DOWNSIDE LEGACY AT TWO DEGREES OF PRESIDENT CLINTON
SECTION: MIDDLE EAST
SUBSECTION: AFGHANISTAN, SUDAN and OSAMA BIN LADEN
AFGHANISTAN, SUDAN and OSAMA BIN LADEN
AP 8/20/98 Statement by President Clinton "Today, I ordered our armed forces to strike at terrorist-related facilities in Afghanistan and Sudan because of the threat they present to our national security. I have said many times that terrorism is one of the greatest dangers we face in this new global era. We saw its twisted mentality at work last week in the embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, which took the lives of innocent Americans and Africans and injured thousands more. Today, we have struck back. The United States launched an attack this morning on one of the most active terrorist bases in the world. It is located in Afghanistan and operated by groups affiliated with Osama bin Laden, a network not sponsored by any state but as dangerous as any we face. We also struck a chemical weapons-related facility in Sudan. Our target was the terrorists' base of operation and infrastructure. Our objective was to damage their capacity to strike at Americans and other innocent people.."
Investor's Business Daily News Analysis 8/24/98 ".Here's the scenario: A U.S. president, troubled by a sex scandal, decides to create a media diversion in a distant land. To deflect the public's attention from his woes, the president brings in a famous political spin doctor and a Hollywood producer. Working together, they concoct a fictitious overseas conflict - including phony TV footage. Sound familiar? It should. It's the plot of ''Wag the Dog,'' a movie released in '97. But on Thursday, as U.S. forces launched attacks on terrorist camps in Afghanistan and the Sudan, many pondered the eerie parallels between that satirical movie and President Clinton's travails. Was this President Clinton's ''Wag the Dog'' scenario? The timing of the president's bold action to take out a terrorist base in Afghanistan and a chemical plant in the Sudan raised even deeper questions in the minds of many..The White House said planning for the strikes started nearly two weeks ago. Did the president really need to take action on Thursday, barely 72 hours after his publicly televised admission of marital infidelity? .''This is a sharp break in U.S. policy,'' said David Kay, director of the Center for Counterterrorism at Science Applications International Corp., a high-tech research and development firm."
8/22/98 Reuters "Video stores in the U.S. capital scrambled Friday to keep up with skyrocketing demand for ``Wag the Dog,'' the 1997 film in which a president starts a fictional war to divert attention from a sex scandal. Thursday's military strikes on what the United States called ``terrorist'' targets in Afghanistan and Sudan created intense interest, said Dale Shaw, assistant manager at Potomac Video. ``It's been renting like crazy,'' he said. ``People have been calling to try to get it on hold.'' ."
8/22/98 Andrea Peyser "ON a day he should have been begging forgiveness - from the wife he wronged, the daughter he humiliated, the public he lied to and, most of all, from That Woman - Bill Clinton was in typical selfish form. He was sending men and women - real men and women - into battle. This man is dangerous. This president must be stopped. No one who believes in him believes him fully. No one who knows him trusts him completely. No one. Bill Clinton is a demonstrated, straight-faced liar. A user. A fraud. His self-indulgence has no sane limits. He will seduce, abuse and discard anyone and everyone within his orbit for the miserable purpose of saving his reckless hide. And he has shown his willingness to wield the awesome power of the U.S. government to discredit a young woman who gave him love, while he used her like a blow-up sex toy. And so, the burning question will always remain: On the day Monica Lewinsky was testifying before a grand jury, did the president of the United States send innocent people into harm's way for the ugly purpose of changing the subject of national discourse from oral sex and semen-stained dresses to battle scars and blood-stained uniforms? The president has forfeited every shred of credibility he ever possessed. He is a menace to women. A danger to men. He must be stopped. ."
New York Post 8/23/98 Deborah Orin "Only Democrats believe President Clinton launched missile strikes primarily to act against terrorism - while everyone else is more likely to suspect a case of "Wag the Dog," a new Post Poll shows."
8/23/98 Msnbc "United Nations officials visited the site of a former pharmaceutical plant in Sudan Sunday to investigate whether it was involved in making chemical and biological weapons. The Sudanese government insists that the factory struck by U.S. missiles last week was not involved in making such weapons or linked to alleged terrorist Osama bin Laden.."
USA Journal Jon Dougherty 8/25/98 "It doesn't matter how much spin the administration tries to put on President Clinton's order last week to bomb suspected terrorist and chemical weapons sites in Afghanistan and Sudan. Millions of Americans have already made up their mind - with good reason - that Clinton ordered the action to get his dilemma with Monica Lewinsky off of the front pages. So far, no good. Cynical or not, you have to admit that if any other president had ordered this action, there would never have been any question about his integrity or his motives for doing so. But this is the Era of Clinton, you remember, and no act - no matter how outrageous - seems beyond possibility for this man.."
Wall Street Journal 8/25/98 Letter to the President from Mark Helprin ".Certainly it is now permissible to be as blunt with you as you were with the American people when you squared your jaw, pointed your finger and, in intimidating fashion as if you were our sergeant, headmaster, or jailer, commanded us to listen. Even had you not, by your own admission, lied thereafter, this was unforgivable. Presidents do not speak to Americans with such seething disrespect.. For six years you shied away from this--despite the World Trade Center bombings, the CIA shootings, the Somalia massacre, Khobar Towers, etc.--and now, mirabile dictu, you have embraced it. Pray tell, what accounts for your change of heart? Pray tell, why did you do it as you did, sticking the stick into the hornets' nest just enough to stir them up but not enough to shock or discourage them into inaction? Had you mounted a real raid, taken out Mr. bin Laden and his entire apparatus, struck harder, more widely, and at supportive governments as well, committing troops, actually gutting infrastructure, your message would have been less like an effete slap with a soft glove. What options were presented to you by your military advisers? How many levels of more vigorous response did you reject? In the language of war, Mr. President, you have sent an invitation. A war against terrorism would captivate the country and the world, and its timing would be coincident with your battle to remain in office.. Although your advisers already have hinted that they will sexually blackmail selected members of Congress (the 900 FBI files?) it's too late. For too long your defense has been that the charges against you are frivolous. What will you do, then, when the charges move beyond mere perjury, witness and evidence tampering, conspiracy, and obstruction of justice? What will you do when they expand to other instances of perjury, to fraud, conversion of government property, misuse of FBI files, influence peddling, illegal fund-raising, coverup and obstruction of justice, and, most importantly, the solicitation and reception of funds from agents of a foreign power in exchange for favorable consideration? The heart of the matter, Mr. President, is your conduct in regard to China. It is not technically treason, for we are not at war with the Chinese, but it is an isotope of treason, a metaphor of treason, a semblance of treason, the spitting image of treason. For good reason your Justice Department suppresses the facts of this case more even than it suppresses the facts of the others. But what will you do if and when Congress awakens--as it must--merely to honor its most elementary obligations, and with the power entrusted to it by the Constitution breaks open the stiff shell of obstruction you and your surrogates have secreted? What will you do when the data are made public, the hearings are held, the witnesses abandon the Fifth and come back from abroad? What will you do when your promise to the American people that nothing is amiss other than Miss Lewinsky is seen to be yet another lie? What will you do when the truth proves to have been indestructible? What will you do when you yourself begin to realize that you have betrayed your family, your party, and your country? What will you do? I will tell you, sir, what you will do. You will resign."
Michael Reagan Information Interchange 8/25/98 Mary Mostert "Some years ago I concluded that movies out of Hollywood were a mammoth waste of my time and money , and quit going to see them . However , with questions being asked in White House news conferences on " Wag the Dog , " my assistant , Lisa , decided I needed to see it , and brought me a rental video of it. So, I sat down and watched it . Folks , it is downright scary . It takes to a logical conclusion the political system that has evolved in America in the last thirty years. But , I believe the worst part of our present system is exactly what " Wag the Dog " illustrates - the combined efforts of political " handlers , " Hollywood , and media people who have made a profession out of manipulating both the public and the politicians . They are the ones who ultimately pocket the millions of dollars used in political campaigns."
New York Times 8/28/98 Editorial "Americans of both parties rallied around President Clinton's decision to launch military strikes against alleged terrorist installations in Afghanistan and the Sudan. But the Administration's refusal to share more information about its choice of targets and timing is disturbing. By its excessive secrecy, Washington only increases skepticism about its claim that the Shifa chemical factory in the Sudan was really producing nerve gas ingredients and thus had to be destroyed to prevent new terrorist attacks."
New York Times 8/29/98 Tim Weiner Steven Myers "In the days since the United States bombed what it called a secret chemical weapons plant in Sudan, some of the key statements made by administration officials to justify the attack have proven to be inaccurate, misleading or open to question.."
Sunday Times London 8/30/98 Stephen Grey, Islamabad and Matthew Campbell "PICTURES purporting to show the ruins of mosques and burnt pages from the Koran in Afghan camps raided by the United States 10 days ago are being used by Islamic zealots to whip up anti-American fervour in the Muslim world. The photographs, circulated in Pakistan by supporters of a guerrilla group fighting Indian rule in Kashmir and described as the first depicting the damage, show the ruins of two buildings said to be mosques pulverised by American missiles. Fragments of the Koran are scattered about.."America has desecrated our mosques and holy books," said a member of Harakat-ul-Ansar, a guerrilla organisation whose exploits include the kidnap and presumed murder of British tourists in Kashmir and, more recently, the establishment of an alliance with Bin Laden. "President Bill Clinton will be hanged for this." .."
8/29/98 Christopher Kremmer - Herald Correspondent in Islamabad "GENERAL Hamid Gul, a former chief of Pakistani intelligence, fastened his seatbelt as a Pakistan International Airways plane began its descent into Lahore this week. The flight had been bumpy, but not as rough as General Gul believes the war against terrorism will be. "It's not that difficult to obtain a suitcase-size nuclear weapon," the urbane former military officer reminded a fellow traveller. "Just the thing for retaliation against London or New York." .Some, but not all, of Osama bin Laden's Afghan bases were destroyed by the US strikes, but he retains the capability to retaliate through his International Islamic Front, unveiled in Khost in May this year. "His followers in the Middle East can act without any clear orders from bin Laden," said the editor of the Pakistani Urdu-language daily newspaper Ausaf, Mr Hamid Mir, who is writing a biography of the militant Muslim leader. Mr Mir believes bin Laden will continue to enjoy Afghanistan's hospitality under the Taliban's supreme leader, the one-eyed recluse Mullah Mohammed Omar. "They share similar ideas about America and the international situation...
Washington Post 9/1/98 Vernon Loeb Bradley Graham "The Sudanese pharmaceutical factory destroyed in last month's U.S. cruise missile attack was singled out as a possible target months earlier, during a covert operation in which U.S. intelligence agencies inserted an agent to obtain one of several soil samples used later to justify the strike, senior intelligence officials said Monday.."
8/31/98 Philadelphia Inquirer Charles Krauthammer "Knowing Clinton, one is tempted to say that if Osama bin Laden thought these missile attacks were bad, wait till Kenneth Starr's report comes out. Might be a good time for bin Laden to go on vacation. Temptation aside, however, it is clear that bombing bin Laden was no Wag the Dog. Defense Secretary William Cohen and Gen. Hugh Shelton would never lend themselves to an air raid whose purpose was to deflect attention from a domestic scandal. Nonetheless, there was an extrinsic force driving the Afghan and Sudanese bombings: the collapse of Iraqi policy. The air raid served to compensate for the total surrender of the Clinton administration in the face of Saddam's determination to rebuild his weapons of mass destruction. On the very same day the Tomahawk missiles went out, the United States was forced to support a humiliating Security Council statement that pitiably called Saddam's expulsion of inspectors "totally unacceptable" while pointedly dropping previous warnings of "severest consequences" if Saddam did not reverse himself.
Washington Times 9/1/98 Wesley Pruden ".Saddam, who has become America's favorite nemesis, tells all kinds of fanciful tales that we've always assumed to be lies. The Taleban guys, accomplished liars as well, are offended that anyone thinks there's anything wrong with coddling Osama bin Laden, and the Sudanese insist that the chemical factory Mr. Clinton's Tomahawks leveled was not a poison gas factory at all, but a place where the Sudanese made the laxatives, aspirin, pills, elixirs, liniment and other stuff to make life in the Islamic state tolerable. Not so long ago this never would would have been an argument. If an American president said it, who but evil-doers would have doubted him? ."
Dayton Daily news 9/6/98 OpEd Mona Charen "..When the president ordered the bombing of terrorist sites in Afghanistan and Sudan two weeks ago, most Americans believed that his motives were honorable, but a significant minority thought the attacks were pureWag the Dog. Even many who thought the attacks were justified questioned the timing and style. George Bush seemed to conduct large parts of Desert Storm from the golf course, yet President Clinton seized the opportunity to fly back to Washington and address the nation from the Oval Office. Now, reports are surfacing that the administration may have relied on incomplete intelligence about the pharmaceutical plant that was bombed in Khartoum. Sudan claims that the factory was used for peaceful purposes only and has invited the United Nations to inspect the wreckage. In normal times, Americans would turn to the administration for clarification. But with this president, can our minds be completely at rest about his motives or his reassurances? ."
Invetsor's Business Daily Editorial 9/1/98 "We took President Clinton's word that bombing Sudan and Afghanistan was necessary and that our forces punished the right people. We should have known better. His original story, as usual, isn't holding up to scrutiny. On Aug. 20, three days after half-confessing to lying about Monica Lewinsky, Clinton ordered our military to pump as many as 20 Tomahawk missiles into a plant in Sudan, a Muslim nation with which we have heretofore had no major quarrel. Clinton ordered another 60 or so Tomahawks launched against six camps near Khost, Afghanistan. To justify its attacks, the White House invoked the specters of nerve gas and a gathering of international terrorists. Yet over the past 11 days, press reports have put the lie to several statements made by Clinton and his officers to justify the two attacks. As these statements have become inoperative, officials have spun new justifications - further raising suspicions the attacks were ordered to shift attention from Clinton's personal woes."
US Newswire press Release 9/8/98 Peter Cleary of Americans for Tax Reform ".I am writing to urge you to pass -- as quickly as possible -- a Continuing Resolution to ensure that the government does not shut down this fall. It has become obvious that Bill Clinton plans to shut the government down to diver the nation's attention from his legal problems. This domestic version of the "Wag the Dog" strategy is the largest abuse of power ever considered by an elected official in the history of our country.."
Reuters 9/21/98 "U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark said Tuesday the U.S. government had wanted an excuse to strike at Sudan last month and the decision to bomb a pharmaceutical plant there was strictly political. Clark made the accusations to reporters after returning from Sudan, where he led a delegation from the International Action Center on a fact-finding mission to the El Shifa pharmaceutical factory, which was destroyed by U.S. cruise missiles on Aug. 20.."It is absolutely absurd to believe that they scooped up some dirt and found nerve gas on the outside of the plant,'' Clark said, adding there were some four million people living in the Khartoum area and that any nerve gas would have affected local residents.."
9/24/98 AP "Rep. Barney Frank, one of President Clinton's most outspoken supporters on Capitol Hill, said Thursday he believes Clinton made a mistake last month in ordering the bombing of a Sudanese factory suspected of manufacturing chemical weapons agents. Frank, D-Mass., said in a letter to Clinton he initially supported the bombing of sites in both Sudan and Afghanistan but now believes the administration went too far in the Sudan attack.."
WorldNetDaily 9/29/98 David Bresnahan "President Bill Clinton is playing war games on a top secret computer to come up with a way to be an international hero, according to the man who designed the system. According to Rev. Curt Tomlin, a former member of the battle staff of both presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, Clinton is a desperate man who is like an animal trapped in a corner. He will do anything to regain his credibility and deflect criticism from his impending impeachment hearings, he says. He also is driven by his desire to create a positive legacy of his time in the White House, according to various reports. Clinton's motivations are dangerous to the security of our nation, according to Tomlin. It was Tomlin who designed and perfected the Pentagon's first war games computer system, the top secret "Single Integrated Operating Procedure.".Clinton had tried to become an international hero by destroying hundreds of terrorists being trained by Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan and a chemical weapons plant in Sudan. Those two missile attacks were chosen through use of the SIOP computer to which Clinton has access, according to Tomlin...Tomlin expects Clinton to launch an attack very soon that will bring devastating domestic retaliation to the U.S. "If I were still on active duty, either as an enlisted man or as a commissioned officer, knowing what I know now, looking at all of the information I have available to me, I would have no choice but to resign my commission or terminate my enlistment simply because there is no way that I could now trust my commander in chief," said Tomlin.."
Agence France-Presse 9/29/98 "Arab states on Monday submitted a draft resolution to the UN Security Council calling for a fact-finding mission to verify US claims about a Sudanese factory hit by US missiles. Bahrain ambassador Jassim Buallay submitted the draft resolution on behalf of the UN Arab Group. But the US delegation said that further bilateral discussions were needed, and that the United Nations was not the appropriate forum for the issue, according to western diplomats at the closed-door session. Sudanese diplomats say they want to challenge the United States to issue a veto to prevent the fact- finding mission from going ahead..
Newsday 9/24/98 Sheryl McCarthy "WHILE OUR lawmakers split hairs over whether the president's lies about an extramarital affair are impeachable offenses, they don't seem to know the difference between high crimes and trivial misdemeanors. In the month since the United States bombed a factory in Sudan that was suspected of making chemicals for deadly nerve gas, information has surfaced that this decision was made on the flimsiest evidence. It's now clear that at the time of the bombing U.S. officials didn't know the target was a pharmaceutical plant, which makes medicine to treat diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria. There is no evidence that the plant was financed by the terrorist leader, Osama bin Laden, as U.S. officials had claimed. And the claim that Empta, a chemical used to make nerve gas, was found in soil samples near the plant has been called into question. The chemical may have been a common insecticide. The New York Times has reported that all that the policymakers involved in the decision to bomb the Al Shifa plant knew was: Terrorists were living in Sudan, the now questionable soil sample existed, and Osama bin Laden once asked Sudanese leaders to help him make poison gas. On the basis of this, they advised Clinton to launch his missiles..
AP 10/5/98 "The White House ignored Attorney General Janet Reno when she questioned whether evidence linking Islamic extremist Osama bin Laden to the bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa was strong enough to justify retaliatory attacks, The New Yorker magazine reported. The magazine also said in its Oct. 12 edition, due on newsstands today, that the White House kept planning for raids on suspected terrorist targets in Afghanistan and Sudan so secret that four members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and FBI Director Louis Freeh were bypassed entirely.."
Washington Times 10/5/98 Ralph Hallow "Former President George Bush said yesterday that scandal distracting the Clinton presidency is hurting America's ability to deal effectively with foreign crises that threaten U.S. security. "It's hard to separate the two crises," he said in an exclusive interview with The Washington Times. Mr. Bush, 74, has resisted criticizing President Clinton, who defeated him in 1992. But yesterday, in Washington to mark the publication of a new book he has written with Brent Scowcroft, he cited the widespread speculation that the August missile strikes against Sudan and Afghanistan were an effort to divert attention from the Monica Lewinsky scandal as an example of how the scandal "caused that kind of question to be raised." The world is in many ways less secure and the United States more threatened than before the collapse of global communism, he said."
The Times 10/7/98 Michael Binyon "OSAMA BIN LADEN, the exiled millionaire Saudi terrorist leader, has acquired tactical nuclear weapons from the former Soviet Central Asian states, according to a leading Arabic newspaper. Bin Laden, accused by America of masterminding the attacks on the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, has established a network of influential friends in Central Asia and Ukraine, according to the London-based al-Hayat. Citing reliable diplomaticsources in Central Asia, the paper says that the Afghan-based terrorist has used this network to get hold of weapons from the former Soviet republics. It did not say how many weapons he had obtained or if he had paid for them."
Fox News AP 10/4/98 "Ross Perot suggested Sunday that President Clinton might consider taking the United States into "a little war'' strictly for a boost in poll ratings. The billionaire businessman who ran for president in 1992 and 1996 said Clinton would consider almost anything to satisfy a lust for power. "This man will let this country rot, he will let the economy go into an international decline, he will devastate millions of people, and, if necessary, he'll start a little war just to get a bump in the polls, and that is a lust for power,'' Perot said on NBC's "Meet The Press.'' ."
FoxNews AP 10/4/98 "The White House planned bombing raids on suspected terrorist targets in Afghanistan and the Sudan without involving four members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and FBI Director Louis Freeh, The New Yorker magazine reported. The magazine also said in its Oct. 12 edition, due on newsstands Monday, that Attorney General Janet Reno was ignored when she questioned whether evidence linking Islamic extremist Osama bin Laden to the terrorist bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa was strong enough to justify the retaliatory attacks. The Aug. 20 Tomahawk missile strikes hit bin Laden's purported terrorist training camp in Afghanistan and a chemical plant in Khartoum, Sudan. President Clinton said the latter raid was based on evidence of a nerve gas component found at the Al Shifa plant. The New Yorker said the White House consulted Joint Chiefs Chairman Hugh Shelton on the raid plans but instructed him not to brief the three generals and one admiral who run the nation's armed forces, nor to consult with experts in the Defense Intelligence Agency.."
MSNBC 11/12/98 Freeper Neve Report ".Former Defense Secretary Casper Wineberger feels that the cruise missle attacks in the Sudan and Afghanistan, were a political ploy. Wineberger suggests that it was no coincidence that the military operation took place during a critical part of the Lewinski investigation. Wineberger made his comments on MSNBC's "Watch It" program.."
nando 12/13/98 ".Suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden may be planning strikes on Washington or New York to avenge a U.S. missile strike on his Afghan headquarters in August, Time magazine reported Sunday. "We've hit his headquarters, now he hits ours," the magazine quotes a State Department aide as saying. U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno organized an exercise at FBI headquarters in Washington on Oct. 14 to plan for a possible terror attack by bin Laden, the weekly said.."
FOX; AP 12/13/98 ".U.S. embassies in four Gulf nations said Sunday they have information indicating the "strong possibility'' of a terrorist attack at one or more American targets in the region over the next 30 days. A statement distributed to American citizens in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain asked them to be on alert to "any suspicious activity and take precautionary steps to reduce the profile and vulnerability of any U.S. facilities.'' The statement did not give details beyond saying there is "a strong possibility that terrorist elements are planning an attack against U.S. targets in the Gulf, possibly in the next 30 days.''."
Journal of Constitutional and Political Studies 12/17/98 George Landrith ".On August 17, 1998, Clinton appeared before a federal grand jury to testify about his perjury, abuse of power, obstruction of justice, and witness tampering. Later that night, he delivered the worst speech by a president in this Century in which he inflamed even members of his own party by his continued denials and arrogance. As a result numerous Democratic senators took to the Senate floor to strongly denounce Clinton. And on August 20, 1998, Monica Lewinsky testified before the federal grand jury and described how the president had encouraged her to continue denying the relationship and to submit a false affidavit. Later that day, on August 20, 1998, Clinton ordered the attack on "terrorist facilities" in Sudan and Afghanistan. It now turns out that most of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were not consulted in any meaningful way prior to the attack and that the sites that Clinton ordered bombed were probably not "terrorist facilities" at all. It is now abundantly clear that the attack was poorly planned and based on weak evidence thrown together quite hastily.. "
8/21/98 Lawrie Mifflin ".After a week of what felt like nonstop talk about sex, ties and audiotape involving President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, television screens were overtaken Thursday by news of a different shock value. When President Clinton announced, just before 2 p.m. ET, that the United States had bombed what he described as terrorist bases in Afghanistan and the Sudan, television news networks shifted into full-tilt coverage of a more conventional kind -- interviewing experts in terrorism, military affairs and politics; showing video of the still-burning building in Khartoum, and carrying the president's formal address to the nation at 5:30 p.m. But the Lewinsky matter was melded into the bombing coverage almost immediately because of the similarity between reality and the recent movie "Wag the Dog," in which a fictional American president fabricated a war to divert attention from reports that he had propositioned a young girl in the White House..Ms. Lewinsky's appearance before the grand jury Thursday, which otherwise would have been prominent news, was relegated to brief reports near the end of the three broadcast-network evenings news programs. By day's end, the television images of Clinton had again become presidential, as he was seen interrupting his vacation, striding onto Air Force One to return to the White House, and then addressing the nation in the mode of commander in chief, against a full-dress backdrop of the American and presidential flags. It was a sharp contrast to his dreary demeanor and the somber setting of Monday's confessional appearance..."
The Sunday Times - London 12/20/98 Adrian Levy, Cathy Scott-Clark Peshawar ".THE world's most wanted terrorist, Osama Bin Laden, is preparing for war. Four months after the United States launched cruise missile attacks on his camps in Afghanistan, Bin Laden has rebuilt his "terrorist universities" and is constructing bomb-proof headquarters in a cave beyond the reach of spy satellites in the Pamir mountains in the north of the country.."
The Pioneer 12/20/98 Shubha Singh ".Among the hundreds of cruise missiles that were fired at Iraq on Wednesday night, a couple of them fell in Khorramshahr town in Iran's Khuzestan province. There was some damage to property, but fortunately no resultant casualties in Iran. That is one of the problems of these high-tech weapons, fired from afar, they are not as accurate as their users would want them to be. Fired at Iraq, they land in Iran. Aimed at Afghanistan, they drop down in Pakistan. And then there is what the Americans term collateral damage. The ugly phrase meaning civilian deaths.Bombing Iraq is an abuse of power, in the belief that there can be no retribution. This is the first time that the Security Council has been sidetracked so blatantly. Washington was so quick o send out its missiles that it did not even make the effort of getting support from anyone other than its closest ally, Britain, at the time of the attack. Even the other permanent members of the Security Council, which forms the elite core group, were not consulted.."
Voice of America 12/25/98 Ayaz Gul Islamabad Pakistan ".Mr. Bin Laden renewed his fatwa (a religious decree) in the interview reportedly conducted Wednesday night in a tent under heavy security in the Afghan wilderness. Mr. Bin Laden is quoted as saying he is confident that Muslims would rid Islamic countries of Americans and Jews. Osama Bin Laden has been indicted by the U.S. government, which accuses him of involvement in the August bombings of two American embassies in east Africa. a total of 224 people died in the bombings. Washington is offering a five million dollar reward for information leading to his arrest. Mr. Bin Laden is quoted as denying that he was responsible for the bombings. but the Saudi-born militant says he supports the attacks and knows some of the suspects who have been accused in the attacks.Mr. Bin Laden does not deny the charge that he is trying to develop chemical and nuclear weapons. The Saudi militant is quoted as saying acquisition of such weapons would be part of his religious duty. He adds the use of such weapons would be decided by him. Mr. Bin Laden is living in Afghanistan under the protection of the Taleban Islamic movement, which has rejected requests by the united states for his extradition. The Taleban says Mr. Bin Laden is a guest in Afghanistan.."
AP 12/25/98 ". Osama Bin Laden, the Saudi exile accused of masterminding the U.S. Embassy bombings in Africa, is calling on Muslims to kill Americans and Britons for the airstrikes their countries carried out against Iraq. ``The British and the American people loudly declared their support for their leaders' decision to attack Iraq,'' Bin Laden said in Friday's edition of the Arabic newspaper Asharq Al- Awsat. This made it ``the duty of Muslims to confront, fight and kill'' Britons and Americans, he said. ``And anything that can be taken from them by force is the rightful prize of Muslims,'' Bin Laden said..."
New York Post 2/3/99 Niles Lathem ".U.S. officials say the CIA has received "credible and reliable" intelligence reports that Saddam is forging alliances with some of the Middle East's most bloodthirsty terrorists - including Osama Bin Laden and Abu Nidal - as part of an apparently new campaign to strike American targets and possibly destabilize Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. News of Saddam's terrorist strategy comes as American efforts to contain him with sanctions and arms inspections appear to be unraveling in the United Nations.. U.S. intelligence agencies are concerned about the possibility that Saddam could not only help with funding and logistics for Bin Laden's far-flung network, known as al-Qada, but he could also help the group acquire chemical and biological weapons through the Sudanese connection. The CIA believes Iraq moved large amounts of
Independent (UK) 2/5/99 Andrew Marshall ". The United States may be forced to acknowledge that it mistakenly attacked a factory in Sudan with cruise missiles last year, after the threat of legal proceedings by the plant's Sudanese owner. .The strikes caused enormous controversy since they came on the day that Monica Lewinsky gave evidence on her affair with President Bill Clinton, raising accusations that the White House was seeking to distract attention. The owner of the plant, Saleh Idris, has asked the US to apologise, to unfreeze his assets and to compensate him for damage to the factory, which he says was a legitimate pharmaceuticals factory. . Mr Idris has retained the Washington law firm of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer Feld, the same firm which employs Vernon Jordan, who gave evidence in defence of Mr Clinton in the Senate impeachment trial. A legal case would be almost unprecedented, and could have major implications for Mr Clinton and for US foreign policy...Mr Idris, who is also an adviser to Saudi Arabia's largest bank, has retained Kroll Associates, the world's leading firm of private investigators, to examine the evidence. Mr Scanlon said it proves that there was no chemical weapons plant in the factory, that it had never belonged to Mr bin Laden and that there were no links between Mr Idris and Mr bin Laden or the Iraqi government. ..Mr Idris's representatives presented their case this week to the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the US House of Representatives, said a US government source..At the time of last year's strike, there was an argument within the Administration as to whether the Sudanese plant was a legitimate target. The US said after the strike that the facility was a Sudanese government factory, but corrected this when it became clear that it had belonged to Mr Idris since April. One US government source told The Independent that it was a case of "right country, wrong building"..."
