Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: You know what ...

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  • Neil Morrison,

    Thanks for the attempt to continually insert a straw man, Neil.

    it’s not a straw man, I was responding to this statement regarding bin Laden up thread:

    after all he was Reagan’s golden boy fighting the russians in Afghanistan, funded by the US

    As I said that’s a myth, I’ve provided credible evidence to support that from credible sources which includes Steve Coll:

    Wheaton, Md.: There have been accusations from the left that have directly accused the CIA of funding and training bin Laden. Is there any truth to this ?

    Steve Coll: I did not discover any evidence of direct contact between CIA officers and bin Laden during the 1980s, when they were working more or less in common cause against the Soviets. CIA officials, including Tenet, have denied under oath that such contact took place. The CIA was certainly aware of bin Laden’s activities, beginning in the mid- to late-1980s, and they generally looked favorably on what he was doing at that time. But bin Laden’s direct contacts were with Saudi intelligence and to some extent Pakistani intelligence, not with the Americans. There’s a lot more detail about this in the book than I have space for here.

    I have read Ghost Wars and I do recall Coll saying the Saudi’s funded bin Laden without the CIA knowing.

    I’m always impressed with the way you have access to information that no-one else has.

    I think most people are aware of what bin Laden thought of westerners, I make no claims to privileged information.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    UTU

    I saw that and thought it was a cleverly subversive sub. To the management at the Dom Post, revenge killing is clearly a Good Thing, so they were happy to run it. For at least some of their readers (and I suspect, for the headline writer) it's not.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    it’s not a straw man, I was responding to this statement regarding bin Laden up thread

    It is a Straw man. Neil, it still comes down to the handy 'direct' which you use to muddy things - as others do.

    CIA funding went via the ISI - it was matched by Saudi Arabia, and was rarely 'direct'.

    Since you like Wiki:

    MAK maintained a close liaison with Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency through which the CIA and the Al Mukhabarat Al A'amah funneled money to Afghan Mujaheddin. The MAK paid the airfare for new recruits to be flown into the Afghan region for training.

    and

    The Maktab al-Khidamat, also Maktab Khadamāt al-Mujāhidīn al-'Arab (Arabic: مكتب الخدمات or مكتب خدمات المجاهدين العرب, MAK), also known as the Afghan Services Bureau, is reliably believed to have been founded in 1984 by Abdullah Azzam and Osama bin Laden to raise funds and recruit foreign mujahidin for the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan. MAK became the forerunner to al-Qaeda and was instrumental in creating the fundraising and recruitment network that benefited al-Qaeda during the 1990s

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    MAK maintained a close liaison with Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency through which the CIA and the Al Mukhabarat Al A’amah funneled money to Afghan Mujaheddin. The MAK paid the airfare for new recruits to be flown into the Afghan region for training.

    emphasis added. Yes the CIA funded the Afghan Mujaheddin via the ISI. That’s been no secret.

    The foreign Mujaheddin, however, were funded via Saudi and via popular fund raising by the MAK. Bin Laden did not get resources from the US. He says that, Coll and Burke say that.

    The full wiki quote is:

    During the Soviet-Afghanistan war, MAK played a minimal role, training a small group of 100 mujahidin for the war and dispersing approximately $2 million in donations from Muslims sourced via a network of global offices in Arabic and Western countries, allegedly including approximately thirty in the United States. MAK maintained a close liaison with Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency through which the CIA and the Al Mukhabarat Al A’amah funneled money to Afghan Mujaheddin. The MAK paid the airfare for new recruits to be flown into the Afghan region for training.[1]

    emphasis added, Popular fund raising.

    and from the al-Qaeda entry:

    At the same time, a growing number of Arab mujahideen joined the jihad against the Afghan Marxist regime, facilitated by international Muslim organizations, particularly the Maktab al-Khidamat,[59] whose funds came from some of the $600 million a year donated to the jihad by the Saudi Arabia government and individual Muslims—particularly independent Saudi businessmen who were approached by bin Laden.

    They made sure the money came from Muslim sources which fits with bin Laden's overall world view.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Neil Morrison,

    Bin Laden did not get resources from the US.

    I almost give up.

    1. MAK was a vehicle for the ISI.

    2. The ISI was funded by joint monies from Saudi Arabia and the USA. I doubt they marked each bill with a note explaining who it was from.

    3. MAK also had a raft of independent supporting donors. That quote you lifted does not use the word exclusive - or have I missed it?

