|Document available on various websites that claim it is from a "Freedom of Information Act" - FOIA request. It shows that Osama Bin Ladin was called "Tim Osman." Government officials wanted him to test the stinger missile.|
According to some reports, it was the late Spring of 1986. There were two prominent US citizens who were on their way to meet the representatives of the people later described in the US media as Mujahideen fighting against the Soviet invaders of Afghanistan. Ironically, none of them were Afghans. One was a US citizen and the other a young Saudi, a member of one of the most prominent Saudi business families.
Ted Gunderson, with a distinguished career in the FBI as the former head of the Los Angeles field office from 1977-1979 was one of them. He had retired and worked as an investigator. The other person was Michael Riconosciuto who wanted the Mujahideen to test the use of the Stinger missile in their fight against the Soviet army.
They met with two representatives of the mujahadeen, Ralph Olberg and Tim Osman (or Ossman).
Ralph Olberg was an American businessman involved in the procurement of American weapons and technology on behalf of the Afghan Mujahideen. He had close connections with the Afghan desk at the U.S. State Department, and the office of Senator Hubert Humphrey. The other man was a 28-year-old Saudi, Tim Osman later came to be known as Osama Bin Ladin. "Tim Osman" was the name given to him by the CIA that wanted him to tour the U.S. and U.S. military bases mobilizing political and military support for Afghanistan.
Reportedly Osama visited some U.S. military bases and even witnessed special demonstrations of the latest equipment.
Interestingly, in 1991, Riconosciuto was arrested on drug charges and was later called delusional. No one knows the whereabouts of Ralph Olberg.
Are these accounts true and if so who are those people and do they still occupy any position in our government? These are some of the details the American public have right to know.
Alas only when the top secrets of our time are declassified, our coming generations would have definite answers to these questions.
On May 8th 2011, Osama Bin Laden was killed in a top secret operation in Abbotabad, Pakistan after one of the longest manhunts in history. The main character who had detailed knowledge of the US operation in Afghan war is no longer there. The man who knew influential US officials supporting him in his recruitment to the Afghan war efforts was killed by those who knew him from the moment he became active in Afghan war.
Osama was the name associated in the world with 9/11 and Islam as a violent faith. It was he who was presented as the voice and representative of Islam. It was he who was described as the most influential Muslim leader in the world. However when the news of his death reached over 1.6 billion Muslims all over the world, the overwhelming majority of Muslims took a big sigh of relief. With the exceptions of a few rallies in support of Osama in north eastern Pakistan, Muslims all over the world welcomed the news that Osama is no longer alive.
Regardless of his effectiveness in the Muslim world, unfortunately Bin Laden was the man who was shown to define Islam and its relations with the world during the last decade. Even though Muslims kept a distance from him and his ideology, he was projected as the voice of Islam. This position suited those who were quick to define Islam as a belligerent, intolerant, radical and militant religion. For almost 10 years, his alleged crimes were used as an excuse to pursue a policy of intimidation, humiliation and isolation of Muslim Americans specially. Almost every Muslim American family can recount an incident where either one of its members or acquaintances faced some invasion in their privacy by law enforcement agencies. In schools children were described as the soldiers of Bin Laden and a teacher in a Ohio school mocked a Muslim girl student by expressing his condolences over the death of his "uncle" Osama. Women with hijab and men with a beard and traditional Middle Eastern dress were seen suspicious. Words of Arabic, spoken or written were simply seen as plans to destroy America. Stories were invented that cities were being targeted by the Bin Laden sleeper cells to destroy America. In Las Vegas, a man concocted the story that he overheard some Middle Eastern men talking about planning to bomb the Strip and the city panicked only to discover three days later that the man who tipped the authorities was a plain liar.
The price for delay in bringing Osama bin Laden to justice was paid heavily by Muslim Americans. During this time, everything including the minor intricacies of their religion as well as the character of their prophet came to be maligned. He was described as a child abuser, a sexual predator, and the religion he preached as a monster. Islamic laws came under minute scrutiny. Some 15 US states passed laws that banned "sharia" (Islamic law) in America. If those laws are executed, even the daily prayers of Muslims will not be able to be offered in congregation because they would violate the laws.
The debate about the legality or morality of the US action in Pakistan is an academic exercise. The issues about Pakistan's isolation in the planning of the mission against Osama bin Laden is of no consequences. The question whether terrorism would come to an end is also irrelevant. The reality is that the definition of Islam would now no longer be attributed to Osama bin Laden. It is possible that the voice of those Muslims who have been speaking against terror and violence and seeking justice and peace within their societies and elsewhere, may be heard and seen as the genuine voice of Islam.
Osma's death has ended a chapter in modern Muslim history where over a billion Muslims were defined by a man with whom over 99 percent people disagreed with. This the man who issued religious decrees without any claim on religious knowledge, who tried to change the destiny of Muslim people without addressing any real issues faced by the them. He spent the last ten years running away from the end that he finally met on the fateful Monday morning in Abbotabad, Pakistan.
Dr. Aslam Abdullah is editor in chief of the weekly Muslim Observer and director of the Islamic Society of Nevada.
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