Clinton statement to media in 1995 about terrorism : LUSENET : Exposing Rightwing Corruption : One Thread

*************************** First, Clinton had no clue what to do.
(The President). Thank you. Let me begin by thanking the Vice President and the commission for all their hard work and for this excellent action plan. This is partnership at its best, Government and private citizens, Democrats and Republicans, joining together for the common good.
As the Vice President has said, we asked the members of this commission to do a lot of work in a little time. They rolled up their sleeves; they delivered. We know we can't make the world risk-free, but we can reduce the risks we face, and we have to take the fight to the terrorists. If we have the will, we can find the means. We have to continue to fight terrorism on every front by pursuing our three-part strategy: first, by rallying a world coalition with zero tolerance for terrorism; second, by giving law enforcement the strong counter- terrorism tools they need; and third, by improving security in our airports and on our airplanes.
The Vice President's action plan goes to the heart of this strategy. So I want everyone to understand that whenever this plan says, ``the commission recommends,'' you can understand it to mean, ``the President will.''

Today I will direct the Federal aviation authority to instruct their personnel in the field to convene immediately those responsible for security at our Nation's 450 commercial airports so they can strengthen security as a team

. I will direct that all airport and airline employees with access to secure areas be given criminal background checks and FBI fingerprint checks.

I will direct the FAA to begin full passenger bag match for domestic flights at selected airports. And I'm proud to say that several of the commission's recommendations will be put into place immediately.
As the Vice President's action plan makes clear, there is much more which must be done, and we cannot meet that responsibility without willingness to commit our resources. Shortly, I will submit to Congress a budget request for more than $1 billion to expand our FBI antiterrorism forces and to put the most sophisticated bomb detection machines in America's airports.
As a result of these steps, not only will the American people feel safer, they will be safer. Close to half our requests will be used to make the improvements in aviation security the Vice President and this commission have asked for.
As I said, we want to put the most sophisticated bomb detection equipment for screening passengers, baggage, and cargo in America's airports. We should do this as quickly as possible. We want to significantly expand the number of FBI special agents dedicated to fighting terrorism. We want to expand the use of bomb-sniffing dogs in our airports--the no-tech program the Vice President has recommended-- and train additional bomb-sniffing dogs for Government use as well.
In addition to improving security in airports and airplanes, the focus of the Vice President's plan, we want to use these funds to keep advancing the other two parts of our strategy, combating terrorists beyond our borders and here at home. We need to continue to improve security at our military and diplomatic facilities overseas so we can better protect those who wear our Nation's uniform and serve our Nation's interests abroad. We need to continue to expand our intelligence capabilities to combat terrorists worldwide

. We must train and equip fire departments and medical teams so they can respond to biological or chemical attacks.
We must tighten protection at a number of high profile public sites including Government buildings, national landmarks, and national parks.
These counter-terrorism funds are a smart investment in our Nation's security and our people's safety. I urge Congress to join with me in combatting terrorism by giving us the resources we need to do the job right. As I requested, the Vice President and this commission took just 45 days to deliver their action plan. Now Congress should act with the same dispatch before they leave in October to pass the funding that will bring these security measures to life. Our people deserve no less.

There are other areas where Congress can and should act to strengthen our fight against terrorism.

We need new laws I have proposed to crack down on money laundering and to prosecute and punish those who commit violent crimes against American citizens abroad,

to add taggants to gunpowder used in bombs so we can track down the bomb makers,

to extend the same police power we now have against organized crime to tapping all the phones a terrorist uses so we can better prevent terrorist attacks.

And I again call upon the Senate to ratify without delay the Chemical Weapons Convention.
We need all these laws, and we need them now, before Congress recesses for the year. Terrorists don't wait, and neither should we. The American people should be grateful that the Vice President and this fine commission didn't wait and in fact delivered on their mandate within just 45 days.
Thank you very much.
Reporter question;
Counter-terrorism Technology
Q. Mr. President, the high sophisticated technology that you mentioned this morning for screening passengers for bomb detection technology can see through clothes. Do you expect there to be a major debate over privacy issues and civil rights in connection with the deployment of this technology? And could it thwart some of the commission's actions?
(The President to The Vice President); Do you want to answer that?
(The Vice President). Let me respond to that. We don't--we think that particular concern has been greatly overstated in some of the preliminary reports. That's only one of several technologies that are discussed in this report. Incidentally, the commission is recommending the establishment of a civil liberties advisory board to review and give advice upon any of the recommendations that might raise privacy or civil liberties concerns. But we think that particular concern has been vastly overstated.

