidentally, as dependent on foundation money as the very progressive journalists they patrol.

Such media’s failure to pursue 9/11 beyond government pronouncements resulted in the crucial delinking of 9/11 Truth from the antiwar movement, and in my view the antiwar movement’s consequent lack of real purpose and direction. It’s fairly safe to say that a majority of Americans, including those on the left, are generally trusting of government institutions and authority in general to the extent that they could scarcely imagine such institutions might be capable of an event like September 11. There is a naïve trust in entities they barely recognize or understand outside of fictionalized accounts, which speaks to the tremendous success of an educational and propaganda apparatus that conditions individuals to accept at face value the claims of authority figures.

As I’ve stated above, the progressive alternative media are capable of extreme hypocrisy. “Global warming,” or “climate change” is another case in point. Such outlets unquestioningly promote what amounts to a new religion and global taxation regime that the Left has bought into entirely. Raising legitimate questions is extreme heresy, equated with threatening the polar bears and coral reefs. The typical mantra is that human beings are the main culprits through their everyday activities. This is not to say that there is no problem of pollution linked to human consumption, and there could be reasonable modifications and programs for addressing such concerns. Yet the science purporting the existence of a “greenhouse effect” on environmental temperatures from carbon dioxide, alongside the dubious scientific endeavors of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, cannot stand up to serious scientific scrutiny yet is uncritically upheld by the left intelligentsia especially.

The progressive media promote this notion while ignoring deliberate efforts to alter the environment through weather modification and geoengineering that have been going on for several years now. That’s profoundly dishonest. Nor do such media interrogate the billions of dollars being pumped into the environmental movement each year through the philanthropic foundations. Nor is there any coverage of Agenda 21, which according to its own doctrine is a plan to radically alter social and economic relations in the name of “sustainability.” The more Americans find out about this, the more outraged they will be, but they won’t become aware of it through the progressive alternative media, who are enthusiastically on board with such plans whether they realize it or not.

Q: What role are the mainstream media in the West playing with regards to the crisis in Syria? With the experience of NYT’s Judith Miller and her rabble-rousing prior to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, are the mass media repeating the same scenario to lay the groundwork for a military strike against Syria to topple the government of President Bashar al-Assad?

A: The major news media have been attempting to make the Syria’s al-Assad government look as if it is oppressing its own population—for which it has no realistic motive—so that the Anglo-American alliance can mercilessly bomb the country and install a puppet regime like it has done in Libya. This is a frame-up that Western media are complicit in carrying out. As with 9/11, much of the American public will have difficulty fathoming the idea that its government is supporting and allied with Al Qaeda mercenaries to terrorize and kill Syrian citizens, yet that’s what is happening. Syria is strategic in a geopolitical sense because of its proximity to Israel, and the West realizes that any potential attack on Iran must be preceded by a malleable regime in Syria. For over one year none of this was reported in US news media. When Hillary Clinton admitted as much in February 2012 on BBC and CBS, as reported in such alternative outlets as Global Research and Infowars, the corporate media backtracked and obscured her remarks, and the information was subsequently suppressed.

Yet major media have recently had to acknowledge that US-NATO interests are aligned with Al Qaeda in Syria, of course overlooking the fact that the US and Sunni States also recruited and armed these soldiers of fortune. What the Obama administration has sought to do with the alleged murder of Bin Laden in May 2011 is to close the chapter on the old, villainous Al Qaeda and open a chapter on the new and friendly Al Qaeda. This narrative is slowly unfolding, while Americans are instructed on a different bogey to fear, which now appears to be “homegrown terrorism.”

The dynamic between the public, media and US government is also different than it was in 2003. Before the US could attack Afghanistan and Iraq the Bush administration realized it needed a public rationale for such. A key rule in management is to give your subordinates a reason for why you’re enacting a new rule or policy. September 11 and the constructed threat of Iraq’s “weapons of mass destruction” provided this rationale to placate the public. Despite its high-handed duplicity, the Bush-Cheney regime actually went through the proper avenues and received Congressional approval to go to war.

The Obama administration has done nothing of the sort with regard to the use of US forces in Libya last year. Instead of being more forthright in terms of legislative protocols and aggression, Obama and his handlers chose to wage war and subvert societies and governments in more covert ways, such as what has and continues to occur in Libya, Syria, and Iran. In my view, one of the few things that is worse than Bush’s flagrant and arrogant use of military power is Obama’s hypocrisy—claiming the “responsibility to protect” through allegedly humanitarian military intervention while illegally committing US troops abroad and presiding over tremendous violence.

The US public and Congress—and especially the progressive-left—are happy with their rock star-in-chief. Some also fear being labeled racists if they really criticize Obama’s policies. There’s virtually no opposition I can detect by the allegedly principled and peace-loving left in the US. It’s perhaps ironic that one of the legacies of the US’s tragic history of race relations is that, much like waving the flag of anti-Semitism, the actually existing memory of racial oppression can be opportunistically mobilized to actually stifle honest political debate.

As I mentioned in a recent piece for Global Research, if Obama carried out the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq with the appropriate R2P platitudes to his base the liberal establishment would have rolled over. Obama is very useful to larger, global power interests because what he symbolizes—liberal ideals and the civil rights struggle—allows him to play on and manipulate the public’s good will and enact or continue policies at home and abroad that white politicians would be highly scrutinized for. A Romney-Ryan administration would actually energize the progressive-left in the US and potentially provide for a more vibrant political discourse. Four years of the Obama administration proves that the left is far more devoted to circling the wagons and the spirit of partisanship than to the values it claims to uphold. If the left media were honest to its principles it would have provided extensive coverage of the Non-Aligned Movement August conference in Tehran to further highlight the Obama administration’s hypocrisy. The coverage was close-to non-existent.

Q: What do you think about the Western media’s coverage of the Iran affairs? In my own interpretation, they have practically taken up arms against Iranian people, because they are intentionally portraying Iran in such a way that every external observer thinks that Iran is a crisis-hit, dilapidated, uncivilized and uncultured country. The Western audience is totally unaware of Iran’s culture, history and civilization, and this is a direct result of mainstream media’s lopsided coverage of Iran. What’s your take on that?

A: That’s an accurate assessment. This is because the Western media’s coverage of Iran is guided to a large degree by their heavy reliance on official sources, such as those at the US State Department, NATO, or within the Obama administration itself. The coverage is perpetuated by the ethnocentrism and narrow views of those within the US and European media as well. Iranian officials’ statements and views are generally absent in such news media. This is of course intentional on the behalf of such outlets and their owners.

The American public has been incrementally conditioned for an attack on Iran since 2002 when the country was identified as part of the “axis of evil” by George W. Bush. The US youth are increasingly weaned on a psychic diet of video games where there are clear distinctions of good and evil.  If a country and its people can be objectified and thereby dehumanized—as is done in the conditioning of our youth in general society and the military—their destruction can be more efficiently carried out and witnessed with little if any objection. The “clash of civilizations” is a coordinated process for public consumption.

A related factor in this regard is of course Israel. It’s very difficult to overestimate the country’s power over the US government, and major US media are no doubt sensitive to Israel’s propaganda line that Iran poses an existential threat to the Zionist state. Israel’s public relations arm, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, is extremely powerful in shaping Western media’s representation and thereby public opinion of Middle East affairs and Iran specifically.

One could make the argument that were it not for such influence Iran would be regarded as merely a country pursuing its right to produce nuclear power as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty; that it does not aspire to the status of a regional or global nuclear power that Israel has in fact been for many years through its relationship as a client state of the US. It may at this point be reasonable to question who the client actually is.

Q: We’re just passed the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and several questions regarding this horrendous incident remain unanswered; questions such as whether or not it was a false flag operation, whether or not Israel’s Mossad was involved in it, whether or not the U.S. government had foreknowledge of it, etc. What do you think about the official account given of the 9/11 attacks? Do you believe in the skeptical assumptions which authors such as Christopher Bollyn or David Ray Griffin have put forward?

A: In an email exchange I had with the late financial commentator Bob Chapman a few years ago I brought up the close-to-non-existent discussion about 9/11 there was in the academy among colleagues. He responded, “In exposing the truth those who make their livings by going along with the accepted view of history will always dismiss you as a radical. That is because of their own intellectual dishonesty.” It’s important that those of us who have the privilege of being salaried intellectuals with certain protections like tenure point to how the US government’s official account of the September 11 events cannot withstand even modest scrutiny, and are only accepted by an unthinking and fearful American public served by a willfully unthinking and often manipulative mass media and political leadership.

For the public to accept the ostensible causes of 9/11 they must partake in something akin to what George Orwell conceived of in his classic 1984 as doublethink. This more or less involves negotiating two observations or ideas at the same time while putting one’s reason and morality in abeyance. In Freudian terms the reality is too horrible to be dealt with and is therefore repressed.

An alternate reality—that which is provided by US government public relations personnel, a majority of the intelligentsia on the left and right, and amplified by major media, is offered as an alternate reality. I can’t imagine how this was not given careful consideration prior to 9/11′s execution, despite the patent sloppiness of the operation itself.

Adolf Hitler and his henchmen recognized how a population was susceptible to “the big lie” because most people could never personally imagine committing a crime of such proportions. This is because apart from the imaginary set of social relations provided by television the social circle of most individuals does not extend beyond family, close friends, the supermarket checkout clerk and the mailman. They never come into contact with the people who run the world, so an event of this magnitude is beyond them, and the strategic planning that defies national boundaries or routine time horizons is quite literally otherworldly to them. If the news media and academy are incapable of serious inquiry, which after eleven years is obviously the case, this greatly contributes to public confusion and disbelief.

September 11 is a frightening example of how a specific rendering of an event becomes a part the public consciousness and memory. This was not so much done through persuasion or the manufacture of consent but rather through a form of shock therapy and mass trauma. It was certainly on a scale far surpassing the American political assassinations of the 1960s or the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing because of its scale and the fact that it was witnessed by much of the country and world in real time. The images of the towers and bin Laden were then repeated ad nauseam to burn the imagery and terror in to the public mind. This was an extremely impressive propaganda campaign accentuated by the fact that Americans have never been victimized in that way before and are used to being on the side of conquest.

I don’t believe there are any serious intellectuals who can defend the state-sanctioned version of what transpired on September 11, although this is what our school children are being taught, so it’s another chapter of a fatally compromised history. Even members of the 9/11 Commission, a body that never would have existed were it not for the victims’ families, have questioned their own conclusions. Osama bin Laden was in seriously poor health at the time of the events. A large and courageous body of professionals, Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, have provided compelling evidence that the World Trade Center towers could not have collapsed because of burning jet fuel. Moreover, World Trade Center Building 7 wasn’t even hit by a plane and similarly collapsed eight hours later.

I incorporate materials and discussions on 9/11 in classes I teach addressing journalism and public opinion because it’s the most important event of the past fifty years, and probably US corporate journalism’s greatest failure. Regardless of how one interprets the causes and assesses the evidence, in addition to the initial loss of 3,000 innocents, it was something from which the American public lost important civil liberties and several million people have been killed, injured and traumatized unnecessarily.

Q: The United States and its European allies have imposed backbreaking economic sanctions against Iran which are affecting the daily life of ordinary citizens. Their sanctions and war threats come while there’s no compelling evidence showing that Iran is working toward developing nuclear weapons. What’s your idea about the hostility of the Western states against Iran in general, and the economic sanctions in particular?

A: Iran is a strong, independent, and largely self-sufficient state, a signatory to the NPT, and is pursuing the safe and peaceful development of nuclear power provided for under that treaty. It has not attacked another country in 300 years; the war it fought against Iraq in the 1980s was from a defensive posture. Thus Iran’s role in the region contrasts sharply with Israel, and this is especially the case if one is to take into consideration Israel’s probable possession of a nuclear arsenal.

Yet Israel is also something of a pawn in a broader geopolitical power play. Israel’s people themselves don’t want a war with Iran, only its leadership does. Even the US military don’t want such a war. And if the American people were similarly provided with ample contemporary and historical information—which they are cheated out of by media and frequently poor educational institutions and curricula—a majority would not want to go to war with Iran.

In my view what is playing out is at least partially attributable to NATO’s plan to encircle and challenge Russia and China. On the “grand chessboard” of the Anglo-American elite Iran is a strategic and resource-rich prize. In their view it’s too independent for its own good. This is the case right down to its largely autonomous banking system, and this makes it especially impervious to Western economic and political control. A country or alliance that is independent is dangerous. It could set an example of self-determination for other countries that cannot be permitted.

Q: And finally, do you believe that the United States is capable of continuing its military expeditions around the world and keeping up with its policy of interfering in the internal affairs of other countries? It’s said that throughout the past 3 centuries, the United States has been involved in more than 50 wars, either directly or indirectly. Will this militaristic and expansionistic approach toward the other countries survive in long run?

A: Since World War II especially the US military has been used by larger forces to harness and divvy up the world’s resources. If the US and NATO were no longer there another military or military alliance would likely take their place and enforce the policies of the major transnational cartels—finance, agriculture, chemicals/pharmaceuticals, armaments, energy, and media/telecommunications.

The US won’t be able to sustain its military even in the near term because of the mountain of debt it presently has, and the even greater debt the country is being saddled with by the major investment banks, such as those with their debts insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, who will receive their pound of flesh long before the American people.

Given this, we have the fact that the Federal Reserve can’t buy America’s debt forever which will eventually result in debtor nations throwing in the towel and the US dollar losing its reserve currency status. Thereafter it will be a challenge to fund much of anything. Most Americans have little understanding of what’s coming in this regard and they are going to be very upset and bewildered when such events come to pass.

Things could look like Greece or Spain in very short order. In such an event the US imperial project might be absorbed into an international “peacekeeping” or “humanitarian” military force, which already exists under UN auspices. What is also already in the works is the increased automation of warfare, of which armed drones are presently the most obvious example. Such devices are already in use to police the American “homeland” and terrorize the inhabitants of other lands.

KSM and U.S. justice

Khalid Sheikh MohammedKSM and U.S. justice
by Anar Virji (Al-Jazeera Correspondent in Washington, D.C.)

It was a sharp, unexpected statement delivered in measured Arabic in just a few minutes. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s comments to a courtroom in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba on Wednesday were surprising. Mohammed is accused of being the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks in the United States; he’s charged with war crimes and murder, and faces the death penalty if convicted. His trial hasn’t yet begun; the court is hearing pre-trial motions this week.

It started when Mohammed raised his hand. Defence lawyers were making their case against presumptive classification – the idea that anything the defendants say will be automatically classified – and Mohammed indicated he had something to say. The courtroom seemed confused. And after some discussion, the judge hearing the case, James Pohl, agreed to a 15-minute recess so Mohammed’s lawyer could speak to him about what he wanted to say, and make sure it wasn’t classified and could be said in open court.

Sitting more than 2,000 kilometres away in a press viewing room on a US army base in Ft Meade, Maryland, I was confused. The room buzzed with ideas about what he might say. Something about the camouflage vest that he had just been granted permission to wear just the previous day. Or maybe the dye he used to colour his beard an autumnal orange that we wondered about. I’d made the hour-long drive from my home in Washington DC to Ft Meade for three days to monitor the hearings in case something happened. And this was definitely something.

When the video from the courtroom came back up, Mohammed spoke for several minutes, from his seated position at the end of a table where he sits with his lawyers. Journalists are not allowed to record any part of the hearings, so I typed furiously, knowing I wouldn’t be able to go back to listen to his statement again.

He spoke directly about his case advising, “When the government feels sad for the death, the killing of 300 people killed on September 11th, we should also feel sorry that the American government represented by General Martins [chief prosecutor in the case against Mohammed] and others have killed thousands of people. Millions.”

Mohammed continued on to reference the April 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden, saying, “Many can kill people under the name of national security, and to torture people under the name of national security and defame children under the name of national security – underage children – I don’t want to be long but I can say that the President can take someone and throw him under the sea in the name of national security. And so he can also legislate assassinations under the name of national security for American nationals, American citizens.” The last sentence was a reference to two drone strikes in Yemen that killed Americans.

He ended with a plea to the judge: “My only advice to you that you do not get affected by the crocodile tears.  Because your blood is not made out of gold and ours is not made out of water. We are all human beings.”

At the end of it all, I was stunned that this had happened. This had nothing to do with the motion being heard, and it seemed out of place to have allowed Mohammed to make the statement. Judge Pohl, too, appeared stunned, noting that while he didn’t interrupt Mohammed, this sort of speech was a one-time occurrence not normal to the proceedings. He said:

“I’m not going to again entertain personal comments of the accused of the way things are going. This is his personal thought; he has the right to that opinion but he doesn’t have the right to interrupt proceedings. This is not to be interpreted as this is an acceptable procedure. This was a one-time thing for Mr. Mohammed. That doesn’t mean each of the accused gets one time.”

A few minutes, the day’s session was over. Pohl recessed for the day, saying on Thursday he’ll turn his attention back to presumptive classification. And on Thursday, I’ll make the drive back to Ft Meade to see what happens.

KSM acts again, now in military garb, for his Washington masters

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/17/khalid-sheikh-mohammed-trial_n_1976430.html
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Trial: Alleged 9/11 Mastermind Claims America Killed More People Than Hijackers Did

Reuters  |  By Jane Sutton Posted: 10/17/2012 10:54 pm Updated: 10/18/2012 10:39 am
GUANTANAMO BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE, Cuba, Oct 17 (Reuters) — The alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks told the Guantanamo courtroom on Wednesday that the U.S. government had killed many more people in the name of national security than he is accused of killing.

Khalid Sheik Mohammed was allowed to address the court at a pretrial hearing focused on security classification rules for evidence that will be used in his trial on charges of orchestrating the hijacked plane attacks that killed 2,976 people.

“When the government feels sad for the death or the killing of 3,000 people who were killed on September 11, we also should feel sorry that the American government that was represented by (the chief prosecutor) and others have killed thousands of people, millions,” said Mohammed, who wore a military-style camouflage vest to the courtroom.
 
He accused the United States of using an elastic definition of national security, comparable to the way dictators bend the law to justify their acts.
“Many can kill people under the name of national security, and to torture people under the name of national security, and to detain children under the name of national security, underage children,” he said in Arabic through an English interpreter.

“The president can take someone and throw him into the sea under the name of national security and so he can also legislate the assassinations under the name of national security for the American citizens,” he said in an apparent reference to the U.S. killing and burial at sea of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and the U.S. use of drone strikes against U.S. citizens accused of conspiring with al Qaeda.

He advised the court against “getting affected by the crocodile tears” and said, “Your blood is not made out of gold and ours is made out of water. We are all human beings.”

The judge, Army Colonel James Pohl, gave Mohammed permission to speak and did not interrupt him, but said he would not hear any further personal comments from the defendants.

Mohammed’s lecture to the court came during a week of pretrial hearings at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in Cuba for him and four other captives accused of recruiting, funding and training the hijackers.

He did not indicate why he wore a camouflage vest, but his wardrobe choice suggested he might try to invoke protections reserved for soldiers.

Pohl had ruled on Tuesday that the defendants could wear what they want to court, so long as it did not pose a security risk or include any part of a U.S. military uniform like those worn by their guards.

Mohammed’s lawyers had argued that he should be allowed to wear a woodland-patterned camouflage vest to court because he wore one as part of a U.S.-armed mujahideen force fighting against Russian troops that occupied Afghanistan in the 1980s.

“Mr. Mohammed has previously distinguished himself on the battlefield by wearing a military-style vest or clothing. He did it in Afghanistan for the U.S. government during that proxy war, he did it in Bosnia and he has a right to do it in this courtroom,” his defense attorney, Army Captain Jason Wright, argued on Tuesday.

