Escape from Elba
Exiles of the New York Times
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1  Books / History / Re: World History on: June 21, 2008, 11:03:45 PM
Telephonic communications connect the increasingly globalized world with the BLs investing heavily in the industry. Officially, they disown OBL by asserting that he "has been ex-communicated".  Somehow their communication organization was centered in Afghanistan (the writer does not indicate how this was possible) and it helps solidify the Taliban's repressive government there.

OBL plays on Muslims' sympathies by proclaiming himself a martyr who like Mohammed had been forced into exile. He writes poetry (note from me =  his writings were  the most pathetic excuse for poetry I have ever seen in my life). It reveals inner torment who is isolated from family, declares hatred for the USA, and endorsed violence. He then meets  Mullah Omar who governed the Taliban regime and who harbored him and al-Qaeda prior to 9/11.  OBL continues to rail against the west, especially regarding Chechnya, Bosnia, and its exploitation of oil.   He re-unites with Egyptian Ayman Al-Zawahiri and makes many calls to publicize his plans.

The calls are tracked by CIA agent Michael Scheuer (this is the man who interviewed Coll on C-Span) but OBL could not be accurately traced.  The latter makes his first attack on the USA by way of African embassy bombings.  Clinton retaliates but does not capture him.  Some of OBL's funds are frozen by the president.

The BLs are heavily involved with charities and international banking. Despite that, the CIA has enormous difficulty tracing the funds and their sources.  FBI attempts to make very polite and diplomatic discussions with BLs. But the latters hire attorneys who stifle the Feds. Swiss accounts are shielded from Scheuer who suggests sabotage of the BL businesses might be in order.

Bakr speaks for the BL family who fear losing money via government freezes or lawsuits. Luckily for them, they enjoy diplomatic immunity. Scheuer concludes that the BL family did give money to OBL but did not find concrete proof. Interestingly, OBL's half sisters appeared to be most helpful to him.   Later on, the 9/11 Commission also determined that the family did NOT assist OBL. Richard Clarke attempts to find OBL's  $$$ sources but is frustrated by both the CIA and FBI.

All investigators agree that OBL did not have $ 300 million as had been alleged. But no one could trace his actual resources.

pp 453-496
2  Books / History / Re: American History on: June 21, 2008, 10:39:17 PM

Wow!  Just awesome.

Got my copy of Larson and hope to start reading it by Tuesday.

Glad to RW is back on his feet and in good stead.

3  Books / History / Re: World History on: June 19, 2008, 07:37:26 PM
The Bin Ladens had their tax and legal woes in the USA: real estate taxes went unpaid and there were claims of harshness to home workers. Lawsuits and countersuits followed.

With Saddam's invasion of Kuwait, the BL's saw it as an opportunity to capitalize on the Saud's infrastructural improvements. OBL warned of the impending invasion and warned that the crisis should be handled domestically without foreign interventionism. Some countries defended Saddam's invasion.  After he was defeated the Saudis took great vengeance upon nationals of those countries who resided in their land by exiling them. OBL responded angrily to this and the BLs decided to take greater care of their monies by sheltering it in foreign banks.

OBL's exile during the 90s convinced him of the righteousness of his cause. He condemned Fahd as a USA puppet and assisted Bosnian Muslims while he resided in Sudan. BL family requested that he return to Saudi Arabia but he refused.   His money was used to finance acts of terrorism and spreading of his ideas. After the WTC attack in 1993 he was denounced by the BLs.

Islamists moved to London since they were wanted as criminals in Muslim countries.

BLs invest heavily in Washington, DC but the full whereabouts of their assets remain largely unknown.

Sauds now spend huge amounts of money in their land to appease orthodox Muslims. Naturally, the BLs profit handsomely. The Hajjs increases in popularity every year and the BLs work to improve accomodations.

OBL writes even more condemnatory words about Fahd. Perhaps his alienation from his family stimulated much of his frustration and contempt.

His hatred grew more intensely.

pp 356-452
4  Books / History / Re: World History on: June 18, 2008, 05:18:39 PM

A 'Get Well' Angel just for you:

5  Books / History / Re: World History on: June 16, 2008, 10:21:07 PM

Ha, ha! Funny!!! Cheesy
6  Books / History / Re: World History on: June 16, 2008, 09:09:49 PM
As financial globalization expanded, so did the capital accumulation of the BLs - but this also meant that certain family members grew distant from one another.  Bakr emerged as financial and engineering leader of the clan with Fahd continuing to play up to orthodoxy by expanding his massive spending in Medina. Osama saw this through this hypocrisy and it alienated him further from the clan. The Saudis finance OBL. Ultimately, so did Salem and other clan members.

