Margolis seems to have a problem telling the truth besides the examples AJM8125 pointed out
about him “stretching the truth” regarding the Lufthansa hijacking he has made mutually exclusive statements about having met OBL and his doubts about the Saudi Arabian’s culpability for 9/11.
"A day after 9/11, I was asked on CNN if Osama bin Laden was behind the attack. `We have yet to see the evidence,’ I replied. I maintain this position today."
I found no traces on the internet of him being interviewed by CNN on Sept 12, 2001, using the phrase “We have yet to see the evidence” or ever expressing doubt OBL was responsible till a few days ago. Last Jan. 11 Margolis wrote:
Bin Laden proclaimed his grand strategy in the 1990’s. He would oust the modern `Crusaders’ by luring the US and its allies into a series of small, debilitating, hugely expensive wars to bleed and slowly bankrupt the US economy, which he called America’s Achilles’ heel.
Bloody attacks would enrage the US and lure it into one quagmire after another.
Bin Laden was dismissed by western intelligence as a crackpot and “enragé.”
But both the dim-witted President Gorge W. Bush and the intelligent President Barack Obama fell right into Osama’s carefully-laid trap.
So what exactly was “Osama’s carefully-laid trap” if not 9/11? And in 2006 the following appeared on a Canadian news site after the videotape of OBL meeting with Atta and other hijackers was made public:
Bin Laden is also seen with his former lieutenant Mohammed Atef and one of the suspected 9/11 masterminds: Mohammed Atef and Ramzi Binalshibh.
Eric Margolis, a foreign affairs consultant, told CTV Newsnet that bin Laden may not have wanted the video's release, because it seemingly shows his involvement in plotting the 9/11 attacks.
"Bin Laden has steadfastly denied being directly involved (in 9/11). I think we know that he knew about it, but he's denied being involved in the planning," said Margolis.
In a column about the "smoking gun tape" in the December 17 Toronto Sun he referred to "the fanatical Osama bin Laden" and wrote:
But regardless of whether the tape is real or a fake, there remains little doubt that al-Qaida was behind the attacks on the U.S. But, as Prince Nayef, head of Saudi security observed last week, Osama bin Laden is largely a figurehead. Its real leaders, said the prince, echoing this column's view, remain as yet unknown and are likely outside Afghanistan.
Two of al-Qaida's leaders are in Afghanistan: its Egyptian CEO Ayman al-Zawahiri - known to all as "the doctor" - and his No. 2, Abu Zubaydah. They are still believed alive and in hiding with bin Laden…
…it's likely the operation was planned in Egypt by members of two militant groups, Egyptian Jihad and Gamma al-Islamia, with Osama bin Laden serving as a symbolic spiritual guide.
In this sense, bin Laden was re-enacting the role of the dreaded medieval head of the cult of the Hashishins, Hassan al-Sabbah, known as Sheik al-Jebel, or Old Man of the Mountain. From his lair in the Syrian mountains, the sheik's suicide assassins, crazed on hashish and armed with poisoned daggers, terrorized much of the Muslim world and the Crusader states of the Levant..
On the fifth anniversary of the attacks he wrote: “Interestingly, many Americans – one poll says 33% – believe their government is covering up facts about the September 11 attacks, or was even somehow even involved in them, though there is no evidence of this to date
Hmmm so its been his “position” since day two that “We have yet to see the evidence” “Osama bin Laden was behind the attack” but 5 years later said “there is no evidence” the government which blamed OBL “is covering up facts about” 9/11. The day after the 3rd anniversary of the attacks he published an enthusiastic review of Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror
by Michael Scheuer, a CIA veteran who ran the hunt for OBL from 1996 to 1999 and fully accepted his and his group’s responsibility for the attacks:
None of bin Laden's reasons for waging war on the U.S., writes Scheuer, "have anything to do with our freedom, liberty, and democracy (as President George Bush claims), but everything to do with U.S. policies and actions in the Muslim world," notably unlimited support for Israel's repression of the Palestinians and the destruction of Iraq.
Ironically U.S. and British military intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq "are completing the radicalization of the Islamic world," a prime bin Laden goal.
Bush's misbegotten invasion of Iraq was "icing on bin Laden's cake."
