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Profile: United States

 
  

Positions that United States has held:



 

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United States actively participated in the following events:

 
  

December 26, 1979: Soviet Forces, Lured in by the CIA, Invade Afghanistan      Complete 911 Timeline

       The Soviet Union invades Afghanistan. They will withdraw in 1989 after a brutal 10-year war. It has been commonly believed that the invasion was unprovoked. However, in a 1998 interview, Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Jimmy Carter's National Security Adviser, will reveal that the CIA began destabilizing the pro-Soviet Afghan government six months earlier in a deliberate attempt to get the Soviets to invade and have their own Vietnam-type costly war: “What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Muslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the Cold War?” [Mirror, 1/29/02; Le Nouvel Observateur, 1/98] The US and Saudi Arabia give a huge amount of money (estimates range up to $40 billion total for the war) to support the mujahedeen guerrilla fighters opposing the Russians. Most of the money is managed by the ISI, Pakistan's intelligence agency. [Nation, 2/15/99]
People and organizations involved: United States, Saudi Arabia, Taliban, Central Intelligence Agency, Zbigniew Brzezinski
          

March 1991: US Military Remains in Saudi Arabia      Complete 911 Timeline

       As the Gulf War against Iraq ends, the US stations some 15,000-20,000 soldiers in Saudi Arabia permanently. [Nation, 2/15/99] President George H. W. Bush falsely claims that all US troops have withdrawn. [Guardian, 12/21/01] The US troop's presence is not admitted until 1995, and there has never been an official explanation as to why they remained. The Nation postulates that they are stationed there to prevent a coup. Saudi Arabia has an incredible array of high-tech weaponry, but lacks the expertise to use it and it is feared that Saudi soldiers may have conflicting loyalties. In 1998, bin Laden will release a statement: “For more than seven years the United States has been occupying the lands of Islam in the holiest of places, the Arabian peninsula, plundering its riches, dictating to its rulers, humiliating its people, terrorizing its neighbors, and turning its bases in the peninsula into a spearhead through which to fight the neighboring Muslim peoples.” [Nation, 2/15/99]
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, George Herbert Walker Bush, United States
          

March 8, 1992: Raw US World Dominance Plan Is Leaked to the Media      Complete 911 Timeline, Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       The Defense Planning Guidance, “a blueprint for the department's spending priorities in the aftermath of the first Gulf War and the collapse of the Soviet Union,” is leaked to the New York Times. [New York Times, 3/8/92; Newsday, 3/16/03] The document causes controversy, because it hadn't yet been “scrubbed” to replace candid language with euphemisms. [New York Times, 3/11/92; Observer, 4/7/02; New York Times, 3/10/92] The document argues that the US dominates the world as sole superpower, and to maintain that role, it “must maintain the mechanisms for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role.” [New York Times, 3/8/92 (B); New York Times, 3/8/92] As the Observer summarizes it, “America's friends are potential enemies. They must be in a state of dependence and seek solutions to their problems in Washington.” [Observer, 4/7/02] The document is mainly written by Paul Wolfowitz and I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, who hold relatively low posts at the time, but become deputy defense secretary and Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, respectively, under George W. Bush. [Newsday, 3/16/03] The authors conspicuously avoid mention of collective security arrangements through the United Nations, instead suggesting the US “should expect future coalitions to be ad hoc assemblies, often not lasting beyond the crisis being confronted.” [New York Times, 3/8/92] They call for “punishing” or “threatening punishment” against regional aggressors before they act. Interests to be defended preemptively include “access to vital raw materials, primarily Persian Gulf oil, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles, [and] threats to US citizens from terrorism.” [Harper's, 10/02] Senator Lincoln Chafee (R) later says, “It is my opinion that [George W. Bush's] plan for preemptive strikes was formed back at the end of the first Bush administration with that 1992 report.” [Newsday, 3/16/03] In response to the controversy, US releases an updated version of the document in May 1992, which stresses that the US will work with the United Nations and its allies. [Washington Post, 5/24/92; Harper's, 10/02]
People and organizations involved: Lincoln Chafee, United States, Soviet Union, Lewis ("Scooter") Libby, Paul Wolfowitz
          

1995: US Declines to Accept Sudanese Files on al-Qaeda Leaders      Complete 911 Timeline

       The government of Sudan offers the US all its files on bin Laden. He had been living in Sudan since 1991 partly because there were no visa requirements to live there. Sudanese officials had been monitoring him, collecting a “vast intelligence database on Osama bin Laden and more than 200 leading members of his al-Qaeda terrorist network. ... [The US was] offered thick files, with photographs and detailed biographies of many of his principal cadres, and vital information about al-Qaeda's financial interests in many parts of the globe.” The US apparently declines to accept the Sudanese government's offer. After 9/11, a US agent who has seen the files on bin Laden's men in Khartoum says that some files were “an inch and a half thick.” [Guardian, 9/30/01]
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, United States, al-Qaeda, Sudan
          

