The CEO of the institute that I currently work for, Hauptman-Woodward Medical Reasearch Institute (HWI) has been in the media twice in the past several months to discuss some of the work that we are involved in. Both times he has said something to the effect of:

"They made me say things that I didn't say."
"They made me seem like my opinion was the complete opposite of what it is."

Personally, I don't trust the media. This is one of the reasons why I have killed my television. If your really interested in why try reading Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television by Jerry Mander.

What does this have to do with the price of rice in china, you ask? Osama bin Laden is no different from the CEO that I have mentioned. His opinion is not in agreement with the media's opinion. His needs and desires are quite simple, but still despised. They are:

1. Get those stinking American soldiers out of my country.
2. Those countries who claim to be Islamic countries better act it.

I'm not going to tell you that Osama bin Laden isn't a bad man. I'll let you decide for yourself. What I am going to do is try and give you the other side of the story. I will admit that since I am a Muslim, and agree with Osama bin Laden's goals it will be slightly biased. On the other hand, unlike the media, I have nothing to gain if you believe me. So, why should I lie?

I don't have much to say about the first request, since I am not very much into politics. I do know one thing though, America needs to stop playing world police. The second request is the topic of this discussion.

Those countries who claim to be Islamic countries better act it.

Islam is described in its node as a religion. It is really more than that. It is a complete way of life. I will use the word dean instead of religion. The dean of Islam touches on every topic in ones life that one needs to sustain his life, it is an instruction book from God if you will. Included in this dean is a system of government, punishment for crimes and many other laws that must be imposed an Islamic country. Islam has no problem with other countries, such as America, doing as they wish. As long as they don't have a law in their country that says kill Muslims, we are fine with them. When we come to your land, we will follow your laws and when you come to our land, you follow our laws. You don't like it, get out of our country. Here is probably a good place to note that it is required that a muslim move out of a country who's laws do not allow him to practice dean. So therefore Islam itself orders "if you can't follow their laws, get out of their country".

Saudi Arabia (and many others) claims to be an Islamic countrie. But when it comes time to get the punishment for a crime they look at how much money you make. If you are poor you get your hand cut off, if you are rich, nothing. This is not Islam, this is oppression. Many muslim scholars are locked up in Saudi Arabian jails because they spoke against the government. This is not Islam, this is oppression.

Osama bin Laden, at one point in his life decided to give up his status as one of the rich and powerful Saudi figures. He decided that it was time that someone stood up against these so called Islamic countries. With that, he has also declared that he is going to stand up against the governments that are helping protect these so called Islamic governments, hence America. If the American government would stop sticking its very long nose into the Middle East's buisness, we wouldn't be having the problems that we are having.

In defense of America, they do have reason to fear:

First of all, the fighters that Osama bin Laden is involved with are very special people. If you look into Islamic history you will find that generally muslim mujahids aren't afraid of death. They actually welcome it. Because of this they have been able to overcome incredible odds. Armies from Afghanistan, which Osama bin Laden is involved in training, have won battles in which they were out numbered 10 to 1, and were the technological underdog. It would be very bad if a large army such as this were to be released against American troops. Right now, it isn't so bad, we could just nuke them. But if they were to become more powerful and obtain nuclear weapons, it could turn into quite a mess.

Second of all, should Osama gain reign over the Saudi government he will certainly raise the price of oil. America certainly doesn't want this. He who owns the oil owns the world. Right now America's puppets own the oil.

These are of course two or the many reasons why America has is troops in Saudi Arabia, and part of the reason why Osama bin Laden wants those stinking American troops out of his country.

I hope I haven't gone on too many tangents here. I have a habit of speaking/writing without following any true agenda. I'm sorry for that, it's my own fault.

From what I've heard from sources other than the media, he is a practicing muslim. If you have ever met a muslim, not just any muslim but a practicing muslim, you know that they aren't shady. They say what they mean and they mean what they say. They will admit to you that they aren't perfect, they make mistakes, but they will point out their mistakes and advise you to not do the same. They are pious, and always trying to make the other guy look good. Osama is very much that type of a person. He doesn't act like an important world figure. He gives all the credit to the people who have died fighting. He has given up his entire millionaire lifestyle to live in a trench, because of what he believes in. That takes a certain amount of spiritual peace that certainly I, and possibly you, will never achieve.

Osama bin Muhammad bin Awad bin Laden, the seventeenth of fifty-two children of Muhammad bin Laden, a wealthy Saudi Arabian construction magnate, is a religious fundamentalist considered responsible for many acts of terrorism in the world. Born in 1958, bin Laden grew to be an intensely religious man after his interest was piqued by mosques in Mecca and Medina that his family was rebuilding.

The billionaire family's ties with Saudi royalty gave them free rein for construction contracts - building roads across the vast deserts of Saudi Arabia. Bin Laden himself was well-educated, with a degree in Civil Engineering. He would have lived abroad peacefully, but the USSR invaded Afghanistan in 1979. Bin Laden was a part of the 1980s Jihad (a holy war) against the USSR. With a strange twist of fate, it was the USA that funded this effort. Bin Laden did everything from recruiting troops to supplying weapons and vehicles. Despite inadvertent CIA help, bin Laden maintained a distance from the US. It was obvious he didn't like America any more than the Soviet Union.