Drudge Report 2/8/99 Matt Drudge Freeper politicket ".The NEW YORK TIMES is planning to report on Tuesday that chemists who examined soil, sludge and debris samples from a Sudanese pharmaceutical plant destroyed in August by U.S. cruise missiles found no traces of chemical weapon compounds!."
Boston Globe 2/18/99 John Ellis ".But about the pharmaceutical plant in the Sudan, we now know a lot. Almost everything we know conflicts with the Clinton administration's stated reasoning for the attack. And the more we learn, the more disturbing the picture becomes. The decision to include the Al Shifa pharmaceutical facility on the target list was a last-minute affair and was based on bad intelligence and science. The intelligence was frightfully bad. US officials said that Al Shifa was part of the Sudanese military-industrial complex. It was not. US officials maintained that Al Shifa produced no medicinal products. In fact, Al Shifa produced more than 50 percent of all pharmaceuticals consumed in Sudan. Indeed, on almost every important point of fact, the Clinton administration's description of the facility's operation and capabilities has been contradicted by independent research. Major news organizations, including the investigative unit of ABC News and The New York Times, have reduced to rubble the administration's claim that Al Shifa was a chemical weapons factory. US intelligence about the facility was so bad that officials did not even know that it was privately owned by a merchant banker named Saleh Idris. When they found out (from the press), they quickly switched gears and maintained that Idris was a front man or agent for bin Laden. There is no evidence that this is true... Many members of the defense intelligence community believe that the missile strikes had little to do with global terrorism and everything to do with the president's pathetic admission, on Aug. 17, of an ''inappropriate'' relationship with Monica Lewinsky. Now that the evidence clearly points to a major mistake in US antiterrorism policy, the US Senate should appoint an independent commission to investigate what happened and why.."
ABCWeb Also on ABC Nightly News 2/11/99 Sheila MacVicar ".ABCNEWS investigated the decision to attack the plant and spoke with Salal Idris, the prominent Sudanese businessman who owned it. He now lives in Saudi Arabia, where he gave his first television interview to ABCNEWS. "One can understand the legitimate right of the U.S. government to go after terrorists and to control terrorism," Idris says. "But they need to have legitimate targets. I am not the right target." .. The decision to attack the plant has been repeatedly defended by the Clinton administration. They say they have hard evidence of a chemical-weapons presence: a soil sample, obtained by the CIA just outside the plant, contained EMPTA - which is critical to producing the deadly nerve agent VX. "We have physical evidence that this facility . of the presence there of a chemical that can as far as we know, can only be used in chemical weapons," said National Security Advisor Sandy Berger on Sept. 18..ABCNEWS talked to many international arms control experts, scientists and some U.S. intelligence officials who say they now believe that the CIA soil sample, and the tests done on it, prove nothing.. ABCNEWS consulted some of the world's leading experts in detecting chemical-warfare agents. They believe the CIA's test results are questionable, at best. "The evidence is based on trace amounts of a compound in soil, and we know that compound is not stable in soil," says chemical toxicologist Dr. Hendrik Benschop. "So, this would not add up to solid scientific evidence.".. A recent investigation of the factory ruins, commissioned by Idris and his American lawyers, collected samples from 13 locations at the site. Sophisticated testing and analysis by three different laboratories showed that the samples contained no EMPTA.. ABCNEWS has learned, however, that the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency has conducted its own highly-classified review. It concludes that the decision to bomb was based on bad intelligence . and bad science.."
Boston Herald 2/14/99 Editorial ".After cruise missiles slammed into a Sudanese chemical plant in August in retaliation for the terrorist attacks on American embassies in East Africa, the Clinton administration was accused in some quarters of trying to distract attention from the president's disastrous grand-jury appearance in the Lewinsky case. We thought at the time the president acted properly. There seemed good grounds to believe that the factory, said to have been linked to Osama bin Laden's terrorist network, was involved in making or handling chemicals used to make nerve gas. We're not so sure anymore... The lab's owner has now commissioned analysis of 12 soil samples from the plant grounds. None shows any evidence of the chemical in question, according to Boston University chemistry professor Thomas Tullius, reported by The New York Times to be in charge of the sampling project. Well, the rain could have washed away the evidence, those oh-so-savvy sources said. But some of the samples were said to have been protected from rain by factory debris, and one was taken from the septic system, which would provide evidence of what went through the plant drains... And without believable evidence beyond anonymous assertions, the world is drawing the conclusion that the United States is led by a president so unprincipled that he will make a Hollywood comedy look like prophesy to save his own political skin ."
The Hindu 2/14/99 AP ".Osama Bin Laden, a suspect in the bombing of two U.S. Embassies in Africa, has "disappeared" from his base in Afghanistan, a Taliban militia spokesman said. Other Afghan sources said he left the country. The Saudi millionaire dropped out of sight two days ago, Mr. Abdul Hai Muttmayan said yesterday.."
The Independent (UK) 2/15/99 Andrew Marshall ".An independent organisation's investigation of last year's US missile attack on a pharmaceutical factory in Sudan has concluded that there was no evidence to link the facility or its owner to international terrorism. Six months after the attack, every effort to substantiate the US claims about the factory has reached similar conclusions: that some of them are wrong or out of date, and others are based on sheer speculation. The US admitted within days that some of its "evidence" was wrong. Since then it has produced many new allegations, all given anonymously to the press, but no new evidence..."
N.Y. POST 3/7/99 Niles Lathem "…Saudi millionaire terrorist Osama bin Laden is believed to be on the move and hiding in a network of high-tech mountain caves built by the CIA during the Afghan war, The Post has learned.
U.S. intelligence agencies assigned to track the world's most dangerous terrorist believe bin Laden and his entourage have been moving around in remote regions of Afghanistan since the Taliban, the Islamic militia that controls most of that country, reported his alleged "disappearance" three weeks ago…."
The Hindustan Times 3/22/99 Vijay Dutt Freeper Jai "…The intensive combing of Afghanistan by the Western surveillance and intelligence teams has led to the spotting of Osama bin Laden in the Taliban territory, adjoining Pakistan. Last month, Osama, who has developed a massive network to export terrorism anywhere he wishes, had reportedly disappeared from his usual hide-outs in Afghanistan. . . . "
USA Today 11/29/98 AP "...The man accused of orchestrating the U.S. Embassy bombings in Africa operates a terrorist network out of Albania that has infiltrated other parts of Europe, The Sunday Times reported. The newspaper quoted Fatos Klosi, the head of the Albanian intelligence service, as saying a network run by Saudi exile Osama Bin Laden sent units to fight in the Serbian province of Kosovo. Bin Laden is believed to have established an Albanian operation in 1994 after telling the government he headed a wealthy Saudi humanitarian agency wanting to help Albania, the newspaper reported. Klosi said he believed terrorists had already infiltrated other parts of Europe from bases in Albania. Interpol believes more than 100,000 blank Albanian passports were stolen in riots last year, providing ample opportunity for terrorists to acquire false papers, the newspaper said...."
Serbian Unity Congress 10/8/98 The European Stella Jatras "...The Jerusalem Post said it best when it reported on Sept 14, 1998 regarding Kosovo, "Diplomats in the region say Bosnia was the first bastion of Islamic power. The autonomous Yugoslav region of Kosovo promises to be the second. During the current rebellion against the Yugoslav army, the ethnic Albanians in the province, most of whom are Moslem, have been provided with financial and military support from Islamic countries. They are being bolstered by hundreds of Iranian fighters, or Mujahedeen, who infiltrated from nearly Albania and call themselves the Kosovo Liberation Army." What we are seeing in Kosovo is an Islamic army that has been trained in Osama bin Laden's terrorists camps in Afghanistan. Although we cannot rule out that the recent massacres were perpetrated by the forces of Slobodan Milosevic, we must ask ourselves the question, who has the most to gain from these horrendous massacres (or however many it may take to get NATO to bomb) considering the KLA is losing on the battlefield? Furthermore, the method of the killings are exactly the same methods that are used in Algeria by Algerian fundamentalists who have thus far literally butchered over 80,000 by slitting of throats. Oddly enough, there have not been any calls to bomb the Algerian government on a humanitarian basis...."
http://www.mg.co.za/mg/news/99mar1/8mar-sudan.html 3/8/99 Judith Achieng Freeper DonMorgan "…HEAVY fighting is raging in southern Sudan's Bahr el Ghazal region, threatening a three-month ceasefire signed in January to facilitate the delivery of relief aid to thousands of families who suffered last year's famine in the region. The rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) said this week a gang of marauding pro-government militia groups have been ''killing civilians, burning villages, looting cattle and abducting women and children.'' The latest attack occurred on Feb. 26 when the militia forces rampaged through Akoch Payam, Bahr el Ghazal, killing at least 30 persons. The militias, who rode on horses, also attacked an airstrip where relief food was being distributed. ''By the time the attack was taking place, a relief plane was taking off,'' said an SPLA statement made available to IPS this week. ''The whereabouts of some 60 persons who were present at the scene of the attack are unknown, but we presume they have been taken slaves by the attackers or have been killed…"
AP 4/1/99 Freeper briant "...Afghanistan's ruling Taliban condemned President Clinton on Thursday for criticizing its treatment of the country's women. In a videotaped message to a Hollywood fund-raiser held Monday, Clinton denounced the Taliban's treatment of women and warned the religious militia that the United States wouldn't recognize the Taliban while the repression against women continued. The fund-raiser was sponsored by the Feminist Majority Foundation. The Taliban statement, issued from the foreign ministry and broadcast on Radio Shariat, accused Clinton of interfering in Afghanistan's internal affairs. ``The Taliban are following Islamic law and international law does not allow any country to criticize Afghanistan's Islamic culture,'' the statement said. It accused Clinton of ``engaging in propaganda against an Islamic country which has been devastated by war.'' ..."
Newsday 3/29/99 The Raven "…OSAMA BIN LADEN, the world's most wanted terrorist, is buying child slaves from Ugandan rebels and using them as forced labour on marijuana farms in Sudan to fund his international terrorism network…."
CNS 4/12/99 Lawrence Morahan "...More people have been killed in the southern region of Sudan by the scorched-earth, forced-starvation tactics of their Muslim government than all the victims of Kosovo, Bosnia and Rwanda combined, one of the world's leading authorities on religious persecution told the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva. Paul Marshall, a senior fellow at Freedom House's Center for Religious Freedom and an award-winning author of studies of religious persecution, is urging the U.N. Human Rights Commission to summon the Khartoum regime before the U.N. Security Council to answer charges of gross civil rights abuses and possible genocide. "Sudan has demonstrated it is probably the worst human rights violator in the world," Kristina Robb of the Washington-based Freedom House, an organization that tracks religious abuses around the world, told CNS. "The Khartoum government practices the most blatant form of what we believe is religious genocide by a radical regime. It uses Islam very cynically to justify its policy of genocide against its own population in southern Sudan, which is mainly Christian and animist," Robb said. "Many people in the [Clinton] administration use the term genocide, or its definition of ethnic cleansing or systematic attempt to eliminate a population, to describe the situation in Kosovo, when there's been no effort to use the same terminology for a situation that is much, much more severe in Sudan," Robb said. "To a certain extent you have to ask if this is a case of racism, or a case of national interest playing as the most important factor in our foreign policy," Robb said. Up to 2 million people have been killed and 5 million displaced in south Sudan and the Nuba Mountains by the Sudanese Popular Defense Forces, a radical Islamic force that targets a Christian and animist population, Freedom House estimates. These forces are bombing, burning and raiding villages, enslaving women and children, kidnapping and forcibly converting young men and sending them to the front as cannon fodder, and precipitating genocide by preventing food from reaching starving villages...."
New York Times (with "Frontline") 4/13/99 Tim Weiner "...Capturing bin Laden alive could deepen the complications. American officials say that so far, firsthand evidence that could be used in court to prove that he commanded the bombings has proven difficult to obtain. According to the public record, none of the informants involved in the case have direct knowledge of bin Laden's involvement. For now, officials say, Federal prosecutors appear to be building a case that his violent words and ideas, broadcast from an Afghan cave, incited terrorist acts thousands of miles away.... The interviews also raise questions about key assertions that have been made by the Government about bin Laden. Senior intelligence officials concede that their knowledge of him is sketchy. "We can't say for sure what was going on" with him from 1991 to 1996 -- most of the years covered in the indictment -- one senior official said.... Present and former American officials and former business associates of bin Laden say he appears to control only a fraction of the $250 million fortune that the American Government says he possesses. "Clearly, his money's running out," said Frank Anderson, a former senior Central Intelligence Agency official who maintains close Middle Eastern contacts..... Milton Bearden, a retired senior C.I.A. official who ran the agency's war in Afghanistan and retired in 1995, said the Government had "created a North Star" in bin Laden. "He is public enemy No. 1," Bearden said. "We've got a $5 million reward out for his head. And now we have, with I'm not sure what evidence, linked him to all of the terrorist acts of this year -- of this decade, perhaps." Political leaders in Sudan and Pakistan who have met bin Laden describe him as intelligent, soft-spoken, polite. They also say he is deadly serious about his violent brand of radical politics and capable of killing in God's name...."
The Nando Times - AP 4/17/99 Amir Shah "...The Taliban religious militia on Saturday warned President Clinton that criticizing Afghanistan's human rights record damages the countries' relations. "This criticism will only be bad for relations between Afghanistan and the United States," said a Foreign Ministry statement. Clinton has been a strong critic of the Taliban's treatment of women and last month said the United States wouldn't recognize the Taliban while the repression against women continued. "Any criticism regarding Afghanistan's Muslims and women's rights should come from a Muslim," the statement said. "This Clinton is not a Muslim and does not know anything about Islam and Muslims."..."
Washington Post 4/30/99 Francis Deng Freeper Stand Watch Listen "...The scenes of hundreds of thousands refugees fleeing Kosovo recall tragedies the world over. One is the Sudan, where a brutal conflict between the Arab-Muslim north and the more indigenous African-Christian south has raged intermittently for four decades. Of course, all necessary measures need to be taken to restore security and dignity for the people of Kosovo. But the universality of human dignity should not permit a glaring disparity in the way the international community responds to human tragedy in different parts of the world. The Sudan is clearly a case in point. Government troops and paramilitary forces, operating jointly with Arab tribal militias, have devastated southern tribes, razed their villages, looted their cattle, destroyed their crops, killed at random, and even enslaved children and women. War-generated famine in which the government has impeded and sometimes blocked access to international humanitarian agencies accounts for at least a half-million of the lives lost in the conflict..."
BBC 5/3/99 "...A new epidemic of the deadly Ebola virus has appeared in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and is threatening to enter Sudan. World Health Organisation figures say 50 people have died in the latest outbreak of the disease, which is fatal in up to 90% of cases...."
The Independent(U.K.) 5/4/99 Andrew Marshall "...In an admission that last year's missile attack on a factory in Sudan was a mistake, the US has cleared the man who owned the plant of any links to terrorism. The embarrassing reversal means that the US has virtually no evidence to support its claim that the missile attack was a strike against terrorism. Most of those who have investigated the case have concluded that the US acted on faulty intelligence and that key procedures were overriden by officials in the White House. The affair is already the subject of congressional inquiries and may result in the departure of some senior White House officials. America launched cruise missiles against targets in Afghanistan and Sudan in August last year after bomb attacks on its embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. It blamed the bombings on Osama bin Laden, the former Saudi who it accuses of backing many attacks on US targets. It said that the pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum was linked to Mr bin Laden and was used to produce chemical weapons. The US was forced to admit within hours that the plant was not a Sudanese government facility, but a private factory belonging to Salah Idris, a Saudi businessman. But it then said that Mr Idris was himself linked to terrorism and to Mr bin Laden. It froze all of his bank accounts, including money held at Bank of America in London. Yesterday, with no public announcement or fanfare, it unfroze the accounts, admitting that no evidence existed to accuse Mr Idris....."
The Independent 5/5/99 Andrew Marshall "...In an admission that last year's missile attack on a factory in Sudan was a mistake, the US has cleared the man who owned the plant of any links to terrorism. The embarrassing reversal means that the US has virtually no evidence to support its claim that the missile attack was a strike against terrorism. Most of those who have investigated the case have concluded that the US acted on faulty intelligence and that key procedures were overriden by officials in the White House. The affair is already the subject of congressional inquiries and may result in the departure of some senior White House officials. .... Spokesmen for Mr Idris said they were "jubilant" but that there could still be a law suit to recover compensation. "I am grateful that the United States has taken the honourable course and has corrected, in part, the serious harm that has been done to my family and our good name," said Mr Idris yesterday from Sudan. "While I understand that the United States must wage a vigorous fight against terrorism, in this case a grave error has been made." Britain never supported the idea that Mr Idris had links to Mr bin Laden, and he was permitted to enter and leave London (where he maintains a flat) freely. The widespread view outside the US was that the White House had insufficient evidence for the attack...."
Iran-daily.com 5/1/99 "...Fugitive Saudi Islamist Osama bin Laden is seek-ing asylum in Somalia because of a falling-out with his present hosts, Afghanistan's Taliban Militia, the Arab daily Al-Sharq al-Awsat said Saturday. Citing London-based "informed sources," it said bin Laden was aiming to establish a base in Somalia "which would be used a starting point for his activities." The newspaper said bin Laden had disappeared from his base in Afghanistan in February and had visited Somalia, Yemen and Sudan following "serious disagreements with the Taliban." ...."
The Washington Times 5/4/99 Jerry Seper "...Some members of the Kosovo Liberation Army, which has financed its war effort through the sale of heroin, were trained in terrorist camps run by international fugitive Osama bin Laden -- who is wanted in the 1998 bombing of two U.S. embassies in Africa that killed 224 persons, including 12 Americans. The KLA members, embraced by the Clinton administration in NATO's 41-day bombing campaign to bring Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to the bargaining table, were trained in secret camps in Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina and elsewhere, according to newly obtained intelligence reports. The reports also show that the KLA has enlisted Islamic terrorists -- members of the Mujahideen --as soldiers in its ongoing conflict against Serbia, and that many already have been smuggled into Kosovo to join the fight.....Jane's International Defense Review, a highly respected British Journal, reported in February that documents found last year on the body of a KLA member showed that he had escorted several volunteers into Kosovo, including more than a dozen Saudi Arabians. Each volunteer carried a passport identifying him as a Macedonian Albanian.....Last year, while State Department officials labeled the KLA a terrorist organization, saying it bankrolled its operations with proceeds from the heroin trade and from loans from known terrorists like bin Laden, the department listed the group as an "insurgency" organization in its official reports. The officials charged that the KLA used terrorist tactics to assault Serbian and ethnic Albanian civilians in a campaign to achieve independence....."
Boston Globe 5/13/99 John Ellis "...On the night of Aug. 20, 1998, Saleh Idris went to bed as a member in good standing of the international business community. He had friends on every continent and held ownership stakes in business enterprises in the Middle East, Europe, and Africa. One of those enterprises was the al-Shifa pharmaceutical packaging plant in the Sudan. On the morning of Aug. 21, al-Shifa was demolished by American cruise missiles. Later that day, President Clinton justified the attack by saying that al-Shifa was, in fact, a chemical weapons factory linked to Osama bin Laden, the Saudi exile who allegedly masterminded the bombing of Americas embassies in Kenya and Tanzania earlier that month. And so it was that on the night of Aug. 21, Saleh Idris, member in good standing of the international business community, went to bed branded as an international terrorist. The campaign to defame his good name continues to this day, orchestrated from the offices of President Clinton's National Security Council. It is a despicable campaign, made more so by the fact that everyone involved in it knows that the charges against Idris are false....."
Zenit News Service 5/26/99 "...As if the 30-year civil war and the oppression of constant hunger was not enough, the indifference of the international community could condemn to death 2.3 million Sudanese in the southern part of the country, who are about to be stricken by another tragedy: famine. The latter is the bitter fruit of the conflict itself, which takes food from the people to give it to the soldiers and guerrillas; and the virtual cyclical draught which impedes cultivation of the land. Concern for the conflict in Yugoslavia, is relegating this drama, being played out in silence, to the realm of the forgotten....."
5/29/99 RAHUL BEDI in New Delhi "...India is battling well-armed Pakistan-backed Islamic militants who have taken control of Kashmir's civil war for an independent homeland because local recruits can no longer be attracted. Military and intelligence officials say the militants entrenched in the Kargil-Dras region were mostly Afghans and Pakistanis. Some of the militants are believed to be associated with Osama bin Laden, the Saudi millionaire who is allegedly one of the key financiers of global Islamic terrorism and blamed by the United States as being behind last year's bombing of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania...."
Reuters 6/7/99 "... The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation will announce Monday it is adding Islamic militant Osama bin Laden and abortion foe James Kopp to its list of 10 most wanted fugitives, an official said. Saudi-born bin Laden has been indicted in the United States for allegedly masterminding the August 1998 bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which killed more than 200 people..... After the African embassy bombings the United States launched cruise missile attacks against camps used by bin Laden's group in eastern Afghanistan. The United States also bombed a chemical factory in Sudan, saying it supplied bin Laden with ingredients for nerve gas. It has also offered a $5 million reward for bin Laden's capture....."
sudan.net 6/7/99 Kieran Murray Reuters "...Three U.S. Congressmen· visiting war zones in southern Sudan said on Sunday they would· push for financial assistance to rebels fighting the Islamic· government in Khartoum.· The three -- two Republicans and a Democrat -- said the· United States needed to help the rebel Sudan People's Liberation· Army (SPLA) and demanded an end to government bombing raids· against civilians in the south.· "Khartoum has to be made to stop bombing civilian* targets," Republican senator and delegation leader Sam* Brownback said at the end of a two-day visit to SPLA-controlled* territory..... The Congressmen said Sudan's government was guilty of· state-sponsored terrorism abroad and human rights atrocities· against its black population in the south, which is mainly· Christian or animist.· "I can see no reason to be timid with the Sudanese· government. It is a terrorist regime and this is the worst· humanitarian situation in the world," Brownback said.* ...."
Associated Press 6/10/99 Faiza Saleh Ambah "...Millions of Arabs were able to watch Osama bin Laden for the first time on Thursday as he called for a holy war against his No. 1 enemy - the United States. In a 90-minute program aired by the Qatar-based al-Jazeera satellite channel, bin Laden expressed his admiration for the people who bombed American forces in Saudi Arabia in 1995 and 1996 and said that all Americans are targets. "They violate our land and occupy it and steal the Muslims' possessions, and when faced by resistance they call it terrorism,'' bin Laden said in an interview the Arab world's most popular television channel, watched by millions in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe..... "They have never seen bin Laden speak in Arabic before. This is the first time an Arabic station has given him a platform,'' said Atwan, who was one of the commentators on the program. Washington accuses bin Laden, a Saudi millionaire stripped of his citizenship by Riyadh, of masterminding the deadly Aug. 7, 1998, bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which killed 224 people and injured thousands....."
ERRI 6/7/99 Steve Macko "...The Sunday Times has reported that terrorist Osama bin Laden, may be preparing to launch an attack. The newspaper said that bin Laden has rebuilt his "terrorist universities" and is constructing a bomb-proof headquarters in a cave beyond the reach of spy satellites in the Pamir mountains in the northern part of Afghanistan. If true, it would seem that the recent rumors of bin Laden being sent to another country may be inaccurate....The new camps are part of a sophisticated network established by bin Laden in northern and eastern Afghanistan. Two other al Qaida training camps have opened in recent weeks. The Tora Bora base, near the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad, has been rebuilt on the site of a camp first constructed by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency in the early 1980s. The second is understood to have been built from scratch at Galrez, a town 30 miles west of Kabul. However, Bin Laden's most startling new asset is reportedly a command and control center for al Qaida. It is said to be still under construction in a natural cave system in Kunduz province, near the border with Tajikistan. One U.S. diplomat told the Sunday Times, "The cave facilities are impervious to missile attacks and satellite observation." ..."
6/16/99 AP John Diamond "...A U.S. official who spoke today on condition of anonymity said bin Laden, who the United States blames as ordering last year's bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, is clearly planning another attack. Last week, he was placed on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted List of fugitives. Because of the difficulty of launching an operation at targets in the United States, bin Laden is expected to focus on targets in poorer countries where security is weaker, intelligence officials have concluded....CIA Director George Tenet said in February ``there is not the slightest doubt'' that bid Laden, ``his worldwide allies, and his sympathizers are planning further attacks against'' the United States ``at any time.'' ``We are anticipating bombing attempts ... but his operatives are also capable of kidnappings and assassinations,'' Tenet said.,,,:
AP 6/16/1999 "...Ayman Al-Zawahiri was charged with conspiracy in the bombings of embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, as was a second alleged terrorist, Khaled Al-Fawwaz. The indictments raises to 15 the number of people charged in the Aug. 7 bombings that killed 213 people. The indictment, which supersedes a previous indictment, claims that three days before the embassy bombings, Al-Zawahiri threatened to retaliate against America for its capture of members of his group, Al-Jihad. It also alleges that Osama bin Laden, accused of orchestrating the embassy bombings, issued a May 1998, statement titled, ``The Nuclear Bomb of Islam.'' The statement said ``it is the duty of the Muslims to prepare as much force as possible to terrorize the enemies of God,'' according to the indictment. Al-Zawahiri, believed to be with bin Laden in Afghanistan, allegedly leads Al-Jihad, an outlawed group that had claimed responsibility for the 1981 assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. It has been waging a bloody campaign since 1992 to topple Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's government and install strict Islamic rule...."
USA Today/AP 11/29/98 "…The man accused of orchestrating the U.S. Embassy bombings in Africa operates a terrorist network out of Albania that has infiltrated other parts of Europe, The Sunday Times reported. The newspaper quoted Fatos Klosi, the head of the Albanian intelligence service, as saying a network run by Saudi exile Osama Bin Laden sent units to fight in the Serbian province of Kosovo. Bin Laden is believed to have established an Albanian operation in 1994 after telling the government he headed a wealthy Saudi humanitarian agency wanting to help Albania, the newspaper reported. Klosi said he believed terrorists had already infiltrated other parts of Europe from bases in Albania. Interpol believes more than 100,000 blank Albanian passports were stolen in riots last year, providing ample opportunity for terrorists to acquire false papers, the newspaper said…."
World Tribune.com 6/25/99 "...FBI director Louis Freeh that the United States has recruited numerous countries to locate and capture Bin Laden, regarded as the leading financier of Islamic terrorists around the world. He said Bin Laden has been placed on the Top 10 list of fugitives and continues to pose a threat. "The efforts to apprehend him are continuing and are extensive, not just by our government, but many other governments," Freeh said on Wednesday. "There is an international initiative to find him, arrest him, bring him to justice." ..."
London-Associated Press AP 7/12/99 "…Police arrested two men yesterday accused of conspiring with Osama bin Laden in last summer's deadly bombings of two U.S. Embassies in Africa, authorities said. The men were arrested in London on warrants after a request from the United States. They are charged with conspiring with bin Laden and his network to kill Americans on or before August 8, 1998, police said...."
AP 7/16/99 "…The State Department said Friday it has received a growing body of information strongly suggesting that extremists based in Afghanistan are preparing to attack U.S. interests in Pakistan in the near future. In a travel warning, the department noted that reputed international terrorist Osama bin Laden, who is on the FBI's 10 most wanted list, lives in Afghanistan and has supporters in Pakistan. Bin Laden is wanted for bombings of American embassies last August in Kenya and Tanzania…."
London Telegraph 7/17/99 Ben Fenton "....The United States defence secretary had to cancel a trip to Albania earlier this week because of fears that supporters of Osama bin Laden, the Saudi millionaire terrorist, would try to kill him. William Cohen was due to stop in Albania for only five hours to visit American troops still stationed there and meet local politicians as he inspected the remaining refugee camps close to the border with Kosovo.... Albania is known to have attracted a number of extremist Islamic fighters to the cause of Kosovo's liberation and therefore could already be unwittingly playing host to bin Laden sympathisers...."
The Hindustan Times 7/19/99 "...A top leader of Pakistan's leading religious party Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) has accused Premier Nawaz Sharif of taking Rupees one billion from Saudi dissident Osama Bin Laden for election fund by promising to enforce Islamic laws in the country while assuring President Clinton of his government's help in arresting Osama. ..."
