For a Kinder, Gentler Society
Dollars for Terror:
The United States and Islam
  • Richard Labévière
  • and Contributors . . .
Reviews Table of Contents Introduction «Back
Dollars for Terror:. The United States and Islam
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Richard Labévière dissects the financial ties of the Islamic terrorist networks. On the basis of four years’ research, this international journalist traces funds around the world, from Washington to Caribbean tax havens and, often, to peaceful Switzerland, depicting a new form of terror that is privatized and, in effect, listed on the stock exchange.

About the Author

Author of many books on democracy and world events, Richard Labévière is a reporter for the Swiss television news magazine The Present Tense and a contributor to La Croix newspaper. He holds advanced degrees in Philosophy and Political Science.

Labévière's journalistic work has concentrated on Arab and African countries, and the U.N. Many of his special reports have been re-broadcast on French national television. He won the 1994 Ringler Prize for journalism.

Dr. Graciela Susana Boruszko teaches in the Department of International Studies and Languages, Seaver College, Pepperdine University, Malibu, California. She obtained her degree in French Philology from the University of Madrid. She also completed a D.E.A. in Comparative Literature Studies at the University of Dijon, France. Her areas of research are: Comparative Literature and Linguistics, Comparative Culture Studies, Hispanic Studies and French and Francophone Studies.

Elvira Doghem-Rashid is currently a doctoral research student at the Kings Institute for the Study of Public Policy (KISPP), King College London. Her thesis deals with the impact of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act (2000) on social mobility, specifically the effect of the Act on ethnic differences in educational attainment in the UK. She is also a member of the government’s Census Diversity Advisory Group and is one of the first members of Runnymede 360°, the UK’s leading independent race equality think tank. Her research interests are firmly rooted in the areas of ethnicity and multiculturalism, more recently termed social cohesion, with the Asian and Arab ethnic groups of particular interest in her research. These interests have also developed into an interest into ethno-religious differences and a focus on Muslim communities. During her research, she has worked on a number of research projects focussed on minority ethnic/racial groups and authored the UK’s first published report on the Halal Food Market (2000) published by Mintel. Outside of research, Elvira has a personal interest in promoting cultural engagement with the Arab community in the UK.

Aaron Fine received his BFA in Painting in 1993 from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio where he wrote a Philosophy honors thesis on Spinoza. Mr. Fine attended Claremont Graduate University in Los Angeles, where he studied art in an interdisciplinary environment, served as a humanities scholar, and received his MFA in Painting in 1996. In 1999 Aaron Fine accepted his current position as Professor of Art and Gallery Director at Truman State University in Kirksville Missouri. From May 2007 to August 2008 Mr. Fine was on sabbatical writing about pedagogy and pursuing a new body of work in mixed media drawing which can be seen at aaronfineart.com. Since then Mr. Fine has been adding more curatorial work and research into visual culture to his activities as a devoted academic.

Peter Fine is an Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at New Mexico State University. As a designer, artist and writer, he explores the role of the design past, present and future, seeking ways to integrate design history, theory and criticism with practice. He is currently exploring ways to make environmental concerns a vital component of the Graphic Design curriculum at NMSU. He continues work on his book Graphic Design Reconsidered an introduction to the subject of green design for students and professionals. In his course Visualizing Race students compare their DNA, personal identity and medium to understand how race and representation operate within Visual Culture. Fine received his MFA from the University of Arizona in 2004.

Dr. Michael Kilburn, former IREX scholar at the Institute for Contemporary History in Prague (1999), is Assistant Professor of Political Science and Liberal Studies at Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts. His research interests include human rights pedagogy, democratization, and the use of music and art in political advocacy. Kilburn is currently working on an English translation of Vanek’s environmental book No Breathing Room (1996). Dr. Kilburn has a lifelong mission to increase aw areness of and engagement with politics and international affairs. He founded the Endicott Center for Oral History.

Dr. David Magill is Assistant Professor of English and Women and Gender Studies at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia. He has published several essays in collections on masculinity and race in literature and popular culture. He is currently working on a manuscript entitled Modern Masculinities : Nostalgic White Manhood and Jazz Age Politics .

