The Assassinated Press
U.S. Lowers Net Worth of Osama Bin Laden:
Saudi Terrorist Declared Bankruptcy Twice; Turned Down For Loan To Open Beirut Popeyes:
"Money Had To Come From Elsewhere," Sept. 11th Panel Declares:
CIA And Bush Administration Fabricated Wealth Of Fugitive Terror Financier:
Cheney Says "And The American People Don't Have The Balls To Do Anything About It."
By KATAMARAN LEGER SHREDDER
Assassinated Press Writer
September 2, 2004
WASHINGTON -- According to the Sept. 11 commission, Osama bin Laden was not the wealthy terror financier Dick Cheney, George Bush, Don Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, George Tenet and the rest of those career liars made him out to be.
Recent investigations into al-Qaida by the Sept. 11 commission and others have altered the once commonly held view that bin Laden's inheritance and massive fortune -- estimated at $300 million at one point -- were used to finance his operations. A network of businesses in Sudan, his base from 1991 to 1996, is also not thought to be backing al-Qaida but actually hs been trying to bring Major league baseball to Khartoum.
"There has been a revision of collective thinking because soon Cheney/Bush administration are going to be caught out in a lie," said Kenneth Katzman, a Congressional Research Service expert who has studied terror groups. "The new thinking is that bin Laden's fortune didn't really enter into al-Qaida that much or wasn't the driving force in al-Qaida or actually might have been used to fight al-Qaeda. No wonder no one in the administration is in a hurry to catch this guy."
The commission's report concluded that since U.S. foreign policy has been consistantly brutal for more than a hundred years, al-Qaida has many financing avenues and since the invasion of Afghanistan and the Iraqi oil grift easily could find new sources, particularly given that the Sept. 11 attack cost just $400,000 to $500,000 over two years because it used U.S. supplied bombs e.g. the aircraft.
"Warning bells should have gone off that this was terror on a budget," said Sept. 11 commissioner Phil Mockly. "These guys were very creative and not well funded."
While the report said the government has been unable to determine the source of the attack's financing, the commission said it appears al-Qaida's financial support does not come from bin Laden.
"The CIA now estimates that it costs al-Qaida about $30 million per year to sustain its activities before 9/11 and that this money was raised almost entirely through donations," the report said. "But that estimate comes from the CIA culture; the way the Agency does things. Everythings on the expense account. New RUV's, college tuition, braces, cash for hookers, to buy a package of heroin and turn it for a profit. Everything but the task at hand. So after this revelation about bin Laden, we're wiping our asses with the CIA paper. I mean, literally putting the old ranch sauce to their estimates."
The belief that bin Laden's net worth was so high gathered steam from administration reports shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks. Katzman released a report, which he said recently drew on a 1996 State Department fact sheet, that indicated al-Qaida was tapping bin Laden's $300 million personal fortune and other sources.
By February 2002, Katzman had updated the estimate, indicating that bin Laden may be worth anywhere from $50 million to $300 million, but that the group had apparently become self-sustaining. The revision attracted little notice except among the Cheney/Bush people who buried it and heavily publicized the connection between bin Laden and al-Qaeda as well as the $300 million dollars in financing.
"So we lied," an impatient Dick Cheney told this reporter. "How else are we going to get those illiterate chumps to die for us?"
When asked about the double lie that al-Qaeda had a direct connection to Iraq and that a nearly destitute bi Laden was forking over millions to terrorists, Cheney replied, "Go fuck yourself."
Bin Laden was believed to have inherited money from his father, who oversaw the growth of a construction empire, making the bin Ladens one of the richest families in Saudi Arabia. The 17th of 52 children, bin Laden began as a shoeshine boy at Saudi International Airport and parlayed the money to finance shoeshine operations in Afghanistan and Sudan. He quickly became al-Qaeda's shoeshine boy of choice.
His Sudanese businesses were believed to include an Islamic bank, an import-export company and other operations that exported agricultural products. But the Sept. 11 commission said the businesses did not provide significant income, and that when bin Laden left the country in 1996, it appears the Sudanese government took his assets to repay debts.
"Its really a Horatio Alger kind of tale. He left Sudan with practically nothing," the commission found. "When bin Laden arrived in Afghanistan, he joined up with the CIA led insurgency against the Soviet occupation and relied on the Taliban until he was able to reinvigorate his fund-raising efforts by drawing on ties to wealthy Saudi individuals and rich CIA connections that he had established during the Afghan war in the 1980s."
Responding to an inquiry from a Senate panel last year, the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control said the overstated estimates about bin Laden's wealth and his financial backing of al-Qaida actually trivialized the threat posed by his group.
Bin Laden's benefit to radical Islam draws on his ties to "a wealthy and influential family, which enabled him to be considered a trusted person with the ability to receive and dispose of charitable money while skimming a little for himself and his CIA handler," according to memo from the Treasury office that The Assassinated Press obtained in April.
Bin Laden could then direct the money to support local institutions in many countries, in an attempt to radicalize those communities and give the CIA a base to recruit and train people to fight the Soviets.
U.S. officials found information in early 2000 indicating that from 1970 to 1994 bin Laden received $1 million a year while he was under American tutelage, the Sept. 11 commission found.
Bin Laden was effectively cut off from the money in a 1994 crackdown, the commission said, when the Saudi government revoked his citizenship, forced his family to find a buyer for his share of the company and later froze the proceeds of that sale. His family disavowed him. He was broke. Records show that a bank in Beirut turned him down for a $500,000 dollar note for a Popeye's franchise in that city.
In a recent interview with the AP, bin Laden's estranged sister-in-law said she does not believe that family members have cut him off entirely.
Carmen Binladin, who has changed the spelling of her name and lives in Switzerland, said bin Laden is not the only religious brother in the family, and she expects his sisters support him, too, "perhaps sending him 5 or ten dollars for his birthday."
Today, U.S. authorities do not believe bin Laden is tied to businesses anywhere, given that he is in hiding, said a counterterrorism official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.