Centre for Research on Globalisation
Centre de recherche sur la mondialisation


How to Unseat the War Criminals and Reverse the Tide of War?

Expose the Links between Al Qaeda and the Bush Administration

by Michel Chossudovsky

www.globalresearch.ca 15 March 2003

The URL of this article is: http://globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO303D.html

When people across the US find out that Al Qaeda is not linked to Saddam but is in fact a creation of the CIA and that the terrorist warnings are fabricated, the legitimacy of the Bush Administration will tumble like a deck of cards. The  perceived enemy will no longer be Saddam, it will be Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, et al. 

Why is this important for the antiwar movement? 

This relationship of the Bush Administration to international terrorism, which is a matter of public record, indelibly points to the criminalisation of the upper echelons of US State apparatus.

Let's use this information to dismantle the Bush Administration's war plans. Sensitize our fellow citizens. Expose the "dubious links."

Because when the truth trickles down, the leaders' war plans will not have a shred of legitimacy in the eyes of millions of Americans who believe  that Al Qaeda is "A Threat to America" and that their president is committed to their security.

At this crucial juncture in our history, we must understand that antiwar sentiment in itself does not undermine the war agenda. The same applies to the diplomatic deadlock at the UN Security Council: The Bush Administration is intent upon waging war with or without UN approval.

The only way to prevent this war from happening in the weeks ahead is to unseat the rulers, who are war criminals.

A precondition for breaking the legitimacy of the Bush Administration is to fully reveal its links to international terrorism and its complicity in the tragic event of 9/11. This objective can only be achieved by effectively curbing its propaganda campaign and spreading the truth through a grassroots citizen's information campaign.

Faced with a diplomatic deadlock in the UN Security Council, Washington’s desperate pitch has been to link Iraq to Al Qaeda.

Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda, --now "supported by Baghdad"-- is heralded ad nauseam both in official statements and in the media as "an Enemy of America", responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Realties are twisted and turned up side down:  Supported by Baghdad, Al Qaeda   "preparing to attack America",  which justifies a "preemptive" invasion of Iraq  to "defend the homeland." 

In a February CNN-Time Magazine opinion poll, 76 percent of those surveyed felt "Saddam provides assistance to Al Qaeda." In another poll which asked  "Was Saddam Hussein personally involved in the September 11 attacks?" 72 percent said "it was either very or somewhat likely." that Saddam was involved. (CNN, 11 March 2003)

But who is this outside enemy?

While Colin Powell --without supporting evidence-- points in his UN address to "the sinister nexus between Iraq and the Al Qaeda terrorist network", official documents, press and intelligence reports confirm that successive US administrations have supported and abetted the Islamic militant network. This relationship is an established fact, corroborated by numerous studies, acknowledged by Washington's mainstream think tanks:

In the 1980s the United States fought another war in this region through similar means, a covert war against the Soviet Union and a series of Soviet-backed regimes in Afghanistan. Bin Laden and his terrorist associates, their Afghan hosts, and the Pakistani military are all part of this past U.S. history.... Given an opportunity to undermine the Soviet Union, the United States became a partner in Pakistan's proxy war . ( Samina Ahmed, The United States and Terrorism in Southwest Asia; September 11 and Beyond, International Security, 2001/2002 Winter)

With the active encouragement of the CIA and Pakistan's ISI [Inter Services Intelligence], who wanted to turn the Afghan jihad into a global war waged by all Muslim states against the Soviet Union, some 35,000 Muslim radicals from 40 Islamic countries joined Afghanistan's fight between 1982 and 1992. Tens of thousands more came to study in Pakistani madrasahs. Eventually more than 100,000 foreign Muslim radicals were directly influenced by the Afghan jihad. (Ahmed Rashid, The Taliban: Exporting Extremism, Foreign Affairs, November-December 1999).