AP 7/23/99 Michael Sniffen "…The FBI halted the popular public tours of its headquarters building Friday for an indefinite period in response to an unconfirmed, nonspecific threat against bureau facilities in this city, a spokesman said. NBC News reported that the threat concerned possible terrorist attacks by followers of Osama bin Laden, the wealthy Islamic radical who is charged in this country with masterminding last August's bombings of U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people, including 12 Americans. Law enforcement officials, requesting anonymity, would say only that ``recent events suggest it's fairly evident Bin Laden's followers would be the prime suspects.''…"
The Washington Post 7/25/99 Vernon Loeb "…Because of a cupful of soil, the U.S. flattened this Sudanese factory. Now oneof the world's most respected labs, and some of Washington's most expensive lawyers,say Salah Idris wasn't making nerve gas for terrorists, just ibuprofen for headaches….. "Never before," former CIA official Milt Bearden would say months later, "has a single soil sample prompted an act of war against a sovereign state." …."He went to bed a major businessman--a millionaire hundreds of times over--and woke up a major terrorist," said his attorney, George R. Salem, a partner at the powerhouse Washington law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld. "He figured all the administration needed to be told was--'This is Salah Idris, a prominent Saudi businessman who owns the plant. You've made a serious mistake. Let's deal with this quietly.' But it became immediately clear that wasn't going to happen." ….Over at the White House, Clinton's national security adviser, Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger, was referring to the "so-called pharmaceutical factory in Khartoum, which we know with great certainty produces essentially the penultimate chemical to manufacture VX nerve gas." U.S. officials did not know at the time--by their own subsequent admissions--who owned the plant. They literally did not know whom they were dealing with….. "
MSNBC 7/29/99 Michael Moran "...The United States passed up an opportunity to apprehend two of the men thought to be directly involved in the bombings of its embassy in Kenya last year because of a dispute between the FBI and the State Department, senior law enforcement officials and diplomatic sources said Thursday. The twin bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, killed over 250 people, including 12 Americans. Terrorist listing has varied effects THE DAY after the Aug. 7, 1998, attacks, two of the suspected bombers were arrested in Sudan, which then offered to turn them over to the FBI, according to accounts from two senior U.S. law enforcement officials and diplomatic sources. Those accounts were also confirmed by documents obtained by MSNBC. The law enforcement officials said that evidence suggested that the men held in Sudan were directly linked to the Nairobi bombing and that they had intimate knowledge of the operations of the alleged guerrilla chief Osama bin Laden. Nonetheless, these officials said, the State Department refused to allow an FBI team to travel to the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, to discuss apprehending the suspects. One senior law enforcement official said the State Department, in blocking the FBI from pursuing the lead, noted that Sudan has been listed for over a decade as a state sponsor of terrorism. Yet Sudan, the official said, had asked only for a "dialogue" with the United States toward restoring a more normal diplomatic relationship...."
CNSNews.com 7/30/99 Patrick Goodenough "...Reports out of Pakistan Friday say the Saudi-born Islamist terror suspect, Osama bin Laden, plans to leave his hideout in Afghanistan for an as-yet undisclosed Muslim country, because he fears an imminent American military strike against him. The Afghan Islamic Press, based in northwestern Pakistan, cited sources close to Bin Laden as confirming the decision was taken "because of expected attacks from the United States."....According to various reports disseminated by the Pakistan News Service, monitored by CNSNews.com Friday, anti-Western and pro-Bin Laden sentiment is on the rise in Pakistan. Last week two Islamic groups held a large demonstration in Karachi in support of the Taliban and Bin Laden, and warned that "the religious forces of Pakistan" would respond if the U.S. bombed Afghanistan...."
The Pioneer 8/4/99 Agencies "...The United States on Tuesday protested to a Pakistani Islamic leader's threats to a "war against Americans" if Washington launched another attack on the suspected Afghan hideouts of Osama Bin Laden. The protest was made in a 90-minute meeting between a US embassy officer and Maulana Fazlur Rehman, leader of the Jamiat Ulema-I-Islam party, which has staged a series of anti-American rallies amid speculation of a fresh US strike against Bin Laden...."
AFP 8/5/99 "...Afghan opposition commander Ahmad Shah Masood played down the sweeping gains made by the Taliban in recent days blaming outside intervention alongside the Islamic militia in comments published here Tuesday. The Taliban's capture of the strategic Bagram airbase after heavy fighting Sunday and Monday "does not constitute a major loss ... since we stopped using it a long time ago," Masood insisted in an overnight satellite telephone interview with a Beirut Arabic daily. The airbase "could easily be targetted with heavy weapons by the Taliban" so the opposition had long relied on the "safer" option of reinforcing its positions by land, the opposition commander told Al-Mustaqbal....Masood blamed intervention by Pakistani and Arab forces for the new advances by the Taliban which already controlled more than 80 percent of the country before its latest gains. "A large number of Pakistani regular forces and hundreds of Arab elements are fighting with the Taliban," he said. On Friday, Taliban chief Mulla Mohammad Omar denied that Pakistani soldiers were involved in the militia's offensive and Islamabad also denied the charges. Masood said the irregular forces fighting alongside the Taliban included supporters of Afghanistan-based Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden, who is on Washington's most wanted list for his suspected role in two deadly bomb attacks on US embassies in east Africa last year...."
Far Eastern Economic Review 8/5/99 Ahmed Rashid in Kabul and Faizabad "...As the Taliban launch a new offensive against opposition forces, the threat which this Islamic regime poses to regional stability has gone unnoticed. Terrorists fighting the governments of virtually every Central Asian power find shelter with the Taliban. An equally dangerous by-product is the criminal economy supported by the Taliban, which spreads weapons and drugs throughout the region....."
New York Post 8/5/99 Niles Lathem "... Eight months after landing on the FBI's Most Wanted list, terror kingpin Osama bin Laden has become one of the most popular figures in the Middle East - with thousands of fanatics now ready to do his bidding. And U.S. officials fear that the millionaire Saudi expatriate - bunkered down with his four wives and 15 children in a remote mountain region in Afghanistan - is set to activate his followers for a series of new attacks on U.S. interests - including financial centers in New York. "He's bigger than life because of all the focus on him. He's got followers he doesn't even know about ready to die for him," said terrorism expert Harvey Kushner of Long Island University. ...Law-enforcement agencies are said to be particularly concerned about some kind of attack on New York and have recommended stepped-up security at the New York Stock Exchange and the Federal Reserve Bank. "I believe he is operating under the assumption that if the United States is going to go after his money, then he's going to go after America's money," said Kenneth Katzman, a former CIA analyst now at the Congressional Research Service. More chilling still is the possibility that bin Laden has acquired chemical weapons. Experts say there is evidence that there have been meetings between al-Qaeda operatives and Iraqi chemical scientists, and that bin Laden has constructed crude laboratories for chemical-weapons development in Afghanistan...."
International Herald Tribune 8/7/99 Rupert Colville "...A year ago this weekend, between 5,000 and 8,000 people were killed over three or four days because of their ethnic identity. Most of them were men. Some were shot on the streets. Many were executed in their own homes, after areas of the town known to be inhabited by their ethnic group had been systematically sealed off and searched. Some were boiled or asphyxiated to death after being left crammed inside sealed metal containers under a hot August sun. In at least one hospital, as many as 30 patients were shot as they lay helplessly in their beds. The bodies of many of the victims were left on the streets or in their houses as a stark warning to the city's remaining inhabitants. Horrified witnesses saw dogs tearing at the corpses, but were instructed over loudspeakers and by radio announcements not to remove or bury them..... It happened in Afghanistan, which is in many ways the Kosovo of the 1980s but is no longer considered important. For a while, it looked as though the massacre committed by the Taleban in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif might slip through the floorboards of history altogether..."
U.S. News & World Report 8/16/99 Kevin Whitelaw Warren Strobel "... On August 20 last year, 13 American cruise missiles slammed into a dusty pharmaceutical plant in Sudan. The strike, the White House said, was in retaliation for the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania two weeks earlier. But many of the U.S. intelligence analysts who keep tabs on African affairs were kept out of the loop, and they were skeptical that the plant, known as El Shifa, was a chemical weapons facility connected to the alleged terrorist Osama bin Laden.... It's still down today. The administration's evidence against El Shifa remains secret-even to most American officials. What is known isn't encouraging. In the strike's immediate aftermath, an informal review conducted by the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research failed to turn up a single piece of evidence linking El Shifa to chemical weapons or bin Laden. The bureau was discouraged from even reporting its findings. Says one U.S. intelligence official, "To this day, I don't know" why they chose El Shifa. ..... The decision to bomb El Shifa was made by fewer than a dozen top U.S. officials. This meant that experts on both Sudan and chemical weapons were not consulted about the government's evidence. Over the past year, White House officials, including National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, have backed away from their charge that El Shifa was actually producing chemicals for weapons as opposed to being a storage or transshipment point. But Clinton advisers insist they have seen no new evidence to undercut their conclusion that the plant was linked to bin Laden and the Iraqi chemical weapons program. Another factor, says one official, "tipped the scales": It could be struck with little risk of civilian casualties...."
NATIONAL PRESS CLUB 8/6/99 "...PRESS CONFERENCE NATIONAL PRESS CLUB MORNING NEWSMAKER WITH YOSSEF BODANSKY, AUTHOR; SUBJECT: INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM NATIONAL PRESS CLUB WASHINGTON, D.C. 10:00 A.M. EDT FRIDAY, AUGUST 6, 1999 "...MR. BODANSKY:... Essentially, if one is to sum up the situation today as far as international terrorism, Islamic terrorism is concerned, we're sitting on a volcano. We feel the earth rumbling, with perhaps the smoke coming from a variety of cracks. Everybody knows that eruption is essentially inevitable, probably imminent, but nobody knows where it's going to erupt, how soon, and exactly where.... The first key event took place in the first days of December last year, in that when bin Laden received the fatwah, a religious decree from the high court of Afghanistan, the leading Ulama -- religious court -- permitting, among other things, the use of weapons of mass destruction against innocents -- against American civilians. Terrorists in the past have had weapons of mass destruction -- never in the quantity and quality of bin Laden's -- and we'll go into that in a few minutes. The important thing is never have they had any authorization to use them. And this is the first time, considering the fact that bin Laden is the guest of the Taliban, he is seeking permission, justification or legitimization to use these weapons from the same group of learned individuals that also guide the Taliban is of extreme importance. Then, on July 15, Sheik Omar Bakri Muhammad, an individual that sits in London and defines himself as the "eyes and ear" of bin Laden, issued an open letter to bin Laden that was read in the mosque the next day, Friday the 16th, in which he urged him to come and strike out now. The letter itself is of extreme importance because of bin Laden's agreement with the Taliban. In accordance with that agreement, bin Laden is not to initiate anything, but as an emir, he is obliged by Islamic law to answer the demand of his disciples to lead them in a jihad if they so wish. So there is this greater justification for him to do something without violating his agreement with the Taliban....."
NATIONAL PRESS CLUB 8/6/99 "... Bin Laden does have chemical, biological -- a diverse collection of chemical, biological weapons, as well as nuclear weapons. This is a few of the ex-Soviet suitcase bombs acquired through the Chechens. Far more important than the possession of items of one kind or another, including production capacity, is the fact that his organization has been able to recruit a large number of experts, including experts in weaponization and experts in delivery. Most of them are what we call "lily white," i.e., they have never been in any trouble with security services in any country, so we don't have anything about their faces, fingerprints and the like. And they can operate wherever they want to...."
Associated Press 8/8/99 William Mann "...Sen. Orrin Hatch predicted Sunday the United States eventually will make an example of Osama bin Laden but refused to say whether that might include killing the accused terrorist leader. Hatch, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the CIA and FBI know where bin Laden is, generally know what he is doing and are aware that top Arabs are funneling money to him, Hatch said. ``Ultimately, we're going to get him,'' predicted Hatch, a Utah Republican seeking the GOP presidential nomination. ``And ultimately, we're going to make an example of a person who literally is causing death all over the world, or at least trying to cause death all over the world.'' ..."
NATIONAL PRESS CLUB 8/6/99 "...We have high hopes that they will indeed be able to deliver bin Laden or any of his assistants. But beyond what we know or don't know about the inner dynamics of the Pakistani government, there is a very, very simple objective logic to it. Bin Laden is the hottest commodity. The moment they hand him over to the United States, alive or dead, they're not going to have it any more. They will not be able to dangle it and to trade it for support, understanding or anything else from the West. So it does not serve their national purpose to hand him over. Furthermore, as Pakistan is getting more and more into a variety of rogue-state behavior in the nuclear field and vis-a-vis India, they need greater and greater, quote "understanding," unquote, from the United States. Therefore, they need to heighten and to increase the value of the bin Laden commodity. And the only way to increase the value of the bin Laden commodity is to make the United States want him even more. And why should we want him even more? After he strikes again...."
BBC 8/8/99 "...India's Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, has called on the United States to declare Pakistan a terrorist state. He was speaking at a rally in the northern state of Punjab - bordering Pakistan - at the start of his campaign for September's general election. Delhi accuses Islamabad of supporting insurgents in Indian-administered Kashmir. Addressing large crowds, Mr. Vajpayee accused Pakistan of renewed cross-border attacks in Kashmir, and said it was trying to open up new fronts with India. "Peace with Pakistan is not possible until Pakistan withdraws the terrorists. I assure the countrymen that the neighbours will not be allowed to succeed in their attempts," Mr. Vajpayee told supporters in the industrial town of Ludhiana. Pakistan has denied involvement in the 10-week military conflict in the Kargil sector of Kashmir...."
WORLD TRIBUNE.COM 8/9/99 "...Saudi fugitive Osama Bin Laden is believed to have up to 20 nuclear bombs and is seeking to launch a massive terrorist strike against the United States, a congressional investigator and author says. Yosef Bodansky, a researcher of the House Task Force for Counterterrorism and author of a new book on Bin Laden, told a news conference on Friday that Bin Laden has been seeking to follow up on his bombings of two U.S. embassies in east Africa one year ago. Echoing U.S. officials, Bodansky said Bin Laden was thwarted in plans to blow up the U.S. embassy and two consulates in India in last December and January. Bin Laden has biological, chemical and nuclear weapons, Bodansky said. The nuclear weapons include suitcase bombs acquired through Chechniyan rebels and received technical help from Iraq..... Bodansky said Bin Laden remains in Afghanistan. He said the Saudi is located in Islam Darva, about 80 kilometers northwest of Kandahar. When he wants to communicate with the outside world, he travels to Jalalabad...."
U.S. News & World Report 8/16/99 Kevin Whitelaw and Warren P. Strobel "... Unlike the mistaken bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade in May, the El Shifa bombing stems from more than an intelligence failure. A staunch anti-Sudan policy left some senior State Department and National Security Council aides inclined to believe the worst about the Islamic government in Khartoum, government officials say. There's plenty of bad news, to be sure. Sudan has been accused of repeated human-rights violations in its long-running civil war. It has been blamed for sparking a deadly famine by cutting off aid flights. It allegedly harbors terrorists..... In Washington, House and Senate intelligence committees are continuing to investigate the decisions leading to the attack. The strike represents "a real lowering of the threshold for military action against countries with whom we have a disagreement," says one congressional aide with access to intelligence reports. But if anything, Congress is even more anti-Sudan than the administration. Both houses have overwhelmingly condemned Sudan within the past two months and called for U.S. support to the rebels. For now, any comprehensive scrutiny of the missile strike remains unlikely. ..."
Time 8/16/99 Sally B. Donnelly and Adam Zagorin "....Saudi multimillionaire Salah Idris is preparing to sue the U.S. government in an effort to win back his good name--plus the $30 million or so he lost when the U.S. bombed his pharmaceutical factory last year. According to U.S. officials, Idris' plant in Khartoum stored chemical weapons material and had links to Osama Bin Laden, the alleged mastermind of attacks on two American embassies in Africa one year ago...."
Hot Daily News - ISLAMABAD, Pakistan 8/9/99 AP "...One year after terrorist bombs ravaged its embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and killed 224 people, the United States is no closer to arresting the man it believes masterminded the attacks. Washington has put suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden on its 10 Most Wanted List, offered a $5 million reward for his arrest and tried to make international pariahs of his hosts, Afghanistan's Taliban rulers. The efforts have largely failed. Because of fresh but unspecified terrorist threats, the United States is closing embassies and halting its popular public tours of FBI headquarters in Washington......The Taliban, who control 90 percent of the country and preach probably the harshest brand of Islam operating in the world today, seem unlikely to give up a man extolled as a hero by radical Islamic groups. In July, however, the Taliban did end their pretense of not knowing where bin Laden was, acknowledging he still lived in Afghanistan and still was a guest to be protected. They also denied reports he was planning to seek sanctuary in another Islamic country....``Bin laden is training his own people for terrorist activities around the world,'' said an Afghan who once trained with bin Laden at Tora Bora, also in eastern Afghanistan. ``They include Sudanese, Algerians, Tajiks, Iranians and Egyptians,'' he said. ``Osama has dozens of camps. They train on anti-aircraft guns, explosives, chemical and biological weapons.'' The same Afghan warrior, who didn't want to be identified because he feared for his life, said he had been trained to use chemical and biological weapons. The training was conducted by a North Korean.
UPI 8/10/99 "...The Clinton administration warns Americans (Tuesday) that they should avoid travel in the tribal areas of northwest Pakistan along the frontier with Afghanistan, where indicted bomber Osama Bin Laden has found safe haven. The State Department says there is a "growing body of information" suggesting Bin Laden, who has been indicted for masterminding the bombing last year of American embassies in east Africa, is planning an attack against U.S. interests in the Northwest Frontier Provinces of Pakistan. .."
SPECIAL TO WORLD TRIBUNE.COM 8/11/99 "...U.S. military planes carrying commandos have landed in Pakistan in what appears to be the start of an offensive against Saudi fugitive bomber Osama Bin Laden, Arab reports said. The reports said the U.S. warplanes landed in Islamabad on Monday. The United States has denied the report.
Bin Laden is believed to be hiding in Afghanistan and the ruling Taliban faction have called on Muslims to stop the incursion by Washington. Al-Jazeerah television, monitored by the BBC in Jordan, said the two planes landed at two airports around Islamabad. It said dozens of U.S. military commandos took up combat positions near the planes and barred anyone from approaching the area. Al-Jazeerah reported that the operation was in apparent preparation for a military strike against Bin Laden. Bin Laden has been accused by the United States of having responsibility for the bombing of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania a year ago that killed at least 226 people, including 12 Americans. Earlier, the Afghani opposition on Monday accused the ruling Taliban of massacring hundreds of villagers in territory north of Kabul captured and occupied for three days last week...."
http://www.timesofindia.com/120899/12worl6.htm PTI 8/12/99 "...DUBAI: The privately-owned Qatari television Al Jazeera has stood by its report that US military planes had landed in Pakistan with commandos to strike at terrorist mastermind and Saudi dissident Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan. The television's correspondent in Islamabad in a late night telecast on Tuesday said his information came both from well-informed Pakistani sources and the Pakistan-backed Taliban, which is fighting to extend its control over the remaining 10 per cent of territory in Afghanistan. The correspondent said the US embassy in Islamabad had been secretly evacuating its diplomatic staff fearing retaliation from the Taliban backers. Already about 75 Americans had left Pakistan....."
WorldNet Daily 8/12/99 J R Nyquist "... According to Yosef Bodansky, a researcher attached to the House counter-terrorism task force, a Middle East terrorist is now believed to have as many as 20 suitcase nuclear bombs. In addition, this same terrorist is alleged to possess biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction. Supposedly, Chechnyan rebels managed to steal nuclear suitcase bombs from the Russian military. These bombs were then smuggled out of Russia and sold to Osama bin Laden, an international fugitive and terrorist hiding in Afghanistan..... More recently, Clinton Administration officials have accused Osama bin Laden of plotting bomb attacks against the United States Embassy and two consulates in India. The U.S. government has offered five million dollars to anyone who provides information leading to bin Laden's arrest or conviction. In Afghanistan bin Laden is considered a war hero for risking his life in the struggle against Moscow's client armies. Therefore, it is not surprising that many Afghans were dismayed at the idea that bin Laden was a threat to America....Bodansky's sources, however, are suspect. One must always treat the claims of Russian officials with near-total skepticism. Can we really believe that the anti-Soviet bin Laden would work closely with former Soviet commandos who were his deadly enemies in the past? And what sort of Russian special forces soldier would assist an anti-Russian terrorist? It is doubtful that any such person has ever existed in the ranks of Soviet or Russian special forces. In the last analysis, it is more likely that Bodansky has been fed false information. The same goes for the Saudis, who have probably been duped by Russian intelligence agents.... The most alarming thing about the bin Laden story is the way it helps the nuclear war strategy of the Kremlin. According to the highest ranking defector from the Russian General Staff, Colonel Stanislav Lunev, a surprise Russian nuclear strike would begin with the deployment of 7,000 Spetsnaz commandos to the United States.....The United States early warning network consists of three DSP launch detection satellites and six radars. The satellites are presently in geosynchronous orbit over the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans. These satellites are able to detect Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) and Submarine Launch Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs) once their engines are ignited during a launch sequence. Each of the three DSP satellites has a ground station with uplinks. If these ground stations are destroyed by suitcase nukes, and if the early warning radars are damaged, the United States would be blinded....Now that we've been told that any Spetsnaz commandos caught on American soil are probably working for bin Laden, we will be looking the wrong way...."
FoxNews Reuters 8/15/99 "...Afghanistan's ruling Islamic Taliban movement is holding talks with the United States about Saudi-born terrorism suspect Osama bin Laden, an independent Afghan news agency with good Taliban contacts said Sunday. Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) quoted informed sources as saying New York was the venue for the first talks since Washington ordered a cruise missile strike on bin Laden's suspected Afghan hideouts on August 20 last year. The Pakistan-based agency said the Taliban had made it clear to the United States that bin Laden, accused of masterminding U.S. embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam a year ago, remained their "guest'' and they would not ask him to leave...."
CNN 8/18/99 AP Reuters "…Sudan has renewed its call for the U.N. Security Council to investigate U.S. allegations that led to the bombing of a pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum one year ago. The United States bombed the factory on August 20, 1998, claiming the plant produced chemical weapons. It also claimed the plant was linked to Saudi exile Osama bin Laden, the alleged mastermind of the bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania on August 7, 1998. In a recent letter to the Security Council, Sudan's foreign minister said the U.S. allegations were based on "faulty intelligence" and that the factory was an "important source" for human and veterinary medicines. Sudan has accused the United States of avoiding discussion on the issue, despite promises to work toward a bilateral resolution….."
Boston Globe 8/22/99 "….Friday marked the one-year anniversary of the US Tomahawk cruise missile attack on the $100 million El-Shifa Pharmaceuticals factory in North Khartoum, Sudan. While the attack killed or injured several people, the loss of the factory has had longer-term consequences for the people of Sudan. Without the lifesaving medicine it produced, Sudan's death toll from the bombing has continued, quietly, to rise. US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright justified this attack on Aug. 20, 1998, by citing the need to combat terrorism as the war of the future, and claimed this factory was capable of producing nerve gas...."
BBC Summary of World Broadcasts 8/23/99 Sudan TV Omdurman "….Brothers and sisters, greetings to you all. Greetings to you as you gather here, at this site, at the Shifa pharmaceutical factory which was destroyed by the American imperialists. We meet today on this occasion, the occasion of the first anniversary of the destruction of the Shifa pharmaceutical factory in Sudan. This factory was designed and built by Sudanese labour and friendly expertise to provide medicine for humans and animals in Sudan and to provide basic life-saving medicine cheaply, at a price affordable to the ordinary citizen. The American imperialists were not amused by this achievement. How could the people of Sudan - who are economically, diplomatically and politically besieged - have accomplished such an achievement, which was a challenge to American will and American arrogance? On this day the world bears witness to American terrorism, terrorism which does not have mercy on children, does not respect the elderly and which does not show mercy to the weak. Brothers and sisters, we in Sudan commemorate this day because it is a day of resistance, honour and dignity. The American imperialists wanted to humiliate the people of Sudan. [Crowd chants, in English: Down down USA, down down Bill Clinton] …."
BBC 8/21/99 "…The United States is stepping up its efforts to capture Osama bin Laden - the man it accuses of bombing two American embassies in Africa last year. The government has made a 30-second television commercial to publicise a $5m reward for information leading to the capture of the Saudi dissident. The advert contains graphic footage of last August's bombings and an appeal for information. It urges viewers: "Take a stand. Protect the innocent."…"
Washington Post 8/21/99 Vernon Loeb "…One month before the United States bombed the El Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Sudan, CIA analysts said more testing would be needed before they could firmly conclude that the plant was producing a key component of deadly VX nerve gas, as the Clinton administration maintained on the night of the strike…. "Nothing that we've learned subsequent to the attacks has led anybody to [conclude], if they had to do it over again, that they would make a different decision," one senior administration official said this week. However, in a three-page analytical paper written late last July, well before the embassy bombings or the retaliatory targeting of El Shifa, CIA analysts raised questions about what conclusions could safely be drawn from the soil sample. ….Intelligence officials also said in interviews this week that even if El Shifa did make nerve gas, they cannot explain why a high concentration of EMPTA would have been present in the soil outside the plant. EMPTA is a viscous substance that is not volatile enough to vaporize, and the plant's drainage system is unlikely to have deposited effluent in surface soil on its periphery. That uncertainty, the officials said, is another reason why CIA analysts recommended additional soil sampling at the site last July….But even in defending the attack, one administration official said that national security adviser Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger and Defense Secretary William S. Cohen made "inaccurate" statements on the night of the attack when they said they were certain that El Shifa produced EMPTA. "We never had any evidence of that," the official said. "The correct statement, and it has been corrected, was that EMPTA was present at the plant." …"http://www.timesofindia.com/today/23worl12.htm 8/23/99 Times of India Reuters "…The Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) quoted Abdul Rahim Muslim Dost, an Afghan scholar based in Peshawar near the border with Afghanistan, as saying ``if anyone kills Clinton I will pay a reward of five million Afghanis ($113)''. ``I think five million Afghanis is not that big of an amount, but the price of the American President's head for me is not valued more than this,'' Dost was quoted as saying. ``If America sets the price of Osama Bin Laden at $ five million, then we can set the price of the American President at five million Afghanis,'' he said….."
Times of London 9/6/99 Giles Whittell "….RUSSIA'S crisis in Dagestan escalated yesterday when a force of 2,000 Islamist rebels seized a string of border villages days after Moscow had declared victory in the region. The incursion came within hours of a major explosion in a Russian garrison town that killed at least 22 and left dozens missing beneath the remains of a military block of flats. As rescue workers mounted a desperate search for survivors in the town of Buynaksk, Russian officials were quick to blame the rebels for the blast, which left 53 injured survivors in hospital. Meanwhile, evidence emerged that among those ultimately responsible may be Osama bin Laden, the FBI's chief suspect in the bombings of America's Kenyan and Tanzanian embassies last year. Bin Laden, the Saudi millionaire targeted by US cruise missiles after the embassy bombings, visited a training camp used by the rebels in Chechnya before their incursions into Dagestan began earlier this summer, the Russian Interfax agency reported yesterday. It was the first such claim since White House officials gave warning last month that bin Laden was planning to make Russia's soft underbelly the latest target for his global terrorist campaign against the perceived enemies of Islam…."
WorldNetDaily 9/1/99 Joseph Farah "...Joseph de Courcy, editor of the well-respected journal Intelligence Digest reports this week: "While NATO congratulates itself on bombing the Serbs into submission, Israel's Mossad and other Middle Eastern intelligence sources have discovered that Kosovo was one humiliation too many for Russia. Now Moscow has agreed to back Saddam's secret plan of revenge. With this all-important Russian backing, Saddam is joining with hated Iran and Syria to launch one final war against Israel. Amazingly, Saddam will allow Iranian troops to cross Iraqi territory to join the attack on Israel. And to keep America from interfering, Moscow has given Osama bin Laden and other terrorists the means to attack American population centers with weapons of mass destruction. The threat is real ... and the implications terrifying. ..." These are not the rantings of some self-proclaimed geo-strategic analyst. Joseph de Courcy is one of the most well-respected intelligence journalists in the world…… There is almost no chance America will be weaker militarily than it is right now during the remainder of the Clinton administration. We've hit rock bottom -- deliberately, because of the conscious policies of a president who is un-American to the core and who would sell out the memory of his own dead mother if he thought there were an opportunity for even momentary political gain……Yeah, if there were ever an opportunity to surprise the U.S. when its defenses are down, this is it. Not since Pearl Harbor has America been less prepared for existing threats…."
