Co-editors: Seán Mac Mathúna • John Heathcote
Consulting editor: Themistocles Hoetis
Field Correspondent: Allen Hougland


War News
John Heathcote

Criminal Negligence or Treason

Why Washington Wants Afghanistan

CIA Trained Bin Laden to Wage Anti-Communist Holy War

CIA's progeny: It was from the CIA that Osama bin Laden learnt how to humble a superpower

The CIA and Osama bin Laden

"Unocalgate" War for Big Oil?

CIA's Tracks Lead in Disastrous Circle


Refugees Receive Emergency Aid

Winter, 2001 - The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan distributed blankets at Jalozai refugee camp, where 18 children have died due to the bitter cold since December. Picture from the Afghan Women's Mission.
Black Gold: the oil of industry

Number of people killed in the WTC

Ground Zero - latest reports



FBI report about Israelis/Arabs arrested

US Domestic Fallout

Secret Government

As the supermarkets of the West are flooded with the overpriced and useless kitsch, the tonnes of over rich food which will produce more heart attacks and credit poverty, the USAF has begun carpet bombing one of the poorest countries in the World. The British Prime Minister Tony Blair, sensing a growing unease amongst his own people about the war; as well as within his parliamentary party, and perhaps even his Cabinet , made a speech exhorting us in strained, emotional tones to remember the minutiae of the attack on September 11th. This, it was implied should be enough to justify the action currently being taken by British and American forces. Despite minimum coverage, before or afterwards, a demonstration in London against the war on the 27th of October attracted between (police estimation) 20,000 and (organisers estimation) 50,000 people of all creeds, colour, political persuasion. (Source; Independent on Sunday 28/10/01)

Only a few days earlier, a Labour MP (Paul Marsden) went to the newspapers with a transcript of an interview he had been asked to attend with a senior Labour Whip (Parliamentary Party official &endash; an MP responsible for delivering the votes in the chamber). He had asked a question in parliament, expressing doubts about the strategy being pursued in Afghanistan. During the interview he was accused of appeasement, and references were made to 1939. With this sort of mood prevailing in our governing party &endash; supported by the Conservative opposition, who have no qualms about imperial wars &endash; it is perhaps pertinent to ask a few questions concerning the September attacks themselves, the aftermath in the West and the conduct of a War being fought in our name - and we are told, for the sake of both us and our children. The whole 'war' has been framed by the Bush regime and the British Government in high moralistic tones.

There are moral certainties in this world, and the killing of civilians who are not threatening your land or people is one of them. From that perspective alone, both the attack on the World Trade Centre and the wide scale bombing of Afghanistan are criminal acts of terror.

Black Gold: the oil of industry

It would perhaps be more honest if the British and Americans explained that when they are claiming to protect our way of life, they are in fact talking about our addiction to petroleum oil; to fast cars and the Age of Plastic, a culture of celluloid and silicon. That ultimately is why the war is being fought; to ensure that the last vast oil supplies still buried beneath the soil of Central Asia can be piped through Afghanistan a little more efficiently than in Columbia, where the pipeline gets hit 120 times a year on average by the local guerilla army. However many death squads the US sponsors, however much coca they burn to prevent its transformation into dollars for the Revolution; South America is just a big heap of trouble.

It is no coincidence that only recently President Chavez of Venezuela, a man with unashamed socialist sympathies, has engineered the re-emergence of OPEC as a largely Third World counterweight to the political powers of the great oil consuming nations of the West. The aim of stabilising oil prices, and having them set by the producing countries rather than speculators and oil corporations, risks being severely undermined by the crisis in the Middle East.

And now those poor fanatical mullahs, who saw their power slipping away as the Soviet sponsored education system taught the youth to read and the women to live without fear; who seemed such good anti-Communists, found another paymaster as all poor mercenaries eventually do. Both the US and the British governments know that the real threat of Bin Laden and Al Quaida does not exist so much in the Western homeland, but the homeland of the man himself.

If Saudi Arabia, with its vast oil supplies, falls to an Islamic fundamentalist regime as Iran did, for similar reasons in the 1970's, then the threat to the 'Western' way of life becomes much more real.

Firstly, one only has to refer back to the petrol strike in Britain last year. In tactics similar to those used by the CIA directed haulers unions in Chile just before the Pinochet coup; a few lorry drivers, owners of haulage firms and motley collections of right-wingers closed down British fuel depots for nearly a week. It would not be an overstatement to say that the country nearly ground to a halt, and that panic-buying cleared shop shelves in 24 hours. Secondly, one only has to remember the effect of the Bush Presidency's first foreign gesture after 'taking' office.

In order to appease his own Christian fundamentalist supporters, he withdrew funding for all UN aid programmes connected with abortion and contraception in the Third World. The resulting death rate from AIDS alone did not seem to bother that particular bunch of religious extremists. Along with the financial and political power that control of Saudi wealth would give a fundamentalist government, there would be a domino effect on the regional balance of power vis a vis the State of Israel.

