The ‘Blind Sheik’ and The CIA – Media Bury US Support for Radical Islamism
Two days ago the Takfiri Islamist leader Omar Abdul-Rahman , the so called “Blind Sheik”, died in a US prison. He had been found guilty of involvement in the 1993 attempt to bring down the World Trade Center in New York and of other crimes.
The obituaries of Omar Abdul-Rahman in US media are an example of white washing of the US exploitation of radical Islamism for its imperial purposes. While extensively documented in earlier media and official reports the CIA’s facilitation and involvement with Abdul-Rahman is seemingly stricken from history.
Since the 1970s Omar Abdul-Rahman was involved in the growth of radical Sunni Islamism:
Founded in 1976, Faisal Islamic Bank of Egypt (FIBE) is part of the banking empire built by Saudi Prince Mohammed al-Faisal. Several of the founding members are leading members of the Muslim Brotherhood, including the “Blind Sheikh,” Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman.
Financed by Saudi sources Abdul-Rahman created various groups of radicals in Egypt and gets deeply involved with Al-Qaeda, recruiting fighters for Afghanistan in cooperation with the CIA and the Pakistani secret services. He was the ideological leader of Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya, an Islamic radical organization in Egypt responsible for several terrorist attacks. He traveled to the US several timed between 1986 and 1990 to further his violent ideology. His visas were issued by CIA agents despite his appearance on a State Department terrorism watch list. In 1990 he moves to the US where he preached his violent Islam and continued to recruit fighters for radical causes.
In December 1990 the New York Times reported:
The 52-year-old religious leader, Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, entered the country more than five months ago despite being on a State Department list of people with ties to terrorist groups, the authorities said. He illegally obtained a tourist visa from a consul in the United States Embassy in Khartoum, the Sudan, in May, according to records of the Federal Immigration and Naturalization Service and State Department officials.
In July 1993 the NYT reported that “illegally obtained tourist visa” was not illegal at all:
Central Intelligence Agency officers reviewed all seven applications made by Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman to enter the United States between 1986 and 1990 and only once turned him down because of his connections to terrorism, Government officials said today.
Mr. Abdel Rahman helped to recruit Arab Muslims to fight in the American-backed war in Afghanistan, and his lawyer and Egyptian officials have said he was helped by the C.I.A. to enter the United States.
American officials had acknowledged last week that the diplomat at the United States Embassy in Khartoum who signed the May 1990 visa request that allowed Mr. Abdel Rahman to enter the United States was in fact a C.I.A. officer.
Several attempts to remove Abdel-Rahman from the US mysteriously failed. In 1991 he was inexplicably granted a Green Card despite still being blacklisted.
His involvement in the 1993 WTC bombing was a typical “blowback” from the CIA’s chronic support of radical takfiri Islamism, supported by Saudi Arabia, whenever it helps its “regime change” plans here or there. Over the last years such CIA support led to the growth of Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.
After the recent death of Omar Abdul-Rahman several obituaries appeared in US media. But none of them mention or dig into his deep and long CIA connections and the continuing CIA support for radical Islamism.
There is zero mentioning of the CIA and the visa shenanigans in his NYT obit, despite its earlier reporting. Neither the Associated Press nor AFP mention any connection to the CIA. The British service Reuters buries the visa story in one sentence in the 12th paragraph.
That the deep involvement over the years of the CIA (and FBI) in the crimes Omar Abdul-Rahman is now swept under the carpet and forgotten is not just coincidentally. It is a distinct feature of US political culture.
The British poet Harold Pinter referred to this in his 2005 Nobel lecture:
It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn’t happening. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest.
I have called this chronic forgetfulness the concept of immaculate conception of US (foreign) policy. There never is an acknowledged history of US misdeeds that may have led to this or that current blowback. When there is one it immediately gets buried, pushed out of sight, never to be talked about. The same applies to partisan policies within the US
Currently the fake “resistance” against a Trump presidency blasts his policy of seeking better relations with Russia, his temporary travel ban reference to seven specific countries and his words against media leaks. But it was the Secretary of State Clinton who initiated a “reset” with Russia, it was the Obama administration that set a ban on those seven countries and it was the Obama justice department that used the espionage act against journalists for publishing leaked material. That all is now forgotten and not to be talked about.
Likewise the deep CIA connection with Omar Abdul-Rahman is now scrubbed from any of the semi-official media reporting. This at the same time the CIA continues its involvement with radical Islamists in Syria and elsewhere.
Pinter continued his lecture:
The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It’s a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis. …
Source: Moon of Alabama