March 1996: US, Sudan Squabble over bin Laden's Fate      Complete 911 Timeline

       The US pressures Sudan to do something about bin Laden, who is currently based in that country. According to some accounts, Sudan readily agrees, not wanting to be labeled a terrorist nation. Sudan's defense minister engages in secret negotiations with the CIA in Washington. Sudan offers to extradite bin Laden to anywhere he might stand trial. Some accounts claim that Sudan offers bin Laden to the US, but the US decides not to take him because they do not have enough evidence at the time to charge him with a crime [Washington Post, 10/3/01; Village Voice, 10/31/01] Richard Clarke, counterterrorism “tsar” for both Clinton and George W. Bush, calls this story a “fable” invented by the Sudanese and Americans friendly to Sudan. He points out that bin Laden “was an ideological blood brother, family friend, and benefactor” to Sudanese leader Hassan al-Turabi, so any offers to hand him over may have been disingenuous. [Clarke, 2004, pp 142-43] (CIA Director Tenet later denies that Sudan made any “direct offers to hand over bin Laden.” [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 10/17/02] ) The US reportedly asks Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan to accept bin Laden into custody, but is refused by all three governments. [Coll, 2004, pp 323] The 9/11 Commission later claims it finds no evidence that Sudan offers bin Laden directly to the US, but it does find evidence that Saudi Arabia is discussed as an option. [9/11 Commission Report, 3/23/04] US officials insist that bin Laden leave the country for anywhere but Somalia. One US intelligence source in the region later states: “We kidnap minor drug czars and bring them back in burlap bags. Somebody didn't want this to happen.” [Village Voice, 10/31/01; Washington Post, 10/3/01]
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, Richard A. Clarke, George Tenet, Hassan al-Turabi, Central Intelligence Agency, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Sudan, United States
          

1998: US and Uzbekistan Conduct Joint Operations Against Taliban      Complete 911 Timeline

       Beginning in 1998, if not before, Uzbekistan and the US conduct joint covert operations against Afghanistan's Taliban regime and bin Laden. [Times of India, 10/14/01; Washington Post, 10/14/01]
People and organizations involved: Taliban, Osama bin Laden, Uzbekistan, United States
          

April 15, 1998: Libya Issues First Arrest Warrant for bin Laden      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi.
The first Interpol (international police) arrest warrant for bin Laden is issued—by Libya. [Observer, 11/10/02] According to the authors of the controversial book The Forbidden Truth, British and US intelligence agencies play down the arrest warrant, and have the public version of the warrant stripped of important information, such as the summary of charges and the fact that Libya requested the warrant. At this point, no Western country has yet issued a warrant for bin Laden, even though he publicly called for attacks on Western targets beginning in 1996. The arrest warrant is issued for the 1994 murder of two German antiterrorism agents. Allegedly, Britain and the US aren't interested in catching bin Laden at this time due to his involvement with Britain in attempts to assassinate Libyan leader Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi in 1996 (see 1996). [Brisard, Dasquie and Madsen, 2002, pp 97-98]
People and organizations involved: Britain, Osama bin Laden, Central Intelligence Agency, Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, United States, UK Secret Intelligence Service
          

November 4, 1998: US Issues Public Indictment of bin Laden, Others for Embassy Bombings      Complete 911 Timeline

       The US publicly indicts bin Laden, Mohammed Atef, and others for the US embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. Bin Laden had been secretly indicted on different charges earlier in the year in June. Record $5 million rewards are announced for information leading to his arrest and the arrest of Mohammed Atef. [PBS Frontline, 2001] Shortly thereafter, bin Laden allocates $9 million in reward money for the assassinations of four US government officials in response to the reward on him. A year later, it is learned that the secretary of state, defense secretary, FBI director, and CIA director are the targets. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 9/18/02; 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03; MSNBC, 9/18/02]
People and organizations involved: United States, Osama bin Laden, Mohammed Atef, George Tenet, Madeleine Albright, William S. Cohen, Louis J. Freeh
          

1999: US Ready to Fight For Oil, Especially in Persian Gulf and Caspian Regions      Complete 911 Timeline, Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       A top level US policy document explicitly confirms the US military's readiness to fight a war for oil. The report, Strategic Assessment 1999, prepared for the US Joint Chiefs of Staff and the secretary of defense, states, “energy and resource issues will continue to shape international security,” and if an oil “problem” arises, “US forces might be used to ensure adequate supplies.” Oil conflicts over production facilities and transport routes, particularly in the Persian Gulf and Caspian regions, are specifically envisaged. [Sydney Morning Herald, 5/20/03]
People and organizations involved: United States
          

January 2000: Israeli Spy Ring Begins Penetrating US      Complete 911 Timeline

      
States the Israeli spy ring were known to have operated in, according to a June 2001 Drug Enforcement Administration report (this Fox news graphic was based on information from that report).
A DEA government document later leaked to the press [DEA report, 6/01] suggests that a large Israeli spy ring starts penetrating the US from at least this time, if not earlier. This ring, which will later become popularly known as the “art student spy ring,” is later shown to have strange connections to the events of 9/11. [Insight, 3/11/02]
People and organizations involved: "Israeli art students", Drug Enforcement Agency, United States
          

April 2000: US Granted Permission to Expand Qatar Military Base      Complete 911 Timeline

       The US obtains permission to expand greatly a military base in the Persian Gulf nation of Qatar, and construction begins shortly thereafter. The justification for expanding Al Adid, a billion-dollar base, is presumably preparedness for renewed action against Iraq. [Los Angeles Times, 1/6/02] Dozens of other US military bases sprang up in the region during the 1990s. [Village Voice, 11/13/02]
People and organizations involved: United States
          

December 19, 2000: US Seeks Taliban Overthrow; Considers Russia-US Invasion of Afghanistan      Complete 911 Timeline

       The Washington Post reports, “The United States has quietly begun to align itself with those in the Russian government calling for military action against Afghanistan and has toyed with the idea of a new raid to wipe out Osama bin Laden. Until it backed off under local pressure, it went so far as to explore whether a Central Asian country would permit the use of its territory for such a purpose.” Russia and the US are discussing “what kind of government should replace the Taliban. Thus, while claiming to oppose a military solution to the Afghan problem, the United States is now talking about the overthrow of a regime that controls nearly the entire country, in the hope it can be replaced with a hypothetical government that does not exist even on paper.” [Washington Post, 12/19/00] It appears that all pre-9/11 plans to invade Afghanistan involve attacking from the north with Russia.
People and organizations involved: Russia, Taliban, Osama bin Laden, United States
          

