This is a lesson plan teachers are using to teach students the truth about US Imperialism and it’s connections to Osama Bin Laden
The New York Times (9/14) 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.
First, let’s understand why Bin Laden and the U.S. bosses are now enemies. Although it is posed as a “holy war,” it is basically over the oil wealth of Saudi Arabia. Bin Laden represents a section of the Saudi ruling class (from which he comes from) who wants full control of the oil, instead of sharing with Exxon-Mobil. The U.S. bosses know if they lose Saudi Arabia, the way they lost Iraq, they won’t have control of the cheapest and biggest oil producers in the world. Without this control. U.S. imperialist supremacy is in serious question.
CIA Trained Bin Laden to Wage Anti-Communist Holy War
In 1979, Bin Laden, who inherited a $300 million fortune from his father (accumulated from construction work for the Royal Saudi family), decided to abandon his former life of luxury and dedicate himself to “fight against 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, approved a plan 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” 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).
1991: Desert Storm “Changes the Game.”
In 1990 Iraq invaded oil-rich Kuwait and Saudi rulers worried they were Saddam Hussein’s next target. Bin Laden tried to raise an army of his Afghan war veterans [see article] to “safeguard” Saudi Arabia. But Saudi rulers had bigger plans. They invited U.S. troops to protect the Muslim “holy land” of Saudi Arabia.
This disrespect of having US tanks rolling around the “land of Muhammad” full of “infidel” American soldiers was too much for bin Laden. He began planning his “holy war” against America.
But religious zeal doesn’t tell the whole bin Laden story. In a 1998 interview, he “claimed that the United States has carried out ‘the biggest theft in history’ by buying oil from Persian Gulf countries at low prices. According to bin Laden, a barrel of oil today should cost $144. Based on that calculation, he said, the Americans have stolen $36 trillion from Muslims…” (Associated Press, 9/28).
After his failed attempt to take over Saudi Arabia’s government, Bin Laden moved to Sudan (in East Africa) and began aiding Exxon Mobil’s rivals there. Bin Laden led an Islamic “anti-poverty” project that built a road from Khartoum to Port Sudan, literally paving the way for an oil export pipeline that the China National Oil Company and France’s Total soon exploited. Bombings of US embassies in three east African countries were carried out in the late 1990s, killing hundreds of mainly African workers.
After these attacks bin Laden moved to Afghanistan. The fundamentalist Taliban offered him free space to train his army. The Taliban also had plans to work with US oil company UNOCAL to build a major pipeline across Afghanistan to Pakistan. Bin Laden, once again, had chosen to base himself in a nation where oil and terrorism were both in the mix.
It was in Afghanistan, between 1998 and 2001, where bin Laden planned the terrorist attacks of September 11th. He attacked America from the same home base where the Americans taught him how to be a terrorist in the 1980s.
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.
Source: Challenge Newspaper,
October 3, 2001
When did the US work alongside Bin Laden?
Why is control of oil so important to US imperialism?
What did the CIA teach Bin Laden?
What two projects did Bin Laden organize in Sudan?
What two ingredients did Afghanistan have that fit the pattern of Bin Laden’s interests?
What is more important to bin Laden, Islamic faith or control of oil? Explain.