In the mid-80s, bin Laden co-founded the Maktab al-Khidamat (MAK, "Services Office") to continue funding for recruitement and supplies to the Afghan resistance. He also took strong stances on the various Palestine issues. In 1988, bin Laden formed the Al-Qa'ida ("the base"), his main headquarters in Afghanistan. In 1989, the MAK split when the other co-founder died; the extremists threw their support in with bin Laden. He described the Al-Qa'ida as an organization to:

"... unite all Muslims and establish a government which follows the rule of the Caliphs."1

In 1992, bin Laden found a reason to start his own personal war with the US. The US-led UN-sanctioned Marines aiding in a famine in Somalia were shot at by bin Laden's forces, using AK-47's (a cult favorite among terrorists) and rocket launchers. Bin Laden pointed out that the US was interfering in Muslim territory; indeed, there were some warring Muslims stopping relief to many Somalians. Bin Laden claimed that the relief effort wasn't the real mission of the Americans.

"The American imposes himself on everyone. Americans accuse our children in Palestine of being terrorists--those children, who have no weapons and have not even reached maturity. At the same time, Americans defend a country, the state of the Jews, that has a policy to destroy the future of these children.

"We are sure of our victory against the Americans and the Jews as promised by the Prophet: Judgment day shall not come until the Muslim fights the Jew, where the Jew will hide behind trees and stones, and the tree and the stone will speak and say, 'Muslim, behind me is a Jew. Come and kill him.'"
2

On February 23, 1993, bin Laden did the unthinkable - he attacked America on its own turf. A truck rolled near the World Trade Center in New York and exploded - 6 people were killed; 1000+ were injured in the gas explosion. Although the FBI managed to name the man who planned the bombing as one Ramzi Yousef, they could not determine immediately who he was working for. After months of tedious search, Yousef's connections with a group funded by bin Laden became clear. Once again, bin Laden came in the spotlight, although he later denied any connections with Yousef. Yousef was captured in 1995 in a known bin Laden-controlled location.

In October 1993, bin Laden's men in Somalia shot down 2 US helicopters. 18 US soliders died. Again, bin Laden explained his actions as a counterattack against the US's foul intentions for the area. In December 1994, bin Laden's men used liquid explosives to kill one and injure ten in a Philippine Airlines bombing. By this time, bin Laden's extremist agenda and constant criticism of the Saudi government forced him to flee and live in nearby Sudan. However, by 1996, he would be residing in Afghanistan permanently, after being chased out of Sudan because of an assassination attempt against Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.

Five US military men were killed in Riyadh in 1995. In 1996, shortly before his relocation to Afghanistan, the Khobar Towers, a US military barracks in Saudi Arabia, was bombed - 19 personnel died; hundreds were injured. It was the strongest attack against the US in more than a decade.

"American history does not distinguish between civilians and military, not even women and children. They are the ones who used bombs against Nagasaki. Can these bombs distinguish between infants and military? America does not have a religion that will prevent it from destroying all people."3

On August 7, 1998, two United States embassies in Africa were bombed by bin Laden's men. One was in Nairobi, Kenya, where 224 people died with over 5000 injured; the other was in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where 11 people died. Both bombings utilized truck bombs. Bin Laden's mode of operation was emerging - he used relatively low-tech bombing styles to obtain a highly effective message by targetting important facilities. Truck bombs are crude - and highly effective in open locations with dense population. Unlike his contemporaries, bin Laden did not invest too much time in "high tech" biological warfare or nuclear capability - he used the tried-and-true methods of guerilla warfare, adapted to the modern world.

In late August, President Clinton mandated a bombing of bin Laden's Afghanistan base, the Al-Qa'ida. While the base was thoroughly demolished, and there were casualties, bin Laden and his top henchmen escaped and went into seclusion in the country. Later that year, in December, 16 tourists (all Western) were taken hostage by tribesmen from Yemen. After a two hour fight, 4 people died and 2 were injured. Again, bin Laden was labelled as the instigator.

Osama bin Laden is believed to be one of the major suspects of the destruction of the World Trade Center and the damaging attack on the Pentagon in 2001. He, and the Taliban government of Afghanistan, deny his involvement. Bin Laden is particularly dangerous because of his religious fanaticism, his skewed views on peace efforts, his indifference to distinguishing citizens from military personnel, the charisma to attract youth for his cause, and the financial strength to plan and fund his operations. Note that bin Laden's first name is often written as "Usama" (as in his FBI profile) or "Ussama".

Note: For more information on the Al-Qa'ida, The Smoking Gun has uploaded 3 scans of the CIA's unclassified fact sheet of Osama bin Laden. They are available at: http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/binladen1.shtml for anyone interested.


Specific Sources:
1 The CIA's unclassified fact sheet for Osama bin Laden; available online at http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/binladen1.shtml
2 John Miller's interview for Frontline; available online at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/binladen/who/miller.html
3 As above
General Sources:
"Greetings, America. My Name is Osama Bin Laden". http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/binladen/who/miller.html
"Profile of a Private Terrorist". http://abcnews.go.com/sections/world/DailyNews/terror_binladin_990110.html
"FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitive". http://www.fbi.gov/mostwant/topten/fugitives/laden.htm
"Unclassified CIA Fact Sheet". http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/binladen1.shtml

Why Osama Bin Laden doesn’t like the Unites States of America

It troubles me to hear our president saying things like, "Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. . ."