Al Qaeda was created and sustained by US foreign policy. Yet according to Powell in his "authoritative"  February 5  UN presentation: 

"These al Qaeda affiliates, based in Baghdad, now coordinate the movement of people, money and supplies into and throughout Iraq for his network, and they've been operating freely in the capital for more than eight months" 

The Big Lie

In the months leading up to the invasion of Iraq, the foreign policy lies have become increasingly grotesque. Yet neither the media nor foreign governments (including those of France, Germany and Russia) have had the courage of openly accusing the Bush administration of lying to the UN Security Council, to build a pretext for waging war in violation of the UN charter

According to a "top secret British document", quoted by the BBC "there is nothing but enmity between Iraq and Al Qaeda. The BBC said the leak came from [British] intelligence officials upset that their work was being used to justify war." (quoted in Daily News, New York, 6 February 2003). Ironically, State department documents as well the powerful Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) which plays a behind the scenes role in US military planning, suggest that Colin Powell’s statements at the UN are fabricated:

"The question of Iraqi links to al-Qaeda remains murky, although senior Bush administration officials insist such ties exist… [M]any experts and State Department officials note that any al-Qaeda presence in Iraq probably lies in northern regions beyond Saddam’s control. Many experts say there is scant evidence of ties between al-Qaeda and Iraq, noting that al-Qaeda’s loathing for "impious" Arab governments makes it an unlikely bedfellow for Saddam’s secular regime." (Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) at http://www.cfrterrorism.org/groups/alqaeda3.html )

Moreover, in a press conference held together with British Prime Minister Tony Blair in late January 2003, President Bush flatly denied the existence of links between Baghdad and Al Qaeda:

[Adam Boulton, Sky News (London):] One question for you both. Do you believe that there is a link between Saddam Hussein, a direct link, and the men who attacked on September the 11th?

THE PRESIDENT: I can't make that claim.

THE PRIME MINISTER: That answers your question.

The president’s answer contradicts the statement made barely a month later by Sec Colin Powell to the UN Security Council where he accused Baghdad of harboring Al Qaeda.

Fabricated Terrorist Warnings

The day following Colin Powell's flopped presentation to the UN Security Council, the Bush administration declared an ‘Orange Code’ Terror Alert. Disinformation was now being fabricated in a totally improvised fashion. Anti-aircraft missiles were immediately deployed around Washington. The media became inundated with stories on Iraqi support to an impending Al Qaeda attack:

 ‘The nation is now on Orange Alert because intelligence intercepts and simple logic both suggest that our Islamic enemies know the best way to strike at us is through terrorism on U.S. soil.‘ (New York Post, 11 Feb 2003).

A fabricated story emanating from the CIA on so-called ‘radioactive dirty bombs’ had been planted in the news chain (ABC News, 13 Feb 2003). Sec. Powell warned that

"it would be easy for terrorists to cook up radioactive ‘dirty’ bombs to explode inside the U.S. … ‘How likely it is, I can't say... But I think it is wise for us to at least let the American people know of this possibility.’"(ABC This Week quoted in Daily News (New York), 10 Feb. 2003).

Meanwhile, network TV warned that "American hotels, shopping malls or apartment buildings could be al Qaeda's targets as soon as next week…".Following the announcement, tens of thousands of Americans rushed to purchase duct tape, plastic sheets and gas-masks.

It later transpired that the terrorist alert was fabricated by the CIA, in all likelihood in consultation with the State Department (ABC News, 13 Feb. 2003). The FBI, for the first time had pointed its finger at the CIA. While tacitly acknowledging that the alert was a fake, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge decided to maintain the ‘Orange Code’ alert:

 "Despite the fabricated report, there are no plans to change the threat level. Officials said other intelligence has been validated and that the high level of precautions is fully warranted."  ( ABC News, 13 Feb. 2003 ).

A few days later, in another failed propaganda initiative, a mysterious Osama bin Laden audio tape was presented by Sec. Colin Powell to the US Congress as ‘evidence’ that the Islamic terrorists "are making common cause with a brutal dictator". (US official quoted in The Toronto Star, 12 Feb. 2003). Curiously, the audio tape was in Colin Powell's possession prior to its broadcast by the Al Jazeera TV Network. (Ibid.) ,

Colin Powell's Role: From Iran-Contra to September 11

Both Colin Powell and his Deputy Richard Armitage, who casually accuse Baghdad and other foreign governments of "harboring" Al Qaeda, played a direct role, at different points in their careers, in supporting terrorist organizations.

