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A Colorado Ex-Con's Quest to Kill bin LadenTim King Salem-News.com
I am glad that Gary Brooks Faulkner is alive, he will likely be able to get a book deal now, etc. He's a smart guy in his own way, but I have a very hard time taking it seriously.
(SALEM, Ore.) - The media loves a hero, and sometimes they do all they can to create the image of one in the consciousness of the American television viewing public. The question is, can they tell a hero from a zero?
As most people know by now, an American citizen was detained by Pakistani authorities while reportedly on a solo mission to kill Usama bin Laden. The media is whooping it up, and helping the guy get kidney dialysis treatment. Huh?
'The Rocky Mountain Rambo' as he is dubbed, is 50-year old Gary Brooks Faulkner, an ex-con from Greeley, Colorado was was arrested by Pakistani authorities with a gun, night vision goggles, Christian texts, a sword with a 40" blade and some hashish.
It is a strange tale, and I admit I am very curious about it. Pakistani officials have not charged Faulkner at this point. He is in Pakistani custody, currently held in Islamabad according to a family statement. The U.S. State Department is involved.
I have written before about how every third guy in Jalalabad looks like bin Laden. That is an exaggeration, but there is something to it. It is true that bin Laden is a religious fundamentalist nut, that was his history, one of those guys who, according to what we can glean online, just took the religion part too far, believing that implementing Sharia law was the answer.
He is no fan of Israel. But he was sure our friend during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Usama bin Laden was a key figure in the defeat of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Watch Charlie Wilson's War if you haven't; it is a fantastic account of how the U.S., Israel and Pakistan worked together to fund the Afghan Mujahideen in the Soviet resistance and ultimate defeat.
After the Soviet Union's withdrawal from Afghanistan in February 1989, bin Laden returned home to Saudi Arabia in 1990, where he was hailed as a hero of jihad, who along with his Arab legion, "had brought down the mighty superpower" of the Soviet Union.
Saudi Arabia is a monarchy governed under strict Islamic laws of the Wahhabi sect. This regulates public behavior, bans women from driving cars, forces them to wear the burqa, etc. There is little difference between Usama bin Laden's faith, and that of his countrymen .
Except the Saudi Royal family is willing to cut deals with the United States to a large extent. Many see that as a total selling out of the Palestinian people, suffering under a deadly Israeli occupation for over sixty years. Even though Saudi Arabia is a founding member of the United Nations, and plays a prominent role in the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, Saudi Arabia does not have diplomatic relations with Israel. Moreover, there are apartheid laws that restrict and control the movement and rights of Jewish people in Saudi Arabia, as there are in Israel to control Muslims and Christians differently than Jews.
The Palestinian Liberation Authority, Jordan, and other nations either opposed the U.S.-led attack of Iraq in defense of Kuwait, others stayed silent over it. That was a major downfall of the Palestinian cause, as the PLO supported Iraq and paid a political price for it.
What many in the U.S. do not realize, is the belief in the Mideast and in much of Europe, particularly eastern Europe, that Kuwait was somehow managing to tap into Iraqi oil reserves underground. Regardless of the real truth, many people believe this.
The Bush/Cheney years had Americans thinking that Saddam Hussein and bin Laden were friends, allies, etc. Yet historical records show that during the first Gulf War, bin Laden wanted to lead his fighters to repel the Iraqi Army from any attempt to cross Saudi borders.
Wikipedia explains that: "The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990 had put the kingdom and its ruling House of Saud at risk. The world's most valuable oil fields were within easy striking distance of Iraqi forces in Kuwait, and Saddam's call to pan-Arab/Islamism could potentially rally internal dissent. Bin Laden met with King Fahd, and Sultan, Minister of Defence of Saudi Arabia, telling them not to depend on non-Muslim troops, and offered to help defend Saudi Arabia with his mujahideen fighters. Bin Laden's offer was rebuffed, and after the American offer to help repel Iraq from Kuwait was accepted, involving deploying U.S. troops in Saudi territory." 
Yet it was just a few years before this time of Saddam Hussein's much touted evil... in 1980, that the U.S. talked 'friend' Saddam Hussein into attacking Iran in retribution for the Iran/U.S. Hostage Crisis. That's right, the U.S. was completely behind that war that killed over half a million, maimed scores of thousands, and left hundreds of thousands, if not more, permanently traumatized.
The Gulf War, and the slaughter of tens of thousands of Iraqi soldiers in retreat, equated to the destruction of men who had actually fought in the interest of the U.S., in the American-sponsored Iran-Iraq War. I had never considered that, and I don't have physical records, but how could most have not been veterans of the war in Iran?