"Americans are asking, why do they hate us? They hate what we see right here in this chamber -- a democratically elected government. Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedoms -- our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other. "

(from the Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People - Sep. 20th, 2001)
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/09/20010920-8.html

Terrorists may or may not be freedom hating crazy people, but that's not why they (especially the al-Qaeda) hate the US. Rather, they have some fairly specific gripes about our foreign policy, especially concerning the middle east. Their motives are not mysterious; Osama bin Laden has been quite vocal about his complaints, which are mainly:

(1) Our establishment of permanent bases in Saudi Arabia (which he liked to Russia's occupation of Afghanistan), as well as other bases in the middle east.

(2) Our support of Israel's military occupation. He cites numerous incidents of humiliation, subjugation, and killing of Palestinians which are made possible by our diplomatic, economic, and military support.

(3) The joint US/British assault against the people of Iraq, which he blames not only for hundreds of thousands of deaths, but also strengthening Saddam Hussein's control of the area.

Despite the excellent posts above, I thought a distillation was in order. I'm not saying these complaints are legitimate, or that if they were legitimate they would justify terrorism, but they are something that as a nation we need to be aware of, and address.

Foreword to the Foreword: This was originally written about a month after the events of September 11, 2001. The information contained within is consistant with that available at that time, and was the best the I could pull up. If you have more accurate information, or corrections of any kind, /msg me. I just put this up because there is a serious lack of biographical information on E2.

Foreword:Compiling a biography of the world’s most elusive man proved most taxing. Osama bin Laden (AKA Usamah bin Ladin AKA Ulsammah bin Mohammed bin Laden to name a couple aliases) was born into the Arab world in a time when record keeping was not of the importance it is now. It therefore is most difficult to collect accurate, specific information on his upbringing. For instance, there are no concrete documents giving the year of his birth, the origin of his mother, or the number of siblings he has. Many in the Western world are just now scrambling to account for Osama bin Laden’s early life. At this time, and perhaps for all time, only a silhouette of his formative years may be derived. 

Osama’s adulthood and early activities are not much better lit for the eye of the scholar. The growth of his fortune, his ties with the US in the early 1980s, and the formation of Al Qaeda are still shrouded in mystery. Found in the following document is a checked (or at least corroborated) narrative regarding the life of Osama bin Laden. The author has tried to divine the truth from many sources through cross-checking and analysis. All seriously questionable or unsubstantiated information was left out. This does not mean, however, the contents of this document are infallible.

Life of Osama bin Laden

Osama bin Laden is considered a savior by millions of disenchanted extremist Muslims in the Middle and Far East. He is also believed to be the most wicked man alive by billions of those who live in his crosshairs. Bin Laden’s religious zeal, multi-million dollar fortune, and his warped genius make him an extremely dangerous man to any and all who he can reach. Considering his network of terrorist operatives in the Philippines, N. Korea, Russia, the European Union, Latin America and the United States, Osama bin Laden is an extremely dangerous man to almost all of Earth’s 6.5 billion people.

Bin Laden claims to be the mastermind of terrorist strikes on targets held by Israel, the United States, and several moderate Islamic states. Unfortunately, due to the nature of his operations, it is hard to bring forward concrete prove of his guilt. He is, however, a prime suspect in the bombings of US embassies in Nairobi, the bombing of the USS Cole, and assassination plans of the Pope and President Clinton (cnn.com). He is linked with the terrorists who set up the Lockerby, Scotland plane explosion and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Most recently, and perhaps most unsettling, he has claimed responsibility for the hijacking of four commercial airliners which kamikaze bombed US landmarks on September 11, 2001. The two World Trade Center towers were completely demolished when a hijacked plane hit each of the 110 story towers. The Pentagon, godhead of the United States military, was severely damaged when another jet plane careened into it’s side. The fourth plane, which crashed in Somerset, Pennsylvania, was apparently headed toward the White House. If the strikes on each of these targets were successful, (I.E. each target utterly destroyed) The United States would be without it’s military guidance, financial infrastructure, and president. The man behind these attacks could have crippled the strongest nation of earth.

Understanding bin Laden’s background is key to understanding his motivation. Although the Osama’s history is at times sketchy, a general picture of his upbringing can be derived. The chronicle of Osama bin Laden’s life begins with his father.

Mohammed Awad bin Laden came to Saudi Arabia from the south of Yemen in 1930. From his humble beginnings, (sources give an account of bin Laden’s father as a porter) slowly he amassed great wealth as a contractor. The bin Laden construction company became, and is to this day, one of the largest and most prosperous contracting companies in the Arab world. The Bin Laden Construction Group is worth an estimated $5 billion US. (ABC News Int’l.)

The Bin Laden Construction Group, as it is now most often called, has its’ share of foggy history; like most of the bin Laden family’s activities. What is known, however, is that the company began its successful climb into the business world in the mid 1960s. Bin Laden renovated the palace of Saudi Arabia’s then king Abdul Aziz. The king was apparently very pleased with bin Laden’s work and granted the company exclusive entitlements to all Islam based construction work, in both Medina and Mecca. Being that the Arab world is an intensely fervent Islamic area, and the Medina and Mecca are two of the holiest cities in Islam, this grant funneled exceptional wealth into the bin Laden family and company (“Frontline”: pbs.org).

