Asal-muasal Terselubungnya Perang Afghanistan-Pakistan --- Jalan Menuju Perang Dunia III
[The Covert Origins of the Af-Pak War – The Road to World War III]
by Amped Status
Now that we have an understanding of how the Global Banking Intelligence Complex ran operations through BCCI, let’s look at how some of BCCI’s key players kept operating after the bank was finally shut down. As discussed in the last chapter, during the 1980s and early ’90s, the CIA worked in partnership with BCCI in what was, at the time, the agency’s largest covert operation ever, pumping an estimated $10 billion into funding the Afghan Mujahideen. Through this operation, Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda network was formed. Bin Laden had accounts in BCCI and ran CIA/BCCI-funded camps.
In “ Modern Jihad:Tracing the Dollars Behind the Terror Networks,” investigative reporter Loretta Napoleoni described the origins of the al Qaeda network:
[During the Afghan-Soviet war,] potential Arab warriors traveled to Pakistan where they resided in guesthouses. These hostels did not keep any records and not a single organization listed the names of the fighters, where they had gone to fight and if they had been injured or killed. The lack of vital information caused distress among relatives. At that time bin Laden was in charge of several guesthouses and was embarrassed by the hundreds of calls requesting information. Hence, he decided to keep track of whoever stayed at the hostels and that record came to be known as the Record of al-Qaeda. This is how al-Qaeda, which means the base or the scroll, was born.”
“His followers first gained attention by throwing acid in the faces of women who refused to wear the veil. CIA and State Department officials I have spoken with call him ’scary,’ ‘vicious,’ ‘a fascist,’… ‘definite dictatorship material’…. His name was Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. He was the head of the Islamic Party and he hated the United States almost as much as he hated the Russians. His followers screamed ‘Death to America’ along with ‘Death to the Soviet Union’… some of them had kidnapped the American ambassador in the capital city of Kabul, leading to his death in the rescue attempt… these same people shot down civilian airliners and planted bombs at the airport… anti-American mobs had burned and ransacked the US embassy in Islamabad and American cultural centers in two other Pakistani cities… their brother Islamic fundamentalists in next-door Iran seized the US Embassy in Teheran… and held 55 Americans hostage for over a year.”
Supporting acknowledged terrorists and enemies presented the US government with a huge public relations problem. So the White House and CIA went to work on the propaganda front. The United Sates Information Agency (USIA) launched the “Afghan Media Project.” The project was run by Joachim Maitre, a man who also worked with Oliver North to make TV ads attacking government officials who were against giving aid to the Contras during the BCCI-financed Iran-Contra Affair.
Reporting in “Covert Action: The Afghan Pipeline,” Steve Galster revealed the hypocrisy of the US propaganda campaign:
“Widespread corruption also exists among the [Afghan] rebel leaders but has gone practically unnoticed in the United States thanks to CIA propaganda. The same kinds of things that tarnished the Contras’ image, such as killing civilians, drug smuggling and embezzlement are practiced by many Afghan rebels. Taking no prisoners, assassinating suspected government collaborators, destroying government-built schools and hospitals, killing ‘unpious’ civilians are just a few of the inhumane acts they have carried out. But the picture we receive of the rebels in the United States is of an uncorrupt, popular group of freedom-loving people who aspire toward a democratic society.”
In “Jihad International Inc.,” Eqbal Ahmad further exposed the propaganda effort:
“They also invested in this Jihad the legitimacy of their enormous power, and the luster of their media-made glory. On one especially memorable occasion when Afghanistan’s hard-line Islamists visited the White House, President Ronald Reagan described them as the Muslim world’s ‘moral equivalent of our founding fathers.’ Similarly, the American and European media played up the war in Afghanistan as the greatest story of the eighties. Foreign correspondents combed the Hindu Kush for stories of ‘Mooj’ heroism. Competition for Jihad narrative was so great that in one instance a major network, CBS, paid handsomely to film a staged battle between Islam and Communism. As the western media carries great importance and authority in the third world, its Afghanistan war coverage made an enormous impact, especially on Muslim youth.”
As bin Laden himself would later say in his 1997 interview with CNN, “I have benefited so greatly from the Jihad in Afghanistan that it would have been impossible for me to gain such benefit from any other chance…”
Thanks to CIA funding and weapons, delivered through BCCI’s “black network” with the help of Pakistan’s intelligence service the ISI, bin Laden and al Qaeda were off and running. In 1992, just after BCCI had been shut down in a global sweep, the Afghan-Soviet war finally came to an end. The war resulted in the death of 1.3 million Afghans, three million were disabled, and 5.5 million became refugees – in total, about half the population.
When BCCI was shut down, most of its major players were allowed to walk away without being held accountable, due to the fact that BCCI was deeply entwined within the upper echelons of US intelligence. Elements of BCCI would then evolve into al Qaeda, as the Washington Post revealed in 2002:
“William F. Wechsler, who monitored bin Laden’s finances at the National Security Council during the last two years of the Clinton administration, told Congress in September that bin Laden initially rose to prominence for building ‘a financial architecture that supported the Mujaheddin in Afghanistan against the Russians.’
‘It’s this financial architecture that continued with him when he turned to terrorism, and it’s this financial architecture that is at the heart of how al Qaeda today gets its finances,’ he said.
Much of that architecture, according to French, Pakistani and American investigators, is modeled on the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI)…. In the 1980s it was used to launder drug money, harbor terrorist funds and buy illegal weapons. Its collapse in 1991 was a major global financial scandal.
The CIA used BCCI to funnel millions of dollars to the fighters battling the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Bin Laden had accounts in the bank, U.S. officials said….
The BCCI Model
A 70-page French intelligence report, prepared for Parliament in October and obtained by The Washington Post, outlined some details of this network. ‘The financial network of bin Laden, as well as his network of investments, is similar to the network put in place in the 1980s by BCCI for its fraudulent operations, often with the same people (former directors and cadres of the bank and its affiliates, arms merchants oil merchants, Saudi investors),’ the report said. ‘The dominant trait of bin Laden’s operations is that of a terrorist network backed up by a vast financial structure.’
A senior U.S. investigator said U.S. agencies were looking into these ties because ‘they just make so much sense, and so few people from BCCI ever went to jail. BCCI was the mother and father of terrorist financing operations.’
The report identifies dozens of companies and individuals who were involved with BCCI and were found to be dealing with bin Laden after the bank collapsed. Many went on to work in banks and charities identified by the United States and others as supporting al Qaeda.”
BCCI’s Chief Operations Officer and the man the US Senate Intelligence Committee considered to be “the most powerful banker in the Middle East,” Khalid bin Mahfouz, was let off with a fine and would become a major al Qaeda funder.
“The French report highlighted the role of Saudi banker Khalid bin Mahfouz, a former director of BCCI, whose sister is married to bin Laden. In 1995 bin Mahfouz paid a $225 million fine in a settlement with U.S. prosecutors for his role in the BCCI scandal and went on to serve as director of the National Commercial Bank, one of Saudi Arabia’s largest….
Saudi officials, at the urging of the United States, audited his bank and found that millions of dollars were being funneled through the bank to charities controlled by bin Laden, U.S. officials and the French document said…. U.S. intelligence officials said Washington pushed for the audit of bin Mahfouz’s bank but was never allowed to question him.
Saudi officials ‘weren’t willing to let us talk to him,’ said one U.S. source with direct knowledge of events, ‘a