The United States is trying Mohammed and the other alleged al Qaeda captives as unlawful belligerents who are not entitled to the combat immunity granted to soldiers who kill in battle.

They could face the death penalty if convicted of charges that include conspiring with al Qaeda, attacking civilians and civilian targets, murder in violation of the laws of war, destruction of property, hijacking and terrorism.

Under the Geneva Conventions, one of the things that separate soldiers from unlawful belligerents is the wearing of uniforms that distinguish them from civilians. Soldiers must also follow a clear command structure, carry arms openly and adhere to the laws of war.

Wright had argued that forbidding Mohammed from wearing military-style garb could undermine his presumption of innocence in the war crimes tribunal.

“The government has a burden to prove that this enemy prisoner of war is an unprivileged enemy belligerent,” Wright said.

Getting Bin Laden: What happened that night in Abbottabad

Getting Bin Laden: What happened that night in Abbottabad
by Nicholas Schmidle August 8, 2011

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/08/08/110808fa_fact_schmidle?currentPage=all

No American was yet inside the residential part of the compound. The operatives had barely been on target for a minute, and the mission was already veering off course. Photoillustration by John Ritter.

Shortly after eleven o’clock on the night of May 1st, two MH-60 Black Hawk helicopters lifted off from Jalalabad Air Field, in eastern Afghanistan, and embarked on a covert mission into Pakistan to kill Osama bin Laden. Inside the aircraft were twenty-three Navy SEALs from Team Six, which is officially known as the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, or DEVGRU. A Pakistani-American translator, whom I will call Ahmed, and a dog named Cairo—a Belgian Malinois—were also aboard. It was a moonless evening, and the helicopters’ pilots, wearing night-vision goggles, flew without lights over mountains that straddle the border with Pakistan. Radio communications were kept to a minimum, and an eerie calm settled inside the aircraft.

Fifteen minutes later, the helicopters ducked into an alpine valley and slipped, undetected, into Pakistani airspace. For more than sixty years, Pakistan’s military has maintained a state of high alert against its eastern neighbor, India. Because of this obsession, Pakistan’s “principal air defenses are all pointing east,” Shuja Nawaz, an expert on the Pakistani Army and the author of “Crossed Swords: Pakistan, Its Army, and the Wars Within,” told me. Senior defense and Administration officials concur with this assessment, but a Pakistani senior military official, whom I reached at his office, in Rawalpindi, disagreed. “No one leaves their borders unattended,” he said. Though he declined to elaborate on the location or orientation of Pakistan’s radars—“It’s not where the radars are or aren’t”—he said that the American infiltration was the result of “technological gaps we have vis-à-vis the U.S.” The Black Hawks, each of which had two pilots and a crewman from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, or the Night Stalkers, had been modified to mask heat, noise, and movement; the copters’ exteriors had sharp, flat angles and were covered with radar-dampening “skin.”

The SEALs’ destination was a house in the small city of Abbottabad, which is about a hundred and twenty miles across the Pakistan border. Situated north of Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital, Abbottabad is in the foothills of the Pir Panjal Range, and is popular in the summertime with families seeking relief from the blistering heat farther south. Founded in 1853 by a British major named James Abbott, the city became the home of a prestigious military academy after the creation of Pakistan, in 1947. According to information gathered by the Central Intelligence Agency, bin Laden was holed up on the third floor of a house in a one-acre compound just off Kakul Road in Bilal Town, a middle-class neighborhood less than a mile from the entrance to the academy. If all went according to plan, the SEALs would drop from the helicopters into the compound, overpower bin Laden’s guards, shoot and kill him at close range, and then take the corpse back to Afghanistan.

The helicopters traversed Mohmand, one of Pakistan’s seven tribal areas, skirted the north of Peshawar, and continued due east. The commander of DEVGRU’s Red Squadron, whom I will call James, sat on the floor, squeezed among ten other SEALs, Ahmed, and Cairo. (The names of all the covert operators mentioned in this story have been changed.) James, a broad-chested man in his late thirties, does not have the lithe swimmer’s frame that one might expect of a SEAL—he is built more like a discus thrower. That night, he wore a shirt and trousers in Desert Digital Camouflage, and carried a silenced Sig Sauer P226 pistol, along with extra ammunition; a CamelBak, for hydration; and gel shots, for endurance. He held a short-barrel, silenced M4 rifle. (Others SEALs had chosen the Heckler & Koch MP7.) A “blowout kit,” for treating field trauma, was tucked into the small of James’s back. Stuffed into one of his pockets was a laminated gridded map of the compound. In another pocket was a booklet with photographs and physical descriptions of the people suspected of being inside. He wore a noise-cancelling headset, which blocked out nearly everything besides his heartbeat.

During the ninety-minute helicopter flight, James and his teammates rehearsed the operation in their heads. Since the autumn of 2001, they had rotated through Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, and the Horn of Africa, at a brutal pace. At least three of the SEALs had participated in the sniper operation off the coast of Somalia, in April, 2009, that freed Richard Phillips, the captain of the Maersk Alabama, and left three pirates dead. In October, 2010, a DEVGRU team attempted to rescue Linda Norgrove, a Scottish aid worker who had been kidnapped in eastern Afghanistan by the Taliban. During a raid of a Taliban hideout, a SEAL tossed a grenade at an insurgent, not realizing that Norgrove was nearby. She died from the blast. The mistake haunted the SEALs who had been involved; three of them were subsequently expelled from DEVGRU.

The Abbottabad raid was not DEVGRU’s maiden venture into Pakistan, either. The team had surreptitiously entered the country on ten to twelve previous occasions, according to a special-operations officer who is deeply familiar with the bin Laden raid. Most of those missions were forays into North and South Waziristan, where many military and intelligence analysts had thought that bin Laden and other Al Qaeda leaders were hiding. (Only one such operation—the September, 2008, raid of Angoor Ada, a village in South Waziristan—has been widely reported.) Abbottabad was, by far, the farthest that DEVGRU had ventured into Pakistani territory. It also represented the team’s first serious attempt since late 2001 at killing “Crankshaft”—the target name that the Joint Special Operations Command, or JSOC, had given bin Laden. Since escaping that winter during a battle in the Tora Bora region of eastern Afghanistan, bin Laden had defied American efforts to trace him. Indeed, it remains unclear how he ended up living in Abbottabad.

Forty-five minutes after the Black Hawks departed, four MH-47 Chinooks launched from the same runway in Jalalabad. Two of them flew to the border, staying on the Afghan side; the other two proceeded into Pakistan. Deploying four Chinooks was a last-minute decision made after President Barack Obama said he wanted to feel assured that the Americans could “fight their way out of Pakistan.” Twenty-five additional SEALs from DEVGRU, pulled from a squadron stationed in Afghanistan, sat in the Chinooks that remained at the border; this “quick-reaction force” would be called into action only if the mission went seriously wrong. The third and fourth Chinooks were each outfitted with a pair of M134 Miniguns. They followed the Black Hawks’ initial flight path but landed at a predetermined point on a dry riverbed in a wide, unpopulated valley in northwest Pakistan. The nearest house was half a mile away. On the ground, the copters’ rotors were kept whirring while operatives monitored the surrounding hills for encroaching Pakistani helicopters or fighter jets. One of the Chinooks was carrying fuel bladders, in case the other aircraft needed to refill their tanks.

Meanwhile, the two Black Hawks were quickly approaching Abbottabad from the northwest, hiding behind the mountains on the northernmost edge of the city. Then the pilots banked right and went south along a ridge that marks Abbottabad’s eastern perimeter. When those hills tapered off, the pilots curled right again, toward the city center, and made their final approach.

During the next four minutes, the interior of the Black Hawks rustled alive with the metallic cough of rounds being chambered. Mark, a master chief petty officer and the ranking noncommissioned officer on the operation, crouched on one knee beside the open door of the lead helicopter. He and the eleven other SEALs on “helo one,” who were wearing gloves and had on night-vision goggles, were preparing to fast-rope into bin Laden’s yard. They waited for the crew chief to give the signal to throw the rope. But, as the pilot passed over the compound, pulled into a high hover, and began lowering the aircraft, he felt the Black Hawk getting away from him. He sensed that they were going to crash.

One month before the 2008 Presidential election, Obama, then a senator from Illinois, squared off in a debate against John McCain in an arena at Belmont University, in Nashville. A woman in the audience asked Obama if he would be willing to pursue Al Qaeda leaders inside Pakistan, even if that meant invading an ally nation. He replied, “If we have Osama bin Laden in our sights and the Pakistani government is unable, or unwilling, to take them out, then I think that we have to act and we will take them out. We will kill bin Laden. We will crush Al Qaeda. That has to be our biggest national-security priority.” McCain, who often criticized Obama for his naïveté on foreign-policy matters, characterized the promise as foolish, saying, “I’m not going to telegraph my punches.”

Four months after Obama entered the White House, Leon Panetta, the director of the C.I.A., briefed the President on the agency’s latest programs and initiatives for tracking bin Laden. Obama was unimpressed. In June, 2009, he drafted a memo instructing Panetta to create a “detailed operation plan” for finding the Al Qaeda leader and to “ensure that we have expended every effort.” Most notably, the President intensified the C.I.A.’s classified drone program; there were more missile strikes inside Pakistan during Obama’s first year in office than in George W. Bush’s eight. The terrorists swiftly registered the impact: that July, CBS reported that a recent Al Qaeda communiqué had referred to “brave commanders” who had been “snatched away” and to “so many hidden homes [which] have been levelled.” The document blamed the “very grave” situation on spies who had “spread throughout the land like locusts.” Nevertheless, bin Laden’s trail remained cold.

In August, 2010, Panetta returned to the White House with better news. C.I.A. analysts believed that they had pinpointed bin Laden’s courier, a man in his early thirties named Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti. Kuwaiti drove a white S.U.V. whose spare-tire cover was emblazoned with an image of a white rhino. The C.I.A. began tracking the vehicle. One day, a satellite captured images of the S.U.V. pulling into a large concrete compound in Abbottabad. Agents, determining that Kuwaiti was living there, used aerial surveillance to keep watch on the compound, which consisted of a three-story main house, a guesthouse, and a few outbuildings. They observed that residents of the compound burned their trash, instead of putting it out for collection, and concluded that the compound lacked a phone or an Internet connection. Kuwaiti and his brother came and went, but another man, living on the third floor, never left. When this third individual did venture outside, he stayed behind the compound’s walls. Some analysts speculated that the third man was bin Laden, and the agency dubbed him the Pacer.

Obama, though excited, was not yet prepared to order military action. John Brennan, Obama’s counterterrorism adviser, told me that the President’s advisers began an “interrogation of the data, to see if, by that interrogation, you’re going to disprove the theory that bin Laden was there.” The C.I.A. intensified its intelligence-collection efforts, and, according to a recent report in the Guardian, a physician working for the agency conducted an immunization drive in Abbottabad, in the hope of acquiring DNA samples from bin Laden’s children. (No one in the compound ultimately received any immunizations.)

In late 2010, Obama ordered Panetta to begin exploring options for a military strike on the compound. Panetta contacted Vice-Admiral Bill McRaven, the SEAL in charge of JSOC. Traditionally, the Army has dominated the special-operations community, but in recent years the SEALs have become a more prominent presence; McRaven’s boss at the time of the raid, Eric Olson—the head of Special Operations Command, or SOCOM—is a Navy admiral who used to be a commander of DEVGRU. In January, 2011, McRaven asked a JSOC official named Brian, who had previously been a DEVGRU deputy commander, to present a raid plan. The next month, Brian, who has the all-American look of a high-school quarterback, moved into an unmarked office on the first floor of the C.I.A.’s printing plant, in Langley, Virginia. Brian covered the walls of the office with topographical maps and satellite images of the Abbottabad compound. He and half a dozen JSOC officers were formally attached to the Pakistan/Afghanistan department of the C.I.A.’s Counterterrorism Center, but in practice they operated on their own. A senior counterterrorism official who visited the JSOC redoubt described it as an enclave of unusual secrecy and discretion. “Everything they were working on was closely held,” the official said.

The relationship between special-operations units and the C.I.A. dates back to the Vietnam War. But the line between the two communities has increasingly blurred as C.I.A. officers and military personnel have encountered one another on multiple tours of Iraq and Afghanistan. “These people grew up together,” a senior Defense Department official told me. “We are in each other’s systems, we speak each other’s languages.” (Exemplifying this trend, General David H. Petraeus, the former commanding general in Iraq and Afghanistan, is now the incoming head of the C.I.A., and Panetta has taken over the Department of Defense.) The bin Laden mission—plotted at C.I.A. headquarters and authorized under C.I.A. legal statutes but conducted by Navy DEVGRU operators—brought the coöperation between the agency and the Pentagon to an even higher level. John Radsan, a former assistant general counsel at the C.I.A., said that the Abbottabad raid amounted to “a complete incorporation of JSOC into a C.I.A. operation.”

On March 14th, Obama called his national-security advisers into the White House Situation Room and reviewed a spreadsheet listing possible courses of action against the Abbottabad compound. Most were variations of either a JSOC raid or an airstrike. Some versions included coöperating with the Pakistani military; some did not. Obama decided against informing or working with Pakistan. “There was a real lack of confidence that the Pakistanis could keep this secret for more than a nanosecond,” a senior adviser to the President told me. At the end of the meeting, Obama instructed McRaven to proceed with planning the raid.

Brian invited James, the commander of DEVGRU’s Red Squadron, and Mark, the master chief petty officer, to join him at C.I.A. headquarters. They spent the next two and a half weeks considering ways to get inside bin Laden’s house. One option entailed flying helicopters to a spot outside Abbottabad and letting the team sneak into the city on foot. The risk of detection was high, however, and the SEALs would be tired by a long run to the compound. The planners had contemplated tunnelling in—or, at least, the possibility that bin Laden might tunnel out. But images provided by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency showed that there was standing water in the vicinity, suggesting that the compound sat in a flood basin. The water table was probably just below the surface, making tunnels highly unlikely. Eventually, the planners agreed that it made the most sense to fly directly into the compound. “Special operations is about doing what’s not expected, and probably the least expected thing here was that a helicopter would come in, drop guys on the roof, and land in the yard,” the special-operations officer said.

On March 29th, McRaven brought the plan to Obama. The President’s military advisers were divided. Some supported a raid, some an airstrike, and others wanted to hold off until the intelligence improved. Robert Gates, the Secretary of Defense, was one of the most outspoken opponents of a helicopter assault. Gates reminded his colleagues that he had been in the Situation Room of the Carter White House when military officials presented Eagle Claw—the 1980 Delta Force operation that aimed at rescuing American hostages in Tehran but resulted in a disastrous collision in the Iranian desert, killing eight American soldiers. “They said that was a pretty good idea, too,” Gates warned. He and General James Cartwright, the vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs, favored an airstrike by B-2 Spirit bombers. That option would avoid the risk of having American boots on the ground in Pakistan. But the Air Force then calculated that a payload of thirty-two smart bombs, each weighing two thousand pounds, would be required to penetrate thirty feet below ground, insuring that any bunkers would collapse. “That much ordnance going off would be the equivalent of an earthquake,” Cartwright told me. The prospect of flattening a Pakistani city made Obama pause. He shelved the B-2 option and directed McRaven to start rehearsing the raid.

Brian, James, and Mark selected a team of two dozen SEALs from Red Squadron and told them to report to a densely forested site in North Carolina for a training exercise on April 10th. (Red Squadron is one of four squadrons in DEVGRU, which has about three hundred operators in all.) None of the SEALs, besides James and Mark, were aware of the C.I.A. intelligence on bin Laden’s compound until a lieutenant commander walked into an office at the site. He found a two-star Army general from JSOC headquarters seated at a conference table with Brian, James, Mark, and several analysts from the C.I.A. This obviously wasn’t a training exercise. The lieutenant commander was promptly “read in.” A replica of the compound had been built at the site, with walls and chain-link fencing marking the layout of the compound. The team spent the next five days practicing maneuvers.

On April 18th, the DEVGRU squad flew to Nevada for another week of rehearsals. The practice site was a large government-owned stretch of desert with an elevation equivalent to the area surrounding Abbottabad. An extant building served as bin Laden’s house. Aircrews plotted out a path that paralleled the flight from Jalalabad to Abbottabad. Each night after sundown, drills commenced. Twelve SEALs, including Mark, boarded helo one. Eleven SEALs, Ahmed, and Cairo boarded helo two. The pilots flew in the dark, arrived at the simulated compound, and settled into a hover while the SEALs fast-roped down. Not everyone on the team was accustomed to helicopter assaults. Ahmed had been pulled from a desk job for the mission and had never descended a fast rope. He quickly learned the technique.

The assault plan was now honed. Helo one was to hover over the yard, drop two fast ropes, and let all twelve SEALs slide down into the yard. Helo two would fly to the northeast corner of the compound and let out Ahmed, Cairo, and four SEALs, who would monitor the perimeter of the building. The copter would then hover over the house, and James and the remaining six SEALs would shimmy down to the roof. As long as everything was cordial, Ahmed would hold curious neighbors at bay. The SEALs and the dog could assist more aggressively, if needed. Then, if bin Laden was proving difficult to find, Cairo could be sent into the house to search for false walls or hidden doors. “This wasn’t a hard op,” the special-operations officer told me. “It would be like hitting a target in McLean”—the upscale Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C.

A planeload of guests arrived on the night of April 21st. Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, along with Olson and McRaven, sat with C.I.A. personnel in a hangar as Brian, James, Mark, and the pilots presented a brief on the raid, which had been named Operation Neptune’s Spear. Despite JSOC’s lead role in Neptune’s Spear, the mission officially remained a C.I.A. covert operation. The covert approach allowed the White House to hide its involvement, if necessary. As the counterterrorism official put it recently, “If you land and everybody is out on a milk run, then you get the hell out and no one knows.” After describing the operation, the briefers fielded questions: What if a mob surrounded the compound? Were the SEALs prepared to shoot civilians? Olson, who received the Silver Star for valor during the 1993 “Black Hawk Down” episode, in Mogadishu, Somalia, worried that it could be politically catastrophic if a U.S. helicopter were shot down inside Pakistani territory. After an hour or so of questioning, the senior officers and intelligence analysts returned to Washington. Two days later, the SEALs flew back to Dam Neck, their base in Virginia.

On the night of Tuesday, April 26th, the SEAL team boarded a Boeing C-17 Globemaster at Naval Air Station Oceana, a few miles from Dam Neck. After a refuelling stop at Ramstein Air Base, in Germany, the C-17 continued to Bagram Airfield, north of Kabul. The SEALs spent a night in Bagram and moved to Jalalabad on Wednesday.

That day in Washington, Panetta convened more than a dozen senior C.I.A. officials and analysts for a final preparatory meeting. Panetta asked the participants, one by one, to declare how confident they were that bin Laden was inside the Abbottabad compound. The counterterrorism official told me that the percentages “ranged from forty per cent to ninety or ninety-five per cent,” and added, “This was a circumstantial case.”

Panetta was mindful of the analysts’ doubts, but he believed that the intelligence was better than anything that the C.I.A. had gathered on bin Laden since his flight from Tora Bora. Late on Thursday afternoon, Panetta and the rest of the national-security team met with the President. For the next few nights, there would be virtually no moonlight over Abbottabad—the ideal condition for a raid. After that, it would be another month until the lunar cycle was in its darkest phase. Several analysts from the National Counterterrorism Center were invited to critique the C.I.A.’s analysis; their confidence in the intelligence ranged between forty and sixty per cent. The center’s director, Michael Leiter, said that it would be preferable to wait for stronger confirmation of bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad. Yet, as Ben Rhodes, a deputy national-security adviser, put it to me recently, the longer things dragged on, the greater the risk of a leak, “which would have upended the thing.” Obama adjourned the meeting just after 7 P.M. and said that he would sleep on it.