King Saud, the ruler of Saudi Arabia in the 1960’s, had bin Laden contracted to renovate all his palaces. With the extensive renovation of palaces and holy sites in Medina and Mecca, the bin Laden family gained access to, and eventually friendship with the Saudi royal family.

When King Saud left (in part due to Awad bin Laden’s advice) during the Saud-Faisal power struggle, the country’s treasury was left empty. In a show of wealth and friendliness to the new King Faisal, the bin Laden Company paid the Saudi government’s employees for 6 months. This cemented the bin Laden family and corporation into the good favor of the Saudi government, and the bin Laden family drew even more prestigious. The bin Laden children went to the same schools as the royal family, as well as many other aristocrats in the Arab world. Connections of this type would later help the bin Laden’s, especially Osama, to gain favors and tributes (“Frontline”: pbs.org).

The wealth gained by the company in renovation contracts gave way to their expansion into the entire Arab world. The company spread out into Africa and most Islamic nations; forming the bin Laden “Group”, as it is now known. One branch of the bin Laden group, operating in Egypt, employs 40,000 people (msnbc.com/news).

Osama bin Laden was born in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in 1958, the son of Mohammed Awad bin Laden and a Syrian mother. He is the 17th son of a house of over fifty children (“Frontline”: pbs.org). Osama, himself one of the many beneficiaries of his father’s construction cartel, grew up in an extremely wealthy household. This household was also home to diligent observers of Islam. Osama’s father was a man fervent in practicing his Islamic faith, and this was heavily impressed on all of his children. Awad bin Laden taught all his children to be confident and mature, and he took care to ensure equal treatment of his many children (“Frontline”: pbs.org).

Awad bin Laden died in a plane crash in Texas, when Osama was just 13 years old. Osama’s original inheritance from Awad’s death was $80 million US, which he turned into an estimated $250 million US. He married at 17 years old, and has since attained 3 additional wives and fathered more than 10 children. Bin Laden graduated from the prestigious King Abdul Aziz University, with a degree in civil engineering.

Aside from the family business and his children, he found himself devoted to studying “Wahhabism” at King Abdul Aziz University (“Frontline”: pbs.org). Wahhabism found its roots in the 1700s, with a Sunni man named Mohammad bin Abd al Wahhab. Wahhab believed that since the death of the Prophet Mohammed, all of Islam has been corrupted. Wahhabism rejects any religious scholarship of the past thousand years, and advocates a return to “true” Islam (www.lib.ecu.edu). The Wahhab sect dominates Saudi Arabia, Osama bin Laden’s homeland.

In Western eyes, the Arab world is generally divided into 2 main categories: Moderates and extremists. The first category, the “moderates”, account for the majority of the Middle East. These are countries that share non-violent relations with the United States and other world powers. Members of this group include Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and most other OPEC countries in the region. Most moderate nations find dealing with the West a positive and tremendously lucrative experience.

The second category, the “extremists”, are more vital to the origins of bin Laden’s motives. Wahhabism is closely related to the extremist movement. The extremists are composed of those who have hostile relations with the West, or harbor groups that do. Extremist countries are numerous, and many have unstable regime governments. These nations include Syria, Yemen, Iran, Egypt, Libya, Iraq, Jordan, Afghanistan, Palestine (though not considered a nation), and others.

Osama bin Laden belongs to this second classification of people. He and others in this class believe that the religion of Islam, the dominant religion in the Middle East, cannot be practiced precisely with a separation of church and state. According to their doctrine of Wahhabism, the state should hold true to Islamic law and the Muslims that live in that country are accountable to them.

Many extremist Muslims, as they are often referred to, feel the United States is corrupting and imperializing the Arab world. Through the United States’ involvement in the oil industry, the funding of the anti-Islamic Israel, and American social groups in the Arab world, the US has influenced and shaped Islam. Extremists deem this as wrong. They want to “cleanse” the westernized moderate Islamic nations and purge all western involvement from the Arab world. This has been Osama bin Laden’s creed and his call of action to others (fatwah: The Islamic World Front for the struggle against the Jews and the Crusaders).

Bin Laden, and his other associates in the Arab world, are currently embroiled in what Muslims call “Jihad”. Jihad is an old Arabic term found in the Qu’ran, which means “Holy War”. The Qu’ran advocates killing only in the protection of Islam and it’s people. A jihad may be called to serve this purpose only. Since bin Laden, as well as many other extremist factions, believe the US is corrupting Islamic values and countries; they have called for a jihad.  Extremist Muslims are taking aim at the United States and their influenced counterparts in the Middle East. The goal of this jihad is to “cleanse” the Arab world of Western infidels, overthrow moderate states, and impose a “pure” and strict Islamic rule. Accordingly, all terrorist attacks staged by bin Laden have been aimed at the United States, or the US backed Israelis.

Osama bin Laden began his long career of waging jihad in 1979, when he went on a trip into Afghanistan with some Islamic militia members (Frontline: pbs.org). This trip happened to coincide with the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan, which would continue for a decade. The invasion of Afghanistan, an extremely passionate Muslim nation, urged Osama into action. He returned to Saudi Arabia, and enlisted the help of his brothers. Together they donated money and supplies to the Afghan fighters. His support of the Afghanis in this manner continued for three years; each year he went personally to take supplies to the Afghani fighters.