Interestingly, OBL denied the USA gave him financial support despite evidence to the contrary. The CIA had interests in Western Pakistan as he did. The Saudi government increased its support of OBL.

It was now 1987 and the Mujahideen battles with the Soviets intensified. OBL uses his money to cultivate an image of himself as martyr and financier.

Salem continued his eccentric lifestyle and it ultimately led to his death by airplane accident.

OBL increased his recruiting of jihadists and insisted on diversified soldiers. August, 1988: al-Qaeda created.

Salem dies and there is much difficulty in distributing the assets from his estate. However, OBL does get considerable amounts of money which helps him expand his military capabilities.

pp 264-355
7  Books / History / Re: World History on: June 16, 2008, 08:53:12 PM
preference for camel-racing ... is a pastime of the elderly generation.

The same can be said of Oriental or belly dancing which is today thought to be some form of evil by so many ultra orthodox Muslims. To me, that is a crime against humanity and a profanation against Divine Law.
8  Books / History / Re: World History on: June 15, 2008, 12:20:45 AM
Self-preservation motivated both families [Bin Ladens, Sauds] more than ideology.

The Sauds accomodated the USA and the mujahideen both to preserve themselves and in the interest of a nifty profit. They employed Pakistan's ISI to funnel $$$ and armaments to the latter group with OBL being the chief beneficiary of their largesse. The liberation struggle against Soviets became a cause celebre for  Muslim youths and many were recruited to fight the invaders. OBL profits while keeping a safe distance from the actual conflicts (much like Cheney!).

Meantime as Fahd profits, he pursues his love of luxury.

pp 213-263
9  Books / History / Re: American History on: June 14, 2008, 09:07:57 AM
I also admired Russert for his professionalism -- clearly, he did his homework before an interview and posed tough questions without being needlessly confrontational.

Like some of you here, I also am afflicted with a heart condition and am approaching 57 years of age.  So, yes, I, too, am wary of what could possibly happen to me.

And I will also look into A Magnificent Catastrophe for next month.

10  Books / History / Re: World History on: June 12, 2008, 08:31:12 AM
... and it is no secret that Hitler killed Jews in the name of Jesus Christ and of the Catholic church which stood by in near total silence as the atrocities took place.

11  Books / History / Re: World History on: June 11, 2008, 04:16:37 PM
The Arab oil embargo of 1973 "did more to tranform the {Saudi} Kingdom than any other event since the discovery of oil itself." {p 157}

This has probably been overlooked by many. And while Faisal profited from this, it ultimately led to his assassination as was discussed earlier. This led to Fahd's ascension which worked out quite well for the Bin Laden's interests as he increased the  patronage given to that family. They became much wealthier as they worked on infrastrucutural projects.

When OBL experienced his epiphany into the Muslim Brotherhood, his portion of that wealth was used by him to promote their radicalized theocratic goals.

pp 152-212

12  Books / History / Re: World History on: June 11, 2008, 04:05:40 PM
I understand.

Unfortunately, since the  controlled news media are owned by those highly sympathetic to Zionism, it has spared no effort to mischaracterize people of the Middle East and Central Asia. This is what has given so many in the West the mistaken notion that Saudis and others regard all of us as 'infidels' when there simply is no basis for that myth.
13  Books / History / Re: World History on: June 11, 2008, 03:50:52 PM

I believe they consider us Infidels who should be destroyed.  The Palestinian issue and America's support for Israel is a huge issue for them.

Not entirely.

The Koran identifies Christians and Jews as ''people of the Book" (that is, the Bible) who are deserving of respect as every Muslim.  True, they have great disdain for Zionism and those who support it.  But the term 'infidel' is generally reserved for those who knowingly profane the Koran rather than for non-Muslims.
14  Books / History / Re: World History on: June 07, 2008, 10:03:06 PM
Dunno about anyone else, but I am having a difficult time trying to come up with an issue or with issues to discuss about Coll.

Perhaps education may be one such subject:  while most Arabic youths were restricted to Koranic instruction, a few Bin Laden family members did manage to get western educations. In fact, a couple of sisters did so as well and this was highly unusual for Arabic families. King Faisal has something to do with this as he established western type schools in Saudi Arabia. One such institution was Al-Thaghr. {p 143} 

While this school taught western subjects, it was run by strict Islamic rules.  OBL attended this school and it was here that he came under the influence of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood. This organization opposed Nasser's secularism in Egypt and advocated religiously inspired political activism. OBL was far from his childhood home and this isolation undoubtedly made him more amenable to its teachings.

pp 143-152
15  Books / History / Re: World History on: June 07, 2008, 05:26:20 PM
Perhaps if we moved out of the area after a resonable time period, Osama's rage might have been diverted to other things.

The better move would have been to obey Washington's instructions to refrain from foreign entanglements.
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