BBC charges administration at fault for 9-11

BBC charges administration at fault for 9-11

By Joe Baker

By Joe Baker

Senior Editor

Was America itself to blame for the attacks of Sept. 11th? That’s the contention of the BBC following a special investigation as reported by The Times of India.

According to the newspaper, the BBC found the U.S. administration used “kid gloves” in tracking Osama bin Laden and “other fanatics linked to Saudi Arabia.” ( The report was a damning indictment of the presidents Bush and U.S. foreign policy.

The BBC said its report was based on a secret FBI document—number 1991 WF213589—which came from the bureau’s Washington field office and maintained the cynicism of the American establishment and “connections between the CIA and Saudi Arabia and the Bush men and bin Laden’s” may be the real cause of the deaths of thousands of U.S. civilians in the WTC attacks.

The investigative report, featured on the BBC program Newsnight, stated the FBI was told to “back off” investigating Abdullah bin Laden, one of Osama’s’ brothers, who had been linked to “the Saudi-funded World Association of Muslim Youth (WAMY), a suspected terrorist organization.”

That group’s bank accounts have not been frozen by U.S. authorities, despite “being banned by Pakistan some weeks ago and India claiming it was linked to an organization involved in bombing in Kashmir.”

Newsnight reported there is a long history of “shadowy” American connections to Saudi Arabia, not the least of them the two presidents Bushes’ “business dealings” with the bin Ladens and another, more insidious link.

The former head of the U.S. visa section in Jeddah said he had been concerned about visas given large numbers of what he called “unqualified” men who had no family ties or links with the U.S. or Saudi Arabia. He later learned it was not “visa fraud” but part of a scheme to send young men “recruited by Osama bin Laden” for “terrorist training by the CIA.” They were then sent on to Afghanistan.

Citing a well-known claim by one of George W. Bush’s former business partners, the BBC said the younger Bush made his first million 20 years ago with a company financed by Osama’s older brother, Salem. The BBC went on to say that both the senior and junior Bush men had very lucrative stakes with the bin Ladens in Carlyle Corporation, a company which has become one of America’s biggest defense contractors. The BBC said the bin Ladens sold their holdings with Carlyle soon after 9-11.

A number of U.S. politicians later denied the program’s claim that the administration had called off the intelligence agency investigators from the bin Ladens because of strategic interest in Saudi oil reserves, which are the world’s largest.

Meantime, the progress of the “war on terrorism” is something less than hoped for. Washington Post columnist, Charles Krauthammer, at the end of last month, wrote: “The war is not going well. The Taliban have not yielded ground. Not a single important Taliban leader has been killed, or captured or has defected. On the contrary. The Taliban have captured and executed our great Pashtun hope, Abdul Haq. The Joint Chiefs express

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surprise at the tenacity of the enemy.”

Since then, the Northern Alliance, with massive bombing by us, has managed to seize the northern city of Mazar-I-Sharif and rout the Taliban, but the fundamentalist regime is yet far from being displaced from power.

The warmakers are baffled. They have spent $1.5 billion on this war and many more billions building a military machine capable of intimidating anyone in the world, yet they have little to show for it. The Taliban, on the other hand, have spent about $38,000 and downed two American drone spy planes, costing taxpayers $10 million each. No wonder a Taliban spokesman said: “We like this war.” (

The first raid of our vaunted Delta Force commandos on Taliban positions, trumpeted as a great success by the Pentagon, has been admitted as a debacle, causing a panicked review of our military strategy.

The Guardian, a British daily, reported many U.S. soldiers appear to be trying to get out of the war zone. Col. David Hackworth (Ret.), known as “America’s most decorated soldier,” was quoted as saying: “A large number of them have been submitting release from active duty requests, feigning that they’re conscientious objectors, which is exactly what we went through in Vietnam.”

U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said last week that 30 of the Special Forces troopers were wounded in the assault Oct. 20 in southern Afghanistan. That happened when the Taliban counterattacked, pouring heavy fire at the Delta Force squad at the Kandahar compound of the Taliban leader, Mulla Mohammed Omar.

At the same time, Army Rangers staged a raid on a Kandahar airstrip. Other troops said it was done mainly to provide dramatic television footage for homefront propaganda. They said the area had been checked in advance to make sure it was clear of Taliban forces.

Now there is open questioning of the leadership and tactics of the U.S. commander, Gen. Tommy Franks.

The commando fiasco was first reported by journalist and author Seymour Hersh, who uncovered the Mai Lai massacre in the Vietnam War. Pentagon officials disputed his claims, but Hersh stood by his story. The Guardian reported its own investigation corroborated Hersh’s account.

A senior officer, commenting on the speed and intensity of the Taliban response, said it “scared the crap out of everyone.” The Delta Force commandos are trained to attack stealthily, in small teams. This raid had a backup force of 200 Rangers, AC-130 gunships and 100 commandos. It was about as stealthy as a charging herd of elephants.

The Guardian said the U.S. also has failed to win much political support on the ground that might be able to create an acceptable and viable Afghanistani puppet government. Attempts to create an alliance among the Pashtun majority have failed so far, the paper said.

Efforts to promote the exiled former king as a unifying influence have served only to discredit him, The Guardian claimed. The U.S. has sent troops as liaison with the Northern Alliance but, it said, that move has only spread fear and outrage in southern Afghanistan where the Pashtun people recall the rapes and murders the Alliance committed there in the mid-1990s.

President Bush has declared the Taliban are crumbling, but their foreign minister, Wakil Ahmed Mutwakel, held a press conference in Kandahar and announced: “There is no split in the Taliban. This is the claim of our opponents.”

Chokar Karaiz was a village that used to exist 60 miles north of Kandahar. Mehmood is a man who lived there. “Around midnight the bombing started,” he said. “It lasted for two hours, and then the next night it began again and lasted all night and the rest of the following day. When it started, everyone just fled their homes and ran in every direction. We didn’t know where to go. I brought my family here for safety, and now there are 19 dead, including my wife, my two children, my brother, sister, sister-in-law, nieces, nephews, my uncle. What am I supposed to do now?”

Sen. John McCain told The Wall Street Journal: “Shed a tear, and then get on with the business of killing our enemies as quickly as we can, and as ruthlessly as we must. We cannot fight this war from the air alone. We cannot fight it without casualties. And we cannot fight it without risking unintended damage to humanitarian and political interests. We cannot allow the Taliban safe refuge among the civilian population. We must destroy them, wherever they hide.

“That will surely increase the terrible danger facing noncombatants, a regrettable but necessary fact of war.”

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