Osama bin Who?

by V. P. Vittachi
When Russia invaded Afghanistan in 1979 there was a man called Osama Bin Laden (a Saudi, born in Riyadh) who fought with the Taliban against Russia. Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban had the backing of the United States of America to fight Russia. The USA paid all Taliban officials’ salaries. Why was the US doing this?

In the Caspian Sea area there are huge reserves of gas and oil, exceeding what there is in Saudi Arabia, which the USA coveted. But the Caspian Sea oil could not be got out without a pipeline through Afghanistan, to the Arabian Sea, a distance of 1000 miles. Unocal, a giant American conglomerate spent $10 billion on geological surveys for this pipeline.

In 1998 Taliban officials were in Texas negotiating with Unocal regarding this project. Not being satisfied with the terms offered by Unocal, the Taliban ordered Unocal to quit Afghanistan and awarded the pipeline project to a company from Argentina. Immediately, Taliban became classified as a terrorist organization. Unocal lobbied Congress urging the establishment of a more friendly government in Afghanistan. In mid-July US officials informed Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Niaz Naik that the US would invade Afghanistan by the middle of October. This was 2 months before the attack on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon.

In 2000 George W. Bush, after a scandalously conducted election, took his oaths as President of the United States. Dick Cheney became Vice President. Condoleezza Rice became National Security Adviser. All three of these people were top oil barons. George W. Bush was senior executive of the Arbusto Energy/ Bush Exploration Company (1986-90) and senior executive of the Harken Oil Company (1986-90). Dick Cheney was chief executive of the Halliburton Oil Company (1995-2000). Condoleezza Rice was senior executive at the Chevron Oil Company (1991-2000). When Cheney quit to become Vice President, Halliburton gave him a golden handshake of $34 billion.

In the US, the oil industry, the arms industry and the major media networks are all controlled by the same business combines. From Bush’s inauguration Big Oil was in firm control of the US. To get control of the Caspian Sea oil, the US wanted a compliant regime in Afghanistan. It was in July that the US revealed its intentions about Afghanistan to Niaz Naik. It would do it in any case but a plausible excuse would make it easier for the US to get the world to accept the aggression. September 11 was a heaven-sent gift to Bush. He became a national hero overnight, his popularity shot up to unprecedented heights, and, best of all, it gave him an excuse to attack Afghanistan. He claimed the attack on the twin towers was the work of Osama bin Laden and that Osama was hiding somewhere in Afghanistan. Bush would attack Afghanistan to get hold of bin Laden and kill him.

Although Bush claimed that he had ‘convincing proof’ that Bin Laden had master-minded that 9/11 attacks, he would not reveal his proof saying it was ‘secret’. Noam Chomsky has written: ‘Many who know the conditions (in Afghanistan) well are dubious about Bin Laden’s capacity to plan that incredibly sophisticated operation from a cave somewhere in Afghanistan. It is entirely possible that Bin Laden is telling the truth when he says he didn’t know about the operator.’

Osama was not an Afghan. None of the men responsible for the 9/11 attack were from Afghanistan But Bush wanted to attack Afghanistan because that was what he was always going to do. He called this America’s war on terrorism.

On 7 October 2001, as projected long before 9/11, the US launched airstrikes against Afghanistan, which is what they always wanted to do since the Taliban ordered Unicol out, but now they were armed with a plausible excuse — they were going to catch Bin Laden and kill him.

At the end of it all, the US failed to find Bin Laden but toppled the Taliban regime killing thousands of innocent men, women and children in the process and installed a new government headed by a former employee of Unicol. Bush appointed a ‘special envoy’ to represent the US in dealing with the new government who was previously ‘chief Consultant to Unicol’. Now the US oil barons were all set to proceed to build their pipeline. Of Bin Laden they found neither hair nor hide but this did not greatly perturb Bush. Osama had served his purpose and was no longer needed for his propaganda. To Bush it became a case of ‘Osama bin who? It’s Saddam we’re after.’ The US voter is so gullible and manipulable that Bush has been able to make one in two-Americans believe that it was Saddam who bombed the twin towers!

Saddam controls the second largest oilfield in the world and Iraq is to be Bush’s next target. He is, however, facing massive opposition from the civilized world.

Oil as a fuel is a major pollutant of the earth. It has caused and is causing irreversible damage to the atmosphere. The technology already exists for the use of hydrogen as a fuel. Hydrogen is dean. But the oil barons have too much invested in the oil industry to allow this to happen.

Noam Chomsky says ‘America is a leading terrorist state. ’Nelson Mandela says:’ If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America.’

Since Hiroshima and Nagasaki (a total of close on 200,000 innocent victims) the US has attacked and bombed the following countries: China (1945-46), Korea (1950-53), Guatemala (1954, 1967-69), Indonesia (1958), Cuba (1959-60), the Belgian Congo (1964), Peru (1965), Laos (1964-73), Vietnam (1961-73), Cambodia (1969-70), Grenada (1983), Libya (1986), El Salvador (1980s), Nicaragua (1980s), Panama (1989) Iraq (1991-99), Bosnia (1995), Sudan (1990), Yugoslavia (1999), Afghanistan (2001).

In addition the CIA was behind the assassinations of Lumumba (Congo 1961), and Allende (Chile 1973). And now Iraq is in line for a second round.

The USA has always prided itself on, and has been envied by the world for, its freedom of speech and its freedom from Big Brother prying. September 11 has made all that a thing of the past. Within a few weeks, Congress gave sweeping powers to every law enforcement agency — the CIA, the FBI, the Treasury Department, the Immigration and Naturalisation Service etc. to wiretap telephone conversations, read e-mails, monitor the Internet and arrest and deport suspicious individuals without due process.

The Bill was 300 pages long and few, if any, could have read it before they voted on it. The Bill had the intimidating title of USA Patriot Act which made it an act of courage to vote against it. Actually one, just one had the guts to vote against it — Russ Feingold, Liberal Democrat for Wisconsin.

The US Attorney-General John Ashcroft openly announced that officials would now listen in on talks between lawyer and client and, in some cases, use military tribunals instead of the courts of the land. At Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Bush has set up a concentration camp where he is holding without trial 625 persons ‘suspected to have ties with Al-Qaeda’. So far 11 inmates have attempted suicide. US officials in charge of the camp refer to the inmates as ‘enemy combatants’.

The American people have lost much more than the twin towers and the 3000 odd innocent people killed on 9/11. They have lost their long-cherished freedoms, and this seems irreversible. They might as well dismantle the Statue of Liberty in New York harbour and store it in some museum.