The US invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 to oust the Taliban, whom they said were harbouring Osama Bin Laden and other al-Qaeda figures linked to the 9/11 attacks.
“Graveyard of Empires”
Afghanistan is a mountainous landlocked country at the crossroads of Central and South Asia. Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan to the east and south, Iran to the west, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan to the north, and China to the northeast. Occupying 652,864 square kilometers (252,072 sq mi), it is a mountainous country with plains in the north and southwest. Kabul is the capital and largest city, with an estimated population of 4.6 million composed mostly of ethnic Pashtuns, Tajiks, Hazaras, and Uzbeks. Afghanistan is de facto governed by the unrecognized Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, following the fall of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan on 15 August 2021.
Human habitation in Afghanistan dates back to the Middle Paleolithic Era, and the country’s strategic location along the Silk Road connected it to the cultures of the Middle East and other parts of Asia. The land has historically been home to various peoples and has witnessed numerous military campaigns, including those by Alexander the Great, Mauryas, Muslim Arabs, Mongols, British, Soviets, and since 2001 by the United States with NATO-allied countries.
It has been called “unconquerable” and nicknamed the “graveyard of empires,” though it has been occupied during several different periods of its history.
The land also served as the source from which the Kushans, Hephthalites, Samanids, Saffarids, Ghaznavids, Ghorids, Khaljis, Mughals, Hotaks, Durranis, and others have risen to form major empires.
The modern state of Afghanistan began with the Hotak and Durrani dynasties in the 18th century. In the late 19th century, Afghanistan became a buffer state in the “Great Game” between British India and the Russian Empire. Its border with British India, the Durand Line, was formed in 1893 but it is not recognized by the Afghan government and it has led to strained relations with Pakistan since the latter’s independence in 1947. Following the Third Anglo-Afghan War in 1919 the country was free of foreign influence, eventually becoming a monarchy under King Amanullah, until almost 50 years later when Zahir Shah was overthrown and a republic was established. In 1978, after a second coup Afghanistan first became a socialist state and then a Soviet Union protectorate. This provoked the Soviet–Afghan War in the 1980s against mujahideen rebels. By 1996 most of Afghanistan was captured by the Islamic fundamentalist group the Taliban, who ruled most of the country as a totalitarian regime for over five years, were removed from power after the US invasion in 2001 but still controlled a significant portion of the country. The twenty year long war between the government and the Taliban reached a climax with the 2021 Taliban offensive and the resulting fall of Kabul.
The country has high levels of terrorism, poverty, child malnutrition, and corruption. It is a member of the United Nations, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, the Group of 77, the Economic Cooperation Organization, and the Non-Aligned Movement. Afghanistan’s economy is the world’s 96th largest, with a gross domestic product (GDP) of $72.9 billion by purchasing power parity; the country fares much worse in terms of per-capita GDP (PPP), ranking 169th out of 186 countries as of 2018.
Decades of War
The joint U.S. and British invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001 was preceded by over two decades of war in Afghanistan. On December 24, 1979, Soviet tanks rumbled across the Amu Darya River and into Afghanistan, ostensibly to restore stability following a coup that brought to power a pair of Marxist-Leninist political groups—the People’s (Khalq) Party and the Banner (Parcham) Party. But the Soviet presence touched off a nationwide rebellion by fighters—known as the mujahideen—who drew upon Islam as a uniting source of inspiration. These fighters won extensive covert backing from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United States and were joined in their fight by foreign volunteers (who soon formed a network, known as al-Qaeda, to coordinate their efforts). The guerrilla war against the Soviet forces led to their departure in 1989. In the Soviets’ absence, the mujahideen ousted Afghanistan’s Soviet-backed government and established a transitional government.
The mujahideen were politically fragmented, however, and in 1994 armed conflict escalated. The Taliban emerged and in 1996 seized Kabul. It instituted a severe interpretation of Islamic law that, for example, forbade female education and prescribed the severing of hands, or even execution, as punishment for petty crimes. That same year, al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was welcomed to Afghanistan (having been expelled from Sudan) and established his organization’s headquarters there. With al-Qaeda’s help, the Taliban won control of over 90 percent of Afghan territory by the summer of 2001. On September 9 of that year, al-Qaeda hit men carried out the assassination of famed mujahideen leader Ahmad Shah Masoud, who at the time was leading the Northern Alliance (a loose coalition of mujahideen militias that maintained control of a small section of northern Afghanistan) as it battled the Taliban and who had unsuccessfully sought greater U.S. backing for his efforts.
Operation Cyclone was the code name for the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) program to arm and finance the Afghan mujahideen in Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989, prior to and during the military intervention by the USSR in support of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. The mujahideen were also supported by Britain’s MI6, who conducted separate covert actions. The program leaned heavily towards supporting militant Islamic groups, including groups with jihadist ties, that were favored by the regime of Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq in neighboring Pakistan, rather than other, less ideological Afghan resistance groups that had also been fighting the Soviet-oriented Democratic Republic of Afghanistan regime since before the Soviet intervention.
Operation Cyclone was one of the longest and most expensive covert CIA operations ever undertaken. Funding officially began with $695,000 in 1979, was increased dramatically to $20–$30 million per year in 1980, and rose to $630 million per year in 1987, described as the “biggest bequest to any Third World insurgency”. Funding continued (albeit reduced) after the 1989 Soviet withdrawal as the mujahideen continued to battle the forces of President Mohammad Najibullah’s army during the Afghan Civil War (1989–1992).
Underground camp at Khost
In 2000, an article in The Guardian alleged that the Central Intelligence Agency helped build an underground camp at Khost, which bin Laden used to train Mujahideen soldiers. The United States would later attack this camp in Operation Infinite Reach, when bin Laden was held responsible for the 1998 bombings of United States embassies in Africa.
In a 2004 article entitled “Al-Qaeda’s origins and links”, the BBC wrote:
During the anti-Soviet war Bin Laden and his fighters received American and Saudi funding. Some analysts believe Bin Laden himself had security training from the CIA.
Robin Cook, Foreign Secretary in the UK from 1997–2001, believed the CIA had provided arms to the Arab mujahideen, including Osama bin Laden, writing, “Bin Laden was, though, a product of a monumental miscalculation by western security agencies. Throughout the ’80s he was armed by the CIA and funded by the Saudis to wage war against the Russian occupation of Afghanistan.”
In conversation with former British Defence Secretary Michael Portillo, two-time Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto said Osama bin Laden was initially pro-American.
Prince Bandar bin Sultan of Saudi Arabia, has also stated that bin Laden once expressed appreciation for the United States’ help in Afghanistan, on CNN’s Larry King program.
Author Steve Coll, managing editor of The Washington Post, discusses the findings of his latest book on the CIA’s involvement in the covert wars in Afghanistan that fueled Islamic militancy and gave rise to bin Laden’s al Qaeda.
Steve Coll described his book as a “narrative of the history of the antecedents of September 11 as they were located in Afghanistan beginning in 1979 and ending on Sept 10, 2001.”
According to Coll, he placed a special emphasis on the role of the CIA and Pakistani and Saudi intelligence—all three principal actors in Afghanistan over those 20 years.
His book was based almost entirely on 200 interviews with American, Pakistan, Saudi and Afghan participants. He also tried to draw on documents as much as he could but this proved difficult as there is very little documentation during this period. He describes the book as a piece of journalism where he attempted to bring multiple and balanced points of view to bear on controversial episodes.
“The special team was obviously up to no good”
In a tale as twisted as the hunt for Osama bin Laden, CBS Evening News has been told that the night before the Sept. 11 terrorists attack, Osama bin Laden was in Pakistan. He was getting medical treatment with the support of the very military that days later pledged its backing for the U.S. war on terror in Afghanistan.
Pakistan intelligence sources tell CBS News that bin Laden was spirited into a military hospital in Rawalpindi for kidney dialysis treatment.