Then in 1982, Osama himself began to personally fight against the Soviet Union’s attempt at expansion. He went into combat areas and fought along side the Mujahedeen. As one story goes, he was using one of the bin Laden Company’s tractors to dig a trench, and was subsequently shot at by Soviet fighters (cnn.com). He also went into unorganized fighting areas and helped coordinate strikes and movements. This gave him combat experience, extensive knowledge of the Afghan interior, and the admiration loyalty of Afghani nationalists. In 1995, Osama had this to say about the Soviet-Afghani war:

            "To counter these atheist Russians, the Saudis chose me as their representative in Afghanistan... I did not fight against the communist threat while forgetting the peril from the West."

"For us, the idea was not to get involved more than necessary in the fight against the Russians, which was the business of the Americans, but rather to show our solidarity with our Islamist brothers. I discovered that it was not enough to fight in Afghanistan, but that we had to fight on all fronts against communist or Western oppression. The urgent thing was communism, but the next target was America... This is an open war up to the end, until victory." (pbs.org)

Ironically, the Afghan also received aid from the United States. The extent of bin Laden’s affiliation with the US is debated. Some report bin Laden and many upper level members of the Mujahedeen were trained in Ireland by the CIA, in conjunction with Great Britain’s MI6 spy agency (news.independent.co.uk). Although speculative, the claim has some backing. The US, in its policy of Soviet containment, trained and funded many freedom fighters all over the world, including those Cuba and Iran. What is certain, however, is that in the final years of the Soviet-Afghani war, the CIA sent billions of US dollars in arms and funds to Afghanistan (time.com). No doubt much of this money went directly into the hands of Osama bin Laden.

Osama helped to organize the Maktab al-Khidamat (MAK) with Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood member Abdallah Azzam. Azzam was a very influential man to bin Laden, his zeal and activism transferred and multiplied bin Laden’s sentiments. Azzam believed in supporting Muslim military offensives to separate the Muslim and Western world. He also helped spread information to the Muslim world. Their organization, the MAK, or “Service Office” helped to recruit, transport, and fund fighters from fifty countries, including the United States of America (state.gov).

In order to facilitate movement in Afghanistan of all the recruits of the resistance, bin Laden created a midway point for the Mujahedeen (Muslim fighters). This point, opened in 1984, processed and sent out each recruit to training facilities held by the resistance. It was called the “Guesthouse” by many because of the passing of recruits through it (“FrontLine”: pbs.org).

The “Guesthouse” in the mid to late 1980’s was to become the center of all bin Laden’s actions in Afghanistan. The most important of which would give bin Laden’s later terrorist network its name. In 1988, the Guesthouse was receiving many inquiries regarding the whereabouts of Afghani freedom fighters. Bin Laden setup the Guesthouse as a tracking point for all resistance members, keeping tabs on their arrivals and departures. Because of this, the Guesthouse was renamed “Al Qaeda”, which is an Arabic phrase meaning "The Base." The Base was later coined to mean anything bin Laden had association with, especially his terrorist efforts (Al Qaeda source: pbs.org).

Bin Laden began to form his own training camps, with the cooperation of the MAK. Osama and the MAK started at least 6 training camps for the Afghani fighters in Afghanistan itself and neighboring Pakistan, itself a friend of bin Laden at the time. These camps were the prototypes that evolved into bin Laden’s terrorist training bases in the early 90’s (cnn.com).

Azzam and bin Laden parted company in the late 1980s. Azzam was more interested in funding military offenses in the Arab world, while the more aggressive bin Laden wanted a worldwide campaign. Bin Laden’s group gained influence in 1989, when Azzam was assassinated in a car bomb incident. Azzam’s MAK split, with the more extreme members going on to join bin Laden (Profile Usamah bin Laden: fbi.gov). The United Nations, the CIA, and the FBI recognize bin Laden and his followers by the name Al Qaeda, so the name stuck.

After 10 long years of fighting, the Soviet Union retreated, mostly due to the efforts of bin Laden and the Mujahedeen fighters (the USSR’s internal conflicts no doubt quickened their withdrawal). Osama had gained the respect of millions of Muslims, the loyalty of more than ten thousand seasoned fighters, and a prestigious military organization in Afghanistan. More importantly, however, he learned that passionate rebels could indeed defeat a world superpower.

After the Soviet-Afghan war, bin Laden returned to Saudi Arabia with a zeal and a mission. He studied with many scholars and negotiated with countless aristocrats and leaders. Osama would soon use his acquired knowledge, money, and influence to wage Jihad against a long-standing corruptor of Muslim values, the United States. Bin Laden used some of his $250 million US fortune to open additional training camps and recruit more Mujahedeen. By 1995 there were over 50 training and base encampments in Al Qaeda’s network, preparing and indoctrinating thousands for war.

These trainees spread out all over the Earth, most staying the Middle East or Africa, but some heading to places like the Philippines, Russia, China, and the United States (fas.org). The most troubling aspect of the terrorists Al Qaeda trains is their independence of bin Laden. Most of the people who train in the camps never see bin Laden himself, and once they finish training, are given no central orders other than to kill Americans. Since trainees have no close relations to Al Qaeda, it is hard to catch Al Qaeda terrorists, and ever harder to identify bin Laden as a sponsor of terrorist acts (Profile Usamah bin Laden: fbi.gov).