Dr. Heidi Rimke teaches in the Department of Sociology at The University of Winnipeg, Canada. She specializes in the areas of classical and contemporary social and political thought, historical and political sociology, criminology, cultural studies, the history of the philosophies of the social sciences, and the history of the human sciences with a focus on “psy” discourses and practices. Her publications examine the role of popular psychology/self-help in neo-liberalism; the history of psychiatry, the medicalization of morality; political biography; the history of criminal sciences; and anti-capitalist resistance movements. Some of her current projects examine the criminalization/pathologization of resistance; the psychiatrization of everyday life; the birth of psychopolitics and psychocentrism as neo-liberal political technologies; and, capitalism and cannibalism.

Harsha Walia is a community organizer and writer active in Metro Vancouver. She is a member of No One Is Illegal (NOII). No One Is Illegal-Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories is a grassroots anti-colonial migrant justice group with leadership from members of migrant and/or racialized backgrounds. As a movement for self-determination that challenges the ideology of immigration controls, NOII members are in full confrontation with Canadian border policies; denouncing and taking action to combat racial profiling, detention and deportation, the national security apparatus, law enforcement brutality, and exploitative working conditions of migrants. They struggle for the right of our communities to maintain their livelihoods and resist war, occupation, and displacement; while supporting indigenous sisters and brothers fighting theft of land and colonization. They also place themselves within the broader movement for global social justice that struggles against capitalism, militarism, oppression, poverty, imperialism, and other systems of domination and exploitation.

About the Book
In a meticulous investigation, the author calls into question the foreign policy image of the United States, and tries to determine the American responsibility in a number of Islamic attacks throughout the world and analyzes...
In a meticulous investigation, the author calls into question the foreign policy image of the United States, and tries to determine the American responsibility in a number of Islamic attacks throughout the world and analyzes the strategic errors of the American response.

Are the United States and their Saudi allies sponsoring and financing the radical Islamists? "Islam is less likely to produce a 'clash of civilizations,' as Samuel Huntington predicted, than to consolidate mafia-like links between organized crime and the great business networks of global capitalism," and the result is a threat to democracy.

Labévière shows that despite the violent attacks and virulent anti-American rhetoric, the world's greatest democracy is playing a leading role in propagating Islamic fundamentalism. Here is an audacious view of the globalization so loudly promoted by the U.S.

Richard Labévière uncovers the money-laundering, organized crime and the interlocking world of business and politics. The central nerve of Islam, he states, is not religion - it is money. . . Thoroughly researched and persuasive.


Preface
PROLOGUE TO THE AMERICAN EDITION
The Cold War Continues. . .

What's happened since the bloody bombings of the American embassies in Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam in August, 1998? Frankly, not much. At least...

PROLOGUE TO THE AMERICAN EDITION
The Cold War Continues. . .

What's happened since the bloody bombings of the American embassies in Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam in August, 1998? Frankly, not much. At least 263 were killed and 5,000 more were wounded in that incident; the retaliatory bombing of a chemical plant in Sudan and of logistics and training bases in Afghanistan on August 20, 1998 did not have much effect. How could such counterattacks address the terrorist actions of an international nebula with strong ties to many countries? Fifteen people were accused of the crime; only five of them are currently in American prisons. The FBI investigation is still underway. The State Department has offered a $5 million reward to any person having information leading to the capture of Osama bin Laden or any other suspect.

But fundamentally, the State Department is not exerting any real pressure on the Taleban to "catch" the Saudi billionaire who is happily whiling away his days in Afghanistan. More pro-Islamist than ever, the CIA still plays down the criminal misdeeds of its former agent and maintains the same supportive policy toward the Islamists and against Russia and China. The Saudi secret service, too, hardly seems eager to neutralize (much less arrest) its old acquaintance bin Laden, who bank-rolled the "holy war." Saudi Arabia, through its "Wahhabi associations" 1 and other armed religious fanatic organizations, is making its influence felt more than ever throughout the Arab-Muslim world (and especially in South Africa and Central Asia). In short, the objective alliance, the convergence of strategic and economic interests between the American government and Sunni Islam is doing just fine — in spite of the new geopolitical reality.