San Jose Mercury News 8/26/99 Mona Charen "…He [Clinton] justified the use of U.S forces by arguing that 1) the El Shifa plant was not making pharmaceuticals at all, but was instead manufacturing chemical weapons; 2) soil samples collected near the plant had revealed the presence of the chemical EMPTA, a building block in the manufacture of deadly VX nerve gas; and 3) the plant was owned by Osama bin Laden, the shadowy Saudi millionaire who directs a terrorist empire and whose base in Afghanistan was bombed the same night. Secretary of Defense William Cohen added later that El Shifa was guarded by the Sudanese military. Within hours of the bombing, all of these justifications had been called into doubt, and now, one year later, the president's whole case is in tatters. The plant was indeed manufacturing pharmaceuticals -- ibuprofen, among other things -- as became clear within hours of the bombing when officials and members of the press toured the bombed facility. The administration quickly conceded error on this score. As for the soil sample containing EMPTA, it seems to have been collected by a ``CIA operative'' who was Egyptian. (Egypt, Sudan's northern neighbor, has its own reasons for wanting to weaken Sudan.) Meanwhile, in the months since the bombing, every inch of the plant has been tested for EMPTA, including, The Washington Post reports, laboratory areas and the drainage tank through which all discards from the plant flowed. The soil samples have all been clean. Further, the CIA now reveals that it had expressed doubts about bombing Sudan on the strength of just one soil sample (which, for technical reasons, ought not to have shown up in nearby soil anyway). Those cautions were ignored. There were no armed guards patrolling the plant, only unarmed men in overalls. And it was not owned by Osama bin Laden, but rather by Salah Idris, a reputable businessman who is suing the United States for $30 million, the value of the plant. (The U.S. quietly unfroze $24 million of Idris' assets when approached by his attorneys. They argued that such a confiscation was illegal in the absence of any finding that he was a terrorist.) …."
UPI Focus 8/31/99 "…The Clinton administration may impose sanctions on Poland if it is proved the new NATO ally knowingly transferred tanks to Sudan, which the United States accuses of supporting international terrorism. U.S. law requires the administration to cut most forms of assistance to any nation that provides lethal military aid to nations on the State Department's terrorism list, which includes Sudan, Syria, Libya, Iran, Iraq, Cuba and North Korea...."
NYTimes 9/3/99 AM Rosenthal "…Next Tuesday, in a United Nations committee room, delegates of 19 countries will meet on a subject not mentioned on the agenda -- slavery: not slavery yesterday, but today, and by all signs for a lot of tomorrows. It is a subject that with shockingly few exceptions is evaded by journalism and democratic political leadership. I do not know just why. Perhaps, in journalism, it is because in its magnitude it is too complicated and varied for our poor minds to deal with. And anyway, there are no real spot slavery stories -- just ongoing horror and misery, and who needs more of that? Maybe it is because mostly slavery befouls third-world countries that are the current favorites of so many Western journalists, intellectuals, "statesmen" and businessmen. In some of its forms, slavery enchains the bonded child workers of India and Pakistan, and prostitutes in sexual playgrounds like Thailand. These varieties do not grab much journalistic or diplomatic attention. The slavery involved in the U.N. meeting is the kind that free people thought had disappeared with Abe Lincoln -- living bodies captured by slave traders and bought and sold like meat, as in Sudan. Sudan's slaves come from the south of their country. They are trapped in the three-decade-long civil war between the Muslim north and the largely Christian and animist south. Khartoum sends armed raider-trains southward, to take and sell slaves, and grab food sent to war victims by international organizations. The slaves live slave lives -- murderous labor, rape, hunger, torture, the totality of degradation. They are said to be worked harder, fed less, beaten more than were even the slaves of the American South and Caribbean, because they are cheaper. Fifty dollars buys a slave, so it really does not matter how long they survive before their bodies are thrown into some river.
The U.N. committee will discuss penalties -- not against Sudan but against Christian Solidarity International (C.S.I.), one of the foreign organizations fighting for the suffering in Sudan's war of starvation and enslavement. One of the 19 nations complained that C.S.I., which has supporters worldwide, had sponsored a Sudanese rebel to speak at a committee session in Geneva. But it had not clearly identified him or used the proper letterhead. The country was Sudan….. One of the reasons Sudan singled out C.S.I. for attack was its support in America, which gives its work particular attention. The U.S. voted against Sudan, alone. The roster of voters with Sudan included Cuba, China, Lebanon, India, Pakistan, Russia, Senegal and Algeria. This piece of nastiness is not about procedural technicality. It is about permitting a slave-taking nation to stifle an organization that struggles for slave-freeing. If its credentials are lifted, Christian Solidarity International will not be able to speak at the U.N. anymore. But it will continue to work in Sudan at even greater danger. And it will continue to get the help of those who believe that slavery is news, wherever and whenever….."
Sudan.net 9/3/99 Susan Sevareid AP "…The church is a pile of red bricks, corrugated metal and protruding beams. Wind blows dust off ruins of classrooms and the pastor's office, while a goat tugs at shredded plastic wedged among bricks of the former kindergarten. · Most of Episcopal Basic School B and its affiliated church were demolished by Sudan's Islamic-dominated government in May. Left behind was a congregation in mourning and 1,200 children without a place to study. · Hatong Mayul, director of Episcopal B, said the day her school was torn down, the teachings of Jesus came to mind: "Christ says because of me, you will suffer." · To many Sudanese Christians, the demolition of Episcopal B and other churches and church schools in recent years is a clear case of persecution. The government says that's not so. · It contends Christians face no discrimination, and says churches and their schools, along with homes and Muslim mosques, are razed only if they are in the path of a planned road. The demolitions are part of a campaign to organize squatter areas and shantytowns built without urban planning, officials say. · But church leaders say more than 50 Christian centers have been bulldozed in the past five years and they have been unable to secure the permits needed to rebuild….Sudan's war began in 1983 when the south rebelled against northerners' attempts to impose Islamic law and against what southerners' contend was discrimination and unfair allocation of government resources by the north. · The division is also based on ethnicity: The north is largely Arab and the south mostly African. Sudan's 26 million people belong to 20 ethnic groups, with about three-fifths of the population Muslim and the rest Christian or of tribal faiths. · An estimated 2 million Christians and Muslims displaced by the war or by severe drought have built squatter communities or settled in camps in the desert outside Khartoum. …"
The Philadelphia Inquirer 9/2/99 David Montgomery Knight Ridder News Service "....The war unfolding in Russia'a northern Caucasus republic of Dagestan is bing waged by a well-trained international Islamic force of more the 10,000, apparently supported by fugitive Saudi millionaire Osama bin Laden, military and antiterrorism experts say. A top antiterrorism adviser to the U.S. Congress said the insurrection was supported by islamic militants in several countries, including Afghanistan, Pakistan and Sudan, and appeared to be heavily financed by bin Laden, accused by the United States of orchestrating the U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania last year. "They're thinking about starting the whole Caucasus aflame," said Yossef Bodansky, director of the Task Force on Terrorism and unconventional Warfare for the House of Representative. "It's a nasty bunch." On Wednesday, Russian Interior minister Vladimir Rushailo told FBI Director Louis J. Freeh by telephone that bin Laden was behind the Dagestan offensive....."
BBC 9/9/99 "....The US Federal Bureau of Investigation has offered to help Russia fight international terrorism, reports from Moscow say. It includes assistance in eliminating Websites set up by Islamic militants fighting in the southern republic of Dagestan. During a telephone conversation with the head of the FBI, Louis Freeh, Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Rushaylo accused the militant Saudi millionaire, Osama bin Laden, of giving financial support to the rebels. Meanwhile, Russian forces fighting in Dagestan say they have started to take back territory seized by the rebels....."
Russia Today 9/13/99 AFP "... Moscow and Washington will join forces against alleged terrorist Osama bin Laden, accused by Russia of bankrolling Moslem insurgents in Dagestan and US public enemy number one, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Sunday. "We have information that bin Laden's people are involved in the events taking place in Dagestan and Chechnya," said Putin on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Auckland. "We know that his people are active on the ground. Our American partners are also worried by this," the Russian premier said in comments broadcast on RTR television here. "In this respect we have a common enemy -- international terrorism," said the premier, adding that Russian enjoyed "very good contacts between the security services and law enforcement agencies" in the United States. Bin Laden is accused of masterminding the twin bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania of 13 months ago and the US government has offered $5 million for information leading to his arrest. ...."
Agence France-Presse, via News Plus 9/8/99 "....At least 12 people were killed and 50 injured in a Taliban bombing raid on a busy bazaar in the northern Afghan city of Taloqan Wednesday, opposition forces said. The air raid came as the latest round of Afghan fighting entered its fourth day and the number of refugees housed in a makeshift camp on the outskirts of Kabul continued to climb....."There's been fighting in Samangan and on front lines north of Kabul and Masood has captured significantly strategic areas," one independent source told AFP...."
BBC 9/10/99 "....Afghanistan is now firmly established as the world's leading opium producer. The UN Drug Control Programme (UNDP) says that this year's opium poppy crop is the largest ever recorded in any country. The UNDCP says this year's harvest in Afghanistan is thought to be more than double the country's harvest last year. A UNDCP spokesman, Bernard Frahi, said the area under poppy cultivation increased by 43%. It is estimated that 1999's production amounted to 4,600 tonnes, compared to 2,100 tonnes last year. Afghanistan's production levels dwarf those compared to other countries. ...."
Agence France-Presse, via News Plus 9/10/99 ".....Opium production in war-ravaged Afghanistan has increased to a record 4,600 tonnes this year, a senior United Nations official said Friday. The production of raw opium, cultivated mostly in Taliban-held areas, has more than doubled this year compared to last year's yield of 2,100 tonnes, Bernard Frahi, representative of the UN Drug Control Programme, told reporters. "This is a dramatic increase and a cause of concern," he said. The figure was "huge" compared to any other country in the world. Releasing details of a recent survey Frahi said the area under cultivation also surged by 43 percent from 64,000 hectares (158,080 acres) in 1998 to around 91,000 hectares in 1999. Some 97 percent of cultivation in 1999 was reported in areas controlled by the Taliban, he added. ..."
The Times of India, via News Plus 9/18/99 "....Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden, wanted by Washington in connection with embassy bombings in Africa, has declared an open jehad (holy war) against India and asked militant groups in Pakistan to join hands to ``target'' it. ``Our biggest enemies are the U.S. and India and we should target them using the best of our efforts,'' Laden said in a statement from the Afghan town of Jalalabad. All the jehad groups in Pakistan should combine their efforts to declare war against these two countries, he said. Laden had earlier declared jehad against the U.S. after Washington listed him among the 10 most wanted terrorists in the world with a reward of $ 5 million on his head for his alleged involvement in the U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania in August last year. ``India is staging a drama of election in Kashmir,'' the statement alleged and added that ``Laden is always ready to help the Kashmiri mujahideens.'' ...."
The Deccan Chronicle, via News Plus 9/19/99 "….Washington - Saudi-born multimillionaire terrorist Osama bin Laden who has declared open jehad against India and the United States may have Stinger missiles and other deadly weapons, according to US Congressional Research Service. "US officials are concerned that bin Laden's network is acquiring potent military capabilities. About 200 US shoulder-held anti- aircraft weapons or Stingers are still at large in Afghanistan and because of bin Laden's financial resources, it is highly likely he has acquired some of them," a study by Kenneth Katzman, specialist on the region in CRS says ….."
The Pioneer, via News Plus 9/20/99 "…..Like the earlier blasts in Russia since September 3, the one in Golgodonsk on Thursday bears the stamp of fundamentalist Islamic terrorists. The hand of the latter is further suggested by reports that an a certain Dagestani Liberation Army has owned responsibility for the earlier blasts. Russia, which is unused to this kind of terrorism, is understandably rattled; the blasts, including Thursday s one, has so far claimed 277 lives. Besides, this might have been just the beginning. According to a report by the State-run Voice of Russia radio, the notorious terrorist Osama bin Laden, is shifting his base from Afghanistan to the Caucasus to set up centres in North Caucasus for training Islamic fundamentalists in terrorist activities. He reportedly wants to make forays into Muslim dominated areas, stoke Islamic fundamentalism in the Central Asian states of Khyrgizia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, and finally incorporate the entire area in a new Islamic State…."
BBC, via News Plus 9/19/99 Mike Wooldridge "...Indian Home Minister L K Advani has said India would crush what he called religious terrorism with the same firmness it had shown in pushing back Pakistan-supported forces from Indian Kashmir. ....Mr Advani was speaking in the wake of a reported declaration of Jihad, or holy war, against the United States and India by Osama bin Laden. The Saudi dissident is wanted by the American authorities in connection with last year's embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. In a purported statement from the Afghan city of Jalalabad last week, Mr bin Laden said the US and India were his biggest enemies and Jihad groups in Pakistan should join the war against them. ..."
AFP 9/21/99 "...A senior aide of the Saudi billionaire Osama bin Laden, arrested earlier this month in Turkey, was given Bosnian citizenship two years ago, Bosnia's deputy minister of civilian affairs and communications told AFP Tuesday. Nudzeim Recica confirmed that Tunis-born Mahrez Amduni, who is known in Sarajevo as Mehrez Amdouni, was given Bosnian citizenship in December 1997, on the basis of his Bosnian army membership during the 1992-1995 war. "There had been no legal obstacles for granting citizenship to Amduni in 1997, since Interpol issued an arrest warrant against him in 1998," Recica said....."
The Hindustan Times, via News Plus 9/22/99 Jay Raina "...The US is understood to have offered to train Indian security personnel in sophisticated counter-insurgency combat following the open declaration of jehad against the two countries by internationally-wanted Islamic terrorist Osama bin Laden. India would not be averse to acceding to the US's long-standing plea to have a permanent presence of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) in New Delhi. An agreement on these two crucial issues is reported to have been firmed up last week during US coordinator for counter-terrorism Michael A. Sheehan's visit here. Sources said even as a broad agreement had been reached between the two countries to collaborate in meeting the challenge from terrorist outfits, a formal announcement was withheld following a request from India. ...."
http://www.dso.com Sources 9/21/99 Dr Clifford Kiracofe "...The Clinton administration for months has refused to turn over to Congress foreign policy documents that implicate it in the Taliban reign of terror in Afghanistan, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), told SOURCES. A number of members of the U.S. House of Representatives believe the Clinton Administration played a key role in creating the Taliban by giving a "green light" to Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States to organize, fund and direct the terrorist movement that has now taken control of Afghanistan, he said. "We have tried for a year and a half to obtain documents on our Afghan policy," Rohrabacher told SOURCES in an exclusive interview Friday. Rohrabacher says he has evidence the Clinton administration encouraged and approved the creation of the terrorist Taliban movement. Certain key officials in Middle Eastern countries have confirmed the administration's role in direct conversations with him. He also explained he has additional evidence from a number of confidential sources close to the matter. Meanwhile, Rohrabacher believes the State Department is stonewalling his requests for information on its policy toward the Taliban because administration officials fear the disclosure of facts to Congress would confirm a U.S. role in the operation involving the fundamentalist Islamic movement. Nonetheless, Rohrabacher, who is a member of the International Relations Committee, is pressing on with his requests for documentation of U.S. policy. "Our Chairman, Congressman Gilman, and others are supportive," he told SOURCES. The Taliban regime in Afghanistan is now an "epicenter" of international terrorism, Rohrabacher told SOURCES. A key aide in the Reagan White House and a journalist by profession, Rohrabacher said he saw Osama bin Laden's camp during a secret visit to Afghanistan in 1988. Rohrabacher has closely followed Afghan affairs for over a decade. Rohrabacher confirmed recent SOURCES reports regarding the formation of the Taliban by the Pakistani Interior Ministry and Inter-Services-Intelligence organization (ISI). Rohrabacher said there is no question Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States were brought in to finance the operation....."
The Times of India, via News Plus 9/24/99 Nikhat Kazmi "…Who's afraid of Osama Bin Laden and his brand of terrorism? Not our religious leaders at least. For, even as politicians are still devising ways and means to handle this new threat, the Dharmacharyas have come up with a novel plan. ``Keval parmanu bomb banane se kya raksha ho sakti hai? Agar aatank ko mitana hai to prem bomb banana chahiye (there can hardly be any protection with a nuclear bomb. If we want to eradicate terrorism, we have to make a love bomb),'' states Sankaracharya Swami Madhavnand Saraswati, secretary, Vishwa Kalyan Parishad…."
HINA Croatian News Agency 9/24/99 "….The most wanted terrorist in the world, [Osama] Bin Laden, was issued a Bosnia-Hercegovina passport, Sarajevo weekly `Dani'says in the issue which hit the news stands on Thursday [24th September]. Laden was issued a Bosnian passport by the Bosnian embassy in Vienna in 1993, the source maintains. According to `Dani', the Bosnian Foreign Ministry was seized by panic when Mehrez Aodouni, another Bosnian passport bearer, was arrested in Istanbul on 9th September. What ensued was the destruction of all documents which might connect Bosnian Muslim authorities with the outlawed Saudi millionaire. Bin Laden allegedly obtained the Bosnian passport when the Bosnian Muslim side was making desperate attempts to collect financial assistance from Western and Arabic countries for the defence of the country….."
UPI 9/24/99 Aamir H Shah "….Afghanistan's ruling Taliban on Friday described as unfounded the Indian government's suspicions that Osama bin Laden is involved in the struggle in Indian-controlled Kashmir. ``Osama has neither issued any statement nor met any person since November 1998 and a recent statement about Kashmir attributed to him was totally baseless,'' said the Taliban representative in Islamabad, Maulvi Saeed ur Rahman Haqqani. Last week, according to diplomatic sources, the U.S. administration informed Pakistan that through his most recent statement, Bin Laden has declared a holy war against India and has asked militant groups in Pakistan to join hands to target India. ``Our biggest enemies are the U.S. and India and we should target them using the best of our efforts. All the jihad groups in Pakistan should combine their efforts to declare war against these two countries, '' Bin Laden was quoted as saying in the statement. …."
Dow Jones 9/24/99 "….A team of lawyers, investigators and scientists has collected soil samples and other evidence in an effort to get the U.S. government to reimburse a Mideast businessman $30 million for the U.S. missile strike against his pharmaceutical plant in Sudan. The administration already has quietly freed $25 million in assets belonging to the plant owner, although it maintains the bombing was justified. The strike on Aug. 20, 1998, was based on a single soil sample that indicated chemical weapons activity at the plant and on a suspected link to accused terrorist leader Osama bin Laden….."
Family Research Council 9/24/99 "….On Sunday, September 26, CBS will use the season premiere of its hit show, "Touched By an Angel," as a platform to expose the ongoing human rights atrocities in the African country of Sudan. "It’s encouraging to see Hollywood do its part to spread the truth about Sudan," Family Research Council Chief Spokesman Janet Parshall said Friday. "I applaud CBS and Executive Producer Martha Williamson for their courage in telling this alarming, but important, story: that the suffering people of Sudan need our help." Several members of Congress are likewise hailing Sunday’s episode of "Touched By an Angel." A preview screening was hosted on Capitol Hill this week by Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) and nine congressmen, with Executive Producer Martha Williamson and two stars of the show in attendance. At the screening, speakers vowed support of Senate Resolution 1453, known as the "Sudan Peace Act," which would facilitate relief efforts and a comprehensive solution to the war in Sudan.. ."
NewsMax.com - Inside Cover 10/5/99 "....The London-based Terrorism and Security Monitor is reporting that US intelligence sources are worried that terrorist Osama Bin Laden may be planning a major terrorist attack on U.S. soil. US sources are said "to be particularly concerned about some kind of attack on New York, and they have recommended stepped-up security at the New York Stock Exchange and the Federal Reserve. U.S. Authorities believe Bin Laden may have acquired chemical weapons. ...."
www.stratfor.com 10/12/99 "..... The Taliban government has reportedly caved in to months of intense pressure from Pakistan and the United States over its support of terrorism. At the same time, the Pakistani government has embarked on a high-profile campaign against Sunni terrorist violence. Both events strongly suggest that a major political effort is underway in the region, one that could clear the way for the capture of the world's most wanted terrorist leader: Osama bin Laden......... But the Taliban's new stance is only part of a much broader anti-terrorist campaign emerging in the region. In neighboring Pakistan, the government of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has blamed terrorists trained in Afghanistan for a wave of sectarian violence. Sunni militants have enjoyed sanctuary in Afghanistan under the Taliban since 1996 and the government has held them responsible for killing about 40 Shiite Muslims across Pakistan over the last two months. As a result, Sharif's government is also striking a new, hard line against Taliban-supported Sunni militants. On Oct. 7, Radio Pakistan announced that Sharif sent the director-general of the Inter-Services Intelligence Service, Gen. Khawaja Ziauddin, to Kandahar in southwest Afghanistan to demand the closure of terrorist training camps. Sharif has also begun a high-profile campaign abroad, aimed at pressuring the Taliban to close down the camps. The prime minister and Ziauddin traveled to Dubai on Oct. 11 for talks with UAE leaders on the violence in Pakistan and its relationship to the Afghan camps. Sharif's course of action makes sense: the UAE is one of only three nations, along with Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, to recognize the Taliban as Afghanistan's official government......"
UPI Wire 10/14/99 Anwar Iqbal "....Will Pakistan's new military rulers hand over their nuclear weapons to Saudi dissident Osama bin Ladin, allowing him to threat the West with nuclear terrorism? An Afghanistan-based Muslim militant leader, bin Ladin is wanted in the United States for bombing two U.S. embassies in East Africa in August 1998. The explosions killed more than 200 people and led to U.S. cruise missile attacks on bin Ladin's bases in Afghanistan. The fear that Pakistan may give its nuclear weapons to bin Ladin was expressed by an Indian journalist during an interview with CNN and has resonated in Western capitals several times since Tuesday when the Pakistan army toppled Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in an apparently bloodless coup. .....And, apparently, the fear is not unfounded. Bin Ladin lives in the Afghan town of Kandahar, only a few miles from Pakistan's nuclear test site of Chaghi. He is protected by Afghanistan's ruling Taliban militia, which also enjoys good relations with Pakistan. ...."
Reuters UPI 10/12/99 Tabassum Sakaria ".....The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, after a CIA briefing on Tuesday, said he still questioned the quality of evidence that led to the U.S. bombing of a pharmaceutical company in Sudan last year and the timing of the attack. "We had a closed hearing on the Al-Shifa situation today," Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Shelby said, referring to the name of the pharmaceutical firm in Sudan. "I'm still troubled by the timing of the response by the U.S. and I'm also concerned still about the standard of the evidence used," he said after the closed-door briefing by CIA Director George Tenet......."
Associated Press Kathy Gannon 10/16/99 "….Pakistan's hard-line Islamic groups vowed today to protect suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden and warned both the United States and United Nations that sanctions against Afghanistan would anger Muslims worldwide. On Friday, the U. N. Security Council gave Afghanistan's Taliban rulers one month to hand over bin Laden for trial in connection with the U.S. Embassy bombings in Africa or face limited sanctions. Reacting a day later, the Sipah-e-Sahaba -- a militant Sunni Muslim group blamed for the deaths of hundreds of Pakistan's minority Shiite Muslims -- said the United Nations was acting at the behest of the United States and warned that Muslims worldwide would react….``We support Osama because he is a great fighter who is continuing his jihad (holy war) in Afghanistan,'' Qasmi said. …."
Jane's Defense Agency / Jane's Intelligence Review 10/15/99 Ehsan Ahrari ".... To insiders, there is a troubling unknown variable regarding the coup in Pakistan: General Musharraf himself. Whilst described as a 'straight man' and a 'soldier of soldiers', many unconfirmed reports indicate that he personally gave the green light to the Kargil military incursions of last May-July, in which Islamist radicals played a prominent role. If true, then he may have political connections with the right-wing Islamist parties in Pakistan. These parties have close ties with the Taliban of Afghanistan, the current protectors of Osama bin Laden, the Saudi-born financier who heads the wanted list of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The future stability of US-Pakistani ties are inextricably linked with this unknown variable...... General Musharraf's dealings with the radical Islamists of his own country and with the Taliban regime of Afghanistan will also serve as major litmus tests for China's next moves regarding Pakistan. China has been increasingly concerned regarding the reportedly growing contacts between the Taliban and separatist elements in its Xinjiang province....."
The Times of India, via News Plus 10/21/99 ".....The United States, which is seeking extradition of international terrorist mastermind Osama Bin Laden from Afghanistan, has said it is prepared to work with the Taliban militia to end terrorist networks in the war-torn country. Assistant secretary of state Karl F Inderfurth has said that Washington would be willing to make arrangements at the border to take charge of Osama Bin Laden to have him tried....."
Foreign Affairs News NY Times Carlotta Gall 10/17/99 "....Among the ranks of fierce-looking Chechen fighters, with their grenades and spare magazines strapped to their chests, there is a man who stands out as especially fearsome. His black hair snakes to his shoulders, he goes by the single name of Khattab, and even among Chechens -- let alone his Russian foes -- he is both hated and revered. Khattab is an Arab, a self-declared Islamic warrior, who has come to Chechnya to fight the Russians he first battled in Afghanistan after the Soviet army occupation in 1979. ....Accused of leading incursions into Chechnya's neighboring Russian republic, Dagestan, and of being behind apartment bombings that killed 300 in Russia, he has come to symbolize for the Kremlin, and for some in the West, their worst fears about Islamic extremism and terrorism. The Russian authorities put out a warrant for his arrest with Interpol after the August incursions into Dagestan and the September bombings. Although they have produced little evidence to back the charge, they have also linked his name with that of Osama bin Laden, the Arab commander based in Afghanistan who is accused by the United States of masterminding the bombings of U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania last year. ...."
Fox News-AP 10/19/99 Edith Lederer ".....The Security Council today discussed the increase in global terrorism, with U.S. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke calling on all nations to stand together and relentlessly combat terrorists and their supporters......"We thought that the recent upsurge in terrorist actions, including against United Nations personnel, would warrant a reiteration of the Security Council readiness to contribute to the fighting of international terrorism,'' Russia's U.N. ambassador, Sergey Lavrov, the current council president, said Monday. The council's formal meeting follows its threat last Friday of limited sanctions if Afghanistan's Taliban Islamic movement does not deliver Saudi exile Osama bin Laden to stand trial for last year's twin U.S. embassy bombings in Africa....."
The Associated Press, via News Plus 10/19/99 Barry Schweid "....Disappointed that Pakistan's new ruler has not presented a timetable for restoring democracy, the Clinton administration is pursuing a heavy diplomatic agenda with the South Asian country, nonetheless. A State Department spokesman, James Foley, said Tuesday ``we have important areas on which we need to work with Pakistan.'' Among them, he said, are promoting talks with India and trying to curb the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Pakistan borders Afghanistan, where the Taliban has given refuge to suspected terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, and Foley said ``we need to continue to work'' with Pakistan on that issue, as well......"
UPI 10/20/99 Joe Warminsky "....Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., ripped into Assistant Secretary of State Karl Inderfurth at a House hearing on Wednesday, accusing the State Department of withholding key documents he said would show that the United States had supported the ruling Taliban militia in Afghanistan. Rohrabacher said Republicans had asked Secretary of State Madeleine Albright for Taliban-related documents from the State Department last year, but only a few had been delivered. "The lack of courage and the incomprehensible policies of the Clinton administration (have) created a crisis in Central Asia where there was none," Rohrabacher said at a House International Relations Committee where Inderfurth testified on Wednesday.....Later in the hearing, Rohrabacher shouted at Inderfurth and accused him of using "weasel words" after Inderfurth denied having seen any documents that would indicate the Clinton administration had backed the Taliban, which controls about 90 percent of Afghanistan...."
Associated Press 10/19/99 "....Evidence that a U.S.-destroyed Sudanese pharmaceutical plant was manufacturing chemical-weapons components remains ``compelling,'' despite growing international skepticism over the 1998 bombing, insists CIA director George Tenet. ``We were not wrong,'' Tenet told a Georgetown University audience Monday night..... Sudan has denied that the El-Shifa factory had anything to do with chemical weapons, as has the Saudi businessman who claims to own the plant and who has threatened to sue the United States. Furthermore, Jordanian and British engineers who built and operated the plant said it lacked the sophisticated equipment needed to handle chemical warfare agents. But Tenet said nothing that has been uncovered or asserted since the attack has led him to change his mind. ``We have solid intelligence'' that the destroyed plant was producing chemical weapons materials, he said. The intelligence includes - but is not limited to - soil samples collected at the site fond to contain a chemical used as a key ingredient in nerve gas, he said. ``The case is as compelling today as the day we made the decision'' to bomb, he said. ...."
ABC NEWS - WORLD 10/20/99 Edward Mazza ".....Your retirement fund may be helping to fund the slave trade and civil war in Sudan. So say activists who want investors to drop what they call a "morally tainted" stock. A number of U.S.-based investment funds - including the New York City Pension Fund, Teacher Retirement System of Texas, and TIAA-CREF, the largest pension fund in the world - have a stake in Talisman Energy, a Canadian company that funds an oil field development and pipeline project Sudan. The Sudanese government owns 5 percent of the project. And that government has been cited by the U.S. State Department, Amnesty International and Congress, among others, for alleged human rights violations such as slave-taking and killing civilians in a lengthy civil war that has killed more than 2 million people....."
