He is arguably the most notorious person in the 21st century.
The world takes for granted that Osama bin Laden was the architect of the “terror attacks” of Sept. 11, 2001. But why was this man singled out for this horrific crime? How did we learn of his alleged guilt? And what is the evidence used to support his guilt?
These questions are critical because the allegation against bin Laden led, less than a month later (on Oct. 7, 2001), to the launching of the Global War on Terror with the invasion of Afghanistan. The mission, called Operation Enduring Freedom and ordered by President George W. Bush, and was supposedly intended to capture or kill bin Laden.
This is what we know about the claims of evidence against bin Laden:
Just hours after the World Trade Center towers were destroyed, a man by the name of L. Paul Bremer appeared on an NBC affiliate in Washington D.C. Less than a minute into the interview with host Jim Vance, Bremer mentioned bin Laden as potentially being the mastermind of the event. It appears that the bin Laden myth was created at this point, and it soon went viral.
Who is L. Paul Bremer, and what was he doing in Washington at the time?
Bremer, like Bush, is a graduate of Yale and, like Bush, is also a member of the notorious Skull and Bones fraternity. After leaving government in 1989, he became managing director of Kissinger Associates, a consulting firm owned by Henry Kissinger. (It’s worth noting that Kissinger was the original choice to head the 9/11 Commission.)
In May 2003, following the introduction of “shock and awe” in Iraq, Bremer was named director of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq. Without question, he was a Republican insider. He was supposed to be on his way to New York City, to his office in the North Tower of the World Trade Center on Sept., 11 but his plane was diverted due to the events of that morning.
In addition to speculating in the interview about bin Laden’s complicity, Bremer said that “terrorists declared war on the United States, and we declared war on the terrorists.” What was this supposed to mean? Would it follow that the United States would have carte blanche to invade any country anywhere if a terrorist or terrorists were thought to be living there? Would that include Canada, Iceland, New Zealand, or France?
Bremer also said, “We can’t throw away democratic freedoms and civil liberties that are the heart of our society.”
But those liberties were not thrown away; they were taken away by Bremer’s colleagues in the Bush administration. This happened through the passage of the Patriot Act, the creation of the Transportation Security Administration, the spying on Americans by the National Security Agency, the prosecution of whistleblowers, and the stifling our 1st and 5th Amendment rights. The list is long.
Bremer continued: “There will be consequences. In fact, I hope the most severe military consequences we can come up with.”
In this he was prescient. Using the justification of 9/11, the United States invasion of Afghanistan was followed by the invasion and destruction of Iraq, the bombing of Libya into the Stone Age, the arming and aiding of Saudi Arabia in their mission to destroy Yemen, and the instigation and perpetuation of the Syrian horror. Add in drone wars and proxy wars in God-knows-how-many countries, and Bremer must have swelled with pride over the level of carnage.
Bush names bin Laden
On the evening of Sept. 11, President Bush addressed the nation from the Oval Office of the White House and said this: “Today was the Pearl Harbor of the 21st century. We think it’s Osama bin Laden.” For the second time on that day we hear the name bin Laden from a national bully pulpit.
Without a shred of evidence to support their claim, two high-profile government officials, speaking to Americans, put bin Laden in the crosshairs. He instantly became America’s public enemy number one, guilty by government decree.
The accusation was further reinforced by former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who appeared on the BBC the morning of 9/11 (even before the buildings came down) and pointed to bin Laden and al-Qaeda as likely being behind the event. He called for the U.S. to launch an “operational, concrete war on terror.”
Before the dust had settled from the destruction of the towers, Bremer and Bush, along with Barak and the worldwide media, implicated bin Laden without offering any evidence. A little more than a week later, on Sunday, Sept. 23, Colin Powell made it official. With host Tim Russert on Meet the Press, Powell named bin Laden the architect of 9/11.
Russert asked Powell for evidence, and he responded: “We are hard at work bringing all of the information together, intelligence information, law enforcement information. And I think, in the near future, we will be able to put out a white paper, a document that will be able to describe quite clearly the evidence we have linking him [bin Laden]to this attack.” He told Russert he would make it available to him once it was completed.