The next morning, the President met in the Map Room with Tom Donilon, his national-security adviser, Denis McDonough, a deputy adviser, and Brennan. Obama had decided to go with a DEVGRU assault, with McRaven choosing the night. It was too late for a Friday attack, and on Saturday there was excessive cloud cover. On Saturday afternoon, McRaven and Obama spoke on the phone, and McRaven said that the raid would occur on Sunday night. “Godspeed to you and your forces,” Obama told him. “Please pass on to them my personal thanks for their service and the message that I personally will be following this mission very closely.”

On the morning of Sunday, May 1st, White House officials cancelled scheduled visits, ordered sandwich platters from Costco, and transformed the Situation Room into a war room. At eleven o’clock, Obama’s top advisers began gathering around a large conference table. A video link connected them to Panetta, at C.I.A. headquarters, and McRaven, in Afghanistan. (There were at least two other command centers, one inside the Pentagon and one inside the American Embassy in Islamabad.)

Brigadier General Marshall Webb, an assistant commander of JSOC, took a seat at the end of a lacquered table in a small adjoining office and turned on his laptop. He opened multiple chat windows that kept him, and the White House, connected with the other command teams. The office where Webb sat had the only video feed in the White House showing real-time footage of the target, which was being shot by an unarmed RQ 170 drone flying more than fifteen thousand feet above Abbottabad. The JSOC planners, determined to keep the operation as secret as possible, had decided against using additional fighters or bombers. “It just wasn’t worth it,” the special-operations officer told me. The SEALs were on their own.

Obama returned to the White House at two o’clock, after playing nine holes of golf at Andrews Air Force Base. The Black Hawks departed from Jalalabad thirty minutes later. Just before four o’clock, Panetta announced to the group in the Situation Room that the helicopters were approaching Abbottabad. Obama stood up. “I need to watch this,” he said, stepping across the hall into the small office and taking a seat alongside Webb. Vice-President Joseph Biden, Secretary Gates, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton followed him, as did anyone else who could fit into the office. On the office’s modestly sized LCD screen, helo one—grainy and black-and-white—appeared above the compound, then promptly ran into trouble.

When the helicopter began getting away from the pilot, he pulled back on the cyclic, which controls the pitch of the rotor blades, only to find the aircraft unresponsive. The high walls of the compound and the warm temperatures had caused the Black Hawk to descend inside its own rotor wash—a hazardous aerodynamic situation known as “settling with power.” In North Carolina, this potential problem had not become apparent, because the chain-link fencing used in rehearsals had allowed air to flow freely. A former helicopter pilot with extensive special-operations experience said of the pilot’s situation, “It’s pretty spooky—I’ve been in it myself. The only way to get out of it is to push the cyclic forward and fly out of this vertical silo you’re dropping through. That solution requires altitude. If you’re settling with power at two thousand feet, you’ve got plenty of time to recover. If you’re settling with power at fifty feet, you’re going to hit the ground.”

The pilot scrapped the plan to fast-rope and focussed on getting the aircraft down. He aimed for an animal pen in the western section of the compound. The SEALs on board braced themselves as the tail rotor swung around, scraping the security wall. The pilot jammed the nose forward to drive it into the dirt and prevent his aircraft from rolling onto its side. Cows, chickens, and rabbits scurried. With the Black Hawk pitched at a forty-five-degree angle astride the wall, the crew sent a distress call to the idling Chinooks.

James and the SEALs in helo two watched all this while hovering over the compound’s northeast corner. The second pilot, unsure whether his colleagues were taking fire or experiencing mechanical problems, ditched his plan to hover over the roof. Instead, he landed in a grassy field across the street from the house.

No American was yet inside the residential part of the compound. Mark and his team were inside a downed helicopter at one corner, while James and his team were at the opposite end. The teams had barely been on target for a minute, and the mission was already veering off course.

“Eternity is defined as the time be tween when you see something go awry and that first voice report,” the special-operations officer said. The officials in Washington viewed the aerial footage and waited anxiously to hear a military communication. The senior adviser to the President compared the experience to watching “the climax of a movie.”

After a few minutes, the twelve SEALs inside helo one recovered their bearings and calmly relayed on the radio that they were proceeding with the raid. They had conducted so many operations over the past nine years that few things caught them off guard. In the months after the raid, the media have frequently suggested that the Abbottabad operation was as challenging as Operation Eagle Claw and the “Black Hawk Down” incident, but the senior Defense Department official told me that “this was not one of three missions. This was one of almost two thousand missions that have been conducted over the last couple of years, night after night.” He likened the routine of evening raids to “mowing the lawn.” On the night of May 1st alone, special-operations forces based in Afghanistan conducted twelve other missions; according to the official, those operations captured or killed between fifteen and twenty targets. “Most of the missions take off and go left,” he said. “This one took off and went right.”

Minutes after hitting the ground, Mark and the other team members began streaming out the side doors of helo one. Mud sucked at their boots as they ran alongside a ten-foot-high wall that enclosed the animal pen. A three-man demolition unit hustled ahead to the pen’s closed metal gate, reached into bags containing explosives, and placed C-4 charges on the hinges. After a loud bang, the door fell open. The nine other SEALs rushed forward, ending up in an alleylike driveway with their backs to the house’s main entrance. They moved down the alley, silenced rifles pressed against their shoulders. Mark hung toward the rear as he established radio communications with the other team. At the end of the driveway, the Americans blew through yet another locked gate and stepped into a courtyard facing the guesthouse, where Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, bin Laden’s courier, lived with his wife and four children.

Three SEALs in front broke off to clear the guesthouse as the remaining nine blasted through another gate and entered an inner courtyard, which faced the main house. When the smaller unit rounded the corner to face the doors of the guesthouse, they spotted Kuwaiti running inside to warn his wife and children. The Americans’ night-vision goggles cast the scene in pixellated shades of emerald green. Kuwaiti, wearing a white shalwar kameez, had grabbed a weapon and was coming back outside when the SEALs opened fire and killed him.

The nine other SEALs, including Mark, formed three-man units for clearing the inner courtyard. The Americans suspected that several more men were in the house: Kuwaiti’s thirty-three-year-old brother, Abrar; bin Laden’s sons Hamza and Khalid; and bin Laden himself. One SEAL unit had no sooner trod on the paved patio at the house’s front entrance when Abrar—a stocky, mustachioed man in a cream-colored shalwar kameez—appeared with an AK-47. He was shot in the chest and killed, as was his wife, Bushra, who was standing, unarmed, beside him.

Outside the compound’s walls, Ahmed, the translator, patrolled the dirt road in front of bin Laden’s house, as if he were a plainclothes Pakistani police officer. He looked the part, wearing a shalwar kameez atop a flak jacket. He, the dog Cairo, and four SEALs were responsible for closing off the perimeter of the house while James and six other SEALs—the contingent that was supposed to have dropped onto the roof—moved inside. For the team patrolling the perimeter, the first fifteen minutes passed without incident. Neighbors undoubtedly heard the low-flying helicopters, the sound of one crashing, and the sporadic explosions and gunfire that ensued, but nobody came outside. One local took note of the tumult in a Twitter post: “Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1 AM (is a rare event).”

Eventually, a few curious Pakistanis approached to inquire about the commotion on the other side of the wall. “Go back to your houses,” Ahmed said, in Pashto, as Cairo stood watch. “There is a security operation under way.” The locals went home, none of them suspecting that they had talked to an American. When journalists descended on Bilal Town in the coming days, one resident told a reporter, “I saw soldiers emerging from the helicopters and advancing toward the house. Some of them instructed us in chaste Pashto to turn off the lights and stay inside.”

Meanwhile, James, the squadron commander, had breached one wall, crossed a section of the yard covered with trellises, breached a second wall, and joined up with the SEALs from helo one, who were entering the ground floor of the house. What happened next is not precisely clear. “I can tell you that there was a time period of almost twenty to twenty-five minutes where we really didn’t know just exactly what was going on,” Panetta said later, on “PBS NewsHour.”

Until this moment, the operation had been monitored by dozens of defense, intelligence, and Administration officials watching the drone’s video feed. The SEALs were not wearing helmet cams, contrary to a widely cited report by CBS. None of them had any previous knowledge of the house’s floor plan, and they were further jostled by the awareness that they were possibly minutes away from ending the costliest manhunt in American history; as a result, some of their recollections—on which this account is based—may be imprecise and, thus, subject to dispute.

As Abrar’s children ran for cover, the SEALs began clearing the first floor of the main house, room by room. Though the Americans had thought that the house might be booby-trapped, the presence of kids at the compound suggested otherwise. “You can only be hyper-vigilant for so long,” the special-operations officer said. “Did bin Laden go to sleep every night thinking, The next night they’re coming? Of course not. Maybe for the first year or two. But not now.” Nevertheless, security precautions were in place. A locked metal gate blocked the base of the staircase leading to the second floor, making the downstairs room feel like a cage.

After blasting through the gate with C-4 charges, three SEALs marched up the stairs. Midway up, they saw bin Laden’s twenty-three-year-old son, Khalid, craning his neck around the corner. He then appeared at the top of the staircase with an AK-47. Khalid, who wore a white T-shirt with an overstretched neckline and had short hair and a clipped beard, fired down at the Americans. (The counterterrorism official claims that Khalid was unarmed, though still a threat worth taking seriously. “You have an adult male, late at night, in the dark, coming down the stairs at you in an Al Qaeda house—your assumption is that you’re encountering a hostile.”) At least two of the SEALs shot back and killed Khalid. According to the booklets that the SEALs carried, up to five adult males were living inside the compound. Three of them were now dead; the fourth, bin Laden’s son Hamza, was not on the premises. The final person was bin Laden.

Before the mission commenced, the SEALs had created a checklist of code words that had a Native American theme. Each code word represented a different stage of the mission: leaving Jalalabad, entering Pakistan, approaching the compound, and so on. “Geronimo” was to signify that bin Laden had been found.

Three SEALs shuttled past Khalid’s body and blew open another metal cage, which obstructed the staircase leading to the third floor. Bounding up the unlit stairs, they scanned the railed landing. On the top stair, the lead SEAL swivelled right; with his night-vision goggles, he discerned that a tall, rangy man with a fist-length beard was peeking out from behind a bedroom door, ten feet away. The SEAL instantly sensed that it was Crankshaft. (The counterterrorism official asserts that the SEAL first saw bin Laden on the landing, and fired but missed.)

The Americans hurried toward the bedroom door. The first SEAL pushed it open. Two of bin Laden’s wives had placed themselves in front of him. Amal al-Fatah, bin Laden’s fifth wife, was screaming in Arabic. She motioned as if she were going to charge; the SEAL lowered his sights and shot her once, in the calf. Fearing that one or both women were wearing suicide jackets, he stepped forward, wrapped them in a bear hug, and drove them aside. He would almost certainly have been killed had they blown themselves up, but by blanketing them he would have absorbed some of the blast and potentially saved the two SEALs behind him. In the end, neither woman was wearing an explosive vest.

A second SEAL stepped into the room and trained the infrared laser of his M4 on bin Laden’s chest. The Al Qaeda chief, who was wearing a tan shalwar kameez and a prayer cap on his head, froze; he was unarmed. “There was never any question of detaining or capturing him—it wasn’t a split-second decision. No one wanted detainees,” the special-operations officer told me. (The Administration maintains that had bin Laden immediately surrendered he could have been taken alive.) Nine years, seven months, and twenty days after September 11th, an American was a trigger pull from ending bin Laden’s life. The first round, a 5.56-mm. bullet, struck bin Laden in the chest. As he fell backward, the SEAL fired a second round into his head, just above his left eye. On his radio, he reported, “For God and country—Geronimo, Geronimo, Geronimo.” After a pause, he added, “Geronimo E.K.I.A.”—“enemy killed in action.”

Hearing this at the White House, Obama pursed his lips, and said solemnly, to no one in particular, “We got him.”

Relaxing his hold on bin Laden’s two wives, the first SEAL placed the women in flex cuffs and led them downstairs. Two of his colleagues, meanwhile, ran upstairs with a nylon body bag. They unfurled it, knelt down on either side of bin Laden, and placed the body inside the bag. Eighteen minutes had elapsed since the DEVGRU team landed. For the next twenty minutes, the mission shifted to an intelligence-gathering operation.

Four men scoured the second floor, plastic bags in hand, collecting flash drives, CDs, DVDs, and computer hardware from the room, which had served, in part, as bin Laden’s makeshift media studio. In the coming weeks, a C.I.A.-led task force examined the files and determined that bin Laden had remained far more involved in the operational activities of Al Qaeda than many American officials had thought. He had been developing plans to assassinate Obama and Petraeus, to pull off an extravagant September 11th anniversary attack, and to attack American trains. The SEALs also found an archive of digital pornography. “We find it on all these guys, whether they’re in Somalia, Iraq, or Afghanistan,” the special-operations officer said. Bin Laden’s gold-threaded robes, worn during his video addresses, hung behind a curtain in the media room.

Outside, the Americans corralled the women and children—each of them bound in flex cuffs—and had them sit against an exterior wall that faced the second, undamaged Black Hawk. The lone fluent Arabic speaker on the assault team questioned them. Nearly all the children were under the age of ten. They seemed to have no idea about the tenant upstairs, other than that he was “an old guy.” None of the women confirmed that the man was bin Laden, though one of them kept referring to him as “the sheikh.” When the rescue Chinook eventually arrived, a medic stepped out and knelt over the corpse. He injected a needle into bin Laden’s body and extracted two bone-marrow samples. More DNA was taken with swabs. One of the bone-marrow samples went into the Black Hawk. The other went into the Chinook, along with bin Laden’s body.

Next, the SEALs needed to destroy the damaged Black Hawk. The pilot, armed with a hammer that he kept for such situations, smashed the instrument panel, the radio, and the other classified fixtures inside the cockpit. Then the demolition unit took over. They placed explosives near the avionics system, the communications gear, the engine, and the rotor head. “You’re not going to hide the fact that it’s a helicopter,” the special-operations officer said. “But you want to make it unusable.” The SEALs placed extra C-4 charges under the carriage, rolled thermite grenades inside the copter’s body, and then backed up. Helo one burst into flames while the demolition team boarded the Chinook. The women and children, who were being left behind for the Pakistani authorities, looked puzzled, scared, and shocked as they watched the SEALs board the helicopters. Amal, bin Laden’s wife, continued her harangue. Then, as a giant fire burned inside the compound walls, the Americans flew away.

In the Situation Room, Obama said, “I’m not going to be happy until those guys get out safe.” After thirty-eight minutes inside the compound, the two SEAL teams had to make the long flight back to Afghanistan. The Black Hawk was low on gas, and needed to rendezvous with the Chinook at the refuelling point that was near the Afghan border—but still inside Pakistan. Filling the gas tank took twenty-five minutes. At one point, Biden, who had been fingering a rosary, turned to Mullen, the Joint Chiefs chairman. “We should all go to Mass tonight,” he said.

The helicopters landed back in Jalalabad around 3 A.M.; McRaven and the C.I.A. station chief met the team on the tarmac. A pair of SEALs unloaded the body bag and unzipped it so that McRaven and the C.I.A. officer could see bin Laden’s corpse with their own eyes. Photographs were taken of bin Laden’s face and then of his outstretched body. Bin Laden was believed to be about six feet four, but no one had a tape measure to confirm the body’s length. So one SEAL, who was six feet tall, lay beside the corpse: it measured roughly four inches longer than the American. Minutes later, McRaven appeared on the teleconference screen in the Situation Room and confirmed that bin Laden’s body was in the bag. The corpse was sent to Bagram.

All along, the SEALs had planned to dump bin Laden’s corpse into the sea—a blunt way of ending the bin Laden myth. They had successfully pulled off a similar scheme before. During a DEVGRU helicopter raid inside Somalia in September, 2009, SEALs had killed Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, one of East Africa’s top Al Qaeda leaders; Nabhan’s corpse was then flown to a ship in the Indian Ocean, given proper Muslim rites, and thrown overboard. Before taking that step for bin Laden, however, John Brennan made a call. Brennan, who had been a C.I.A. station chief in Riyadh, phoned a former counterpart in Saudi intelligence. Brennan told the man what had occurred in Abbottabad and informed him of the plan to deposit bin Laden’s remains at sea. As Brennan knew, bin Laden’s relatives were still a prominent family in the Kingdom, and Osama had once been a Saudi citizen. Did the Saudi government have any interest in taking the body? “Your plan sounds like a good one,” the Saudi replied.

At dawn, bin Laden was loaded into the belly of a flip-wing V-22 Osprey, accompanied by a JSOC liaison officer and a security detail of military police. The Osprey flew south, destined for the deck of the U.S.S. Carl Vinson—a thousand-foot-long nuclear-powered aircraft carrier sailing in the Arabian Sea, off the Pakistani coast. The Americans, yet again, were about to traverse Pakistani airspace without permission. Some officials worried that the Pakistanis, stung by the humiliation of the unilateral raid in Abbottabad, might restrict the Osprey’s access. The airplane ultimately landed on the Vinson without incident.

Bin Laden’s body was washed, wrapped in a white burial shroud, weighted, and then slipped inside a bag. The process was done “in strict conformance with Islamic precepts and practices,” Brennan later told reporters. The JSOC liaison, the military-police contingent, and several sailors placed the shrouded body on an open-air elevator, and rode down with it to the lower level, which functions as a hangar for airplanes. From a height of between twenty and twenty-five feet above the waves, they heaved the corpse into the water.

Back in Abbottabad, residents of Bilal Town and dozens of journalists converged on bin Laden’s compound, and the morning light clarified some of the confusion from the previous night. Black soot from the detonated Black Hawk charred the wall of the animal pen. Part of the tail hung over the wall. It was clear that a military raid had taken place there. “I’m glad no one was hurt in the crash, but, on the other hand, I’m sort of glad we left the helicopter there,” the special-operations officer said. “It quiets the conspiracy mongers out there and instantly lends credibility. You believe everything else instantly, because there’s a helicopter sitting there.”

After the raid, Pakistan’s political leadership engaged in frantic damage control. In the Washington Post, President Asif Ali Zardari wrote that bin Laden “was not anywhere we had anticipated he would be, but now he is gone,” adding that “a decade of cooperation and partnership between the United States and Pakistan led up to the elimination of Osama bin Laden.”

Pakistani military officials reacted more cynically. They arrested at least five Pakistanis for helping the C.I.A., including the physician who ran the immunization drive in Abbottabad. And several Pakistani media outlets, including the Nation—a jingoistic English-language newspaper that is considered a mouthpiece for Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency, or I.S.I.—published what they claimed was the name of the C.I.A.’s station chief in Islamabad. (Shireen Mazari, a former editor of the Nation, once told me, “Our interests and the Americans’ interests don’t coincide.”) The published name was incorrect, and the C.I.A. officer opted to stay.

The proximity of bin Laden’s house to the Pakistan Military Academy raised the possibility that the military, or the I.S.I., had helped protect bin Laden. How could Al Qaeda’s chief live so close to the academy without at least some officers knowing about it? Suspicion grew after the Times reported that at least one cell phone recovered from bin Laden’s house contained contacts for senior militants belonging to Harakat-ul-Mujahideen, a jihadi group that has had close ties to the I.S.I. Although American officials have stated that Pakistani officials must have helped bin Laden hide in Abbottabad, definitive evidence has not yet been presented.