US foreign policy, which has effectively supported the Zionist agenda since before the Balfour Declaration according to many historians, would find itself in a position where its support of Israel would either have to be total, with the possible cost of having to fight for its existence; or stand back and let what might turn into a regional nuclear war develop. In a Channel 4 Dispatches programme (broadcast 1st November 2001) it was reported that Bin Laden's Al-Quaida network were offered nuclear materials by a Somali army officer.

The canister containing the material was apparently marked 'Property of South Africa'. If true, the blind eye that the West turned to the joint nuclear project between Israel and the apartheid South African regime of the 1970's will bear us bitter fruit indeed.

Number of people killed in the WTC

Tony Blair consistently mentions over 6000 victims of the September 11th attacks. Although mentions of the Pentagon attacks are kept to a minimum as people might reason that the building itself could be justified as a military target (although not the people on the hijacked planes); the inclusion of that number would not bring the total to 6,000. A report in The Guardian (26th October 2001) states that the real tally of those that died in the WTC might be between

2,563 (American Red Cross) ;
2,950 (New York Times); 2,680 (USA Today)

And the Associated Press News agency which calculates 2,625 victims. Commentators point out that there may have been a number of self-employed workers, such as electricians whose disappearance has not been reported, and migrant workers, whose presence in the building was unknown to their families.

However, this possible unlisted tally would still not have constituted anything like the disparity in numbers that we are referring to. It might seem irrelevant whether the figure was 3,000 or 300; a terrible crime was still committed against ordinary people.

Tony Blair, a lawyer by training, should be aware that inflating the facts for an appeal to emotionalism &endash; especially when attempting to justify a policy that risks tens of thousands of deaths from starvation, let alone explosives &endash; can cast a shadow of doubt across the rest of his argument.

Ground Zero - latest reports

On the same day that George W threw the "World" Series ball dressed in a flak jacket and surrounded by thousands of security men and their hardware, it was announced that the number of New York firefighters at Ground Zero had been reduced to 24, alongside 24 'police spotters'.

The decision appalled the crews, many of whom are still searching for the remains of their own friends and family beneath the still smoking piles of rubble, as well as those of the thousands thought to have died. (in the last week alone the remains of 12 of the firemen have been recovered.)

In the ensuing struggle, three top union officials and a number of senior fire officers were amongst those arrested. The tragic irony of seeing these men, so recently feted as heroes, battling to get through police lines and return to the site, has raised questions as to what the authorities are really concerned about. Is it the added expense of the search teams, or is it perhaps to protect, and recover, what lies beneath the World Trade Centre ruins.

Like all tall buildings, the WTC has extensive basement areas spread over 16 acres deep underground. Apparently, many of the areas are still undamaged. After the Clinton Administration issued a memo to state governments informing them of the increased risk of chemical or bio-terrorism in the late nineties, New York responded promptly by building a secure bunker with air scrubbing facilities and a command centre for City Authorities beneath the WTC. It now emerges that this was not the only secret area under the twin towers.

Coincidentally, as the firefighters are ejected from the site, and rubble and human remains are hurriedly cleared into waste bins (according to union officials) details are surfacing in the press of why the authorities might be in such unseemly haste.

It is reported that

  • The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms had two 'evidence vaults"
  • Fleets of Secret Service limousines, including the armoured vehicle used for visiting Heads of State
  • Vaults used by the CIA, which apparently held "bricks of cocaine, fake taxi cabs used for covert operations . . . and security files meant for the eyes of the CIA only".
  • The "largest and most important" CIA station outside Washington - presumably more important then than either Moscow, Jerusalem or Islamabad - was destroyed in the September 11th attack. The base was located in the smaller tower which was destroyed as the largest collapsed. No CIA staff were said to have been killed, but the the covert CIA base has played a central role in spying on Russia, and the United Nations, and was used to recruit foreign diplomats working there. (Independent, 5th November 2001). Like the illegal CIA bases in Florida that were used for covert operations against Cuba under Operation Mongoose, the secret CIA base was almost definitely illegal under US Law, as the CIA is not allowed to operate domestically.

The same report (Guardian 2/11/01) mentions that whilst removing $200M from under WTC, security guards noticed that an attempt had been made to force a vault door with blowtorch and crowbars.

One wonders if the Al Quaida network, who are no strangers to the CIA, knew of these parts of the complex when deciding to make the building a target. After all, this is the second attempt they made &endash; and the first one was with a bomb left in the basement area itself. Now what was that about the iniquity of basing security forces in civilian buildings?


The treatment of the firefighters has the same pattern of disregard for working folk by the US Administration, as the anthrax scare has demonstrated. What is now accepted to be quite possibly a campaign by a homegrown, probably right wing, terrorist group has shown the discrepancies in prevention and treatment between ordinary postal workers and the government employees (Senators downwards) and media types.


Aside from the doubts raised about the security services in America &endash; their efficiency in actually protecting the American citizens who pay for the vast secret budget &endash; it is becoming apparent that the plot is not as simple as first appeared.

Many commentators have wondered why an operation which took such a lot of planning, and which must have had a reconnaissance/ logistics support team of equal size to the hijack teams, did not alert the attention of the FBI or CIA .