“On that night,” said a medical worker who wanted her identity protected, “they moved out all the regular staff in the urology department and sent in a secret team to replace them.” She said it was treatment for a very special person and “the special team was obviously up to no good.”
“They military had him surrounded,” said a hospital employee who also wanted his identity masked, “and I saw the mysterious patient helped out of a car. Since that time,” he said, “I have seen many pictures of the man. He is the man we know as Osama bin Laden. I also heard two army officers talking to each other. They were saying that Osama bin Laden had to be watched carefully and looked after.”
a casus belli
The hijacking and crashing of four U.S. jetliners on September 11, 2001, brought instant attention to Afghanistan. The plot had been hatched by al-Qaeda, and some of the 19 hijackers had trained in Afghanistan. In the aftermath of the attacks, the administration of U.S. Pres. George W. Bush coalesced around a strategy of first ousting the Taliban from Afghanistan and dismantling al-Qaeda, though others contemplated actions in Iraq, including long-standing plans for toppling Pres. Saddam Hussein. Bush demanded that Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar “deliver to [the] United States authorities all the leaders of al-Qaeda who hide in your land,” and when Omar refused, U.S. officials began implementing a plan for war.
October 15, 1999
An Al-Qaeda and Taliban Nexus
The United Nations Security Council adopts Resolution 1267, creating the so-called al-Qaeda and Taliban Sanctions Committee, which links the two groups as terrorist entities and imposes sanctions on their funding, travel, and arms shipments. The UN move follows a period of ascendancy for al-Qaeda and its leader, Osama bin Laden, who guided the terror group from Afghanistan and Peshawar, Pakistan, in the late 1980s, to Sudan in 1991, and back to Afghanistan in the mid-1990s. The Taliban, which rose from the ashes of Afghanistan’s post-Soviet civil war, provides al-Qaeda sanctuary for operations.
September 9, 2001
A Northern Alliance Assassination
Ahmad Shah Massoud, commander of the Northern Alliance, an anti-Taliban coalition, is assassinated by al-Qaeda operatives. The killing of Massoud, a master of guerilla warfare known as the Lion of the Panjshir, deals a serious blow to the anti-Taliban resistance. Terrorism experts believe his assassination assured Osama bin Laden protection by the Taliban after the 9/11 attacks. Expert Peter Bergen later calls Massoud’s assassination “the curtain raiser for the attacks on New York City and Washington, DC.”
September 11, 2001
Terrorists Strike the United States
Al-Qaeda operatives hijack four commercial airliners, crashing them into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, DC. A fourth plane crashes in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Close to three thousand people die in the attacks. Although Afghanistan is the base for al-Qaeda, none of the nineteen hijackers are Afghan nationals. Mohammed Atta, an Egyptian, led the group, and fifteen of the hijackers originated from Saudi Arabia. President George W. Bush vows to “win the war against terrorism,” and later zeros in on al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. Bush eventually calls on the Taliban regime to “deliver to the United States authorities all the leaders of al-Qaeda who hide in your land,” or share in their fate.
The campaign in Afghanistan started covertly on September 26, with a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) team known as Jawbreaker arriving in the country and, working with anti-Taliban allies, initiating a strategy for overthrowing the regime.
U.S. officials hoped that by partnering with the Afghans they could avoid deploying a large force to Afghanistan. Pentagon officials were especially concerned that the United States not be drawn into a protracted occupation of Afghanistan, as had occurred with the Soviets more than two decades prior. The United States relied primarily on the Northern Alliance, which had just lost Massoud but had regrouped under other commanders, including Tajik leader Mohammed Fahim and Abdul Rashid Dostum, an Uzbek. The Americans also teamed with anti-Taliban Pashtuns in southern Afghanistan, including a little-known tribal leader named Hamid Karzai.
September 18, 2001
A War Footing
President George W. Bush signs into law a joint resolution authorizing the use of force against those responsible for attacking the United States on 9/11.
This joint resolution will later be cited by the Bush administration as legal rationale for its decision to take sweeping measures to combat terrorism, from invading Afghanistan, to eavesdropping on U.S. citizens without a court order, to standing up the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
October 7, 2001
The Opening Salvo
The U.S. military, with British support, begins a bombing campaign against Taliban forces, officially launching Operation Enduring Freedom. Canada, Australia, Germany, and France pledge future support. The war’s early phase [PDF] mainly involves U.S. air strikes on al-Qaeda and Taliban forces that are assisted by a partnership of about one thousand U.S. special forces, the Northern Alliance, and ethnic Pashtun anti-Taliban forces. The first wave of conventional ground forces arrives twelve days later. Most of the ground combat is between the Taliban and its Afghan opponents.
Bin Laden Escapes
After tracking al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden to the well-equipped Tora Bora cave complex southeast of Kabul, Afghan militias engage in a fierce two-week battle (December 3 to 17) with al-Qaeda militants. It results in a few hundred deaths and the eventual escape of bin Laden, who is thought to have left for Pakistan on horseback on December 16—just a day before Afghan forces capture twenty of his remaining men. Despite intelligence pointing to bin Laden’s presence in Tora Bora, U.S. forces do not lead the assault, which is carried out by a ragtag Afghan contingent led by Hazrat Ali, Haji Zaman, and Haji Zahir.
Some critics will later question why U.S. forces did not take a more assertive role in the engagement.
Defying new military warnings from the United States and Britain on Tuesday, Afghanistan’s Taliban government again refused to turn over suspected terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden and disregarded the American threat to its regime.
“Only Allah changes the regime,” the Taliban’s ambassador to Pakistan, Abdul Salam Zaeef, said at a news conference in Quetta, Pakistan.
Zaeef reiterated the Taliban insistence that it would not turn over bin Laden without receiving evidence of his participation in the Sept. 11 attacks on America, and he called again for talks with the United States, which President Bush already has rejected.
“We are ready for negotiations,” Zaeef said. “It is up to the other side to agree or not. Only the way of negotiations will solve our problems. We should discuss this issue and decide.”
After weeks of confrontation in which Afghanistan’s radical Islamic government at times has signaled an interest in a diplomatic solution, the lack of new phraseology seemed to represent a hardening of the Taliban’s resolve in the face of strong comments by President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
In Afghanistan, which remains closed to outsiders, there were reports of Taliban officials traveling around the country mustering support for the nation’s defense. They held talks with tribal leaders, while thousands of Afghans gathered in the city of Kandahar for one of the largest anti-U.S. demonstrations.
A foreign ministry spokesman in Pakistan, the only country to retain diplomatic relations with Afghanistan, said there were no new efforts to convince the Taliban government to hand over bin Laden and escape military action. “But these efforts can be made on the spur of the moment,” said spokesman Riaz Mohammad Khan.
He said Pakistan’s government had conveyed to the Taliban leadership “what the situation is, what the dangers are and what the international community is expecting of them.”
“We have also told them that they don’t have much time,” he added.
“We have done our duty as a friend and neighbor,” Khan said.
As part of the Bush administration’s effort to preserve international support for its demand to be given bin Laden, U.S. ambassador to Pakistan Wendy Chamberlin met President Pervez Musharraf to brief him on the status of the investigation into the attacks.
Khan said the United States did not offer clear-cut evidence of bin Laden’s involvement or share information about possible military operations against Afghanistan, for which Pakistan has promised to provide logistical support, intelligence information and use of Pakistani airspace.
“We have yet to receive any detailed evidence about the persons responsible for the horrendous act of terrorism, or other links with bin Laden or al-Qaida,” he said, while also repeating Pakistan’s call on Afghanistan to hand over bin Laden.
U.S. Embassy spokesman Mark Wentworth said the 90-minute meeting was designed to inform Pakistan of “the status of the investigation to date,” but he declined to provide any details. Pakistan had indicated it would not be shown confidential elements of what the United States has learned.