Between 1994 and 1997, Bill Clinton was happy to allow Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to support the Taleban, seeing them as a useful counterbalance to Iran's influence; but today, in the long term, time is working against God's Afghan madmen. Indeed, Russia, Iran and India have ended up joining forces to destroy the religious Utopia of Kabul before it contaminates the whole area. The Russians have not forgiven the massacres of Communists in Kabul, symbolized by the hanging of former president Najibullah, and they fear the invasion of nearby Tajikistan. The Iranians cannot sit idly by while Shiites are persecuted and the Hazaraja lose their autonomy. India, finally, has decided to carry over into Afghanistan the open war that the Pakistani army wages against them daily. The Pakistani morass and its profound strategic implications for all of Central Asia have become one of the most alarming and chaotic scenes on the planet. As one of the most strategic areas of the next millennium slips into a criminal state, Uncle Sam looks on with cynicism (if not benevolence).

"The policy of guiding the evolution of Islam and of helping them against our adversaries worked marvelously well in Afghanistan against the Red Army," explains a former CIA analyst. "The same doctrines can still be used to destabilize what remains of Russian power, and especially to counter the Chinese influence in Central Asia." In a certain sense, the Cold War is still going on. For years Graham Fuller, former Deputy Director of the National Council on Intelligence at the CIA, has been talking up the "modernizing virtues" of the Islamists, insisting on their anti-Statist concept of the economy. Listening to him, you would almost take the Taleban and their Wahhabi allies for liberals. "Islam, in theory at least, is firmly anchored in the traditions of free trade and private enterprise," wrote Fuller. 2 "The prophet was a trader, as was his first wife. Islam does not glorify the State's role in the economy."

This edifying statement, obligingly broadcast by the official newspaper of a certain stratum of the French intelligentsia, partially explains the American government's laxity in Central Asia. Parallel to the astonishing ideological convergence between the Parisian ex-Leftists and certain former CIA analysts, there is a perceptible propagation of Sunni Islamism (in varying degrees) from Chechnya to Chinese Xinjiang, and it affects all the Muslim republics of the former Soviet Union. With the active support of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other oil monarchies and with the benevolence of the American services engaged in these areas, we can expect a "Talebanization" of Central Asia, particularly in Chechnya.

Following a series of terrorist attacks in Moscow during the autumn of 1999, the Russian army launched a series of operations in Chechnya and Dagestan. This new war in Chechnya comes on the heels of a series of grave events ascribable to the Sunni Muslims, whose networks are still expanding from the Caspian Sea to the gates of China. Aslan Maskhadov, the Chechen president who had sought to unify his country via Islam, is now threatened by the activists who want to establish an Islamic State in Chechnya similar to that of the Taleban in Afghanistan. After the withdrawal of the Russian troops in 1996, incidents between Islamists and the police force escalated dramatically.

An emir of Arab origin who wanted to found an Islamic State covering the whole of the Caucasus raised an army of 2000 men. On July 15, 1998, conflicts between 1000 Islamic combatants and the security forces killed more than 50 people in the town of Gudermes, 23 miles east of Grozny. Shortly after these clashes, Chechen president Maskhadov called on the population and the local religious authority to resist the "Wahhabis and those who are behind these misled insurrectionaries." He affirmed his intention to excise from Chechnya "those who are trying to impose a foreign ideology on the population." On July 31, 1998 he barely escaped an assassination attempt attributed to Islamic activists.

On December 12, 1998, the Chechen authorities announced the arrest of Arbi Baraev, a Wahhabi militant. He had proclaimed a "Jihad against the enemies of the true religion," and was implicated in the murder of the four Western engineers (three British and one New Zealander) whose severed heads were found on December 10, 1998. He also admitted participating in the kidnapping and the detention of Frenchman Vincent Cochetel, a delegate from the U.N.'s High Commission of Refugees. Cochetel disappeared in Ossetia; he was released on December 10, 1998, after 317 days in captivity. The Islamists, in addition, acknowledged kidnapping the Chechen Attorney General Mansour Takirov, on December 11, 1998. And on March 21, 1999, the Chechen president escaped a second bombing, right in the center of Grozny.

