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The Truth behind 9/11: Who Is Osama Bin Laden?

At 11am, on the morning of 9/11, the Bush
administration had announced that Osama was behind the

by Michel Chossudovsky

September 10, 2006
GlobalResearch. ca

http://globalresear php?context= viewArticle& code=20060910& articleId= 3198

At eleven o’clock, on the morning of September 11, the
Bush administration had already announced that Al
Qaeda was responsible for the attacks on the World
Trade Center (WTC) and the Pentagon. This assertion
was made prior to the conduct of an indepth police

That same evening at 9.30 pm, a "War Cabinet" was
formed integrated by a select number of top
intelligence and military advisors. And at 11.00 pm,
at the end of that historic meeting at the White
House, the "War on Terrorism" was officially launched.

The decision was announced to wage war against the
Taliban and Al Qaeda in retribution for the 9/11
attacks. The following morning on September 12th, the
news headlines indelibly pointed to "state
sponsorship" of the 9/11 attacks. In chorus, the US
media was calling for a military intervention against

Barely four weeks later, on the 7th of October,
Afghanistan was bombed and invaded by US troops.
Americans were led to believe that the decison to go
to war had been taken on the spur of the moment, on
the evening of September 11, in response to the
attacks and their tragic consequences.

Little did the public realize that a large scale
theater war is never planned and executed in a matter
of weeks. The decision to launch a war and send troops
to Afghanistan had been taken well in advance of 9/11.
The "terrorist, massive, casualty-producing event" as
it was later described by CentCom Commander General
Tommy Franks, served to galvanize public opinion in
support of a war agenda which was already in its final
planning stage.

The tragic events of 9/11 provided the required
justification to wage a war on "humanitarian grounds",
with the full support of World public opinion and the
endorsement of the "international community".

Several prominent "progressive" intellectuals made a
case for "retaliation against terrorism", on moral and
ethical grounds. The "just cause" military doctrine
(jus ad bellum) was accepted and upheld at face value
as a legitimate response to 9/11, without examining
the fact that Washington had not only supported the
"Islamic terror network", it was also instrumental in
the installation of the Taliban government in 1996.

In the wake of 9/11, the antiwar movement was
completely isolated. The trade unions and civil
society organizations had swallowed the media lies and
government propaganda. They had accepted a war of
retribution against Afghanistan, an impoverished
country of 30 million people.

I started writing on the evening of September 11, late
into the night, going through piles of research notes,
which I had previously collected on the history of Al
Qaeda. My first text entitled "Who is Osama bin
Laden?" was completed and first published on September
the 12th. (See full text of 9/12 article below).

From the very outset, I questioned the official story,
which described nineteen Al Qaeda sponsored hijackers
involved in a highly sophisticated and organized
operation. My first objective was to reveal the true
nature of this illusive "enemy of America", who was
"threatening the Homeland".

The myth of the "outside enemy" and the threat of
"Islamic terrorists" was the cornerstone of the Bush
adminstration’ s military doctrine, used as a pretext
to invade Afghanistan and Iraq, not to mention the
repeal of civil liberties and constitutional
government in America.

Without an "outside enemy", there could be no "war on
terrorism". The entire national security agenda would
collapse "like a deck of cards". The war criminals in
high office would have no leg to stand on.

It was consequently crucial for the development of a
coherent antiwar and civil rights movement, to reveal
the nature of Al Qaeda and its evolving relationship
to successive US adminstrations. Amply documented but
rarely mentioned by the mainstream media, Al Qaeda was
a creation of the CIA going back to the Soviet-Afghan
war. This was a known fact, corroborated by numerous
sources including official documents of the US
Congress. The intelligence community had time and
again acknowledged that they had indeed supported
Osama bin Laden, but that in the wake of the Cold War:
"he turned against us".

After 9/11, the campaign of media disinformation
served not only to drown the truth but also to kill
much of the historical evidence on how this illusive
"outside enemy" had been fabricated and transformed
into "Enemy Number One".

