I already knew that Osama bin Laden read my book before the headlines this week – but I’m still angry that he gave The Best Democracy Money Can Buy only four-and-a-half stars on his Amazon review. Obviously, something in the book pissed him off, because ...more
For Vice Magazine
“Us”, in this conversation, are the Taliban. The SOB in question is Osama bin Laden.
The Taliban’s frustration was relayed to me by Yahya Maroofi, Counsellor to Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai – Karzai’s Kissinger, if Kissinger had a soul.
The Silk Road nation of Kazakhstan is an excellent place to encounter the dervishes of the Great Game for control of the camel-and-pipeline routes of the Central Asian steppes. Here we can witness the diplomatic-military idiocies of new empires pathetically attempting to ignore the dried skeletons of the imperial forces that went before them.
Maroofi was spending the day in Kazakhstan’s capital on his way to little-noticed peace negotiations – little noticed because neither Uncle Sam nor Great-Uncle Britain were invited. Attendance is limited to those frontline states that will be left holding the grenade when the US and UK pull out the pin with the removal of their troops in 2014. The lineup includes Kazakhstan, Russia, Kyrgyzstan (birthplace of the Boston Bombers) and the big new swinging dick on the block, Turkey, as well as Iran, the nation most feared and despised by the Taliban. The unannounced guests, of course, are the Taliban themselves.
I am moved to recount a bit of my lengthy talk with the Afghan minister after reading reams of meretricious bunkum about Afghanistan from the pens of US propaganda repeaters pretending to be reporters. My favourite is, “Hope Seen for Afghanistan After Coalition Leaves,” in the New York Times. To give us an expert view, two American reporters used their 20-column inches to take down the words of General Joseph F Dunford Jr, commander of all “international forces” in Afghanistan.
Dunford just arrived in Afghanistan for the first time about 12 weeks ago. He may not know a Tajik from a camel fart, …more
From Vice.com UK
[Astana, Kazakhstan] Following the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, I received documents marked “SECRET” from the files of the FBI’s Washington field office. The information in those files will make you sick.
[Click through to get a download of the film Bush Family Fortunes, which contains the fascinating background to this story.]
When the bombs went off at the Boston Marathon, I grabbed those FBI files – and a plane for Kazakhstan, bullying cameraman Rocco D into joining me. [Rocco, no fool, won’t let me print his full name.]
After we landed, word came that two Kazakh teens, friends of the bombers, had been arrested by Boston police and, yesterday, charged with hiding evidence of the bombers’ guilt.
Here in Astana, Kazakhstan’s capital, televisions everywhere run endless …more
From Armed Madhouse: just so we don’t forget…
So, Osama walks into this bar, see? And Bush says, “Whad’l’ya have, pardner?” and Osama says…
…But wait a minute. I’d better shut my mouth. The sign here in the airport says, “Security is no joking matter.” But if security’s no joking matter, why does this guy dressed in a high-school marching band outfit tell me to take off my shoes? All I can say is, Thank God the “shoe bomber” didn’t carry Semtex in his underpants.
I’m a bit nervous. It’s a “YELLOW ALERT” day. That’s a “lowered threat” notice. According to the press office of the Department of Homeland Security, lowered threat Yellow means that there will be no special inspections of passengers or cargo today. Isn’t it nice of Mr. Bush to alert Osama when half our security forces are given the day off?
On September 11, 2001, my office building, the World Trade Center, was attacked by al Qaeda, a murder cult of Saudi Arabians, funded by Saudi Arabians. And so, in response to the Saudis’ attack, America invaded … Afghanistan. Like, HUH?
And here we go again. New York Times headline last Friday: “Pakistani Army, In Its Campaign In Taliban Stronghold, Finds A Hint Of 9/11.”
Google it and you’ll find the Times report repeated and amplified 5,785 times more.
Taliban = 9/11. Taliban = 9/11. Taliban = 9/11.
Your eyelids are getting heavy. Taliban = 9/11. Taliban = 9/11.
It’s the latest hit from the same crew that brought you Saddam = 9/11 and its twin chant, Saddam = WMD, Dick Cheney’s chimerical tropes which the New York Times’ Judith Miller happily channeled to the paper’s front page.
And they’re at it again.
Every war begins with a lie. In addition to Saddam = WMD, I’m old enough to remember the Gulf of Tonkin resolution authorizing the war in Vietnam, based on a fictional Vietnamese gunboat attack on our Navy. (White House recordings have Lyndon Johnson gloating privately, “Hell, those damn stupid [US] sailors were just shooting at flying fish.”)
Watch the BBC Report / Read the Transcript
September 10, 2006 – On November 9, 2001, when you could still choke on the dust in the air near Ground Zero, BBC Television received a call in London from a top-level US intelligence agent. He was not happy. Shortly after George W. Bush took office, he told us reluctantly, the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the FBI, “were told to back off the Saudis.”