Aside from funding Al Qaeda and training camps, bin Laden became active in uniting the numerous jihad factions in the Arab world. He became chairman of the Jihad Committee, which includes the Egyptian Islamic Group and the Jihad Organization in Yemen, the Pakistani al-Hadith group, the Lebanese Partisans League, the Libyan Islamic Group, Bayt al-Imam Group in Jordan, and the Islamic Group in Algeria (http://www.intellnet.org). This was the best and most comprehensive organization of extremist Muslims yet, and helped solidify bin Laden as a leader in the Arab world.

The end of bin Laden’s good standing in Saudi Arabia came with the Gulf war. A crisis arose in 1990 regarding the Hussein dictatorship in Iraq, a close neighbor of Saudi Arabia. The Saudi government, who then thought themselves on good terms with Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, wanted to keep quiet. Bin Laden was at that time giving talks and advice about a pending Iraqi invasion (Al Qaeda source: pbs.org). The Saudi government put him under house arrest to silence him, in hopes of appeasing Hussein.

Osama sent the Saudi royal family a series of notes, offering advice and his services. He offered to quell the Iraqi invasion using only Mujahedeen fighters, in an effort to keep American support out of the conflict. The Saudi royal government refused the offer. When Iraq invaded Kuwait in August of 1990 the United States (with sanctions by the Saudi government) responded with a massive show of firepower. This move angered Osama, who saw this as unnecessary intrusion by the US. Osama began to organize a camp into action in his hometown of Jeddah, but the camp was raided and dispersed by the Saudi royal family (Al Qaeda source: pbs.org).

Soon after the war, bin Laden was exiled from his homeland. The headquarters of Al Qaeda was then moved in 1992 from Saudi Arabia to Khartoum, Sudan. Sudan had earlier announced a policy that would allow any Muslim inside its borders without a visa, in a show of Islamic solidarity. Many terrorists moved to Sudan as a result, considering it a safe haven. (New York Times 9/21/98)

Being exiled from his homeland by the pressure of the West, Osama bin Laden’s hatred for the United States came to a head. His sentiments were acted upon shortly thereafter. The first strike in bin Laden’s jihad against the United States was in 1992. A hotel was bombed in Aden, Yemen, which was home to US servicemen. The attack killed two tourists, but no Americans.

On February 23, 1993, a truck bomb in the parking garage of the World Trade Center killed six and injured hundreds (Terrorism timeline: infoplease.com). The bomb caused $20 million US in damage to the trade center. More chillingly, however, are reports that a chemical weapons were set to go off as part of the bomb, but were incinerated in the intense heat. Investigations in 1994 reveal the attack plan included hijacking a plane and smashing it into CIA headquarters (Terrorism timeline: infoplease.com). The Egyptian group behind the act was reportedly funded by bin Laden.

Osama and his loosely knit Al Qaeda then focused their energies on United States troops in Somalia. The US troops were sent to stabilize the area and provide food for the Somali people; they faced a belligerent regime in the midst of civil war. Osama's associates in several camps reportedly trained Somali militia to shoot down US helicopters using rocket-propelled grenades. In 1993, this same tactic was used in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, and brought down 2 US Blackhawk helicopters (thenewrepublic.com). The fighting killed 18 American servicemen.

Bin Laden was expelled from Sudan in 1995, when the bombing of a military base in Riyadh killed five Americans and two Indians. The United States, as well as Saudi Arabia, and Yemen, pressured the Sudan government into deporting bin Laden. Thus, he moved Al Qaeda once again to Afghanistan, where it began and where it remains to this date. Since 1995, bin Laden has been the “guest” of the Taliban regime that rules Afghanistan.

Bin Laden was reportedly shopping on the Russian black market in mid 1995. Allegedly, he was looking to purchase a nuclear weapon. When his attempts failed, he funded research in chemical and biological weaponry, and possibly detonated one such device. When confronted by ABC’s John Miller in a 1998 interview, Bin Laden told him that the development of such weapons was his “religious duty”.

Osama officially stated his hatred for the United States in August of 1996. At that time he prepared and released a “Declaration of War” against the US, calling all Muslims to take up arms. When anti-U.S. attacks did not materialize immediately, he explained the delay:

"If we wanted to carry out small operations, it would have been easy to do so immediately after the statements. Even the nature of the battle requires good preparation."  (Press release: state.gov)

Two months later in November 1996, he praised the bombings in Riyadh and at Khobar in Saudi Arabia. He also admitted to orchestrating the attacks in Somalia and Yemen.

In February 1998, bin Laden announced the formation of an umbrella organization called “The Islamic World Front for the struggle against the Jews and the Crusaders.” This group is dedicated to the destruction of the state of Israel, the dissolution of the Saudi government, and the total annihilation of the United States (www.intellnet.org). In their first official duties, the organization released a fatwah, or “call” to all Muslims. Part of the fatwah is contained below:

The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies--civilians and military--is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy mosque from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam, defeated and unable to threaten any Muslim. (ict.org)

In a show of sincerity regarding the fatwah, Al Qaeda struck again on August 7, 1998. The United States Embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, were car bombed simultaneously. The most deadly of attacks up until that time, 224 people were killed and 5,000 others were injured (Press release: state.gov). Although both of the buildings stood standing after the attack, they were a total loss. Many buildings in the adjacent area, however, were completely destroyed.