After declining to share any evidence against bin Laden with Pakistan because of security concerns, the United States on Tuesday provided its NATO allies with what Secretary General Lord Robertson said was clear evidence that “conclusively” links bin Laden and his terrorist network to the Sept. 11 attacks.
Zaeef, the Taliban ambassador, dismissed claims that Washington had presented its allies with conclusive evidence.
“If they are giving it (evidence) to the other countries, it belongs to them, not to us,” he replied. “They haven’t given it to us.”
Operation Enduring Freedom (2001–14) and Operation Freedom’s Sentinel (2015–present)
The War in Afghanistan is an ongoing war following the United States invasion of Afghanistan when the United States and its allies successfully drove the Taliban from power in order to deny al-Qaeda a safe base of operations in Afghanistan. After the initial objectives were completed, a coalition of over 40 countries (including all NATO members) formed a security mission in the country called International Security Assistance Force (ISAF, succeeded by the Resolute Support Mission (RS) in 2014) of which certain members were involved in military combat allied with Afghanistan’s government. The war has mostly consisted of Taliban insurgents fighting against the Afghan Armed Forces and allied forces; the majority of ISAF/RS soldiers and personnel are American. The war is code-named by the U.S. as Operation Enduring Freedom (2001–14) and Operation Freedom’s Sentinel (2015–present).
Following the September 11 attacks in 2001, George W. Bush demanded that the Taliban, then-de facto ruler of Afghanistan, hand over Osama bin Laden. The Taliban’s refusal to extradite him led to Operation Enduring Freedom; the Taliban and their Al-Qaeda allies were mostly defeated in the country by US-led forces, and the Northern Alliance which had been fighting the Taliban since 1996. At the Bonn Conference, new Afghan interim authorities (mostly from the Northern Alliance) elected Hamid Karzai to head the Afghan Interim Administration. The United Nations Security Council established the ISAF to assist the new authority with securing Kabul. A nationwide rebuilding effort was also made following the end of the Taliban regime. Following defeat in the initial invasion, the Taliban was reorganized by Mullah Omar and launched an insurgency against the Afghan government in 2003. Insurgents from the Taliban and other groups waged asymmetric warfare with guerrilla raids and ambushes in the countryside, suicide attacks against urban targets, and turncoat killings against coalition forces. The Taliban exploited weaknesses in the Afghan government to reassert influence across rural areas of southern and eastern Afghanistan. From 2006 the Taliban made further gains and showed an increased willingness to commit atrocities against civilians; ISAF responded by increasing troops for counter-insurgency operations to “clear and hold” villages. Violence escalated from 2007 to 2009. Troop numbers began to surge in 2009 and continued to increase through 2011 when roughly 140,000 foreign troops operated under ISAF and U.S. command in Afghanistan. NATO leaders in 2012 commenced an exit strategy for withdrawing their forces and later the United States announced that its major combat operations would end in December 2014, leaving a residual force in the country. On 28 December 2014, NATO formally ended ISAF combat operations in Afghanistan and officially transferred full security responsibility to the Afghan government. The NATO-led Operation Resolute Support was formed the same day as a successor to ISAF.
On 29 February 2020, the United States and the Taliban signed a conditional peace deal in Doha which required that U.S. troops withdraw from Afghanistan within 14 months so long as the Taliban cooperated with the terms of the agreement not to “allow any of its members, other individuals or groups, including Al Qaeda, to use the soil of Afghanistan to threaten the security of the United States and its allies”.
Additionally, insurgents belonging to al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent and ISIL-K would continue to operate in parts of the country. The Afghan government was not a party to the deal and rejected its terms regarding release of prisoners. After Joe Biden became president, he moved up the target withdrawal date from April 2022 to 11 September 2021 and then to 31 August 2021.
According to the Costs of War project at Brown University, as of April 2021, the war has killed 171,000 to 174,000 people in Afghanistan; 47,245 Afghan civilians, 66,000 to 69,000 Afghan military and police and at least 51,000 opposition fighters. However, the death toll is possibly higher due to unaccounted deaths by “disease, loss of access to food, water, infrastructure, and/or other indirect consequences of the war.” According to the U.N, since the 2001 Invasion, more than 5.7 million former refugees have returned to Afghanistan, however, as of 2021, 2.6 million Afghans remain refugees or have fled, mostly in Pakistan and Iran, and another 4 million Afghans remain internally displaced persons within the country. Since 2001, Afghanistan has experienced improvements in health, education and women’s rights.
In August 2021, the president of Afghanistan relinquished power and the Taliban formed an interim government.
Afghanistan has been the world’s leading illicit drug producer since 2001.
Afghanistan’s opium poppy harvest produces more than 90% of illicit heroin globally, and more than 95% of the European supply. More land is used for opium in Afghanistan than is used for coca cultivation in Latin America. In 2007, 93% of the non-pharmaceutical-grade opiates on the world market originated in Afghanistan. This amounts to an export value of about US$4 billion, with a quarter being earned by opium farmers and the rest going to district officials, insurgents, warlords, and drug traffickers. In the seven years (1994–2000) prior to a Taliban opium ban, the Afghan farmers’ share of gross income from opium was divided among 200,000 families. As of 2017, opium production provides about 400,000 jobs in Afghanistan, more than the Afghan National Security Forces. The opium trade spiked in 2006 after the Taliban lost control of local warlords. In addition to opium, Afghanistan is also the world’s leading producer of hashish.
Afghans are the saddest people on Earth
“From statements by U.S. Ambassador [to Iran] Richard Helms, there was little heroin production in Central Asia by the mid 1970s,” Professor Alfred McCoy, author of “The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade,” told MintPress. But with the start of the CIA secret war, opium production along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border surged and refineries soon dotted the landscape. Trucks loaded with U.S. taxpayer-funded weapons would travel from Pakistan into its neighbor to the west, returning filled to the brim with opium for the new refineries, their deadly product ending up on streets worldwide. With the influx of Afghan opium in the 1980s–Jeffrey St. Clair, co-author of “Whiteout: The CIA, Drugs and the Press,” alleges–heroin addiction more than doubled in the United States.
“In order to finance the resistance for a protracted period, the Mujahideen had to come up with a livelihood beyond the weapons that the CIA was providing,” McCoy said, noting that the weapons issued could not feed the fighters’ families, nor reimburse them for lost labor:
So what the resistance fighters did was they turned to opium. Afghanistan had about 100 tons of opium produced every year in the 1970s. By 1989-1990, at the end of that 10-year CIA operation, that minimal amount of opium–100 tons per annum–had turned into a major amount, 2,000 tons a year, and was already about 75% of the world’s illicit opium trade.
The CIA achieved its goal of giving the U.S.S.R. its Vietnam, the Soviets failing to quash the Mujahideen rebellion by the time they finally pulled out in 1989. But American money and weapons also turned Afghanistan into a dangerously unstable place full of warring factions that used opium to fund their battles for internal supremacy. By 1999, annual production had risen to 4,600 tons. The Taliban eventually emerged as the dominant force in the country and attempted to gain international legitimacy by stamping out the trade.
In this, they were remarkably successful. A 2000 ban on opium cultivation by the Taliban-led government led to an almost overnight drop to just 185 tons harvested the following year, as frightened farmers chose not to risk attracting their wrath.
The Taliban had hoped that the eradication program would win favor in Washington and entice the United States to provide humanitarian aid. But unfortunately, history had other ideas. On September 11, 2001, the U.S. experienced a massive case of blowback, as Bin Laden’s forces launched attacks on New York and Washington. The U.S. ignored the Taliban’s offer to hand him over to a third party, instead opting to invade the country.
Less than a month after the planes hit the World Trade Center, U.S. troops were patrolling the fields of Afghanistan.
