November 18, 2005 -- More on Al
Qaeda -- the database. Shortly before his untimely death, former British Foreign Secretary
Robin Cook told the House of Commons that "Al Qaeda" is not really a terrorist
group but a database of international mujaheddin and arms smugglers used by the CIA and
Saudis to funnel guerrillas, arms, and money into Soviet-occupied Afghanistan. Courtesy of
World Affairs, a journal based in New Delhi, WMR can bring you an important
excerpt from an Apr.-Jun. 2004 article by Pierre-Henry Bunel, a former agent for French
"I first heard about
Al-Qaida while I was attending the Command and Staff course in Jordan. I was a French
officer at that time and the French Armed Forces had close contacts and cooperation with
Jordan . . .
"Two of my Jordanian
colleagues were experts in computers. They were air defense officers. Using computer
science slang, they introduced a series of jokes about students' punishment.
"For example, when one
of us was late at the bus stop to leave the Staff College, the two officers used to tell
us: 'You'll be noted in 'Q eidat il-Maaloomaat' which meant 'You'll be logged in the
information database.' Meaning 'You will receive a warning . . .' If the case was more
severe, they would used to talk about 'Q eidat i-Taaleemaat.' Meaning 'the decision
database.' It meant 'you will be punished.' For the worst cases they used to speak of
logging in 'Al Qaida.'
"In the early 1980s the
Islamic Bank for Development, which is located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, like the Permanent
Secretariat of the Islamic Conference Organization, bought a new computerized system to
cope with its accounting and communication requirements. At the time the system was more
sophisticated than necessary for their actual needs.
"It was decided to use
a part of the system's memory to host the Islamic Conference's database. It was possible
for the countries attending to access the database by telephone: an Intranet, in modern
language. The governments of the member-countries as well as some of their embassies in
the world were connected to that network.
"[According to a
Pakistani major] the database was divided into two parts, the information file where the
participants in the meetings could pick up and send information they needed, and the
decision file where the decisions made during the previous sessions were recorded and
stored. In Arabic, the files were called, 'Q eidat il-Maaloomaat' and 'Q eidat
i-Taaleemaat.' Those two files were kept in one file called in Arabic 'Q eidat
ilmu'ti'aat' which is the exact translation of the English word database. But the
Arabs commonly used the short word Al Qaida which is the Arabic word for "base."
The military air base of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia is called 'q eidat 'riyadh al 'askariya.' Q
eida means "a base" and "Al Qaida" means "the base."
"In the mid-1980s, Al
Qaida was a database located in computer and dedicated to the communications of the
Islamic Conference's secretariat.
>"In the early 1990s, I
was a military intelligence officer in the Headquarters of the French Rapid Action Force.
Because of my skills in Arabic my job was also to translate a lot of faxes and letters
seized or intercepted by our intelligence services . . . We often got intercepted material
sent by Islamic networks operating from the UK or from Belgium.
contained directions sent to Islamic armed groups in Algeria or in France. The messages
quoted the sources of statements to be exploited in the redaction of the tracts or
leaflets, or to be introduced in video or tapes to be sent to the media. The most commonly
quoted sources were the United Nations, the non-aligned countries, the UNHCR and . .
. Al Qaida.
"Al Qaida remained the
data base of the Islamic Conference. Not all member countries of the Islamic Conference
are 'rogue states' and many Islamic groups could pick up information from the databases.
It was but natural for Osama Bin Laden to be connected to this network. He is a
member of an important family in the banking and business world.
"Because of the
presence of 'rogue states,' it became easy for terrorist groups to use the email of the
database. Hence, the email of Al Qaida was used, with some interface system, providing
secrecy, for the families of the mujaheddin to keep links with their children undergoing
training in Afghanistan, or in Libya or in the Beqaa valley, Lebanon. Or in action
anywhere in the battlefields where the extremists sponsored by all the 'rogue states' used
to fight. And the 'rogue states' included Saudi Arabia. When Osama bin Laden was an
American agent in Afghanistan, the Al Qaida Intranet was a good communication system
through coded or covert messages.
Meet "Al Qaeda"
"Al Qaida was neither a
terrorist group nor Osama bin Laden's personal property . . . The terrorist actions in
Turkey in 2003 were carried out by Turks and the motives were local and not international,
unified, or joint. These crimes put the Turkish government in a difficult position
vis-a-vis the British and the Israelis. But the attacks certainly intended to 'punish'
Prime Minister Erdogan for being a 'toot tepid' Islamic politician.
" . . . In the Third
World the general opinion is that the countries using weapons of mass destruction for
economic purposes in the service of imperialism are in fact 'rogue states," specially
the US and other NATO countries.
" Some Islamic economic
lobbies are conducting a war against the 'liberal" economic lobbies. They use local
terrorist groups claiming to act on behalf of Al Qaida. On the other hand, national armies
invade independent countries under the aegis of the UN Security Council and carry out
pre-emptive wars. And the real sponsors of these wars are not governments but the lobbies
concealed behind them.
"The truth is, there is
no Islamic army or terrorist group called Al Qaida. And any informed intelligence officer
knows this. But there is a propaganda campaign to make the public believe in the presence
of an identified entity representing the 'devil' only in order to drive the 'TV watcher'
to accept a unified international leadership for a war against terrorism. The country
behind this propaganda is the US and the lobbyists for the US war on terrorism are only
interested in making money."
In yet another example of what
happens to those who challenge the system, in December 2001, Maj. Pierre-Henri Bunel was
convicted by a secret French military court of passing classified documents that
identified potential NATO bombing targets in Serbia to a Serbian agent during the Kosovo
war in 1998. Bunel's case was transferred from a civilian court to keep the details of the
case classified. Bunel's character witnesses and psychologists notwithstanding, the system
"got him" for telling the truth about Al Qaeda and who has actually been behind
the terrorist attacks commonly blamed on that group. It is noteworthy that that Yugoslav
government, the government with whom Bunel was asserted by the French government to have
shared information, claimed that Albanian and Bosnian guerrillas in the Balkans were being
backed by elements of "Al Qaeda." We now know that these guerrillas were being
backed by money provided by the Bosnian Defense Fund, an entity established as a special
fund at Bush-influenced Riggs Bank and directed by Richard Perle and Douglas Feith.
French officer Maj.
Pierre-Henri Bunel, who knew the truth about "Al Qaeda" -- Another target of the