Wall Street Journal 10/23/99 "....U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright promised more aid to beleaguered residents of Sudan and flashed anger Saturday at the participation of businesses from U.S. allies in ventures with a regime Washington officially condemns. She also expressed frustration over the United States' inability to help end the repression by Sudanese forces in their 16-year war against people in the southern part of Africa's largest country.......Talisman Energy Inc. (TLM), based in Calgary, Canada, has invested $400 million in a 1,000-mile (1,600-kilometer) pipeline that is expected to permit exploitation of untapped oil reserves. The pipeline was completed several months ago. Sudan is the scene of what is possibly the world's most brutal and least known conflict - with about 1.9 million dead over the past 16 years, mostly southerners who perished in a war-induced famine......"
Khaleej Times 10/24/99 Reuters ".....In a surprise announcement, the Taleban yesterday offered talks with the US, saying the agenda was open ended and could include Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden. "We are ready to solve all the issues with America, including that of Osama bin Laden," the Taleban 's Information Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi said in a statement. Mr Muttaqi said the Taleban wanted good relations with the United States and that the Taleban had no ill feeling towards the US, its government or its people....."
New York Times 10/27/99 James Risen "....In the 14 months since President Clinton ordered a cruise missile attack on a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan, his aides have steadfastly defended the decision.... But an examination of the decision, based on interviews by The New York Times with key participants, shows that it was far more difficult than the Administration has acknowledged and that the voices of dissent were numerous. Officials throughout the Government raised doubts up to the eve of the attack about whether the United States had sufficient information linking the factory to either chemical weapons or to bin Laden, according to participants in the discussions. They said senior diplomatic and intelligence officials argued strenuously over whether any target in Sudan should be attacked. Aides passed on their doubts to the Secretary of State, officials said. But the national security adviser, Samuel R. Berger, who played a pivotal role in approving the strike, said in an interview that he was not aware of any questions about the strength of the evidence before the attack. ...."
New York Times 10/27/99 James Risen "....For example, at the pivotal meeting reviewing the targets, the Director of Central Intelligence, George J. Tenet, was said to have cautioned Clinton's top advisers that while he believed the evidence connecting bin Laden to the factory was strong, it was less than iron clad. He warned that the link between bin Laden and the factory could be "drawn only indirectly and by inference," according to notes taken by a participant. The plant's involvement with chemical weapons, Tenet told his colleagues, was more certain, confirmed by a soil sample from near the site that contained an ingredient of nerve gas. Berger said he does not recall that Tenet raised any such doubts at the meeting. "I would say the director was very clear in his judgment that the plant was associated with chemical weapons," Berger said. "No one in the discussion questioned whether Al Shifa was an appropriate target." ...."
International Islamic News Agency 10/26/99 "….Sudan's Minister for Foreign Relations, Dr. Mustafa Othman Ismail has warned that there is a stupendous scheme being hatched in some Western capitals that is aimed at the dismemberment of Sudan. He said while some Western capitals are involved, the United States' role is pre-eminent, adding that the latest developments indicate that the scheme has entered its implementation stage. In a letter, a copy of which was received by IINA, he said that the extremist rebel movement in the country, calling itself the Popular Army for the Liberation of Sudan, is bent upon opposing anything that has a semblance of Arabism and Islam. He added that this rebel movement is being used as a tool with which foreign powers penetrate the country. He said the aim of the neo-colonialists is to redraw the geographical and cultural map of the Sudan, and that is why they give credence to such rebel movements and recognise them as representative of the people of Southern Sudan. …."
United Press International 10/27/99 "….The Times said interviews with many involved in the decision to bomb the Al Shifa plant in retaliation for bin Laden's alleged bombing of U. S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania questioned whether the evidence the plant made chemical weapons was strong enough. They said, however, that President Clinton's closest aides concluded that the risks of hitting the wrong plant were outweighed by the possibility chemicals weapons were being made at the plant for delivery to terrorists. After the raid, officials told the Times, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Undersecretary of State Thomas Pickering persuaded State Department intelligence analysts to kill a report questioning the evidence justifying the attack…."
Gulf News- UAE 10/25/99 "….U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has no right to deny the Arab world a role in Sudan's national reconciliation. She must not stand in the way of any initiative that could improve the lives of the Sudanese. Neither should she lobby against foreign investment coming into this torn country. The Sudanese have seen enough suffering, with nearly two million dying from famine and civil war. If the nation can reconcile with itself, every effort should be supported. Albright's intentions are clear: divide Sudan. Weaken its government and divide its people...."
The Hindustan Times, via News Plus 10/30/99 Vijay Dutt "….THE PREDICTION in the Jane's Foreign Report about General Pervez Musharraf is a cause of worry for India. The report states that the General has had contacts with the dreaded Osama Bin Laden and with officers having links "with the Harkat-ul-Mujaheddin fighters actively involved in the revolt in Kashmir" . "The General had deep links with the late President Zia. Musharraf was asked by Zia to take over the training of the Afghan Mujaheddin in its war against the Soviet Union. His wide-raging contacts," the Report says, "have brought him in touch with arrested drug-runners in the North West Frontier Province". It also quotes from a document prepared by an Indian Defence Analyst….."
Associated Press 10/30/99 Chas Armstrong "…. Officials in Afghanistan, which faces the threat of U.N. sanctions for harboring Osama bin Laden, said today that the alleged terrorist wants to leave the country. Bin Laden, accused by the United States of masterminding the bombing of two U.S. embassies in Africa in August 1998, has been living in Afghanistan, where the ruling Taliban militia has given him refuge. The Taliban are under tremendous international pressure to hand bin Laden over to the United States. The United States has imposed sanctions against Afghanistan, and the United Nations has threatened to do the same if the Saudi exile is not handed over by Nov. 14. In a letter on Friday to the reclusive Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, bin Laden asked permission to leave Afghanistan, said Taliban spokesman Tayyab Agha. …..``Perhaps Osama wants to leave Afghanistan because he feels that the country is facing a lot of hardships because of his stay here,'' Agha said. ``We have not forced him to take this decision ... he has decided this on his own free will.'' …."
USA Today 10/29/99 Jack Kelley "…. More than a year after the U.S. Embassy bombings in East Africa, prominent businessmen in Saudi Arabia continue to transfer tens of millions of dollars to bank accounts linked to indicted terrorist Osama bin Laden, senior U.S. intelligence officials told USA TODAY. The money transfers, which began more than five years ago, have been used to finance several terrorist acts by bin Laden, including the attempted assassination in 1995 of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Ethiopia, he officials said……. According to a Saudi government audit acquired by U.S. intelligence, five of Saudi Arabia's top businessmen ordered the National Commercial Bank (NCB), the kingdom's largest, to transfer personal funds, along with $3 million diverted from a Saudi pension fund, to New York and London banks. The money was deposited into the accounts of Islamic charities, including Islamic Relief and Blessed Relief, that serve as fronts for bin Laden….."
Reuters via MSNBC 10/29/99 "….Saudi-born terrorism suspect Osama bin Laden has offered to leave Afghanistan and go to another unknown country, a Pakistan-based Afghan news service said Friday. The Afghan Islamic Press quoted a spokesman for Afghanistan's ruling Taliban movement as saying that bin Laden expressed his wish in a letter to Taliban leader Mullah Omar and asked the Taliban to help him reach a new destination. THE AGENCY said bin Laden, who is wanted by the United States on terrorism charges, had given two conditions for his departure: that the Afghan government help him reach his destination, and that only Omar and another person in his Islamic movement should know his destination….."
USA Today 10/28/99 Kelly "…."The businessmen, who are worth more than $5 billion, are paying bin Laden "protection money" to stave off attacks on their businesses in Saudi Arabia, intelligence officials said. Bin Laden, whose family runs the largest Saudi construction firm, has called for the overthrow of the Saudi government. The money transfers were discovered in April after the royal family ordered an audit of NCB and its founder and former chairman, Khalid bin Mahfouz, U.S. officials say. Mahfouz is now under "house arrest" at a military hospital in the Saudi city of Taif, intelligence officials said. His successor, Mohammad Hussein Al-Amoudi, also heads the Capitol Trust Bank in New York and London, which U.S. and British officials are investigating for allegedly transferring money to bin Laden. Amoudi's Washington lawyer, Vernon Jordan, could not be reached for comment……"
newsday.com 10/29/99 AP "….A Saudi government audit obtained by U.S. intelligence shows that five top Saudi Arabian businessmen ordered the National Commercial Bank, the kingdom's largest, to transfer personal funds and $3 million from a Saudi pension fund to New York and London banks, the newspaper said. It said the money was deposited into accounts of Islamic charities, including Islamic Relief and Blessed Relief, that serve as fronts for bin Laden. Bin Laden, whose family runs the largest construction company in Saudi Arabia, has called for the overthrow of the Saudi government. USA Today quoted the further unidentified U.S. intelligence officials as saying the payments are ``protection money'' aimed at staving off attacks on the businessmen's properties. The money transfers were discovered in August after the Saudi royal family ordered an audit of the National Commercial Bank and its founder and former chairman, Khalid bin Mahfouz, the U.S. officials said….."
New York Times 10/27/99 James Risen "....In December 1997 an agent working for the C.I.A. collected a soil sample about 60 feet from Al Shifa, directly across an access road from the main entrance, according to American officials. The sample was taken from land that does not appear to have been owned by Al Shifa. The soil was found to containing about 2.5 times the normal trace amounts of Empta, a chemical used in the production of VX nerve gas, a senior American official said....."
New York Times 10/27/99 James Risen "....On July 24, 1998, the C.I.A. issued its first intelligence report on Al Shifa, based on the soil sample, spy satellite photographs and other intelligence. The report highlighted apparent links between Al Shifa and bin Laden, including indirect financial connections through the Military Industrial Corporation, a Government-controlled company. But the C.I.A. analysts also suggested that additional information would be needed. One key paragraph, titled "Next Steps," called for more soil samples and additional satellite photographs. The report also raised a new question by noting that there were no longer signs of heavy security around Al Shifa. ...."
New York Times 10/27/99 James Risen "....On Aug. 4, 1998, the C.I.A. weighed in with a more ominous report that assessed the possible connection between Sudan, Osama bin Laden and his efforts to obtain chemical weapons. It mentioned Al Shifa, but the report's highlight was new intelligence indicating that bin Laden, who had announced a renewed "holy war" against the United States, had acquired chemical or nuclear materials and "might be ready" to conduct a chemical attack....."
Associated Press 10/26/99 Kevin Galvin "....A day after rulers in Afghanistan showed interest in working with U.S. officials to turn over a terrorist kingpin, President Clinton denounced the Taliban for its treatment of women. "Perhaps the most difficult place for women in the world today is still Afghanistan,'' the president said Tuesday. On Monday, a representative of the Taliban met with a ranking State Department official to discuss how Afghanistan, which is facing U.N. sanctions, could improve its situation. No accord was reached, but the contact suggested that the Taliban was at least willing to consider expelling Osma bin Laden, who is accused of masterminding attacks on two U.S. embassies in Africa......"
Christian Science Monitor Richard C. Hottelet 10/27/99 "…As Afghanistan approaches its 20th winter of war, its nightmare grows ever more bizarre and dangerous. The fundamentalist Islam at the heart of the civil war threatens to spread throughout the region. Foreign powers, purporting to devise a political solution are, in fact, feeding the conflict with money, men, and weapons. The Taliban isn't monolithic and not a unifier, except by compulsion. It did suppress warlords and criminal gangs who had orchestrated anarchy, and it did bring a welcome, if stark, security to the area it controls. .."
World Tribune 11/11/99 MENL "….With five days left until it faces international sanctions, Afghanistan's ruling Taliban army on Tuesday threatened to retaliate against United States if economic sanctions are imposed for its refusal to hand over Saudi fugitive Osama Bin Laden. Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, in a letter to the "people of the United States," did not elaborate on the type of action Afghanistan would take…..Unless Taliban hands over Bin Laden by Sunday, the United Nations will impose economic sanctions. Omar said this Americans risk the consequences of such a move. Bin Laden has offered to leave Afghanistan to a secret destination but the United States and United Nations has rejected this. U.S. officials said Taliban must surrender Bin Laden. ….."
ABC 11/8/99 Kathy Gannon ".....Afghanistan's ruling Taliban army today threatened unspecified action against the United States if economic sanctions were imposed for its refusal to hand over suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden. In a letter to the "people of the United States," the Taliban's reclusive leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, warned of "surprises" if a U.N. resolution calling for the U.S.-endorsed sanctions was carried out. The letter did not elaborate on the type of action Afghanistan would take. Afghanistan must hand over bin Laden by Sunday or face economic sanctions. .....Omar urged U.S. citizens to intervene with their government to prevent the sanctions, or risk the consequences......"
Associated Press 11/9/99 Afghan leader Amir-ul-Momineen Mullah Mohammad Omar Mujahid ".... The following is the text of an open letter addressed to ``the people of the United States of America.''..... The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan came into existence by the Taliban Islamic Movement after a period of total anarchy, chaos, crime, terror and turmoil in our country. It has been well received and supported by the people of Afghanistan. This is because the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has established a system of government that is to the wishes of its people, void of any crime, corruption, and (we) created an atmosphere for a peaceful living condition...."
Associated Press 11/9/99 Afghan leader Amir-ul-Momineen Mullah Mohammad Omar Mujahid ".... In spite of all this accomplishment, we thought the U.S. will help us overcome some of the hardship and pay close attention to the sacrifices of the Afghan people against the Soviet Union, which resulted in the disintegration of their empire and the elimination of their threat to world peace. Instead, the U.S. chose to ignore us and actively orchestrated a (U.N.) Security Council resolution for economic sanctions against our country. Despite such negative attitudes, we have chosen and shown readiness for negotiations, but the U.S. government seems to be (bent) on force and looking down onus. This attitude will not help the United States because the Russians were thinking along the same line and look what happened to them...."
Associated Press 11/9/99 Afghan leader Amir-ul-Momineen Mullah Mohammad Omar Mujahid ".... In addition, on Sept. 6, 1999, we (sent) a letter to the White House. In it, we pointed out to them that those who are not on the just side, may God face them with earthquake and storm. You are all witness to the fact that since the date of that letter, one strong earthquake and two devastating storms have taken their(toll) in the United States. What we are trying to tell you is this: once our people were brutally murdered by the Russians and this time the U.S. is thinking of an open hostility and wants to impose economic sanction upon us. If the United States wants to impose sanctions upon us, it must be known that God is on the side of the just and no one can challenge God. Therefore, I call upon the people of the United States of America to bring pressure on their government and ask them to cease hostility with us. If you do not take a step (in) this direction (then) you will be surprised about what is coming to you and you will not be able to do anything about it. ...."
The Washington Times (from London Sunday Telegraph) 11/7/99 Chris Hastings Jessica Berry "….Muslim fundamentalists are receiving weapons training in Britain to become "holy warriors" in armies led by the world's most wanted terrorist - Osama bin Laden. A Sunday Telegraph investigation has located dozens of volunteers who are drilled in the use of guns and explosives to prepare them for the military wing of the International Islamic Front (IIF) founded by bin Laden last year. Many others - who participate in the courses at secret locations across Britain - are traveling abroad to fight for mujahideen (Islamist) armies funded by the multimillionaire Saudi dissident. More of the volunteers recruited in Britain are heading for Chechnya, where soliders led by bin Laden's IIF are battling renewed Russian advances….."
Times of India 11/16/99 Kathy Gannon "….Despite UN sanctions, suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden travels freely through the Afghan countryside, riding in an armor-plated vehicle with a Kalashnikov assault rifle in his hand, as he reportedly prepares new recruits for jihads around the region. A guerilla in Bin Laden's organisation, from his spartan hideout deep within the alleys of this eastern Afghan city, told of how the Saudi exile, seen by his supporters as a hero of Muslim resistance to the US, keeps moving to escape those who pursue him. ``He will be here and then he will be gone. He never stays anywhere for any time,'' Abu Daoud said, his head wrapped in a red checkered scarf and his hands moving deftly over his prayer beads. …."
Associated Press 11/15/99 Amir Shah "…Protesters angered by U.N. sanctions burned a U.N. office to the ground Monday, set effigies of President Clinton ablaze, and scuffled with Taliban troops guarding the world body's buildings and equipment. The United Nations accused the religious army of not doing enough to stop the violence, which has gone on daily since the U.N. decided to slap sanctions on the country over its refusal to turn over suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden, a Saudi exile who lives in Afghanistan, is accused of masterminding last year's twin U.S. embassy bombings in East Africa, killing 224 people. …."
Fox News 11/13/99 Reuters "…. The U.N. sanctions set to be imposed on Afghanistan on Sunday could rebound against the United States, a former Pakistani spymaster said. Retired army Lieutenant-General Hameed Gul, a former chief of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), also said the sanctions would put extra pressure on Pakistan because Islamabad would be caught between U.S. demands and its traditional support for Afghanistan's ruling Taliban. "Because I think there is no far-sightedness in this policy, it is not going to work. It is eventually going to bring humiliation to the United States because once the sanctions fail to work - the Taliban do not buckle - than it is going to boomerang on them,'' he told Reuters in an interview….."
AP 11/14/99 "….The United Nations ignored last-minute pleas from Afghanistan's ruling Taliban army and imposed sanctions Sunday to demand the arrest of suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden. Within two hours of the sanctions taking effect, thousands of protesters swarmed into Kabul's rocket-ruined streets burning U.S. flags and shouting ``death to America,'' eyewitnesses said. The United States has no embassy in Kabul, but protesters reached the former embassy building and pelted the giant black gate with rocks and stones. Demonstrators also attacked the U.N. World Food Program office with rocks and stones….."
New Republic 11/22/99 "….In the attack's immediate aftermath, the administration made many claims on its behalf. Few have withstood scrutiny. Contrary to government assertions, the plant was indeed manufacturing medicines (about half of Sudan's pharmaceutical needs). There was no heavy security at the facility, and it was not patrolled by the Sudanese military, as was alleged. It was not owned or controlled by the Sudanese government, but by a Saudi banker with anti-fundamentalist ties. The chemical EMPTA, which can be used to manufacture VX nerve gas and which was apparently found in a soil sample 60 feet from Al-Shifa's property, does indeed have limited commercial applications. Subsequent testing at the site has found no materials associated with chemical weapons. And no evidence directly linking the factory to Osama Bin Ladin has ever surfaced. Despite all this, it is still possible that Al-Shifa was in some way involved with the production or storage of chemical weapons. But the weight of the evidence suggests it was nothing more than a privately owned pharmaceutical plant. And, if the Clinton administration has information to the contrary, it has not produced it….."
AP 11/14/99 "…. A 42-year-old Jordanian national has been expelled from Albania on suspicion of membership in the radical Islamic Jihad group, local newspapers reported Sunday. Reports quoting unnamed sources in the Albanian Interior Ministry and carried by the newspapers Gazeta Shqiptare and Koha Jone identified the man as Abdyl Latif Saleh. The reports were confirmed by a government official who spoke on condition of anonymity. The Jordanian was reported to be closely associated to suspected Saudi terrorist Osama Bin Laden, who has been accused of masterminding the Aug. 8, 1998, bombings of the American embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania….."
Reuters via Yahoo! 11/12/99 Scott McDonald "….Six rockets were launched in a coordinated attack on U.S. and United Nations' offices in Pakistan's capital Islamabad Friday, police said. Police said only one injury was reported -- a Pakistani guard near the American Center was slightly injured by shrapnel -- and no one had claimed responsibility. The late morning attack came two days before U.N. sanctions backed by the United States were to go into effect against Afghanistan's ruling Taliban movement for not surrendering terrorism suspect Osama bin Laden….."
Washington Post 11/28/99 Pamela Constable "…..In the chilly corridors of power, Taliban officials huddled around space heaters are as defiant as ever about the cause of Osama bin Laden, the wealthy Saudi fugitive whose alleged terrorist attacks and continued sanctuary in Afghanistan have led to new U.N. economic sanctions against the impoverished nation. "The United States wants us to tie Osama bin Laden's hands and send him to them as a gift," said Wakil Ahmad Muttawakil, the new foreign minister of the Taliban regime. "We are ready to talk on all issues. We have offered to have him tried here, or to have other Muslim countries judge him. But how can we give them a human being as a gift, especially if his crime has not been proven?" ….."
UPI via Drudge 12/14/99 "….Members of a suspected terrorist cell have been arrested in an unidentified Middle Eastern country, accused of planning attacks against Americans, U.S. officials said Monday night. An administration official, who asked not to be identified, said the investigation is still ongoing, and further details would compromise operations. But the official said the alleged attack was intended to coincide with New Year's celebrations overseas and prompted a State Department warning to Americans overseas during the holiday season. Though the official and others would not say how many people had been arrested as part of the operation, the cell members apprehended were said to be connected to Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden….."
Drudge 12/11/99 Barry Schweid "…..Americans around the world were warned Saturday by the State Department that there is "credible evidence" terrorists could strike at large holiday gatherings. A worldwide caution issued by the department told U.S. citizens abroad to avoid large crowds and gatherings and to keep a low profile. The statement gave no details of the evidence and did not reveal which group may be the cause of the warning. But a senior U.S. official told The Associated Press that the threat was linked to Osama bin Laden, who the U.S. government believes is the head of a terrorist network and is accused of involvement in the bombings last year of U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The Saudi-born bin Laden is believed to have been given sanctuary by the militant Islamic Taliban group in Afghanistan. "The U.S. government has credible information that terrorists are planning attacks specifically targeting American citizens during the period of time leading up to and through the beginning of the New Year and Ramadan events and celebrations," the announcement said……"
CNN 12/13/99 David Ensor "…. U.S. officials have revealed that about a dozen suspects were arrested by local authorities in the Middle East and accused of plotting to attack Christian targets in Jerusalem and elsewhere in the region over the Christmas and New Year's period. The officials did not say in what countries last week's arrests took place because they said operations are still ongoing. Some sources also suggest there may have been plans to hit targets in Rome. Officials said Monday that all those arrested have been linked to the organization of Osama bin Laden, the accused terrorist mastermind of the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. One senior official told CNN that the suspects have confessed to planning two specific attacks. …."
Telegraph (UK) 1/9/00 Con Coughlin "….Imad Mugniyeh, one of the founder members of Lebanon's radical Hizbollah Muslim militia, and as notorious in the international terrorist world in the Eighties as the Saudi terrorist Osama bin Laden is today, has been identified as responsible for plotting last week's terrorist attack on the Russian Embassy in Beirut. A Lebanese security guard was killed and several others wounded when a lone Palestinian gunmen attacked the embassy with rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine-gun fire. The Palestinian, Abu Kharub, was shot dead by Lebanese security forces after a running gun battle in the streets of Beirut. A note found on his body read: "I martyred myself for Grozny." …. Now a secret investigation conducted by the Lebanese security forces into the embassy attack has revealed that the Palestinian was trained by a Hizbollah unit set up and headed by Mugniyeh to conduct terrorist operations against foreign targets. In addition to providing detailed operational intelligence on how to attack the embassy, Mugniyeh's unit also provided Abu Kharub with logistical support….. Lebanese officials have learnt that Mugniyeh's plans to participate personally in the attack were dropped after consultations with commanders of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, one of his many paymasters. They advised him not to involve his men in the attack so as not to compromise other terrorist operations involving his organisation….."
Telegraph (UK) 1/9/00 Con Coughlin "….Mugniyeh's re-emergence on the international terrorism stage will come as a surprise to many Western intelligence officials who believed that he had retired from mainstream terrorist activity after the devastating series of attacks he launched against Western interests in the Middle East in the Eighties. Mugniyeh, who is thought to be in his late forties, came to prominence in Beirut when he blew up the American Embassy with a lorry bomb in April 1983. He repeated the tactic the following October when two lorry bombs simultaneously destroyed the United States and French military barracks in the Lebanese capital, killing almost 300 people. During the ensuing years he supervised the kidnapping of foreign nationals living and working in Beirut, including the British hostages John McCarthy and Terry Waite. Throughout the hostage crisis Mugniyeh, who successfully eluded various attempts by American special forces to seize him, worked closely with the Iranians, who were responsible for keeping the American and British hostages captive……"
Telegraph (UK) 1/9/00 Con Coughlin "….Apart from Mugniyeh's involvement in the attack on the Russian Embassy, Lebanese officials have uncovered information that suggests the Hizbollah commander is now involved in assisting the Chechen rebels in their war against the Russian armed forces. Scores of Mugniyeh's fighters have been sent to Chechnya in the past year to help train Chechen fighters in the terrorist techniques that have been employed successfully by Islamic militants in the Middle East. Chechen commanders have also visited Hizbollah's training facilities in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. There are even suggestions that Mugniyeh has joined forces with bin Laden, who is based in Afghanistan. Bin Laden has been linked to numerous terrorist atrocities, including the 1998 attack on the American Embassy in Nairobi and the 1996 bombing of an American military base in Dhahran….."
Telegraph (UK) 1/9/00 Con Coughlin "….Western intelligence experts are particularly concerned about the prospect of Mugniyeh and bin Laden joining forces to aid the Chechen rebels. So far bin Laden has not been involved directly in the Chechen conflict, mainly because of his ideological and personal differences with the Chechen commanders, who appear to be more inspired by their hatred of the Russians than their devotion to Islam……"
Russia Today 12/27/99 "….A representative of the Al Quade terrorist organization led by Osama Bin Laden has made new threats of major terrorist acts. In a statement released shortly before Christmas, the group's military adviser, Nasir Ahmed Mujahed, directly threatened the U.S. for its stance with regard to Afghanistan, Russia for its military operation in Chechnya, and India for its occupation of the northern provinces of Jammu and Kashmir "All possible actions will be taken against America, Russia and India. They will become the victims of the fire they themselves have lit. Those Muslims who will cease the jihad will be accused of collaboration with America," the statement says….." WorlNetDaily 12/27/99 J.R. Nyquist "….Last week U.S. intelligence agencies received information that terrorists were planning to bomb New York, Washington, D.C., and Seattle. According to foreign intelligence sources, various terrorist groups are on the move. Previously, on Dec. 14, U.S. officials apprehended Ahmed Ressam, an Algerian, at a Canadian border crossing. Officials say Ressam was attempting to transport explosives (or "bomb parts") past a border checkpoint near Seattle. Another Algerian, identified as Mustafa Roubici, was arrested at a Vermont border crossing. No actual explosives or weapons were found in the Vermont case, but special dogs detected the odor of explosives and weapons in the back seat and trunk of the vehicle. It is believed that Ressam and Roubici belong to a terrorist organization called the Armed Islamic Group, which has carried out attacks in Algeria and France. It is said that the Armed Islamic Group is connected with Osama bin Laden……To better understand who bin Laden is, and how the present Islamic terror network originated, it is important to start with the first organizers of it. In the mid-1980s PLO leader Yasser Arafat -- a client of East European Communists -- began employing Islamic terminology in his speeches. Combining Leninist and Islamic phrases, Arafat spoke of the Arab revolution and "the will of Allah" in a single breath. A man utterly without religion, Arafat recognized the advantage in hijacking sincere Islamic believers to the cause of Moscow-sponsored international terror. Khalil al-Wazir, PLO military chief at the time, brought about a secret alliance in Jordan between the Jordanian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Marxist Cells (a secret Communist organization within Jordan). In fact, the PLO set up joint training camps for young Communists and Muslims who would be sent to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan…."
WorlNetDaily 12/27/99 J.R. Nyquist "….One has to learn to think deviously in order to understand the politics of South Asia and the Middle East. The Kremlin's allies in the Middle East helped to build an all-Arab mujahideen fighting force. This force was then sent to Pakistan for advanced training, then entered the fighting in Afghanistan. This force included members of the Egyptian Takfir wa-al-Hijra, the group responsible for assassinating President Anwar Sadat. Accomplished under Islamic colors, the assassination of Sadat was much desired by Moscow. After all, the courageous Arab leader had kicked the Russians out of Egypt and made peace with Israel. If one looks at the alliance between these early Islamic fanatics and the Communists, one cannot help being amazed. Communism is pure atheism -- totally opposed to all religious belief; and yet, the Communists saw fit to support, train and infiltrate the most fanatical Islamic groups. The penetration and exploitation of radical Islam by Moscow is nothing new. Those who have not studied the Afghan war, who do not know Russian tactics up close, probably do not realize that the Kremlin typically creates and controls its own opposition. In that way, enemies can be maneuvered more easily into traps….."
WorlNetDaily 12/27/99 J.R. Nyquist "….Evidence of bin Laden's collusion with the Russians is only indirect, but Bodansky tells us that during the crisis in Somalia, when bin Laden was organizing the armed forces that later killed 18 and wounded 78 American soldiers near the Mogadishu airport, bin Laden had tapped former Afghan Communist pilots to fly special re-supply missions into Somalia….. Osama bin Laden participated in a suspicious battle fought against the DRA in 1989. It was the so-called battle of Jalalabad….. Given Bodanksy's information, we know that bin Laden worked with Hekmatiyar, who later became prime minister of Afghanistan. Drug trafficking, of course, is Moscow's main weapon of penetration and subversion worldwide. Eventually Hekmatiyar's cover was blown when a Russian cargo plane was forced down near Kandahar. It was laden with 3.5 million rounds of ammunition -- from Russia with love -- for Hekmatiyar's troops….."
