NEXT: 9/11 and the aftermath.
The Looming Tower & The Perfect Storm (II)
LAST TIME I TRACED THE HISTORY of Islamofascism from its inception to the late 1980s, when al-Qaeda ("the base") was formed by Osama bin Ladin (OBL) and his rival (later co-conspirator) Dr. Ayman Zawahiri, as detailed in Lawrence Wright's masterpiece The Looming Tower. I now continue with more "highlighter worthy" excerpts from this fascinating book up to the eve of 9/11:
OBL is reputed to suffer from kidney failure; there is no evidence of this. Rather, he likely suffers from Addison's disease, a disorder of the endocrine system marked by low blood pressure, weight loss, muscle fatigue, stomach irritability, sharp back pain, dehydration, and an abnormal craving for salt. (159) Saudi Arabia, only 1% of the world Muslim population, supports 90% of the expenses of the entire fundamentalist and radical Wahhabi faith, overriding other traditions of Islam. (170) Bin Ladin announced his murderous intentions back in 1982, "When America permitted the Israelis to invade Lebanon (to stop the shelling of Israeli towns), as I looked at those demolished towers in Lebanon, it entered my mind that we should punish the oppressor in kind and that we should destroy towers in America in order that they taste some of what we tasted." (172) Although al-Qaeda was originally formed to oppose Marxism in Afghanistan, where it had America as an ally, OBL turned the organization into an anti-American terrorist cabal because he is rooted in the 7th century where Christianity (evidenced by his use of the term "Crusaders") was not just a rival, but the archenemy. (194) Significance of September 11th to Muslims: On September 11, 1683, in Vienna, the king of Poland began the battle that turned back the farthest advance of Muslim armies. This is why that date was chosen for the attack on America. For the next 300 years, Islam would be in retreat. (194) Al-Qaeda trained the suicide bombers that attacked the Marine Corps barracks in Lebanon in 1983. (197) Omar Abdul Rahman (the Blind Sheik), despite being listed as a terrorist on the State Dept. watch list, was granted entry into the US, and traveled to mosques nationwide, calling on Muslims to "cut the transportation of their (the West's) countries, tear it apart, destroy their economy, burn their companies, eliminate their interests, sink their ships, shoot down their planes, kill them on sea, air, or land." (201) Though it is unclear whether OBL sent Ramzi Yousef to bomb the World Trade Center in 1993, Yousef did learn his bomb-craft in an al-Qaeda camp in Afghanistan. (202) OBL told trainees at al-Qaeda camps: "America appears mighty, but it is actually weak and cowardly. Look at Vietnam. Look at Lebanon. Whenever soldiers start coming home in body bags, Americans panic and retreat. Such a country needs only to be confronted with two or three sharp blows, then it will flee in panic, as it always has. For all its wealthy and resources, America lacks conviction. It cannot stand against warriors of faith who do not fear death." (214) In Somalia, when the bodies of a downed helicopter crew were dragged through the streets of Mogadishu, Pres. Clinton quickly withdrew all American soldiers from the country. Bin Ladin's analysis of the American character had been proven correct. (215) At the end of 1993, a Sudanese general had reportedly obtained black market uranium. OBL had been working with the Sudanese government to develop chemical agents that could be used against the Christian rebels in the south. OBL paid for the uranium, but it turned out to be red mercury (cinnabar), a substance used in nuclear scams for more than 25 years. (218) The first man to betray OBL was Jamal al-Fadl, a Sudanese, who stole more than $100,000 from al-Qaeda. He sold his story to the Americans for $1 million. While in protective custody, he won the New Jersey Lottery! (225) The Taliban ("students") in Afghanistan arose in 1994, most of them orphans who had been raised in refugee camps and who were outraged by the chaos and depravity of the rule of mujahideen. The liberators in the war against the Soviets had turned out to be more barbaric rulers than their enemies. (255) The Taliban became the largest growers of opium poppies in the world. (259) August 23, 1996: OBL declares war on America: "Terrorizing you is a legitimate and moral obligation." (266) Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, uncle of WTC bomber Ramzi Yousef, approached OBL in 1996 with several schemes to attack America, including one that would require pilots to crash airplanes into buildings. (268) Iranian-backed terrorists Hezbollah were responsible for the 1996 explosion at the Khobar Towers, a military housing complex in Dharan, Saudi