He was interviewed and wrote about OBL and AQ several other times in the months and years after 9/11 and though in the essays and transcripts I found he never stated directly that he blamed him or them for the attacks he never showed any signs of doubting it, it seems implicit. For example
On Sept. 19, 2001 he said “...he become a terrorist when he announced that after throwing the Soviets out of Afghanistan, he was next going to quote, "liberate," unquote his homeland, Saudi Arabia, from American domination.”
On Nov. 20 2001 he said: “But I tell you my gut feeling, from having watched this man [bin Laden] for a long time is that he's a religious figure he has said, on repeated occasions, that he's ready to become Shaheed, or to be a martyr for his beliefs and that he is going to probably die in Afghanistan.”
On Sept. 10, 2003 he said: “…I think another very interesting point that has escaped the media so far in the United States is that Islamic publications have been carrying a message from bin Laden saying that he is going to mount a spectacular martyrdom operation, as he calls it, and will die within the next 12 months. So the chance of something big and nasty coming is heightened.
On Dec. 26, 2009 he said: “I think it is wrong to call it a war on terrorism. It is a police action against terrorism. It is not a war that you can really win, and as long as the U.S. is deeply involved in the affairs of the third world particularly, we are going to face attacks and terrorism... We have tight security but you just have to grit your teeth and bared it, you know, one of Osama bin Laden's objectives is to give us in the United States a national nervous breakdown. And we must not let him do this by overreacting to these events however ugly and nasty they are
"Tapes that appeared to confirm bin Laden’s guilt were clumsy fakes. They were supposedly “found” in Afghanistan by the anti-Taliban Afghan Northern Alliance, which was created and funded by Russian intelligence."
That is of course very debatable and Margolis should know that the Northern Alliance was NOT “created…by Russian intelligence” but was the remnant of the government formed by the Mujahedeen after they kicked the Soviets out*. Also the US its forces rather than its Afghan allies found the tape. He notably omitted to tell his readers that he fully accepted the authenticity of the tape (located by Al-Jazeera) released in 2006 of bin-Laden with the hijackers.
I had met Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan and told CNN viewers that he was not the man in the tapes.
Interesting that he should bring this up, though he was indeed interviewed by CNN about the tape on December 19, 2001 the transcript is not online. In the previously mentioned December 17, 2001 column for the Toronto Sun he fully accepted that bin Laden WAS “the man in the tapes” but indicated the audio MAY have been altered:
Cynics suggest the tape was a forgery made by Russian intelligence or the U.S. government, with incriminating statements spliced into an otherwise boring exchange of pleasantries between bin Laden and a visiting admirer. This is possible. In 1990, the U.S. used retouched satellite photos to convince the Saudis that Iraq was about to invade - which it was not.
As for his claim that he “met Osama bin Laden” on September 19, 2001 Margolis told CNN the same thing
I met Osama bin Laden in 1992
inside of Afghanistan. And this was at a time when he was an American ally. He was considered a freedom fighter. He had been helping bring thousands of Arabs from across the Middle East to fight in Afghanistan
…I met him before he became a terrorist. And he become a terrorist when he announced that after throwing the Soviets out of Afghanistan, he was next going to quote, "liberate," unquote his homeland, Saudi Arabia, from American domination.”
The date was an obvious error because bin Laden left Afghanistan in 1989 after Soviets pulled out and moved to Sudan in 1991. It could be argued that he returned to Afghanistan for a visit but Margolis said, “...he had been helping bring thousands of Arabs…to fight in Afghanistan”. This could be chalked up to a simple memory lapse, perhaps he met the future terrorist leader in the late 80’s and misstated the year to CNN but in chapter 5 of his 2000 book War at the Top of the World he wrote about the period when the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan
Further complicating this already murky situation, the militantly anti-American agitator Osama bin Ladeen had sought refuge in southern Afghanistan where he had served during the 1980s as a volunteer in the International Islamic Brigade. I had not met bin Ladeen, but knew some of his men, and the camps where they served.*
The problem is the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan in 1996 and OBL moved there the same year and settled in the south of the country in 1997. To make a long story short in 2000 he wrote that as of 1996/7 he “had not met bin Ladeen” but in 2001 told CNN he’d met the man in 1992 before he said "he was next going to quote, "liberate," unquote his homeland,". Will the real Eric Margolis please stand up?
* page 51 of the hardcover and 49 of the paperback (2001). He mentioned “the the fanatical Osama bin Laden” on three other pages 37, 90, 91 of the hardcover and 36, 50 and 90 of the paperback but made no mention of ever having met bin Laden.