-- Cherri (, October 28, 2001


First, Clinton had no clue what to do. If he needed to 'take out Bin Laden' why did he cut the military? He would have had congressional support to up military spending with only a hint of a war against terrorism. Truth is, he had no clue what to do. He used the military as a police force, constantly sending them on 'humanitarian' missions. If he had set out any kind of military mission, I would have given him my full support. He had no clue. ***snip*** Yet if there ever were the slightest hint that Clinton wanted more military spending to support going after Osama (as Cherri suggests), the repub would have been 'johnny on the spot' with the right bill.

. . . In 1992, Bin Laden left for Sudan to take part in the Islamic revolution under way there under the charismatic Sudanese leader Hassan Turabi. Bin Laden's continued criticism of the Saudi Royal Family eventually annoyed them so much that they took the unprecedented step of revoking his citizenship in 1994. It was in Sudan, with his wealth and contacts, that Bin Laden gathered around him more veterans of the Afghan war, who were all disgusted by the American victory over Iraq and the attitude of the Arab ruling elites who allowed the US military to remain in the Gulf. As US and Saudi pressure mounted against Sudan for harboring Bin Laden, the Sudanese authorities asked him to leave.

In May 1996, Bin Laden travelled back to Afghanistan, arriving in Jalalabad in a chartered jet with an entourage of dozens of Arab militants, bodyguards and family members, including three wives and 13 children. Here he lived under the protection of the Jalalabad Shura [an advisory body or assembly], until the conquest of Kabul and Jalalabad by the Taliban in September 1996. In August 1996, he had issued his first declaration of jihad against the Americans, whom he said were occupying Saudi Arabia.

"The walls of oppression and humiliation cannot be demolished except in a rain of bullets," the declaration read. Striking up a friendship with Mullah Omar, in 1997 he moved to Kandahar, Afghanistan, and came under the protection of the Taliban.

By now, (1997) the CIA had set up a special cell to monitor his activities and his links with other Islamic militants.

A US State Department report in August 1996 noted that Bin Laden was "one of the most significant financial sponsors of Islamic extremist activities in the world." The report said that Bin Laden was financing terrorist camps in Somalia, Egypt, Sudan, Yemen, Egypt and Afghanistan.

In April 1996, President Clinton signed the Anti-Terrorism Act, which allowed the US to block assets of terrorist organizations. It was first used to block Bin Laden's access to his fortune of an estimated US$250-300 million.

A few months later, Egyptian intelligence declared that Bin Laden was training 1,000 militants, a second generation of Arab-Afghans, to bring about an Islamic revolution in Arab countries.

CIA tries snatch operation

In early 1997, the CIA constituted a squad that arrived in Peshawar to try to carry out a snatch operation to get Bin Laden out of Afghanistan. The Americans enlisted Afghans and Pakistanis to help them but aborted the operation. The US activity in Peshawar helped persuade Bin Laden to move to the safer confines of Kandahar. On 23 February 1998, at a meeting in the original Khost camp, all the groups associated with Al Qaeda issued a manifesto under the aegis of "The International Islamic Front for Jihad against Jews and Crusaders." The manifesto stated "for more than seven years the US has been occupying the lands of Islam in the holiest of places, the Arabian peninsular, plundering its riches, dictating to its rulers, humiliating its people, terrorizing its neighbours, and turning its bases in the peninsular into a spearhead through which to fight the neighbouring Muslim peoples."

The meeting issued a fatwa. "The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies -- civilians and military -- is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to." Bin Laden had now formulated a policy that was not just aimed at the Saudi Royal Family or the Americans, but called for the liberation of the entire Muslim Middle East. As the American air war against Iraq escalated in 1998, Bin Laden called on all Muslims to "confront, fight and kill, Americans and Britons."

1998 U.S. Embassy bombings

However, it was the bombings in August 1998 of the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 220 people which made Bin Laden a household name in the Muslim world and the West. Just 13 days later, after accusing Bin Laden of perpetrating the attack, the USA retaliated by firing 70 cruise missiles against Bin Laden's camps around Khost and Jalalabad.

Maria, Why didn't you know about this? What prevented you from learning about the threat to our country by terroristextremests?
Perhaps the screams of "Wagging the Dog" by Rush Limbaugh, which every media outlet parrotted, deciding that it was more benificial to their bottom line (profits), to yell wag the dog, and spam us with tales of Monica and Clinton's crotch, than it would be to report the truth, to give facts, alerting American citizens to the very real terrorist threats and the overwhelming danger we faced.
Maria, you claim that Clinton didn't have a clue.

The American public didn't have a clue. Not because the information didn't exist, but because it was not screaming from the headlines and repeated endlessly in sound bites.

Rush's mouth exploded like an infected infected boil, with his vile, putred determination of the "facts" and the sheeple, covered with this viscous verbal contaigen, allowed the infection to seep deep into their souls to fester and erupt into a social plague. This contaigen continues to this day.

