this is a reprint of a 2001 editorial
The New York Times (9/14/01) published an extensive article by Middle East expert Judith Miller, titled “Bin Laden: Child of Privilege Who Champions Holy War.” While it is no secret that Bin Laden was a creature of the U.S. intelligence services, Ms. Miller merely smoothes it over by saying, “…the U.S. had worked ‘alongside’ him to help oust the Russians from Afghanistan…” The U.S. “work” poured in $2 billion!
If anyone is to blame for the terrorist activities of Bin Laden, it’s the CIA.
Why are bin Laden and the U.S. bosses now enemies? Although the present conflict is posed as a “holy war,” it is basically for control of the oil wealth of Saudi Arabia. Bin Laden represents a section of the Saudi ruling class (from which he comes) that does not want to share this oil with Exxon-Mobil. U.S. bosses know if they lose Saudi Arabia after having lost Iraq, they won’t control the biggest oil producers of the cheapest oil in the world. Without it, U.S. imperialist supremacy is in serious question. Bush’s “holy war”for oil is likely to wind up with hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
CIA Trained bin Laden to Wage Anti-Communist Holy War
In 1979, bin Laden, who inherited a personal $300 million fortune from his father (a construction boss billionaire), decided to abandon his former life of luxury and dedicate himself to fight communism. When the Soviet army entered Afghanistan to support a pro-Moscow government there, bin Laden was recruited by the CIA to become the financier of the anti-Soviet “holy war.” In 1986, William Casey, CIA chief under Reagan-Bush Sr., approved an old proposal by the Pakistani intelligence services to recruit Islamic fundamentalists worldwide to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan.
While the Pakistanis did the recruiting, Saudi Arabia provided money and the U.S. gave political support and “funneled more than $2 billion in guns and money…during the 1980s. It was the largest covert action program since World War II (Washington Post, 7/19/92). Soon, 35,000 fundamentalists came to fight alongside the Afghani holy warriors. Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo III (1988) was based on this CIA vision of the world: then the “good” guys were the bin Laden “holy warriors” types fighting the “evil communist” Soviet empire.
Bin Laden and his followers learned all their tricks from the master terrorists: the CIA. “It was the CIA which taught him how to be bold…It was also the CIA which taught him the tricks of a secret war: how to move money around using ghost companies and off shore fiscal paradises, how to prepare explosives, how to use coded messages to communicate with his agents and avoid detection, how to retreat into a safe base after a big blow to the enemy…”(El Pais, Madrid, 9/14).
Soon after the Soviet Army left Afghanistan and the Soviet Union itself imploded, the U.S. and its Pakistani allies began supporting the most backward of all the holy warriors, the Taliban. The Pakistani intelligence services financed all of this by smuggling opium and heroin from Afghanistan. In 1991, when the U.S. led an imperialist coalition against Iraq, and U.S. troops were stationed in the Moslem “holy land” of Saudi Arabia, the fundamentalists united against the new “evil empire,” their old friends in the U.S. Bin Laden joined forces with other fundamentalist forces like Islamic Jihad of Egypt who had murdered Anwar Sadat, considered a lackey of the U.S. and Israel. These forces represent a section of the Middle Eastern ruling classes which use religion to cover their desire not to share the oil wealth with U.S, imperialism/Exxon-Mobil.
But even while bin Laden has become the number one bad guy on the U.S. hit list, some of his followers are still serving U.S. bosses. Last April, Secy. of State Colin Powell approved $43 million in “humanitarian” aid for the Taleban. Furthermore, many of the veterans of the Afghan “holy war” were fighting alongside the U.S.-supported Kosovo-Albanian “freedom fighters” during the 1999 air war against the former Yugoslavia. And more recently, some have fought with the Albanian forces against the government of Macedonia.
Again, when one talks about terrorism, don’t lose sight of the big ones: U.S. imperialism and its CIA. And don’t lose sight of what is behind the “holy war” between bin Laden and the U.S. bosses: control of oil profits.