It is not particularly difficult to grow opium. Opium poppies flourish in warm and dry conditions, away from the damp and the wind. Consequently, they have found a fertile home across much of central and western Asia. The plant has flourished in Afghanistan, particularly in southern provinces like Helmand, close to the tripoint where Afghanistan meets Pakistan and Iran.
Much of the irrigation system in Helmand was underwritten by USAID, an organization that acts as the CIA’s public-facing front. In full bloom, the poppy fields look spectacular, with beautiful flowers of vibrant pink, red or white. Underneath the flowers, one can find a large seed pod. Farmers harvest these, draining them of a sap which dries into a resin. This is often transported out of the country through the so-called “Southern Route” via Pakistan or Iran. But, as with any pipeline, much of the product is spilled along the way, causing an epidemic of addiction across the region.
The effect on the Afghan population has been nothing short of a disaster. Between 2005 and 2015, the number of adult drug users jumped from 900,000 to 2.4 million, according to the United Nations, which estimates that almost one in three households are directly affected by addiction. While Afghanistan also produces copious amounts of marijuana and methamphetamine, opioids are the drug of choice for most, with around 9% of the adult population (and a growing number of children) addicted to them. Added to this has been a spike in HIV cases, as users share needles, Professor Julien Mercille, author of “Cruel Harvest: U.S. Intervention in the Afghan Drug Trade,” told MintPress.
Only contributing further to the despair has been 20 years of war and U.S. occupation. The number of Afghans living in poverty rose from 9.1 million in 2007 to 19.3 million in 2016. A recent poll conducted by Gallup found that Afghans are the saddest people on Earth, with nearly nine in ten respondents “suffering” and zero percent of the population “thriving,” in their own words. When asked to rate their lives out of a score of ten, Afghans gave an average answer of 2.7, a record low for any country studied. Worse still, when asked to predict the quality of their life in five years, the mean answer was even lower: 2.3.
The effects of the CIA operation to bleed the Soviets dry in Afghanistan have also produced a humanitarian crisis in neighboring Pakistan. As McCoy noted, in the late 1970s, Pakistan had barely any heroin addicts. But by 1985, Pakistani government statistics reported over 1.2 million, turning the two nations into “the global epicenter of the drugs trade” almost overnight.
The problem has only grown since. A 2013 U.N. report estimated that almost 7 million Pakistanis use drugs, with 4.25 million requiring urgent treatment for dependency issues. Nearly 2.5 million of these people were abusing heroin or other opioids. Around 700 people die every day from overdoses. The highest rate of dependency is, unsurprisingly, in provinces on the Afghan border where heroin is manufactured. The same U.N. study notes that 11% of people in the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa use illicit substances–primarily heroin.
The drug crisis, of course, is also a medical crisis, with overstretched public hospitals filled with drugs-related maladies. The social stigma of addiction has ripped families apart while the money and power illicit drugs have brought has turned many towns into hotspots of violence.
Iran has a similar number of opioid users, generally estimated at between two and three million. In towns close to the Afghan/Pakistani border, a gram of opium can be bought with loose change–between a quarter and fifty cents. Thus, despite the extremely harsh penalties for drug possession and distribution on the official books, the country has the highest addiction rate in the world
On a micro level, addiction tears apart families and ruins lives. On an international scale, however, the opium boom has placed an entire region under significant strain. Therefore, one consequence of U.S. policy in the Middle East–from supporting jihadists to occupying nations–has been to unleash a worldwide opium addiction that has made a few people fantastically wealthy and destroyed the lives of tens of millions.
The boom in production has also led to a worldwide disaster. In the past decade, opioid-related deaths increased by 71% globally, according to the United Nations. Much of the product grown by Afghan warlords ends up on Western streets. “I don’t see how it can be a coincidence that you have that explosive growth in poppy production in Afghanistan and then you have the worldwide opioid epidemic,” Hoh stated, a connection that raises the question of whether users in Berlin, Boston, or Brazil should be seen as victims of the war in Afghanistan as much as fallen soldiers are. If so, the numbers would be staggering. Nearly 841,000 Americans have died of a drug overdose since the war in Afghanistan began, including more than 70,000 in 2019 alone. The majority of these have involved opioids.
Officially, the DEA claims that essentially all illicit opioids entering the U.S. are grown in Latin America. Hoh, however, finds this unconvincing. “When you look at their own information and their reports on the illicit opioid production hectarage in Mexico and South America, it is clear that there is not enough production in the Western hemisphere to meet the demand for illicit opiates in the U.S.,” he told MintPress.
A dirty history
The U.S. government has a long history of directly involving itself with the worldwide narcotics trade. In Colombia, it worked with President Alvaro Uribe on a nationwide drug war, even as internal U.S. documents identified Uribe as one of the nation’s most important drug traffickers, an employee of the infamous Medellin Cartel and a “close personal friend” of drugs kingpin Pablo Escobar. Profits from drug-running funded Uribe’s election runs in 2002 and 2006.
General Manuel Noriega was also a key ally of the U.S. For many years, the Panamanian was on the CIA payroll–despite Washington knowing he was involved in drug trafficking since at least 1972. When he became de facto dictator of Panama in 1984, little changed. But the director of the Drug Enforcement Agency initially praised him for his “vigorous anti-drug trafficking policy.” Eventually, however, the U.S. decided to invade the country and capture Noriega, sentencing him to 40 years in federal prison for drug crimes largely committed while he was still in the CIA’s pay.
At the same time as this was going on, investigative journalist Gary Webb exposed how the CIA helped fund its dirty war against Nicaragua’s leftist government through sales of crack cocaine to black neighborhoods across the United States, linking far-right paramilitary armies with U.S. drug kingpins like Rick Ross.
To this day, the U.S. government continues to support Honduran strongman Juan Orlando Hernandez, despite the president’s well-established connections to the cocaine trade. Earlier this year, a U.S. court sentenced Hernandez’s brother Tony to life in prison for international drug smuggling, while Juan himself was an unindicted co-conspirator in the case. Nevertheless, President Hernandez has proven himself effective at suppressing the anti-imperialist Left inside his country and cementing the U.S.-backed 2009 military coup, one reason he is unlikely to face charges in the near future.
Using the illegal drug trade and the profits from it to fund imperial objectives has been a constant of great empires going back centuries. For instance, in the 1940s and 1950s, the French Empire utilized opium crops in the so-called “Golden Triangle” region of Indochina in order to help beat back a growing Vietnamese independence movement. Going further back, the British used its opium machine to subdue and economically conquer much of China. Britain’s insatiable thirst for Chinese tea was beginning to bankrupt the country, as the Chinese would accept only gold or silver as payment. It therefore used the power of its navy to force China to cede Hong Kong, from which Britain began flooding China with opium it grew in its possessions in South Asia.
The humanitarian impact of the Opium War was staggering. By 1880, the British were inundating China with over 6,500 tons of opium every year–equivalent to many billions of doses, causing massive social and economic dislocation as China struggled to cope with a crippling, empire-wide addiction. Today, many Chinese still refer to the era as “the century of humiliation.” In India and Pakistan, too, the effect was no less dramatic, as colonists forced farmers into planting inedible poppy fields (and, later, tea) rather than subsistence crops, causing waves of huge famines, the frequency of which had never been seen before.
Millions of losers
The story is much more nuanced than some “CIA controls the world’s drugs” conspiracy theories make out. There are no U.S. soldiers loading up Afghan carts with opium. However, many commanders are knowingly enabling warlords who do. “The U.S. military and CIA bear a large responsibility for the opium production boom in Afghanistan,” Professor Mercille said, explaining:
Post-9/11, they basically allied themselves with a lot of Afghan strongmen and warlords who happened to be involved in some way in drug production and trafficking. Those individuals were acting as local allies for the U.S. and NATO, and therefore were largely protected from retribution or arrest for drug trafficking because they were U.S. allies.