While Aslan Maskhadov proclaims his determination to eradicate Wahhabi Islamism in his country, he is opposed by several members of his government who protect the religious activists. Thus Movadi Uklugov, a member of the Chechen government, wants to establish diplomatic relation with the Taleban of Afghanistan. The Chechen vice-president Vakha Arsanov called for reprisals against the United States after the August 20, 1998 bombing of Sudan and Afghanistan. One year later, Chechnya was cut in two by the Russian forces; 170,000 women and children headed for exile in Ingushetia, another Islamic sanctuary. The pressure of refugees fleeing the war in Ossetia is growing and the entire area is slipping into a civil war mode, like Afghan — just what Maskhadov wanted to avoid. But "Talebanization" is gaining ground in Dagestan, Tatarstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and the fringes of China as well.

In May 1997, in Dagestan, Wahhabi militants wielding automatic weapons clashed with representatives of local Sufi brotherhoods. Two people were killed, three others wounded and eighteen Wahhabis were taken hostage by the Sufis. On December 21, 1997, three units of former volunteers from the Afghan resistance attacked a Russian military base in Dagestan. These combatants, coming from Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, assassinated several dozen Russian soldiers and officers, and then set fire to some three hundred vehicles. Before retiring to Chechnya, these Islamists handed out leaflets proclaiming, among other things, that new military training camps would be opened in Chechnya to prepare additional combatants "who will teach the impious Russians a lesson."

In August 1998, the Wahhabi communities of three Dagestani villages proclaimed "independent Islamic republics," recognized Sharia as the only law valid in the state, and sought to leave the Russian Federation to join Chechnya. Lastly, August 21, 1998, the mufti of Dagestan, Saïd Mohammad Abubakarov (who had urged the authorities to react firmly against Wahhabi terrorism) and his brother were killed when his residence was bombed. The chaos caused by this attack led the country to the brink of civil war.

In Tatarstan, the authorities see the development of a radical Islamist movement as a serious threat to the country's stability, since the appearance of "religious political organizations" endangers the coexistence of the Russian and Tatar populations. In March 1999, Mintimer Chaîmiev — president of Tatarstan — denounced "the action of emissaries from Islamic countries who recruit young people in Russia, and give them military training abroad, leading to terrorist actions." During 1999, several Pakistani, Afghan and Saudi "missionaries" were expelled from the country for proselytism intended to unleash a "holy war."

The Ferghana Valley in Uzbekistan has long been the site of an Islamist education and agitation center with close ties to Pakistan and the Saudi Wahhabi organizations. In 1992, after an uprising in Namangan, the biggest town in the Ferghana Valley, President Islam Karimov (the former head of the Uzbek Communist Party) ordered a series of arrests against the Islamist agitators while seeking to promote an official form of Islam through the International Center of Islamic Research financed by the State. In December 1997, several police officers were assassinated by Wahhabi activists. On February 16, 1998, the Uzbek Minister for Foreign Affairs blamed the Islamist organizations in Pakistan and accused them of training the terrorists who conducted these assassinations. According to his information services, more than 500 Uzbeks, Kirghiz and Tajiks were trained in Pakistan and in Afghanistan before returning to their home lands in order to propagate a holy war against the "impious authorities."

Between July 1998 and January 1999, a hundred Wahhabi Islamists were tried and sentenced to three to twenty years in prison. On February 16, 1999, six explosions ripped through Tashkent, the Uzbek capital, killing 15 and wounding some 150. The first three charges exploded near the government headquarters; three others hit a school, a retail store and the airport. Shortly after this lethal night, the Uzbek authorities denounced acts "financed by organizations based abroad" and reiterated their intention to fight Wahhabi extremism. On March 18, 1999, some thirty Wahhabi militants (suspected of involvement in the February 16 attacks) were arrested in Kazakhstan. According to Interfax, the Russian press agency, they were holding airplane tickets for the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Chechnya and Azerbaidjan.