Bin Laden’s death provided the White House with the symbolic victory it needed to begin phasing troops out of Afghanistan. Seven weeks later, Obama announced a timetable for withdrawal. Even so, U.S. counterterrorism activities inside Pakistan—that is, covert operations conducted by the C.I.A. and JSOC—are not expected to diminish anytime soon. Since May 2nd, there have been more than twenty drone strikes in North and South Waziristan, including one that allegedly killed Ilyas Kashmiri, a top Al Qaeda leader, while he was sipping tea in an apple orchard.

The success of the bin Laden raid has sparked a conversation inside military and intelligence circles: Are there other terrorists worth the risk of another helicopter assault in a Pakistani city? “There are people out there that, if we could find them, we would go after them,” Cartwright told me. He mentioned Ayman al-Zawahiri, the new leader of Al Qaeda, who is believed to be in Pakistan, and Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born cleric in Yemen. Cartwright emphasized that “going after them” didn’t necessarily mean another DEVGRU raid. The special-operations officer spoke more boldly. He believes that a precedent has been set for more unilateral raids in the future. “Folks now realize we can weather it,” he said. The senior adviser to the President said that “penetrating other countries’ sovereign airspace covertly is something that’s always available for the right mission and the right gain.” Brennan told me, “The confidence we have in the capabilities of the U.S. military is, without a doubt, even stronger after this operation.”

On May 6th, Al Qaeda confirmed bin Laden’s death and released a statement congratulating “the Islamic nation” on “the martyrdom of its good son Osama.” The authors promised Americans that “their joy will turn to sorrow and their tears will mix with blood.” That day, President Obama travelled to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, where the 160th is based, to meet the DEVGRU unit and the pilots who pulled off the raid. The SEALs, who had returned home from Afghanistan earlier in the week, flew in from Virginia. Biden, Tom Donilon, and a dozen other national-security advisers came along.

McRaven greeted Obama on the tarmac. (They had met at the White House a few days earlier—the President had presented McRaven with a tape measure.) McRaven led the President and his team into a one-story building on the other side of the base. They walked into a windowless room with shabby carpets, fluorescent lights, and three rows of metal folding chairs. McRaven, Brian, the pilots from the 160th, and James took turns briefing the President. They had set up a three-dimensional model of bin Laden’s compound on the floor and, waving a red laser pointer, traced their maneuvers inside. A satellite image of the compound was displayed on a wall, along with a map showing the flight routes into and out of Pakistan. The briefing lasted about thirty-five minutes. Obama wanted to know how Ahmed had kept locals at bay; he also inquired about the fallen Black Hawk and whether above-average temperatures in Abbottabad had contributed to the crash. (The Pentagon is conducting a formal investigation of the accident.)

When James, the squadron commander, spoke, he started by citing all the forward operating bases in eastern Afghanistan that had been named for SEALs killed in combat. “Everything we have done for the last ten years prepared us for this,” he told Obama. The President was “in awe of these guys,” Ben Rhodes, the deputy national-security adviser, who travelled with Obama, said. “It was an extraordinary base visit,” he added. “They knew he had staked his Presidency on this. He knew they staked their lives on it.”

As James talked about the raid, he mentioned Cairo’s role. “There was a dog?” Obama interrupted. James nodded and said that Cairo was in an adjoining room, muzzled, at the request of the Secret Service.

“I want to meet that dog,” Obama said.

“If you want to meet the dog, Mr. President, I advise you to bring treats,” James joked. Obama went over to pet Cairo, but the dog’s muzzle was left on.

Afterward, Obama and his advisers went into a second room, down the hall, where others involved in the raid—including logisticians, crew chiefs, and SEAL alternates—had assembled. Obama presented the team with a Presidential Unit Citation and said, “Our intelligence professionals did some amazing work. I had fifty-fifty confidence that bin Laden was there, but I had one-hundred-per-cent confidence in you guys. You are, literally, the finest small-fighting force that has ever existed in the world.” The raiding team then presented the President with an American flag that had been on board the rescue Chinook. Measuring three feet by five, the flag had been stretched, ironed, and framed. The SEALs and the pilots had signed it on the back; an inscription on the front read, “From the Joint Task Force Operation Neptune’s Spear, 01 May 2011: ‘For God and country. Geronimo.’ ” Obama promised to put the gift “somewhere private and meaningful to me.” Before the President returned to Washington, he posed for photographs with each team member and spoke with many of them, but he left one thing unsaid. He never asked who fired the kill shot, and the SEALs never volunteered to tell him. ♦

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/08/08/110808fa_fact_schmidle?printable=true&currentPage=all#ixzz1UcbE1ktj

Pakistan TV Report Contradicts US Claim of Bin Laden’s Death

Pakistan TV Report Contradicts US Claim of Bin Laden’s Death
By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Global Research, August 6, 2011

In my recent article, “Creating Evidence Where There Is None,” about the alleged killing of Osama bin Laden by a commando team of US Seals in Abbottabad, Pakistan, I provided a link to a Pakistani National TV interview with Muhammad Bashir, who lives next door to the alleged “compound” of Osama bin Laden. I described the story that Bashir gave of the “attack” and its enormous difference from the one told by the US government. In Bashir’s account, every member of the landing party and anyone brought from the house died when the helicopter exploded on lift-off.  I wrote that a qualified person could easily provide a translation of the interview, but that no American print or TV news organization had investigated Bashir’s account.

An attorney with a British Master of Laws degree in international law and diplomacy, who was born in Pakistan, provided the translation below. He writes: “I have no problem with being identified as the translator, but would prefer to remain anonymous.”

The translator provides these definitions and clarifications:

“Gulley” is generally referred (in Urdu) to a sidewalk or pavement. Also for the space between two houses.

“kanal” is a traditional unit of land area, so that one kanal equals exactly 605 square yards or 1/8 Acre; this is equivalent to about 505.857 square meters.

Muhammad Bashir refers to himself as “We”. This is common respectable language for the self; to use the plural term instead of singular. The English language equivalent would be the “Royal, We”.

Urdu is the national language and lingua franca of Pakistan.

The translator:

I have translated the entire text of the video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0vo-L3VACs

I have tried my best to keep words in a chronological order, but in some cases this is not possible, as in translation words must be replaced in reverse order to make sense! However, I have had to put a few words in brackets to clarify meaning. If you want to ask about any section – please supply time stamp and I will supply a contextual text.

Video Transcript:

welcome back! – Muhammad Bashir, Abotabad Area, Bilal Town resident, Looks like an ordinary person, but he is no ordinary person! Muhammad Bashir, lives in Abotabad’s, Bilal Town Opposite Bin Laden’s House.

Night of 2nd May Muhammad Bashir was on the roof of his house, whereupon, the entire OBL, American operation was seen with his own eyes.

Last night, when our team was in Abotabad, Bilal Town, near OBL house, Muhammad Bashir approached me and said that:
“Sister, I want to tell you something that is a great burden on my heart and conscience” – Listen to what he said:

00:59 Muhammad Bashir: I.. today… would like to comment about todays Abotabad operation events, until now, what I am about to say, no person has said.

01:08: Reporter: But, Muhammad Bashir sahib appeared frightened. While speaking to me, Muhammad Bashir sahib phoned his relative; leader, M.E.A. of Jamaat-e-islami, Abotabad, Abdul Razaq Abaasi on the phone.

01:21: reporter: Tell me your name and where do you live?
Muhammad Bashir: – One minute, first I need to speak to him…I am going to give an interview, a complete interview. Shall I give a complete interview or half?
Reporter: Complete! – complete!
Muhammad Bashir: I first need to phone him, I need to speak to him
Reporter: I could of…

01:39: Reporter: Muhammad Bashir sahib, on that night’s events of the American operation, that took place, he expressed  such comments about circumstances that have never been expressed before, therefore, we checked his ID card, his place  of residence and we can confirm that he definitely lives there and we also approached senior politicians and asked about him, after hearing his comments, we were amazed – now you watch what he said.

01:57: Muhammad Bashir: The events that happened are thus; we were awake, we were not asleep.
02:00: Muhammad Bashir: a Helicopter came, and circled and dropped some people there.
02:07: Muhammad Bashir: in that house… where they are saying; Osama lives here, on that house’s roof, they dropped people, after that, the helicopter returned and went back.
02:16: Reporter: How many people were they?
02:18: Muhammad Bashir: They were ten, twelve people
02:20: Muhammad Bashir: After that it left and for approximately 20 minutes, there behind us, on those mountains, it kept going around, the top of the mountains.
02:27: After 20 minutes, it returned. When it returned, at that time there were TWO more helicopters arrived. One came from the West and one came from the North. When it approached for landing, after that…

At this point;Video cut and resumed:

02:41: Muhammad Bashir: that helicopter, there was an explosion within it and there was fire within it, immediately, we came out and arrived there. When we arrived, the helicopter was on fire, it was burning. After that, about twenty minutes later the Army arrived, the police arrived. They moved all of us back…
03:04: Muhammad Bashir: …and all the people inside it, all of them…we think; if Osama was inside it, or inside this house – then who took him to the Americans?
03:16: Muhammad Bashir: Because America…the helicopters that America is saying; IT carried out the operation. If America did this operation and it’s army came and it’s helicopter came, then that helicopter that came from the American’s, within that, all the people that came, those people with the explosion were finished, got destroyed!
03:35: Muhammad Bashir: Within it, there was fire, those people, all of them died!
03:39: and if Osama was there, they would have put him in the helicopter. Obviously, if the helicopter caught fire, Osama could have died there. If their own people were gone, (dead) so could have Osama. After that, the fallen helicopter was destroyed after this, how can Osama be, with them in America? this is a strange thing!

Video cut & resumes
03:59: Muhammad Bashir: They are saying we killed Osama here. After that, they picked him up and took him away.
04:04: Muhammad Bashir: PICKED HIM UP AND TOOK HIM AWAY – how did they do this? This, what we are thinking!
04:07: Muhammad Bashir: The Americans’ helicopter that came, that fell here and got destroyed!
04:09: Reporter: There was only ONE helicopter?
04:11: Muhammad Bashir: ONE helicopter landed down here, the second helicopter came from above and went towards Mansera. It did not land. No second helicopter landed!
04:20: Only ONE helicopter, that first dropped it’s passengers, the SAME returned to pick the people and there was an explosion within it.
04:27: Reporter: People were inside it?
04:29: Muhammad Bashir: People were inside it!
04:30: Reporter: How do you know this?
04:32: Muhammad Bashir: These people, we seen them all
04:34: Reporter: In the helicopter… you saw dead people?
04:36: Muhammad Bashir: We saw dead people!
04:38: Reporter:How many people?
04:39: Muhammad Bashir: This, we could not count, within the compound there was fire.
04:43: Muhammad Bashir: and we… the gate was open, we entered the gate, at that time the Army had not arrived.
04:48: Muhammad Bashir: Police had not arrived. Some people from the agencies, were present, but they did not prevent anybody, they kept entering, every person was looking , now, nobody is saying, but everyone from the mohalla (neighbourhood) and all the people present from the mohalla arrived first. We saw the gate open, we entered inside, saw the burning helicopter, the people inside were dead. After that everything was lifted. Now, there is nothing there!
05:16: Reporter: How many dead bodies did you see?
05:18: Muhammad Bashir: Look, you cannot count, the dead bodies were in pieces everything else was broken pieces, some here, some there, some broken, some half, some like this.
05:27: Reporter: Tell me fully – what happened?
06:30: Reporter: Tell me the full events
05:31: Muhammad Bashir: I told you, this is…
05:32: Reporter: You did not…I cannot believe this, that’s why.
05:36: Muhammad Bashir: Look, what I have said – that’s it!

Video Cut!
05:39: Reporter: When you saw the American craft, (Helicopter) what did you think, why they came here?
05:42: Muhammad Bashir: We thought… this is it…why did they came? we thought why did they come? maybe..we… did not expect them to do anything, we thought maybe our Army is arriving at some centre and the army people were sleeping, there was no explosions or events taking place, nothing was happening, everybody was sleeping, for 20 minutes or so…
06:05: Reporter: The craft landed in front of your house, how did you feel about this?
06:08: Muhammad Bashir: I thought..just…understand…imagine..we thought we’re dead!

Video cut:
06:13: Reporter: But, how did the Americans return?
06:16: Muhammad Bashir: This is what I am saying; their Craft came and the helicopter was destroyed, HOW, could they return?
06:22: Reporter: Tell me this; you say, that you saw the dead bodies yourself….
06:25: Muhammad Bashir: one more thing, Madam, may I tell you;The people who were dropped from the craft, That walkway … that ..where our gates are…they banged them hard…and shouted… don’t come out…don’t do this, don’t do that, if you come out you will be shot..we will do this, we will do that, all the people who were dropped, all of them spoke Pashtu (Afgahni Language) – Pakhtun!
06:49: Reporter: Who were these people?
06:49: Muhammad Bashir: This I do not know! Those who were dropped from the craft (helicopter), those people.
06:54: Reporter: This, somebody else told me – that they spoke Pashtu.
06:57: Muhammad Bashir: They WERE Pashtun! we do not know if they were working for the Americans, we do not know if they were working for Pakistan, we do not know if they were army people or civilian, what people, BUT they SPOKE PASHTU!
07:07: Reporter: You said you heard they were asking for Osama?
07:09: Muhammad Bashir: No, they didn’t ask me about Osama, they just said, do not come out, if you come out from your house, we will shoot you!
07:16: Reporter: Were these Pakistani people?
Muhammad Bashir: who?
07:18: Reporter: The ones who were saying that if you come out, we will shoot you.
07:20: Muhammad Bashir: They said that in Pashtu!
07:22: Reporter: so did they..were you coming out…exactly where were you, where was you standing when this happened?
07:26: Muhammad Bashir: Inside the house, on top of the roof, I was not in the house, just on top of the (flat)roof
07:29: Reporter: from Above the roof these people in the helicopter…
07:30: Muhammad Bashir: I was on the roof, sitting, no, lying down, on the roof,lying and watching this and what was
happening
07:37: Reporter: Fear, was you not afraid? did you not think to phone someone?
07:40: Muhammad Bashir: From the house, They were calling me from downstairs, the children were calling me, come down, come down, and I told them stop making noise! go into your rooms, I am watching what is happening. Afterwards, I found out about this, that, Osama was killed here!
07:53: Reporter: How did you get inside? (the compound)
Muhammad Bashir: where?
Reporter: when there was fire.
Muhammad Bashir: the gate was open, when there was fire, the gate was open.
08:02: Reporter: The house gate was open?
08:03: Muhammad Bashir: The outer gate, the big gate, was open.
08:06: Reporter: You came from upstairs to downstairs?
08:08: Muhammad Bashir: I came down, from my own house into the gulley, I didn’t go alone inside the other house, 200 other people went inside! Everybody saw it!
08:15: Reporter: All 200 saw the dead bodies?
08:17: Muhammad Bashir: Everybody saw this.Whoever went inside they saw everything!
08:20: Reporting:the events at that time that are in your mind, please express them.
08:28: Muhammad Bashir: I have told you this and this, in my mind, this is what I have seen, when we were there, when we
entered the gate, When the helicopter exploded, it scattered everywhere, one piece fell over there, one fell here, one
here, a lot of pieces fell in the gulley outside, they reached up to the gulley and our house and also some pieces managed to reach onto my roof. so, the area of the open space there (in front of the house) is about four Kanal in
size. It is a very large compound. You cannot see all of it from one location. Four Kanal is a big area, only in a small area you could possibly see everything. There I saw some people, in broken pieces, someone’s leg, someone’s arm,
someone’s torso, someone’s head. Beside this, I did not see intensely, who are they, how are they, because I thought that one of our own craft had fallen and the people within it were our own people. Because they spoke Pashtu they could be pakistani.
09:35: Muhammad Bashir: but language does not necessarily mean.. by speaking it…the American language could be spoken, the agents can speak all sorts of languages. It could be that it is the American army and they could speak Pashtu and the people would think that it is our own people.
09:54: Reporter: Seeing the dead bodies – did you not feel fear?
09:57: Muhammad Bashir: But we were thinking about ourselves at the time, but seeing the dead bodies who felt  frightened?
10:00: Reporter: When you went inside, what did you do after that, how did you come out?
10:02: Muhammad Bashir: we came out, our Army reached there, when the army arrived, they moved all the people back. Move
aside, move aside! So we moved aside.Then they closed the area down.
10:13: Reporter: did Rais see this?
Muhammad Bashir: What?
Reporter: where was your cousin?
10:18: Muhammad Bashir: My cousin was at that time in the house.
10:20: Reporter: Did he go with you?
10:21: Muhammad Bashir: He was with me, but I did not notice when he was picked up.
10:28: Reporter: Has he returned yet?
10:29: Muhammad Bashir: Yes, he has returned. They picked him up and took him away.
10:32: Reporter: What is he saying?
10:34:Muhammad Bashir: I have not met him yet, he is at home they will not let him come out, we are not allowed to visit him, they will not let him come out.We have not met.
10:40: Reporter: You was not able find out, but since when have you been allowed out.
10:45: Muhammad Bashir: I did not go home, by going home…

Reporter:You have seen the fire you have seen the bodies how long did you stay there?
Muhammad Bashir: approximately, after five or six minutes, I left and came out..five, six minute..what happened …. the reason we left, was that after we entered, there was another small explosion, I do not know if the engine fail and there was another fire, it was a small explosion, after this explosion all the people ran out.
11:06: Muhammad Bashir: when we went out, nobody let us go back in again.
11:11: Reporter: Besides you, why is nobody else saying these things? why are you alone in this?
11:16: Muhammad Bashir: Look, what we have seen, that is what we are saying and we are speaking for this reason that, we are sad that such humble and nice people of our town, that has never seen such events, no fighting, no arguments, no animosity, No murders, such nice people of ours in this town and they have been branded as terrorists.
11:43: Reporter: Tell me; two helicopters came, lifted and took the rest of the people?
11:46:Muhammad Bashir: No – they did not take the rest of the people, because they did not even land, One came from the West and it left towards the North, the one that came from the North, left towards the South. They did not land!

12:00: Studio Reporter: these events that we showed you from Abotabad, there are many more things that we discovered about the compound where OBL was staying, there were vegetables planted there, what kind of vegetables, the person who grows the vegetables is the cousin of this person (Muhammad Bashir), whose interview we have shown. An extraordinary thing that he has said and he has sworn repeatedly on the veracity of his statement. this is from his own account and upon this account do view this. Yesterday we found out and it has been confirmed that there were two Ashfaq’s who lived there (in the compound):Mr Arshad and Mr Tariq who went shopping locally and used to buy international brands, the items they found in the house, dry dates, dried meat and things like this, this person who you saw in the interview in his house there was food from OBL’s house, he was given Kaabli Pillau (Rice) and such items were presented to him, There the view of local mosque people, what they think of OBL all these things we will present to you in an exclusive program an important newsbeat, todays time is finishing, do write to us at newsbeat@samaa.tv where you can get other information as well and you can join us at newsbeat with Fareeha Idrees thats my favourite bit, do write to us, the time is up now, By your permission to leave, take care of yourself, In Allah’s care.

13:20: Reporter: I am now at standing in front of Abdullah Bin Zubair Mosque, this is the same mosque that is within walking distance from OBL’s house. Are you saying that if people found out that OBL was living here, would they be happy?
1st man: Possibly, people could be happy.
2nd man: He wasn’t living here, but he was a Muslim, he believed in Allah.

