Who carried out the September 11 terror attacks on the United States? People in the pay of Saudi Arabia, trained and maintained by the secret services of Pakistan. What did George W. Bush do to punish these accomplices to mass murder on American soil? Nothing; instead he killed more than 30,000 innocent people–in Iraq.
This is not some baseless “conspiracy theory”–unlike, say, the Bushists’ fantasies about a pre-war coupling between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. (Of course, the pair probably are in bed now, thanks to the pious bawds in the White House, whose lust for Iraqi booty has engendered a whole new breed of terrorists in the conquered land.) No, the Saudis’ payment of protection money to Osama–the scion of one of the kingdom’s most powerful, well-connected families–has been known for years. Likewise, Pakistan’s intimate involvement with the Taliban and other Qaeda-connected groups–such as Mohammed Atta’s September 11 brigade and the gang that killed American journalist Daniel Pearl–has also been widely attested.
Now this highly inconvenient–hence largely forgotten–history has surfaced again, in the confessions of top Osama henchman Abu Zubaydah, unearthed by author Gerald Posner and reported this week in Time magazine.
Zubaydah, captured by the Americans last year, confirmed that Saudi royals began paying off bin Laden in 1991. Young Osama, victoriously returned from the CIA-backed jihad against the Soviets in Afghanistan, was feeling his fundamentalist oats, and wanted to take up arms against the demonic secularist Saddam, after the latter’s invasion of Kuwait. But the Saudi royals preferred to bring in the hired muscle of their long-time business partner, George H.W. Bush. When Osama threw a fit over the presence of American “infidels” on holy ground, the royals told him he could go kill Americans if he wanted to–as long as he kept his jihadi hobby outside the confines of the kingdom. They bought his compliance with copious amounts of petrodollars–most of them supplied, ironically enough, by the oil-addicted denizens of the United States.
Zubaydah, under torture (yes, we know, Americans never torture people–and they don’t launch unprovoked wars of aggression, either), gave up names, dates, even telephone numbers of al Qaeda’s enablers in the Saudi royal family and Pakistani military. True, the wily terrorist operative might have been lying. But shortly after Zubaydah spilled these red-hot beans, all three Saudi princes he had named turned up dead–within a single week, in June 2002. One died in a car crash, one reportedly had a heart attack, and the third wealthy prince somehow “died of thirst” in the Saudi desert. The following week, the top Pakistani official fingered by Zubaydah was also killed, along with his family, when his airplane suddenly fell out of a clear blue sky. Of course, this could just be coincidence–after all, planes fall, cars crash, hearts fail and multimillionaires die of thirst in the desert every day, right? Still, it looks as if Zub’s canary-like warbling might have struck a nerve somewhere out there.
Naturally, the Bushists kept these insights into the origins of the September 11 atrocity hidden from those perpetual patsies, the American people. They didn’t want to embarrass their Saudi and Pakistani allies, who were now pouring money into the pockets of Bush’s war-profiteering cronies in the arms trade. What’s more, an open investigation into the true context of the attack would have distracted from the more important business at hand: slaughtering Iraqis for fun and profit.
And “slaughter” is the operative word. A recent in-depth, in-country body count–carried out by the Iraqi Freedom Party, a pro-business, anti-Saddam Iraqi dissident group championed by American conservatives–put the number of civilians killed by the Bush invasion at 37,000: the equivalent of 460,000 American deaths, as a percentage of total population. No doubt Bush’s own fundamentalist followers will greet this news scripturally, “with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of musick,” chanting, “Osama hath slain his thousands, and Bush his tens of thousands!”
But while Bush diverts massive resources to the Iraqi conquest, Osama sits safely ensconced in the Afghan mountains, Newsweek reports. From this redoubt, he’s directing the resurgence of the Taliban, holding terrorist summits, and planning “unbelievable” new attacks on the weakened American state, which is being bankrupted, fiscally and morally, by Bush’s bloodsoaked folly in Iraq.
With an obliging “enemy” like Bush, whose policies create the perfect conditions for terrorism–anarchy, humiliation and mass death–Osama no longer needs his Saudi patrons. He’s now attacking his own homeland as well, frantically gnawing the hand that fed him. If he manages to topple the tottering kingdom–or provoke Bush into destroying it for him with a “pre-emptive” strike to keep it out of al Qaeda’s hands–the “war on terror” could quickly turn into Gotterdammerung: global economic collapse, conflict and chaos spreading like wildfire, millions plunged into fear and ruin–the Baghdadization of the world.
Dazed by the lure of loot and glory, hamstrung by their own willful ignorance of the complexities of history and human nature, the third-rate thugs of the Bush Regime have entered into an unwitting collaboration with the equally dazed, equally ignorant bin Laden mafia. Each gang draws meaning and justification from the other, each cloaks its own criminality and murder in the guise of a crusade against the other’s evil. And both draw their power and profit from the same unrenewable natural resource:
The blood of innocent people.
CHRIS FLOYD is a columnist for the Moscow Times and a regular contributor to CounterPunch. His CounterPunch piece on Rumsfeld’s plan to provoke terrorist attacks came in at Number 4 on Project Censored’s final tally of the Most Censored stories of 2002. He can be reached at: email@example.com