In Kyrgyzstan, in February 1998, the Muslim religious authorities launched a vast information campaign to counter Saudi proselytism and the propagation of Wahhabi ideology. On May 12, the Kyrgyzstan security forces arrested four foreigners, members of a very active clandestine Wahhabi organization. This group was training recruits from Kyrgyzstan in military boot camps linked to Afghanistan and Pakistan. The police also seized Afghan and Pakistani passports, a large sum in U.S. dollars, video cassettes summoning viewers to a "holy war," and other propaganda documents. The authorities announced a series of measures against those who were using religious instruction "to destabilize the country." In May 1998, the Kyrgyz authorities, who had already arrested and extradited eight Uzbek activists in 1997, signed two agreements on anti-terrorist cooperation with Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

China has not been spared. Xinjiang (southern China), has a population that is 55% Uighur (a turkophone Sunni ethnic group); it has been confronted with Islamist violence since the beginning of the 1990's. Created in 1955, Xinjiang (which means "new territory") is one of the five autonomous areas of China and is the largest administrative unit of the country. The area is highly strategic at the geopolitical level — Chinese nuclear tests and rocket launches take place on the Lop Nor test grounds — as well as from an economic standpoint, since it abounds in natural wealth (oil, gas, uranium, gold, etc.). Against this backdrop, attacks have proliferated by independence-seeking cliques, all preaching "Holy War."

Some are acting in the name of Turkish identity, while others are fighting in the name of Allah (especially in the southern part of the region). As in the rest of Central Asia, in Xinjiang we are witnessing the rising influence of Wahhabi groups and the increasing proselytism of preachers from Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Traditionally allied with popular China, Pakistan is nevertheless trying to extend its influence to this part of China, using the Islamists as it did in Afghanistan. For this reason Beijing closed the road from Karakorum, connecting Xinjiang to Pakistan, between 1992 and 1995. Since 1996, the frequency of the incidents has skyrocketed. In February 1997, riots exploded in Yining (a town of 300,000 inhabitants located to the west of Urumqi, near the Kazakh border). This violence caused ten deaths, according to Chinese authorities, and the Uighurs have counted more than a hundred victims.

Every week in 1998 saw a bombing or an attack with automatic weapons. The region's hotels, airports and railway stations are in a constant state of alert. In April, Chinese authorities in the vicinity of Yining seized 700 cases of ammunition from Kazakhstan. In September, the Secretary of the Xinjiang Communist Party declared that "19 training camps, in which specialists returning from Afghanistan educate young recruits in the techniques of terrorism, with the assistance of the Taleban," were neutralized. In January 1999, 29 activists implicated in the February 1997 riots were arrested. On February 12, violent clashes between the police and groups of Uighur militants wounded several dozen people in Urumqi. Two hundred people were arrested. In early March, 10,000 additional soldiers arrived at Yining to beef up security, while in Beijing, the Uighur Islamist organizations took credit for several bomb attacks.

This Asian test-bed is supporting the emergence of a new type of radicalism. Sunni-ite and ideologically conservative, it is supranational in its recruitment and in its ideology. It does not emanate out of scissions in the great Islamists organizations, but from a radicalization of the Afghan Talebans, from their sanctuaries and their ties with small terrorist and mafia groups, marginalized and radicalized by repression (as in Egypt and Algeria), in a context of economic and financial globalization, as well as from the circulation of militants who have lost their territories. The principal characteristic of these networks (except in Central Asia and Egypt) is that they recruit, establish their bases, and act at the margins of the Arab-Muslim world. In addition to the Egyptians, Pakistanis, Sudanese, Yemenites, and Filipinos, recently there has been a wave of immigration to Great Britain and the United States. Operations take place in Egypt, certainly, in Algeria and Central Asia, but also in the east and the south of Africa, in Yemen, Bangladesh, New York, etc.. The favorite "holy wars" are Kashmir, Afghanistan, Chechnya, the Caucasus and, now, China.

Taking advantage of economic liberalization, many former chiefs of the "holy war" have now transmuted into businessmen. They make up an "Islamo-business" world that has colonies in various sectors: Islamic financial institutions, Islamic garment industries, humanitarian and benevolent organizations, private schools, and so on. As political scientist Olivier Roy says, "Today's Islamic actors are working for liberalism and against state control." They represent a globalization of Islam, de-territorialized, in an approach that ahs been uncoupled from the Middle East. A striking Westernization of Islamism is taking place or, more precisely, of the traditionally infra-state networks; tribes, Koran schools, etc. are linking up with worldwide networks that function in an extremely modern way and outside the control of any State authority. This evolution results from a history that began long ago. . .