Michel Chossudovsky, Excerpts from the Preface of
America's "War on Terrorism", Second edition, Global
Research, 2005.

Who Is Osama Bin Laden?

The following article was written five years ago. It
was published on www.globalresearch. ca on the evening
of September 12th, 2001.

From the outset, the objective was to use 9/11 as a
pretext for launching the first phase of the Middle
East War, which consisted in the bombing and
occupation of Afghanistan.

Within hours of the attacks, Osama bin Laden was
identified as the architect of 9/11. On the following
day, the "war on terrorism" had been launched. The
media disinformation campaign went into full gear.

Also on September 12, less than 24 hours after the
attacks, NATO invoked for the first time in its
history "Article 5 of the Washington Treaty - its
collective defence clause" declaring the 9/11 attacks
on the World Trade Center (WTC) and the Pentagon "to
be an attack against all NATO members." What happened
subsequently, with the invasions of Afghanistan and
Iraq is already part of history. Iran and Syria
constitute the next phase of the Bush adminstration' s
military roadmap. 9/11 remains the pretext and
justification for waging a war without borders.

Michel Chossudovsky, 10 September 2006

Who Is Osama Bin Laden?
by Michel Chossudovsky

www.globalresearch. ca
September 12, 2001

A few hours after the terrorist attacks on the World
Trade Centre and the Pentagon, the Bush administration
concluded without supporting evidence, that "Osama bin
Laden and his al-Qaeda organisation were prime
suspects". CIA Director George Tenet stated that bin
Laden has the capacity to plan ``multiple attacks with
little or no warning.'' Secretary of State Colin
Powell called the attacks "an act of war" and
President Bush confirmed in an evening televised
address to the Nation that he would "make no
distinction between the terrorists who committed these
acts and those who harbor them". Former CIA Director
James Woolsey pointed his finger at "state
sponsorship, " implying the complicity of one or more
foreign governments. In the words of former National
Security Adviser, Lawrence Eagleburger, "I think we
will show when we get attacked like this, we are
terrible in our strength and in our retribution. "

Meanwhile, parroting official statements, the Western
media mantra has approved the launching of "punitive
actions" directed against civilian targets in the
Middle East. In the words of William Saffire writing
in the New York Times: "When we reasonably determine
our attackers' bases and camps, we must pulverize them
-- minimizing but accepting the risk of collateral
damage" -- and act overtly or covertly to destabilize
terror's national hosts".

The following text outlines the history of Osama Bin
Laden and the links of the Islamic "Jihad" to the
formulation of US foreign policy during the Cold War
and its aftermath.

Prime suspect in the New York and Washington
terrorists attacks, branded by the FBI as an
"international terrorist" for his role in the African
US embassy bombings, Saudi born Osama bin Laden was
recruited during the Soviet-Afghan war "ironically
under the auspices of the CIA, to fight Soviet
invaders". 1

In 1979 "the largest covert operation in the history
of the CIA" was launched in response to the Soviet
invasion of Afghanistan in support of the
pro-Communist government of Babrak Kamal.2:

With the active encouragement of the CIA and
Pakistan's ISI [Inter Services Intelligence] , who
wanted to turn the Afghan jihad into a global war
waged by all Muslim states against the Soviet Union,
some 35,000 Muslim radicals from 40 Islamic countries
joined Afghanistan' s fight between 1982 and 1992. Tens
of thousands more came to study in Pakistani
madrasahs. Eventually more than 100,000 foreign Muslim
radicals were directly influenced by the Afghan

The Islamic "jihad" was supported by the United States
and Saudi Arabia with a significant part of the
funding generated from the Golden Crescent drug trade:

In March 1985, President Reagan signed National
Security Decision Directive 166,...[which]
authorize[d] stepped-up covert military aid to the
mujahideen, and it made clear that the secret Afghan
war had a new goal: to defeat Soviet troops in
Afghanistan through covert action and encourage a
Soviet withdrawal. The new covert U.S. assistance
began with a dramatic increase in arms supplies -- a
steady rise to 65,000 tons annually by 1987, ... as
well as a "ceaseless stream" of CIA and Pentagon
specialists who traveled to the secret headquarters of
Pakistan's ISI on the main road near Rawalpindi,
Pakistan. There the CIA specialists met with Pakistani
intelligence officers to help plan operations for the
Afghan rebels.4

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) using Pakistan's
military Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) played a
key role in training the Mujahideen. In turn, the CIA
sponsored guerrilla training was integrated with the
teachings of Islam:

"Predominant themes were that Islam was a complete
socio-political ideology, that holy Islam was being
violated by the atheistic Soviet troops, and that the
Islamic people of Afghanistan should reassert their
independence by overthrowing the leftist Afghan regime
propped up by Moscow."5

Pakistan's Intelligence Apparatus

Pakistan's ISI was used as a "go-between" . The CIA
covert support to the "jihad" operated indirectly
through the Pakistani ISI, --i.e. the CIA did not
channel its support directly to the Mujahideen. In
other words, for these covert operations to be
"successful" , Washington was careful not to reveal the
ultimate objective of the "jihad", which consisted in
destroying the Soviet Union.

In the words of CIA's Milton Beardman "We didn't train
Arabs". Yet according to Abdel Monam Saidali, of the
Al-aram Center for Strategic Studies in Cairo, bin
Laden and the "Afghan Arabs" had been imparted "with
very sophisticated types of training that was allowed
to them by the CIA" 6

CIA's Beardman confirmed, in this regard, that Osama
bin Laden was not aware of the role he was playing on
behalf of Washington. In the words of bin Laden
(quoted by Beardman): "neither I, nor my brothers saw
evidence of American help". 7

Motivated by nationalism and religious fervor, the
Islamic warriors were unaware that they were fighting
the Soviet Army on behalf of Uncle Sam
. While there
were contacts at the upper levels of the intelligence
hierarchy, Islamic rebel leaders in theatre had no
contacts with Washington or the CIA.

With CIA backing and the funneling of massive amounts
of US military aid, the Pakistani ISI had developed
into a "parallel structure wielding enormous power
over all aspects of government". 8 The ISI had a staff
composed of military and intelligence officers,
bureaucrats, undercover agents and informers,
estimated at 150,000. 9

Meanwhile, CIA operations had also reinforced the
Pakistani military regime led by General Zia Ul Haq:

'Relations between the CIA and the ISI [Pakistan's
military intelligence] had grown increasingly warm
following [General] Zia's ouster of Bhutto and the
advent of the military regime,'...
During most of the
Afghan war, Pakistan was more aggressively anti-Soviet
than even the United States. Soon after the Soviet
military invaded Afghanistan in 1980, Zia [ul Haq]
sent his ISI chief to destabilize the Soviet Central
Asian states. The CIA only agreed to this plan in
October 1984.... `the CIA was more cautious than the
Pakistanis.' Both Pakistan and the United States took
the line of deception on Afghanistan with a public
posture of negotiating a settlement while privately
agreeing that military escalation was the best

The Golden Crescent Drug Triangle

The history of the drug trade in Central Asia is
intimately related to the CIA's covert operations.
Prior to the Soviet-Afghan war, opium production in
Afghanistan and Pakistan was directed to small
regional markets. There was no local production of
heroin. 11 In this regard, Alfred McCoy's study
confirms that within two years of the onslaught of the
CIA operation in Afghanistan, "the
Pakistan-Afghanistan borderlands became the world's
top heroin producer, supplying 60 percent of U.S.
demand. In Pakistan, the heroin-addict population went
from near zero in 1979... to 1.2 million by 1985 -- a
much steeper rise than in any other nation":12

