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   Bin Laden Book Gets One-Note Treatment from Me-Too Lapdog Press

Review of Reviews

Bin Laden Book Gets One-Note Treatment from Me-Too Lapdog Press

by Alice Cherbonnier
Most US reviewers appear to have read just a few key pages and skimmed the rest of this book–if that much. (See anything about it in The Sun?)

Ben Laden: La Vérité Interdite (bin Laden: The Forbidden Truth) is a best-seller in Europe, but it's so far only available in French. This 332-page book, published by Editions Denoel in Paris, was written by Jean-Charles Brisard, a financial investigator specializing in Osama bin Laden's financial resources, and Guillaume Dasquié, a journalist focusing on geopolitical intelligence.

A few US media outlets have made a big deal out of two segments of this book: the Bush administration's negotiations with the Taliban and its sheltering from FBI investigation Saudis thought to be connected with bin Laden's al Qaeda terrorist network.

Bush representatives negotiated with the Taliban from January 29, 2001 until July 17, whose US-based public relations representative was Afghan-born Laila Helms, niece of Sen. Jesse Helms. The talks broke down when the Taliban didn't buy into the Bush administration's plans for their country. 'Either we carpet you with money, or we carpet you with bombs: take your pick' is the message some 'left' reviews have claimed is in the book—but it's not. The book chastely reports, "In the course of these final discussions in Berlin, according to Pakistani representative Naiz Naik, the small American delegation evoked a 'military option' against the Taliban unless they consented to change their position."

The authors' major source on the Saudi/al Qaeda claims was the FBI's top bin Laden expert, John O'Neill, who resigned from the FBI to take a much-better-paying job as security chief at New York's World Trade Center, where he died on September 11.

Most US reviewers appear to have read just a few key pages and skimmed the rest—if that much. (See anything about it in The Sun?)

Los Angeles Times reviewer Sebastian Rotella is an exception. You can tell he did his homework. He calls it "an instant book," "a dense conspiracy-minded portrait of Saudi-dominated banks, companies and tycoons, all allegedly interconnected, that [the authors] maintain have helped fund bin Laden's holy war."

While this book may have been threaded together into narrative form in three weeks, the immense amount of detail it lays out had to have taken years to gather and assemble. Yes, its information is dense; the interconnections read like the "begat" chapters in the Bible's Book of Genesis. But I wouldn't call the book "conspiracy-minded"; rather, the conspiracy idea automatically comes to the reader's mind, as page after page of information provides ever more evidence that the al Qaeda terrorist threat is real, it is worldwide, and its funding sources are massive, secret and often illegal.

War is clearly not the answer. Improved banking laws, better intelligence-gathering and security measures, taking the profits out of drug dealing, using less Saudi oil, and a host of other protective measures will come to mind as you read this book, which provides the solid background information citizens and their leaders must have in order to assess the threat and take intelligent steps to neutralize it.


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This story was published on March 2, 2002.
  
MARCH 2002
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