End of translation

Anyone fluent in Urdu who wishes to dispute the translation should do so.

I asked the translator if he might contact the Pakistani news organization and inquire if the reporters had further investigated Bashir’s story. He replied that he could do so, but exactly 24 hours later “for some unknown reason” the news organization started to discredit Bashir by connecting “him to his cousin, who is accused of receiving foodstuffs from the household of OBL.”  

Bashir’s cousin is the person who, according to the reporter (see 12:00 time line) had a vegetable garden inside the wall of the alleged bin Laden compound. Is it likely that with a hunted and dangerous person hiding within, locals would be permitted to have vegetable gardens inside the compound?  The cousin’s vegetable garden obviously had to be redefined as “receiving foodstuffs from OBL.”

The translator offers his view on the 13:20 timeline:

“The final seconds of the video clip contain random people to generate and show some kind of sympathy with OBL in the district.
“It would be very difficult to find people in Pakistan who sympathise with OBL or the Taliban. The only people who do sympathise are the poor illiterate people who do not know about the religion and can easily be convinced of a distorted version of Islam.

Therefore, the closing part of the video contains, out of context expressions:

“1st man: Possibly, people could be happy. (Meaning it is possible that SOME people could be happy.)
2nd man: He wasn’t living here, but he was a Muslim, he believed in Allah. (Meaning; he claimed to be Muslim, so he must have believed in Allah.)

“Therefore, it seems that although initially, the TV station was overjoyed with this interview, they changed their tune, twenty four hours later. (for some unknown reason.)”

Readers can arrive at their own conclusions.  It seems clear that under intense pressure and serious threats from the US government, the Pakistani government fell in line with the US government’s claim that a commando raid had killed bin Laden and all had returned safely, and that the TV news organization also got the message to get in line.

It is likely that the many witnesses who observed the dead from the helicopter crash have been warned to keep quiet. However, a news organization, should one be so inclined, could certainly interview Bashir and the 200 others who saw the dead bodies. A good reporter, perhaps accompanied by trained psychologists, would be able to tell if people were lying out of fear and encourage some to speak anonymously.

I am confident that no news organization believes that it could confront such an important US national myth in this way.  The killing of bin Laden satisfies the emotional need for revenge and justice.  In the least, a news organization that challenged the government’s story would be cut off from all government sources and be denounced by politicians and a large percentage of the US population as an anti-American terrorist-serving organization.

OBL’s death will remain one of those many “truths” that rest on nothing but the government’s word.

The Mysterious Death of Osama bin Laden: Creating Evidence Where There Is None

The Mysterious Death of Osama bin Laden: Creating Evidence Where There Is None

By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts
Global Research, August 4, 2011

The New Yorker  has published a story planted on Nicholas Schmidle by unidentified sources who claim to be familiar with the alleged operation that murdered Osama bin Laden.

There is no useful information in the story. Its purpose seems simply to explain away or cover up holes in the original story, principally why did the Seals murder an unarmed, unresisting Osama bin Laden whose capture would have resulted in a goldmine of terrorist information and whose show trial would have rescued the government’s crumbling 9/11 story?

The gullible Schmidle tells us: “‘There was never any question of detaining or capturing him–it wasn’t a split-second decision. No one wanted detainees,’ the special-operations officer told me.” In other words, the SEALs murdered bin Laden, because the US government did not want detainees, not because trigger-happy stupid SEALs destroyed a font of terrorist information.

Why did the SEALS dump bin Laden’s body in the ocean instead of producing the evidence to a skeptical world?

No real explanation, just that SEALS had done the same thing to other victims. Schmidle writes: “All along, the SEALs had planned to dump bin Laden’s corpse into the sea–a blunt way of ending the bin Laden myth.” But before they did so, the US checked with an unidentified Saudi intelligence operative, who allegedly replied, “Your plan sounds like a good one.”
I mean, really.

After all of Sy Hersh’s New Yorker revelations of US government lies and plots, one can understand the pressure that might have been applied to the New Yorker to publish this fairy tale. But what is extraordinary is that there was a real story that Schmidle and the New Yorker could have investigated.

In the immediate aftermath of bin Laden’s alleged murder by the SEALs, Pakistani TV interviewed the next door neighbor to bin Laden’s alleged compound. Someone supplied the video with an English translation running at the bottom of the video. According to the translation, the next door neighbor, Mr. Bashir, said that he watched the entire operation from the roof of his house. There were 3 helicopters. Only 1 landed. About a dozen men got out and entered the house.
They shortly returned and boarded the helicopter. When the helicopter lifted off it exploded, killing all aboard. Mr. Bashir reports seeing bodies and pieces of bodies all over.

The US government acknowledges that it lost a helicopter, but claims no one was hurt. Obviously, as there were no further landings, if everyone was killed as Mr. Bashir reports, there was no body to be dumped into the ocean.

A real investigation would begin with Mr. Bashir’s interview. Was he actually saying what the English translation reported? I have not been able to find the interview with the English translation, but I believe this is the interview that I saw. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0vo-L3VACs  

Surely there is a qualified interpreter who can tell us what Mr. Bashir is saying. If the English translation that I saw is not a hoax, then we are presented with a story totally different from the one the government told us and repeated again through Mr. Schmidle.

If the English translation of Mr. Bashir’s interview is correct, one would think that there would be some interest on the part of US news organizations and on the part of the intelligence committees in Congress to question Mr. Bashir and his neighbors, many of whom are also interviewed on Pakistani TV saying that they have lived in Abbottabad all their lives and are absolutely certain that Osama bin Laden was not among them. 

Mr. Schmidle goes to lengths to describe the SEALs’ weapons, although his story makes it clear that no weapons were needed as bin Laden is described as “unarmed” and undefended. The “startled” bin Laden didn’t even hear the helicopters or all the SEALs coming up the stairs. In addition to all his fatal illnesses which most experts believe killed him a decade ago, bin Laden must have been deaf as neighbors report that the sound of the helicopters was “intense.”

When Pakistanis on the scene in Abbottabad report a totally different story from the one that reaches us second and third hand from unidentified operatives speaking to reporters in the US who have never been to Abbottabad, shouldn’t someone qualified look into the story?

The US-Al Qaeda Alliance: Bosnia, Kosovo and Now Libya

The US-Al Qaeda Alliance: Bosnia, Kosovo and Now Libya


Washington’s On-Going Collusion with Terrorists
by Prof. Peter Dale Scott
Global Research, July 29, 2011
The Asia-Pacific Journal Vol 9, Issue 31 No 1, August 1, 2011

Twice in the last two decades, significant cuts in U.S. and western military spending were foreseen: first after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and then in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. But both times military spending soon increased, and among the factors contributing to the increase were America’s interventions in new areas: the Balkans in the 1990s, and Libya today.1 Hidden from public view in both cases was the extent to which al-Qaeda was a covert U.S. ally in both interventions, rather than its foe.

U.S. interventions in the Balkans and then Libya were presented by the compliant U.S. and allied mainstream media as humanitarian. Indeed, some Washington interventionists may have sincerely believed this. But deeper motivations – from oil to geostrategic priorities – were also at work in both instances.

In virtually all the wars since 1989, America and Islamist factions have been battling to determine who will control the heartlands of Eurasia in the post-Soviet era. In some countries – Somalia in 1993, Afghanistan in 2001 – the conflict has been straightforward, with each side using the other’s excesses as an excuse for intervention.

But there have been other interventions in which Americans have used al-Qaeda as a resource to increase their influence, for example Azerbaijan in 1993. There a pro-Moscow president was ousted after large numbers of Arab and other foreign mujahedin veterans were secretly imported from Afghanistan, on an airline hastily organized by three former veterans of the CIA’s airline Air America. (The three, all once detailed from the Pentagon to the CIA, were Richard Secord, Harry Aderholt, and Ed Dearborn.)2 This was an ad hoc marriage of convenience: the mujahedin got to defend Muslims against Russian influence in the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, while the Americans got a new president who opened up the oilfields of Baku to western oil companies.

The pattern of U.S. collaboration with Muslim fundamentalists against more secular enemies is not new. It dates back to at least 1953, when the CIA recruited right-wing mullahs to overthrow Prime Minister Mossadeq in Iran, and also began to cooperate with the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood.3 But in Libya in 2011 we see a more complex marriage of convenience between US and al-Qaeda elements: one which repeats a pattern seen in Bosnia in 1992-95, and Kosovo in 1997-98.
In those countries America responded to a local conflict in the name of a humanitarian intervention to restrain the side committing atrocities. But in all three cases both sides committed atrocities, and American intervention in fact favored the side allied with al-Qaeda.

The cause of intervention was fostered in all three cases by blatant manipulation and falsification of the facts. What a historian has noted of the Bosnian conflict was true also of Kosovo and is being echoed today in Libya: though attacks were “perpetrated by Serbs and Muslims alike,” the pattern in western media was “that killings of Muslims were newsworthy, while the deaths of non-Muslims were not.”4 Reports of mass rapes in the thousands proved to be wildly exaggerated: a French journalist “uncovered only four women willing to back up the story.”5 Meanwhile in 1994 the French intellectual Bernard-Henri Lévy (BHL) traveled to Bosnia and fervently endorsed the case for intervention in Bosnia; in 2011 February BHL traveled to Benghazi and reprised his interventionist role for Libya.6

In all of the countries mentioned above, furthermore, there are signs that some American and/or western intelligence groups were collaborating with al-Qaeda elements from the outset of conflict, before the atrocities cited as a reason for intervention.. This suggests that there were deeper reasons for America’s interventions including the desire of western oil companies to exploit the petroleum reserves of Libya (as in Iraq) without having to deal with a troublesome and powerful strong man, or their desire to create a strategic oil pipeline across the Balkans (in Kosovo).7

That the U.S. would support al-Qaeda in terrorist atrocities runs wholly counter to impressions created by the U.S. media. Yet this on-going unholy alliance resurrects and builds on the alliance underlying Zbigniew Brzezinski’s 1978-79 strategy of provocation in Afghanistan, at a time when he was President Carter’s National Security Adviser.

In those years Brzezinski did not hesitate to play the terrorist card against the Soviet Union: he reinforced the efforts of the SAVAK (the Shah of Iran’s intelligence service) to work with the Islamist antecedents of al-Qaeda to destabilize Afghanistan, in a way which soon led to a Soviet invasion of that country.8 At the time, as he later boasted, Brzezinski told Carter, “We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam War.”9

CIA Director William Casey continued this strategy of using terrorists against the USSR in Afghanistan. At first the CIA channeled aid through the Pakistani ISI (Interservices Intelligence Service) to their client Afghan extremists like Gulbeddin Hekmatyar (today one of America’s enemies in Afghanistan). But in 1986, “Casey committed CIA support to a long-standing ISI initiative to recruit radical Muslims from around the world to come to Pakistan and fight with the Afghan Mujaheddin.”10
CIA aid now reached their support Office of Services in Peshawar, headed by a Palestinian, Abdullah Azzam, and by Osama bin Laden. The al-Kifah Center, a U.S. recruitment office for their so-called Arab-Afghan foreign legion (the future al Qaeda), was set up in the al-Farook mosque in Brooklyn.11

It is important to recall Brzezinski’s and Casey’s use of terrorists today. For in Libya, as earlier in Kosovo and Bosnia, there are alarming signs that America has continued to underwrite Islamist terrorism as a means to dismantle socialist or quasi-socialist nations not previously in its orbit: first the USSR, then Yugoslavia, today Libya. As I have written elsewhere, Gaddafi was using the wealth of Libya, the only Mediterranean nation still armed by Russia and independent of the NATO orbit, to impose more and more difficult terms for western oil companies, and to make the whole of Africa more independent of Europe and America.12

Support for the mujahedin included collusion in law-breaking, at a heavy cost. In the second part of this essay, I will show how government protection of key figures in the Brooklyn al-Kifah Center left some of them free, even after they were known to have committed crimes, to engage in further terrorist acts in the United States — such as the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993.

The U.S.-al-Qaeda Alliance in Libya

The NATO intervention in Libya has been presented as a humanitarian campaign. But it is not: both factions have been committing atrocities. Thanks in part to the efforts of the well-connected p.r. firm the Harbour Group, working on behalf of the Benghazi opposition’s National Transitional Council [NTC], Americans have heard many more press accounts of atrocities by pro-Gaddafi forces in Libya than by the Benghazi opposition.13 But in fact, as the London Daily Telegraph reported,

Under rebel control, Benghazi residents are terrorized, many “too frightened to drive through the dark streets at night, fearing a shakedown or worse at the proliferating checkpoints.”

Moreover, about 1.5 million black African migrant workers feel trapped under suspicion of supporting the wrong side. Numbers of them have been attacked, some hunted down, dragged from apartments, beaten and killed. So-called “revolutionaries” and “freedom fighters” are, in fact, rampaging gunmen committing atrocities airbrushed from mainstream reports, unwilling to reveal the new Libya if Gaddafi is deposed.14

Thomas Mountain concurs that “Since the rebellion in Benghazi broke out several hundred Sudanese, Somali, Ethiopian and Eritrean guest workers have been robbed and murdered by racist rebel militias, a fact well hidden by the international media.”15 Such reports have continued.
Recently, Human Rights Watch accused the rebels of killing Gaddafi supporters who were just civilians and looting, burning and ransacking pro-Gaddafi supporters’ houses and areas.16

Americans and Europeans are still less likely to learn from their media that among the groups in the Benghazi transitional coalition, certainly the most battle-seasoned, are veterans of the Al-Jama’a al-Islamiyyah al-Muqatilah bi-Libya (Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, or LIFG). The importance of the LIFG contingent in the TNC has been downplayed in a recent issue of the International Business Times:

The LIFG is a radical Islamic group which has been fighting small scale guerrilla warfare against Gaddafi for almost a decade. Much of the LIFG leadership came from soldiers who fought against the Soviet forces in Afghanistan, as part of the Mujahedeen. Since the beginning of the uprising reports said that some of the LIFG has joined the TNC rebel movement on the ground, and many accused the fighters of having links to Al-Qaeda, which the LIFG has since denied.

Previously however, the LIFG had stated that its ultimate goal is to install an Islamic state inside Libya, which given the fact that many of its fighters are now on the side of the TNC is quite worrying. However as the LIFG is reported to have a fighting force of no more than a few thousand men, it is believed it will not be able to cause much trouble within the opposition.17

It remains to be seen whether a victorious TNC would be able to contain the Islamist aspirations of the ruthless jihadist veterans in their ranks.

There are those who fear that, from their years of combat in Afghanistan and Iraq, the battle-hardened LIFG, although probably not dominant in the Benghazi coalition today, will come to enjoy more influence if Benghazi ever gets to distribute the spoils of victory. In February 2004, then-Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee that “one of the most immediate threats [to U.S. security in Iraq] is from smaller international Sunni extremist groups that have benefited from al-Qaida links. They include … the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group.”18 In 2007 a West Point study reported on “the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group’s (LIFG) increasingly cooperative relationship with al-Qaeda, which culminated in the LIFG officially joining al-Qaeda on November 3, 2007.”19

Although Britain and the US were well aware of the West Point assessment of the hard-core LIFG in the Benghazi TNC coalition, their special forces nevertheless secretly backed the Benghazi TNC, even before the launch of NATO air support:

The bombing of the country came as it was revealed that hundreds of British special forces troops have been deployed deep inside Libya targeting Colonel Gaddafi’s forces – and more are on standby….

In total it is understood that just under 250 UK special forces soldiers and their support have been in Libya since before the launch of air strikes to enforce the no-fly zone against Gaddafi’s forces.20

There are also reports that U.S. Special Forces were also sent into Libya on February 23 and 24, 2011, almost a month before the commencement of NATO bombing.21

UK support for the fundamentalist LIFG was in fact at least a decade old:

Fierce clashes between [Qadhafi’s] security forces and Islamist guerrillas erupted in Benghazi in September 1995, leaving dozens killed on both sides. After weeks of intense fighting, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) formally declared its existence in a communiqué calling Qadhafi’s government “an apostate regime that has blasphemed against the faith of God Almighty” and declaring its overthrow to be “the foremost duty after faith in God.” This and future LIFG communiqués were issued by Libyan Afghans who had been granted political asylum in Britain…. The involvement of the British government in the LIFG campaign against Qadhafi remains the subject of immense controversy. LIFG’s next big operation, a failed attempt to assassinate Qadhafi in February 1996 that killed several of his bodyguards, was later said to have been financed by British intelligence to the tune of $160,000, according to ex-MI5 officer David Shayler.22

David Shayler’s detailed account has been challenged, but many other sources reveal that UK support for Libyan jihadists long antedates the present conflict.23

Even more ominous for the future than the nationalistic LIFG may be the fighters from the more internationalist Al Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM) who have seized the opportunity presented by the war to enter the conflict, and equip themselves from Gaddafi’s looted armories.24 AQIM presents a special concern because of recent reports that, like other al Qaeda associates from Afghanistan to Kosovo, it is increasingly financed by payoffs from regional drug traffickers.25

In short, the NATO campaign in Libya is in support of a coalition in which the future status of present and former al-Qaeda allies is likely to be strengthened.26 And western forces have been secretly supporting them from the outset.

The U.S.-al-Qaeda Alliance in Bosnia

Similarly, Clinton’s interventions in Bosnia and Kosovo were presented as humanitarian. But both sides had committed atrocities in those conflicts; Like the western media, Washington downplayed the Muslim atrocities because of its other interests.

Most Americans are aware that Clinton dispatched U.S. forces to Bosnia to enforce the Dayton peace accords after a well-publicized Serbian atrocity: the massacre of thousands of Muslims at Srebrenica. Thanks to a vigorous campaign by the p.r. firm Ruder Finn, Americans heard a great deal about the Srebrenica massacre, but far less about the beheadings and other atrocities by Muslims that preceded and helped account for it.