CIA assets again controlled this heroin trade. As the
Mujahideen guerrillas seized territory inside
Afghanistan, they ordered peasants to plant opium as a
revolutionary tax. Across the border in Pakistan,
Afghan leaders and local syndicates under the
protection of Pakistan Intelligence operated hundreds
of heroin laboratories. During this decade of
wide-open drug-dealing, the U.S. Drug Enforcement
Agency in Islamabad failed to instigate major seizures
or arrests ... U.S. officials had refused to
investigate charges of heroin dealing by its Afghan
allies `because U.S. narcotics policy in Afghanistan
has been subordinated to the war against Soviet
influence there.' In 1995, the former CIA director of
the Afghan operation, Charles Cogan, admitted the CIA
had indeed sacrificed the drug war to fight the Cold
War. `Our main mission was to do as much damage as
possible to the Soviets. We didn't really have the
resources or the time to devote to an investigation of
the drug trade,'... `I don't think that we need to
apologize for this. Every situation has its
fallout.... There was fallout in terms of drugs, yes.
But the main objective was accomplished. The Soviets
left Afghanistan. '13

In the Wake of the Cold War

In the wake of the Cold War, the Central Asian region
is not only strategic for its extensive oil reserves,
it also produces three quarters of the World's opium
representing multibillion dollar revenues to business
syndicates, financial institutions, intelligence
agencies and organized crime. The annual proceeds of
the Golden Crescent drug trade (between 100 and 200
billion dollars) represents approximately one third of
the Worldwide annual turnover of narcotics, estimated
by the United Nations to be of the order of $500

With the disintegration of the Soviet Union, a new
surge in opium production has unfolded. (According to
UN estimates, the production of opium in Afghanistan
in 1998-99 -- coinciding with the build up of armed
insurgencies in the former Soviet republics-- reached
a record high of 4600 metric tons.15 Powerful business
syndicates in the former Soviet Union allied with
organized crime are competing for the strategic
control over the heroin routes.

The ISI's extensive intelligence military-network was
not dismantled in the wake of the Cold War. The CIA
continued to support the Islamic "jihad" out of
Pakistan. New undercover initiatives were set in
motion in Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Balkans.
Pakistan's military and intelligence apparatus
essentially "served as a catalyst for the
disintegration of the Soviet Union and the emergence
of six new Muslim republics in Central Asia." 16.

Meanwhile, Islamic missionaries of the Wahhabi sect
from Saudi Arabia had established themselves in the
Muslim republics as well as within the Russian
federation encroaching upon the institutions of the
secular State. Despite its anti-American ideology,
Islamic fundamentalism was largely serving
Washington's strategic interests in the former Soviet

Following the withdrawal of Soviet troops in 1989, the
civil war in Afghanistan continued unabated. The
Taliban were being supported by the Pakistani
Deobandis and their political party the
Jamiat-ul-Ulema- e-Islam (JUI). In 1993, JUI entered
the government coalition of Prime Minister Benazzir
Bhutto. Ties between JUI, the Army and ISI were
established. In 1995, with the downfall of the
Hezb-I-Islami Hektmatyar government in Kabul, the
Taliban not only instated a hardline Islamic
government, they also "handed control of training
camps in Afghanistan over to JUI factions..." 17

And the JUI with the support of the Saudi Wahhabi
movements played a key role in recruiting volunteers
to fight in the Balkans and the former Soviet Union.

Jane Defense Weekly confirms in this regard that "half
of Taliban manpower and equipment originate[d] in
Pakistan under the ISI" 18

In fact, it would appear that following the Soviet
withdrawal both sides in the Afghan civil war
continued to receive covert support through Pakistan's
ISI. 19

In other words, backed by Pakistan's military
intelligence (ISI) which in turn was controlled by the
CIA, the Taliban Islamic State was largely serving
American geopolitical interests. The Golden Crescent
drug trade was also being used to finance and equip
the Bosnian Muslim Army (starting in the early 1990s)
and the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). In last few
months there is evidence that Mujahideen mercenaries
are fighting in the ranks of KLA-NLA terrorists in
their assaults into Macedonia.