June 2001: US Still Fails to Aid Taliban Resistance      Complete 911 Timeline

       The US considers substantially aiding Ahmed Shah Massoud and his Northern Alliance. As one counterterrorism official put it, “You keep [al-Qaeda terrorists] on the front lines in Afghanistan. Hopefully you're killing them in the process, and they're not leaving Afghanistan to plot terrorist operations.” A former US special envoy to the Afghan resistance visits Massoud this month. Massoud gives him “all the intelligence he [has] on al-Qaeda” in the hopes of getting some support in return. However, he gets nothing more than token amounts and his organization isn't even given “legitimate resistance movement” status. [Time, 8/4/02]
People and organizations involved: Ahmed Shah Massoud, al-Qaeda, United States, Northern Alliance
          

August-October 2001: Britain Seeks Indian Assistance in Catching Saeed Sheikh      Complete 911 Timeline

       British intelligence asks India for legal assistance in catching Saeed Sheikh sometime during August 2001. Saeed has been openly living in Pakistan since 1999 and has even traveled to Britain at least twice during that time, despite having kidnapped Britons and Americans in 1993 and 1994. [Vanity Fair, 8/02; Times of London, 4/21/02] According to the Indian media, informants in Germany tell the internal security service there that Saeed helped fund hijacker Mohamed Atta. [Frontline, 10/6/01] On September 23, it is revealed, without explanation, that the British have asked India for help in finding Saeed. [Times of London, 9/23/01] Saeed Sheikh's role in training the hijackers and financing the 9/11 attacks soon becomes public knowledge, though some elements are disputed. [CNN, 10/6/01; CNN, 10/8/01; Daily Telegraph, 9/30/01] The Gulf News claims that the US freezes the assets of Pakistani militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed on October 12, 2001, because it has established links between Saeed Sheikh and 9/11. [Gulf News, 10/11/01] However, in October, an Indian magazine notes, “Curiously, there seems to have been little international pressure on Pakistan to hand [Saeed] over” [Frontline, 10/6/01] , and the US does not formally ask Pakistan for help to find Saeed until January 2002.
People and organizations involved: Britain, Jaish-e-Mohammed, United States, Pakistan, Mohamed Atta, India, Saeed Sheikh
          

August 22, 2001: US and Pakistan Negotiate to Capture or Kill bin Laden      Complete 911 Timeline

       The Asia Times reports that the US is engaged in “intense negotiations” with Pakistan for assistance in an operation to capture or kill bin Laden. However, despite promised rewards, there is a “very strong lobby within the [Pakistani] army not to assist in any US moves to apprehend bin Laden.” [Asia Times, 8/22/01]
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, United States, Pakistan
          

September 4, 2001: Mossad Gives Another Warning of Major, Imminent Attack      Complete 911 Timeline

       “On or around” this day, the Mossad give their “latest” warning to the US of a major, imminent attack by al-Qaeda, according to sources close to Mossad. One former Mossad agent says, “My understanding is that the warning was not specific. No target was identified. But it should have resulted in an increased state of security.” US intelligence claims this never happened. [Sunday Mail, 9/16/01]
People and organizations involved: United States, Israel Institute for Intelligence and Special Tasks
          

September 10, 2001: NSA Monitors Call as Mohammed Gives Final Approval to Launch Attacks      Complete 911 Timeline

       Mohamed Atta calls Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in Afghanistan. Mohammed gives final approval to Atta to launch the attacks. This call is monitored and translated by the US, although it is not known how quickly the call is translated, and the specifics of the conversation haven't been released. [Independent, 9/15/02]
People and organizations involved: United States, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Mohamed Atta
          

Before September 11, 2001: Echelon Intelligence Network Used on Al-Qaeda      Complete 911 Timeline

      
An Echelon station in Menwith Hill, Britain.
By the 1980s, a high-tech global electronic surveillance network shared between the US, Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand is gathering intelligence all over the world. The BBC describes Echelon's power as “astounding,” and elaborates: “Every international telephone call, fax, e-mail, or radio transmission can be listened to by powerful computers capable of voice recognition. They home in on a long list of key words, or patterns of messages. They are looking for evidence of international crime, like terrorism.” [BBC, 11/3/99] One major focus for Echelon before 9/11 is al-Qaeda. A staff member of the National Security Council who regularly attends briefings on bin Laden states, “We are probably tapped into every hotel room in Pakistan. We can listen in to just about every phone call in Afghanistan.” However, he and other critics will claim one reason why US intelligence failed to stop terrorism before 9/11 was because there was too much of a focus on electronic intelligence gathering and not enough focus on human interpretation of that vast data collection. [Toronto Star, 2/2/02]
People and organizations involved: National Security Council, al-Qaeda, New Zealand, Canada, Echelon, Osama bin Laden, Britain, Australia, United States
          

September 22, 2001-December 2001: US Secretly Increases Military Presence in Central Asia      Complete 911 Timeline

      
A Mirage 2000-D fighter in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, in February 2002.
Witnesses begin to report US military planes secretly landing at night in the Central Asian nations of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. The US, Tajik, and Uzbek governments initially deny that any US troops have been sent there. [Associated Press, 9/25/01 (D); Daily Telegraph, 9/23/01 (D)] By October 5, witnesses say a “huge military buildup” has already occurred. [Daily Telegraph, 10/4/01] On October 7, the US and Uzbekistan sign a secret agreement that reportedly is “a long term commitment to advance security and regional stability.” [Financial Times, 10/13/01] It is later reported that the US military bases here, “originally agreed as temporary and emergency expedients, are now permanent.” [Guardian, 1/16/02] The US begins building a military base in the nearby country of Kyrgyzstan in December 2001. “There are no restrictions” in the agreement on what the US can do with this base, and it will be a “transportation hub” for the whole region. [New York Times, 1/9/02] The base is only 200 miles from China. [Christian Science Monitor, 1/17/02] The building of these bases is the culmination of the strategy first proposed in 1992 by the men now in power.
People and organizations involved: Tajikistan, United States, Kyrgyzstan
          