WorlNetDaily 12/27/99 J.R. Nyquist "….There is no way of telling what bin Laden's true allegiances are. The terrorist world is a "wilderness of mirrors." But as the United States braces itself for a possible terrorist event, we should all be aware that Moscow could be the ultimate behind-the-scenes mastermind. We have to remember that Osama bin Laden was among those who blamed the slaughter at Jalalabad on America. He did not think to blame Communist agents within the mujahideen. He was connected to Hekmatiyar. He worked with the Arab mujahideen which had suspicious connections to the radical left. And, according to Bodansky, he has worked closely with the Russian-trained Iraqi intelligence service. Given the diversionary and strategic importance of terrorist attacks in setting up a nuclear first strike by Russia, America's vigilance must be many-sided when it comes to the bin Laden terror threat…."
Reuters 1/23/2000 "….Federal prosecutors say Osama bin Laden used international companies and a relief organization as covers for what they describe as a worldwide terrorist conspiracy, The New York Times reported on Sunday…… In court papers obtained by the Times, U.S. prosecutors say bin Laden's organization obtained blank passports from the Sudanese government and recruited people living in the United States, communicating with them by fax, satellite phone and coded letters…… The prosecutors claim that El-Hage, 39, a naturalized American citizen from Lebanon, is one of bin Laden's most trusted and dangerous aides. Until his arrest, he lived with his American wife and children in Arlington, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. El-Hage, like the other defendants in the case, has pleaded not guilty. The Times quoted his lawyers as saying that he worked for bin Laden but only in legitimate businesses….. The Times reported that the documents taken from el-Hage's home in Nairobi depicted bin Laden as using a Kenyan charity, Mercy International Relief Agency, as a front for terrorist operations……"
The Nation [Pakistan] 1/22/2000 AFP/AIP "….Taliban militia has warned the United States of a serious reaction if terrorism suspect Osama bin Laden was killed or arrested, official Radio Shariat said Friday. A senior Taliban official, Mulla Amir Khan Muttaqi, made the comment to US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, Karl Inderfurth and Michael Sheehan, State Department Couter-Terrorism Coordinator, Thursday in Islamabad, the station added. He said if bin Laden was killed or arrested there would be a serious reaction by his supporters. 'If he is captured or killed there will big reactions. Therefore, his stay in Afghanistan is in your interest.' But Muttaqi also told the US officials bin Laden posed no threat while he was in Taliban hands. 'There is not doubt that we also want a solution to the issue of Osama, but we would like to assure you that he will not operate against you as long as he is in our hands,' Muttaqi was quoted as telling the US officials. 'For the future, I would like to assure you that there will be no action by Osama against you.' ….'Because his supporters are not acting against the US now due to this fear that that will bring harm to Osama,' he said. Muttaqi also accused the United States of turning bin Laden into a hero of Islam. ….."
The Hindu 1/22/2000 Kesava Menon "…..As Arab Governments turn decisively against Islamic militants, one remarkable feature is the ubiquitousness of the ``Afghani'' phenomenon…… In Algeria, the security forces are reported to have ringed the bases of the remaining radical groups to liquidate them. One of the major militant movements - the Islamic Salvation Army and a smaller faction the Islamic League for Preaching and Jihad - have dissolved themselves and their cadres are to assist the Algerian army in the crack-down. This combination of soldiers and reformed militants is waiting for the green signal to launch attacks on the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) and the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat…..If optimistic projections bear out and the security forces succeed in their operation, they would wipe out the hard- core which has taken terrorism to new depths over the last eight years….. "
The Hindu 1/22/2000 Kesava Menon "…..If Islamic militancy in Algeria seems to be entering its terminal stage, the militancy in Lebanon appears to be entering into a new and dangerous phase….However, recently there has risen the new phenomenon of a radical Sunni group which has decided to take on the Lebanese army. Earlier this month, this group which has been training near the Syrian border ambushed a unit of the Lebanese army and 11 soldiers and 30 militants were killed in the fighting. Not many details are known about this new Sunni group but Lebanese newspapers report that it is believed to be part of a loose network of militant groups which have ``Afghanis'' at their core and draw at least a part of their funding from the al Qaeda of Saudi dissident, Osama bin Laden…. Developments in Sudan are at a shaky stage…. It is early days yet but if the Sudanese Government decides to go against the Islamists, if for no other reason than to please the U.S., it would mean that yet another Arab country has turned against the Islamists……The current head of the Islamic radical group which assassinated Anwar Sadat, former Egyptian President, is believed to be yet another militant who has taken refuge in Afghanistan. These are the underlying causes which have restrained these Arab countries from recognising the Taliban. Unofficially, all these Governments also state that they have been taking up the matter with Pakistan but it is probably the necessity of retaining the semblance of Islamic solidarity which prevents them from talking about it more openly…."
Associated Press 1/21/2000 Amir Shah "…. A Taliban-controlled newspaper reported Wednesday that suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden would end his ``hostility'' toward the United States if Washington withdraws its soldiers from Saudi Arabia - the site of two of Islam's holiest places. Bin Laden will stop opposing America once Washington pulls its troops out of Saudi Arabia, the Taliban's official Pashtu-language weekly newspaper, The Shariat reported. The article did not identify the source of the information. ``If the United States withdraws its forces from Saudi Arabia, bin Laden will stop opposing it, give up his hostility and offer his hand in friendship,'' the newspaper article said. Bin Laden, who has taken refuge in Afghanistan, has declared a ``jihad,'' or holy war, against the United States to protest the presence of U.S. soldiers in his homeland. …."
New York Times 1/22/2000 Benjamin Weiser "….. Federal prosecutors, in a series of little-noticed court filings, have painted the most detailed picture yet of how Osama bin Laden directed what they say was a worldwide terrorism conspiracy. The papers filed in the case depict an organization that used international companies and a relief organization as cover for its operations; obtained blank passports from the government of Sudan; recruited a network of people living in the United States; and communicated by fax, satellite phone and coded letters, often using not-so-veiled language…… When the Federal Bureau of Investigation questioned one bin Laden associate in Texas in 1997, a letter went out warning that the man had been confronted by an "opposition company called Food and Beverage Industry, based in the U.S." This, prosecutors said, was a reference to the F.B.I. "He has given an extensive interview," the letter read. "Give my regards to Sam and tell him to take extra precautions cause business competition is very fierce." The government has been investigating Mr. bin Laden's operations for nearly five years and has charged him and 16 other people with conspiring to attack Americans, specifically in the embassy bombings in Tanzania and Kenya, which left more than 200 dead and thousands injured……"
New York Times 1/22/2000 Benjamin Weiser "…Responding to pleas from Mr. el- Hage's lawyers for bail, prosecutors disclosed evidence that they say shows he was one of Mr. bin Laden's most trusted and dangerous aides, privy to his secrets and a personal courier of his instructions. They say Mr. el-Hage met with Mr. bin Laden in Afghanistan in 1997, and took orders to his operatives in Kenya to "militarize" for the first time. This, the government says, led to the 1998 embassy attacks. The revelation is the closest the government has come to offering evidence of Mr. bin Laden's direct complicity in the bombings. The documents also show that Mr. bin Laden used a Kenyan charity, Mercy International Relief Agency, as a front for terrorist operations, the prosecutors say. Separately, prosecutors suggested that Mr. el-Hage worked closely with a Muslim religious figure in Texas, who has not been charged in the case but who they say helped Mr. bin Laden buy a jet after he had moved his operations to Sudan in 1991…… The newly revealed details in the government documents also include information about Mr. bin Laden's network in the United States. Prosecutors have already said he relied on American citizens, in part because their passports made it easy for them to travel overseas….. "
World Net Daily/World Tribune.com 1/31/2000 "….The United States and Canada have become havens for Islamic terrorists from the Middle East, a congressional panel has been told. Despite counterterrorism legislation, the United States and Canada have become a haven for such terrorist groups as the Palestinian Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the Lebanese Hizbullah, the Algerian Armed Islamic Group, the Egyptian Al Gamat Al Islamiya and the Al Qaida group, led by Saudi billionaire fugitive Osama Bin Laden. Counterterrorism expert Steven Emerson cited the liberal climate in the United States, the ability to hide under mainstream religious identification, loopholes in immigration procedures, ease of penetration of borders, compartmentalization of terrorist cells around loosely structured terrorist movements. Emerson said Islamic groups in the United States benefit from the exploitation of freedoms of religion and speech , absence of a vigilant media and lack of government scrutiny regarding fundraising……"The list of major international terrorists and militants allowed to enter the United States in recent years or actually granted green cards and citizenship is nothing less than staggering," Emerson told the House Judiciary Committee last week. ……"
ABCNEWS.com 1/28/2000 "…..A Moroccan man who may be associated with Ahmed Ressam was detained today when he tried to cross into the United States from Canada in a vehicle that tested positive for explosives, U.S. law enforcement sources tell ABCNEWS. Youssef Karroum was listed in U.S. officials' computers as a possible associate of Ressam, the Algerian national who is charged in connection with an alleged plot to bomb unknown targets in the United States and is a suspect in various criminal activities in Canada. Specially trained dogs detected the presence of explosives in the vehicle, and a patch of the car Karroum was driving tested positive for nitroglycerine, the sources said. No additional explosives were found. Karroum later appeared in a federal court in Seattle, where a judge told him he was being held as a material witness. He was then asked if he challenged his detention……"
ABCNEWS.com 1/28/2000 "…..Meanwhile, a man suspected of plotting a failed bombing attack in the United States is now being detained in the northwest African nation Mauritania, security officials said today. The neighboring nation of Senegal had detained Mohambedou Ould Slahi at the airport for a few hours, but then released him for lack of evidence and sent him to his native Mauritania, according to Reuters. Mohambedou Ould Slahi was arrested in Mauritania after leaving the neighboring West African nation of Senegal on Wednesday. (ABCNEWS.com/ Magellan Geographix)…… FBI agents had been on their way to Senegal to question Slahi. Instead, Mauritania will allow U.S. investigators to question him, the sources said. In Washington, a federal law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity would not say whether the U.S. government would try to bring Slahi to the United States or would question him in Mauritania…….. U.S. investigators are working on a case in which Algerians with possible links to Osama bin Laden are suspected of plotting to bomb U.S. targets on the eve of the new millennium. Bin Laden, an exiled Saudi dissident, is accused of directing the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa. Investigators in the United States and Canada believe they can link the plot to bin Laden through Slahi, who is believed to be a key lieutenant of the alleged terrorist in Africa and a suspected leader of the millennium plot. (See related story.) ..."
Times of Central Asia 1/6/2000 "…. After a year scarred by warring in Chechnya and Kosovo, the head of Europe's foremost security group fears that Central Asia could spawn worse conflicts than the Balkans. Knut Vollebaek, the outgoing chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), also wants the 54-nation group to seek closer ties with the United Nations on an early warning system to avert civil strife. Vollebaek told Reuters that the OSCE, which measures success by an elusive yardstick of conflicts averted, faces huge challenges in the five nations of Central Asia, a region bordered by Russia, China, Afghanistan and Iran. ….."
Washington Post 1/28/2000 David Vise Lorraine Adams "….FBI agents are preparing to question an African man in Senegal who U.S. law enforcement officials believe has family links to Saudi fugitive Osama bin Laden and allegedly had a role in a plot to plant bombs in the United States during New Year's weekend, U.S. officials said yesterday. Mohambedou Ould Slahi--the African man law enforcement officials believe is the brother-in-law of a high-ranking official in bin Laden's al Qaeda terrorist network--has provided the strongest tie yet between a bomb plot foiled over the holidays and bin Laden. Slahi, who recently fled Canada, was detained in Senegal at the request of U.S. law enforcement officials, who have made a number of arrests in connection with the probe and are attempting to determine whether bin Laden was behind the scheme. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) tracked Slahi's movements while he was in Canada, spokesman Dan Lambert said yesterday. So closely were the CSIS and other Canadian law enforcement agencies investigating Slahi, Lambert said, that Slahi fled Canada. "We knew the reason he decided to travel was his perception of Canadian authorities' investigation," Lambert said. …."
AP 1/23/2000 "….A close confidant of Osama bin Laden and a leader of the Muslim militant group Jihad has been overthrown by his followers, the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper reported Sunday. Members of Jihad, which is responsible for the 1981 assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, forced Ayman al-Zawahri to give up his leadership post, Al-Hayat said. He was head of the group in Egypt. The newspaper report, which was credited to sources close to Jihad, could not be independently confirmed. Jihad members in Saudi Arabia denied the report in a telephone call to The Associated Press, saying that without al-Zawahri the group could crumble. They asked not to be identified. Al-Zawahri is considered Egypt's most wanted militant. An Egyptian court sentenced him to death in absentia in 1999 for charges including subversion and membership in an outlawed group. He is believed to be living in Afghanistan……"
UN 1/25/2000 "….An unidentified illness has spread through several villages in northern Afghanistan, killing 50 people on 5 January alone, the Office of the United Nations Coordinator for Afghanistan reported today. Trapped in an inaccessible area of Darra Souf province, the population has no access to medical facilities or doctors, and has asked the UN to help address the outbreak of the disease, which it believes to be measles. Last week, the UN used a convoy of 1,500 donkeys to deliver humanitarian aid to thousands of families in the snowed-in area. The illness initially attacked only five villages with a total population of 1,625, but deaths are rising as it spreads to other villages, causing vomiting, diarrhoea, swelling of the head and face, red spots on the head, neck and under the skin, and a high fever for four to six days, the statement said.. ."
New York Times 1/27/2000 David Johnston Judith Miller William K Rashbaum "….American investigators have uncovered what they believe are links between a group of Algerians who have been charged with plotting a terrorist attack in the United States and Osama bin Laden, the exiled Saudi accused of bombing two American Embassies in east Africa, law enforcement officials said yesterday. In recent days, authorities in Senegal arrested a man who the American investigators believe directed an Algerian group in Canada in its effort to enter the United States and carry out a bomb plot late last year. The investigators said the man being held in Senegal, Mohambedou Ould Slahi, is a brother-in-law of one of Mr. bin Laden's key lieutenants. Officials said that federal prosecutors in Manhattan are preparing formal charges against Mr. Slahi, which could be used as the basis for his extradition. ….. Officials disclosed, for example, that one of the men charged with assembling the bomb had a roommate who was associated with an Islamic charity that, according to prosecutors, played a role in the embassy bombings. Mr. bin Laden has been charged with directing those attacks, which killed more than 200…… Officials said that the emergence of Mr. Slahi as a key suspect reinforces American and Canadian suspicions about the origins of the bomb plot. …… Mr. Slahi's connections to Mr. bin Laden's group, Al Qaeda, they said, suggest the possibility that Mr. Bin Laden may be at the heart of the plot. Investigators are pressing to find out more about the role of Mr. Slahi, who one law enforcement official described as "potentially the most significant person" discovered thus far in the case. ……"
The Hindu 2/14/00 NNI "….Saudi dissident Osama-bin-Laden appeared in Afghanistans eastern town of Jalalabad after he arrived in the city from Talibans headquarters of southern Kandahar, media reported Saturday. Hundred of people and elders of the area warmly received the Saudi exiled on his arrival, the Peshawar based Pashto daily "Wahadat" (Unity) reported. Osama entered Jalalabad, the capital of Ningrahar province with a big caravan, comprising hundreds of vehicles. The daily quoted unspecified sources as saying that Osama is staying at an old Jihadi base in Ningrahar province. He is being protected by his personal guards. There was no independent confirmation of the report. Afghanistan ruling Taliban, who have assigned Osamas protection to a commission, usually keep his destination as a top secret. ….The sources also dismissed reports about deterioration of his health and said he is in good condition and is now-a-days playing football with his friends. "He is so happy over Taliban treatment that he has written a book in support of Taliban". …."
CIA Website 2/2/200 George Tenet "…. Since July 1998, working with foreign governments worldwide, we have helped to render more than two dozen terrorists to justice. More than half were associates of Usama Bin Ladin's Al-Qa'ida organization….Usama Bin Ladin is still foremost among these terrorists, because of the immediacy and seriousness of the threat he poses. Everything we have learned recently confirms our conviction that he wants to strike further blows against America. Despite some well-publicized disruptions, we believe he could still strike without additional warning. Indeed, Usama Bin Ladin's organization and other terrorist groups are placing increased emphasis on developing surrogates to carry out attacks in an effort to avoid detection. For example, the Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) is linked closely to Bin Ladin's organization and has operatives located around the world-including in Europe, Yemen, Pakistan, Lebanon, and Afghanistan. And, there is now an intricate web of alliances among Sunni extremists worldwide, including North Africans, radical Palestinians, Pakistanis, and Central Asians. Some of these terrorists are actively sponsored by national governments that harbor great antipathy toward the United States. Iran, for one, remains the most active state sponsor. ….. Mr. Chairman, we remain concerned that terrorist groups worldwide continue to explore how rapidly evolving and spreading technologies might enhance the lethality of their operations. Although terrorists we've preempted still appear to be relying on conventional weapons, we know that a number of these groups are seeking chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) agents. We are aware of several instances in which terrorists have contemplated using these materials.
* Among them is Bin Ladin, who has shown a strong interest in chemical weapons. His operatives have trained to conduct attacks with toxic chemicals or biological toxins.
* HAMAS is also pursuing a capability to conduct attacks with toxic chemicals.
Terrorists also are embracing the opportunities offered by recent leaps in information technology. To a greater and greater degree, terrorist groups, including Hizballah, HAMAS, the Abu Nidal organization, and Bin Ladin's al Qa'ida organization are using computerized files, e-mail, and encryption to support their operations.......:
Times of India 2/4/00 "…. In a remarkably sobering assessment of the threats facing the US, CIA director George Tenet told a Senate committee Wednesday that growing resentment of American power plus new technologies means that the US has become ``a lightning rod for the disaffected''. Tenet told the Senate select committee on intelligence, ``The fact that we are arguably the world's most powerful nation does not bestow invulnerability. In fact, it may make us a larger target for those who don't share our interests, values or beliefs.'' Pakistan is now one of the breeding grounds for extremists and Saudi dissident Osama Bin Laden is still the foremost among terrorists ``because of the immediacy and seriousness of the threat he poses,'' Tenet warned. Testifying on the fight against terrorism, he said that ``there is now an intricate web of alliances among Sunni extremists worldwide, including north Africans, radical Palestinians, Pakistanis and central Asians.'' Some of these terrorists, he said, are actively sponsored by national governments that harbour great antipathy towards the US and one is Iran which remains the most active state sponsor……"
World Tribune 2/7/00 "….Saudi billionaire fugitive Osama Bin Laden is sustaining a serious deterioration of his kidneys and requires advanced medical care, an Arab newspaper reported on Sunday. The London-based Al Hayat daily said Bin Laden has ordered for a physician to arrive at his lair in Afghanistan to administer medical care. The newspaper said Bin Laden has refused to leave his hideout out of fear of being captured by U.S. agents. Bin Laden requires treatment that is not available in Afghanistan, the daily said. Al Hayat quoted sources as saying that they could not provide details of Bin Laden's illness. But the sources suggested that his illness has led to a cessation of activities by Bin Laden……"
worldtribune.com 2/7/00 "….Saudi billionaire fugitive Osama Bin Laden is sustaining a serious deterioration of his kidneys and requires advanced medical care, an Arab newspaper reported on Sunday. The London-based Al Hayat daily said Bin Laden has ordered for a physician to arrive at his lair in Afghanistan to administer medical care. The newspaper said Bin Laden has refused to leave his hideout out of fear of being captured by U.S. agents. Bin Laden requires treatment that is not available in Afghanistan, the daily said. Al Hayat quoted sources as saying that they could not provide details of Bin Laden's illness. But the sources suggested that his illness has led to a cessation of activities by Bin Laden. In Jordan, the prosecution is preparing charges against a suspected Bin Laden lieutenant, Khalil Dik. Dik was said to have led a suspected terrorist cell in plans to blow up tourist facilities in Jordan during millennium celebrations last month. ….."
Islamic Views 2/24/00 AFP "…..Two Egyptians believed to be followers of alleged terrorist Osama bin Laden were hanged in a Cairo prison on Wednesday, sources from Muslim organizations said Thursday. Ahmed Sayyed al-Naggar and Ahmed Ismail Osman, extradited from Albania in 1998 after they were sentenced to death here in their absence, were presumed members of Al-Jihad, lawyer Muntasser al-Zayaat told AFP. The two were hanged in al-Itienaf prison and buried by their families later Wednesday in their villages in Giza, near Cairo, and Sharquiyah province in the Nile Delta, said Zayaat….."
AP 2/21/00 "……Three weeks after his arrest, a Mauritanian suspected of plotting bomb attacks against the United States has been released. Mohamedou Ould Slahi was released by Mauritanian authorities "for lack of proof" on Saturday and returned to his home in Nouakchott, the capital of this West African nation, the man's brother, Hamoud Ould Slahi, said Sunday. Slahi was interrogated repeatedly but was not mistreated while in custody, the brother said. A Mauritanian official speaking on condition of anonymity confirmed Slahi's release but did not comment further. Slahi was arrested in Nouakchott in late January after reportedly being held briefly in neighboring Senegal on his way back home. The family believed the arrest was part of a "grand campaign of falsehood orchestrated by the West without foundation," the accused man's brother said without elaborating. ….."
New York Times 2/19/00 Judith Miller "….. Government officials investigating a decade of international terrorist attacks say they have found a common thread, Islamic charities and relief organizations that they suspect are being used to move men, money and weapons across borders. American officials said Osama bin Laden, the Saudi exile charged with masterminding the 1998 bombings of American Embassies in East Africa, relied on at least nine of the groups in his recent operations. Other charities and relief groups, the Americans said, have been linked to a recent plot to bomb historic and tourist sites in Jordan, the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and terrorist attacks in Egypt against tourists and Government officials. "These charities and relief groups are a crucial part of terrorism's infrastructure," said one official who monitors terrorism closely. "Money people give for worthy causes should not wind up buying explosives or phony passports. But we still know too little about how Islamic fundamentalists use and abuse these groups." ……"
The Hindu 2/20/00 Amit Baruah "…… A symbiotic relationship exists between the Taliban and the Pakistani state. And, says AMIT BARUAH, the ISI Directorate has always kept close control of this crucial area. THE ``JEHAD is not terrorism'' statement made by Pakistan's Chief Executive, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, must have been greeted with cheers in Kandahar, headquarters of the Taliban Amir-ul-Momineen, Mullah Mohammad Omar. Ironically, it appears that rather than Pakistan having a moderating influence on the Taliban, the militia's agenda and position has been publicly justified by none other than Pakistan's supreme leader. The permission accorded to ``Chechnya'' to open an embassy in Kabul is a clear indication that the Taliban remains a firm supporter of an ``international jehad''. A symbiotic relationship exists between the Taliban and the Pakistani state, though there may be some pulls and pressures in the equation. Afghan policy has never been trusted to civilian Governments, the ISI Directorate has always kept close control of this crucial area. Even today, Pakistan has not publicly asked that Osama bin Laden, named the most-wanted terrorist by the United States, be expelled from territory controlled by the Taliban. In fact, the Taliban Foreign Minister, Wakil Ahmed Mutawakil, made it clear during a visit to Islamabad in January that Osama's return could not be demanded by Pakistan for the simple reason that he is not a Pakistani. ……"
The Hindustan Times 2/21/00 Vijay Dutt "….THERE IS an increasing feeling among Western analysts that the SAUDI-exile Osama Bin Laden, could either cause the downfall of Gen Pervez Musharraf or make the West declare Pakistan a terrorist state. The most wanted terrorist on the US list, he has become an stifling albatross around the neck of the military regime in Islamabad. The US intelligence and the West as a whole are alarmed at reports that Osama's Al Qaida organisation is trying to acquire chemical and nuclear weapons to mount an assault against Americans all over the world. He can get help from Pakistan for the acquisition of nuclear technology and raising of volunteers. A recent intelligence report alleges that Osama is developing surrogates to avoid detection. Many of them are believed by western strategists to be in training camps in Pakistan. He is also being reportedly helped by the ISI……."
Times of India 3/26/00 "……ISLAMABAD: Alleged terrorist mastermind Osama Bin Laden appeared weak and gaunt at a meeting of followers to discuss US President Bill Clinton's visit to Pakistan, an Afghan witness says, and a western intelligence official reports Bin Laden is seriously ill with kidney and liver disease. Bin Laden has kidney failure and ``his liver is going,'' the official said on condition that neither he nor his nation be identified. He said Bin Laden's followers are trying to find a kidney dialysis machine for Bin Laden. Afghanistan's ruling Taliban militia, however, insists Laden is fine. ``His health is good. There is no problem with his kidney or liver,'' said Ahmad Ullah, a Taliban spokesman reached by telephone this week in southern Kandahar, the headquarters of the religious militia. ......"
Reuters 3/16/00 "……. Asiaweek magazine said on Thursday that exiled Saudi Arabian dissident Osama bin Laden is dying of kidney failure. The weekly news magazine, quoting "a Western intelligence source who has been tracking him," said in its latest edition the kidney disease had begun to affect bin Laden's liver and associates were trying to obtain a dialysis machine to stabilise his condition……."
Fort Worth Star-Telegram 3/14/00 Larry Neumeister AP "……A federal judge ruled Monday that U.S. prosecutors did not reach beyond their authority by charging Osama bin Laden and 16 others in the bombing of two U.S. embassies in Africa. Lawyers for six men charged in the case had argued that U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White sought an unprecedented expansion of federal jurisdiction over crimes allegedly committed on foreign soil…….. U.S. District Judge Leonard Sand said it "would make little sense" to restrict enforcement of U.S. laws overseas to suspects who are U.S. citizens or lawful residents. "I find it difficult to conceive of Congress saying we want to protect our interests abroad against attacks by Americans but not against attacks by non-Americans," the judge said two weeks ago during a hearing. In his ruling Monday, Sand wrote that "foreign nationals are in at least as good a position as are United States nationals to carry out such attacks."……"
UPI 4/18/00 "…….An Islamic guerilla group in southern Philippines believed to be backed by Osama bin Laden warned Tuesday that it would abduct and kill U.S. citizens unless a World Trade Center bomber and two others are released from U.S. prisons. Guerillas from the Abu Sayyaf group want Ramzi Yousef, who is in prison for his involvement in the World Trade Center bombing, and two other Islamic militants released. The group's threat prompted U.S. authorities to issue a travel advisory to citizens who are traveling to the island of Basilan. Michael Anderson, a U.S. embassy spokesman in Manila, advised U.S. citizens to "avoid Basilan and to exercise caution." ….."
Hindustan Times 4/18/00 "……Circulating in Pakistan's deeply conservative Northwest Frontier Province is a call to Muslim youth from suspected terrorist, Osama Bin Laden, to wage war against the United States. The message, addressed to "dear youths of the Muslim world," condemns the presence of US troops in Saudi Arabia and vows to wage a jehad or holy war against the US until they are withdrawn. "The youth should contact us as soon as possible. Territorial boundaries have no importance in our eyes. All land belongs to God," says Laden's message written in Urdu. The small poster-size message on a glossy background depicts burning US, Indian and Israeli flags, as well as cocked and ready to fire Kalashnikov rifle. ….."
DAWN 4/15/00 "…….British intelligence agencies are investigating how Osama bin Laden has been funding young British Muslims at armed training camps. According to a report published in The Times on Friday, up to 200 young Britons are believed to have been sent to fight in conflicts in Kashmir, Chechnya and Afghanistan in the past three years after being given rudimentary weapons training in camps allegedly set up by Osama bin Laden. The report said that a number of British Muslim youths, who went to participate in the jihad, have been killed but, despite protests from families, the authorities say that they are powerless to stop young men enlisting. The paper said that volunteers are recruited by militant groups in British mosques and sent to camps on the remote borders of Pakistan, Sudan or Afghanistan. It said that one family in South London flew to Pakistan this year to search for an 18-year-old student, Omar Kyam, who had left his home in Crawley. He became disillusioned with life in the training camp, but was not given funds to leave so had to be rescued by his family and the Pakistani army. Three other youths who were recruited in the same area have not returned. …….."
Reuters 4/13/00 "……Russia has repeatedly accused the Taliban of supporting Chechen rebels. The Taliban has offered the separatists military assistance and opened diplomatic ties. A Russian bombing campaign would send a clear message that Moscow will neither tolerate nor forgive insurgents or their supporters. More importantly, it would interrupt Iran and Pakistan's Afghan peace initiative, which could lead to international recognition of the Taliban's government. Now is the opportune time for Russia to attack Afghanistan. Russia's near victory in Chechnya has spurred Chechen leaders to look elsewhere for asylum. Sorties over Afghanistan might discourage more Chechen rebels from fleeing there. Moscow has repeatedly decried involvement by other countries in what it considers an internal insurgency. Georgia, Iran, the United States and Turkey have allegedly given aid to the Chechen rebels, but Russia can't respond militarily to these diplomatic measures. It can, however, assault Afghanistan. Afghanistan is the only country to openly support the Chechen rebels……."