Osama's declaration of war and successful attacks on US targets finally brought him into the sights of the US military. In August of 1998, President Bill Clinton ordered strategic air strikes on Al Qaeda bases Sudan and Afghanistan. The air raids killed 15 people, according to Taliban reports. However, these attacks would not perturb Al Qaeda's war against the West. In December of 1999, Algerian Ahmed Ressam was arrested on the US-Canada border with a trunk full of explosives and timing devices. He told interrogators that he had been trained in one of bin Laden's many Afghani camps. Upon searching Ressam's house, investigators found a map of Los Angeles International Airport (Law Center: cnn.com). Speculation has led to the notion that Ressam had planned to attack Los Angeles International on New Years Eve. This attack had failed, but it wasn't the end of Al Qaeda's jihad.

Seventeen US sailors were killed and 39 others were injured when suicide bombers attacked the USS Cole. The Cole attack occurred in Aden, Yemen, (also the site of bin Laden's first terrorist act) on October 12, 2000. An unknown number of men approached the Cole with a small boat laden with explosives, and detonated the charge when they had reached the destroyer. The force of the bomb left a 40x40 foot hole in the hull of the USS Cole (US State Dept.). Investigations led to the discovery that a small group of bin Laden trained terrorists had planned out the bombing months in advance. In a recruitment video for Al Qaeda, Osama takes credit for the attack (Al Qaeda: infoplease.com).

Following the bombing of the USS Cole, Osama bin Laden sank into seclusion, most likely in the hills of Afghanistan. In the coming months, he would prepare and execute an apparently long-planned and extensively networked terrorist attack. Bin Laden's next act would be his most infamous and horrific.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, a group of terrorists boarded four planes in the East coast of the United States, bound for California. These four planes, loaded with highly flammable jet fuel are one by one hijacked and their courses changed. Almost simultaneously, two hijacked planes hit each of the 110 story World Trade Center towers, and one hit the Pentagon. A fourth hijacked plane, believed to be en route to the White House, was reclaimed by her passengers and sent hurtling into the ground at Somerset, Pennsylvania.

The World Trade Center towers, which at the time housed more than 50,000 people, burst into flames. Dozens of people leaped to their deaths to escape the 4000° inferno that melted steel and cement (cnn.com). Thousands of people rushed the emergency stairs and made 60, 70 or 80 story descents. By 10:30AM, both towers had collapsed.

At 9:40AM by hijacked flight 77 careened into the newly renovated side of the Pentagon (Sept. 11 timeline: infoplease.com). Although the new construction work had helped limit damage, the entire side was obliterated.  There were over two hundred people deaths in the Pentagon attack, sixty-four of which were the hijacked passengers.

At 10:00AM, a hijacked plane crashed in Somerset County, about 80 miles outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Later revelation, including communication between 911 operators on the ground and the hijacked passengers, would show that the passengers aboard the ill-fated plane fought with the terrorists in the cockpit (Sept. 11 timeline: infoplease.com). This resulted in the plane being flown into the ground in an unpopulated countryside, instead of the supposed target of Washington DC. Many consider the people aboard this flight to have saved thousands of lives.

All told, the World Trade Center and the Pentagon attacks killed an estimated 4,000 people (cnn.com). The perpetrators of the attack appear to be graduates of Al Qaeda's terrorist camps.  Osama bin Laden at first denied having anything to do with the attacks (news.bbc.co.uk); but video of Bin Laden claiming responsibility has since been found. Since the attack, countries world over have expressed empathy and anger over the terrorist events. Most of the Arab world has condemned the acts as well. Because of so many civilian deaths, Osama bin Laden may have effectively destroyed the loyalty so many had to him. In response to the atrocities, President George W. Bush called for a fight against terrorism. Osama bin Laden declared war against the United States, and now the United States has responded in kind.

originally an article written by me, published on VG Nett

Osama bin Laden - dead or alive?

In the US, the discussion on wether Osama bin Laden is alive or not is alive in the media. They seem to try to compete on declaring his death, and reviving him every second time. But what is the truth? When the whole thing broke loose on the 11th, George W. Bush was quick to refer to the old western poster; Wanted dead or alive. At the moment, however, nobody seems to know which one it is.

Alive: November 27 2001
According to Hazarat Ali, the Jalalabad city security chief, Osama Bin Laden was observed by the Tora Bora mountains. When this became well known, the USA started their bombing in the area.

Alive: November 29 2001
An Northern Alliance officer said that Bin Laden was alive, and that he was on the run with Mohammad Omar, the taliban leader.

Wounded: Approx. 15 December 2001
According to an arabic newspaper, bin laden was wounded in an attack on his base in Afghanistan.

Dead: December 22, 2001
The Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf claims in a television interview that there is a great chance that bin laden was killed during the Tora Bora bomb raids, and that he definitely wouldn't be in Pakistan.