Several camps which had been handed over by the Taliban to the Arab-Afghans and Pakistani radical groups were hit. The Al Badr camp controlled by Bin Laden and the Khalid bin Walid and Muawia camps run by the Pakistani Harakat ul Ansar were the main targets. Harakat used their camps to train militants for fighting Indian troops in Kashmir. Seven outsiders were killed in the strike -- three Yemenis, two Egyptians, one Saudi and one Turk. Also killed were seven Pakistanis and 20 Afghans.

In November 1998 the USA offered a US$5-million reward for Bin Laden's capture. The Americans were further galvanized when Bin Laden claimed that it was his Islamic duty to acquire chemical and nuclear weapons to use against the USA. "It would be a sin for Muslims not to try to possess the weapons that would prevent infidels from inflicting harm on Muslims. Hostility toward America is a religious duty and we hope to be rewarded for it by God," he said.

. . . After the Africa bombings, the US launched a truly global operation. More than 80 Islamic militants were arrested in a dozen different countries. Militants were picked up in a crescent running from Tanzania, Kenya, Sudan and Yemen to Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia and the Phillipines."

In December 1998, Indian authorities detained Bangladeshi militants for plotting to bomb the US Consulate in Calcutta. Seven Afghan nationals using false Italian passports were arrested in Malaysia and accused of trying to start a bombing campaign." According to the FBI, militants in Yemen who kidnapped 16 Western tourists in December 1998 were funded by Bin Laden. In February 1999, Bangladeshi authorities said Bin Laden had sent US$l million to the Harkat-ul-Jihad (HJ) in Dhaka, Bangladesh, some of whose members had trained and fought in Afghanistan. HJ leaders said they wanted to turn Bangladesh into a Taliban-style Islamic state.

Thousands of miles away in Nouakchott, the capital of Mauritania in West Africa, several militants were arrested who had also trained under Bin Laden in Afghanistan and were suspected of plotting bomb explosions. Meanwhile, during the trial of 107 Al-Jihad members at a military court in Cairo, Egyptian intelligence officers testified that Bin Laden had bankrolled Al-Jihad. In February 1999, the CIA claimed that through monitoring Bin Laden's communication network by satellite, they had prevented his supporters from carrying out seven bomb attacks against US overseas facilities in Saudi Arabia, Albania, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Uganda, Uruguay and the Ivory Coast -- emphasizing the reach of the Afghan veterans.

. . . But it was Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, the original sponsors of the Arab-Afghans, who suffered the most as their activities rebounded. In March 1997, three Arab and two Tajik militants [from Tajikistan] were shot dead after a 36-hour gun battle between them and the police in an Afghan refugee camp near Peshawar. Belonging to the Wahabbi radical Tafkir group, they were planning to bomb an Islamic heads of state meeting in Islamabad.

Fighting in Kashmir against India

With the encouragement of Pakistan, the Taliban and Bin Laden, Arab-Afghans had enlisted in the Pakistani party Harkat-ut-Ansar to fight in Kashmir against Indian troops. By inducting Arabs who introduced Wahabbi-style rules in the Kashmir valley, genuine Kashmiri militants felt insulted. The US government had declared Ansar a terrorist organization in 1996 and it had subsequently changed its name to Harkat-ul-Mujaheddin. All the Pakistani victims of the US missile strikes on Khost belonged to Ansar. In 1999, Ansar said it would impose a strict Wahabbi-style dress code in the Kashmir valley and banned jeans and jackets. On 15 February 1999, they shot and wounded three Kashmiri cable television operators for relaying Western satellite broadcasts. Ansar had previously respected the liberal traditions of Kashmiri Muslims, but the activities of the Arab-Afghans hurt the legitimacy of the Kashmiri movement and gave India a propaganda coup.

Pakistan faced a problem when Washington urged Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to help arrest Bin Laden. The ISI's close contacts with Bin Laden, and the fact that he was helping fund and train Kashmiri militants who were using the Khost camps, created a dilemma for Sharif when he visited Washington in December 1998. Sharif sidestepped the issue but other Pakistani officials were more brazen, reminding their American counterparts how they had both helped midwife Bin Laden in the 1980s and the Taliban in the 1990s.

Bin Laden himself pointed to continued support from some elements in the Pakistani intelligence services in an interview. "As for Pakistan there are some governmental departments, which, by the Grace of God, respond to the Islamic sentiments of the masses in Pakistan. This is reflected in sympathy and co-operation. However, some other governmental departments fell into the trap of the infidels. We pray to God to return them to the right path," said Bin Laden.

Conundrums for Pakistan, Saudi Arabia

Support for Bin Laden by elements within the Pakistani establishment was another contradiction in Pakistanís Afghan policy. . . . The US was Pakistanís closest ally, with deep links to the military and the ISI. But both the Taliban and Bin Laden provided sanctuary and training facilities for Kashmiri militants who were backed by Pakistan, and Islamabad had little interest in drying up that support. Even though the Americans repeatedly tried to persuade the ISI to cooperate in delivering Bin Laden, the ISI declined, although it did help the US arrest several of Bin Laden's supporters. Without Pakistanís support, the United States could not hope to launch a snatch by US commandos or more accurate bombing strikes, because it needed Pakistani territory to launch such raids. At the same time, the USA dared not expose Pakistanís support for the Taliban, because it still hoped for ISI cooperation in catching Bin Laden.