In the eyes of U.S. political leaders and media in 1990 and 1991, Iraq was terrible, Iran was terrible, and our Saudi friends were A-OK, and few complained when the U.S. was told it would not fly its flag on Saudi soil.
Saudi Arabia repaid the United States alone, more than $15 billion in reimbursement costs. Yet, 'friend' Saudi Arabia would seven years later, become one of three countries to offer the Taliban diplomatic recognition; that was 1997. I suppose those who abuse females routinely, must automatically approve of one another.
That is sad; the U.S. never should have entered the picture, since Americans had nothing on the line except oil revenue. And now you know Usama bin Laden offered to defend his homeland from Saddam Hussein's invading forces, and was denied, so the Americans could do it, and make the first President Bush a famous war president.
Since little information about Gary Brooks Faulkner is really out right now, I will not speculate about his very unique situation and story; we'll let things emerge. I just happen to know a little about Afghanistan, I spent two months there during the winter of 2006/2007. Many people think bin Laden is Taliban; that is not true. I was still trying to figure it out when I had my boots on the ground in his adopted country. He is associated with al Qaeda, a group founded with CIA money, trained by the CIA itself, to fight the Soviets during the years of the Afghan invasion and occupation.
According to Wikipedia: "Former British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook wrote that the term Al Qaeda should be translated as 'the database', and originally referred to the computer file of the thousands of mujahideen militants who were recruited and trained with CIA help to defeat the Russians. In April 2002, the group assumed the name Qa'idat al-Jihad, which means 'the base of Jihad'." 
U.S. newspapers, networks, talk show hosts and politicians, all seem to prefer al Qaeda to Qa'idat al-Jihad; exactly why the new name never locked in is unclear.
Footsteps of bin Laden
I have been to a place that, I was told, had been bin Laden's training camp. Today this is the Afghanistan National Army base at Jalalabad, a place where I gained access to an old closed down prison originally built by the British in the late 1800's, or even earlier; it seemed ancient. An American officer, Sean Hammond, who is an attorney in Georgia when not deployed to war as a U.S. Army officer, called it "An old Taliban prison". I reported this to be the case and nobody there straightened me out; in retrospect I think it might have been connected to al Qaeda. The young Afghan soldiers on the base didn't know anything about the history of the place. Most can't read or write, though they are decent people, just very disadvantaged.
From Jalalabad, the convoy I was part of on that particular day, consisting of a total of two HUMVEE's, traveled through the Pesh Valley, near the Pakistan border, visiting several locations along the way. One of those places is Camp Joyce. It is named for Marine Lance Corporal Kevin Joyce who was killed there 25 June 2005. That night, the soldiers I was with lined up their vehicles and began directing machine gun fire across the valley, where ACM (Anti Coalition Militia) who are frequently Taliban, regularly descend from the mountains and attack the base at night.
Those Taliban or ACM would likely evolve from a point somewhere near where Mr. Faulkner was busted by Pakistani cops. The Northwest Frontier, where he was located, is a pretty tough place for a guy from Colorado to be hanging out, from what I understand, especially with his unique selection of equipment.
I reported from Gardez, Afghanistan on 28 December 2006, that: "I was just on the Pakistan border last week and tension and frustration remain high among Americans troops and members of the Afghan National Army, not to mention the civilians who bear the brunt of the problems generated by the bloodthirsty religious fanatics called the Taliban." 
I suppose it is as likely that bin Laden could be in this region as any other, but it really wasn't an issue at the time. For those who don't know, even though U.S. President Bill Clinton warned the Bush Administration about the perceived danger of bin Laden, even though the U.S. attacks on 11 September 2001 were immediately tied to bin Laden, he never actually admitted any role in it.
According to The BBC Monitoring Service, on Friday, 28 September 2001, Usama bin Laden told Ummat, the Urdu-language daily newspaper based in Karachi, Pakistan:
"I have already said that I am not involved in the 11 September attacks in the United States. As a Muslim, I try my best to avoid telling a lie. I had no knowledge of these attacks, nor do I consider the killing of innocent women, children and other humans as an appreciable act. Islam strictly forbids causing harm to innocent women, children and other people. Such a practice is forbidden even in the course of a battle." 
He implied in that statement, that it is not the only time he stated his innocence in the matter.
The list of inconsistencies with the Bush/bin Laden story goes on and on. Having been through Jalalabad, and having learned how bin Laden became famous for dressing in a manner that is very popular there, I formed my own suspicions about how easy it would be for the FBI or Homeland Security or the CIA, to simply fabricate the tapes and leak them repeatedly. We're talking about the Bush Administration, at least for the bulk of it. Apparently if you go over all of the videos, and they aren't all video, some are just audio, you will note many inconsistencies.
