The Bin Laden / Gum Arabic Connection
Netlore Archive: According to email rumors and some news reports, Osama bin Laden's terrorist activities are partially funded through investments in the production of gum arabic, an ingredient widely used in foods, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, etc.
Description: Email rumor
Circulating since: Sept. 17, 2001
Email text contributed by Ronald F., Sep. 17, 2001:
Everyone might be wondering, "How does this colossal prick manage to amass such a great amount of money to be able to mount an operation such as September 11th?"
Has anyone ever heard of "gum arabic?" Here is a link to the gum arabic website: http://www.redbay.com/plthomas/arabic/gac.htm
Let's get enlightened: gum arabic is used in the manufacture of tons of products that we Americans consume in gigantic quantities, such as soft drinks. Here is a direct quote from their "applications" web page: "Overview: The principle applications for gum arabic take advantage of its emulsifying, film forming, and bulking agent properties. Confections, confectionery coatings, beverages and flavor emulsions, lithography solutions, dietetic drinks, carbonless papers, pharmaceuticals, ceramic refractories, and desserts account for most of the gum usage."
Well, it so happens that BIN LAUDEN is one of the primary owners of the company based in Sudan which produces this stuff. So, we have basically been stuffing money his pockets.
Do the world a favor: start reading the labels of products you buy, and DON'T BUY ANYTHING WITH GUM ARABIC IN IT. Yes girls, that means NO MORE DIET SODAS. They are bad for you anyway. Seems like a minute sacrifice to make. This ingredient is used in desserts, too, and face it America: many of use are too fat, can stand to go on a little diet.
Maybe it'll put a dent in the monster's pockets, and he won't be such a welcome guest in the communities that harbor him.
Circulate this sucker around the world. IT AIN'T NO HOAX FOLKS. Sorry, P.L. Thomas & Co., Inc. (the exclusive agent for the Gum Arabic Company of Sudan).
Email text contributed by Glenn R., Sep. 18, 2001:
Subject: FW: Gum Arabic
I felt this would be interesting. Gum Arabic is an ingredient used in many softdrinks. I know Coca-Cola uses it in Coke and probably Diet coke. This product is made by a company that is largely owned by Osama Bin Laden. For every product we buy with that ingredient, we are aiding terrorist aggression with cash money. Lets encourage the replacement of that ingredient by boycotting the individual drinks that carry it, and not against the whole company itself.
Email text contributed by Ken S., Sep. 18, 2001:
Subject: gum arabic.....
Do you drink soda?Do you use mascara?Do you eat chocolate, sweets? Did you know everytime you drink a soft drink you are essentially putting money into the pocket of Osama bin Laden? I learned today on the 700 Club through the great wisdom of Pat Robertson that Osama bin Laden virtually has a lock on the entire supply of this product. Tonight I tried to get to the redbay.com website. I heard this was the link to the company linked to bin Laden, I am not sure it is. We cannot get access to the site. I urge you to write any company that uses this product and inform them we are now aware whom they are funding. The one way we can assist in defeating this madman is through his pocketbook. Investigate this product via MSN.com as I did, I was shocked how many things we use in our day to day life, that can EASILY be eliminated are funding his murderous attacks upon our brothers & sisters. Will you make that simple sacrifice? Please pass this along.
Analysis: The above charges were also made in an article in the London Telegraph of September 16, 2001, which led with the statement, "Every time a soft drink is sold in the world, there is a chilling possibility that Osama bin Laden's wealth increases...." While that may have been true several years ago, however, both the U.S. State Department and the National Soft Drink Association say there's no evidence that bin Laden is currently involved in the gum arabic trade.
During the 1990s, news sources confirm, bin Laden did own interest in a Sudanese company that produced gum arabic, and in fact tried unsuccessfully to corner the market. Later reports confirmed by the State Department say bin Laden divested himself of the holdings in 1996 when Sudan ordered him out of the country.
"No evidence of current involvement" falls short of conclusive, I'll admit, but given the context it ought to be compelling enough. Does it make sense to boycott products containing gum arabic when there's no clear evidence it will impact Osama bin Laden or his terrorist organization at all? I say no, and I would further point out that such a boycott would likely harm innocent companies. Let's not let rumors carry us away.
Sources and further reading:
Nat'l Soft Drink Association Statement on Gum Arabic
17 September 2001
Following the Money
Scripps Howard News Service, 19 September 2001
Terror Chief Has Global Cash Machine
The Telegraph, 16 September 2001
Bush: 'We're at War'
Newsweek, 24 September 2001