SPECIAL REPORT: The top secret Israeli-US program to establish “Al Qaeda”

By Wayne Madsen

Press clips gathered by the CIA and discovered in the National Archives’ stored CIA files point to an agency keenly interested in any leaks about the highly-classified CIA-Mossad program to establish Osama Bin Laden and the most radical elements of the Afghan Mujahidin as the primary leaders of the anti-Soviet rebels in the 1980s.

WMR has pored through the CIA files and a complicated picture emerges of America’s and Israel’s top intelligence agencies, in cahoots with Saudi Arabia, establishing financial links and carve out intelligence programs to provide manpower and financial support to Bin Laden and his allies in Afghanistan. It was these very elements that later created the so-called “Al Qaeda,” which the late British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook described as nothing more than a “database” of CIA front organizations, financial supporters, and field operatives. However, one component omitted by Cook in the Al Qaeda construct is the Israeli participation.

Thanks largely to the CIA station chief in Riyadh in 1986-87, millions of dollars from the Saudi government, particularly then-deputy Prime Minister Prince Abdullah, now King Abdullah, and wealthy Saudi businessmen were funneled to the most radical leader of the Afghan rebels, Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, for whom militant southern Philippines Muslim rebels named their organization, the Abu Sayyaf group.

Accounting for only two percent of the mujahidin guerrillas in the field in Afghanistan, Sayyaf’s group began receiving hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of recruits from other countries, more than other six major mujahidin groups fighting the Soviets. The tilt to Sayyaf was a result of the intercession of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Saudi intelligence, the CIA, and Mossad. Another key Saudi intermediary was Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who the Bush family has dubbed “Bandar Bush” because of his close links to the Bushes, and who was the Saudi ambassador to the United States on 9/11.

The Reagan White House’s intermediary with Sayyaf’s group during 1986 and 1987 was Michael Pillsbury, the Assistant Undersecretary of Defense for Policy who continues to serve as a Pentagon consultant. Eventually, with the urging of Salem Bin Laden, and his older brother Osama, the CIA gave the green light for Sayyaf to bring into Afghanistan a dedicated group of Arab fighters, recruited from countries such as Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and other Arab countries. Some of the Syrian volunteers were refugee survivors of Syrian President Hafez Assad’s massacre of Sunni Muslims in Hama in 1982. Ironically, the first Arab training camp was established in eastern Afghanistan near the Pakistani border and was known as Maasada, or the “Lion’s Den.” Masada is the site of the Roman siege of Jewish forces in 72 where the Jews committed suicide rather than surrender to the Romans. Masada is Hebrew for “fortress.”

Although the roles of Oliver North, National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane, Iranian Jewish interlocutor and con-artist Manucher Ghorbanifar in using the Israelis as a pass-through for weapons transfers to the Iranians are well-known, not much has been reported on Israel’s role in providing financial and military assistance to Bin Laden’s and Sayyaf’s mujahidin forces at Maasada in Afghanistan during the war with the Soviets.

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