Then there is the actual FBI wanted posted for bin Laden. I'm not making it up, you tell me where 9/11 is referenced in connection to this man:
USAMA BIN LADEN IS WANTED IN CONNECTION WITH THE AUGUST 7, 1998, BOMBINGS OF THE UNITED STATES EMBASSIES IN DAR ES SALAAM, TANZANIA, AND NAIROBI, KENYA. THESE ATTACKS KILLED OVER 200 PEOPLE. IN ADDITION, BIN LADEN IS A SUSPECT IN OTHER TERRORIST ATTACKS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD.
The Rewards For Justice Program, United States Department of State, is offering a reward of up to $25 million for information leading directly to the apprehension or conviction of Usama Bin Laden. An additional $2 million is being offered through a program developed and funded by the Airline Pilots Association and the Air Transport Association.
So all we can be sure of with Usama bin Laden, is that he has had a two million dollar price tag on his head for a very long time, hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent trying to find him, thousands of soldiers have been killed; American, British, Canadian, French, the list is long, and now a guy from Colorado is getting airtime for being on a personal sword bearing Christian crusade to kill this man who probably had zero to do with 9/11, though he certainly is guilty of various dirty dealings, if he is even alive at all. It's a Hell of a story, no question about it.
More on bin Laden
Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden (with numerous variations; Arabic: أسامة بن محمد بن عوض بن لادن, Usāmah bin Muḥammad bin 'Awaḍ bin Lādin' joined Abdullah Azzam to fight the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan and lived for a time in Peshawar.
Wikipedia relates how by 1984, bin Laden helped establish Maktab al-Khadamat, which funneled money, arms and Muslim fighters from around the Arabic world into the Afghan war.
Sound familiar? Only then those religious jihadists were fighting America's prime enemy; the Soviet Union, Cold War villain and fellow world superpower.
"Through al-Khadamat, bin Laden's inherited family fortune paid for air tickets and accommodation, dealt with paperwork with Pakistani authorities and provided other such services for the jihad fighters. Osama established a camp in Afghanistan, and with other volunteers fought the Soviets."
Following the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan, bin Laden reportedly moved to Peshawar, in 1994.
This is said to be when he began wearing camouflage-print jackets and carrying a captured Soviet assault rifle. According to urban lore, bin Laden took it from a Russian soldier who he killed with his bare hands.
And so it is...
The Soviets were pretty bad; that is when bin Laden was good, and Saddam was a handy friend for the U.S. to use in a covertly funded war on Iran, which the U.S. hated over the Hostage Crisis, which happened over resentment of almost three decades of western control over their oil resources. Bin Laden is shunned by Saudi Arabia, which regards women as poorly as the Taliban, who they supported when few did. Bin Laden offered to protect Saudi Arabia with his star Mujahideen fighters who gallantly defeated Russia's military, which is what mostly led to the collapse of the entire Soviet Union! Saddam was told initially that the U.S. wouldn't interfere with an Iraqi move against Kuwait, then kaboom! Then the U.S. encouraged the Kurds to rise up, and we left them hanging. But that made it easier for Bush's son to wage his war on Iraq. They tried to tie everyone together, but history shows us that bin Laden was actually willing to fight Iraqi troops to protect Saudi Arabia. On August 8, 1998 Taliban forces captured Mazari Sharif city in northern Afghanistan. In the process, 8 Iranian diplomats and an Iranian media correspondent were killed by the Taliban militia attacking the consulate.
Iran's government was furious, and soon more than 70,000 Iranian troops were deployed along the Afghan border. You could say that there is no love lost over that incident; yet American media and politicians would have you thinking that the Taliban and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are out dancing a jig. They want you to believe Iran is really assisting in the "terrorist" effort to repel the U.S. led occupational force, but Arabs and Persians are traditional enemies, and they know they were already played by Uncle Sam during the Iran / Iraq war.
I know this all sounds crazy, and the way the United States has handled world politics, particularly as they relate to oil, could be termed nothing less than dastardly. I wish I could say or believe something different, but the wrong people have been in control, guided by the wrong interests, for too long. The world could largely be at peace, but instead wars are eternally fought, and almost never for good reason. Arabs fight mostly over Israel's occupation of Palestine. Today Israeli people are born on the land as the Palestinians are, and territorial issues are violent and deadly.
I am glad that Gary Brooks Faulkner is alive, he will likely be able to get a book deal now, etc. He's a smart guy in his own way, but I have a very hard time taking it seriously. I do not think a person truly on the hunt for another human being would reveal their plan, unless they were looking for press. Here we are, an excuse at least to lay some cards on the table and make people consider just how far something like this could actually go. It is truly mind boggling.
Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines.
Tim holds numerous awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), first place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. You can send Tim an email at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
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