Early October 2001: US Launches Attacks on Afghanistan from Pakistani Bases      Complete 911 Timeline

       The US begins using the Shahbaz air force base and other bases in Pakistan in their attacks against Afghanistan. [Times of London, 10/15/01] However, because of public Pakistani opposition to US support, the two governments claim the US is there for purely logistical and defensive purposes. Even six months later, the US refuses to confirm it is using the base for offensive operations. [Los Angeles Times, 3/6/03] Such bases in Pakistan become a link in a chain of US military outposts in Central Asia. Other countries also falsely maintain that such bases are not being used for military operations in Afghanistan despite clear evidence to the contrary. [Reuters, 12/28/01]
People and organizations involved: Pakistan, United States
          

October 7, 2001: US Begins Bombing in Afghanistan      Complete 911 Timeline

      
The Afghan village of Darya Khanah is bombed on October 27, 2001.
The US begins bombing Afghanistan in the first strike of its “war on terror.” [MSNBC, 11/01] Most documentary evidence suggests the US was not planning this bombing before 9/11. However, former Pakistani Foreign Secretary Niaz Naik has claimed that in July 2001 senior US officials told him that a military action to overthrow the Taliban in Afghanistan would, as the BBC put it, “take place before the snows started falling in Afghanistan, by the middle of October at the latest.” [BBC, 9/18/01]
People and organizations involved: Taliban, Niaz Naik, United States
          

October 27, 2001: Pakistan Rewarded With Large Aid Package      Complete 911 Timeline

       It is reported that the US has put together a multi-billion dollar aid package for Pakistan that includes “sweeping debt rescheduling, grants stretching over many years and trade benefits as a reward for its support against terrorism.” Critics such as Representative Jim McDermott (D) complain the aid is a “blank check” that could go towards supporting the Pakistani military and Islamic militants fighting in India. [New York Times, 10/27/01 (B)]
People and organizations involved: Pakistan, Jim McDermott, United States
          

Mid-November 2001: Afghan Politician Says Mohammed Atef US Policy Prevented bin Laden Capture      Complete 911 Timeline

       Ismail Khan's troops and other Northern Alliance fighters are reportedly ready to take back Pashtun areas from Taliban control at this time. Khan, governor of Herat province and one of Afghanistan's most successful militia leaders, later maintains that “we could have captured all the Taliban and the al-Qaeda groups. We could have arrested Osama bin Laden with all of his supporters.” [USA Today, 1/2/02] However, according to Khan, his forces hold back at the request of the US, who allegedly do not want the non-Pashtun Northern Alliance to conquer Pashtun areas. British newspapers at the time report bin Laden is surrounded in a 30-mile area, but the conquest of Kandahar takes weeks without the Northern Alliance and bin Laden slips away (other accounts put him at Tora Bora). [CNN, 11/18/01 (B)]
People and organizations involved: Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda, Taliban, Northern Alliance, Ismail Khan, United States
          

January 2002: Central Asian Countries See US Military Bases Expand      Complete 911 Timeline

       Reportedly, the US is improving bases in “13 locations in nine countries in the Central Asian region.” [Christian Science Monitor, 1/17/02] US military personnel strength in bases surrounding Afghanistan has increased to 60,000. [Los Angeles Times, 1/6/02] “Of the five ex-Soviet states of Central Asia, Turkmenistan alone is resisting pressure to allow the deployment of US or other Western forces on its soil...” [Guardian, 1/10/02] On January 9, the speaker of the Russian parliament states, “Russia would not approve of the appearance of permanent US bases in Central Asia,” but Russia seems helpless to stop what a Russian newspaper calls “the inexorable growth” of the US military presence in Central Asia. [Guardian, 1/10/02] Commenting on the bases, one columnist writes in the Guardian: “The task of the encircling US bases now shooting up on Afghanistan's periphery is only partly to contain the threat of political regression or Taliban resurgence in Kabul. Their bigger, longer-term role is to project US power and US interests into countries previously beyond its reach. ... The potential benefits for the US are enormous: growing military hegemony in one of the few parts of the world not already under Washington's sway, expanded strategic influence at Russia and China's expense, pivotal political clout and—grail of holy grails—access to the fabulous, non-OPEC oil and gas wealth of central Asia.” [Guardian, 1/16/02]
People and organizations involved: China, Taliban, Turkmenistan, Russia, United States
          

March 1, 2002: ISI Maintains Huge Drug Economy      Complete 911 Timeline

       Vanity Fair suggests the ISI is still deeply involved in the drug trade in Central Asia. It estimates that Pakistan has a parallel drug economy worth $15 billion a year. Pakistan's official economy is worth about $60 billion. The article notes that the US has not tied its billions of dollars in aid to Pakistan to assurances that Pakistan will stop its involvement in drugs. [Vanity Fair, 3/1/02]
People and organizations involved: Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, United States
          

April 30, 2002: US Military Plans Long-Term Presence in Central Asia      Complete 911 Timeline

       It is reported that the US military is drawing up a plan for a long term military “footprint” in Central Asia. The US says it plans no permanent bases, but the leaders of Central Asia speak of the US being there for decades, and the temporary structures that had been hastily constructed over the past several months are being replaced by permanent buildings. [Associated Press, 4/30/02; Washington Post, 8/27/02; Los Angeles Times, 4/4/02] All of the countries are encumbered by corrupt dictatorships, and many experts say their serious social and economic problems are growing worse. Some experts wonder if the US is increasing Muslim resentment and the risk of terrorism by closely associating with such regimes. [Washington Post, 8/27/02]
People and organizations involved: United States
          