We knew that. In the newsroom, we had a document already in hand, marked, “SECRET” across the top and – meaning this was a national security matter.
The secret memo released agents to hunt down two members of the bin Laden family operating a “suspected terrorist organization” in the USA. It was dated September 13, 2001 – two days too late for too many. What the memo indicates, corroborated by other sources, was that the agents had long wanted to question these characters but could not until after the attack. By that time, these bin Laden birds had flown their American nest.
Back to the high-level agent. I pressed him to tell me exactly which investigations were spiked. None of this interview dance was easy, requiring switching to untraceable …more
Excerpted from Armed Madhouse
So, Osama Walks into This Bar, See? and Bush says, “Whad’l’ya have, pardner?” and Osama says…
But wait a minute. I’d better shut my mouth. The sign here in the airport says, “Security is no joking matter.” But if security’s no joking matter, why does this guy dressed in a high-school marching band outfit tell me to dump my Frappuccino and take off my shoes? All I can say is, Thank the Lord the “shoe bomber” didn’t carry Semtex in his underpants. …more
The Right Wing has gone hog-ass wild over the New York Times’ “shocking” report that the Bush Administration is actually tracking terrorists’ money transfers. Oh my!
The fruitcakes are in flames! “Stand them in front of a firing squad or put them in prison for the rest of their lives,” says one pinhead on Fox TV.
For what? The stunning news that the government is hunting the source of al-Qaeda’s cash? “Osama! You must stop using your ATM card! Condi Rice is reading our bank statements!”
Somehow, I suspect bin Laden already assumes his checkbook is getting perused. …more
So what is his mission? What does Osama want? Why kick the U.S. out of Saudi Arabia? When, in March 2003, George Bush told the people of Iraq, “Do not destroy oil wells,” his words were heartfelt but hardly original. In bin Laden’s 1996 Declaration of War, he warned all good Muslims against: Destruction of the oil industries… I would like here to alert my brothers, to protect this oil wealth and not to include it in the battle.
Bin Laden listed other beefs in his Declaration of War. There are some who have the notion that bin Laden, though inexcusably violent, is somehow giving voice to the oppressed. Those who fancy bin Laden as the defender of the wretched of the earth have neither read his writings nor followed his actions. The poor get no column inches in his “Declaration.” Creating a Palestinian state? It’s not mentioned in his fabulously long screed. Rather, the billionaire scion and former heir to the bin Laden Construction fortune launches into an angry diatribe about, of all things, Saudi Arabia’s failure to pay past due invoices owed to: great merchants and contractors [waiting for] hundreds and thousands of millions of riyals owed to them by the government.
The House of Saud, it seems, was late in paying bin Laden Construction (which had a huge contract to rebuild Mecca).
Bin Laden is no fool; he knew why the Saudi government became a deadbeat bill payer. He was writing in 1996 when the price of oil was flat on the floor, near $10 a barrel, an all-time low; and Osama cried: People wonder, are we the largest oil exporting country? So much oil, so little cash to show for it.
What drove Osama’s declaration of war? The poverty in Islamic nations? Not a mention. Lack of freedom? Forget it. Bin Laden’s causus bellum for war on America: The presence of the U.S.A. Crusader military forces on land, sea and air in the states of the Islamic Gulf is the greatest danger threatening the largest oil reserve in the world.
Threatening Islamic oil reserves. Osama even launches a sophisticated tirade against the suppression of oil production by U.S. operators in the Gulf. This wealthy engineer knows the petroleum biz, that’s for sure.
If you want to know what motivates Osama, follow his path. Long before Al-Qaeda destroyed the World Trade Center, Osama, after removing, with U.S. help, the Soviets from Afghanistan, set up operations in Sudan, where oil men expected to find the next big gusher.
Osama’s next target was not The Great Satan America but The Little Satan: Iran. In Osama’s view, Iranians are Shia “dogs and lackeys” who hold, infuriatingly, OPEC’s third largest oil reserves. Osama was especially affronted by Iran’s rising influence in Afghanistan at the time, thereby blocking his ability to link up with fundamentalist militants in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan who were fundamentally coveting control of the Caspian nations’ oil wealth. Osama expressed his displeasure with Iran’s incursion on his turf by ordering the slaughter of the entire Iranian diplomatic mission to Afghanistan. After eliminating his Shia Iranian competitors in Afghanistan, Osama financed the Wahabi-influenced Taliban. Notably, Osama had no objection to the Taliban signing pipeline deals with U.S. oil firms.