    Once again - read Wright. I only quoted Wiki - as I though I made clear - because you were doing so.


    Also:

    The program, reported the Independent, was part of a Washington-approved plan called "Operation Cyclone".

    In Pakistan, recruits, money and equipment were distributed to the mujaheddin factions by an organisation known as Maktab al Khidamar (Office of Services — MAK).

    MAK was a front for Pakistan's CIA, the Inter-Service Intelligence Directorate. The ISI was the first recipient of the vast bulk of CIA and Saudi Arabian covert assistance for the Afghan contras. Bin Laden was one of three people who ran MAK. In 1989, he took overall charge of MAK.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    I almost give up.

    Well ahead of you on the pig-wrestling front

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    Norm Dixon in that Greenleft piece continually fails to understand the distinction between the Afghan Mujaheddin and the foreign Mujaheddin.

    I think I’ll stick with Steve Coll and Jason Burke.

    We can probably continue to trade quotes without coming to any agreement but I still find the sources I’ve cited credible and as far as I can tell no US funding, resources went to bin Laden.

    Some small amounts might have slipped through to some of the foreign fighters, not necessarily bin Laden, but only unintentionally and of little importance as Burke suggests. But the vast bulk of US funds went via the ISI to the Afghans whereas the Arab fighters were funded from Muslim sources.

    It’s hardly glowing praise for the US after all as I think you pointed out amongst the Afghan fighters the US funded was Hekmatyar, but they did not fund bin Laden. It’s in a sense a small point as Hekmatyar was bad enough but in terms of understanding bin Laden it’s a point worth making.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Thanks for the attempt to continually insert a straw man, Neil.

    To be fair, I think Brian Edwards has burned them all.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Neil, stick with Steve Coll if you like, even though he seems to be talking about something rather different to you - direct contact. Burke also is talking about direct funding.

    as far as I can tell no US funding, resources went to bin Laden.

    It seems you are pretty much out on your own there.

    There's a fair gathering of data and sources here. Start at the link and move down from there. There are many supporting links including Coll.

    Here's Global Security (scroll down to the Reliable part).

    EyeSpy on the weaponry - you need to go to the Superpower vs. superpower paragraph. More on that here and here, and here.

    Those few links took me all of 5 minutes to find. You seem to be be able to find no evidence to support your claim that nothing from the millions of dollars flushed into the system by the CIA, and matched by the Saudi government - went to Bin Laden's grouping, but I'm still supposed to regard your position as credible.

    Sorry.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • richard, in reply to Creon Upton,

    It’s a bit like the old free-speech conundrum: the principle’s really only tested – and affirmed – when the matter in question is one where huge numbers of people, all invoking quite sound-seeming sentiments, believe that they are justified in forsaking it.

    This site is largely populated by thinking people who basically believe in the fundamentals – rule of law, so forth. It behooves you, I believe, to consider not only that this is a situation where (as is always the case) an exception to the fundamentals should not be made on the basis of convenience or public mood or righteousness or anything else – but also that if we truly believe in what we say then this is the very situation where we should prove that we do.

    However the right to free speech is not absolute. It is abridged (for good reason) by strictures on defamation and libel, by copyright, by legitimate confidentiality requirements (e.g. doctor – patient), obscenity laws, and the famous requirement that you abstain from yelling fire in a crowded theatre.

    And in this context, it is hardly surprising that a military assault on a fortified compound should lead to a somewhat confusing narrative (did he hide behind his wife, was he carrying a gun?) in the immediate aftermath.

    In a very real sense, arresting him has to be far riskier to the people doing it than shooting him from the other side of the room – and given the that their job was dangerous enough, just how much more dangerous do you want it to be? If it turns out that he was dragged out the back of his house and shot, you have a point – but there is a fairly broad range of circumstances between him actively firing at his would-be captors and clearly and unconditionally seeking to surrender himself where he could be shot rather than captured, without undermining the rule of law.

    No matter how strenuously you support the rule of law, you have to set bin Laden’s right to a trial against the safety of the people you would send to arrest him. (And it sounds as though they did haul some prisoners away with them – and if that is true they didn’t simply shoot on sight.)

    Not looking for New Engla… • Since Nov 2006 • 268 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    The Guardian's AQ boffin seems to have missed the string of letter bombs, an assault on a police station in Sumatra, a suicide Mosque bombing, training camps in Aceh and the plot to blow up a Church on Good Friday just in 2011.

    yet .... no "al'Q in #INdonesia" since senior figures killed and militancy v. restricted. conservative Islamism yes, bombs no.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    It seems you are pretty much out on your own there.