May 1-31, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       The US military steps up its attacks on targets in Iraq's “no-fly” zones. [London Times, 5/29/05; London Times, 6/19/05] US and British warplanes drop 7.3 tons of ordnance on targets in Iraq “no-fly” zones during this month, compared with just .3 tons the previous month (see April 1-30, 2002). [Statesman, 5/30/2005] Two months later, British Defense Secretary Geoffrey Hoon will say at a British cabinet meeting (see July 23, 2002) that the US has “begun ‘spikes of activity’ to put pressure on the regime.”
People and organizations involved: United States
          

June 2002-March 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       The frequency of US and British aerial attacks against targets in Iraq's “no-fly” zones increases dramatically as part of Operation Southern Focus. [London Times, 5/29/2005; New York Times, 7/20/2003; Washington Post, 1/15/2003; Time, 11/27/2002; Independent, 11/24/2002] According to the London Times, US and British planes drop twice as many bombs on Iraq during the second half of 2002 as they did during the entire year of 2001. [London Times, 5/29/2005] Between June 2002 and March 19, 2003, US and British planes fly 21,736 sorties over southern Iraq, dropping 606 bombs on 391 carefully selected targets. [Washington Post, 1/15/2003; London Times, 6/27/2005; New York Times, 7/20/2003] As Timur Eads, a former US special operations officer, notes in January 2003: “We're bombing practically every day as we patrol the no-fly zones, taking out air defense batteries, and there are all kinds of CIA and Special Forces operations going on. I would call it the beginning of a war.” [Boston Globe, 1/6/2003] The airstrikes, which occur primarily in the southern no-fly zone, are also becoming more strategic, targeting Iraq's surface-to-air missiles, air defense radars, command centers, communications facilities, and fiber-optic cable repeater stations. [Washington Post, 1/15/2003; Time, 11/27/2002; Independent, 11/24/2002] The repeater stations are bombed in order to disrupt the network of fiber-optic cables that transmit military communications between Baghdad and Basra and Baghdad and Nasiriya. “They wanted to neutralize the ability of the Iraqi government to command its forces; to establish control of the airspace over Iraq; to provide air support for Special Operations forces, as well as for the Army and Marine forces that would advance toward Baghdad; and to neutralize Iraq's force of surface-to-surface missiles and suspected caches of biological and chemical weapons,” the New York Times reports in July 2003. [New York Times, 7/20/2003] “We're responding differently,” one Pentagon official explains to Time magazine in November 2002. “[We're] hitting multiple targets when we're fired upon—and they're tending to be more important targets.” [Time, 11/27/2002] Some time after the invasion, a US general reportedly says (see July 17, 2003) at a conference at Nevada's Nellis Air Force Base “that he began taking out assets that could help in resisting an invasion at least six months before war was declared.” [San Francisco Chronicle, 6/19/2005 Sources: Charlie Clements]
People and organizations involved: United States, Britain
          

June 20, 2002: Afghan Council Appears Manipulated in Selecting Warlords      Complete 911 Timeline

       The long-awaited loya jirga, or grand council, is concluded in Afghanistan. This council was supposed to be a traditional method for the Afghan people to select their leaders, but most experts conclude that the council is clearly rigged. [BBC, 8/1/02] Half of the delegates walk out in protest. [CNN, 6/18/02] One delegate states, “This is worse than our worst expectations. The warlords have been promoted and the professionals kicked out. Who calls this democracy?” Delegates complain, “This is interference by foreign countries,” obviously meaning the US. The New York Times publishes an article (“The Warlords Win in Kabul”) pointing out that the “very forces responsible for countless brutalities” in past governments are back in power. [New York Times, 6/21/02]
People and organizations involved: United States, Afghanistan
          

August 15, 2002: Relatives File Lawsuit Against Alleged Saudi al-Qaeda Financiers      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Deena Burnett, wife of Flight 93 passenger Tom Burnett, speaks on behalf of the victims' relatives suing the Saudis.
More than 600 relatives of victims of the 9/11 attacks file a 15-count, $1 trillion lawsuit against various parties they accuse of financing al-Qaeda and Afghanistan's former Taliban regime. (The number of plaintiffs will increase to 2,500. Up to 10,000 were eligible to join this suit. [Newsweek, 9/13/02] ) The defendants include the Saudi Binladin Group (the company run by Osama bin Laden's family), seven international banks, eight Islamic foundations and charities, individual financiers, three Saudi princes, and the government of Sudan. [CNN, 8/15/02; Washington Post, 8/16/02] Individuals named include Saudi Defense Minister Prince Sultan, former Saudi intelligence chief Prince Turki al-Faisal, Yassin al-Qadi, and Khalid bin Mahfouz (Mahfouz denies supporting terrorism and has filed a motion to dismiss the complaint). [Associated Press, 8/15/02; MSNBC, 8/25/02] “The attorneys and investigators were able to obtain, through French intelligence, the translation of a secretly recorded meeting between representatives of bin Laden and three Saudi princes in which they sought to pay him hush money to keep him from attacking their enterprises in Saudi Arabia.” [CNN, 8/15/02] The plaintiffs also accuse the US government of failing to pursue such institutions thoroughly enough because of lucrative oil interests. [BBC, 8/15/02] Ron Motley, the lead lawyer in the suit, says the case is being aided by intelligence services from France and four other foreign governments, but no help has come from the Justice Department. [Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 8/16/02] The plaintiffs acknowledge the chance of ever winning any money is slim, but hope the lawsuit will help bring to light the role of Saudi Arabia in the 9/11 attacks. [BBC, 8/15/02] A number of rich Saudis respond by threatening to withdraw hundreds of billions of dollars in US investments if the lawsuit goes forward. [Daily Telegraph, 8/20/02]
People and organizations involved: Khalid bin Mahfouz, Osama bin Laden, Yassin al-Qadi, Turki bin Faisal bin Abdul Aziz al Saud, US Department of Justice, Ron Motley, Taliban, Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, United States, Sudan, Saudi Binladin Group, al-Qaeda
          