In other words, if you follow Osama’s movements and read what the man says, you realize he has been less coy than Bush about his true program: Get the oil. The steps are: First, remove the Soviets from the Caspian oil fields and pipeline routes; second, remove the man he called an evil “socialist,” Saddam Hussein, from the second largest OPEC reserve; third, keep the Shia “dogs” who control the third largest reserve from expanding their influence outside Persia; fourth, remove U.S. troops from the Land of the Holy Places (and largest oil reserve), Saudi Arabia; then fifth and last, overthrow the House of Saud and re-create a new Caliphate stretching from Sudan to Kazakhstan, every province an oil state, a Petroleum Kingdom of God, presumably under His blessed servant and contractor Osama.
And so, to protect those reserves””if his foolish “brothers” don’t burn the oil wells””he’s declared his own Operation Islamic Liberation. O.I.L.
What motivates Osama? Same thing as George and Dick. It’s all about the oil.
Working Assets Serialization
06.13.06 – (Eds. note: This piece is part of a serialization of Greg Palast’s newest book, Armed Madhouse. Palast’s Armed Madhouse book tour is co-sponsored by Working Assets.)
THE FEAR: Including Marines in a tube, learning to speak Terrorist, Bush’s Khan job, National Security Document 199-I and Osama’s Mission Accomplished.
What are you afraid of? Our Fear Salesman-in-Chief has something for everyone.
So, Osama Walks into This Bar, See?
…and Bush says, “Whad’l’ya have, pardner?” and Osama says…
But wait a minute. I’d better shut my mouth. The sign here in the airport says, “Security is no joking matter.” But if security’s no joking matter, why does this guy dressed in a high-school marching band outfit tell me to take off my shoes? All I can say is, Thank God the “shoe bomber” didn’t carry Semtex in his underpants.
I’m a bit nervous. It’s an “ORANGE ALERT” day. That’s a “low threat” notice. According to the press release from the Department of Homeland Security, low-threat Orange means that there will be no special inspections of passengers or cargo today. Isn’t it nice of Mr. Bush to alert Osama when half our security forces are given the day off? Hmm. I asked an Israeli security expert why his nation doesn’t use these pretty color codes.
He asked me if, when I woke up, I checked the day’s terror color.
“I can’t say I ever have. I mean, who would?” He smiled. “The terrorists.” America is the only nation on the planet that kindly informs bombers, hijackers and berserkers the days on which they won’t be monitored. You’ve got to get up pretty early in the morning to get a jump on George Bush’s team.
There are three possible explanations for the Administration’s publishing a good-day-for-bombing color guidebook.
1. God is on Osama’s side.
2. George is on Osama’s side.
3. It’s about the oil.
A gold star if you picked #3.
Osama’s Mission Accomplished
On Thursday, May 1, 2003, President Bush landed on the deck of the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln. Forgetting to undo the parachute clips around his gonads, our President walked bowlegged on the ship’s deck in a green jumpsuit looking astonishingly like Ham, first chimp in space. The scene was so exciting that the media failed to notice that the War on Terror had ended on the previous Tuesday.
On that day, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld quietly acknowledged that he was withdrawing America’s armed forces from Saudi Arabia.
I’m always surprised at the debate over “What drives Osama? What does Al-Qaeda want?” There should be no confusion: Al-Qaeda states its mission, like most enterprises, on its Web site. Osama had it written out in English, in capital letters, so it wouldn’t be difficult to miss the point.
DECLARATION OF WAR AGAINST THE AMERICANS OCCUPYING THE LAND OF THE TWO HOLY PLACES””EXPEL THE INFIDELS FROM THE ARAB PENINSULA The “two holy places” are Mecca and Medina, and their “land” is Saudi Arabia. That’s what Osama wanted: U.S. troops out of Saudi Arabia.
Bin Laden issued his demand on August 23, 1996; and on April 29, 2003, the Tuesday before the President was chauffeured by fighter jet onto the deck of the Abe Lincoln, Mr. Bush gave bin Laden exactly what he wanted: U.S. troops sent packing from the Land of the Holy Places.
That’s astonishing. Until George W. Bush, the United States of America has never, ever, removed all our military bases from a foreign land no matter how much locals bitched or moaned. We even keep troops in Okinawa over the island’s strong objections, and World War II ended sixty years ago.
Am I accusing George Bush Jr. of being the first President of the United States to cravenly accede to the demands of terrorists? No, Reagan got there first, in 1984, when he gave in to Hizbollah’s demand and ordered our Marines to retreat from Lebanon.
No matter, President Bush was correct in announcing, “Mission Accomplished.” However, it was not America’s mission that was accomplished. It was Osama’s.
Coming soon: Part II of Armed Madhouse, “What Does Osama Want?”
FBI and military intelligence officials in Washington say they were prevented for political reasons from carrying out full investigations into members of the Bin Laden family in the US before the terrorist attacks of September 11. ...more