A major reason for the Serb attack on Srebrenica was to deal with the armed attacks mounted from that base on nearby villages: “intelligence sources said it was that harassment which precipitated the Serb attack on the 1,500 Muslim defenders inside the enclave.”27 General Philippe Morillon, commander of the UN troops in Bosnia from 1992 to 1993, testified to the ICTY (International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia) that Muslim forces based in Srebrenica had “engaged in attacks during Orthodox holidays and destroyed villages, massacring all the inhabitants. This created a degree of hatred that was quite extraordinary in the region”28 According to Prof. John Schindler,

Between May and December 1992, Muslim forces repeatedly attacked Serb villages around Srebrenica, killing and torturing civilians; some were mutilated and burned alive. Even pro-Sarajevo accounts concede that Muslim forces in Srebrenica…murdered over 1,300 Serbs…and had “ethnically cleansed a vast area.29

Former U.S. ambassador to Croatia Peter Galbraith later admitted in an interview that the U.S. administration was aware of “small numbers of atrocities” being committed by the foreign mujahedin in Bosnia, but dismissed the atrocities as “in the scheme of things not a big issue.”30

Other sources reveal that Washington gave a tacit green light to Croatia’s arming and augmentation of the Muslim presence in Srebrenica.31 Soon C-130 Hercules planes. some but not all of them Iranian, were dropping arms to the Muslims, in violation of the international arms embargo which the U.S. officially respected. More Arab-Afghan mujahedin arrived as well. Many of the airdrops and some of the mujahedin were at Tuzla, 70 kilometers from Srebrenica.32

According to The Spectator (London), the Pentagon was using other countries such as Turkey and Iran in this flow of arms and warriors:

From 1992 to 1995, the Pentagon assisted with the movement of thousands of Mujahideen and other Islamic elements from Central Asia into Europe, to fight alongside Bosnian Muslims against the Serbs. …. As part of the Dutch government’s inquiry into the Srebrenica massacre of July 1995, Professor Cees Wiebes of Amsterdam University compiled a report entitled ‘Intelligence and the War in Bosnia’, published in April 2002. In it he details the secret alliance between the Pentagon and radical Islamic groups from the Middle East, and their efforts to assist Bosnia’s Muslims. By 1993, there was a vast amount of weapons-smuggling through Croatia to the Muslims, organised by ‘clandestine agencies’ of the USA, Turkey and Iran, in association with a range of Islamic groups that included Afghan Mujahideen and the pro-Iranian Hezbollah. Arms bought by Iran and Turkey with the financial backing of Saudi Arabia were airlifted from the Middle East to Bosnia — airlifts with which, Wiebes points out, the USA was ‘very closely involved’.33

Cees Wiebes’ detailed account, based on years of research, documents both the case for American responsibility and the vigorous American denials of it:

At 17.45 on 10 February 1995, the Norwegian Captain Ivan Moldestad, a Norwegian helicopter detachment (NorAir) pilot, stood in the doorway of his temporary accommodation just outside Tuzla. It was dark, and suddenly he heard the sound of the propellers of an approaching transport aircraft; it was unmistakably a four engine Hercules C-130. Moldestad noticed that the Hercules was being escorted by two jet fighters, but could not tell their precise type in the darkness. There were other sightings of this secretive night-time flight to Tuzla Air Base (TAB). A sentry who was on guard duty outside the Norwegian medical UN unit in Tuzla also heard and saw the lights of the Hercules and the accompanying jet fighters. Other UN observers, making use of night vision equipment, also saw the cargo aircraft and the fighter planes concerned. The reports were immediately forwarded to the NATO Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC) in Vicenza and the UNPF Deny Flight Cell in Naples. When Moldestad phoned Vicenza, he was told that there was nothing in the air that night, and that he must be mistaken. When Moldestad persisted, the connection was broken.

The secretive C-130 cargo aircraft flights and night-time arms drops on Tuzla caused great agitation within UNPROFOR and the international community in February and March 1995. When asked, a British general responded with great certainty to the question of the origin of the secret supplies via TAB: ‘They were American arms deliveries. No doubt about that. And American private companies were involved in these deliveries.’ This was no surprising answer, because this general had access to intelligence gathered by a unit of the British Special Air Services (SAS) in Tuzla. The aircraft had come within range of this unit’s special night vision equipment, and the British saw them land. It was a confirmation that a clandestine American operation had taken place in which arms, ammunition and military communication equipment were supplied to the ABiH. These night-time operations led to much consternation within the UN and NATO, and were the subject of countless speculations.34
Wiebes reports the possibility that the C-130s, some of which were said to have taken off from a US Air Force base in Germany, were actually controlled by Turkish authorities.35   But U.S. involvement was detected in the elaborate cover-up, from the fact that US AWACS aircraft, which should have provided a record of the secret flights, were either withdrawn from duty at the relevant times, or manned with US crews.36

A summary of Wiebes’ exhaustive report was published in the Guardian:

The Dutch report reveals how the Pentagon formed a secret alliance with Islamist groups in an Iran-Contra-style operation.

US, Turkish and Iranian intelligence groups worked with the Islamists in what the Dutch report calls the “Croatian pipeline”. Arms bought by Iran and Turkey and financed by Saudi Arabia were flown into Croatia initially by the official Iranian airline, Iran Air, and later in a fleet of black C-130 Hercules aircraft.

The report says that mojahedin fighters were also flown in, and that the US was “very closely involved” in the operation which was in flagrant breach of the embargo. British secret services obtained documents proving that Iran also arranged deliveries of arms directly to Bosnia, it says.

The operation was promoted by the Pentagon, rather than the CIA, which was cautious about using Islamist groups as a conduit for arms, and about breaching the embargo. When the CIA tried to place its own people on the ground in Bosnia, the agents were threatened by the mojahedin fighters and the Iranians who were training them.

The UN relied on American intelligence to monitor the embargo, a dependency which allowed Washington to manipulate it at will.37

Meanwhile the Al-Kifah Center in Brooklyn, which in the 1980s had supported the “Arab-Afghans” fighting in Afghanistan, turned its attentions to Bosnia.

Al-Kifah’s English-language newsletter Al-Hussam (The Sword) also began publishing regular updates on jihad action in Bosnia….Under the control of the minions of Shaykh Omar Abdel Rahman, the newsletter aggressively incited sympathetic Muslims to join the jihad in Bosnia and Afghanistan themselves….The Al-Kifah Bosnian branch office in Zagreb, Croatia, housed in a modern, two-story building, was evidently in close communication with the organizational headquarters in New York.
The deputy director of the Zagreb office, Hassan Hakim, admitted to receiving all orders and funding directly from the main United States office of Al-Kifah on Atlantic Avenue controlled by Shaykh Omar Abdel Rahman.38

One of the trainers at al-Kifah, Rodney Hampton-El, assisted in this support program, recruiting warriors from U.S. Army bases like Fort Belvoir, and also training them to be fighters in New Jersey.39 In 1995 Hampton-El was tried and convicted for his role (along with al-Kifah leader Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman) in the plot to blow up New York landmarks. At the trial Hampton-El testified how he was personally given thousands of dollars for this project by Saudi Crown Prince Faisal in the Washington Saudi Embassy.40

About this time, Ayman al-Zawahiri, today the leader of al Qaeda, came to America to raise funds in Silicon Valley, where he was hosted by Ali Mohamed, a U.S. double agent and veteran of U.S. Army Special Forces who had been the top trainer at the Al-Kifah mosque.41 Almost certainly al-Zawahiri’s fund-raising was in support of the mujahedin in Bosnia, reportedly his chief concern at the time. (“The Asian edition of the Wall Street Journal reported that, in 1993, Mr. bin Laden had appointed Sheik Ayman Al-Zawahiri, the al-Qaeda’s second-in-command, to direct his operations in the Balkans.”)42

Wiebes’ detailed report and the news stories based on it corroborated earlier charges made in 1997 by Sir Alfred Sherman, top adviser to Margaret Thatcher and co-founder of the influential rightwing nationalist Centre for Policy Studies, that “The U.S. encouraged and facilitated the dispatch of arms to the Moslems via Iran and Eastern Europe — a fact which was denied in Washington at the time in face of overwhelming evidence.”43 This was part of his case that

The war in Bosnia was America’s war in every sense of the word. The US administration helped start it, kept it going, and prevented its early end. Indeed all the indications are that it intends to continue the war in the near future, as soon as its Moslem proteges are fully armed and trained.

Specifically, Sherman charged that in 1992 Acting Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger had instructed Warren Zimmerman, U.S. Ambassador in Belgrade, to persuade Bosnian President Izetbegovic to renege on his agreement to preserve Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian unity, and instead accept American aid for an independent Bosnian state.44

The U.S.-al-Qaeda Alliance in Kosovo

This raises the disturbing question: were some Americans willing to ignore the atrocities of the al-Kifah mujahideen in Bosnia in exchange for mujahideen assistance in NATO’s successive wars dismantling Yugoslavia, the last surviving socialist republic in Europe? One thing is clear: Sir Alfred Sherman’s prediction in 1997 that America “intends to continue the war in the near future” soon proved accurate, when in 1999 American support for al-Qaeda’s allies in Kosovo, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), led to a controversial NATO bombing campaign.

As was widely reported at the time, the KLA was supported both by the networks of bin Laden and al-Zawahiri, and also by the traffic in Afghan heroin:

Some members of the Kosovo Liberation Army, which has financed its war effort through the sale of heroin, were trained in terrorist camps run by international fugitive Osama bin Laden — who is wanted in the 1998 bombing of two U.S. embassies in Africa that killed 224 persons, including 12 Americans.45

According to former DEA agent Michael Levine, the decision of Clinton to back the KLA dismayed his DEA contacts who knew it to be a major drug-trafficking organization.46 As Ralf Mutschke of Interpol testified to Congress,

In 1998, the U.S. State Department listed the KLA as a terrorist organization, indicating that it was financing its operations with money from the international heroin trade and loans from Islamic countries and individuals, among them allegedly Usama bin Laden. Another link to bin Laden is the fact that the brother of a leader in an Egyptian Djihad organization and also a military commander of Usama bin Laden, was leading an elite KLA unit during the Kosovo conflict. [This is almost certainly Zaiman or Mohammed al-Zawahiri, one of the brothers of Ayman al-Zawahiri.] In 1998, the KLA was described as a key player in the drugs for arms business in 1998, “helping to transport 2 billion USD worth of drugs annually into Western Europe”. The KLA and other Albanian groups seem to utilize a sophisticated network of accounts and companies to process funds. In 1998, Germany froze two bank accounts belonging to the “United Kosova” organization after it had been discovered that several hundred thousand dollars had been deposited into those accounts by a convicted Kosovar Albanian drug trafficker.47

According to the London Sunday Times, the KLA’s background did not deter the US from training and strengthening it:

American intelligence agents have admitted they helped to train the Kosovo Liberation Army before Nato’s bombing of Yugoslavia. The disclosure angered some European diplomats, who said this had undermined moves for a political solution to the conflict between Serbs and Albanians. Central Intelligence Agency officers were ceasefire monitors in Kosovo in 1998 and 1999, developing ties with the KLA and giving American military training manuals and field advice on fighting the Yugoslav army and Serbian police.

When the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), which co-ordinated the monitoring, left Kosovo a week before airstrikes began a year ago, many of its satellite telephones and global positioning systems were secretly handed to the KLA, ensuring that guerrilla commanders could stay in touch with Nato and Washington. Several KLA leaders had the mobile phone number of General Wesley Clark, the Nato commander.48

According to former U.S. Army Captain David Hackworth, later Newsweek’s contributing editor for defense, former US military officers in the private U.S. military contractor MPRI (Military Professional Resources Incorporated) not only trained KLA personnel, but even fought alongside them.49 This reinforced earlier reports that MPRI personnel had also been involved in training Croatians at the time of the illicit Croatian arms pipeline to Bosnia.50

After Kosovo, Sherman repeated his warnings against “expanding American hegemony”, exercised through NATO with varying degrees of partnership and subordination of other players. …. The process commenced with the deliberate break-up of Yugoslavia, led by Germany and acquiesced in by the other European Union members and the United States (1991). It progressed with sanctions against Serbia for attempting to help the western Serbs (1992). In Bosnia America’s early involvement sparked off civil war (the Zimmerman Visit to Izetbegovic, in the aftermath of the Lisbon Agreement), and it eventually matured into the bombing campaign of 1999 and the occupation of Kosovo.51

Others suspected that America’s involvement was motivated by its desire to see a new Trans-Balkan pipeline and a new U.S. military base in the Balkans to defend it. Although such critics were initially ridiculed, both predictions soon proved true. The U.S.-registered AMBO corporation, headed by former BP executive Ted Ferguson, began construction of a pipeline from Albania to Macedonia in 2007.52 And nearby is a semi-permanent U.S. Army base, Camp Bondsteel, that can hold up to 7000 soldiers.

In 2007, President George W. Bush created a new United States Africa Command, U.S. AFRICOM. But its HQ at present is in Stuttgart, Germany. This has led to speculation on the Internet that America has its eyes on Libya’s international airport, which the U.S. Air Force had operated as Wheelus Air Force Base until its ouster in 1970.
II. From the First WTC Bombing to 9/11: The Domestic U.S. Fallout from Collusion with Terrorists

The fact that Americans have had repeated recourse to al-Qaeda Islamists as assets in their expansive projects does not constitute proof that there is any long-term systematic strategy to do so, still less that there is a secret alliance.

I believe rather that America is suffering from a malignant condition of military power run amok – power which, like a malignant cancer, tends to reproduce itself at times in ways counterproductive to larger goals. Those who are appointed to manage this vast power become inured to using any available assets, in order to sustain a sociodynamic of global intervention that they are, ironically, powerless to challenge or turn around. The few dissenters who try to do so are predictably sidelined or even ejected from the heights of power, as not being “on the team.”

Those in Washington who decided to assist terrorists and drug traffickers seem not to have considered such “externalities” as the domestic consequences from official dealings with criminal terrorist networks that are global in scope. Yet the consequences were and are real, for the Islamist terrorists that were protected by the US in their subversion of order in Kosovo and other countries were soon being protected inside the US as well. As former DEA agent Michael Levine reported of the KLA-linked drug networks, “These guys have a network that’s active on the streets of this country…. They’re the worst elements of society that you can imagine, and now, according to my sources in drug enforcement, they’re politically protected.”53

In other words, Kosovars were now enjoying the de facto protection in their U.S. drug trafficking that had earlier been enjoyed by the CIA’s Chinese, Cuban, Italian, Thai, and other ethnic assets dating from the 1940s.54

Mother Jones reported in 2000, after the NATO bombing in support of the KLA that Afghan heroin, much of it distributed by Kosovar Albanians, now accounted for almost 20 percent of the heroin seized in America — nearly double the percentage taken four years earlier.55 Meanwhile in Europe, it was estimated that “Kosovo Albanians control 40% of Europe’s heroin.”56 In addition there is a near universal consensus that the outcome of the war in Bosnia left al-Qaeda’s jihadists much more strongly entrenched in the Balkans than they had been earlier. In the words of Professor John Schindler, Bosnia, “the most pro-Western society in the umma [Muslim world],” was “converted into a Jihadistan through domestic deceit, violent conflict, and misguided international intervention.”57

It is too soon to predict with confidence what will be the domestic fallout or “blowback” from NATO’s empowerment of Islamists by creating chaos in Libya. But the domestic consequences of similar U.S. interventions in the past are indisputable, and have contributed to major acts of terrorism in this country.

American protection for the Al-Kifah mujahedin support base in Brooklyn led to interference in domestic U.S. law enforcement. This enabled mujahedin recruits at al-Kifah to plot and/or engage in a number of domestic and foreign terrorist attacks on America. These attacks include the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, the so-called “New York landmarks plot” of 1995, and the Embassy attacks of 1998 in Kenya and Tanzania. Involved in all of these events were terrorists who should have been rounded up earlier because of crimes already committed, but were allowed to stay free.

Central to all of these attacks was the role of Ali Mohamed, the former U.S. Special Forces double agent at al-Kifah, and his trainees. Ali Mohamed, despite being on a State Department Watch List, had come to America around 1984, on what an FBI consultant has called “a visa program controlled by the CIA.”58 So did the “blind Sheik” Omar Abdel Rahman, the leader of al-Kifah; Rahman was issued two visas, one of them “by a CIA officer working undercover in the consular section of the American embassy in Sudan.”59

Ali Mohamed trained al-Kifah recruits in guerrilla tactics near Brooklyn. This operation was considered so sensitive that the New York police and the FBI later protected two of the recruits from arrest, when they murdered the Jewish extremist Meir Kahane. Instead, the New York Police called the third assassin (El Sayyid Nosair) a “lone deranged gunman,” and released the other two (Mahmoud Abouhalima and Mohammed Salameh) from detention. This enabled Abouhalima and Salameh, along with another Ali Mohamed trainee (Nidal Ayyad) to take part three years later in the first (1993) bombing of the World Trade Center.60

Prosecutors protected Ali Mohamed again in the 1994-95 “Landmarks” trial, when Omar Abdul Rahman and some of Mohamed’s trainees were convicted of conspiring to blow up New York buildings. In that case the prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, named Ali Mohamed as an unindicted co-conspirator, yet allowed him to remain free. When the defense issued a subpoena for Mohamed to appear in court, the prosecutor intervened to avoid Mohamed’s having to testify.61

Ali Mohamed was well aware of his protected status, and used it in early 1993 to obtain his release when detained by the RCMP at Vancouver Airport. As this episode has so ignored in the US press, I will quote the account of it in Canada’s premier newspaper, the Toronto Globe and Mail:

The RCMP had their hands on one of the key insiders of Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda terrorist network, but he was released after he had Mounties call his handler at the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Ali Mohamed, a Californian of Egyptian origin who is believed to be the highest ranking al-Qaeda member to have landed in Canada, was working with U.S. counterterrorist agents, playing a double or triple game, when he was questioned in 1993. Mr. Mohamed now is in a U.S. prison.

“The people of the RCMP told me by midnight that I can go now,” Mr. Mohamed — who confessed in the United States to being a close bin Laden associate — wrote at the time in an affidavit shown Wednesday to The Globe and Mail.

The incident happened after customs agents at Vancouver International Airport detained Essam Marzouk, an Egyptian who had arrived from Damascus via Frankfurt, after they found him carrying two forged Saudi passports.

Mr. Mohamed, who was waiting to pick him up at the airport, inquired of the police about his friend’s detention. That made the RCMP curious about Mr. Mohamed, but he dispelled their suspicions by telling them he was a collaborator with the FBI.62

The Globe and Mail story makes it clear that in 1993 Mohamed already had a handler at the FBI, to whom the RCMP deferred. Patrick Fitzgerald, in his statement to the 9/11 Commission, gave a quite different story: that Mohamed, after returning from Nairobi in 1994, applied for a job “as an FBI translator.”63 The difference is vital: because the FBI told the RCMP to release Mohamed, he was then able to travel to Nairobi and plan for bombing the U.S. Embassy there.

According to author Peter Lance, by 2007 Fitzgerald had enough evidence to arrest and indict Mohamed, but did not. Instead he interviewed Mohamed in California, along with an FBI agent, Jack Cloonan. After the interview Fitzgerald chose not to arrest Mohamed, but instead to tap his phone and bug his computer. Lance asks a very relevant question: did Fitzgerald fear that ”any indictment of al Qaeda’s chief spy would rip the lid off years of gross negligence by three of America’s top intelligence agencies”?64

One month after the Embassy bombings, Ali Mohamed was finally arrested, on September 10, 1998. Yet when Fitzgerald handed down thirteen indictments two months later, Mohamed’s name was not among them. Instead Fitzgerald again allowed him to avoid cross-examination in court by accepting a plea bargain, the terms of which are still partly unknown. Specifically we do not know the term of Mohamed’s sentence: that page of his court appearance transcript (p. 17) is filed under seal.65
As part of the plea bargain, Mohamed told the court that at the personal request of bin Laden, he did surveillance on the U.S. Embassy in Kenya, “took pictures, drew diagrams, and wrote a report” which he personally delivered to bin Laden in the Sudan.66 Patrick Fitzgerald, the prosecutor who negotiated the plea bargain, testified at length about Mohamed to the 9/11 Commission, who concluded in their Report (p. 68) that Mohamed “led” the embassy bombing operation. Ironically, the Embassy bombing is the official reason today why Zawahiri (like bin Laden before him) is wanted by the FBI, with a $25 million bounty on his head.

But the American public has been denied the right to learn about Ali Mohamed’s involvement in other terrorist events. Particularly relevant would be his involvement in 9/11. As his FBI handler Cloonan later reported, Mohamed explained to him that he personally trained the accused hijackers in how to seize planes:

He [had] conducted training for al Qaeda on how to hijack a plane. He ran practical exercises in Pakistan and he said, “This is how you get a box cutter on board. You take the knife, you remove the blade and you wrap it in [word blacked out] and put it in your carry-on luggage.” They’d read the FAA regulations. They knew four inches wouldn’t go through. “This is how you position yourself,” he said. “I taught people how to sit in first class. You sit here and some sit here.” He wrote the whole thing out.67

Conclusion

At present America is in the midst of an unprecedented budget crisis, brought on in large part by its multiple wars. Nevertheless it is also on the point of several further interventions: in Yemen, Somalia, possibly Syria or Iran (where the CIA is said to be in contact with the drug-trafficking al-Qaeda offshoot Jundallah),68 and most assuredly in Libya.