Both men were implicated --operating behind the scenes-- in the Irangate Contra scandal during the Reagan Administration, which involved the illegal sale of weapons to Iran to finance the Nicaraguan Contra paramilitary army. 

[Coronel Oliver] North set up a team including [Richard] Secord; Noel Koch [Armitage's deputy] , then assistant secretary at the Pentagon responsible for special operations; George Cave, a former CIA station chief in Tehran, and Colin Powell, military assistant to U.S. Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger...(The Guardian, December 10, 1986)

Although Colin Powell was not directly involved in the arms' transfer negotiations, which had been entrusted to Oliver North, he was among "at least five men within the Pentagon who knew arms were being transferred to the CIA." (The Record, 29 December 1986). Lieutenant General Powell was directly instrumental in giving the "green light" to lower-level Irangate officials in blatant violation of Congressional procedures. According to the New York Times, Colin Powell took the decision (at the level of military procurement), to allow the delivery of weapons to Iran:

Hurriedly, one of the men closest to Secretary of Defense Weinberger, Maj. Gen. Colin Powell, bypassed the written ''focal point system'' procedures and ordered the Defense Logistics Agency [responsible for procurement] to turn over the first of 2,008 TOW missiles to the C.I.A., which acted as cutout for delivery to Iran" (New York Times, 16 February 1987)

Richard Armitage

Richard Armitage held the position of Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Reagan Administration. He was in charge of coordinating covert military operations including the Iran-Contra operation. He was in close liaison with Coronel Oliver North. His deputy and chief anti-terrorist official .Noel Koch was part of the team set up by Oliver North. Following the delivery of the TOW anti-tank missiles to Iran, the proceeds of these sales were deposited in numbered bank accounts and the money was used to finance the Nicaraguan Contras. (UPI. 27 November 1987). A  classified Israeli report provided to the Iran- contra panels of the Congressional enquiry confirms that Armitage ''was in the picture on the Iranian issue.'' (New York Times, 26 May 1989):

"With a Pentagon position that placed him over the military's covert operations branch, Armitage was a party to the secret arms dealing from the outset. He also was associated with former national security aide Oliver L. North in a White House counterterrorism group, another area that would also have been a likely focus of congressional inquiry" (Washington Post, 26 May 1989)

CIA Director William Casey with the collaboration of Richard Armitage in the Pentagon "ran the Mujahideen covert war against the Soviet Union…" (quoted in Domestic Terrorism: The Big Lie The "War") "Contragate was also an off-the-shelf drug-financed operation run by Casey." (Ibid ).

Financing the Islamic Brigades

The Iran Contra procedure was similar to that used in Afghanistan, where secret aid was channeled to the militant Islamic brigade (US News and World Report, 15 December 1986). In fact part of the proceeds of the weapons sales to Iran had been channeled to finance the Mujahideen. :

":The Washington Post reported that profits from the Iran arms sales were deposited in one CIA-managed account into which the U.S. and Saudi Arabia had placed $250 million apiece. That money was disbursed not only to the contras in Central America but to the rebels fighting Soviet troops in Afghanistan."(U.S. News & World Report, 15 December 1986)

The Irangate Cover-up

Reagan's National Security Adviser Rear Admiral John Pointdexter, who was later indicted on conspiracy charges and lying to Congress was replaced by Frank Carlucci as National Security Adviser. And Maj. General Colin Powell was appointed deputy to Frank Carlucci, namely "'number two"  on the National Security team.

"Both came to the White House after the Iran contra revelations and the NSC housecleaning [i.e. coverup] that followed [the Irangate scandal]" (The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, 16 June 1987).

Needless to say, this housecleaning was a cover-up: Colin Powell was in on the Irangate affair

While several Irangate officials including John Pointdexter and Oliver North were accused of criminal wrongdoing, the main actors in the CIA and the Pentagon, namely Armitage and Casey, were never indicted, neither was Lieutenant General Colin Powell who authorized the procurement of TOW missiles from the Defense Logistics Agency .