Arabia, killing 19 and injuring 400. (271) The tortured reasoning of the Islamists which license them to murder non-Muslims: The Islamic nation is in misery because of illegitimate leadership, due to the Christian-Jewish alliance that emerged after the 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement, in which Britain and France divided the Arab lands between them, and the Balfour Declaration in 1917, which called for a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Soon after, the Ottoman Empire collapsed, and with it the Muslim caliphate. This is all seen as an ongoing campaign by the Christian-Jewish alliance to suffocate Islam, using such tools as the United Nations, compliant Arab rulers, multinational corporations, satellite channels, and international relief agencies. (294) An al-Qaeda computer was obtained in 1997 by the CIA. It was owned by Zawahiri's closest political confidant. Called the "Rosetta stone of al-Qaeda," it was nevertheless not made available to the FBI because the Bureau would use the information as evidence at trials, and therefore public, which would ruin its value as intelligence as far as the CIA was concerned. (305) This kind of stand-off, resulting in no intelligence passing between the agencies, would contribute in large part to 9/11. Another captured al-Qaeda computer in 1998 linked OBL to the killing of American servicemen in Somalia, which resulted in a criminal indictment against him in Federal District Court in New York. ( 302) August 1998: Al-Qaeda suicide bombers attack American embassies in Nairobi, Kenya (213 dead, 4,500 injured), and Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania (11 dead, 85 wounded). (308) Five embassies had been targeted, but luck and intelligence had saved the other three. FBI investigators were stunned to learn that nearly a year earlier an Egyptian member of al-Qaeda had walked into the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi and told the CIA about the bombing plot. (311) Shortly after the embassy bombings, Monica Lewinsky testified before a Washington grand jury about her sexual relationship with Bill Clinton. In the minds of Islamists, the relationship between the president and the intern perfectly symbolized Jewish influence in America, and any military response to the bombings was likely to be seen as an excuse to punish Muslims and divert attention from the scandal. (319) Soil samples at a Sudanese chemical plant purportedly owned by OBL contained traces of EMPTA, an essential chemical in the nerve gas VX. On August 20, Clinton authorized missiles to destroy the plant, which turned out to be a pharmaceuticals plant, which OBL had nothing to do with. Sudan then let the two accomplices in the embassy bombings escape and the FBI lost an invaluable opportunity to capture al-Qaeda insiders. (320) Though the NSA was able to monitor satellite phone calls, it refused to share the raw data with the FBI, the CIA, or even the White House. (321) At the same time as the aspirin factory attack, intel indicated OBL was at the Khost al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan. Several of the 66 Tomahawk missiles that rained down camp failed to detonate. OBL sold them to China for $10 million. (323) Iraq was an ally in al-Qaeda's war on the west; there had been a series of contacts between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda operatives. Iraqi delegations met with OBL, who asked for weapons and training caps inside Iraq. (335) Nevertheless, FBI director Louis Freeh reportedly stressed in White House meetings that al-Qaeda posed no domestic threat. OBL did not even make the FBI's most wanted list until June 1999. In December 1999, al-Qaeda-trained Ahmed Ressam was arrested at the Port Angeles, Washington, border crossing. In his trunk were the makings of an Oklahoma City-type bomb, intended for LAX. (337) January 3, 2000: a plot is accidentally foiled by Yemeni fisherman who encountered a fiberglass skiff containing C-4 explosives destined for the USS The Sullivans, which was refueling in the Aden harbor. (339) Between ten and twenty thousand trainees passed through Afghanistan al-Qaeda training camps from 1996 until they were destroyed in 2001. (341) The media helps the terrorists: Zawahiri was keen on the use of biological and chemical warfare, saying, "Despite their extreme danger, we only became aware of them when the enemy drew our attention to them by repeatedly expressing concern that they can be produced simply." (343) Hollywood helps out, too: Al-Qaeda trainees spent considerable time planning how to pull of terrorist maneuvers. At night they would often watch Hollywood thrillers, looking for tips. The movies of Arnold Schwarzenegger were particular favorites. (343)