The War on Terrorism – An Alternative View

Media critic Barrie Zwicker, the host of Canada's VisionTV Insight: Mediafile, is one of the few North American journalists to offer an alternative viewpoint on the Sept. 11 tragedy. In this provocative six-part series of Mediafile commentaries, he challenges the official explanation for the attacks and considers the troubling implications of America’s new war.

Part One   Part Two   Part Four   Part Five   Part Six

Barrie Zwicker.





Osama bin Laden - CIA puppet?

  What really happened on Sept. 11th?
“9/11 – Part 3.”

Osama bin Laden is not an easy subject. Characterizations of him vary wildly. The most common, because it’s the official narrative of cardboard cutout simplicity, is that he’s the world’s number one villain, the diabolical mastermind behind the events of September 11th. Another view: Osama is “… the conscience of Islam.”

Well, globally, Osama is like a Rorschach ink blot. His character and role morph into what various publics project upon him, based on what they’re led to believe.

Take books. There’s an adage “You can’t tell a book by its cover” Maybe so, but you can tell it by its index. Bin Laden, the Man Who Declared War on America is by Yossef Bodansky, former senior consultant to the Pentagon and U.S. state department. “Bodansky explains (a) vast global conspiracy…” it says in the foreword.

The index entries on bin Laden in this 440-page book run almost two pages. But there are just four references to the CIA, mostly brief and reveal nothing. Yet the decades-long eight-billion-dollar CIA covert operation in Afghanistan was also its largest ever, according to numerous sources, including journalist John Cooley in his book Unholy Wars: Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism.

Contrast the Bodansky book with this one, Taliban,by Ahmed Rashid. He’s a Pakistani journalist who’s covered Afghanistan for 21 years. In his index are eight entries about bin Laden and 11 about the CIA.

Now, back to bin Laden. What do most sources agree on? We know bin Laden is born in Saudi Arabia in 1957. Okay we’re not sure about the year. His father becomes a close friend of the king, and “fabulously wealthy.” Bin Laden Corporation becomes one of the largest construction companies in the Middle East.

In this business you’re dealing with the Pakistani intelligence — the ISI, Saudi intelligence, the CIA. With his family’s blessing Osama becomes closely associated with the CIA in the Afghan war against the Soviets. Bin Laden Corp built major training camps for the CIA. “In 1986 he helped build the Khost tunnel complex, which the CIA was funding as a major arms stoage depot, training facility and medical centre for the mujaheddin…” At this point bin Laden’s story, like Stephen Leacock’s horse, “rides madly off in all directions.”

My questions: Did he turn against the CIA? Maintain ties while making anti-American statements? Was he manipulated? “Former associates describe him as deeply impressionable, always in need of mentors,” Rashid writes.

You’re forced to turn to a larger canvas. As in the final draft of this to-be-published book The War on Freedom, Causes and Consequences of 9-11by Nafeez Ahmed, executive director of the Institute for Policy Research & Development in Brighton, England. He’s an Oxfam campaigner who specializes in writing international reports on human rights. News of his reports have been carried by Reuters, Associated Press, The Guardian, The Independent, the Jewish Chronicle and the London Jewish News.

Ahmed writes that bin Laden is merely a piece in a chess game. The stakes of the game are the last of the world’s oil reserves and “…the Bush administration’s (consolidation of power) to pursue a drastic unlimited militarization of foreign policy on a massive and unprecedented scale required by long-standing elite planning, while crushing domestic dissent and criminalizing legitimate protest.”

I believe that if we shrink from testing Ahmed’s overview and accept only the headlines of the day we will fail to see the forest for the trees.

The USA helped recruit, train and equip thousands of killer mujahideen in the anti-Soviet war. Ahmed’s book and other evidence shows the recruiting and training terrorists, including those in al-Qaeda, has continued for years. The White House “went underground” with this aid.

This is detailed in the 1993 book The Outlaw Bank, A Wild Ride Into the Secret Heart of BCCI. BCCI stands for Bank of Credit and Commerce International. It collapsed after exposure of its massive fraud and corruption. The book’s authors are Jonathan Beaty and S. C. Gwynne. Beaty was an investigative reporter and senior correspondent for Time magazine; Gwynne Time’s economics editor and author of Selling Money.

The book reveals the BCCI’s connections with the CIA and “a Washington coverup that …protected the BCCI….” The BCCI’s ‘Black Network’ operating in Afghanistan and other countries dealt in “drug deals and terrorism.” The authors describe what they found as “a disturbing criminal conspiracy.”

Further evidence of the long and deep involvement of the CIA in terrorism is found in the 1987 book The Crimes of Patriots, A True Tale of Dope, Dirty Money, and the CIA, by Jonathan Kwitny. Kwitny at the time had been a Wall Street Journal reporter for 16 years.

He wrote that neither the director of the CIA nor the deputy director “had, in his career, shown any reluctance to shed American or foreign blood in covert military operations as a means to carrying out their assignments.” The book details “how some of the biggest names in American defense and intelligence were involved in an operation that promoted the dope trade, tax evasion, and gun running…”

Michael Springmann is a Washington lawyer. He worked for the US State Department’s foreign service for 20 years. He spent two years as chief of the visa section at the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. His superiors repeatedly ordered him to issue visas to unqualified applicants. It was illegal. He protested.

He’s just written this article in the reputable Covert Action Quarterly of Washington, D.C. and was interviewed by the CBC radio program Dispatches. “I had not been protesting fraud. What I was protesting was, in reality, an effort to bring recruits, rounded up by [the Agency and] Osama bin Laden, to the U.S. for terrorist training by the CIA.” He details numerous cases.