From the ground, the war in Afghanistan has looked a lot like the war on drugs in Latin America and previous colonial campaigns in Asia, with a rapid militarization of the area and the empowerment of pliant local elites, which immediately begin to embezzle the massive profits that quietly disappear into black holes. All the while, millions of people pay the price, suffering inside a militarized death zone and turning to drugs as a coping mechanism. In the story of the opium boom, there are few winners, but there are millions of losers.
George HW Bush
As head of the CIA under Gerald Ford, and later as vice-president, Bush was a consummate pragmatist capable of rapidly changing political positions as expediency demanded. Highly disciplined, he mastered the arts of compartmentalization and secrecy. Nobody in government was better at keeping secrets. With his posh pedigree and Ivy League credentials, Bush had the perfect résumé to be a spy, and an effective mask with which to disguise his real agendas.
When Bush became president in 1989, his administration blithely ignored Saddam’s military buildup and human rights violations and proceeded to send funding, intelligence and hi-tech exports, some of which could potentially be used in Iraq’s nuclear weapons program. All of which left Saddam emboldened – and that paved the way for the Gulf war of 1991.
A key factor in Bush’s Middle East policies was his friendship with Prince Bandar, the Saudi ambassador to the US. The two men were so close that Bandar was known as Pop, unexpectedly at Bush’s summer retreat in Kennebunkport, Maine. They went on hunting trips together. Later, when Bush was out of the White House, he even tasked Bandar with teaching his eldest son – George W, then a presidential aspirant with no experience in international affairs – all about foreign policy.
After his presidency was over, Bush and a number of his former cabinet officers also began participating in the Carlyle Group, a giant private equity firm heavily funded by Saudi billionaires – including the Saudi family of Osama bin Laden. As I reported in House of Bush, House of Saud, in the end, nearly $1.5bn made its way from the Saudis to individuals and institutions tied to the extended family of Bush cabinet officials and associates.
George HW Bush was long out of office and his son had become president. In the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks, when US air traffic was all but shut down, how is it that the White House approved the departure of more than 140 mostly Saudi passengers, many of whom were kin to Osama bin Laden? Why did Saudi Arabia – birthplace of 15 out of 19 hijackers – get preferential treatment from George W Bush’s White House at a time when Arab-Americans all over the country were being apprehended and interrogated? Had the Bushes’ close ties to the Saudis led them to look the other way – even after the worst terrorist attack in American history?
When the Bush administration took office in January 2001, CIA Director George Tenet and National Security Council counterterrorism “czar” Richard Clarke both warned its incoming officials that al-Qaeda represented a grave threat. During a transition briefing early that month at Blair House, according to Bob Woodward’s Bush at War, Tenet and his deputy James Pavitt listed Osama bin Laden as one of America’s three most serious national-security challenges. That same month, Clarke presented National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice with a plan he had been working on since al-Qaeda’s attack on the USS Cole the previous October. It called for freezing the network’s assets, closing affiliated charities, funneling money to the governments of Uzbekistan, the Philippines and Yemen to fight al-Qaeda cells in their country, initiating air strikes and covert operations against al-Qaeda sites in Afghanistan, and dramatically increasing aid to the Northern Alliance, which was battling al-Qaeda and the Taliban there.
But both Clarke and Tenet grew deeply frustrated by the way top Bush officials responded. Clarke recounts that when he briefed Rice about al-Qaeda, “her facial expression gave me the impression that she had never heard the term before.” On January 25, Clarke sent Rice a memo declaring that, “we urgently need…a Principals [Cabinet] level review on the al Qida [sic] network.” Instead, Clarke got a sub-cabinet, Deputies level, meeting in April, two months after the one on Iraq.
When that April meeting finally occurred, according to Clarke’s book, Against All Enemies, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz objected that “I just don’t understand why we are beginning by talking about this one man, bin Laden.” Clarke responded that, “We are talking about a network of terrorist organizations called al-Qaeda, that happens to be led by bin Laden, and we are talking about that network because it and it alone poses an immediate and serious threat to the United States.” To which Wolfowitz replied, “Well, there are others that do as well, at least as much. Iraqi terrorism for example.”
During that same time period, the CIA was raising alarms too. According to Kurt Eichenwald, a former New York Times reporter given access to the Daily Briefs prepared by the intelligence agencies for President Bush in the spring and summer of 2001, the CIA told the White House by May 1 that “a group presently in the United States” was planning a terrorist attack. On June 22, the Daily Brief warned that al-Qaeda strikes might be “imminent.”
But the same Defense Department officials who discounted Clarke’s warnings pushed back against the CIA’s. According to Eichenwald’s sources, “the neoconservative leaders who had recently assumed power at the Pentagon were warning the White House that the C.I.A. had been fooled; according to this theory, Bin Laden was merely pretending to be planning an attack to distract the administration from Saddam Hussein, whom the neoconservatives saw as a greater threat.”
The warnings continued. On July 11, the CIA sent word to the White House that a Chechen with links to al-Qaeda had warned that something big was coming. On July 24, the Daily Brief said the expected al-Qaeda attack had been postponed but was still being planned. Finally, on August 6, the CIA titled its Daily Brief: “Bin Ladin Determined to Strike the US.” The briefing didn’t mention a specific date or target, but it did mention the possibility of attack in New York and mentioned that the terrorists might hijack airplanes. In Angler, Barton Gellman notes that it was the 36th time the CIA had raised al-Qaeda with President Bush since he took office.
On September 4, the Cabinet met and despite Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s insistence that Iraq represented the greater terrorism threat, it approved Clarke’s plan to fight al-Qaeda. On September 9, the Senate Armed Services Committee recommended taking $600 million from the proposed missile defense budget and devoting it to counter-terrorism. According to Gellman, Rumsfeld recommended that Bush veto such a move.
On the morning of September 11, 2001, Clarke’s anti-al-Qaeda plan was sitting on Bush’s desk, awaiting his signature. It was the ninth National Security Presidential Directive of his presidency.
The hijackers in the September 11 attacks were 19 men affiliated with the militant Islamist group al-Qaeda. They hailed from four countries; fifteen of them were citizens of Saudi Arabia, two were from the United Arab Emirates, one was from Lebanon, and one from Egypt.
The hijackers were organized into four teams, each led by a pilot-trained hijacker who would commandeer the flight with three or four “muscle hijackers” who were trained to help subdue the pilots, passengers, and crew. Each team was assigned to a different flight and given a unique target to crash their respective planes into.
The first hijackers to arrive in the United States were Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi, who settled in San Diego County, California, in January 2000. They were followed by three hijacker-pilots, Mohamed Atta, Marwan al-Shehhi, and Ziad Jarrah in mid-2000 to undertake flight training in South Florida. The fourth hijacker-pilot, Hani Hanjour, arrived in San Diego in December 2000. The rest of the “muscle hijackers” arrived in early- and mid-2001.
On the morning of this day in 2001, President George W. Bush was at Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota County, Florida, reading “The Pet Goat” to inner-city first graders and listening as the children recited the story back to him.
Earlier, Bush had been on the way from his hotel to the school in his motorcade when an aide called him to report that a passenger jet had crashed into the North Tower at 8:46 a.m. Bush said he initially believed that the crash was an accident caused, perhaps, by pilot error.
At 9:06 a.m. Andrew Card, the White House chief of staff, entered the classroom. Without alarming the children, he quietly told the president that a second airplane had struck the South Tower and that the nation was under attack.
Bush remained seated for seven more minutes, following along as the children finished reading the book. He then commended them on their reading skills and encouraged them to continue to read more and to watch less television. He then posed for photos with the children, their teacher and school administrators.