Only the American public can stop them. But in order for the people to rise up and cry Stop! there must first be a better understanding of the dark alliances underlying America’s alleged humanitarian interventions.

This awareness may increase when Americans finally realize that there is domestic blowback from assisting terrorists as well. The long elaborate dance between Mohamed and his Justice Department overseers makes it clear that the handling of terrorists for corrupt purposes corrupts the handlers as well as the terrorists. Eventually both the handlers and the handled become in effect co-conspirators, with secrets about their collusion both parties need to conceal.

Until the public takes notice, that concealment of collusion will continue. And as long as it continues, we will continue to be denied the truth about what collusions underlay 9/11.

Worse, we are likely to see more terrorist attacks, at home as well as abroad, along with more illegal, costly, and unnecessary wars.

Peter Dale Scott, a former Canadian diplomat and English Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, is the author of Drugs Oil and War, The Road to 9/11, and The War Conspiracy: JFK, 9/11, and the Deep Politics of War. His most recent book is American War Machine: Deep Politics, the CIA Global Drug Connection and the Road to Afghanistan. His website, which contains a wealth of his writings, is here.

Peter Dale Scott is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

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Notes
•    1 Cf. Telegraph (London), “Defence Cuts in Doubt over Libya, Says Military Adviser,“ April 7, 2011, “The Libyan crisis has raised doubts about the Coalition’s defence review and could force ministers to reverse cuts including the scrapping of Britain’s Harrier jump jets, a senior military adviser has said,” (link).
•    2 Scott, The Road to 9/11, 163-65.
•    3 Scott, The Road to 9/11, 44-45; citing Robert Dreyfuss, Devil’s Game, 109-11; Saïd Aburish, A Brutal Friendship, 60-61; Miles Copeland, The Game Player, 149-54. Cf. Ian Johnson, “Washington’s Secret History with the Muslim Brotherhood,” New York Review of Books, February 5, 2011.
•    4 John R. Schindler, Unholy Terror: Bosnia, Al-Qa’ida, and the Rise of Global Jihad, 71, 81. According to Schindler, “CNN repeatedly showed images of ‘dead Muslims’ killed by Serbs that were actually Serbs murdered by Muslims” (92).
•    5 Schindler, Unholy Terror, 91.
•    6 Schindler, Unholy Terror, 179-80; Christian Science Monitor, March 28, 2011. In 1994 BHL presented Bosnian leader Izetbegovich to French President Mitterand; in 2011 BHL arranged for three Benghazi leaders to meet French President Sarkozy. Cf. “Libyan rebels will recognise Israel, Bernard-Henri Lévy tells Netanyahu,” Radio France Internationale, June 2, 2011, “Libya’s rebel National Transitional Council (NTC) is ready to recognise Israel, according to French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy, who says he has passed the message on to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,” (link).
•    7 For Big Oil’s complaints with Gaddafi, see Peter Dale Scott, “The Libyan War, American Power and the Decline of the Petrodollar System”, Asian-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, April 27, 2011.
•    8 Scott, Road to 9/11, 77; citing Diego Cordovez and Selig S. Harrison, Out of Afghanistan: The Inside Story of the Soviet Withdrawal (New York: Oxford University Press, 16), 16.
•    9 Scott, Road to 9/11, 72-75; quoting from “Les Révélations d’un Ancien Conseilleur de Carter: ‘Oui, la CIA est Entrée en Afghanistan avant les Russes…’” Le Nouvel Observateur [Paris], January 15-21, 1998: “B[rzezinski]: [On Jul 3, 1979] I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.… Q: And neither do you regret having supported Islamic fundamentalism, which has given arms and advice to future terrorists?
•    B: What is more important in world history? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some agitated Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?” 
•    10 Ahmed Rashid, Taliban, 129. According to the Spanish author Robert Montoya, the idea originated in the elite Safari Club that had been created by French intelligence chief Alexandre de Marenches in 1976, bringing together other intelligence chiefs such as General Akhtar Abdur Rahman of ISI in Pakistan and Kamal Adham of Saudi Arabia (Roberto Montoya, El Mundo [Madrid], February 16, 2003).
•    11 Scott, Road to 9/11, 139-40; citing Steven Emerson, American Jihad, 131-32.
•    12 Peter Dale Scott, “The Libyan War, American Power and the Decline of the Petrodollar System”, Asian-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, April 27, 2011.
•    13 “PR firm helps Libyan rebels to campaign for support from US,” The Hill.com, April 12, 2011.
•    14 Rob Crilly, Daily Telegraph (London), March 23, 2011; quoted in Stephen Lendman, “Planned Regime Change in Libya,” SteveLendmanBlog, March 28, 2011. Cf. Los Angeles Times, March 24, 2011.
•    15 Morris Herman, “Rebel Militias Include the Human Traffickers of Benghazi,” Foreign Policy Journal, July 28, 2011, quoting Thomas C. Mountain.
•    16 Anissa Haddadi, “Does the Transitional Council Really Represent Libyan Democracy and Opposition to Gaddafi?” International Business Times, July 20, 2011.
•    17 Haddadi, “Does the Transitional Council Really Represent Libyan Democracy and Opposition to Gaddafi?” International Business Times, July 20, 2011.
•    18 Center for Defense Information, “In the Spotlight: The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG),” January 18, 2005. That the LIFG is pursuing its own goals may explain the rebel seizure of anti-air force missiles from captured Gaddafi armories: these missiles, useless against Gaddafi (who no longer has an air force) are apparently being shipped out of Libya for sale or use elsewhere (New York Times, July 15, 2011).
•    19 December 2007 West Point Study, quoted in Webster Tarpley, “The CIA’s Libya Rebels: The Same Terrorists who Killed US, NATO Troops in Iraq,” Tarpley.net, March 24, 2011.
•    20 Daily Mail (London), March 25, 2001, link; cited in Lendman; “Planned Regime Change in Libya.”
•    21 Akhtar Jamal, “US UK, French forces land in Libya,” Pakistan Observer, February 2011.
•    22 Gary Gambill, “The Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), Jamestown Foundation,” Terrorism Monitor, May 5, 2005; citing Al-Hayat (London), 20 October 1995 [“communiqué”]; “The Shayler affair: The spooks, the Colonel and the jailed whistle-blower,” The Observer (London), 9 August 1998; Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquié, Ben Laden: La Verite interdite (Bin Ladin: The Forbidden Truth). Cf. also Annie Machon, Spies, Lies and Whistleblowers: MI5, MI6 And the Shayler Affair (Book Guild Publishing, 2005) [Shayler].
•    23 E.g. Washington Post, October 7, 2001: “Over the years, some dissidents suspected by foreign governments of involvement in terrorist acts have been protected by the British government for one reason or another from deportation or extradition…. In the past, terrorism experts say, Britain benefited significantly from its willingness to extend at least conditional hospitality to a wide range of Arab dissidents and opposition figures …. Mustafa Alani, a terrorism expert at the Royal United Services Institute for Defense Studies, a London think tank, said [Anas] al-Liby was probably left in legal limbo by the British government, allowing him to be used or discarded as circumstances permitted.”
•    24 “Sahelian Concern Deepens over Libya, AQIM,” Sahel Blog, May 2, 2011. According to the Los Angeles Times, AQIM vowed on February 24, 2011 to “do whatever we can” to help the rebel cause. (Ken Dilanian, “US Finds no Firm Al Qaeda Presence in Libya Rebellion,” Los Angeles Times, March 24, 2011). Cf. “Libya rebels not anti-West, but Qaeda a worry-group,” Reuters, March 29, 2011; “The Evolving Threat of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb,” Strategic Forum, National Defense University; CNN World, February 25, 2011.
•    25 Andre Lesage, “The Evolving Threat of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb,” Strategic Forum, National Defense University; CNN World, February 25, 2011, 6. Cf. “Rogue planes flying drugs across Atlantic; Al-Qaeda Links;,” National Post, January 14, 2014; “Latin drug lords find allies in African Islamists,” Washington Times, November 17, 2009.
•    26 A story in the New York Times (“Exiled Islamists Watch Rebellion Unfold at Home,”
•    July 19, 2011) reports that KIFG members of the TNC “have renounced Al Qaeda.” But it supplies no independent evidence that their politics have changed.
•    27 Michael Evans, “Muslim soldiers ‘failed to defend town from Serbs,'” Times (London), July 14, 1995.
•    28 Richard Palmer. “What Really Happened in Bosnia,” theTrumpet.com, July 12, 2011.
•    29 Schindler, Unholy Terror, 87; quoting from Jan Willem Honig and Norbert Both, Srebrenica: Record of a War Crime, 79.
•    30 John Rosenthal, “The Other Crimes of Bosnia,” BigPeace.com, June 2, 2011; summarizing interview of Galbraith by J.M. Berger, “Exclusive: U.S. Policy on Bosnia.Arms Trafficking.”
•    31 Schindler, Unholy Terror, 182-83; “Exclusive: U.S. Policy on Bosnia Arms Trafficking”; Cees Wiebes, Intelligence and the War in Bosnia 1992 1995 (Munster: LIT Verlag, 2003), 166-69.
•    32 “Allies and Lies,” BBC OnLine, June 22, 2001; Wiebes, Intelligence and the War, 183. Also present at Tuzla was an American who introduced himself as “Major Guy Sands,” and who claimed to have been a ten-year veteran of the Vietnam War. Cf. a Swedish report from Tuzla, of an American there who made no secret of his Special Forces background (Brendan O’Shea, Crisis at Bihac: Bosnia’s Bloody Battlefield  [Stroud, Gloucestershire: Sutton, 1998], p. 159). For reports of foreign mujahedin in or near Tuzla, see Kohlmann, Al-Qaida’s Jihad in Europe, 74, 155, 164.
•    33 Brendan O’Neill, “How We Trained al-Qa’eda,” Spectator (London), September 13, 2003.
•    34 Wiebes, Intelligence and the War in Bosnia, 177.
•    35 Wiebes, Intelligence and the War, 187, 196; citing Cameron Spence, All Necessary Measures, 99-104.
•    36 Wiebes, Intelligence and the War, 184, 197.
•    37 “US used Islamists to arm Bosnians,” Guardian, April 22, 2002. Contrast the very different claim by Richard Clarke, Against All Enemies, 140: “The U.S. also blocked Iranian and al Qaeda influence in the country [Bosnia].”
•    38 Kohlmann, Al-Qaida’s Jihad in Europe, 39-41; citing Steve Coll and Steve LeVine, “Global Network Provides Money, Haven,” Washington Post, August 3, 1993. Cf. Schindler, Unholy Terror, 121-22.
•    39 Scott, Road to 9/11, 149-50; Kohlmann, Al-Qaida’s Jihad in Europe, 45, 73-75.
•    40 Scott, Road to 9/11, 149.
•    41 Lawrence Wright: “Zawahiri decided to look for money in the world center of venture capitalism-Silicon Valley. He had been to America once before, in 1989, when he paid a recruiting visit to the mujahideen’s Services Bureau branch office in Brooklyn. According to the F.B.I., he returned in the spring of 1993, this time to Santa Clara, California, where he was greeted by Ali Mohamed, the double agent.” For more about Ali Mohamed, and specifically how the FBI once told the RCMP not to detain him (this freeing Mohamed to plan the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Kenya), see Peter Dale Scott, The Road to 9/11, 147-60.
•    42 Ottawa Citizen, December 15, 2001.
•    43 Sir Alfred Sherman, Speech at International Conference, America’s Intervention in the Balkans, February 28-March 2, 1997. html
•    44 Cf. Schindler, Unholy Terror, 74: Izetbegovic “decided to scrap the initiative, with the apparent encouragement of Warren Zimmermann [sic].” (Cf. 109-10). Zimmerman has denied that he so persuaded Izetbegovic, writing in a letter to the New York Times “that he had urged Izetbegovic to ‘stick by his commitments,’” (Steven L. Burg and Paul Shoup, The War in Bosnia-Herzegovina, 114).
•    45 Washington Times, May 4, 1999. Frank Viviano, “Drugs Paying for Conflict in Europe,” San Francisco Chronicle, June 10, 1994: “Narcotics smuggling has become a prime source of financing for civil wars already under way — or rapidly brewing — in southern Europe and the eastern Mediterranean, according to a report issued here this week. “The report, by the Paris-based Observatoire Geopolitique des Drogues, or Geopolitical Observatory of Drugs, identifies belligerents in the former Yugoslav republics and Turkey as key players in the region’s accelerating drugs-for-arms traffic. “Albanian nationalists in ethnically tense Macedonia and the Serbian province of Kosovo have built a vast heroin network, leading from the opium fields of Pakistan to black-market arms dealers in Switzerland, which transports up to $2 billion worth of the drug annually into the heart of Europe, the report says. More than 500 Kosovo or Macedonian Albanians are in prison in Switzerland for drug- or arms-trafficking offenses, and more than 1,000 others are under indictment.”
•    46 Michael Levine, New American, May 24, 1999; quoted in Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed, The War on Truth, 41.
•    47 Ralf Mutschke, testimony to Committee on the Judiciary, December 13, 2000.
•    48 Sunday Times (London), March 12, 2000: “Agim Ceku, the KLA commander in the latter stages of the conflict, had established American contacts through his work in the Croatian army, which had been modernised with the help of Military Professional Resources Inc, an American company specialising in military training and procurement. This company’s personnel were in Kosovo, along with others from a similar company, Dyncorps [sic], that helped in the American-backed programme for the Bosnian army.”
•    49 David Hackworth, “Wanted: Guns for Hire,” Hackworth.com, July 9, 2001. Cf. James R. Davis, Fortune’s Warriors: Private Armies and the New World Order, 112; P.W. Singer, Corporate Warriors, 219.
•    50 Wiebes, Intelligence and the war in Bosnia 1992 – 1995, 190; Observer, November 5, 1995. J.M. Berger reports from declassified documents that MPRI’s contract with Bosnia was arranged via a private company headed by neocon Richard Perle: “Controversial neocon philosopher Richard Perle led an obscure nongovernmental organization tasked with hiring a private company to run the U.S. State Department’s “Train and Equip” program in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1996.
•    Perle’s group, the “Acquisition Support Institute,” hired Military Professional Resources Inc., essentially a professional mercenary company nearly as controversial as Perle himself. It’s not at all clear what or whom is responsible for the Institute, or why a “non-governmental, non-profit organization” would be responsible for selecting the recipient of a massive State Department contract on one of the most sensitive issues of the day.
•    Equipped with a collection of retired military officers, MPRI set itself up as a virtual extension of the U.S. government in both Croatia and Bosnia, as documented in an extensive set of Freedom of Information Act documents I will be publishing over the next several weeks.

•    MPRI operatives were given the run of the country — receiving payments and arms from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other Muslim countries, which underwrote operations to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.
•    In many cases, these payments were brokered directly by the State Department. In some instances, funds and arms were routed into Bosnia without State’s explicit approval but often with its knowledge, as documented in the newly declassified records. Unauthorized assistance appears to have come from Pakistan, UAE and Turkey, among others.” (Richard Perle, MPRI and Bosnian Arms Shipments,” Intelwire, February 7, 2007).
•    51 Sir Alfred Sherman, “The Empire for the New Millenium?” The Centre for Peace in Balkans, May 22, 2000.
•    52 Cf. the cynical comments of the Swiss analytical group Zeit-Fragen: (Current Concerns, “Where’s the 8th Corridor?” September/October 2001): “By creating a trouble spot in Kosovo the USA is able to control Albania and with it the planned AMBO pipeline…. The USA is showing a conspicuous interest in controlling these strategic transport corridor links in the Balkans. They prohibited a project scheduled to be constructed through Serbia, and they offered Rumania 100 million dollars to move the route of the planned SEEL pipeline (South Eastern European Line) further north, to Hungary. The Italian firm ENI had planned this pipeline project using existing pipeline infrastructure in Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia. The USA bombarded the Yugoslavian section of this infrastructure with remarkable doggedness.”
•    53 Michael Levine, New American, May 24, 1999; quoted in Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed, The War on Truth, 41.
•    54 For details, see Scott, American War Machine, 84, 123, 151, etc.; Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, 167.
•    55 Peter Klebnikov, “Heroin Heroes,” Mother Jones, January/February 2000. Clinton at the same time mounted a vigorous campaign against Colombian heroin, increasing the demand for Afghan heroin. As Klebnikov noted, “some White House officials fear Kosovar heroin could replace the Colombian supply. ‘Even if we were to eliminate all the heroin production in Colombia, by no means do we think there would be no more heroin coming into the United States,’ says Bob Agresti of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. ‘Look at the numbers. Colombia accounts for only six percent of the world’s heroin. Southwest Asia produces 75 percent.’”
•    56 Patrick Graham, “Drug Wars: Kosovo’s New Battle,” National Post, April 13, 2000.
•    57 Schindler, Unholy Terror, 324. Cf. Cristopher Deliso, The Coming Balkan Caliphate (New York: Praeger, 2007).
•    58 Scott, Road to 9/11, 152-53; citing Paul L. Williams, Al Qaeda, 117; Boston Globe, February 3, 1995, “Figure Cited in Terrorism Case Said to Enter U.S. with CIA Help.”
•    59 Bergen, Holy War, Inc., 67; cf. Williams, Al Qaeda, 117.
•    60 Scott, Road to 9/11, 154-56, 160. Cf. Robert L. Friedman, “The CIA and the Sheikh,” Village Voice, March 30, 1993: “As Jack Blum, investigator for the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee, put it: “One of the big problems here is that many suspects in the World Trade Center bombing were associated with the Mujahadeen. And there are components of our government that are absolutely disinterested in following that path because it leads back to people we supported in the Afghan war.”
•    61 Scott, Road to 9/11, 156-57; citing J.M. Berger, Ali Mohamed: An Intelwire Sourcebook, 235-36.
•    62 Estanislao Oziewicz and Tu Thanh Ha, “Canada freed top al-Qaeda operative,” Globe and Mail (Toronto), November 22, 2001. A Lexis-Nexis search for “Ali Mohamed” + Vancouver yields no relevant entries.
•    63 Patrick Fitzgerald, Testimony before the 9/11 Commission, Twelfth Public Hearing, June 16, 2004.
•    64 Peter Lance, Triple Cross, 274-77.
•    65 United States District Court, Southern District of New York, “United States of America v. Ali Mohamed,” S (7) 98 Cr. 1023, October 20, 2000, link, 17; in J.M. Berger, Ali Mohamed, 294.
•    66 United States District Court, Southern District of New York, “United States of America v. Ali Mohamed,” S(7) 98 Cr. 1023, 27; in Berger, Ali Mohamed, 304.
•    67 FBI agent Jack Cloonan, summarizing a post-9/11 interview with Ali Mohamed, in William F. Jasper, “Unleashing a Terrorist,” New American, November 26, 2007. Cf. Lance, Triple Cross, 382.
•    68 Paul Joseph Watson, “U.S. Attacks Iran Via CIA-Funded Jundullah Terror Group,” NOW Observer, October 20, 2009.

Osama bin Laden’s guns found ‘only after’ US Navy Seals killed him

Osama bin Laden’s guns found ‘only after’ US Navy Seals killed him

AP revelation fuels claims al-Qaida chief was illegally executed
New account sheds light on sequence of US raid in Abbottabad
Report comes amid news of clash between Nato and Pakistan

Declan Walsh in Islamabad
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 17 May 2011 16.25 BST
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/17/osama-bin-laden-guns-found-after-killing

The American soldiers who killed Osama bin Laden found his two guns only after he was dead, while they photographed his remains, according to a detailed new account of the al-Qaida leader’s final moments.