Richard Labévière
Ferney-Volaire
October 11, 1999

Footnotes

1. An austere and puritanical fundamentalist movement founded in the 18 th century by Mohammed bin Abdulwahhab; since then it has dominated Arabia as a result of the Saud dynasty's influence. The Wahhabis consider those who do not subscribe to their dogma to be heretics and apostates.

2. Le Monde diplomatique.


Table of Contents
PROLOGUE FOR AMERICAN EDITION The Cold War Continues. . .

PROLOGUE FOR AMERICAN EDITION
The Cold War Continues. . .3

FOREWORD
Chapter I — An American Friend at the Palace of Nations
Chapter II — Islamism Versus Arab Nationalism
Chapter III — The Mercenaries of Globalization
Chapter IV — The CIA's "Afghans" and Their Networks
Chapter V — Osama bin Laden, "Our Man" in Kandahar
Chapter VI — The Holy and Financial War of the Muslim Brothers
Chapter VII — Is There a Pilot Onboard the U.S. Aircraft?
Chapter VIII — Making Good Use of "Low-Intensity Conflicts"
Chapter IX — The Privatization of U. S. Foreign Policy
Chapter X — Islamism and Zionism: Complementary Enemies
Chapter XI — Iran, the Alibi of the "Great Satan"
Chapter XII — Why Saudi Arabia Finances Islamism
Chapter XIII — The Taleban, Mercenaries of the American Oil Companies
Chapter XIV — Behind the Slaughter of Luxor, bin Laden's "Afghans"
Chapter XV — Islamist Deal-Making and Organized Crime
Chapter XVI — Afghanistan and Sudan are the Wrong Targets
Chapter XVII — Facing Islamism
Conclusion — The CIA at the Negotiating Table

Excerpt

Some See U.S. as Terrorists' Next Big Target

By: JOHN-THOR DAHLBURG, LA TIMES STAFF WRITER

PARIS -- Six years after a fed-up France launched a vigorous crackdown on Islamic extremism, the campaign's success is posing new dangers for the United States, which must cope with the potentially lethal spillover. "Terrorism is like the weather: There are zones of high pressure and low pressure, and they change with time," one high-ranking French law...

Some See U.S. as Terrorists' Next Big Target

By: JOHN-THOR DAHLBURG, LA TIMES STAFF WRITER

PARIS -- Six years after a fed-up France launched a vigorous crackdown on Islamic extremism, the campaign's success is posing new dangers for the United States, which must cope with the potentially lethal spillover. "Terrorism is like the weather: There are zones of high pressure and low pressure, and they change with time," one high-ranking French law enforcement official said in an interview. "More and more in the future, the United States is going to be a target that will replace the traditional targets, like France."

The United States, hated by many radical Muslims as the incarnation of godless evil and Western decadence, has already been bloodied by terrorist violence in Manhattan's financial district, sub-Saharan Africa and other locales. But the recent U.S. arrests of a number of Algerians are regarded by experts in Europe and the Arab world as heralding a new phase in the holy war against America.

"When Europe started to track down and dismantle the networks, it was clear the GIA [Algeria's Armed Islamic Group] would move elsewhere," Reda Bekkat, editor in chief of the Algerian daily El Watan, said in a telephone interview from Algiers.

Members of the Islamic Salvation Front--a Muslim political party outlawed after it seemed set to win Algeria's general election in December 1991--who "had been exchange students in the United States also did what they could to return to the U.S.," he said.
France, the former colonial power in North Africa and traditional refuge and operations base for many of its transplanted revolutionaries, began waging a police and judicial war on armed Muslim extremism in 1993 and stepped up the pressure in 1994 and '95. More than 1,000 arrests and hundreds of searches were carried out.

In one case last year, 24 people went on trial as alleged members of an Algerian network suspected of a series of Paris bombings that killed eight people and wounded more than 150 others in 1995. Neighboring countries, including Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland, also made key arrests or dismantled cells of Islamic militants. For France, the crackdown was a success; the last major terrorist act here in which Islamic radicals are suspected--the bombing of a Paris rapid-transit train that killed four and wounded 91-- was more than three years ago. But for the United States, it turns out, the crackdown was not such good news.

