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In his landmark article, Chaim Kupferberg exposes the series of contradictions, coincidences, and anomalies which put the lie to the Official 9/11 Legend. Here, Kupferberg examines the crucial time period in 1995 when the major structural pivots in the 9/11 Legend were indelibly set in place - the February 1995 capture of the first World Trade Center bomber, followed two months later by the Oklahoma City bombing in April, and followed several months after by the November attack which heralded bin Laden's first public notice as America's foremost nemesis.
Returning to the matter of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed's new public role as 9/11 mastermind, his connection with Ramzi Yousef would also serve another purpose - linking Iraq to al-Qaida by way of Timothy McVeigh and the 1995 bombing of the FBI building in Oklahoma. The McVeigh-Iraqi thread, in fact, pre-dates the events of September 11 by a few years. In 1998, Timothy McVeigh's lawyer, Stephen Jones, had broached the existence of a videotaped interview with the co-founder of the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group, a purported al-Qaida front based out of the Philippines. The Abu Sayyaf leader, Edwin Angeles, had turned police informant in February 1995 (a couple months before the Oklahoma bombing), becoming, in the words of Richard Parry of The Independent, "a deep penetration agent of the Marines and the Philippine National Police." According to Jones, Angeles had informed the Philippine police that he had attended a series of meetings in the early '90's with Ramzi Yousef and an American who Jones was able to identify as Terry Nichols, the convicted accomplice of Timothy McVeigh. Nichols, married at the time to a Philippine woman, had made a series of trips to the Philippines - without his wife - visiting the very areas where Abu Sayyaf predominated. As Jones argued, it was Nichols who was the operative brains behind the Oklahoma bombing, and his client - a Gulf War veteran and former Burns security guard - was taking the fall as a patsy under the influence of Terry Nichols.
Moreover, Jones - through the Ramzi Yousef connection - was positing an Iraqi link to the Oklahoma bombing. As reported by Howard Pankratz of the Denver Post on October 12, 1998, Jones had personally learned from Laurie Mylroie (mentioned earlier in this article) and Vincent Cannistraro (also mentioned earlier) that Ramzi Yousef was an Iraqi intelligence agent. Yousef, a Kuwaiti, was on scene when the Gulf War broke out. As the legend goes, that conflagration led him - like bin Laden - to spearhead a permanent jihad against the United States.
Yousef's first big role was to act as the mastermind behind the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. As the legend has it, he managed to stay below the radar until January 1995, when a fire broke out in a Manila flat that he shared with his fellow conspirator, Abdul Hakim Murad. When Philippine authorities entered the premises, they managed to get a hold of documents and the contents of a computer hard drive that pointed to Ramzi Yousef's various activities, among them a plot to take out a dozen U.S.-bound airliners over the Pacific, code-named Bojinka. While Yousef's partner, Murad, was arrested, Yousef managed to evade Philippine authorities, escaping justice until February 1995, when he was finally arrested in a hotel room in Pakistan. As the official 9/11 Legend has it, John O'Neill's intensive collaboration with Richard Clarke began with the capture of Ramzi Yousef that February.
After the events of September 11, the Bojinka plot has taken on an added aura, presented, in retrospect, as the conceptual seed for the kind of massively coordinated hijackings that would be the trademark of the 9/11 plot. Thus, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed's connection to the Bojinka plot would serve to illustrate - compellingly so - the evolution of al-Qaida's operational ambitions. In a similar manner, back in early October 2001 - before the original paymaster legend had fully fallen apart - CNN's Maria Ressa had sought to demonstrate the operational similarities between the 9/11 hijackings and the 1999 Air India hijacking that had resulted in Omar Saeed's release. Curiously, only a week before that item, Ressa had reported a possible 9/11 money trail leading back to the Philippine-based Abu Sayyaf gang, and by implication, to a bin Laden brother-in-law named Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, a suspected financier of Abu Sayyaf. In short, the Philippines-based Abu Sayyaf group is an integral part of the 9/11 Legend, and so a cursory look at its shadowy history will also serve to demonstrate that, here, too, exist a number of synchronicities that cannot so easily be dismissed.
According to a June 4, 2000 article by Zainon Ahmad in the New Straits Times, the Muslim fundamentalist Abu Sayyaf group "was a creation of the [Philippines] military." It was co-founded in 1991 by Abdurak Janjalani and Edwin Angeles. Of the two, Angeles' resume has all the markings of a classic deep penetration agent. Of mixed Muslim-Catholic parentage, Angeles was formerly trained as a guerilla fighter with the Communist New People's Army before his entry into the Muslim fundamentalist milieu. Angeles had served as Abu Sayyaf's operations chief until he suddenly defected in February 1995 (around the time that Ramzi Yousef was arrested for the Philippines-based Bojinka plot). As reported by Keith B. Richburg on May 25, 1995, Angeles may have openly defected from Abu Sayyaf when he came under suspicion by his comrades as being a possible government agent. But even in his new official capacity as a police informant, Angeles had proven to be somewhat erratic. On January 13, 1996, as reported in the Weekend Australian, Angeles claimed that the Philippine National Police had faked evidence in a massive dragnet of foreigners from Pakistan and the Middle East in order "to paint a scenario that [would] pave the way for the immediate passage of the [Philippine] anti-terrorism bill."