Fleischer slams the door
The day after Powell’s promise, the New York Times devoted a front page article to the evidence that it believed was forthcoming, citing statements by government officials that “the evidence reaches from the southern tip of Manhattan to the foothills of the Hindu Kush mountains of Afghanistan.”
But the same afternoon, Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer met with the media and said Powell’s statement of a white paper had been “misinterpreted.” There was no plan to release the information. “It is classified.”
A reporter had the audacity to ask, “Is there any plan to present to the public evidence so the average citizen, not just Americans but people all over the world, can understand the case against bin Laden”?
Fleischer’s response was predictably condescending: “In a democracy it is always important to provide the maximum amount of information possible. But I think American people understand that there are going to be times when that information cannot immediately be forthcoming.”
On one issue, Fleischer spoke truthfully: the white paper was not immediately forthcoming. In fact, it has never been produced. No white paper exists in the public domain containing forensic evidence linking Osama bin Laden to the 9/11 attacks.
The arrogance, hypocrisy, and disregard for human life of this man and the entire Bush administration cannot be overstated. American troops were about to be sent to war. Many would die or be seriously injured for life. Afghan civilians, considered collateral damage, would be killed in large numbers as always happens in war. Yet no soldier, American citizen, or Afghan citizen was allowed to see the evidence cited to justify why the United States was about to invade one of the poorest countries in the world.
It gets worse.
The NATO alliance was formed following WWll, ostensibly to protect East European countries from naked aggression by the Soviet Union. Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, which states that an attack against any member nation is an attack against all member nations, was invoked for the first time on Sept. 11, 2001. And it wasn’t a small NATO country that needed help; it was the United States of America, the most powerful country in the world.
On Sept. 12, 2001, NATO Secretary General Lord George Robertson summoned the North Atlantic Council to meet in Brussels. All 19 members agreed that the attack on the U.S. was an attack from abroad. All Robertson needed to invoke Article 5 was the responsible party with evidence to wage war on the perpetrators. He soon got what he needed, or so he thought.
U.S. State Department representative Frank Taylor met in secret with all NATO representatives on Oct. 2, 2001 and provided documents that supposedly contained “clear and compelling” evidence of bin Laden’s guilt to the Secretary General. After the meeting, Robertson met with the press and predictably said the evidence provided by Taylor was classified. In all, 29 countries joined the U.S. in the invasion of Afghanistan, including Britain, France, and Canada. They joined in the invasion of this tiny impoverished country based on “evidence” that the public could not see.
It gets even worse.
A revelation from the FBI
On June 5, 2006, investigative reporter Ed Haas from the Muckraker Reportnoticed from bin Laden’s Most Wanted Page on the FBI’s website that he was wanted for several crimes but not for 9/11. He eventually spoke with Rex Tomb, Chief of Investigative Publicity of the FBI and the exchange went like this:
Haas: “Why is there no mention of 9/11 on Osama bin Laden’s Most Wanted web page?”
Tomb: “The reason why 9/11 is not mentioned on Osama bin Laden’s web page is because the FBI has no hard evidence connecting bin Laden to 9/11.”
Haas: “How is this possible”?
Tomb: “The FBI gathers evidence. Once evidence is gathered it is turned over to the Department of Justice who then decides whether it has enough evidence to present to a grand jury. In the case of bin Laden he has not been formally indicted and charged because the FBI has no hard evidence connecting bin Laden to 9/11.”
So how does this work? Bremer, hours after the towers were destroyed, blamed bin Laden. Bush, later that day, blamed bin Laden. Powell days later on national television claimed to have solid evidence of bin Laden’s guilt. Taylor supposedly turned over “clear and compelling evidence” of bin Laden’s guilt to the head of the NATO Alliance a few weeks after 9/11. Yet, the chief law enforcement agency in the United States, the FBI, admitted years later that they have “no hard evidence connecting bin Laden to 9/11.”
It should also be mentioned that a “confession video” by bin Laden was found in Afghanistan in December 2001, which was immediately used to bolster the claim of bin Laden’s guilt. The video was soon debunked by a leading expert on bin Laden, professor Bruce Lawrence of Duke University, who called the tape “bogus.”
This also begs the question as to why, if authentic, the tape was not used on bin Laden’s Most Wanted Page in the FBI file. One also has to wonder why this evidence, unlike all the other evidence the Bush administration claimed to have in its possession, was widely disseminated to the public while the rest remained classified.