The Saudi conundrum was even worse. In July 1998 Prince Turki had visited Kandahar and a few weeks later 400 new pick-up trucks arrived in Kandahar for the Taliban, still bearing their Dubai license plates. The Saudis also gave cash for the Taliban's cheque book conquest of the north in the autumn. Until the Africa bombings and despite US pressure to end their support for the Taliban, the Saudis continued funding the Taliban and were silent on the need to extradite Bin Laden.

The truth about the Saudi silence was even more complicated. The Saudis preferred to leave Bin Laden alone in Afghanistan because his arrest and trial by the Americans could expose the deep relationship that Bin Laden continued to have with sympathetic members of the Royal Family and elements within Saudi intelligence, which could prove deeply embarrassing. The Saudis wanted Bin Laden either dead or a captive of the Taliban -- they did not want him captured by the Americans.

. . . By now Bin Laden had developed considerable influence with the Taliban, but that had not always been the case. The Taliban's contact with the Arab-Afghans and their Pan-Islamic ideology was non-existent until the Taliban captured Kabul in 1996. Pakistan was closely involved in introducing Bin Laden to the Taliban leaders in Kandahar, because it wanted to retain the Khost training camps for Kashmiri militants, which were now in Taliban hands. Persuasion by Pakistan, the Taliban's better-educated cadres, who also had Pan-Islamic ideas, and the lure of financial benefits from Bin Laden, encouraged the Taliban leaders to meet with Bin Laden and hand him back the Khost camps.

A life with the Taliban in Kandahar

Partly for his own safety and partly to keep control over him, the Taliban shifted Bin Laden to Kandahar in 1997. At first he lived as a paying guest. He built a house for Mullah Omar's family and provided funds to other Taliban leaders. He promised to pave the road from Kandahar airport to the city and build mosques, schools and dams, but his civic works never got started as his funds were frozen. (BY THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION) While Bin Laden lived in enormous style in a huge mansion in Kandahar with his family, servants and fellow militants, the arrogant behaviour of the Arab-Afghans who arrived with him and their failure to fulfill any of their civic projects antagonized the local population. The Kandaharis saw the Taliban leaders as beneficiaries of Arab largesse rather than the people.

Bin Laden endeared himself further to the leadership by sending several hundred Arab-Afghans to participate in the 1997 and 1998 Taliban offensives in the north. These Wahabbi fighters helped the Taliban carry out massacres of the Shia Hazaras in the north. Several hundred Arab-Afghans, based in the Rishkor army garrison outside Kabul, fought on the Kabul front against [the Mujaheddin leader Ahmad Shah] Masud. Increasingly, Bin Laden's world view appeared to dominate the thinking of senior Taliban leaders. All-night conversations between Bin Laden and the Taliban leaders paid off. Until his arrival, the Taliban leadership had not been particularly antagonistic to the USA or the West but demanded recognition for their government. However, after the Africa bombings the Taliban became increasingly vociferous against the Americans, the UN, the Saudis and Muslim regimes around the world. Their statements increasingly reflected the language of defiance Bin Laden had adopted and which was not an original Taliban trait.

As US pressure on the Taliban to expel Bin Laden intensified, the Taliban said he was a guest and it was against Afghan tradition to expel guests. When it appeared that Washington was planning another military strike against Bin Laden, the Taliban tried to cut a deal with Washington -- to allow him to leave the country in exchange for US recognition. Thus, until the winter of 1998 the Taliban saw Bin Laden as an asset, a bargaining chip over whom they could negotiate with the Americans.

The US State Department opened a satellite telephone connection to speak to Mullah Omar directly. The Afghanistan desk officers, helped by a Pushto translator, held lengthy conversations with Omar in which both sides explored various options, but to no avail. By early 1999 it began to dawn on the Taliban that no compromise with the US was possible and they began to see Bin Laden as a liability. A US deadline in February 1999 to the Tatiban to either hand over Bin Laden or face the consequences forced the Taliban to make him disappear discreetly from Kandahar. The move bought the Taliban some time, but the issue was still nowhere near being resolved.

The Arab-Afghans had come full circle. From being mere appendages to the Afghan jihad and the Cold War in the 1980s they had taken centre stage for the Afghans, neighbouring countries and the West in the 1990s. . . . Afghanistan was now truly a haven for Islamic internationalism and terrorism and the Americans and the West were at a loss as to how to handle it.

-- Cherri (, October 28, 2001.

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