Moreover, while weapons were being sold covertly to Iran,  Washington was also supplying weapons through official channels to Baghdad. In other words, Washington was arming both sides in the Iran-Iraq war. And who was in charge of negotiating those weapons sales to Baghdad? Donald Rumsfeld

Criminalisation of the State: Links between US Officials and Al Qaeda

These historical links to terrorist organisations are but  the tip of the iceberg: Recent evidence suggests that Colin Powell and his Deputy Richard Armitage were involved in the political cover-up of the September 11 attacks In fact the evidence points to political complicity at the highest echelons of the Bush Administration.

It is the Bush Administration rather than the Iraqi government which has links to Islamic terrorism. But none of this information has trickled down to the broader public and the media considers the links of successive US administrations to the militant Islamic network as largely irrelevant. (For details and analysis see the extensive bibliographic references indicated below)

There are documented links between Al Qaeda and senior Bush Administration officials including Sec. Colin Powell and Deputy Sec. Richard Armitage.        Documented by the US Congress, there are links record between President Clinton and Al Qaeda .

The Chairman of the 9/11 Investigation Commission Thomas Kean appointed by President Bush was a business partner of a powerful member of the bin Laden family.(See  Fortune Magazine, January 22, 2003 ; Xymphora, December 2002        See also Global Outlook, No. 4, 2003 ) .

There is evidence of dubious links involving members of the US Congress, including Senator Bob Graham and Rep. Porter Goss, chairmen of the Senate and House committees on Intelligence.. Colin Powell and Richard Armitage had high level talks with the former ISI Chief General Mahmoud Ahmad in the immediate wake of 9/11. Now it just so happens that according to the FBI and Indian intelligence, General Mahmoud,  the head of Pakistan's military intelligence and the alleged "money-man" behind the 9/11 attacks, had transferred funds to 9/11  ringleader Mohammed Atta. There is also extensive evidence of business links between the Bush and bin Laden families (See George W. Bush Financial Scams: CRG selection of articles ).

Tabulated below are a number of documented "links" of senior US officials and elected politicians to the Islamic terrorist network. The sources of the information and the URL (where available)  are indicated in the right hand column.

This information is crucial at a time when the Bush Administration is accusing Baghdad of having links to international terrorism. What is provided below is a synopsis based on numerous studies, documents and reports. For an in-depth analysis as well as historical overview of the broad relationship between the US government and Islamic terrorism,  the reader is referred to the bibliography indicated below.


Table 1, Historical Background: 

"Links" of US Officials to Al Qaeda and other Terrorist Organizations (partial list)

Official Circumstances Document or Source

Jimmy Carter

Signed first directive for covert support to the Islamic militant network in Afghanistan in July 1979

Interview with Brzezinski in the Nouvel Observateur, 15-21 January 1998

Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Adviser to President Carter

As National Security Adviser to Jimmy Carter, Brzezinski was the architect of covert support to the Islamic militant network in the Soviet Afghan war.

Interview with Brzezinski in the Nouvel Observateur, 15-21 January 1998

Ronald Reagan

Signed National Security Decision Directive 166, (1985) which allowed for stepped up covert aid to the Islamic brigades in the Soviet-Afghan war.

Washington Post, July 19, 1992

George H. W. Bush

Continued the covert support to the Islamic militant network initiated under Carter and the Reagan presidencies.

Provided support to Iran Contra officials during his term as Vie Presdient

Business ties to the bin Laden family through the Carlyle Group.

Wall Street Journal, 27 September 2001
Fortune, 8 March 2002

The New York Times, February 12, 1989

Salon.com, 19 November 2001

 Foreign Policy in Focus, 30 April 2002

Bill Clinton

Ordered collaboration of the US military with Al Qaeda operatives during the Civil war in Bosnia. Supported the KLA, which was also being supported by Al Qaeda.

Republican Party Committee of the US Congress, 1997

Anthony Lake, National Security Adviser to President Clinton

Ordered covert support to the Islamic terrorist organizations fighting in Bosnia (1993-95)

Republican Party Committee of the US Congress, 1997


Table 2: Bush Administration Officials:

Links to Al Qaeda and the 9/11 Terrorists (partial list)

Name of Official

Nature of Link

Source of Information

George W. Bush

Business links in the 1980s when he was in the Texas oil business to the Bin Laden family including Salem bin Laden (Osama’s brother) and Khalid bin Mahfouz (Osama’s brother in law). identified in the 9/11 victims families’ lawsuit as the financier of 9/11.