No doubt, this explains why Washington has closed its
eyes on the reign of terror imposed by the Taliban
including the blatant derogation of women's rights,
the closing down of schools for girls, the dismissal
of women employees from government offices and the
enforcement of "the Sharia laws of punishment". 20

The War in Chechnya

With regard to Chechnya, the main rebel leaders Shamil
Basayev and Al Khattab were trained and indoctrinated
in CIA sponsored camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
According to Yossef Bodansky, director of the U.S.
Congress's Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional
Warfare, the war in Chechnya had been planned during a
secret summit of HizbAllah International held in 1996
in Mogadishu, Somalia. 21 The summit, was attended by
Osama bin Laden and high-ranking Iranian and Pakistani
intelligence officers. In this regard, the involvement
of Pakistan's ISI in Chechnya "goes far beyond
supplying the Chechens with weapons and expertise: the
ISI and its radical Islamic proxies are actually
calling the shots in this war". 22

Russia's main pipeline route transits through Chechnya
and Dagestan. Despite Washington's perfunctory
condemnation of Islamic terrorism, the indirect
beneficiaries of the Chechen war are the
Anglo-American oil conglomerates which are vying for
control over oil resources and pipeline corridors out
of the Caspian Sea basin.

The two main Chechen rebel armies (respectively led by
Commander Shamil Basayev and Emir Khattab) estimated
at 35,000 strong were supported by Pakistan's ISI,
which also played a key role in organizing and
training the Chechen rebel army:

"[In 1994] the Pakistani Inter Services Intelligence
arranged for Basayev and his trusted lieutenants to
undergo intensive Islamic indoctrination and training
in guerrilla warfare in the Khost province of
Afghanistan at Amir Muawia camp, set up in the early
1980s by the CIA and ISI and run by famous Afghani
warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. In July 1994, upon
graduating from Amir Muawia, Basayev was transferred
to Markaz-i-Dawar camp in Pakistan to undergo training
in advanced guerrilla tactics. In Pakistan, Basayev
met the highest ranking Pakistani military and
intelligence officers: Minister of Defense General
Aftab Shahban Mirani, Minister of Interior General
Naserullah Babar, and the head of the ISI branch in
charge of supporting Islamic causes, General Javed
Ashraf, (all now retired). High-level connections soon
proved very useful to Basayev."23

Following his training and indoctrination stint,
Basayev was assigned to lead the assault against
Russian federal troops in the first Chechen war in
1995. His organization had also developed extensive
links to criminal syndicates in Moscow as well as ties
to Albanian organized crime and the Kosovo Liberation
Army (KLA). In 1997-98, according to Russia's Federal
Security Service (FSB) "Chechen warlords started
buying up real estate in Kosovo... through several
real estate firms registered as a cover in Yugoslavia"

Basayev's organisation has also been involved in a
number of rackets including narcotics, illegal tapping
and sabotage of Russia's oil pipelines, kidnapping,
prostitution, trade in counterfeit dollars and the
smuggling of nuclear materials (See Mafia linked to
Albania's collapsed pyramids, 25 Alongside the
extensive laundering of drug money, the proceeds of
various illicit activities have been funneled towards
the recruitment of mercenaries and the purchase of

During his training in Afghanistan, Shamil Basayev
linked up with Saudi born veteran Mujahideen Commander
"Al Khattab" who had fought as a volunteer in
Afghanistan. Barely a few months after Basayev's
return to Grozny, Khattab was invited (early 1995) to
set up an army base in Chechnya for the training of
Mujahideen fighters. According to the BBC, Khattab's
posting to Chechnya had been "arranged through the
Saudi-Arabian based [International] Islamic Relief
Organisation, a militant religious organisation,
funded by mosques and rich individuals which channeled
funds into Chechnya".26

Concluding Remarks

Since the Cold War era, Washington has consciously
supported Osama bin Laden, while at same time placing
him on the FBI's "most wanted list" as the World's
foremost terrorist.