    Well no, I've source material from credible journalists who state that the US did not fund bin Laden, that he was funded quite seperately by the Saudi govt and by funds raised within the Muslim world.

    I'll stick with Coll. I'll stick with Jason Burke who continues to write well observed and informed pieces for The Guardian. Both those people travelled extensively in the region and are not uncritical of the US.

    You may choose other sources such as the Greenleft but could you please at least have the decency to recognise that other people may have different views to yours that actually are based on credible sources.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Neil Morrison,

    I'll stick with Coll. I'll stick with Jason Burke who continues to write well observed and informed pieces for The Guardian

    Neil - neither back your assertion at all, if you'd bothered to actually read what they said and the above posts. In their books, and in Wright and Fisks writings on the subject, they all accept that indirect US funding went to Bin Laden. But feel free to wander around in your own unique self supporting circle.

    You really are on your own here.

    Bizarre.

    ETA: And as per my last post, Burke seems completely unaware of the activities of the Indonesia AQ affiliates in what can only be called an odd and uninformed tweet.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    Neil's problem is not with his sources but his interpretation (what a surprise). Because he wants them to mean a particular thing, that is all he can read in them. You really are pushing shit uphill with this one Simon. But they say suffering is good for the soul. ;-)

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2935 posts Report Reply

  • John Holley, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    National security or defence matters are valid reasons (by the Act) to deny an OIA request.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 142 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to John Holley,

    National security or defence matters are valid reasons (by the Act) to deny an OIA request.

    "Defence matters"? Sounds like a recipe for never having to be accountable at all.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • John Holley, in reply to Sacha,

    Sorry - been busy the last few days - ironically writing an essay on the goals of al-Qaeda.

    There is no legal justification under international law, including the laws of armed conflict, to deliberately target and kill an unarmed individual *if* they are not hors de combat. The unanswered question then is what OBL was doing? So yes, you can legally shoot an unarmed individual if they attempt to escape or commit a hostile act.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 142 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    "Defence matters"? Sounds like a recipe for never having to be accountable at all.

    Always handy if you don't want to talk about a particular helicopter jaunt.

    So I can't help but wonder what the "urgent meetings" about "security" were that Key needed to get back to Auckland that Friday evening on December 11 for.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Russell Brown,

    "Defence matters"? Sounds like a recipe for never having to be accountable at all.

    "Commercial sensitivity", "Top secret"... they're all the same. Wikileak This!

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5443 posts Report Reply

  • John Holley, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Yep. That includes helicopter flights to Auckland ;)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 142 posts Report Reply

  • John Holley, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    Actually, with respect to the diplomatic cables, Wikileaks only leaked (from memory) to the Confidential level. No classified documents e.g. Restricted or above, were released.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 142 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    No matter how strenuously you support the rule of law, you have to set bin Laden’s right to a trial against the safety of the people you would send to arrest him.

    I’ve finally figured out what really pisses me off about that. It’s a really splendid argument for setting up sniper squads to summarily execute any alleged criminal with gang or organised crime links. After all, isn’t it a risk to arrest – let alone try – associates of criminal groups whose track record of assaulting police officers, harassment of judges and court officials, witness intimidation & jury tampering is well documented? Kill ’em all, and let Buddha, Allah, Jesus and Jehovah sort ’em outq

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • John Holley, in reply to John Holley,

    Oops. That should have read

    There is no legal justification under international law, including the laws of armed conflict, to deliberately target and kill an unarmed individual *if* they are *ARE* hors de combat

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 142 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    Neil - neither back your assertion at all

    they actually do, I have read them, try and put aside the condescension for a moment, I've kept from going personal.

    But speaking of Fisk

    Fisk:

    But what of the Arab mujahedin he took to Afghanistan - members of a guerilla army who were also encouraged and armed by the United States - and who were forgotten when that war was over?

    bin Laden:

    "Personally neither I nor my brothers saw evidence of American help.

    (Fisk asked about the Arab mujahedin, not the Afghani mujahedin who were funded by the US)

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Neil Morrison,

    they actually do,

    If you say so Neil. To quote another post - a few up from here:

    Because he wants them to mean a particular thing, that is all he can read in them

    Excluding inconvenient words from sentences - like 'direct' in this case - or avoiding any data which might cause you to rethink seems to be your modus operandi in these threads over and over again.

    Enjoy your circle, I'm out.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

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