BBC 4/3/00 Nick Wood "…… US officials have come under criticism over a raid by K-For military police on an Islamic relief organisation in Kosovo last weekend. The police, who were acting on a tip-off from US officials, raided a house rented by the Saudi Joint Relief Committee (SJRC). The operation followed fears of a possible terrorist attack on the US office in the province. US security officials say they believe members of the SJRC are linked with Osama bin Laden, the man suspected of being behind the attacks on the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. In a separate incident British soldiers blew up a suspect car belonging to an employee of the charity. The owner had stuck an SJRC sticker to his windscreen……"
Jordan Times 4/5/00 Francesca Ciriaci "………The U.S. on Tuesday publicly commended Jordanian authorities for the arrest in mid-December of an alleged "terrorist cell" presumed to be linked to Osama Ben Laden's "Al Qa'edah" ("The Base"). Visiting U.S. Defence Secretary William Cohen said the arrests of the suspects, who are expected to face trial before the State Security Court later this month, was "a Jordanian success story." He indicated that there was no direct American involvement in the operation: "This was a Jordanian matter," he said. "We commend Jordan for its leadership and outstanding involvement in preventing... and combating terrorism," Cohen told a news conference. Cohen arrived in Amman yesterday from Cairo, on the third leg of a Middle East tour, which has already taken him to Israel. ….."
WP 4/5/00 "…….Islamic terrorism, partly a spillover from Afghanistan, poses a threat in Central Asia, where Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will make her first visit next month, a senior Clinton administration official said today. Terrorist bombings last year in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, and border crossings of armed men from Turkmenistan into Kyrgyzstan, are among the threats that have surfaced in the region, said Stephen Sestanovich, who heads the State Department's office on Russia and other former Soviet republics. U.S. concern is focused on an "overflow" of Islamic fundamentalists from Afghanistan and Turkmenistan, Sestanovich said at a breakfast meeting with reporters. Albright plans to visit three Central Asian countries next month - Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan - to try to promote democracy and opportunities for American business in the area rich in natural resources. The department announced Tuesday that the trip, her first to the region in more than three years in office, will be April 14-20. ….."
Hindustan Times 3/29/00 ShiShir Gupta "…… If Indian intelligence agencies are to be believed, Saudi fugitive and terrorist leader Osama Bin Laden shifted to South-East Asia during the hijacking of Indian Airlines flight IC-814 to Kandahar. Military intelligence inputs indicate the possibility of Osama Bin Laden moving to the Philippines while the world focus was on the hijacked plane at Kandahar airport. The intelligence community, in fact, is quite convinced that Bin Laden is not in Afghanistan. However, efforts are being made to corroborate this vital input with reports that the Saudi fugitive is suffering from a serious ailment that has affected his kidneys and liver. Preliminary assessment here is loaded in favour of the possibility that Bin Laden may have slipped to South-East Asia for medical treatment. ….."
Los Angeles Times 5/2/00 Bob Drogin "…..Osama bin Laden, the fugitive Saudi Arabian who allegedly masterminded the 1998 bombing of two U.S. embassies in east Africa, has sent terrorist trainers to at least six countries, the U.S. State Department said Monday. Bin Laden's role was underscored in the department's annual review of terrorism. Bin Laden was the only individual singled out for a profile in the report. His organization, the department said, has sent terrorist trainers throughout Afghanistan, where he has been given sanctuary by the ruling Taliban, as well as to Tajikistan, Bosnia, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. Trainers also have been sent to the breakaway Russian republic of Chechnya, the report said. ……Bin Laden's group also has trained fighters from other countries, including the Philippines, Egypt, Libya, Pakistan and Eritrea, the report said. As a result, "bin Laden believes he can call upon individuals and groups virtually worldwide to conduct terrorist attacks," the report said. ……"
The Hindu 4/27/00 "…..Internationally-sought terrorist, Osama Bin Laden, is in the southern Serbian province of Kosovo, the Yugoslav state news agency, Tanjug claimed in a report today. It said Bin Laden had arrived from Albania where he had trained a 500-strong group of Arab terrorists. Tanjug claimed that the arrival had caused worry in the U.S. military within the KFOR protection force……."
ABC 4/27/00 Bill Redeker "… In the mountains of eastern Afghanistan and on both sides of the border with Pakistan, more than a dozen training camps are producing a new generation of Muslim fighter. "Yesterday we broke the Soviets, tomorrow we break America," reads graffiti on the wall of one camp, Lashkar-Tayaba, the fastest growing and by all accounts one of the most militant Islamic organizations in Pakistan. At the camp, children as young as 10 are indoctrinated and prepared for jihad, or holy war. Thousands of young men are learning how to fight the "enemies of Islam." Often, that means America and its allies. Left Alone by Former 'Allies' Twenty years ago, the guerrillas defeated the Soviets and were America's friends. The United States trained and equipped the Afghan rebels, the mujahedeen, with billions of dollars of weapons to drive the Soviets out of Afghanistan. "If we had not supported these groups, who would have won the war?" asks Gen. Hamid Gul, who was head of military intelligence for Pakistan, Afghanistan's neighbor, and coordinated the operation. ……But Taliban official Abdur Rahman Hotak, shown a map identifying the locations of mujahedeen terrorist activities and training camps, denied their existence (see transcript, related stories). Accused terrorist Osama bin Laden - a Saudi exile said to have come to Afghanistan in his quest to fight Western inroads in Islamic lands - is known to operate several training camps here. Bin Laden, says Mohammad Haroon, 27, a regional commander of the Al-Badar Mujahedeen militant group, is a hero. "He is a good Muslim, he is a mujahedeen, a freedom fighter. He has shown courage to fight for Islam," he says. "It is easy to recruit volunteers. Many, many Muslims are inspired by the call for jihad." ….."
Times of India 4/28/00 "……"After hiding out for several years in Afghanistan," the agency said on Wednesday in a despatch from Kosovo's capital Pristina, ``Bin Laden has found a new refuge in the Balkans, precisely in Kosovo, the nest of European terrorism." Tanjug said Bin Laden arrived in Kosovo accompanied by "a close collaborator, Abu Hassan." ….."
WORLD TRIBUNE.COM 5/19/00 "……Pakistan is increasing cooperation with the U.S. hunt for Saudi billionaire fugitive Osama Bin Laden after President Clinton pressed the government during his recent visit. U.S. officials said Pakistani authorities have stepped up their alert in airports and border crossings and are checking travelers whether they match descriptions of Bin Laden or his associates. The result has been the arrest of several Arab nationals linked to the man accused of masterminding the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in east Africa. The latest arrest was that of Hamama Kamal, regarded as a close aid of Bin Laden. U.S. officials said Kamal was captured as he tried to move through Pakistan on his way to Tunis, according to a report by Middle East Newsline. ……"
CapitalHillBlue 5/17/00 Terence Hunt AP "…….Warning of threats ranging from computer viruses to alleged plots of Saudi fugitive Osama bin Laden, President Clinton ordered tighter surveillance along the U.S-Canadian border Wednesday as part of a $300 million expansion of the nation's counterterrorism efforts. The money is in addition to the $9 billion that the United States already spends in a year for anti-terrorism, the president said. ``It sounds like a lot of money,'' Clinton said. ``When you see the evidence of what we're up against, I think you will support it.'' …….. `` The new anti-terrorism measures will include installation of high resolution day and night camera technology on the U.S.-Canadian border, along with other secure communication and advanced monitoring equipment, the White House said. ……Other measures include:
-Increasing the number of Justice Department prosecutors and legal staff to support the prosecution of terrorists. Fifteen positions will be added.
-Expanding from 26 to 37 the number of Joint Terrorism Task Forces, which combine the assets of the FBI, Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Customs Service, Secret Service and state and local law enforcement agencies.
-Strengthening the immigration service's forensic capabilities to detect fraudulent travel documents.
-Intensifying efforts to track and analyze the financing of terrorist organizations and expanding the Treasury Department's office of foreign asset control. ……"
The Nation Online 5/10/00 "…… 'Taliban' Ahmad Rashid's new book is making waves throughout the world, especially in the west. The leading western newspapers are publishing book reviews, highlighting various aspect of the book. In a latest book review by Richard Bernstein carried is the New York Times, the book has been described of a great study on the origin of Taliban. "Taliban," begins with a concise history of the rise to prominence of the Taliban, the fundamentalist Muslim group that seems to have come from nowhere to control 90 percent of Afghanistan. "Seem" is the key word, because as Mr. Rashid shows in some of the most absorbing passages of his absorbing book, the movement that has changed the face of Afghanistan did not come from nowhere. It was a culmination of sorts, a drawing together of many strands of Central Asian and Middle Eastern history, from the formation of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt nearly a century ago to the infusion of American arms after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan……."
Worldnetdaily 5/00 I. J. Toby Westerman "……Russia could launch a "preventive" military attack on fundamentalist Moslem forces in Afghanistan, which are reported to be massing along the border shared with several former Soviet republics, according to official Russian sources. Igor Ivanov, Russian foreign minister, stated that Russia could attack bases of the Islamic fundamentalist group Taliban should there be a "threat" to any of Russia's Central Asian allies. The Taliban movement controls most of Afghanistan. The report was carried by the Voice of Russia World Service, the official broadcasting service of the Russian government. ….."
Rssia Today 6/13/00 BBC "…..Peshawar: According to official reports, Russia has delivered chemical weapons to the opponents of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. According to a Bakhtar Information Agency report, Russia has recently delivered some amount of chemical weapons via an airport in Tajikistan to Panjsher [the Northern Alliance stronghold in Kapisa Province]. The report says that the opposition's military commander [ousted defense minister], Ahmad Shah Masud, with the help of his commanders has placed the weapons in special depots. ….."
Washington Post 6/4/00 Pamela Constable "….Russia and the United States, who spent billions fighting for control of Afghanistan during the Cold War, have suddenly found common ground in urging its strict Islamic government to stop spreading religious extremism and violence in South and Central Asia. The United States, which once helped finance and arm Afghan fighters against occupying troops from the Soviet Union, has for years accused the ruling Taliban militia of exporting terrorism. It has been pressing Kabul to hand over Osama bin Laden, the Saudi fugitive now living in Afghanistan whom the U.S. accuses of orchestrating the 1998 bombings of two American embassies in East Africa. Officials in Moscow, who have covertly assisted anti-Taliban rebel forces for several years, are now stepping up their own pressure, threatening airstrikes and new U.N. economic sanctions against Afghanistan because of alleged Taliban support for Muslim rebels fighting in the breakaway Russian region of Chechnya.......Last week, at a meeting in Moscow before a scheduled summit meeting this weekend, senior U.S. and Russian officials issued a joint statement expressing concern over the "growing influence of extremist groups" in the region. They urged the Taliban to hand over bin Laden and to "dismantle the terrorist infrastructure" that allegedly sends Islamic fighters to such hot spots as Kashmir and Chechnya......."
Middle East Newsline 7/10/00 "…..U.S. special forces have arrived in Afghanistan in a mission to capture Saudi billionaire fugitive Osama Bin Laden, Islamic sources said. Maulana Fazl Rahman, head of the Pakistani-based World Islamic Association, said U.S. commandos arrived several days in Afghanistan. He said the forces are near Kabul in an area controlled by the Russian-backed opposition to the ruling Taliban movement. Rahman said the commandos are moving toward a base believed where Bin Laden is residing. The Islamic leader said the U.S. forces plan to abduct Bin Laden and spirit him out of Afghanistan. ….."
World Tribune 7/8/00 "…..Saudi billionaire fugitive Osama Bin Laden has threatened the United States with renewed terrorist attacks if the man convicted of the 1993 CIA killings is executed. His spokesman here also said Muslim commandos are being trained in Virginia, Missouri and Michigan……"
Reuters 7/9/00 "…..The supreme leader of Afghanistan's ruling Taliban said the Islamic militia was monitoring and restricting the movements of Osama bin Laden and denied the Saudi-born terrorist had training camps in Afghanistan. …… ``We are monitoring Osama's movements and have restricted his movements, but the U.S. considers that a form of us helping Osama. For a single guest in our country America punishes the entire Afghani people. This is terrorism,'' the Taliban leader said. ……"
Washington Post 7/3/00 Vernon Loeb "….Over the past six months, according to world press accounts, Osama bin Laden has suffered kidney failure, bone marrow disease, liver ailments, cancer and depression - when he wasn't playing soccer, raising Arabian horses or sneaking into Albania. But U.S. counterterrorist officials believe the exiled Saudi millionaire is still alive and well and plotting in Afghanistan……… Nearly two years after bin Laden allegedly orchestrated the bombing of two U.S. embassies in East Africa, killing 224 people, terrorism experts inside and outside the federal government say he remains America's number one terrorist adversary, despite fissures within his network and the arrest of many of his operatives……"Right now, we still see Osama bin Laden as somebody who is continuously planning and plotting to kill Americans," said a senior Clinton administration official. "We see no sign of his threat being diminished."……."
Middle East Newsline 6/27/00 "…… Saudi billionaire fugitive Osama Bin Laden has broken months of silence by calling on Muslims to wage holy war against their opponents. A letter that carried Bin Laden's signature called Jews and Christians the enemies of Muslims. He said Muslims must wage a holy war against the other two religions. "You are fully aware that the Jews and Christians have, through their machinations, occupied the Muslim holy sites in Haramain Sharifain [Temple Mount] and in Palestine," Bin Laden wrote. "We have to play an extremely important role to break their shackles. God says they can never be your friend until you start following them. Therefore holy war against both of them is incumbent upon the Muslims." ……."
Russia Today, AFP 7/26/00 "……Tajikistan authorities are fighting a losing battle to stamp out the growing trade in Afghan heroin which is financing the arms purchases of the Taliban rulers in Kabul. Drug seizures by Tajik authorities have doubled this year, but they represent only five percent of illegal drug shipments passing through the former Soviet central Asian republic, according to official figures. Seizures of Afghan heroin increased tenfold in 1999 in Tajikistan from 71 to 700 kilograms, but this year have already attained 700 kilos (1,550 pounds). ……"
Middle East News Line 8/2/00 "..... Supporters of Saudi billionaire fugitive Osama Bin Laden are divided over the role of their Taliban protectors. Pakistani sources said the division is on ideological grounds and concerns whether Bin Laden's Qaida group should formally join the ruling Taliban faction in Afghanistan. The News, a Pakistan daily, said the split has led to a dissident group formed by Omar Suri. Suri, who comes from a Syrian family and worked with Bin Laden for more than 15 years, is said to be a relative Islamic moderate and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. ....."
Afghan Online Press 8/6/00 "…..KABUL: Fighting intensified in northern Afghanistan on Saturday as opposition forces launched an attack, killing 60 Taliban soldiers and gaining territory in Salang area, opposition officials said. An opposition spokesman Mohammad Habeel said forces loyal to Ahmad Shah Masood mounted an offensive against the Taliban's positions in the Hindukush range, 130 kilometres north of Kabul. "Our people have advanced five to seven kilometres from Shawol to Golaie Panj" along the main highway that links Kabul with the rest of Taliban-held northern Afghanistan, Habeel said...."
PTI 7/25/00 "…..Afghanistan's ruling Taliban have strongly reacted to the remarks of the US assistant secretary of state Karl Inderfurth, terming it irresponsible and contrary to the ground realities which would multiply problems in Afghanistan. "It is an open secret that the United States wants to push forward its political designs at the pretext of Afghan peace and is bent upon imposing its own system in Afghanistan contrary to Afghans' Islamic cultural values. To achieve its objectives, Washington has even joined hands with Moscow, its old rival and enemy," said an Afghan embassy statement here on Monday. ……"
The Sydney Morning Herald 7/31/00 "…..Osama bin Laden, the world's most wanted terrorist, is in fear of his life after a series of defections by key figures from his organisation and the seizure of some of his training camps by Afghanistan's Taliban regime. The Saudi multi-millionaire, who heads America's Most Wanted list, has moved his headquarters from Kandahar and replaced his bodyguards following at least two assassination bids. A group of 60 senior terrorist commanders from Algeria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Syria, led by one of bin Laden's oldest associates, recently defected from his movement to form a breakaway pro-Taliban faction. Bin Laden's change of fortunes came after the Taliban authorities, which have long sheltered him, decided he had become a liability and was not worth the international condemnation his presence brought......."
BBC 7/27/00 "…… US sued over Sudan strikes The US said the plant was manufacturing chemical weapons A Sudanese businessman has announced he will sue the United States Government for $50m in compensation for a cruise missile attack on his pharmaceuticals factory two years ago. ……A BBC correspondent says that last year Washington tacitly admitted that it had no evidence against Mr Idris by lifting a freeze on his bank accounts in the US. ……"
Afghan Online Press 8/19/00 "......The deposed Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani has said that direct foreign interference is the stumbling block in the way of restoration of peace and tranquility in the war-ravaged Afghanistan. In his message on the eve of Independence Day of Afghanistan, observed on Friday, Rabbani said that the continuation of war is the result of the foreign meddling. "As everyone is aware, with continued statements by the military ruler of Pakistan, the interference have taken an overt tone, whereby the presence of Pakistani nationals and equipment in the frontlines has made its denial impossible." ......"
Afghan Online Press 8/16/00 "……Kyrgyzstan says Islamic gunmen who are fighting the Kyrgyz armed forces are being financed by the Saudi dissident, Osama Bin Laden, and the Taleban in Afghanistan. Security officials said the aim of the militants was to destabilise Central Asia, and that the Kyrgyz government would never negotiate with what it called international terrorists. The BBC Central Asia correspondent says that countries in the region regard Afghanistan as the source of terrorism, religious extremism and organised crime...."
New York Times 9/17/00 Christopher Wren "…. Frustrated by declining support from Western donors and the indifference of the ruling Taliban, the United Nations is winding down efforts to persuade farmers in Afghanistan, the world's largest producer of opium, to switch to alternative legal crops. Ghorak, Khakrez and Maiwand, three districts of Qandahar province where the United Nations set up pilot programs promoting alternative crops, have recorded decreases in poppy cultivation of at least 50 percent, according to the latest annual survey of the United Nations International Drug Control Program. "This demonstrates that the alternative development projects work very well," the program's executive director, Under Secretary General Pino Arlacchi, said here. Similar programs in Bolivia and Peru, he noted, led to sharp declines there in the cultivation of coca, the plant used to make cocaine. But despite United Nations efforts to convince Afghan farmers to switch to wheat and other food crops in return for compensatory improvements in their lives, Mr. Arlacchi said, "Afghanistan remains by far the largest opium supplier in the world."….."
Afghan Online Press 9/5/00 "…..Afghan opposition Northern Alliance Monday said that eight civilians were killed and scores of others wounded when Taliban jets bombed Taloqan the capital of northern Afghan province of Takhar. The spokesman for the Northern Alliance Mohammad Habeel said Taliban launched major attacks to bring the Taloqan city under their control. He said that Taliban launched attacks backed by heavy artillery and airforce Monday morning at 2:00 am from 3 directions. ….."
Reuters 9/6/00 "…..Afghanistan's ruling Taliban movement Wednesday reported the capture of a major northeastern opposition bastion and demand again it be given the war-torn country's seat at the United Nations. Taliban forces launched an assault on the opposition's political capital of Taloqan Tuesday night and entered the town after midnight, Taliban officials said. A source close to top opposition commander Ahmed Shah Masood confirmed the loss of Taloqan, saying the defenders had withdrawn but some fighting was still raging to the town's east. ….."
Afghan Online Press 9/7/00 "….. (Reuters) - Afghanistan's ruling Taleban movement said on Thursday it was consolidating its control of the newly captured northeastern town of Taloqan. Taloqan was a major base and supply gateway of top opposition commander Ahmad Shah Masood. Taleban forces captured it on Wednesday after two days of fighting. ``Our forces are busy in a cleaning-up operation, collecting ammunition and arms and securing the town before any further moves,'' Taleban information minister, Qudratullah Jamal, told reporters. Jamal said the town was firmly under Taleban control and opposition fighters posed no danger to it. ….."
Telegraph 9/12/00 Ahmed Rashid in Lahore "….. AFGHANISTAN'S most serious humanitarian crisis in years is unfolding as 150,000 destitute people flee from advancing Taliban troops. …… The possibility that the refugees could pour over the Pamir mountains into Tajikistan has raised fears for the stability of Central Asia. It is thought they could fuel Islamic insurgency there. …….. United Nations and non-governmental relief agencies have no food stocks in the region and little access to the refugees, as the Taliban have blocked all roads. A relief worker in Afghanistan said: "With a drought already severe, and winter fast approaching, thousands of people could die in the next few weeks. The world appears oblivious to the crisis." ……"
Agence France Presse 8/27/00 "…..Exiled Saudi millionaire Osama bin Laden is still financing Chechen rebels in Russia's breakaway southern republic, according to the Russian army headquarters, quoted by the Interfax news agency Saturday. Chechen separatists in the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan received USD four million from bin Laden, while fighters sheltering in neighboring Georgia received USD 1.5 million, Russian intelligence sources claimed. The money was destined for the separatist Chechen warlord Khattab who is fighting Russian federal troops in Chechnya, where Russia launched a renewed crackdown on the rebels last October, the army alleged. ........."
Afghan Online Press 8/22/00 "……Afghan opposition alliance has claimed killing 75 Taliban including their commander in northern Takhar province. The opposition spokesman Muhammad Habeel told Radio Tehran that Taliban launched offensive from Takhar-Kunduz Highway but was beaten back by the alliance forces. He said that Taliban were forced to retreat leaving behind 75 dead bodies including commander Mulla Abdul Ghani. The alliance forces have also seized big quantity of arms and ammunition from the Taliban. ……"
Associated Press 8/21/00 Ron Kampeas "……Israeli and Palestinian security forces have arrested 23 Arabs who planned major attacks to disrupt the peace process, including at least one suspect reportedly linked to Osama bin Laden, the United States' most wanted terror suspect, a senior Israeli security official said Monday. The suspects, who include 20 Palestinians and three Israeli Arabs, all belong to militant Islamic groups, said the official. Israel's Shin Bet arrested 10 Palestinians and the three Israelis. Yasser Arafat's security forces arrested another 10. An official in Prime Minister Ehud Barak's office confirmed the arrests and said the prime minister saw the act as a "very important step" in combating terrorism. The two officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, did not say when the arrests took place. Israeli radio reports said the men were arrested over a period of months, some dating back to April. A spokeswoman for Col. Jibril Rajoub, the Palestinian security chief in the West Bank, said he was abroad and unavailable for comment……"
Newsday.com 8/22/00 AP Barry Schweid "…..The terror network headed by multimillionaire Saudi-born fugitive Osama bin Laden is steadily eclipsing Iran and other Middle East countries in sponsoring terrorist attacks, Congress' research arm reports. Major factions in Iran are trying to change the country's image, and Sudan and Libya appear to have reduced sharply their support of international terrorism, the report said. Also, it said, Syria may be ready to expel such groups once peace is established with Israel. No major terror attacks have been linked to Iran since Mohammad Khatami became president two years ago, but he and hard-line Iranian leaders have helped terrorist groups opposed to peace between Israel and the Arabs, according to the report prepared by Kenneth Katzman, a Middle East specialist for the Congressional Research Service. ….. Meanwhile, bin Laden's Al-Qaida network, believed based in Afghanistan, has evolved in the last five years from a regional threat to U.S. troops in the Persian Gulf to a global threat to Americans and U.S. security interests, the report said. ……"
Independent (UK) 8/25/00 John Andrews "…….New Zealand detectives are investigating a group of Afghan refugees after details of a nuclear reactor near the Australian city of Sydney were allegedly found in their possession, raising fears of a possible terrorist attack during the Olympic Games. Detectives in Auckland said yesterday that they had stumbled on the apparent conspiracy during an investigation into the smuggling of people by organised crime syndicates. House raids in March uncovered evidence suggesting a conspiracy to attack the Lucas Heights reactor. A room in one home was allegedly turned into a command centre, with a conference table and maps. …….. They found a Sydney street map highlighting the site of the reactor and access routes, and notebooks outlining police tactics and chains of command for the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland……. Details have been passed to the Australian authorities. However, no arrest has been made since the raids in March, and Australian police said last night they were unaware of the New Zealand investigation……..The plot might have been hatched by Afghan sympathisers of Osama bin Laden, the Saudi-born dissident being sheltered in Afghanistan by the Taliban. Sources said members of what appears to be a cell of Afghan refugees in Auckland continue to have direct phone links with suspected terrorist organisations in Afghanistan. ……."
Yahoo News via AFP 8/26/00 "…..Osama bin Laden, the man alleged Saturday to be behind a terrorist plot against a Sydney nuclear reactor, is a wanted terrorist in the United States but a hero to many in the Islamic world. The US imposed unilateral sanctions blocking Taliban assets last year after the Taliban refused to hand over bin Laden, and in November the UN followed with aviation and financial restrictions. Bin Laden, who is on the FBI's ten-most-wanted list for the bombing of two US embassies in 1998 which killed more than 200 people, has been living as a "welcomed guest" in Afghanistan since 1996. …… The ruling Taliban militia earlier this month stood by its "Islamic" vow to protect bin Laden despite a renewed US threat of more United Nations sanctions including an arms embargo. ...... In neighbouring Pakistan, where bin Laden is regarded as a hero by many, several parents have named their children after him and scores of small businesses use his name. ...... "
Afghan Online Press 8/20/00 AFP ".......Afghanistan's ruling Taliban militia launched a wave of attacks Saturday against opposition fighters defending the key town of Taloqan in the northeastern province of Takhar, an opposition spokesman said. The pre-dawn attacks, backed by heavy artillery and aerial bombardment, were directed aginst Baharak district to the west of Taloqan, the spokesman, Mohammad Habeel, said. Taloqan is a political-military base of opposition commander Ahmad Shah Masood near the Tajikistan border. ...."
Afghan Online Press 8/20/00 Reuters "......Afghanistan said on Saturday it would not extradite Saudi-born militant Osama bin Laden despite U.S. demands that he stand trial on charges he masterminded the bombing of two of its embassies in 1998. Information and Culture Minister Qudratullah Jamal accused the United States of trying to wipe out Afghanistan's ruling Taleban movement, which is striving to set up a pure Islamic state. ``We will not expel him. American hostility is with our government. The Clinton administration wants to annihilate the Afghans,'' Jamal told Reuters...."
International Herald Tribune 10/4/00 Robin Wright "……Two decades after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan hurled the country into a vicious cycle of war, the Taleban Islamic movement has scored a series of military victories in recent days that have given it control of more than 95 percent of the rugged Central Asian nation, according to senior Taleban officials and U.S. intelligence reports. The latest offensive could mark a turning point both politically and militarily for the Taleban, which seized power in Kabul, the Afghan capital, in 1996. Clinton administration officials say the development could also have destabilizing effects in both Asia and Europe. …….."
Daily Telegraph 9/18/00 "…… OSAMA BIN LADEN, the exiled Saudi millionaire wanted by the United States for terrorism, recently survived an assassination attempt in Afghanistan. Irna, the official news agency of Iran, said that Bin Laden escaped unharmed when unknown attackers fired rockets on his convoy as it passed through the Afghan city of Kandahar. Witnesses said that several cars belonging to his bodyguards were destroyed and that the ruling Taliban Islamic militia in Afghanistan had tried to quash reports of the attack. Bin Laden, who is on the FBI's ten-most-wanted list for the bombing of two US embassies in 1998, in which more than 200 people were killed, has been living as a "welcomed guest" in Afghanistan since 1996. Russian army sources in Moscow say that Bin Laden is financing rebels in Chechnya. ……"
USA TODAY 9/17/00 Jack Kelley "…..U.S. intelligence agencies have obtained computer-disk copies of a six-volume manual that was used by Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden to train recruits at his terrorist camps in Afghanistan, USA TODAY has learned. The 1,000-page manual, called the Encyclopedia and written in Arabic, contains information on how to recruit followers, conduct terrorist operations and assemble bombs similar to those that destroyed U.S. embassies in East Africa in 1998, killing more than 200 people, according to senior U.S. intelligence officials. ..."
Daily Telegraph 9/20/00 Ahmed Rashid "….. A BOMB ripped through a crowded vegetable market on the outskirts of Islamabad during yesterday's morning rush hour, killing 16 people and wounding 80. A security official searches for clues among the scattered fruit and sandals at the scene of yesterday's rush - hour bomb blast in Islamabad The explosion was one of a recent series that have put the military regime under growing political pressure. The bomb was planted in a crate of grapes which was being unloaded from a lorry from Afghanistan.. ..."
UPI 10/26/00 "....A Taliban representative in the United States said his government would bring exiled Saudi Islamist Osama bin Laden to trial if evidence tied him to the attack on destroyer USS Cole, the Press Trust of India reported from Medford. "If the U.S. government or any other government provided us evidence, we are willing to take him to trial, according to their desire and their demands," said Abdul Hakim Mujahid, making a rare public speech at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. "We have a just system," he said, adding that in Afghanistan, "no one is above the law." He said, however, that he does not believe any evidence exists to tie bin Laden -- the United States' most-wanted terrorist suspect -- to the attack on the U.S. ship. ......"