“The State Department did not run the Consulate in Jeddah. The CIA did. Of the roughly 20 Washington-dispatched staff there, I know for a certainty that only three people (including myself) had no ties, either professional or familial, to any of the U.S. intelligence services.”

What bugs me to no end is that mainstream media journalists operate as if these books – written by the most professional of their ranks – they operate as if these books don’t exist! Fellow journalists, the dots exist. For goodness’ sake, connect them, while you can.

There are plenty of what we call in the news biz “pegs.” Solid current evidence. New dots. But these dots, past and present, are never connected. Take this November 22nd front page story in The Globe and Mail. I almost missed the startling information in this myself because the headline indulges a stereotypical Canadian self-putdown: us stupid Canadians, we let a terrorist – one Ali Mohamed – get away.

The real story is buried. “Mr. Mohamed … was a U.S. Army sergeant…but trained bin Laden’s bodyguards.”


“Ali Mohamed was in the Americans’ good books…” “…Ali Mohamed wasn’t so shadowy in those days. He was one of their guys.”

A terrorist one of the FBI’s “guys?”

The headline on this story might have read: “FBI Protected Top al-Qaeda Operative.” And it might well have been the banner.

Ahmed’s own conclusion is that “the documentation… strongly suggests the United States, or more precisely significant elements of the U.S. government, military and intelligence, had extensive foreknowledge of the 11th September attacks, and were in various ways complicit in those attacks.”

All this and more must be considered when asking “What really happened on Sept. 11th?”

And bin Laden? Journalist and former Los Angeles Police Department detective Michael Ruppert quipped recently: “One guess is that he’s in Switzerland having his nails done.”

Next week, George W. Bush and the Oiligarchy.


Site founder: Jared Israel. I discovered Emperior’s Clothes about two years ago and have found its facts reliable, its knowledge of history solid, its analyses prescient. One of the best online journalism sites imaginable.

URL for the emperors-clothes article on 9/11:
Site founder: Michael Ruppert. I have heard and met Michael Ruppert and consider him a totally reliable, profound and courageous person. He’s a former Los Angeles Police Department detective, who saw with his own eyes CIA agents dealing large amounts of drugs in L.A. He’s campaigned to expose CIA wrong-doing ever since and this has led him to a larger, disturbing, picture which we citizens – anywhere – must be aware of, to plan a future. His organization is called From The Wilderness (FTW). That’s also the title of his publication, available in print and online.

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BOOKS (by author, alphabetically):

Ahmed, Nafeez Mossaddeq: The War on Freedom, Causes and Consequences of 9-11 (draft version), to be published, 220 pages.
The most complete book I know of, at this time, summarizing the relevant background and foreground intersecting upon the events of September 11, 2001.

Bodansky, Yossef: Bin Laden, The Man Who Declared War on America, Forum, 1999, 439 pps, soft cover, ISBN 0-7615-3581-0.
This book is pure propaganda in the worst sense, an example of sophisticated disinformation. It’s designed to fool people into thinking they’re getting the lowdown from an insider. A check of the index’s startling omissions give it away. It’s well-known that Osama bin Laden has been a key CIA “asset.” Any book on bin Laden, therefore, should explore the CIA-bin Laden connection thoroughly. Yet the CIA is barely mentioned. Omission is a crucial tool of propaganda.

Cooley, John: Unholy Wars:Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism, Pluto Press, 299 pages, soft cover, ISBN 0 7453 1691 3. One of the more reliable reporters, from whom Noam Chomsky draws material. He continues to track developments and his work is worth watching.

Kwitny, Jonathan: The Crimes of Patriots: A True Tale of Dope, Dirty Money, and the CIA, W. W. Norton & Company, 1987, 424 pps, hard cover, ISBN 0-393-02387-7. Kwitny when he wrote this had been a Wall Street Journal reporter for 16 years, and had received the Honor Medal for Career Achievement by the University of Missouri School of Journalism. The book is well written, detailed, persuasive and shocking, one of the books concerned citizens should consider reading to inform themselves of the deep-rooted lawless and malignant nature and scope of the CIA, protected by billions of dollars of taxpayer money, secrecy and political cover under Republican and Democratic administrations.

Rashid, Ahmed: Taliban, Yale University Press, 2001, 279 pp, soft cover, ISBN0-300-08902-3. Rashid’s long experience in Afghanistan, his credentials as a journalist, and his attempts to connect the historical and current dots in his region of the world, make his work reasonably credible.

Beaty, Jonathan, and Gwynne, S. C.: The Outlaw Bank, a Wild Ride into the Secret Heart of BCCI, Random House, New York, 399 pp, hardcover, ISBN 0-679-41384-7. At the time they wrote this book, Beaty was an investigative reporter and senior correspondent for Time magazine, and Gwynne was Time’s economics editor. This book is as exhaustively documented as Kwitny’s, and uncovers the same kind of widespread deceitful, violent, criminal activities by the CIA as does Kwitny. It also discovers, as does Kwitny, that these illegal and violent activities are protected by those at the top of the corporate, financial and political heirarchy.


Covert Action Quarterly (CAQ), Washington, D.C.
Formerly the Covert Action Intelligence Bulletin (CAIB), this reputable periodical publishes only thoroughly-researched work on the depredations of the CIA and other intelligence agencies.
Its Winter 2001 issue is titled: “Removing the Veil / U.S. Intelligence & the Origins of 911.” Articles include Michael Parenti’s “The Terrorism Totality,” and Michael Springmann’s “CIA’s Visa Machine.”

Publisher: CovertAction Publications, Inc.
Street address: 1500 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Suite 732, Washington, DC 20005, USA
Tel.: (202) 331-9763 / FAX: (202) 331-9751
E-mail address:

The Great Deception
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