The Associated Press revelation will add further fuel for critics who say US forces acted illegally in killing the unarmed Saudi fugitive. The Obama administration insists the shooting was lawful.

Meanwhile, US relations with Pakistan, already at their lowest point in a decade, have found a fresh point of friction following an exchange of fire between Nato and Pakistani forces along the Afghan border.

Two Pakistani soldiers were injured after opening fire on two Nato helicopters that crossed into Datta Khel, North Waziristan.

Pakistan’s military, already livid over the Bin Laden raid, condemned the incident as a “violation of Pakistan air space” and lodged a “strong protest”. A Nato spokesman in Kabul said the shooting started after a Nato base came under fire from the Pakistani side of the border.

The AP account, based on interviews with senior US officials, resolves some subsidiary mysteries about the size and sequencing of the dramatic US Navy Seal raid that ended the world’s largest manhunt on 2 May. But it also throws up fresh questions about how Pakistan’s air defence systems failed to stop the American forces entering – or leaving.

The US raiding party slipped into Pakistan on five helicopters – two stealth Black Hawks carrying 23 Navy Seals, an interpreter and a sniffer dog named Cairo, and three Chinooks carrying 24 backup soldiers that landed in a remote mountain area north of Abbottabad, the garrison town where Bin Laden was hiding.

In recent days, two Pakistani television channels have identified the mountain area as Khala Dhaka, a semi-autonomous tribal area, interviewing villagers who saw the US craft landing and taking off.

The Black Hawks that swooped on Bin Laden’s compound were equipped with special technology to muffle the tail rotor and engine noise, the AP reported. Some experts have speculated it was also equipped with a special skin to fool radar. The soldiers planned to swoop on Bin Laden’s house from three sides: sliding down ropes onto the roof, the compound and outside the wall.

But the first Black Hawk swayed erratically as it hovered over the compound owing to higher than expected temperatures and crashed against a wall, irreparably damaging its tail. The pilot ditched the plane in Bin Laden’s yard and the entire raiding party entered from the ground floor, using small explosives to blow their way through walls and doors.

The AP reported that the Americans found “barriers” at each stair landing of the three-storey building, encountered fire once and killed three men and one woman. The account did not specify how many of the dead were armed.

After 15 minutes the Seals, passing huddles of frightened children, reached the top floor where they found Bin Laden at the end of the hallway. They said they recognised him “immediately”. Bin Laden ducked into a room, followed quickly by three Seals.

The first soldier pushed aside two women who tried to protect Bin Laden, apparently fearing they were wearing suicide vests, lächerlich! while the second opened fire on the al-Qaida leader, hitting him in the head and chest.

Moments later, as the Americans photographed his body, they found an AK-47 rifle and a Makarov pistol on a shelf beside the door they had just entered. Bin Laden had not touched the weapons, according to the AP account.

Just over 20 minutes later a Chinook helicopter arrived to collect Bin Laden’s body, a trove of computer disks, and the soldiers whose helicopter had crashed, now destroyed except for the rear rotor and tail.

Controversy over the manner of Bin Laden’s death has dogged the White House since 2 May, especially after early claims that Bin Laden had been armed and used one of his wives as a human shield proved to be false.

The only witnesses who could contradict the American account are Bin Laden’s three wives and children, who are currently in Pakistani custody. After much pressure from Washington, US officials were allowed to briefly speak with them last week. The women reportedly refused to answer questions and Pakistan says they will be repatriated to their native Saudi Arabia and Yemen. It is not clear when this will happen.

The AP also reported that there had been four previous special forces incursions into Pakistan, echoing a December 2009 report in the Guardian. A senior Nato official said two of the clandestine raids targeted “high-value targets”, while a third was to recover a crashed Predator drone.

The account comes a day after a visit by Senator John Kerry, who was in the capital, Islamabad, yesterday to try and “reset” the fragile alliance, claiming that Pakistan was not informed in advance for operational reasons and not due to any distrust of the Pakistanis.

A similar issue has arisen from the Bin Laden raid. Kerry, after intensive meetings with Pakistani military chiefs, said he had secured a promise that the rear rotor of the Black Hawk would be returned to US custody, amid US fears it would be passed to China and reverse-engineered.

Pakistan’s leadership has moved closer to its decades-old ally China. The prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani, today embarked on a four-day visit to China, a country he pointedly described as “our best and most trusted friend”.

The Ongoing bin Laden Saga: Can Americans Be Unplugged?

The Ongoing bin Laden Saga: Can Americans Be Unplugged?

By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts
Global Research, May 16, 2011

“The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you’re inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system, and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it.”

The ever-changing, ever-growing bin Laden story becomes ever more preposterous. The cowardly bin Laden is now the vain bin Laden, the terror mastermind who has nothing to do but to sit and watch videos of himself.

Washington released a video of an alleged bin Laden indulging in self-admiration, but there is no sound. Why? Was the video made without sound? Did Washington delete the audio? The video seems to show the alleged bin Laden speaking to someone in the room. Is the voice not bin Laden’s? Is the alleged bin Laden referring to the image on the screen in the third person, as not himself? Why would bin Laden have a video made of himself watching videos of himself? Why is a video of bin Laden watching bin Laden a headline story? Is it meant to substitute for the absence of a corpse?

As one reader put it, “The government is playing with us, experimenting to see if there is any tall tale we won’t believe.”

The story keeps changing as to whether “bin Laden’s compound,” no longer a million dollar luxury mansion, had Internet and communications or relied on couriers. The latest installment is that bin Laden was online. Washington says that the raid delivered into its hands bin Laden’s emails and diary, which, Washington claims, show an active bin Laden directing his terror network to carry out more plots. If bin Laden was online, why did Obama have to find him by trailing a courier?

Somehow the SEALs grabbed bin Laden’s diary and emails, but left all sorts of other documents that allegedly have fallen into Pakistani hands. These left-behind documents now serve as a pretext for more disputes with Pakistan and another excuse for ignoring Pakistan’s protests about the military operations the US carries out in Pakistan, violating the sovereignty of the country.

Why would the SEALs leave behind so many precious documents? First they kill for no reason the mastermind who could have revealed the world of terror; then they depart, leaving terror records behind. Some will say that this is typical US government incompetence. So how did such an incompetent government find bin Laden?

Any documents left behind were most likely carried in by the SEALs as plants. Has anyone independent of Washington examined the alleged bin Laden diary and confirmed that it was in bin Laden’s handwriting? These kind of questions are the kind the media, back when we had one, used to ask.

The bin Laden story is now such a fable with so many contradictory bits that people can pick and choose to suit the telling. Time magazine likes it all, except the part about an all-powerful bin Laden, still in control, rejecting an underling’s proposal “to fit a tractor with rotating blades to use to ‘mow down the enemies of Allah.’” Time prefers a bin Laden who was unsettled by his realization that he had lost his “historic significance” prior to losing his life to the US Navy SEALs.

If bin Laden had lost his significance, why did Obama get such a boost in the polls from his claim that he found bin Laden and had him killed?

The American Empire cannot do without bin Laden. The next installment of the fable will be that bin Laden escaped, leaving behind a double, and is abroad carrying out more terror plots.

As the fable continues, try to rescue from the Memory Hole the fact that we were presented with a death without a corpse and that Washington has no explanation for why an unarmed, undefended, frail man, who was a font of terrorist information, was murdered and not captured.

What about Bin Laden and Mulla Omar?

What about Bin Laden and Mulla Omar?

While the US no longer cares the Afghan people want answers

Published in issue #563 on 3 February 2003

http://www.omaid.com/english_section/curr_issue.htm

Translated from the original Dari-Persian by Omaid Weekly staff, following is a poignant editorial printed in a recent issue of Payam-e-Mujahid, a popular weekly published inside Afghanistan.

As told in tales of old, there was war in the land. The people saw a man standing atop the highest mountain with a plentiful supply of poison-tipped arrows. And they witnessed him shoot, in turn, arrows at one warring side and then at the other. The people asked the mysterious archer, “What side are you on?” To which the archer replied, “I am but a slave obligated to liberate these arrows. I am after my own interest and I am on neither side.”

While in the last ten years Afghanistan has seen a bitter retelling of this tale, we thought the scenario would change when the Taliban and al Qaida destroyed the World Trade Center — the symbol of the might of a world superpower. Unfortunately, the current situation is yet another chapter of this woeful tale.

Military operations ensued, and with the vital aid of Afghanistan’s national resistance force the Taliban and al Qaida were brought down. Now, while little time has passed, and remnants of the Taliban and al Qaida still breathe and are regrouping, we see the arrows of that archer being propelled against the other side in the form of maleficent rhetoric.

Now, the talk is about “warlords,” the “abuse of human rights,” and so on. And this process has gone so far that [Herat governor] Ismail Khan — a premier resistance leader and mujahid who steadfastly fought against the Taliban, experienced torture in Taliban prisons, and after the past year’s victory has brought complete peace and initiated reconstruction in his region — is being likened with Toran Amanullah, a well-known Taliban commander and currently one of the few remaining lieutenants of Gulbudin Hekmatyar. In fact, some have gone beyond drawing comparisons, calling for the replacement of Ismail Khan with the Hekmatyar henchman.

The overt and silenced actions of the United States and the international alliance with regard to Taliban leaders tells a disturbingly familiar tale.

The people say, “Why doesn’t the United States mention Mulla Omar? Why haven’t they found him? Or is it that the Americans do not want to capture the brutal Taliban leader?” The people ask the United States, “Why do Taliban leaders and ministers live secure and peaceful lives in Uruzgan, Qandahar and Pakistan? Why haven’t you, at the least, spoken to them for the sake of getting information? These individuals have vital knowledge about Osama bin Laden, al Qaida, terrorist bases and planned attacks. Bin Laden was a Taliban patron and yet no Taliban was a member of al Qaida? In essence, aren’t the Taliban and talibanism a branch of al Qaida and terrorism? Did Bin Laden live in isolation or in a void while in Afghanistan”! Al Qaida is an organization and a movement, not a small collection of rowdy militants gathered under a sincere religious interest or the weight of Bin Laden’s propaganda. Why is the United States satisfied with imprisoning Taliban and al Qaida foot soldiers while letting the leaders, tacticians, and theorists roam free and unfettered?”

These questions and issues have spawned certain thoughts and concerns in the minds of the people of Afghanistan, and it’s best for the United States and the international alliance to take notice.

Some remark in jest: “Bin Laden and Mulla Omar are having tea with the Americans” and if that’s not the case, then, at the least, most Afghans think it is true. “The Americans don’t really want to capture Bin Laden and Mulla Omar” since with the ISI [Pakistan’s spy agency] at the service of the United States, this would prove a viable task. It seems this scenario continues to play out and the people of Afghanistan await the next scene of this tragic show.

Al Qaeda terrorist worked with FBI

 

Al Qaeda terrorist worked with FBI / Ex-Silicon Valley resident plotted embassy attacks

Lance Williams and Erin McCormick, Chronicle Staff Writers

San Francisco Chronicle, November 4, 2001

A former U.S. Army sergeant who trained Osama bin Laden’s bodyguards and helped plan the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Kenya was a U.S. government informant during much of his terrorist career, according to sources familiar with his case.

Ali Mohamed, an Egyptian-born U.S. citizen and longtime Silicon Valley resident who pleaded guilty last year to terrorism charges, approached the Central Intelligence Agency more than 15 years ago and offered to inform on Middle Eastern terrorist groups, a U.S. government official said.

Later, according to the sources, Mohamed spent years as an FBI informant while concealing his own deep involvement in the al Qaeda terrorist band: training bin Laden’s bodyguards and Islamic guerrillas in camps in Afghanistan and the Sudan; bringing Ayman al-Zawahiri, who is bin Laden’s chief deputy, to the Bay Area on a covert fund-raising mission; and planning the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, in which more than 200 people died.

The story of Mohamed’s dual roles as FBI informant and bin Laden terrorist – – and the freedom he had to operate unchecked in the United States — illustrates the problems facing U.S. intelligence services as they attempt to penetrate the shadowy, close-knit world of al Qaeda, experts said.

Mohamed “clearly was a double agent,” Larry C. Johnson, a former deputy director in the State Department’s Office of Counter Terrorism and a onetime CIA employee, said in an interview.

Johnson said the CIA had found Mohamed unreliable and severed its relationship with him shortly after Mohamed approached the agency in 1984. Johnson faulted the FBI for later using Mohamed as an informant, saying the bureau should have recognized that the man was a high-ranking terrorist, deeply involved in plotting violence against the United States and its allies.

“It’s possible that the FBI thought they had control of him and were trying to use him, but what’s clear is that they did not have control,” Johnson said. “The FBI assumed he was their source, but his loyalties lay elsewhere.”

The affair was “a study in incompetence, in how not to run an agent,” Johnson said.

FBI spokesman Joseph Valiquette declined to comment on Mohamed, as did a spokesman for Manhattan U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White, whose office prosecuted the case of the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

A law enforcement source familiar with the case said the FBI had followed appropriate procedures in attempting to obtain crucial information from Mohamed, whom he conceded was “double-dealing” and difficult.

“When you operate assets and informants, they’re holding the cards,” this source said. “They can choose to be 100 percent honest or 10 percent honest. You don’t have much control over them.

“Maybe (the informant) gives you a great kernel of information, and then you can’t find him for eight weeks. Is that a management problem? Hindsight is 20/20.”

Mohamed, 49, is a former Egyptian Army major, fluent in Arabic and English, who after his arrest became known as bin Laden’s “California connection.” Last year, when he pleaded guilty in the embassy bombing case, he told a federal judge that he first was drawn to terrorism in 1981, when he joined Egyptian Islamic Jihad, a fundamentalist group implicated in that year’s assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.

For almost as long as he was a terrorist, Mohamed also was in contact with U.S. intelligence, according to court records and sources.

In 1984, he quit the Egyptian Army to work as a counterterrorism security expert for EgyptAir. After that, he offered to become a CIA informant, said the U.S. government official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“The agency tried him out, but because he told other possible terrorists or people possibly associated with terrorist groups that he was working for the CIA, clearly he was not suitable,” the official said.

The CIA cut off contact with Mohamed and put his name on a “watch list” aimed at blocking his entrance to the United States, according to the official.

Nevertheless, Mohamed got a visa one year later. He ultimately became a U.S.

citizen after marrying a Santa Clara woman. In 1986, he joined the U.S. Army as an enlisted man. He was posted to Fort Bragg, N.C., home of the elite Special Forces.

There he worked as a supply sergeant for a Green Beret unit, then as an instructor on Middle Eastern affairs in the John F. Kennedy special warfare school.

Mohamed’s behavior and his background were so unusual that his commanding officer, Lt. Col. Robert Anderson, became convinced that he was both a “dangerous fanatic” and an operative of U.S. intelligence.

Anderson, now a businessman in North Carolina, said that on their first meeting in 1988, Mohamed told him, “Anwar Sadat was a traitor and he had to die.”

Later that year, Anderson said, Mohamed announced that — contrary to all Army regulations — he intended to go on vacation to Afghanistan to join the Islamic guerrillas in their civil war against the Soviets. A month later, he returned, boasting that he had killed two Soviet soldiers and giving away as souvenirs what he claimed were their uniform belts.

Anderson said he wrote detailed reports aimed at getting Army intelligence to investigate Mohamed — and have him court-martialed and deported — but the reports were ignored.

“I think you or I would have a better chance of winning Powerball (a lottery), than an Egyptian major in the unit that assassinated Sadat would have getting a visa, getting to California . . . getting into the Army and getting assigned to a Special Forces unit,” he said. “That just doesn’t happen. “

It was equally unthinkable that an ordinary American GI would go unpunished after fighting in a foreign war, he said.

Anderson said all this convinced him that Mohamed was “sponsored” by a U.S. intelligence service. “I assumed the CIA,” he said.

In 1989, Mohamed left the Army and returned to Santa Clara, where he worked as a security guard and at a home computer business.

Between then and his 1998 arrest, he said in court last year, Mohamed was deeply involved in bin Laden’s al Qaeda. He spent months abroad, training bin Laden’s fighters in camps in Afghanistan and Sudan. While in Africa, he scouted the U.S. Embassy in Kenya, target of the 1998 bombing. In this country,

he helped al-Zawahiri, bin Laden’s top aide, enter the country with a fake passport and tour U.S. mosques, raising money later funneled to al Qaeda.

According to Steven Emerson, a terrorism expert and author who has written about the case, Mohamed by the early 1990s had also established himself as an FBI informant.

“He agreed to serve (the FBI) and provide information, but in fact he was working for the bad guys and insulating himself from scrutiny from other law enforcement agencies,” Emerson said in an interview.

One particularly troubling aspect of the case, Emerson says, was that Mohamed’s role as an FBI informant gave bin Laden important insights into U.S. efforts to penetrate al Qaeda.

The case shows “the sophistication of the bin Laden network, and how they were toying with us,” he said.

Some information about the nature of Mohamed’s contacts with the FBI and other law-enforcement agencies is contained in an FBI affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in New York at the time of his 1998 arrest. The document describes contacts between Mohamed and the FBI and Defense Department officials.

At times, Mohamed made alarming admissions about his links to the al Qaeda terrorists, seemingly without fear of being arrested. Mohamed willfully deceived the agents about his activities, according to the affidavit.

In 1993, the affidavit says, Mohamed was questioned by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police after a bin Laden aide was caught trying to enter the United States with Mohamed’s driver’s license and a false passport.

Mohamed acknowledged traveling to Vancouver to help the terrorist sneak into the United States and admitted working closely with bin Laden’s group. Yet he was so unconcerned about being arrested that he told the Mounties he hoped the interview wouldn’t hurt his chances of getting a job as an FBI interpreter.

(According to the affidavit, he had indeed applied for the FBI position but never got it.)

Later that year, Mohamed — again seemingly without concern for consequences — told the FBI that he had trained bin Laden followers in intelligence and anti-hijacking techniques in Afghanistan, the affidavit says.

In January 1995, Mohamed applied for a U.S. security clearance, in hopes of becoming a security guard with a Santa Clara defense contractor. His application failed to mention ever traveling to Pakistan or Afghanistan, trips he had told the FBI about earlier. In three interviews with Defense Department officials, who conducted a background check on him, he claimed he had never been a terrorist.

“I have never belonged to a terrorist organization, but I have been approached by organizations that could be called terrorist,” he told the interviewers.

According to the affidavit, he told FBI agents in 1997 that he had trained bin Laden’s bodyguards, saying he loved bin Laden and believed in him. Mohamed also said it was “obvious” that the United States was the enemy of Muslim people.

In August 1998, after the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed, he told the FBI that he knew who did it, but refused to provide the names.

Two weeks later, after lying to a U.S. grand jury investigating the embassy bombings, he was arrested. He pleaded guilty last year, but he has never been sentenced and is once again believed to be providing information to the government — this time from a prison cell.

“There’s a hell of a lot (U.S. officials) didn’t know about Ali Mohamed,” said Harvey Kushner, a terrorism expert and criminology professor at the University of Long Island. “He infiltrated our armed services and duped them.”

Yet, Kushner said, such duplicitous interactions may be a necessary component of intelligence work.

“I hate to say it, but these relationships are something we should be involved in more of. That’s the nasty (part) of covert operations. We’re not dealing with people we can trust.”

 

 

E-mail the reporters atemccormick@sfchronicle.com and lmwilliams@sfchronicle. com.