When I first saw Adam Curtis’ BBC documentary, The Power of Nightmares in 2004, I was immediately struck by assertions made in the film by Jason Burke, author of “al Qaeda” that:
“The idea which is critical to the FBI’s prosecution (of bin Laden and al Qaeda for the 2000 attack on the USS Cole) that bin Laden ran a coherent organization with operatives and cells all around the world – of which he could be a member –
is a myth.
There is no al Qaeda organization. There is no international network, with a leader, with cadres who will unquestioningly obey orders, with tentacles that stretch out to sleeper cells in America, in Africa in Europe. That idea of a coherent, structured, terrorist network with an organized capability simply did not exist.”
The author’s research (and that of others) pointed to the creation of an al Qaeda myth by U.S. American interests. This immediately set me to conjecturing that, just like Emmanuel Goldstein’s movement in Orwell’s 1984, the diffuse enemy / al Qaeda myth would have to be sustained once created – which led me to the notion that United States interests are conducting black operations in the name of al Qaeda to this day, all over the world. This thought has tainted the way I read about terror attacks in London, Mumbai, Afghanistan. It seems to me that the neoconservatives, with their stated goals of aggressive policy, are certainly capable of it. The idea is supported by reports of the torture and abuses that have gone on in U.S. American concentration camp prisons, and by a 60 year history of the United States covertly and overtly conducting such black-ops all across the globe for their political ends – from Operation Gladio in Italy after the Second World War, through the current operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Recently, I have noticed a pattern in which sudden acts of terrorism have gone unclaimed. For decades, it has been the modus operandi of terrorist groups to immediately claim responsibility when they have conducted a terrorist act for attention or political communication. In the past four years, this pattern has changed. More and more often, a clear entity claiming responsibility for an act of terror is difficult to find. Meanwhile, more and more often terrorism is being attributed to the nebulous, tentacular, international al Qaeda organization that author Jason Burke says doesn’t (or at least didn’t) exist.
It is a paradox. If the post-9/11 increases in anti-Terrorism have been so successful as the Bush Administration and Neocons proclaim – freezing assets, capturing more than 75% of al Qaeda leadership, crippling the organization’s ability to move and act – then random acts of terrorism that are not attributable to anyone, and which remain unclaimed by anyone should be decreasing.
If anything only the “other kind” of terrorism should remain – the kind the U.S. cares nothing about – conflicts that don’t involve oil or U.S. American corporate interests, like those that horrifically continue across the African continent.
Instead we hear daily about new terrorist acts and links that are a part of al Qaeda – an
organization that until very recently was an ally and asset of the U.S. American C.I.A.
In 2003, I interviewed Michel Chossudovsky, who has written on this aspect of the organization, on the creation of al Qaeda by the CIA and on a number of 9/11-related topics. The interview paints a haunting picture of the relations that U.S. American politicians had with key players in the attacks on and around the days they took place. It also points to yet another foreign interest playing a hand in the attacks: Pakistan.
MC: My name is Michel Chossudovsky. I teach at the University of Ottawa. I am Director of the Center for Research on Globalization and the author of, War and Globalization, the Truth Behind September 11th.
M.T. Karthik: Tell us about your research into the creation of al Qaeda and its relationship with Pakistan and the US?
MC: I think we have to first understand that the links between al Qaeda and the U.S. government go back to the 1980’s. There is a long-standing relationship from the Soviet-Afghan War. And in fact, al Qaeda was created during the presidency of Jimmy Carter
and that relationship has been sustained. In that relationship, Pakistan’s military intelligence has played a crucial role as a relay between U.S. intelligence and these various terrorist organizations.
MTK: and who are the players in this?
MC: First of all the ISI, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence is essentially the Pakistani counterpart of the CIA. It has very close links with the CIA, very close bilateral relations. It developed into a very powerful force with secret agents – military as well as bureaucrats – from the MC(cont’d): beginning of the Soviet Afghan war. Now, al Qaeda, which is the so-called Islamic Brigades, developed during that period. It was an initiative of Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brszynski, and it is confirmed by numerous writings that in fact the architects of the Islamic Brigades, were the U.S. Administrations and the CIA which built this massive operation of channeling resources into the madrasas, the Koranic schools, the training camps and so on, in Afghanistan in support of the mujahadeen. That has to be borne in mind. But nobody actually denies that story. Even the CIA says, “Well, yes, we did it, but that was the Cold War Era.”
MTK: So there are examples of relationships between CIA covert operatives and al Qaeda for more than twenty years?
MC: Yes. There has been a consistent thread throughout the “cold war era” where agents of the U.S. Administration on the one hand and al Qaeda operatives on the other hand have collaborated in covert operations. This is confirmed by documents of the U.S.
MC: During the Clinton Administration, al Qaeda collaborated with U.S. weapons inspectors in bringing weapons into Bosnia during the civil war – and that was in the 90’s. We have a number of other documents which show this linkage between successive U.S. administrations and al Qaeda. So to say that al Qaeda is some kind of outside enemy is simply a fabrication. Al Qaeda is a creature of the U.S. intelligence apparatus. It is what the CIA calls an “intelligence asset.” And the relationship has been sustained. And in that relationship, Pakistan’s ISI has played a crucial role as a relay between U.S. intelligence and these various terrorist organizations. So that in effect they would have contact with the Taleban and with other terrorist organizations. And in fact who was behind it? It was the CIA. So that institutional linkage between the ISI and al Qaeda is something which has existed at least for the last 20 years since the beginning of the 1980’s.