And it gets worse yet!
Bush refuses to show proof
The evidence presented to NATO by Frank Taylor was in document form and immediately classified by U.S. and NATO authorities.
Before the U.S. began bombing Afghanistan, the country’s Taliban government offered to extradite bin Laden pending receipt of evidence of his guilt. But Bush refused the offer.
Could Bush have avoided the Global War on Terror by turning over the “clear and compelling” evidence in the Frank Taylor documents? The simple answer is no. There was no evidence to turn over.
The State Department documents were declassified in 2008 with little fanfare. Dr. Niels Harrit, a former professor of chemistry at the University of Copenhagen—now a researcher and writer active in the 9/11 Truth Movement—found them, and in an article on the Global Research website exposed them for public scrutiny.
According to Harrit’s assessment, “There is absolutely no forensic evidence that the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated from Afghanistan.” He goes on: “Only a small part of the introductory text deals with 9/11. The main body of the text deals with the alleged actions of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in the nineties.”
There isn’t now, nor was there ever, any evidence to connect Osama bin Laden to 9/11!
An addendum to the story, and certainly red meat for conspiracy theorists, seems to make the government’s case against bin Laden even more contrived. In a segment on NBC Nightly News with Dan Rather on Jan. 28, 2002, foreign correspondent Barry Peterson, standing in front of a military hospital in Pakistan, reported that bin Laden was getting a dialysis treatment on Sept. 10, 2001, a day prior to 9/11. According to Peterson, “He [bin Laden]arrived at the hospital in Rawalpindi under heavy security provided by the Pakistan secret service (ISI).”
If the report is accurate, it would be reasonable to wonder how an NBC News crew tracked down bin Laden while George Bush with 19 intelligence agencies at his disposal, never had a clue about his whereabouts.
We might also ask why Pakistan, an ally of the United States, didn’t turn bin Laden over to U.S. authorities after escorting him to one of his hospital visits. And we might wonder how bin Laden commuted from the mountains in Tora Bora to a hospital and back three times a week for kidney dialysis treatments.
And, years later, we might wonder why there is not a shred of evidence that supports the claim that bin Laden was killed in a Navy Seals raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan on May 2, 2011, as was reported and heralded by the Obama administration.
Public enemy number one
In a press conference at the White House on Sept. 13, 2001, President Bush said, “The most important thing for us is to find Osama bin Laden. It is our number one priority, and we won’t rest until we find him.” It is important to note that by that date the government had still not declared publicly that there was evidence against bin Laden. He was guilty by decree only.
On March 13, 2002, less than seven months after the beginning of the Global War on Terror, justified by 9/11 and the accusations against bin Laden, Bush said this: “I don’t know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don’t care. It’s not that important. It is not our priority.”
Then, in a speech delivered to a group of military officers on Sept. 5, 2006, Bush compared bin Laden to Lenin and Hitler. He said: “The world had ignored the writings of Lenin and Hitler and paid a terrible price. Bin Laden and his terrorist allies have made their intentions as clear as Lenin and Hitler before them.
Imagine if Winston Churchill had said that, “I really don’t care, it’s not that important, he is not our priority” when speaking about Hitler during the Battle of Britain? The absurd comparison to Hitler and the disparity, going back and forth from monster to afterthought and back to monster when speaking about bin Laden, in my view, speaks volumes.
Most citizens of the United States are decent and law abiding. Most pay their taxes willingly in a timely fashion. Most try to raise their families and teach them the difference between right and wrong. Most Americans are patriotic. Most would never harm anyone unless provoked. Most have integrity, decency, and values. Many have worn the uniform and taken an oath to serve and protect. So is it inappropriate to ask why our government and the press treat all of us like children? The bin Laden story is a testament to this along with the entire Global War on Terror, a complete fraud that has caused so much devastation to our reputation in the world and to the lives of millions in the Middle East and elsewhere.
If there is no clear, compelling evidence against the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, would it be fair to say that the Global War on Terror in its entirety, including the invasions, the bombings, the drone strikes, the millions killed, the tens of millions of refugees, all of the families destroyed, all of the despair and loss of hope the United States has brought to bear in so many parts of the world, is a fraud?
One would think.