By the Fall of 1998, Angeles was once more in the headlines, this time courtesy of Timothy McVeigh's attorney, who had used Angeles' videotaped testimony before the Philippine police to show that Terry Nichols, McVeigh's alleged accomplice, had met with Angeles and Ramzi Yousef on several occasions. Thus, courtesy of Angeles, there was now a bona fide link between the domestic militia threat (exemplified by McVeigh and Nichols) and the foreign terror threat (exemplified by Yousef and bin Laden). Soon thereafter, on January 15, 1999, Angeles was gunned down on a city street - barely one month after his fellow Abu Sayyaf co-founder, Janjalani, had been killed in a shoot-out with the Philippine police. Oddly enough, according to a BusinessWorld article by Conrad M. Carino, Angeles had been "contesting the ASG [Abu Sayyaf Group] top post when he was killed by a lone gunman...The military believes Angeles was killed by his rival inside the [Abu Sayyaf Group]." One wonders, though, why a high profile Philippine police informant and defector would want to contest, much less have a shot at, the leadership post of the Muslim terror organization he had turned against. But more ominously, one wonders what this says about the Abu Sayyaf organization, a reputed al-Qaida affiliate that figures so prominently in the 9/11 Legend.
Moreover, the Angeles/ Terry Nichols episode serves to illustrate a suspicious convergence between the respective militia and al-Qaida threats. And in this respect, Timothy McVeigh and Ramzi Yousef are most emblematic of that convergence - for their respective paths to infamy had arisen out of the 1991 Gulf War conflagration known as Desert Storm. In the years thereafter - in fact, almost in lockstep with the passing of the Soviet threat - we now had the unfolding legends of Waco, Ruby Ridge, World Trade Center I, Oklahoma, the Unabomber, and World Trade Center II. In all these events, the message was singular: we were entering a new age of insecurity, with new and sophisticated dangers bearing down on us from within and from without. If the Ramzi Yousef episode had not quite made a sufficient impact on our collective consciousness, if Timothy McVeigh had failed to stir us from our complacent slumber, then we were ripe for the plucking by September 11, 2001 - ready to serve up our civil rights, our right to privacy, our constitutional checks and balances - and prepared to place our trust in a government empowered by our collective ignorance of the facts.
If the presumed McVeigh/Ramzi Yousef link had only hinged on the slim thread of Stephen Jones' accusations, it would perhaps have been easy to dismiss it all as the opportunistic ramblings of a defeated counselor. Yet this link would be resurrected as late as April 22, 2002, when Kenneth Timmerman of Insight had broached the existence of an audiotaped interview with Philippine authorities, given by the dying 27-year old widow of Edwin Angeles. Angeles' widow, Elmina, had repeated Angeles' contention that he had met with Nichols and Yousef, but more revealingly, she was now contending - in the words of her deceased mate - that Yousef was acting on behalf of Saddam Hussein. In other words, Yousef - by this time definitively tagged as an al-Qaida operative - was doing double duty as an Iraqi agent. Elmina died within days of her interview, felled by liver disease.
Once again, here was an example of a counter-legend masking the plausible reality. As this particular counter-legend had it, there really was a militia/al-Qaida convergence, yet it was a result of a common desire to bring down the U.S. federal government. This counter-legend, though, served to mask an opposing reality - that it was the federal government, in fact (or the powerful elites behind it) that were managing this convergence so as to consolidate the power of the federal authorities. The counter-legend of this convergence thus remained in the background, ready to be "mainstreamed" if needed, but most importantly, serving to muddy the waters in ferreting out the true, opposing reality.
While the mainstream media was continuing to treat this particular counter-legend as a fringe conspiracy theory, it was gradually being "beefed up" through the carefully calibrated revelations of two major players in the dissemination of the Official 9/11 Legend - James Woolsey and Vincent Cannistraro. As reported by Jack Kelly in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on July 7, 2002:
"On April 19 , the day of the Oklahoma City bombing, a source in Saudi Arabia's intelligence service told Vincent Cannistraro, then the chief of counterterrorism for the C.I.A., that an Iraqi hit squad was scouting targets to attack in Oklahoma City, Houston, and Los Angeles."