WorldNetDaily.com 10/26/00 Julie Foster "......In an interview on an Arab television station, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Salih said an Egyptian national is to blame for the attack on the USS Cole. "The person who perpetrated the operation (against the Cole), who could have been accompanied by another person (at the time of the attack), is of Egyptian nationality, according to the early results of the enquiry," Saleh said. ....... The suspect is believed to belong to Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the group currently blamed for the assault....... Clinton administration officials said the new information regarding the Egyptian suspect is part of a growing body of evidence connecting the deadly attack to Saudi fugitive Osama bin Laden. The terrorist has been indicted for the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224. Most recently, a tape of bin Laden threatening the United States was televised. He also recently married a woman from Yemen and has longtime family ties to the country, Clinton administration officials said. Bin Laden's terrorist organization has close ties to the Egyptian Islamic Jihad. ........Salih specified in the television interview that the Islamic militants responsible for the attack had fought in Afghanistan against the Soviet occupation and then moved to Yemen. Bin Laden was a leader in the effort to oust the Soviets from Afghanistan and is reported to live there now under the protection of the ruling Taliban militia. ......"
Electronic Telegraph 10/22/00 Julian West "....... MUSLIM clerics are warning the West that reprisals will be taken against foreigners living in Pakistan if America mounts a widely-expected strike against Osama bin Laden's bases in Afghanistan. The US is hoping to gather "hard evidence" of bin Laden's involvement in the attack on the American destroyer Cole off Aden 10 days ago, and the subsequent bombing of the British embassy in Yemen, before launching an attack. Vincent Cannistraro, the CIA's former head of counter-terrorist operations, said that the timing, location and method of the attack pointed to bin Laden. ....."
New York Times 10/21/00 Benjamin Weiser "…. A former sergeant in the United States Army has directly linked Osama bin Laden for the first time to the bombing of the American Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1998. The link came as the former sergeant, Ali A. Mohamed, pleaded guilty yesterday to participating in a terrorist conspiracy against Americans…….. Mr. Mohamed said that in 1993, Mr. bin Laden asked him to conduct surveillance of American, British, French and Israeli targets in Nairobi…….. Among those targets, which Mr. Mohamed said were chosen to retaliate against the United States for its intervention in the civil war in Somalia, was the American Embassy in Nairobi. "I took pictures, drew diagrams and wrote a report," he said……He took the materials to Khartoum, Sudan, where he said they were "reviewed by Osama bin Laden." "Bin Laden looked at the picture of the American embassy and pointed to where a truck could go as a suicide bomber," Mr. Mohamed told Judge Leonard B. Sand of Federal District Court in Manhattan. ……"
ABC Radio News 10/20/00 "……. An Arab American, former U.S. Army Sargeant, 48-year-old Ali Muhammed, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy in relation to the bombing of two U.S. Embassies in Africa in 1998. Muhammed has been tied to Islamic bogeyman Osama bin Laden...."
CNN 10/20/00 "……. A former Army sergeant pleaded guilty Friday to charges related to the bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa two years ago that killed 12 Americans and 212 others. Ali Mohamed, 48, became the first person to plead guilty in connection with the bombings. He had reached a plea agreement with prosecutors. …….. Mohamed, who entered the courtroom in leg shackles, stood in his prison blue uniform as he admitted conspiring with Osama bin Laden and others to murder Americans anywhere they could be found. He said the object of the conspiracy that he joined in the late 1980s was to force the United States out of the Mideast. Mohamed was among 17 people named so far in an indictment that resulted from the August 7, 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. ……. Mohamed, a native of Egypt, left the U.S. Army in 1989 after three years of service. In the military, he earned a Parachute Badge and an M-16 Expert Badge, teaching soldiers in the special forces about Muslim culture. ……. In entering his plea, Mohamed read from a statement in which he admitted he helped secretly move bin Laden from Pakistan to Sudan and trained members of his terrorist organization, al Qaeda. ….."
The Guardian 10/19/00 Julian Borger in Washington "…..Investigators in Yemen yesterday uncovered evidence suggesting the bomb attack on the warship USS Cole had been a meticulously organised conspiracy, which a leading US terrorism expert said may have been the first joint operation between Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. ……..In Aden, Yemeni police and FBI agents were examining a flat apparently rented by the bomb makers four days before the attack. Bomb-making materials were found in the flat, which was rented by two non-Yemeni Arabs, at least one of whom had a Gulf accent, local residents said. They kept a fibre glass boat parked nearby. It was not clear whether the missing suspects were the two men who manoeuvred their small boat alongside the USS Cole and blew themselves up, or whether they were technicians spirited out of the country after the attack. ……….Vincent Cannistraro, the CIA's former head of counter-terrorist operations and a respected expert on Middle Eastern terrorism, said the timing, location and method of the attack pointed to Bin Laden's terrorist network, al-Qaeda. He said it was the only group in the area which has issued a fatwa (a religiously inspired death sentence) against US and British citizens………Bin Laden, a Saudi national based in Afghanistan, has Yemeni family roots and close links with some of the local tribal warlords. A few weeks before the attack, he distributed a video in which he issued familiar calls for a holy war against the "forces of evil". He was wearing Yemeni tribal costume and a Yemeni dagger. "He's puckish like that. On one hand he does not want to give out his address, but on the other hand, he likes to let his followers know he is leading the fight," Mr Cannistraro said. ...... He argued that the sophistication of the bomb - an estimated 272kg of high explosive shaped and placed within a metal container to channel the blast and penetrate the armoured hull of the USS Cole - suggested the involvement of a state. "The Iraqis have wanted to be able to carry out terrorism for some time now," Mr Cannistraro said. "Their military people have had liaison with al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, and could well have supplied the training." ………. He said the theory was still speculative but was consistent with the series of recent contacts between Baghdad and the Bin Laden organisation. ……… Harvey Kushner, a terrorism expert at Long Island University, said there was reason to believe Bin Laden had been investigating ways of launching attacks by sea. "He's been looking around for small, personal submarines. One of his relatives in the United States had an order in for one of these personal submarines, and it was stopped," Mr Kushner said. ……..Other terrorism experts agreed the boat bomb was a significant technical advance on earlier terrorist attacks, such as the bombing of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania two years ago. …….."
Washington Post 10/19/00 Jim Hoagland "……. The terrorists who bombed the USS Cole in Aden climbed an important rung on the ladder of terrorism. Americans can no longer turn away from the ugly realities of the shadow war directed against their nation. Nor can they ignore the ineptness of U.S. responses. ……. The Aden massacre was an intelligence success of major proportions for at least one of America's enemies in the Middle East. The tradecraft used shows it was not executed by a band of freelancers who got lucky. It is no longer possible to treat a dozen years of high-profile terror attacks on U.S. targets as random, episodic and self-contained events that can be left to the normal procedures of criminal justice and government bureaucracy. ……….Modern terrorists climb the ladder of technology with determination. They progress from car bombs to truck bombs to nerve gas, as experts like David Kay have pointed out. They have moved on to packing a ton of sophisticated explosives on a small boat to slaughter U.S. sailors. ......"
Bahrain Tribune 10/19/00 Jack Redden Islamabad "……. After 20 years of outfoxing his enemies, Afghanistan's most formidable guerrilla leader feels the noose of the triumphant Taleban movement tightening around his dwindling enclave. A total Taleban victory would secure its control of the five per cent of the country it does not already hold, reinforcing its claim for world recognition as the national government and fuelling fears the group might then turn to exporting its radical brand of Islam. Ahmad Shah Masood is now battling to stem a Taleban offensive that threatens to drive him into his mountain stronghold of the Panjsher Valley and cut his last link to neighbouring Tajikistan, severing his overland supply conduit. ….."
Daily Telegraph 10/15/00 Julian West "……. WESTERN intelligence agencies believe it is increasingly likely that members of Osama bin Laden's terrorist network carried out the attacks on a United States' destroyer and the British Embassy in Yemen last week. There are now fears that these attacks could signal the start of a prolonged terrorist campaign against American and British interests, not only in the Middle East, but worldwide. Two previously unknown Islamic groups - the Islamic Deterrence Forces and Mohammed's Army - have claimed responsibility for the bombing of the British mission in Sana'a, the Yemeni capital, which caused considerable damage but no casualties, and the suicide blast on the USS Cole, which killed 17 sailors. …….. Western intelligence sources, who have been closely monitoring the fugitive Saudi multi-millionaire's movements in Afghanistan, said yesterday that both these groups are likely to be fronts for better-known terrorist organisations belonging to bin Laden's network, al Quaeda, or the Base. ….."
AP News 10/17/00 Kathy Gannon "……Suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden on Tuesday warned the United States not to attack his home in Afghanistan, where fears have grown of a retaliatory strike to the Yemen ship bombing that killed 17 Americans. …….In a statement published in Pakistan's largest circulation Urdu-language newspaper, The Jang, meaning War, bin Laden said an attack would not kill him and vowed to continue his battle against the ``enemies of Islam'' - an apparent reference to the United States, Israel and the Saudi royal family. He made no direct reference to the Yemen attack. …….Since the attack, officials in Afghanistan and newspapers in neighboring Pakistan have repeatedly warned of a possible U.S. retaliatory strike against Afghanistan. ……Although there are no apparent signs Washington is planning a strike, Afghans remember August 1998, when the United States fired dozens of Tomahawk cruise missiles on eastern Afghanistan in an attempt to kill bin Laden. ….."
The New York Post 10/15/00 Rod Dreher "…… NOW is the time for all medicine factory employees in the Muslim world to stay home from work. At least until after Tuesday night's final presidential debate. Given the Clinton administration's shameful record, there is every reason to expect Third World blood to be shed to save Al Gore's flagging bid for the presidency. To be sure, the prospect of Osama bin Laden and his fanatical cohorts turned into terrorist tartare by U.S. bombs is deeply satisfying to contemplate. And the cowards who murdered the men and women of the USS Cole have given the United States every reason to hit the guilty back hard, as we must. But who can trust Clinton to do it right, to act on hard facts and clear principle unsullied by selfishness? Our dog-wagging commander-in-chief is no stranger to committing acts of war to protect himself politically. As Christopher Hitchens points out in his devastating anti-Clinton screed "No One Left to Lie to," this president fired cruise missiles three times at foreigners on days when impeachment news was bad. * …."
Daily Telegraph 10/15/00 Julian West "…… WESTERN intelligence agencies believe it is increasingly likely that members of Osama bin Laden's terrorist network carried out the attacks on a United States' destroyer and the British Embassy in Yemen last week. There are now fears that these attacks could signal the start of a prolonged terrorist campaign against American and British interests, not only in the Middle East, but worldwide. Two previously unknown Islamic groups - the Islamic Deterrence Forces and Mohammed's Army - have claimed responsibility for the bombing of the British mission in Sana'a, the Yemeni capital, which caused considerable damage but no casualties, and the suicide blast on the USS Cole, which killed 17 sailors. …….. Western intelligence sources, who have been closely monitoring the fugitive Saudi multi-millionaire's movements in Afghanistan, said yesterday that both these groups are likely to be fronts for better-known terrorist organisations belonging to bin Laden's network, al Quaeda, or the Base. ….."
The Associated Press 10/13/00 Barry Schweid "……Suspicion immediately centered on Osama bin Laden and the terrorism network he operates out of Afghanistan as U.S. experts probed the deadly attack on an American warship in Yemen. The United States accuses bin Laden of masterminding the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania two years ago that killed 224 people. His network is believed to extend to Yemen and other parts of the Middle East. President Clinton retaliated by bombing bin Laden camps in Afghanistan and a pharmaceutical factory in Sudan believed run by supporters of the expatriate Saudi. …… Clinton left no doubt Thursday that he again would strike a hard blow once a joint U.S.-Yemeni investigation determined who attacked the USS Cole on Thursday, killing or wounding dozens of sailors as it docked at the port of Aden. ….."
CNSNews 10/12/00 Patrick Goodenough "……A Muslim leader in Britain with links to the Saudi-born terror chief Osama bin Laden said Thursday a Yemeni Islamist group has claimed responsibility for the suicide attack on an American warship in the Yemeni port of Aden, and has promised more strikes. Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed, a Syrian-born activist and judge of the UK Shari'a [Islamic law] Court, said in an exclusive telephone interview with CNSNews.com that he had received a communique from a group calling itself the "Army of Mohammed" and the "Army of Aden-Abyan," saying it had carried out the assault. ……. Bakri welcomed the attack, and said all American and Israeli buildings and forces, anywhere in the world, were legitimate targets. ….At least four American servicemen died when a small, explosives-laden rubber raft rammed into port-side hull of the destroyer, USS Cole. The death toll was later revised to five. …..Bakri said the Arabic-language communique, from a group calling itself the "Army of Mohammed/Army of Aden-Abyan" was now being translated and circulated among various parties to establish whether it was legitimate. …..The document said the bombing was "not the first and not the last," he added. ….."
The Guardian 11/7/00 Luke Harding "…..Osama bin Laden, America's most wanted terrorist, has left his main camp in Afghanistan because of the imminent threat of a US missile strike and moved to a secret base in the Hindu Kush mountains, according to a diplomatic source in Kandahar. ……Mr Bin Laden, who is suspected by US officials of being connected with the attack last month on a US warship in Yemen, left the disused air base near the southern desert city of Kandahar on October 22. His convoy of 15 or 16 four-wheel drive trucks was seen heading west towards the central mountain area of Oruzgan, an Afghan source said. ……. Mr Bin Laden's decision to flee his base followed top-level meetings of the Taliban in Kandahar, where the movement's spiritual leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, lives. ….."
Itar-Tass 11/1/00 "…..Air strikes on bin Laden's compounds might be made before next Thursday - the day of the presidential elections in the United States, a well-informed source said in London. London sources believe that there a strong probability that the situation might develop this way. Taliban leadership have declared through the British circles that making air strike on Afghanistan would be a serious mistake made by the United States. ……. Meanwhile, the Taliban leadership has already asked a CNN camera crew to immediately leave Quandahar near which bin Laden's compounds are reportedly stationed. …..Simultaneously, Pakistan has declared that it would not allow its air space be used for making air strikes against Bin Laden's infrastructure on the territory of Afghanistan….."
Middle East News Line 11/1/00 "…. U.S. warplanes are believed to have flown over a base operated by Saudi billionaire fugitive Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan. The London-based Al Hayat daily reported on Wednesday that two unidentified jets were spotted hovering over a base in which Bin Laden was believed to have taken shelter. The newspaper said the latest plane, a reconnaissance jet, was spotted over Kondhar this week. …… U.S. officials in Washington have refused to confirm the report, attributed to Arab diplomatic sources in Cairo. But they said the Pentagon is planning an attack on Bin Laden, sheltered by Afghan's ruling Taliban movement and suspected of masterminding the Oct. 12 bombing of the USS Cole. The officials said they did not expect an attack until after the Nov. 7 presidential elections. ….."
The Guardian 11/1/00 Luke Harding "……The Taliban warned last night that any missile strike by the United States against Osama bin Laden's bases in Afghanistan in retaliation for last month's attack on an American destroyer in Yemen would be a "grave mistake". In an interview with the Guardian, the Taliban's foreign affairs spokesman, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, said Afghanistan had "no difficulty" with the US. "We don't like the logic of intimidation and force. This is not rationalism," he said. The US has been actively considering targeting Bin Laden - one of Washington's most wanted terrorists - following the attack on the USS Cole in Aden on October 12 in which 17 US sailors were killed. ……The Americans have spent the past two-and-a-half weeks searching for hard evidence linking Bin Laden to the terrorist explosion and have placed their forces in the Gulf on a state of high alert. …..Western diplomats believe any missile strike would take place just before the US presidential elections next Tuesday - in time to gain maximum political mileage from an attack but too late for a counter-strike before the poll. …."
USA Today AP News 10/30/00 "…… KABUL, Afghanistan - There is mounting concern here that Washington might launch another strike against terrorist suspect Osama bin Laden, prompting a Taliban official to say Monday that Washington should instead think about helping Afghanistan deal with its devastating drought. ''We don't expect that America would attack us,'' Taliban Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil said at a news conference. ''But we are not afraid of any attack. Being Muslims, we are ready to greet death at any time.'' ……. The state-run newspaper here and publications in neighboring Pakistan have been speculating daily that the United States might take aim at bin Laden, who lives in Afghanistan, if evidence surfaces that he was behind the Oct. 12 bombing that killed 17 Americans on the USS Cole in Yemen. ……Washington has been demanding that Afghanistan's ruling Taliban militia hand bin Laden over for trial on terrorism charges in the August 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Those attacks killed 224 people. ….."
United Press International 10/27/00 Aamir Shah "…..Fear of an imminent U.S. missile attack on Islamist bases in Afghanistan rose there and in Pakistan Friday following an appeal by the Taliban regime to Pakistan and Iran not to allow Washington to fire missiles over their territories. The Taliban's Foreign minister, Abdul Wakil Motawakkil, warned earlier that the United States might soon strike at targets in Afghanistan in retaliation for the bombing of the destroyer USS Cole in the Yemeni port of Aden on Oct.12. …."
Russia Today 10/27/00 Reuters ".....Afghanistan's ruling Taleban movement threatened on Thursday to inflict heavy losses on Russia it it continued to give military support to its rivals led by Ahmad Shah Masood. The warning, which followed news of meetings between Masood and Russian Defence Minister Igor Sergeyev, came as fighting for control of a key city in northern Afghanistan, Taloqan, resumed after a lull. "Russia should stop its interference in Afghanistan. The consequences would be very dangerous if it continues to do so," senior Taleban spokesman Abdul Hai Mutmaean told Reuters in an interview. "...."
World Tribune.com 10/30/00 "……Saudi billionaire Osama Bin Laden, suspected of masterminding the suicide bombing on the USS Cole in Yemen, is bracing for a U.S. military attack. Arab diplomatic sources said U.S. special forces have crossed into Afghanistan and are preparing for an attack on Bin Laden's hideout. Some of the sources said at least one suspected Bin Laden base has been rocketed, Middle East Newsline reported. ...... Egypt's official Middle East News Agency reported that five Bin Laden bases have been attacked by the United States. Afghan's ruling Taliban movement, which provides shelter to Bin Laden, has denied the attacks. ….."
AP 10/26/00 ".......FBI technicians have finished gathering evidence from the USS Cole, a U.S. official said Thursday amid increasing indications that the bombing of the ship was a terrorist attack. Yemen's president said one of the two men believed to have bombed the destroyer was identified by witnesses as an Egyptian and that a number of Arab veterans of Afghanistan's war against Soviet troops had been detained in connection with the blast. ...... President Ali Abdullah Saleh said the detainees were senior members of the Muslim militant group Islamic Jihad, including Yemenis, Egyptians and Algerians. Terrorist suspect Osama bin Laden was prominently involved in the Afghan resistance and now lives in Afghanistan, but Saleh declined to say whether the attackers or detainees had any connection to bin Laden's Al-Qaida group. Saleh spoke on MBC television, a Saudi-owned satellite channel broadcast from London. ......"
AP 10/26/00 ".......The technicians had been ``steadily sending'' evidence to the United States for analysis, the official said. The Cole is to be carried back to the United States on a special ``heavy-lift'' ship that is expected to reach Aden on Sunday. ......Other FBI agents with a more investigatory role remained, the official said. FBI agents have been accompanying Yemeni investigators working on the bombing. ..... A representative in the United States of Afghanistan's Taliban government said his government would bring bin Laden _ the United States' most-wanted terrorist suspect _ to trial if evidence tied him to the Cole bombing. ......"
The Statesman 1/5/01 "…..Moscow is holding talks with India and Iran to give final touches to a "blueprint" to overthrow the Taliban govern-ment in Afgha-nistan and replace it with one that is more amen-able, the Frontier Post said today. Russia, India and Iran are also trying to find a military solution to the Afghan situ-ation in view of the victory ach-ieved by the Northern Alliance agai-nst Taliban, led by Burha-nuddin Rabbani. The Taliban could be dislodged by arming the Nort-hern Alliance with advanced weapons. ….."
time.com 1/2/01 Tony Karon ".......Investigators are as near as they're ever going to get to proving a Bin Laden connection in the attack that killed 17 sailors aboard the U.S.S. Cole. They've named the mastermind as a Bin Laden lieutenant who escaped Yemen for Afghanistan before the blast. And Osama, by all accounts, is no micromanager - he provides the money, maintains the networks, issues the fatwas (pseudo-religious decrees to attack Americans all over the world, for example) and then lets his military planners take care of the details. ........ This is jihad being waged by Afghan war vets against their erstwhile sponsors (the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Egypt), and Bin Laden's in it to win. He's not going to go away (except in the unlikely event that the U.S. removes its troops from the Arabian peninsula), so we can expect more terror strikes. Indeed, even if Bin Laden were killed or captured, it's highly likely that his campaign would continue. ........ The Clinton administration's high profile responses to Bin Laden have been disastrous; their low-key responses have been a lot more effective. Cruise missiles are not a particularly useful weapon against terrorists who need no bases. But patient cooperation with allied intelligence services to monitor, round up and contain terrorist groups has paid dividends. Still, the problem of terrorism is more political than military, and Bin Laden is certainly a prime beneficiary from the fact that U.S. standing in the Arab world has diminished considerably on President Clinton's watch. ......"
AP 1/1/01 Larry Neumeister "......Using the law as a scalpel, federal prosecutors hope to turn the trial of four men in the deadly bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa into an autopsy of a group blamed for plotting to kill Americans worldwide. The four are among nearly two dozen men formally accused of engaging in terrorism after pledging loyalty to Osama bin Laden, an exiled Saudi millionaire on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted List. ....."
UPI via VNY 12/24/00 ".....Osama bin Laden and other terrorists planned a triple-headed attack last year at the turnoff the millennium but counter terrorism experts were able to squelch their efforts, the Washington Post reported Sunday. The Islamic terrorists had planned three major attacks for Jan. 3, including an attack on a U.S. destroyer in Yemen, said Richard A. Clarke, national coordinator for infrastructure protection and counter terrorism in an interview with the Post. ......"
The Associated Press 12/24/00 ".....President Clinton's top terrorism adviser says the deadly bombing of the USS Cole appears to have originated in a plan by Osama bin Laden to hit U.S. targets worldwide in the first days of the Millennium, causing hundreds of casualties. ...... Richard A. Clarke, the National Security Council adviser in charge of counterterrorism, said in an interview published Sunday in the Washington Post that recent intelligence suggests bin Laden planned attacks at the beginning of the year on a U.S. warship in Yemen, American tourists in Jordan and on the West Coast of the United States. ``What if January last year had started with 1,000 Americans dead at six or seven locations around the world?'' Clarke said. ``We came very close to having that happen.'' ....."
BBC 12/18/00 ".....The United Nations is pulling foreign staff out of Afghanistan ahead of a Security Council vote expected to tighten sactions against the Taleban regime. Fearing retaliation, the UN has been withdrawing foreign staff steadily for more than a week. Officials have declined to give exact details of the withdrawal for fear of "creating panic in Afghanistan", according to a spokeswoman in neighbouring Pakistan. Fifty foreign workers were left by Monday, but the UN would not say how many more of them were being pulled out. ...."
Associated Press via Newsday.com 12/19/00 Nicole Winfield "....The Security Council voted Tuesday to impose broad new sanctions on Afghanistan's Taliban rulers unless they close ''terrorist'' training camps and surrender U.S. embassy bombing suspect Osama bin Laden. A resolution sponsored by the United States and Russia in a rare show of cooperation was approved, with China and Malaysia abstaining. Those Asian nations expressed concern that the new measures would only further harm the Afghan people, already suffering from a 20-year war, poverty and drought. ...."
CNN 12/12/00 "..... (AP) -- Not content with stealing Nike's name, trademark pirates are using it to glorify America's No. 1 terrorist suspect. T-shirts have shown up in Afghanistan and in neighboring Pakistan that feature the U.S. sportswear company's logo alongside a drawing of an AK-47 assault rifle and praise for Osama bin Laden, "The great mujahid (holy warrior) of Islam." "Jihad is our mission," say the T-shirts, using the Islamic term for holy war. "We find it highly offensive," said Kirk Stewart, vice president for corporate communications at Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon, after viewing an Associated Press photo of one of the shirts. ......"
Mercury News.com 12/7/00 Judy Rakowsky "…… A U.S. citizen who once drove a taxi in Boston is reportedly considered a prime suspect in the Oct. 12 attack on the USS Cole. NBC quoted a U.S. source as saying Raed M. Hijazi has been the top suspect for some time in the blast that killed 17 sailors in the Yemeni port of Aden. ......,Also Wednesday, Yemen's prime minister said in an interview with the Associated Press that at least three Yemenis suspected of belonging to an international terrorist network would go on trial next month for laying the groundwork for the attack. ……. The American, Hijazi, was last known to have lived in Everett, a Boston suburb, three years ago, and still has a valid Massachusetts driving license. Last year, the FBI's counterterrorism squad was on alert for any signs that he might have returned to the Boston area. ……Hijazi was taken into custody by the Syrian government in September before the Cole bombing. The Syrians turned him over to Jordan, where he had already been tried, convicted and sentenced to death in absentia. His crime: plotting to attack U.S. and Israeli targets during year 2000 celebrations. Jordan now plans to retry him. ……NBC quoted unidentified sources as saying Hijazi ``personally trained and supported'' the people responsible for the Cole attack. U.S. officials had been tracking Hijazi for at least eight months. ..., Hijazi also is said to have direct ties to Osama bin Laden, also a suspect in the bombing of the Cole. …."
12/3/00 Eric S. Margolis "……The United States and Russia may soon launch a joint military assault against Islamic militant, Osama Bin Laden, and against the leadership of Taliban, Afghanistan's de facto ruling movement. …… Such an attack would probably include US Delta Force and Navy Seals, who would join up with Russia's elite Spetsnaz and Alpha commandos in Tajikistan, the Central Asian state where Russian has military bases and 25,000 troops. The combined forces would be lifted by helicopters, and backed by air support, deep into neighboring Afghanistan to attack Bin Laden's fortified base in the Hindu Kush mountains. …..How well such an raid would succeed remains in question: US special forces have had a dismal record of fiascos over the past quarter century. Russia's special forces, though more capable than similar American units, experienced some success but also many failure in the Afghan War. ….."
Ahmed Rashid 11/30/00 Afghan Online Press via Dow Jones News "…… THIS TIME RETRIBUTION IS taking longer. Two years ago President Bill Clinton took just 13 days to retaliate with missiles against bases in Afghanistan of groups loyal to Osama bin Laden for bombing two U.S. embassies in Africa. American officials say they know the Saudi terrorist was also behind the October 12 suicide-bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen but they still lack concrete evidence. When it comes, U.S. counter-terrorism officials see Clinton taking a more complex, two-pronged approach to revenge. ……. "Retaliation is inevitable. Nobody gets away with killing 29 Americans," says a senior U.S. diplomat, referring to the 12 killed in the 1998 attacks on the embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam and the 17 dead on the Cole. Yet to be decided are when the strike will occur, what it will be and where in Afghanistan. But U.S. counter-terrorism officials are now piecing together the elements of an ideal response………. Probably the best approach, counter-terrorism experts say, is a drive by Washington to forge an alliance with Russia and three Central Asian states to hit at both bin Laden's forces and the Taliban, which controls 95% of Afghanistan. At the same time, Washington is pressing for tougher sanctions to be imposed against the Taliban by the United Nations Security Council. …."
Associated Press on NANDO TIMEs.com 11/23/00 "…… One of the suicide bombers believed to have carried out the attack on the USS Cole last month is also linked to the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, a Yemeni source close to the investigation said Thursday. The connection was made after a composite sketch of one of the two suspected suicide bombers appeared to match that of a man wanted for questioning in connection with the bombings of the embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, the source said. The bombings killed 224 people. ……."
WorldTribune.com 11/22/00 Ahmed Rashid "…… THE United States is seeking Russian help to launch military action against the bases of the wanted Islamic terrorist Osama bin Laden and other extremist groups in Afghanistan. According to counter-terrorist experts in Washington, the Clinton administration has determined that he was behind the bombing of the destroyer Cole last month in Aden, in which 17 American sailors died. A counter-terrorism expert in Washington said America was seeking help from Russia and a number of central Asian states in launching reprisal raids against Bin Laden's bases in Afghanistan. …."
NewsRoll Frontier Post (Pakistan 11/12/00 ".....The presence of US naval ships, 40 nautical miles off Pakistan's sea shores, indicate that US attack on the Saudi national Osama bin Laden's hide-out was imminent. The Frontier Post leant through reliable sources that following Taliban's refusal to accept American reconstruction and development assistance for settling the issue of Osama, the super-power has gone desperate and wishes some immediate action in this regard....:"