Fleeing the dragnet cast in Europe, a number of Islamic revolutionaries crossed the Atlantic to seek a haven in North America. The French law enforcement official, an experienced anti-terrorism investigator, estimates the number of known Algerian extremists residing in North America, mostly in the French-speaking Canadian province of Quebec, at "several hundred."

In their odyssey, specialists say, the transplants have been able to benefit from a global and largely covert support network for radical Muslim causes that began during the CIA-financed jihad, or holy war, against the 1979-89 Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Increasingly, the specialists say, the extremists operate in flexible and quickly changing groups, often made up of people of several nationalities, and they may resort to crime as a fund-raising tool.
"Banditry and terrorism go together," said Bekkat, the editor.

Bin Laden Is Said to Be at Center of Loose Web

U.S. and European authorities say that at the center of this web, which has been loosely spun from the Philippines to North America, is Saudi militant Osama bin Laden. A former Afghan moujahedeen, or holy warrior, the 43-year-old Bin Laden is on the FBI's 10-most-wanted list for allegedly sponsoring the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people.

In a development indicative of Bin Laden's esteem among his brothers in arms, after the United States succeeded in obtaining a U.N. Security Council resolution in October demanding Bin Laden's extradition from Afghanistan, GIA leader Antar Zouabri issued a letter that condemned the West for persecuting Islamic militants and that vowed reprisals.

French officials said Ahmed Ressam, an Algerian national arrested Dec. 14 in Washington state on suspicion of plotting a bombing in the United States, received his military training at one of Bin Laden's camps in eastern Afghanistan.

According to the French, the 33-year-old North African belonged to the "Roubaix gang," a band of armed robbers of Algerian, Bosnian and French origin who trained in Islamic camps in Bosnia-Herzegovina and carried out a series of holdups in Belgium and northern France in early 1996.

Judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere, one of France's top anti-terrorism investigators, says a flexible, diffuse and worldwide structure makes Muslim extremism a growing problem that demands more intense cross-border cooperation.

In the space of one month, the French judge's investigations took him as far afield as Canada and Australia."The Islamic extremist threat is the Internet of terrorism," Bruguiere said.

In fact, one sometimes uses the other. An Algerian physicist living in Switzerland, Mourad Dhina, was fired from his job at the European Nuclear Research Center in 1998 after prosecutors linked him to trafficking in Slovak-made machine guns and he was discovered to be using his center's Web connections to contact GIA members in other countries, including the United States.

To many historians of Islamic radicalism, it is an irony of history that the United States may increasingly become a target of attacks. In a book to be published in English next month, Swiss journalist Richard Labeviere charts what he sees as U.S. complicity in the rise of violent Muslim movements, from the religious brotherhoods that combated nationalist leaders such as Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser to the foreign recruits sent to Afghanistan during the '80s and that country's present-day rulers, the Taliban.

"For America, the bill is now coming due," Labeviere said.

Skepticism That Arrest Occurred by Chance In October, Bruguiere and a colleague traveled to Montreal, where Ressam had been living, in a vain attempt to find him and a roommate, Said Atmani.

Paris sources said the French informed U.S. law enforcement officials of their interest in the pair. In France, there is broad skepticism that Ressam was arrested last month by pure chance. According to the U.S. Customs Service, the Algerian was chased down after taking a ferry from Canada to Port Angeles, Wash., in a car whose wheel well turned out to contain nitroglycerin and other bomb-making materials.

One U.S. expert said the ingredients were identical to those used in the February 1993 bombing of New York's World Trade Center, for which a number of Islamic radicals, including Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, were convicted.

Ressam's arrest and the confiscation of the car's contents may have averted a catastrophe, but European law enforcement officials caution that their experience and analysis indicate there will be more attempts on U.S. soil, even if Bin Laden himself is apprehended.

"We aren't going to solve the terrorism problem by killing Bin Laden with a Tomahawk" cruise missile, the French official said. "It's not Bin Laden, but the networks around him. He inspires others and finances them much more than he commands them."

Los Angeles Times:

Thursday, January 13, 2000


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Pages 408
Year: 2000
LC Classification: HV6432 .L3313
Dewey code: 303.6'25'0882971—dc21
BISAC: POL011000
BISAC: POL501000
BISAC: REL037000
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ISBN: 978-1-892941-06-0
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