1. Insider Traders Knew About Attacks Before They Happened
Right before the September 11th attacks, some fishy business happened within the stock market and insurance firms. An “extraordinary” amount of put options were placed on United Airlines and American Airlines stocks, the same airlines that were hijacked during the attacks. Many speculate that traders were tipped off about the attacks and profited from the tragedy. The Securities and Exchange Commission launched an insider trading investigation in which Osama bin Laden was a suspect, after receiving information from at least one Wall Street firm.
2. Air Defense Was Told To ‘Stand Down’
In the event that an airplane is hijacked, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is prepared to send out fighter jets, which can debilitate or shoot down the aircraft. On 9/11/01, NORAD generals said they learned of the hijackings in time to scramble fighter jets. Some skeptics believe NORAD commanded defense systems to “stand down,” because of their lack of presence during the attacks.
3. Planes Didn’t Make Twin Towers Collapse, Bombs Did
The World Trade Center collapse appeared similar to a controlled demolition. Many speculate that the towers were in fact blown down with explosives placed in selected locations. Some witnesses recounted hearing explosions inside the building as they attempted to escape. Many architects and scientists even maintain that a plane’s fuel cannot produce enough heat to melt the steel frames of the two buildings that collapsed.
4. The Pentagon Attack Scientifically Doesn’t Hold Up
The Pentagon crash may be the most puzzling event of the day. Theorists maintain that the impact holes in the Pentagon were much smaller than a commercial American Airlines plane. They also question why the plane was not shot down prior to impact, as well as why the plane impacted a section of the Pentagon that was vacant due to renovations.
5. Flight 93 Was Completely Staged
The fourth hijacked plane, Flight 93, crashed in Shanksville, Penn. It is believed that the passengers fought back and crashed the plane into a field. Skeptics believe that Flight 93 landed safely, while a substitute plane was shot out of the sky. Other theorists believe that the passengers were murdered, or relocated and will never be found.
6. Hijackers Are Alive. How Did Their Passports Survive Explosion?
After the September 11th attacks, the “Loose Change” documentary stated that all of the hijackers were actually alive in other countries – rather presumptuous since it is possible for two different people to have identical names. But they did raise a good point; how did the passports of the terrorists survive the explosion? In the aftermath of the attacks, passports and identification were found as evidence. Many skeptics question how identification made out of paper survived the same explosion that destroyed buildings.
7. Cell Phone Calls Made From Plane Were Faked
In-flight calls were made from cell phones in both hijacked airplanes. Scientists and skeptics maintain that cell phones could not receive reception from the altitude at which planes typically fly. Others questioned a phone call from a son to his mother, in which he referred to himself by his own first and last name.
8. Jewish People Knew Attack Was Going To Happen, Took Off Work On September 11th
Theorists noticed that 4,000 Jewish employees took off from work on September 11, 2001. Some of the first people to record the attacks on camera were also Jewish. Many became suspicious and put the religious group on the radar as suspects in the wake of the attack.
9. Black Boxes Found By Search Crew Kept Secret
During the weeks following the attack, the planes’ black boxes were one of the most important items under investigation. They were the only evidence into what happened inside the cockpits of the plane. Three of four black boxes were found and only one was in good enough condition to hear. The tape was not initially released, but was shared with families of the victims in 2002. Skeptics believe the tapes were not disclosed in order to support a secret scheme.
10. The Bin Laden Tapes Are Fake
Initially, Osama bin Laden denied any involvement with the attacks. Soon afterward, numerous tapes came out claiming he changed his mind and took full responsibility. Many skeptics believe that Bin Laden was targeted because of his stake in the stock market, as well as because of former President George W. Bush’s personal business ventures in the Middle East.
11. Aluminum Planes Can’t Penetrate Steel Structure Of World Trade Center
Commercial airplanes’ frames are constructed with a very light aluminum material in order to make it easier to fly. Theorists maintain there is no possible way an airplane can do as much damage to the Twin Towers as it did. They believe that missiles or explosives were used to ensure the buildings collapsed.
In addition, the buildings’ steel structures were almost entirely dismembered. Aside from some of the exterior walls at the base of each building still standing, virtually all of their steel skeletons were broken up into small pieces, with the core structures separated into individual members and the exterior columns broken up into three-story, prefabricated sections.
What can explain the near-total pulverization of approximately 8.8 million square feet of 5.5-inch-thick lightweight concrete flooring and the near-total dismemberment of 220 stories of steel structure? NIST provides no explanation, and gravity alone appears to be implausible. A simple analysis of the approximate amount of energy required to pulverize the concrete and dismember the steel structures indicates that about 1,255 gigajoules of energy would have been required, far exceeding the estimated 508 gigajoules of gravitational potential energy contained in the buildings.1
The near-total pulverization and dismemberment of the structures becomes even more difficult to explain when we consider that the collapses occurred “essentially in free fall.”2 Near-total pulverization and dismemberment would require a tremendous collision of materials at each floor, and yet NIST claims that the structure below “offered minimal resistance to the falling building mass.”3 The official hypothesis thus attempts to have it both ways: “minimal resistance,” “free fall,” deceleration “far too small to be perceptible”4 — and yet near-total pulverization and dismemberment of the buildings’ concrete and steel. But according to Dr. Steven Jones, a former physics professor at Brigham Young University, “The paradox is easily resolved by the explosive demolition hypothesis, whereby explosives quickly remove lower-floor material including steel support columns and allow near free-fall-speed collapses.”
Explosive Ejection of Materials
As the concrete was being pulverized and the structures were being dismembered, a large percentage of the buildings’ materials was ejected laterally far beyond the perimeters of the buildings. According to the FEMA Building Performance Study, the debris fields extended as far as 400 to 500 feet from each tower’s base.
The materials of WTC 1, including multi-ton beams, were explosively ejected several hundred feet in all directions.
In the popular five-minute video titled North Tower Exploding, produced by physics teacher David Chandler, he describes the observed explosive ejection of materials from WTC 1:
“[U]nder the canopy of falling debris, do you see the rapid sequence of explosive ejections of material? Some of the jets have been clocked at over 100 mph…. They’re continuous and widespread. They move progressively down the faces of the building, keeping pace with the falling debris…. The building is being progressively destroyed from the top down by waves of explosions creating a huge debris field.”
Chandler then describes the hurling of multi-ton steel members:
“Notice that embedded in the dust clouds are huge girders and entire sections of steel framing that are being hurled out of the building…. Some landed as much as two football fields away from the base of the tower.”
Chandler next addresses the claim that the ejection of these girders was caused by a spring action resulting from the upper sections crushing down upon them.
“Some people have suggested that the weight of the tower crushing down on the girders caused them to flex and they sprung sideways by a spring action. But we are not seeing isolated jumping girders. We are seeing a major fraction of the mass of the building…reduced to small pieces of rubble and fine dust, and being explosively ejected in all directions.”
Along with the pulverization, dismemberment, and explosive ejection of the buildings’ materials, we observed what Kevin Ryan describes as “high velocity bursts of debris ejected from point-like sources.”6 According to Ryan, “[T]he demolition hypothesis suggests that these bursts of debris are the result of the detonation of explosive charges (squibs), placed at key points in the structure to facilitate the removal of resistance.” Ryan goes on to describe these apparent squibs in more detail:
High-velocity bursts of debris, or “squibs,” were ejected from point-like sources in WTC 1 and WTC 2, as many as 20 to 30 stories below the collapse front.
“In the videos we can see these bursts being ejected from the sides of the towers nearly 30 floors below the collapse front….
“Each of these was a sharp emission that appeared to come from a point-like source, ejecting approximately 50 to 100 feet from the side of the building in a fraction of a second. From the extracted frames of the KTLA video,16 we can estimate that one of the bursts was fully ejected in approximately .45 seconds. This gives an average burst velocity of approximately 170 feet per second.”