In order to make the connection more clear, the article helpfully went on to point out that "the Oklahoma City bomb was identical to the 1993 World Trade Center bomb." In other words, here was the thread that linked Saddam Hussein to the whole kit and kaboodle of terrorism on the American mainland (now dubbed as the homeland).
Following up on this thread was an article in the Indianapolis Star on September 7, 2002:
"A statement by former C.I.A. Director James Woolsey has given new credibility to suspicions of Iraqi involvement in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and the World Trade Center bombing of 1993 - enough to merit congressional hearings."
The article further revealed that Woolsey had credited Laurie Mylroie, "who independently unearthed evidence of a Baghdad connection to domestic terrorism prior to Sept. 11, 2001." As an example of this connection, the article mentioned that Terry Nichols had contacted Iraqi intelligence in the Philippines in order to acquire bomb-making experience.
Calibrated revelations, indeed - for one need not have access to the National Security Agency's all-seeing Echelon surveillance network in order to track the early stirrings of the al-Qaida/right wing militia/ Oklahoma thread of the 9/11 Legend. On December 1, 1994 - only a few months before Edwin Angeles' defection and Ramzi Yousef's arrest, and just five months before the Oklahoma bombing - bin Laden brother-in-law and Abu Sayyaf financier, Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, entered the United Sates where, within weeks, he was arrested in San Francisco and held over pending deportation hearings. Only two days before the Oklahoma bombing, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Khalifa was linked by Philippine authorities to Ramzi Yousef, with the article further mentioning Khalifa's relationship to bin Laden.
By this time, bin Laden had yet to make his international splash in the public consciousness as the world's foremost terrorist mastermind. And certainly, bin Laden's al-Qaida network had yet to be unveiled to the world at large (at least by name). Thus, soon after the Oklahoma bombing, terrorism expert Kenneth Katzman took the opportunity to familiarize the American public with its soon-to-be-infamous nemesis and his "shadowy network," suggesting in an April 21, 1995 article in USA Today that Osama bin Laden was a potential suspect in the Oklahoma bombing: "If there is a Mideast connection, says terrorism expert Kenneth Katzman, it could lead to a shadowy network of former freedom fighters who train in terrorist camps in Sudan and then export their violence to Algeria, Egypt, and the USA." With Katzman's declaration, one can almost hear - in retrospect - Katzman barely restraining himself from whispering...al-Qaida (though the term al-Qaida was scheduled for public release at a later date). The article went on to mention that bin Laden was being named by federal prosecutors as a potential co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
What a difference a few months make. In December 1994, bin Laden brother-in-law Khalifa was arrested and soon thereafter deported by U.S. authorities to Jordan, with nary a suggestion of any apparent connection to a worldwide terrorist plot. Yet in the aftermath of a fortuitous fire in a small Manila flat in January 1995, we now had the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center attack (Ramzi Yousef), the mastermind's potential co-conspirators (Khalifa and bin Laden), the designs of an attempted mass coordinated hijacking (Bojinka), the existence of another conspirator arising out of that attempted coordinated hijacking (Khalid Shaikh Mohammed), and the most indelible eruption of the domestic right wing threat (Oklahoma). Put bluntly, if September 11 was now being marketed as a failure to "connect the dots" by the intelligence apparatus, those dots were being lined up quite neatly by the mainstream media as early as April 1995.
In short, the main structural contours of the 9/11 Legend were firmly in place by April of 1995, laying the groundwork in the months ahead for Osama bin Laden to take center stage as America's foremost enemy. Barely seven months later, in November 1995, a terrorist attack in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, resulted in the deaths of 5 U.S. personnel. A November 27, 1995 U.S. News and World Report item by Louise Lief was now raising the possibility of a bin Laden link, mentioning the Yousef/ Khalifa/ bin Laden nexus that was ferreted out only several months before. And, sure enough, the perpetrators of the Riyadh attack were duly apprehended, revealing - before their execution by Saudi authorities - that they were, in fact, connected to Osama bin Laden.
By the summer of 1996, bin Laden himself may have sensed that the American public had been seeded with enough innuendo and suspicion to merit a bona fide declaration of war - and perhaps care enough to pay attention. On June 25, 1996, the Khobar Towers facility in Saudi Arabia was attacked, resulting in the deaths of 19 U.S. servicemen. Little more than two weeks later, on July 10, 1996, journalist Robert Fisk of the Independent managed to track down bin Laden at his tent headquarters somewhere in Afghanistan (after being booted out of his base in Sudan a few months earlier at U.S. insistence). There, Fisk recorded for posterity bin Laden's proclamation of "the beginning of war between Muslims and the United States." This was not Fisk's first encounter with bin Laden. His first encounter dates back to December 6, 1993, when Fisk had the distinction of being the first Western journalist ever to interview Osama bin Laden. At that time, bin Laden was ensconced in Sudan, apparently more obsessed with building a highway for the benefit of his impoverished Sudanese hosts than with launching an international jihad against the American occupiers of cherished Saudi soil. Perhaps overlooking the self-professed contributions of David Rockefeller's protege, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Fisk made a prophecy in his introductory bin Laden article:
"When the history of the Afghan resistance movement is written, Mr. Bin Laden's own contribution to the mujahedin - and the indirect result of his training and assistance - may turn out to be a turning- point in the recent history of militant fundamentalism; even if, today, he tries to minimise his role."