We now know that at least five of the hijackers were known to various international agencies as agents of radical Islamic groups, and had been under surveillance for a number of years. It was reported in the French paper Le Figaro on 1st November 2001 that Osama Bin Laden was visited in the American Hospital in Dubai in July of this year. Bin Laden, who has kidney problems according to the report was also visited by his old friend, Prince Turki al-Faisal, the head of Saudi intelligence who resigned soon afterwards. The Prince had been long involved in the Saudi efforts to establish the Taliban as a friendly Wa'habist regime, using the cover of "hunting trips" to remote territories with fellow sympathisers in the Saudi regime to deliver finance and ordinance to the Al Quaida network.

The meeting in the hospital was publicised (claims British newspaper The Guardian) by French intelligence to raise questions about the "ambiguous role" of the CIA in the period up to September 11th. Le Figaro claims that the meeting was attended by the local CIA man, as well as another known operative of the Agency, described as a 'CIA chief". The local man was recalled to the States soon afterwards &endash; possibly for boasting about the meeting to his friends, it is alleged.

The Le Figaro report also details a tense meeting between in August between French intelligence and their American counterparts at the Paris Embassy concerning the French surveillance and arrest of Algerian Islamic extremists. The French agents became aware that the Americans knew something was going to happen &endash; they asked the Americans "'What are you afraid about in the next days?" The Americans refused to answer . . "

The close links between the CIA and the fundamentalists of the Arab world, especially their friends in the Pakistani Security Service (SIS) must be giving a pause to the leaders of the so-called Northern Alliance (in fact, still the official Afghan Government). The US and British Governments are expressing surprise that Al-Haq was so quickly caught and executed by the Taliban; but sadly he was probably betrayed by the very intelligence agencies who prepared his visit. His nephew is even now being pursued through the hills in the south of the country after attempting a similar mission.

FBI report about Israelis/Arabs arrested

The confusion in the States, and the resulting suspicion that cock-up and conspiracy are never far apart was given an extra twist on 1st November, when it was reported that six men of "Middle Eastern" appearance were arrested in the American Midwest at the previous weekend by a local police foe, and then released after producing Israeli passports. After checking the passport numbers with the INS, which gave "an OK on them", the men were allowed to continue on their journey.

The source for the story &endash; given as a 'US source close to the investigation into the September 11th attacks, probably FBI, claimed the men were traveling in two light coloured cars in groups of three. They were allegedly found in possession of pictures and plans of a Florida nuclear plant and the Trans&endash;Alaska oil pipeline as well as &endash; curiously &endash; retractable knives as used by the September 11th hijackers. The report first surfaced from the Knight&endash;Ridder News Agency, claiming it came from a "senior law enforcement official".

The Guardian report on the incident (1st Nov 2001) stated it was not clear last night whether the men had Hebrew or Arab names, and a spokesman for the Israeli Embassy said he was unaware of the incident.

US Domestic Fallout

Internal repression

Until the morning of September 11th George W was a man derided as a dynastic fool whose election was rigged, even by vast numbers of the normally blindingly loyal US citizens. Since that fateful day, when he seemed to disappear briefly with his entire regime like Puff the Magic Dragon, we have been asked to believe he has been transformed into a leader of great wisdom and stature; in whose hands the future of the Free World is safe.

It was a poignant reminder of the great old days of the Soviet Union for us in Europe; watching the political representatives of the greatest Democratic nation in the world rising as one and voting to give their President greater autocratic powers than any other President in history. ( Well, almost as one. The only member of Congress to vote against the war was Congresswoman Jeanette Lee who then had to be given an armed guard to protect her from the 'rightful' wrath of her fellow citizens.

  • At least 1087 people have been arrested under anti-terrorist legislation since September 11th, although only 10 are suspected of being involved in terrorism.
  • Secrecy surrounds many of those arrested, with many of the detainees having no access to friends or families, or any legal advice.
  • Solicitors for some of those accused are alleging serious abuse of their clients in detention

Groups raising their concern include the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the Federation of American Scientists and the Arab &endash; American Anti Discrimination Committee.

A representative of the Centre for National Security Studies (Kate Martin) commented that: "The secret detention. . . is frighteningly close to the practice of disappearing people in Latin America" &endash; a policy that reached its height during the career of George W's father as VP and Agency Director.

Secret Government

In a break with tradition, which does not surprise anyone who thinks that the Bush family has little more respect for democracy than the Taliban, the current regime of George W has decided to withhold the papers from the first Reagan Presidency. After the Watergate scandal, it was matter of statute that presidential papers would be released 12 years after the presidency ended. The papers from the Reagan Administration have been withheld, by a Presidential Order, much to the anger of historians and constitutional lawyers, who are threatening to take the Administration to court.

Bush's predecessor, Bill Clinton has also objected to the move, which was signaled from the day that the Bush team took office. There are indications that Congress itself may well challenge the right of the White House to do this. Papers from the presidency of Bush Snr., which would have included many names recognisable in the present cabinet (such as the vice-president Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Colin Powell. If this war does turn into the next Vietnam, it will obviously save a little embarrassment for those people, who were all involved, one way or another, in setting the stage and arming the players for what we are faced with now.