Bin Mahfouz is suspected to have funnelled millions of dollars to the Al Qaeda network.

Intelligence Newsletter, 2 March 2000 , AFP London 7 November 2001, Salon.com, 19 November 2001 , Boston Herald, 11 December 2001, Bush Watch 2001 , In these Times, 12 November 2001

George W. Bush Financial Scams: CRG selection of articles

Colin Powell, Secretary of State

Negotiated the terms of Pakistan’s cooperation in the war on terrorism with the moneyman behind 9/11, General Mahmoud Ahmad, head of Pakistan Military Intelligence (ISI). The General was according to several reports, including the FBI is alleged to have transferred $100.000 to the ringleader of 9/11 Mohammed Atta.

Colin Powell was also involved behind the scenes in the Iran Contra affair. Maj. General Powell authorized the illegal transfer of weapons to Iran.

Miami Herald, 16 September 2001,

Washington Post,

ABC News 30 September 2001,

AFP, 10 October, 2001,

Times of India, 9 October 2001

Richard Armitage, Deputy Secretary of State

Involved in the covert plan to support the militant Islamic base from its inception during the Reagan Administration. Also involved in the Iran Contra scandal which consisted in the illegal sale of weapons to Iran to finance the Nicaraguan Contras.

Richard Armitage also met the alleged money-man behind 9/11, General Mahmoud Ahmad in meetings at the state Department on Sept 12 and 13

Miami Herald, 16 September 2001,

Washington Post, ABC News 30 September 2001, AFP, 10 October, 2001, Times of India, 9 October 2001,

United Press International, 18 July 2001

Marc Grossman, Under Secretary of State

Meetings with ISI Chief General Mahmoud Ahmad in the week prior to 9/11


George Tenet, CIA Director

Meetings with ISI Chief General Mahmoud Ahmad in the week prior to 9/11


Sen. Bob Graham and Rep. Porter Goss, Chairmen of the Select Committees on Intelligence of the Senate and House

Meetings with ISI Chief Mahmoud Ahmad, the moneyman behind the terrorists in Pakistan in late August 2001, Meeting with the ISI Chief on the morning of September 11.

The Council on Foreign Relations views the ISI as a terrorist organization .

Miami Herald, 16 September 2001, 16 Washington Post, 18 May 2002

Council on Foreign Relations

John Pointdexter, Heads the Total Information Awareness Program (TIA)

Involved in conspiracy in the Irangate Contra scandal. Indicted of "conspiring to defraud the government by diverting funds from secret US arms sales to Iran" .


Numerous press reports. See UPI, 13 December 1988  New York Times 10 December 1988

John Negroponte, US Permanent Representative to the United Nations

John Negroponte, the US official involved in current negotiations in UN Security Council, was involved in supporting paramilitary death squadrons while he was US ambassador to Honduras in the 1980s.

The Contra  were operating out of Honduras with military aid provided from the sale of weapons to Iran. "As the American Ambassador in Honduras from November 1981 to June 1985, Mr. Negroponte was instrumental in the military buildup of the Nicaraguan rebels [Contra]".

New York Times 13 December 1988, San Francisco Examiner

Thomas Kean, Chairman of the 9/11 Commission

Business partner of Khalid bin Mahfouz and Mohammed Al Ahmoudi in the Hess-Delta joint venture. Bin Mahfouz is according to the CIA, the brother in law of Osama bin Laden

Fortune Magazine , February 2003 , Energy Compass, 15 Nov. 2002

Global Outlook, no 4. 2003


Implications for the Antiwar movement

What are the implications for the Anti-war movement? This relationship of the Bush Administration to international terrorism is a matter of public record, which indelibly points to the criminalisation of the upper echelons of US State apparatus.

Let's use this information to undo the Bush Administration's war plans:

Sensitize our fellow citizens.

Expose the Links.

Because when the truth trickles down, the leaders' war plans will not have a shred of legitimacy in the eyes of millions of Americans who believe  that Al Qaeda is a threat to America and that their president is committed to their security.