NIST’s explanation for these high-velocity bursts of debris is provided not in its final report, but in its FAQs, where it calls them “puffs of smoke” and says, “[T]he falling mass of the building compressed the air ahead of it — much like the action of a piston — forcing smoke and debris out the windows as the stories below failed sequentially.”7
Kevin Ryan offers several arguments for why NIST’s explanation is not valid:
- The floors were not the kind of tightly sealed, highly pressurized containers that would be required to generate overpressures strong enough to burst windows.
- The falling mass would need to act as a flat plate exerting uniform pressure at all points. But the falling upper sections, themselves disintegrating as observed in the videos, could not exert uniform pressure.
- Even if perfect containers and uniform pressure are assumed, using the Ideal Gas Law to calculate the change in pressure, we can determine that the air pressure would not increase enough to burst windows.
- The bursts contained pulverized debris, not smoke and dust. Yet building materials 20 to 30 stories below the collapse zone could not be pulverized and ejected laterally by air pressure.
During the 1990s, New York was suffering from the effects of the 1987 stock market crash, which led to high vacancy rates at the World Trade Center. George Pataki became Governor of New York in 1995 on a campaign of cutting costs, including privatizing the World Trade Center. A sale of the property was considered too complex, so it was decided by the Port Authority to open a 99-year lease to competitive bidding.
In January 2001, Silverstein, via Silverstein Properties, made a $3.2 billion bid to lease-purchase the World Trade Center. Silverstein was outbid by $30 million by Vornado Realty, with Boston Properties and Brookfield Properties also competing for the lease. However, Vornado withdrew in March, giving Silverstein 14 days to negotiate a new bid. Silverstein’s negotiated bid was finalized on April 26, 2001, in partnership with Westfield America, Inc. and accepted on July 24, 2001. This was the first time in the complex’s 31-year history that it had changed management. After it withdrew, Vornado announced a deal with Bloomberg LP to finance Bloomberg’s new headquarters at 731 Lexington Avenue.
The lease agreement applied to One, Two, Four, and Five World Trade Center, and about 425,000 square feet (39,500 m2) of retail space. Silverstein put up $14 million of his own money to secure the deal. The agreement gave Silverstein, as leaseholder, the right and the obligation to rebuild the structures if destroyed.
September 11 attacks
Silverstein has said in interviews that he usually spent his mornings in breakfast meetings at Windows on the World on top of the World Trade Center North Tower, and with new tenants in the building. However, the morning of September 11, 2001, his wife insisted that he attend a medical appointment. Due to the appointment, he escaped almost certain death.
All of the buildings at the World Trade Center, including buildings 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7, were destroyed or damaged beyond repair on September 11, 2001. After a protracted dispute with insurers over the amount of coverage available for rebuilding World Trade Center buildings 1, 2, 4 and 5, a series of court decisions determined that a maximum of $4.55 billion was payable and settlements were reached with the insurers in 2007.
The insurance policies for World Trade Center buildings 1 WTC, 2 WTC, 4 WTC and 5 WTC had a collective face amount of $3.55 billion. Following the September 11, 2001, attacks, Silverstein sought to collect double the face amount (~$7.1 billion) on the basis that the two separate airplane strikes into two separate buildings constituted two occurrences within the meaning of the policies. The insurance companies took the opposite view, and the matter went to court. Based on differences in the definition of “occurrence” (the insurance policy term governing the amount of insurance) and uncertainties over which definition of “occurrence” applied, the court split the insurers into two groups for jury trials on the question of which definition of “occurrence” applied and whether the insurance contracts were subject to the “one occurrence” interpretation or the “two occurrence” interpretation.
The first trial resulted in a verdict on April 29, 2004, that 10 of the insurers in this group were subject to the “one occurrence” interpretation, so their liability was limited to the face value of those policies, and 3 insurers were added to the second trial group. The jury was unable to reach a verdict on one insurer, Swiss Reinsurance, at that time, but did so several days later on May 3, 2004, finding that this company was also subject to the “one occurrence” interpretation. Silverstein appealed the Swiss Re decision, but lost that appeal on October 19, 2006. The second trial resulted in a verdict on December 6, 2004, that 9 insurers were subject to the “two occurrences” interpretation and, therefore, liable for a maximum of double the face value of those particular policies ($2.2 billion). The total potential payout, therefore, was capped at $4.577 billion for buildings 1, 2, 4, and 5. An appraisal followed to determine the value of the insured loss.
In July 2006, Silverstein and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey filed a lawsuit against some of its insurers, for refusing to waive requirements of the insurance contracts that Silverstein claimed were necessary to allow renegotiation of the original July 2001 World Trade Center leases. This litigation, was settled together with the federal lawsuits and appraisal, mentioned in the prior paragraph, in a series of settlements announced on May 23, 2007. Silverstein’s lease with the Port Authority, for the World Trade Center complex, requires him to continue paying $102 million annually in base rent. He is applying insurance payments toward the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site.
In March 2007, Silverstein appeared at a rally of construction workers and public officials outside of an insurance industry conference to highlight what he describes as the failures of insurers Allianz & Royal and Sun Alliance to pay $800 million in claims related to the attacks. Insurers cite an agreement to split payments between Mr. Silverstein and the Port Authority as a cause for concern.
Frank Lowy– Lowy, a Czechoslovakia born Jew, was the owner of Westfield America, one of the biggest shopping mall conglomerates in the world. Lowy leased the shopping concourse area called the Mall at the World Trade Center, made up of approximately 427,000 square feet of retail floor space. Frank Lowy has quite an interesting history. He was a member of the Golani Brigade, and fought in the Israeli war of independence. Before this he was a member of Hagganah, a Jewish terrorist organization. Frank Lowy spends three months of the year at his home in Israel and has been described by the Sydney Morning Herald as “a self-made man with a strong interest in the Holocaust and Israeli politics.” He funded and launched the Israeli Institute for National Strategy and Policy, which will “operate within the framework of Tel Aviv University” in Israel. He is also close friends with many top Israeli officials such as Ehud Olmert, Ariel Sharon, Bibi Netanyahu, and Ehud Barak. He was also implicated in an Israeli Bank Scandal with Olmert. Frank Lowy steered clear of the WTC on 9/11. More information about Lowy can be further researched here.3) Lewis Eisenberg – This Jewish criminal personality was the head of the Port Authority of New York and authorized the lease transfer to his Zionist brethren Larry and Lowy. Eisenberg was a large contributor to the Bush-Cheney presidential campaign, as well as a partner in the Jewish bank Goldman-Sachs. Eisenberg has been both a member of the Planning Board of the United Jewish Appeal/United Jewish Federation pro-Israeli government pressure group in the U.S.
Ronald Lauder – Billionaire Estée Lauder Cosmetics magnate. He was the chairman of NY Governor George Pataki’s commission on privatization. He is the key individual who lobbied for the privatization of the WTC (Source, 9th pp) — but he also got the former Stewart Air Force Base to become privatized. Oddly, the flight paths of flight 175 and flight 11 converged directly over this airport.
Lauder is active in the following organizations: Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Jewish National Fund, World Jewish Congress, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, Anti-Defamation League, Jewish Theological Seminary. Ronald Lauder was elected president of the World Jewish Congress on 10 June, 2007.
Lauder founded a school for the Mossad in Herzliya, Israel called the Lauder School of Government Diplomacy and Strategyy. He is the key Sayan involved in the preparation of 9/11.
The second crucial aspect of control that needed to be established in order to pull off 9/11 was to gain control of security of the WTC complex. This way, Mossad explosive experts — that just so happened to be in town just prior to and on 9/11 — could be readily allowed access to strategic areas of the buildings in order to prep for the demolitions.
The contract to run security at the WTC was designated to Kroll Associates after the 1993 wtc bombing. Kroll is otherwise known as “Wall Streets CIA”.
Who gave them the contract?
The Port Authority of New York paid them $2.5 million to revamp security at the complex. The owners of Kroll was two Zionist Jews named Jules & Jeremy Kroll.