The above statement, more than any other, perhaps reveals why Osama bin Laden was chosen as the most suitable candidate to head up the Official 9/11 Legend - for he was, by this time, more clearly known as the poster boy for the Afghani resistance which had ousted the Soviet occupiers. The 1993 version of bin Laden was certainly a far cry from the fire-breathing jihadist of 1996. "I am a construction engineer and an agriculturalist," he modestly proclaimed to Fisk in that Ur-interview, describing the fellow Afghani comrades that he had brought with him to Sudan as fellow road-builders. "Was it not a little bit anti-climactic for them," Fisk inquired, "to fight the Russians and end up road-building in Sudan?" "They like this work and so do I," bin Laden replied. If bin Laden, by this time, had any grievances against America, it seemed to be relegated to the assignment of credit for kicking Russian ass: "Personally neither I nor my brothers saw evidence of American help."
By Fisk's return visit, the "shy man" previously described by Fisk had apparently metamorphosed into a humorless fanatic, droning on about America and jihad - the kind of character one would expect in the months after April 1995. Though the American military had first set up base on hallowed Saudi territory as early as August 1990 (in response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait), it took bin Laden a full six years to work up the nerve to publicly enunciate his fullest fury over the U.S. presence on the sacred Saudi ummah. And, now that he had crossed that rubicon in Fisk's presence, he apparently couldn't shut up - setting up exclusive interviews hither and thither with Peter Arnett, Peter Bergen, John Miller, Rahimullah Yusufszai, Abdel Bari Atwan, and Jamal Ismail, among others - spouting his venom in counterpoint to the ominous prophecies of media-favored "experts" now warning of an imminent worldwide campaign of terror.
Apparently emboldened by his July 1996 verbal declaration of war in Fisk's presence, bin Laden retreated to his tent in order to compose a more proper written declaration of war on America, formally unveiling it on August 23, 1996 - a rambling, mind-numbingly boring 12-page screed against the "Zionist-Crusader" alliance. By that point, the widely marketed public face of that alliance - Richard Perle for the "Zionists" and John Ashcroft for the Christian "Crusaders" - had yet to be assembled within the inner sanctum of the Bush Administration (now strangely bereft of the "old-line" Rockefeller/ Baker folks).
With bin Laden's historic declaration of war, a new brand of terrorism was being marketed to the American public - a global terror network with no clear state sponsor, employing "sleeper" agents and coded "go" messages, seeking out suitcase nukes and sophisticated weaponized germs. Marketed by an insular clique of terrorism "experts," al-Qaida (Arabic for "the Base") seemed to employ the kind of covert techniques that one would normally read about from the standard operating manuals of the C.I.A. or MI6. While the best that the Syrians and Iranians could muster up for Hamas and Hezbollah were car bombs and Katyusha rockets, al-Qaida was putting the "traditional" terror outfits to shame - and all this on a purportedly "frozen" $300 million investment portfolio (Osama bin Laden's estimated net worth).
If al-Qaida had one notable failing, it was in its almost obsessive inclination to leave a noticeably untangled trail of its operatives' names and pseudonyms. In other words, we know where Mohammed Atta worked, slept, played, and banked because he was thoughtful enough to scatter his name like bird droppings in the midst of his travels. Even more thoughtfully, when he sent out a package to a "Mustafa Ahmad," it turned out - as the official legend now has it - that the intended recipient really was named Mustafa Ahmad. In the end, one could not ask for a more ideal organization than al-Qaida in building a clear-cut legend with all the dots connecting.
End of excerpt.
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Chaim Kupferberg is a freelance researcher, writer and frequent CRG contributor. + Copyright Chaim Kupferberg 2003. The Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) at www.globalresearch.ca grants permission to post the above mentioned article in its entirety, or any portions thereof, so long as the URL and source are indicated, a copyright note is displayed, and, where excerpts are posted, the excerpt(s) is (are) indicated as such, and a link is provided to the full body of the text at http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/KUP310A.html from which the excerpt(s) was taken. For publication of this article in print or other forms contact: [email protected] .