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I wondered after those images from New York last week whether bin Laden was not as astonished as myself to see them. Always supposing he watched television. Or listened to the radio. Or read a newspaper. Robert Fisk, The Independent
Clinton has changed all that. By endowing bin Laden with his new title (i.e. America’s Public Enemy Number One), he has given the Saudi dissident what he sought: recognition as the greatest enemy of Western ‘corruption’, the leader of all resistance against US policy in the Middle East. It would be funny if it weren’t so tragic, the way America now treats its opponents as if they were Hollywood bandits. Robert Fisk
The western media however had already made up their mind Bin Laden was the guy, and from him anything could be expected at that point. New American Century, PSTV
After removing the Taliban from power a temporary government was put in place. It was headed by Hamid Karzai, an Afghan living in America who had previously worked as a consultant for Unocal. In the meantime the world media spread the mythology of the rebel hidden in sophisticated self-powered caves with air conditioning and ammunition stacks. But in reality bin Laden was nowhere to be found. ibid.
He [Osama bin Laden] has never actually claimed responsibility for the acts. The first thing every terrorist in the world has ever concerned was to put forward some kind of statement clearly explaining the reasons behind their act. Bin Laden instead a few days after the attacks clearly stated that he had nothing to do with them at all. ibid.
At the heart of the story are groups: the American Neo-Conservatives and the radical Islamists. In this week’s episode the two groups come together to fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan; and both believed that they defeated the evil empire and so have the power to transform the world, But both failed in their revolutions. Adam Curtis, The Power of Nightmares II: The Phantom Victory, BBC 2004
American money and weapons now began to pour across the Pakistan border into Afghanistan. CIA agents trained the Mijahideen in the techniques of assassination and terror including car-bombing. ibid.
Zawahiri and his small group settled in Peshawar … a military rejection of all American influence over the jihad, because America was the source of this corruption. ibid.
By 1997 bin Laden & Zawahiri had returned to Afghanistan where they had first met ten years before … The new jihad would be against America itself. ibid.
But then the Neo-Conservatives began to reconstruct the Islamists. They created a phantom enemy. And as this nightmare fantasy began to spread, politicians realised the new power it gave them in a deeply disillusioned age. Adam Curtis, The Power of Nightmares III: The Shadows in the Cave
Bin Laden had no formal organisation until the Americans invented one for him. ibid.
Bin Laden had given this network a name: Al Qaeda … The focus of a loose association of dissident Muslim militants who were attracted by the new strategy. But there was no organisation … He was not their commander. ibid.
He realised this was the term the Americans gave him. ibid.
Now the Neo-Conservatives were all powerful … At its heart were Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz, along with the vice-president Dick Cheney and Richard Perle was a senior adviser to the Pentagon. ibid.
The Neo-Conservatives distorted and exaggerated the Soviet threat. They created the image of a hidden international web of evil run from Moscow that planned to dominate the world. When in reality the Soviet Union was on its last legs, collapsing from within. ibid.
All they [Northern Alliance] found were a few small caves which were either empty or had been used to store ammunition. There was no underground bunker system, no secret tunnels, the fortress didn’t exist. ibid.
Many of the arrests that were dramatically announced as being part of a hidden Al Qaeda network were in reality as absurd as the cases in America. ibid.
A simplistic fantasy of an organised web of uniquely powerful terrorists that might strike anywhere at any moment. But no-one questioned this fantasy. ibid.
The threat of a dirty bomb is yet another illusion. ibid.
Of the 664 people arrested under the Terrorism Act since September 11th none of them have been convicted of belonging to Al Qaeda. ibid.
The supporters of the precautionary principle argue that this loss of rights is the price that society has to pay when faced by the unique and terrifying threat of the al Qaeda network. But as this series has shown the idea of a hidden organised web of terror is largely a fantasy. And by embracing the precautionary principle the politicians have become trapped in a vicious circle. They imagine the worst about an organisation that doesn’t even exist. But no-one questions this. Because the very basis of the precautionary principle is to imagine the worst without supporting evidence. And instead those with the darkest imaginations are the most influential. ibid.
To a growing number of people around the world, America’s War On Terror is about hypocrisy and double standards, about terrorists who are classified as good and bad, depending on their usefulness to the great game of power politics. For years, Osama bin Laden was not only regarded in Washington and London as a good terrorist, he was virtually our creation. John Pilger, Breaking the Silence, Carlton 2003
By the time George W Bush came to power, the link between al Qaeda and the Taliban was an embarrassment ... The United States doesn’t usually attack strong countries ... Since World War Two there have been seventy-two interventions by the United States. ibid.
Obama exported the covert war against al Qaeda and the Taliban. Frontline: Top Secret America, PBS 2011
The Taliban was broken. Al Qaeda was hiding in the mountains. And the military had lots of prisoners on their hands. Frontline: Bush’s War I, PBS 2011
The vice-president continued to assert a connection between al Qaeda and Iraq. But the CIA kept saying it wasn’t true. Frontline: The Dark Side, PBS 2006
The tribal areas provide the Taliban and al Qaeda with a sanctuary where they can plan and plot attacks. Frontline: The War Briefing, PBS 2008
As the United States with a coalition of other countries wage a new war on terror, Frontline investigates how Isis gained such a dangerous stronghold. Frontline: The Rise of Isis, PBS 2014
More and more Sunis turned up dead in the streets of Baghdad. ibid.
Back in Syria, al Qaeda was steadily gaining ground. ibid.
Al Qaeda’s ranks swelled with newly freed inmates. ibid.
Isis is in control of large parts of Syria and Iraq. ibid.
Al Qaeda was created by the CIA during the 1980s for the purpose of fighting off an attempted Russian invasion of Afghanistan. The CIA funded al Qaeda and supplied them with the weapons and intelligence they needed to ward off the Russian threat. When the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan in the late 1980s, the CIA continued to fund al Qaeda, and many of its operatives were used as CIA assets. These operatives were used as double-agents for use in anti-terrorism drills within the USA, and for covert military operations. 9/11 Coincidences
Al Qaeda is an instrument of co-operation rather than an enemy of the West. There is no War on Terror. This is the crux of the issue. Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed, author & political scientist