Monday, October 20, 2003

Posner propaganda

Salon has an excellent article written by Mark Follman concerning Gerald Posner's allegations concerning the American interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, allegedly a top al Qaeda operative. Abu Zubaydah supposedly claimed that Pakistani air force chief Mushaf Ali Mir made a deal with bin Laden in 1996 to support al Qaeda, and that this deal had the blessing of the Saudis, and in particular four Saudi princes: Prince Ahmad bin Salman, Prince Sultan al-Saud, Prince Fahd al-Kabir, and Prince Turki bin Faisal. To back up the claim, Posner cites the fact that the results of the interrogation were conveyed to the Saudis a month after the interrogation, and, shortly after the issue was raised, Prince Ahmed, Prince Sultan and Prince Fahd all died within a few days of one another. Seven months later Pakistani air force chief Mushaf Ali Mir died in yet another of those mysterious Pakistani air plane crashes. The deaths of all the guilty parties except Prince Turki, who is said to be too powerful to kill, are supposed to show how those involved were removed once it became clear that the Americans were aware of the plot. Therefore, the governments of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were involved at the highest levels in al Qaeda and, by extension, in the attacks of September 11. I have a few comments:

  1. Every, and I mean every, person who is in any way knowledgeable about the assassination of JFK would tell you, without the slightest hesitation, that Gerard Posner's book on the assassination is the single worst piece of crap written on the subject. Considering the amount of nonsense written about the death of JFK, that tells you all you need to know about Posner.

  2. What about the deaths of the Saudi Princes and Mushaf Ali Mir? Isn't it obvious that the whole story was concocted after these people died, and they were included as the people implicated by Abu Zubaydah as: 1) their deaths seem to back up the story; and 2) they are no longer in a position to point out how ridiculous it is? Prince Turki, who is still around, vehemently denies it.

  3. The experts in the Salon article point out how implausible it is for the mainstream of Saudi rulers to be behind 9-11. The most striking thing about the attack is that, of all foreign countries, it is Saudi Arabia which suffered the worst damage from it. It is certainly plausible, and even likely, that some Saudi princes supported al Qaeda, but it is a long way from that to say that al Qaeda was supported by the rulers of Saudi Arabia. We have to use a little common sense. Why would the rulers of Saudi Arabia support a group devoted to their violent overthrow, and support an attack on the United States that was guaranteed to hurt their interests? The Saudis are heavily, heavily invested in the United States, and the last thing they would want is any kind of attack that would hurt the American economy. It is true that, at the instance of the United States, the Saudis had provided support for the Islamic fighters against the Russians in Afghanistan. It is also true that the Saudis support the bin Laden family. But there is not one piece of evidence that the Saudi government intended to commit suicide by supporting terrorist actions, which, if discovered, were guaranteed to lead to its violent end.

  4. Pakistan is a different situation, and the true nature of the relationship of the Pakistani government and al Qaeda is still murky. Pakistan actually benefited from 9-11, and the relationship between the ISI and the Pakistani government is complicated. Pakistan certainly supported the Taliban (and still does), but seems to be genuinely fighting al Qaeda remnants to the extent it can. Whatever the true relationship between Pakistan and al Qaeda, Posner's story is sufficiently unbelievable with respect to the Saudis that we can't rely on it to implicate the Pakistanis.

  5. The Saudis claim that they have been told that the American interrogation of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed has revealed that he was instructed by bin Laden to use Saudi nationals in the 9-11 attack in order to strain relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia. Leaving aside the fact that I have grave doubts about whether the United States actually has Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in custody, and the fact that there is still no proof of the real nationality of any of the hijackers, this idea makes a lot of sense. Since one of bin Laden's main goals is to replace the current corrupt leaders of Saudi Arabia, it would make sense for him to use Saudi nationals, or at least identities stolen from Saudi nationals, in his attack on the United States.

  6. In response to the bad image of Saudi Arabia in the United States, the Saudis have released details on their efforts to assist the Americans in the war on terrorism. From the Salon article:

    "The most intriguing and controversial claim, however, involved none other than the alleged key Saudi conspirator, former intelligence chief Prince Turki. Turki claimed his intelligence service warned the CIA in late 1999 and early 2000 about two al-Qaida members, Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi, who were later among the Sept. 11 hijackers. 'What we told them was these people were on our watch list from previous activities of al-Qaida, in both the embassy bombings and attempts to smuggle arms into the kingdom in 1997,' Turki told the Associated Press.

    The CIA denied receiving any such information from Saudi Arabia until after 9/11, and Prince Bandar, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the U.S., admitted that 'no documents' were sent. But Turki insisted his agency communicated the warning to the CIA, at least by word of mouth."

    The famous Malaysia 'summit' meeting of al Qaeda, attended by al-Mihdhar and al-Hazmi, was held on January 5-8, 2000. The fact of a Saudi warning to the CIA at around the same time as the al Qaeda meeting just makes the failure to add the names of these terrorists to the U. S. 'watch list' even more inexplicable.

There is currently a tremendous neocon propaganda campaign going on against the leaders of Saudi Arabia. The Posner story just appears to be another aspect of it. It is unclear whether Posner is part of the propaganda war or has just been taken in by the neocons. As I've said before, the neocons are insane, and the result of their plans will be tragic for both the world and the United States. At some point, hopefully sooner rather than later, Americans are going to realize that the neocons are a much, much greater threat to the United States than any foreign country or group of terrorists. It is an amazing thing that anyone still listens to them after the debacle of their attack on Iraq, but they are carrying on with their PNAC plans as if that attack was a complete success, and appear to now have almost total control of the American government. Their goal is still to take out any and all possible opponents of Israel, and secure all Middle East and Central Asian oil under American control. Unless the neocons are stopped, any idiot can see that this is going to lead to complete disaster (a very large multiple of the disasters in Afghanistan and Iraq). The attack on the Saudis is intended to further the neocon goal of eventually destroying the Saudi government so the United States can take over the Saudi oilfields. The propaganda campaign has been so successful, the neocons even have Michael Moore parroting it. The main trick was to leave the Saudi matters out of the published 9-11 report, so people could think the worst of the Saudis, and then slyly make people believe that it was left out because Bush was protecting his Saudi business friends. A brilliant strategy! All of this propaganda works only because Americans are still afraid to admit who was really behind 9-11. A hint: the Saudis don't run NORAD.