The managing director of Kroll at the time was Jerome M. Hauer.
Hauer was also the guy chosen to run Mayor Rudy Guiliani’s office of emergency management( OEM) from 1996 to 2000. He is the key individual that pushed for this office to be placed in Silverstein’s building 7.
Jerome Hauer is also Jewish and a staunch Zionist. Hauer’s mother, Rose Muscatine Hauer, is the retired Dean of the Beth Israel School of Nursing and the Honorary President of the New York Chapter of Hadassah, the Daughters of Zion movement that is one of the central Zionist organizations involved in the creation and maintenance of the State of Israel.
Pre-Knowledge of Anthrax Mailings
A hardly known fact is that Jerome Hauer is the one who advised the White House to go on the anti-biotic effective against Anthrax — Cipro — a week prior to the mailings. How convenient.
How did he know?
Hauer is an ‘expert’ in Bio-Terrorism and was the one who was in charge of the NIH response to the anthrax attacks. His reactions to the anthrax mailings were ‘very slow’ to say the least, and he took every opportunity to invoke “Osama Bin Laden” in his rhetoric.
Who Killed John O’neil?
It is important to note that O’neil had quit his job at the FBI after his investigation into the U.S.S. Cole attack in Yemen was obstructed & sabotaged by U.S ambassador to Yemen, Zionist Barbara Bodine. This is because the U.S.S. Cole was NOT done by Al Qaeda. The USS Cole was hit by an Israeli cruise missile (Source, 39th pp) to sway public opinion against Arabs (Al Qaeda), as well as demonize the democrats (didn’t take terror threat seriously) — so that their puppet George Bush Jr. could be hurled into office in time for 9/11. This was of course completely covered up.
The third crucial aspect of control that needed to be established was to gain control of airport security at all of the airports that the hijackings would originate from. Passenger screening needed to be handled by their operatives in order to allow certain people & certain items (i.e. weapons) onto the planes.
Who ran airport security at all three ports of alleged hijackings?
That would be ICTS International / Huntsleigh USA (wholly owned subsidiary)
Owned by Ezra Harel and Menachem Atzmon. Both Israeli Jews.
It is run by “experts” in the security and intelligence field. Israeli intelligence that is. Most employees were ex- Shin Bet agents.
Is this airport security company, who ran the security at Boston’s Logan Airport, as well as Newark, really that shoddy to allow 19 arabs on board 4 different planes with box-cutters, mace, and even a gun, or is there something else going on here?
Menachem Atzmon, former Likud treasurer in the 80′s, was involved in an Israeli political scandal involving Ehud Olmert and other Likudnits in Israel. He was criminally convicted of fraud, falsifying documents, as well as breaching Party Funding Law.
ICTS was also in charge of airport security when the shoe bomber, Richard Reid, allegedly boarded a plane with a shoe bomb. If Reid is really a terrorist and not just an innocent man being used by the Mossad to incite more fear of terrorism, then why did ICTS let him board the plane knowing he could be dangerous?
Another point indicating ICTS’s complicity is that a few hours before the Patriot Act was voted on, it was edited to make foreign companies in charge of security on 9/11 immune to lawsuits. This would prevent American courts from demanding that ICTS provide testimony or hand over the missing surveillance videos from the airports.
The whole war on terror notion was created due to the 911 attacks. Bush lied about Osama bin Laden being responsible for the attacks. The Zionists who had infested the Whitehouse and the Pentagon lied about Saddam and WMD and they lied about Osama bin Laden and the 911 attacks. Von Bulow, the former head of the German Intelligence agencies has publicly stated that Arabs did not mastermind the 911 and stated the attacks were probably masterminded by Israel’s Mossad.
The overwhelming evidence shows the 911 attacks were planned by the Mossad. Inept Arab terrorists did not plan 911. The hijackers for 911 were incompetent patsies. The Mossad infiltrated a so called terrorist organization and orchestrated the attacks. They have a long history of false flag attacks – USS Liberty, the Lavon Affair, The false Libya attack on an Americans overseas which caused Reagan to bomb Libya etc.
A former President of Italy stated in a major Italian Newspaper http://www.americanfreepress.net/html/9-11_solved118.html that everyone in the international intelligence community knows that Israel’s Mossad was responsible for the 911 attacks.
The Dancing Israelis (from Urban Moving Systems) were actually Mossad and Israeli Defense Forces personnel and were seen dancing and celebrating while video taping the first tower being hit. They were arrested and failed lie detector tests but were let go due to orders from the White House. When they returned to Israel they went on a talk show where one of them mentioned they were there to document the event. The confession video is at Youtube and other web pages including this link: http://whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/fiveisraelis.html How could they have be there to document the event unless they had prior knowledge of the attacks!
If you go to the FBI’s website and click on Osama bin Laden you will see that he is wanted for a couple of crimes but not the 911 attacks. A top FBI spokesman said there was no hard evidence that Osama bin Laden was involved in the 911 attacks. Obviously the FBI realizes the widely viewed confession tape of Osama was fixed to make him look like he was the mastermind. The tape was shown to be ridiculous by a prominent German television station.
The Israeli Art students (arrested spies) were following and living very close to the hijackers in Florida including Atta. http://newsmine.org/content.php?ol=9-11/questions/israelis/israeli-art-students-canvassed-DEA-offices.txt
They were also living down the street from the hijackers residing in the Northeast coast. The street addresses are available on the Internet. They were really military surveillance and explosive experts and some were Mossad members. Surely at a minimum they intercepted the communications of the hijackers yet did not provide us the details. However, they were following the patsies to make sure they did their jobs.
Odigo Systems, an Israeli company with a New York City office received an advanced warning by email that an attack was going to occur in New York City the day of the attack. This is verified by their CEO. They were probably not tipped off by Arabs ! http://whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/9-11_warnings_odigo.html
Zim American Israeli Shipping Company, also considered to be a front for the Mossad and the CIA broke their lease in one of the twin towers which cost them $50,000 and moved out about a week before the attack. Perhaps they had an advance warning. According to Ex-Navy intelligence officer Wayne Madsen, the company was controlled by the CIA and the Mossad. http://www.fpp.co.uk/online/02/09/AmericanFreePress0902.html
Commercial pilots and military pilots at pilotsfor911truth.org claim that the maneuvers of the hijacked planes are impossible for these inexperienced hijacker pilots to have performed. Regarding the plane maneuvers at the Pentagon, experienced pilots claim they could not have perform the maneuvers themselves. http://patriotsquestion911.com/pilots.html
System Planning Corporation, an Israeli company produces the Flight Termination System that is used to take over and fly airplanes by remote control. Perhaps the system was used with the 911 attack planes.
Through front companies an Israeli security company provided airport security at all the hijacked plane airports. http://whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/ICTS.html This might be how they were able to place the remote controlled devices on the planes.
About one third of the hijackers are alive. They had their passports stolen. Atta was being impersonated. He was a shy conservative man is real life and not the drinking womanizer as the Mossad impersonator played him at bars just before 911. http://whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/hijackers.html
The amazing passport of one of the hijackers found near the twin towers that supposedly made it safely through the airplane crash was a ridiculous ploy by the Mossad.
Seems to me the Mossad infiltrated the so called terrorist group and planned the whole event and used the hijackers as patsies. They wanted America to hate Muslims and attack Muslim countries for them and cheer them on when they kill innocent Palestinians.
Read this amazing article about the Mossad involvement in the 911 attacks by Albert Pastore at http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/stf1.html?q=stf1html
There should be a thorough investigation regarding the 911 attacks and the Mossad.
As Arthur Schopenhauer once wrote ~ ” The truth passes through three stages ~ First, it is ridiculed / Second, it is violently opposed and Third, it is accepted as being self-evident “
it would appear that we are close to stage three in regards to Mossad’s obvious connection to 9/11.