While the Mujahideen are busy fighting America's war
in the Balkans and the former Soviet Union, the FBI
--operating as a US based Police Force- is waging a
domestic war against terrorism, operating in some
respects independently of the CIA which has --since
the Soviet-Afghan war-- supported international
terrorism through its covert operations.

In a cruel irony, while the Islamic jihad --featured
by the Bush Adminstration as "a threat to America"--
is blamed for the terrorist assaults on the World
Trade Centre and the Pentagon, these same Islamic
organisations constitute a key instrument of US
military-intelligence operations in the Balkans and
the former Soviet Union.

In the wake of the terrorist attacks in New York and
Washington, the truth must prevail to prevent the Bush
Adminstration together with its NATO partners from
embarking upon a military adventure which threatens
the future of humanity.

Michel Chossudovsky is the author of the international
best America’s "War on Terrorism" Second Edition,
Global Research, 2005. He is Professor of Economics at
the University of Ottawa and Director of the Center
for Research on Globalization.

To order Chossudovsky' s book America's "War on
Terrorism", click here

Note: Readers are welcome to cross-post this article
with a view to spreading the word and warning people
of the dangers of a broader Middle East war. Please
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media inquiries crgeditor@yahoo. com

Related article: Where was Osama on September 11,
2001? by Michel Chossudovsky, 9 September 2006

Hugh Davies, International: `Informers' point the
finger at bin Laden; Washington on alert for suicide
bombers, The Daily Telegraph, London, 24 August 1998.
See Fred Halliday, "The Un-great game: the Country
that lost the Cold War, Afghanistan, New Republic, 25
March 1996):
Ahmed Rashid, The Taliban: Exporting Extremism,
Foreign Affairs, November-December 1999.
Steve Coll, Washington Post, July 19, 1992.
Dilip Hiro, Fallout from the Afghan Jihad, Inter Press
Services, 21 November 1995.
Weekend Sunday (NPR); Eric Weiner, Ted Clark; 16
August 1998.
Dipankar Banerjee; Possible Connection of ISI With
Drug Industry, India Abroad, 2 December 1994.
See Diego Cordovez and Selig Harrison, Out of
Afghanistan: The Inside Story of the Soviet
Withdrawal, Oxford university Press, New York, 1995.
See also the review of Cordovez and Harrison in
International Press Services, 22 August 1995.
Alfred McCoy, Drug fallout: the CIA's Forty Year
Complicity in the Narcotics Trade. The Progressive; 1
August 1997.
Douglas Keh, Drug Money in a changing World, Technical
document no 4, 1998, Vienna UNDCP, p. 4. See also
Report of the International Narcotics Control Board
for 1999, E/INCB/1999/ 1 United Nations Publication,
Vienna 1999, p 49-51, And Richard Lapper, UN Fears
Growth of Heroin Trade, Financial Times, 24 February
Report of the International Narcotics Control Board,
op cit, p 49-51, see also Richard Lapper, op. cit.
International Press Services, 22 August 1995.
Ahmed Rashid, The Taliban: Exporting Extremism,
Foreign Affairs, November- December, 1999, p. 22.
Quoted in the Christian Science Monitor, 3 September
Tim McGirk, Kabul learns to live with its bearded
conquerors, The Independent, London, 6 November1996.
See K. Subrahmanyam, Pakistan is Pursuing Asian Goals,
India Abroad, 3 November 1995.
Levon Sevunts, Who's calling the shots?: Chechen
conflict finds Islamic roots in Afghanistan and
Pakistan, The Gazette, Montreal, 26 October 1999..
See Vitaly Romanov and Viktor Yadukha, Chechen Front
Moves To Kosovo Segodnia, Moscow, 23 Feb 2000.
The European, 13 February 1997, See also Itar-Tass,
4-5 January 2000.
BBC, 29 September 1999.
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