August 20, 2002: Saudis Retract Billions from US in Response to 9/11 Lawsuit      Complete 911 Timeline

       The Financial Times reports that “disgruntled Saudis have pulled tens of billions of dollars out of the US, signaling a deep alienation from America.” Estimates range from $100 billion to over $200 billion. Part of the anger is in response to reports that the US might attack Saudi Arabia and freeze Saudi assets unless Saudi Arabia makes a serious effort al-Qaeda and other Islamic militant groups. It is also in response to a lawsuit against many Saudi Arabians that also may lead to a freeze of Saudi assets (see August 15, 2002). Estimates of total Saudi investments in the US range from $400 billion to $600 billion. [Financial Times, 8/20/02]
People and organizations involved: United States
          

August 27, 2002: US Establishes Military Presence in Uzbekistan      Complete 911 Timeline

       The Central Asian nation of Uzbekistan has recently signed a treaty committing the US to respond to “any external threat” to the country. Uzbekistan's foreign minister explains: “The logic of the situation suggests that the United States has come here with a serious purpose, and for a long time.” According to a Washington Post report, the other Central Asian nations—Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan—have similar agreements with the US. The US claims it is supporting democracy in these nations, but experts say authoritarianism has been on the rise since 9/11. A new US military base in Uzbekistan currently holds about 1,000 US soldiers, but is being greatly enlarged. The article makes the general point that the US is replacing Russia as the dominant power in Central Asia. [Washington Post, 8/27/02]
People and organizations involved: United States, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan
          

November 18, 2002: US Said to Be Ignoring Accurate Information on Bin Laden's Whereabouts      Complete 911 Timeline

       Right wing journalist Arnaud De Borchgrave, writing for United Press International, claims that although the US has given millions of dollars to buy the loyalty of Pakistani tribal leaders in an attempt to learn more about al-Qaeda leaders, they are ignoring a cooperative tribal leader who has the best information on bin Laden's whereabouts. De Borchgrave calls this leader a “good news source ... his information [is] prescient and invariably accurate.” Since November 2001, De Borchgrave and others have given the name of this tribal leader to top US leaders, but the tribal leader still has not been contacted. De Borchgrave concludes from this lack of interest that perhaps neither Pakistan nor the US is actually interested in capturing bin Laden. He notes that some people are speculating that Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf fears the US will lose interest in Pakistan and greatly reduce economic aid commitments once bin Laden is captured or killed. He also speculates that US leaders think getting bin Laden “might detract from the current ‘get [Saddam] Hussein’ priority objective” and trigger more terror attacks. [UPI, 11/18/02]
People and organizations involved: Pervez Musharraf, Osama bin Laden, Pakistan, United States
          

December 9, 2002: Special Forces in Afghanistan Back Away from Risky Operations      Complete 911 Timeline

       US commanders have rejected as too risky many special operations missions to attack Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan. After Army Green Beret A-Teams received good intelligence on the whereabouts of former Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, commanders turned down the missions as too dangerous. Soldiers traced the timidity to an incident in June 2002 called Operation Full Throttle, which resulted in the death of 34 civilians. [Washington Times, 12/9/02]
People and organizations involved: United States, Taliban, al-Qaeda, Mullah Mohammed Omar
          

March 4, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       France informs the US that an earlier French intelligence assessment concluding that Iraq had attempted to procure uranium from Niger had been based on the same forged documents the US provided to the International Atomic Energy Agency. [Sources: Senate Intelligence Report on Iraq, 7/2004]
People and organizations involved: United States, France
          

March 16, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       The United States informs UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei that it would not be “prudent” for UN and IAEA staff to remain in Iraq any longer. [Washington Files, 3/17/2003]
People and organizations involved: United States, Mohamed ElBaradei, Kofi Annan
          

March 28, 2003: Al-Qaeda Supporter Now In Charge of Security of Nation Closely Allied with US      Complete 911 Timeline

       The Los Angeles Times reports that, ironically, the man in charge of security for the nation where the US bases its headquarters for the Iraq war is a supporter of al-Qaeda. Sheik Abdullah bin Khalid al-Thani is the Interior Minister of Qatar. US Central Command and thousands of US troops are stationed in that country. In 1996, al-Thani was Religious Minister and he apparently let 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed live on his farm (see January-May 1996). Mohammed was tipped off that the US was after him. Some US officials believe al-Thani was the one who helped Mohammed escape, just as he had assisted other al-Qaeda leaders on other occasions. [Los Angeles Times, 3/28/03] Al-Thani sheltered Mohammed on other occasions as well, and even helped shelter him for two weeks after 9/11. [New York Times, 2/6/03] Ahmad Hikmat Shakir, who has ties to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing (see February 26, 1993), the Bojinka plot (see January 6, 1995), and also attended the January 2000 al-Qaeda summit in Malaysia (see January 5-8, 2000), was sheltered by al-Thani's religious ministry in 2000. [Newsweek, 9/30/02] Former counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke says al-Thani “had great sympathy for Osama bin Laden, great sympathy for terrorist groups, was using his personal money and ministry money to transfer to al-Qaeda front groups that were allegedly charities.” However, the US has not attempted to apprehend al-Thani or take any other action against him. [Los Angeles Times, 3/28/03]
People and organizations involved: United States, Ahmad Hikmat Shakir, Abdallah bin Khalid al-Thani, Osama bin Laden, Richard A. Clarke, al-Qaeda, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed
          