The Bush Administration has been pushing the lies to the brink. Colin Powell presents phony intelligence to the UN Security Council. President Bush says in his State of the Union Address that he wants to "liberate Iraq", yet an earlier statement emanating from the White House confirms that the administration is contemplating the use of nuclear weapons. The Propaganda campaign is fatally flawed because people no longer believe the lies.

And when the lies emanating from the seat of political authority are openly questioned, the legitimacy of the leaders is threatened. And the lies eventually backlash on their State sponsors.

And this constitutes and opportunity for the antiwar movement.

To reverse the tide of war, the propaganda  apparatus must be effectively disarmed. What this requires is an information campaign which reveals the causes and consequences of war, sensitizes all sectors of the population with a view to ultimately breaking the legitimacy of the main political and military actors.

The antiwar movement in the US and around the World has successfully challenged Bush’s war agenda. However,  it has not unraveled the lies pertaining to September 11 and the so-called "war on terrorism" which constitutes the cornerstone of the Administration’s war propaganda.

September 11 is used profusely as a justification for waging a preemptive war against Iraq. It is part of the Administration’s doctrine of "self-defense".

Moreover, while mobilizing millions of people around the World, the antiwar protest movement remains profoundly divided. Many of the civil society and trade union organizations which have taken a stance against the invasion of Iraq, were nonetheless supportive of the Bush administration’s invasion of Afghanistan in retaliation to the September 11 attacks. While integrating the anti-war movement, they remain convinced that Al Qaeda is "a threat to America" and global security. They firmly believe in the so-called "war on terrorism’ against the alleged perpetrators of 9/11 and are broadly supportive of the Bush administration’s anti-terrorist agenda: "We are against the invasion of Iraq, but we should go after Al Qaeda." "We believe that Iraq is not a threat against World peace, but we support the Administration’s "war on terrorism". In turn, many prominent progressive intellectuals and foreign policy analysts have not only dismissed the links of the Bush Administration to Al Qaeda, they have upheld the Administration's "War on terrorism".

This ambivalence weakens the antiwar movement because it ultimately serves to uphold the legitimacy of "the anti-terrorist" agenda at home and around the world. Under an anti-terrorist banner, the Administration launched "Operation Enduring Freedom" which consists in sending US Special Forces to collaborate with foreign governments in the "war on terrorism". In the US, it launched the Patriot Act, which repeals fundamental civil rights in the name of the "war on terrorism".

The war on terrorism is an integral part of Bush’s National Security Doctrine . It is is being used as a pretext for waging war on Iraq. Many antiwar activists are unaware that successive US administrations have over the last 20 years supported Islamic terrorism including Al Qaeda . The latter is a creation of the CIA. It is a key instrument of US foreign policy.

At this crucial juncture in our history, we must understand that antiwar sentiment in itself does not undermine the war agenda. The same applies to the diplomatic deadlock at the UN Security Council: The US is intent upon waging war with or without UN approval.

The only way to prevent this war from happening in the weeks ahead is to unseat the rulers, who are war criminals.

A precondition for breaking the legitimacy of the Bush Administration is to fully reveal and expose its links to international terrorism, by undoing its propaganda campaign and spreading the truth through a well organised grassroots citizen's information campaign. 

And the way to unseat the rulers is to break their legitimacy in the eyes of the people. In other words, it is necessary to fully reveal the lies concerning the so-called "war on terrorism" to our fellow citizens, which are used to justify the invasion of Iraq,

Selected Bibliographical Material and Links

Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Foreknowledge of 9-11 :A Compilation of CRG articles and documents in support of a 9-11 Investigation

Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG),  9/11 Reader and Archive

Nic Levis, The 9/11 Truth Movement Selected Resources for Researchers and Activists

Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), George W. Bush Financial Scams: CRG selection of articles .

Propaganda Matrix Archive on Prior knowledge at /www.propagandamatrix.com/

Centre for Cooperative Research, The Complete 9/11 Timeline at www.cooperativeresearch.org/

 Michel Chossudovsky is the author of international best seller War and Globalization, The Truth behind September 11. To order the book online click here

Copyright Michel Chossudovsky  2003.  For fair use only/ pour usage équitable seulement .