Wounded: December 25, 2001
A Pakistani newspaper writes about Bin laden's funeral. A Taliban leader is cited saying that Bin Laden died of natural courses (not a typo! Although it would be natural to die of getting a 2000 pound bomb delivered on your doorstep, courtesy of USAF)

Alive: December 27, 2001
Two days after Bin Laden was claimed to have been buried, Afghan authorities claim that he is in Pakistan, together with al quaeda sympathisers. (hmmh - wasn't he just buried? And didn't the president say that he definitely not was in Pakistan?)

Alive: December 30 2001
A representative of the US Senate safety comittee says that bin Laden islikely to be alive, but that they don't have a clue where he is. The representative reckons he is somewhere in the Tora Boras, or in Pakistan.

Dead: January 18, 2002
According to the pakistani president Pervez Musharraf, Osama bin Laden might have died following an acute kidney failure, after he got disconnected from his dialysis machine (!)

Dead or Alive: February 3, 2002
A spokesman for the US Senate says that "Osama bin Laden is either alive or dead, and that he is probably hiding out somewhere (remind me to check what other state you can be, except from alive or dead, and also - wouldn't you, too, be hiding out if you were bin Laden? Let's give the US senate spokesman a standing ovation for that one)

Alive: February 5th 2002
According to US officials, bin Laden survived the bombing of the Tora Boras, and is probably hising in the border area betweeen Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Alive: March 9, 2002
According to Saudi media, one of bin Ladens wives believes he's alive.

Alive: April 23, 2002
A spokesman for the US administration admits there is a major possibility that bin Laden is alive, and that he still is in Afghanistan. It is also claimed that the silence from mr. Laden is because of a PR stunt.

Alive: May 17, 2002
According to saudi media, one of the taliban leaders Mullah Mohammed Omar has said that bin Laden is alive, and that Bush will never manage to kill him.

Alive: May 19, 2002
US Vice president Dick Cheney confirms that he believes bin Laden is still alive, and that the US can expect new terrorist attacks soon.

Alive: June 12, 2002
A russian newspaper cites taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, saying he knows bin Laden is alive, and still lives in Afghanistan.

Alive: June 23, 2002
A safety committee in the US claims bin Laden is still alive, and that al Quaeda are planning new terrorist attacks.

Alive: June 26, 2002
"Osama bin Laden will surface soon", says an al-Qaeda spokessman. He also says that the terror network soon will recommence the terror.

Alive: July 13
Chief of german foreign office, August Hanning, says that bin Laden is still alive, and probably is in the border area between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Alive: July 15, 2002
A london-based newspaper claims they have sources that have been in contact with bin laden, proving that the rumours of his death were false.

Dead: July 17, 2002
The chief of the FBI anti-terror unit, Dale Watson, says that "he has a feeling that bin Laden is dead". But he can't cough up a shred of evidence either way.

Alive: July 24, 2002
Bin Laden is said to have hidden messages in porn images, leading to new speculations of him being alive.

Alive: July 30, 2002
Indias secretary of defence, George Fernandes, claims that bin Laden is alive, and resides in Pakistan.

Dead: May 4, 2011
The US presedent, Barak Obama, confirms that Bin Laden has been killed in a raid by US troups in Pakistan. He is now an ex-parrot.



Sources: Primarily CNN and VG Nett, but those two also cite bunches of other sources. This w/u is not at all complete or comprehensive, but it gives a bit of an impression about the bloody hype around the guy currently topping the FBIs most wanted list.

Let me clear something up here...Bin Laden, more than likely, according to many sources (my own included) never worked directly with, or even met with , any American officials. Though the CIA did funnel millions of dollars and weapons into the Afghan fighters campaign against the Russians, this is not the whole story.

The war against the Russians in Afghan. was in the interests of not only the United States at the time, but also the Saudi's and Pakistani's. Not that I am defending their interests specifically, but a countries foreign policy is supposed to reflect its goals, and at that time, it was appropriate to each country to be acting the way they did.

Pakistan's intelligence service, the ISI, was the point group for working with the fighters. They are the ones who not only funneled American and Saudi money into the fight; they are also the ones who funneled men, weaponry, provided training and medical care, refuge, intelligence, and all around political backing. In fact, it was the ISI who did the majority of the leg work for the fighters, not the CIA. The Saudi's not only sent globs of money their way, but also arranged for and sent thousands of men into Pakistan, where the ISI got them across the border to join the fighters.

People want to be critical of the CIA and the US government for providing the support that it did. But at the time, it fit American foreign policy quite well. It was us versus the Soviets, and they had invaded another country that was a link to a very vital part of the world (Middle East). The US could not stand idly by and let the Russians have carte blanche in Afghanistan; nor could we send in American troops, for that would have been a declaration of war. Therefore, this method of support was the only thing that the US could have done without risking war.

If people want to be critical of US policy now and in the past, question our ties with Saudi Arabia. Here is a country that not only provided such support then, it still does now! Material and ideological support, though covert, is still supplied by the Saudi monarchy to terror groups worldwide. Why? Because it fits with their foreign policy goals.

Here is a news flash ladies and gentleman...the Middle East and southwest Asia as a whole is a VERY complicated place. Those who think a book or two will teach them what they need to know to understand it are sorely mistaken. Alliances and loyalties change every day...Western values are of no consequence....it is a radically different place then we could ever imagine. Until America understands that, and attempts to see past its own arrogance, we will lose this war on terrorism...slowly but surely.

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