July 2003: Former German Government Minister Releases Book Alleging US Government Complicity in 9/11      Complete 911 Timeline

       Andreas von Bulow, a former German government minister, releases a book called “Die CIA und der 11. September” (The CIA and September 11), in which he alleges US government complicity in 9/11. Von Bulow was Federal Minister of Research and Technology under Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, and before that was high up in Germany's Ministry of Defense. [Der Spiegel, 9/8/03] He argues that 9/11 was a covert operation in which the CIA and the Israeli Mossad played a role. He suggests remote control could have been used to direct the hijacked planes into their targets; that the WTC towers collapsed due to explosives; that no planes crashed into the Pentagon or in Pennsylvania; and that the CIA had faked mobile phone calls from Flight 93 passengers. [Daily Telegraph, 11/20/03; Frankfurter Algemaine Zeitung, 9/5/03; New York Times, 10/1/03] Von Bulow tells the Daily Telegraph, “If what I say is right, the whole US government should end up behind bars.” The book is a bestseller in Germany, selling over 100,000 copies. [Daily Telegraph, 11/20/03] He previewed some of his theories in a January 2002 interview (see January 13, 2002). [Daily Telegraph, 11/20/03]
People and organizations involved: Pentagon, World Trade Center, Central Intelligence Agency, Israel Institute for Intelligence and Special Tasks, United States, Andreas von Bulow
          

August 12, 2003: Hambali Arrested      Complete 911 Timeline

       Hambali (real name Riduan Isamuddin) is arrested in Thailand in a joint US-Thai operation. He has been considered the operational leader of al-Qaeda in Southeast Asia. He was involved in the Bojinka plot in 1995, attended the January 2000 al-Qaeda summit in Malaysia (see January 5-8, 2000), and was said to be involved in the 2002 bombing of a nightclub in Bali, Indonesia,(see October 12, 2002), the 2003 bombing of a Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia, and other similar acts. He is taken into US custody and is said to have quickly and fully cooperated with his captors. [Chicago Tribune, 12/7/03]
People and organizations involved: United States, Thailand, Nurjaman Riduan Isamuddin
          

September 12, 2003: Bush Administration Is Sued for Having Foreknowledge of 9/11 Attacks      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Ellen Mariani.
9/11 victim's relative Ellen Mariani sues the US government, claiming that certain officials had foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks. “I'm 100 percent sure that they knew,” she says. In doing so, she is ineligible for government compensation from what she calls the “shut-up and go-away fund.” She believes she would have received around $500,000. According to a statement by her lawyer, her lawsuit against President Bush, Vice President Cheney, the CIA, Defense Department, and other administration members “is based upon prior knowledge of 9/11; knowingly failing to act, prevent or warn of 9/11; and the ongoing obstruction of justice by covering up the truth of 9/11; all in violation of the laws of the United States.” As the Toronto Star points out, this interesting story has been “buried” by the mainstream media, at least initially. Coverage has been limited mostly to Philadelphia where the case was filed and New Hampshire where Mariani lives. [Al Jazeera, 12/9/03; Toronto Star, 11/30/03; Village Voice, 12/3/03; Philadelphia Inquirer, 12/3/03; Philadelphia Inquirer, 9/23/03; Associated Press, 12/24/03]
People and organizations involved: Ellen Mariani, Central Intelligence Agency, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, George W. Bush, United States, US Department of Defense
          

December 11, 2003: Secret Testimony Leads to Release of Mzoudi      Complete 911 Timeline

       Abdelghani Mzoudi, charged by the German government in assisting the 9/11 plot, is released from custody, pending completion of his trial. Mzoudi is released on bail following evidence submitted by Germany's federal criminal office of secret testimony from an unnamed informant who says that Mzoudi was not involved with the planning for the attacks. The presiding judge in the case identifies captured al-Qaeda operative Ramzi Bin al-Shibh as the likely source of the testimony [BBC, 1/21/04; Chicago Tribune, 1/22/04; Reuters, 1/22/04; Guardian, 12/12/03] Presumably, this information comes from the US government. However, US authorities have repeatedly rejected German attempts to have bin al-Shibh appear in court for his testimony to be examined. [Associated Press, 10/23/03; Agence France-Presse, 1/22/04]
People and organizations involved: Germany, United States, Abdelghani Mzoudi, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh
          