MC: It appears that Pakistan’s military intelligence had a role in the 9/11 attacks and that is something of course, which has to be fully investigated.
MTK: Wow. Tell us what you have found.
MC: There was a report on the FBI in late September of 2001, which was released by ABC News to the effect that $100,000 from banks in Pakistan had been transferred to the presumed ringleader (of the attacks) Mohammad Atta. It was confirmed by Time magazine as well. The FBI acknowledged these transfers of money out of Pakistan. It has not been refuted by the FBI, but it has been confirmed by other reports including an Indian Intelligence report which says that in effect that it was the ISI which transferred the money on the instruction of then ISI-chief Lieutenant General Mahmoud Ahmad.
Incidentally, another very important event: in the days before 9/11, you will remember that General Shah Massoud was assassinated the leader of the Northern Alliance –.
MTK: Yes, that’s right, on the 9th.
MC: On the 9th.
MTK: Sunday the ninth. He was executed in a suicide bombing using a fake camera as a weapon, right?
MC: Yes, that’s correct. But the Northern Alliance actually issued a statement – which must have been transmitted through official channels to Washington – which explicitly accused Pakistan’s military intelligence, the ISI, headed by General Mahmoud Ahmad
of having organized the kamikaze assassination on General Shah Massoud, the leader of the Northern Alliance. So that there you have several elements – one the one hand, the
Northern Alliance accuses the ISI of assassinating General Massoud. On the other hand you have an FBI report which is confirmed by an Indian report to the effect that the ISI was instrumental in financing Mohammad Atta (the presumed ringleader of the terrorists). The history of al Qaeda/CIA links suggests that in fact the ISI
played a role.
MTK: And you’ve further discovered that this same General Ahmad, who stands reasonably accused of being responsible for an assassination of an ally on the 9th of September and for sending $100,000 to Mohammad Atta, the ringleader of the attacks against the U.S., is considered a friend of U.S. officials and was even visiting the U.S. when the attacks take place?
MC: Yes. And then the question is: What was a moneyman of the attacks according to the FBI, doing in Washington from the 4th of September to the 14th of September in an official visit where he met … I mean he met Richard Armitage, Colin Powell. He had
meetings at the U.S. Congress. Of course he met his counterpart CIA Director George Tenet.
MC: And it just so happens that on the morning of September 11th, this individual who is pinpointed in the FBI report as well as in the official statement of the Northern Alliance as a possible accomplice in the 9/11 attacks is having breakfast hosted by Senator Bob Graham, Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and Representative Porter Goss, his Intelligence committee counterpart in the House of Representatives and several other members of Congress who were there.
MC: Yes. And the irony of this whole thing is … that if you read carefully the reports in the U.S. media that came- In fact they came much, much later, nobody acknowledged this meeting except a couple of small papers in Florida, because both Bob Graham and Porter Goss are from Florida, so they had a blurb. But the Washington Post brings out the story several months later, in May of 2002, and in the Washington Post report they say very specifically that Bob Graham and Porter Goss were having breakfast with a man who is known to be close to al Qaeda and the Taleban and to be sympathetic to Islamic terrorism, saying, I’ll read you the quote: “Ahmad ran a spy agency notoriously close to Osama bin Laden and the Taleban.” That is taken from the Washington Post. Well the Washington Post acknowledges the links between ISI Chief Ahmad and Osama bin Laden, but it fails to ask doesn’t it point to some kind of linkage.
MC: What is the proximity group of this individual? So the question we have to ask is: What were these guys, Bob Graham and Porter Goss, who were responsible for investigating 9/11, what were they doing with an alleged moneyman behind 9/11 – (laughs) having breakfast on the morning of 9/11. I am just saying this is something that needs to be investigated. And what was Colin Powell doing with Mahmoud Ahmad in meetings at the State Department? What was Richard Armitage doing?
MTK: Is Ahmad still head of the ISI?
MC: No he was retired in October shortly before the bombing campaign against Afghanistan.
MTK: Has anyone addressed these questions with them about the cover-up?
MC: No, look, Bob Graham is the cover-up. First of all I should say that Bob Graham and Representative Porter Goss, they went to Pakistan on the 28th of August and they had meetings with General Mahmoud Ahmad, a man notoriously close to Osama bin Laden and the Taleban according to the Washington Post. They had meetings with the President. They came back to Washington a few days later, and a few days later Mahmoud Ahmad arrives in Washington – on the 4th of September – and had meetings with them. They had meetings with this individual. They know all about him and when asked they are saying the information is withheld. Are they going to release the information of their personal linkage with this presumed moneyman behind 9/11?
Professor Michel Chossudovsky’s research and numerous books are available from the Center for Research on Globalization, which can be found at: http://www.globalresearch.ca