November 2004      US Military

       US forces use white phosphorus (WP) gas munitions as incendiary weapons against human targets during its seige of Fallujah, Iraq. [Inter Press News Service, 11/26/2003; San Francisco Chronicle, 11/10/2004; Rainews24 (Italy), 11/2005 (A); London Telegraph, 11/9/2004] White phosphorus—also known as Willy Pete or Whiskey Pete—is used by the military for signaling, screening, and incendiary purposes. It burns spontaneously in the air and will continue to burn until all white phosphorus particles have disappeared. White phosphorus munitions, upon explosion, distribute the particles over a wide swath of area. Its smoke easily penetrates clothing and protective gear and can burn a person's flesh to the bone. [Democracy Now!, 11/8/2005; GlobalSecurity [.org] , 11/9/2005] According to Jeff Englehart, a US soldier involved in the seige of Fallujah, “Phosphorus burns bodies, in fact it melts the flesh all the way down to the bone. ... Phosphorus explodes and forms a cloud. Anyone within a radius of 150 meters is done for.” [Independent, 11/8/2004] “Poisonous gases have been used in Fallujah,” 35-year-old trader from Fallujah Abu Hammad tells reporter Dahl Jamail. “They used everything—tanks, artillery, infantry, poison gas. Fallujah has been bombed to the ground.” Another resident, Abu Sabah, from the Julan area, explains: “They used these weird bombs that put up smoke like a mushroom cloud. Then small pieces fall from the air with long tails of smoke behind them.” He says the pieces then explode into large fires that burn the skin even when water is applied. “People suffered so much from these,” he adds. [Inter Press News Service, 11/26/2003] Corroborating their accounts, the San Francisco Chronicle reports that some “Insurgents reported being attacked with a substance that melted their skin, a reaction consistent with white phosphorous burns.” Kamal Hadeethi, a physician at a regional hospital, tells the newspaper, “The corpses of the mujahedeen which we received were burned, and some corpses were melted.” [San Francisco Chronicle, 11/10/2004] Leutenant Colonel Steve Boylan, in November 2005, will deny that US troops used white phosphorus gas against people in Fallujah. “I know of no cases where people were deliberately targeted by the use of white phosphorus,” he tells Democracy Now. “White phosphorus is used for obscuration, which white phosphorus produces a heavy thick smoke to shield us or them from view so that they cannot see what we are doing. It is used to destroy equipment, to destroy buildings. That is what white phosphorus shells are used for.” He insists that the pictures showing melted corpses with clothing still intact is not proof of white phosphorus attacks. “That can happen from numerous ways and not just from white phosphorus attacks. That can happen from massive explosions. If you look at the car bombs that the terrorists use today, you have the same effects from car bombs from suicide vests. I have personally witnessed these things here in Baghdad.” [Democracy Now!, 11/8/2005] The Pentagon, however, does not deny that the weapon was used against human targets. On November 14, 2005, spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Barry Venables says that white phosphorus was used to “fire at the enemy.” He adds: “It burns ... It's an incendiary weapon. That is what it does.” It was used as an incendiary weapon against enemy combatants [Independent, 11/15/2005 (A)] “It was used as an incendiary weapon against enemy combatants.” [BBC, 11/16/2005] In 1980, the Convention on Conventional Weapons banned the use of incendiary devices, like white phosphorous, in heavily populated areas. The United States was one of the few countries that refused to sign the agreement (see October 10, 1980-December 2, 1983). Even so, an instruction manual used by the US Army Command and General Staff School (CGSC) at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas states that “it is against the law of land warfare to employ WP against personnel targets.” [Independent, 11/19/2005 Sources: Iraqi National Accord] There are a number of first-hand accounts of the battle, as well as video footage and photographs, suggesting the use of white phosphorus against human targets.
Jeff Englehart, who is in a tactical attack center about 200 meters from where a lot of the explosions that are happening [Democracy Now!, 11/8/2005] , later recalls: “I heard the order to pay attention because they were going to use white phosphorus on Fallujah. In military jargon it's known as Willy Pete. ... I saw the burned bodies of women and children.” [Rainews24 (Italy), 11/2005 (A)]
Photographs provided by the Studies Centre of Human Rights in Fallujah [Rainews24 (Italy), 11/2005 (B)] , include numerous high-quality, color close-ups of bodies of Fallujah residents, some still in their beds, whose clothes remain largely intact but whose skin has been dissolved or caramelized by the shells. [Independent, 11/8/2004]
A documentary, titled “Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre,” broadcast on Italian news channel RAI a year after the assault shows helicopters launching white phosphorus munitions directly into the city. [Rainews24 (Italy), 11/2005 (A)] According to the RAI film, the US has attempted to destroy filmed evidence of the alleged use of white phosphorus on civilians in Falluja. [Rainews24 (Italy), 11/2005 (B); BBC, 11/8/2005]
A March 2005 US Army report written by three US artillery men who participated in the siege will confirm that white phosphorus was used against human targets during the seige. “WP proved to be an effective and versatile munition. We used it for screening missions at two breeches and, later in the fight, as a potent psychological weapon against the insurgents in trench lines and spider holes when we could not get effects on them with HE [High Explosive weapons]. We fired �shake and bake� missions at the insurgents, using WP to flush them out and HE to take them out.” [Independent, 11/15/2005 (A) Sources: US Army, The Fight For Fallujah: Field Artillery 3/4/2005]
People and organizations involved: Steve Boylan, Abu Sabah, Abu Hammad, United States
          

November 8, 2005      US-Cuba (1959-2005)

       For the fourteenth consecutive year, the UN General Assembly, in a record 182 to 4 vote, calls on the US to end its four-decade-old embargo against Cuba (see 1960). Voting against the measure are the US, Israel, Palau, and the Marshall Islands. Micronesia abstains, while El Salvador, Iraq, Morocco, and Nicaragua do not vote. [Associated Press, 11/8/2005; EuroNews, 11/9/2005; CBC News, 11/8/2005] (The Palau Archipelago was administered by the United States as the last UN trust territory until 1994. The Marshall Islands, taken by the US during World War II, became self-governing under US military protection in 1976, achieving free-association status in 1986. The combined population of Palau and the Marshall Islands is less than 80,000.) [The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, 2001-2005 (A); The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, 2001-2005 (B)] Before the vote, speaker after speaker in the General Assembly debate speaks out against the US sanctions [Associated Press, 11/8/2005] , while Ronald Godard, a deputy United States ambassador, asserts that “if the people of Cuba are jobless, hungry, or lack medical care, as Castro admits, it's because of his economic mismanagement.” [New York Times, 11/9/2005] After the votes are tallied up, many delegates in the General Assembly hall reportedly burst into applause. [Associated Press, 11/8/2005] US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton, calls the vote “a complete exercise in irrelevancy.” [Associated Press, 11/8/2005]
People and organizations involved: Ronald Godard, UN General Assembly, Israel, United States, John R. Bolton
          

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