A Tale Of Two Terrorist Attacks

Moronic Response To 9/11

The First Attack

Like most people aged over 20 in the Western World, my memories of the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks are strong. It was obvious from the day of the attacks that America’s retaliation would be huge and violent; my memory of the carnage inflicted globally by the Reagan regime had taught me the lesson of what savagery a Republican government with an excuse for war could be capable of. As a user of Usenet (a collection of early global discussion groups pre-dating web forums or Twitter), I could take the US pulse and watch the rage grow. The near-unanimous response – at least, the one that was heard internationally – was a scream demanding revenge. Almost no American I encountered tried to understand bin Laden’s motivations, and none cared anyway. Those who wanted to understand were called “appeasers”. The Bush regime fed the climate of hate-filled ignorance by providing a moronic non-explanation that satisfied morons: “They hate our way of life.”

The American moron already knew everything he needed to know: America had been attacked; the attacker was a brown-skinned Muslim currently believed to be resident in a country of brown-skinned Muslims. Afghan? Saudi? What’s the difference? And who cares? Donald Rumsfeld provided the final required piece by claiming that Al Qaida had 100,000 followers around the world and constituted a declaration of war. Morons didn’t pause to consider that they hadn’t heard of Al Qaida prior to the attack. It didn’t dawn on them that Rumsfeld may have inflated the size of the “enemy” by well over a hundred-fold. They didn’t stop to question when the religious-conservative Pashtun Taliban was conflated with the dissident terrorist Saudi group Al Qaida. Never did they ask why thousands of US troops were already resident in Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries, or how Arabs might feel about that presence.

The online response was tragic but predictable. People wanted Afghanistan “bombed to a sheet of glass” (never minding that it already had been, by American and Soviet weaponry). Maps circulated showing “Lake Afghanistan” in place of the country. The rage allowed the attack on Afghanistan in 2001, and continued into 2003 to allow the attack on Iraq. It was still present in 2004 when Bush was re-elected. Only in 2005 did the American mainstream begin to question the slaughter being conducted in their name – or more accurately in the names of the almost 3,000 people who had died on September 11.

The Second Attack

I’d been on the huge anti-war demo in London in February 2003: the largest demonstration ever seen in the UK. I knew that the UK mood was angrily against the Iraq war, and was turning against Tony Blair, who had committed support to Bush without the backing of the British people. I also spent a few days in Barcelona in April 2003, during the initial Iraq invasion, and the Spanish anti-war mood was even more militant – there were several protests per day around the city, including, every evening, the Argentine-style beating of pots and pans to make noise that echoed across Barcelona. While over 60% of Brits opposed the Iraq War, in Spain opposition topped 90% (but José María Aznar, the Prime Minister, had also committed his support to Bush).

On March 11 2004, 10 bombs exploded on four trains in Madrid, killing 191 people and injuring almost 2,000. As with America’s attacks, the initial response was shock and outrage. But from there, the two cultures couldn’t have behaved more differently. In the following two days, an estimated 11.4m people (28% of Spain’s population) came out onto the streets to demonstrate not just against terrorism but against war as well. This was the striking contrast between the US attacks and the Spanish attacks: Americans shouted for vengeance, the Spanish called for peace.

The war party have smeared the Spanish people as cowards for voting Aznar out of office a few days after the Madrid bombings, but this doesn’t reflect reality. The Spanish people didn’t turn on Aznar immediately after the bombings, but after he was caught lying about the perpetrators; he had blamed the domestic terrorist group ETA, thinking that would aid his electoral chances, although he’d already been informed that the attacks had most likely been committed by Al Qaida.

As someone who has visited both Spain and the US many times, the difference in responses isn’t a surprise. The US is quite obviously an overall more frightened and more violent society than Spain. As to why the two cultures are so different? My guess is that Spain is more advanced in terms of its relationships with the rest of the world. The Spanish Empire had mostly died by 1900. The British Empire faded in the 1950s and 1960s. In 2001, the US Empire was at the height of its powers (though in 2011 it appears to be in the early stages of decline). Post-imperial societies seem to have stronger belief in fairness and the rule of law, while imperial societies clearly have much to gain by ignoring it. The US, perhaps, will go through a re-evaluation of its role in the world as it loses the impulse to control everything, everywhere. And if Spain and the UK are anything to go by, this will create a better America.

Today In History: US Withdraws Troops from Saudi Arabia

Eight years ago today, the US withdrew its military presence (at least the non-secret part) from its ally, and the world’s top oil producer, Saudi Arabia. “Big deal”, you may say. But this event is a crucial one in the global war that America has been pursuing since (at least) 9/11.

The facts behind 9/11 and the ensuing “war on terror” have been lost in the fog of US propaganda in the past few years. Perhaps the most important fact-they-want-you-to-forget is this: Al Qaida’s attack on 9/11 was in protest at the presence of US troops on Saudi soil. At the time of the 9/11 attacks, the US was occupying Saudi Arabia with between 5,000 to 10,000 troops. Osama bin Laden’s strike was aimed at ending the US occupation as a step to overthrowing the Saudi dictatorship.

This was never made clear to the American people, who were instead told by Liar-In-Chief Donald Rumsfeld that Al Qaida was a huge, global organisation that wanted to destroy America’s way of life (this was true only to the extent that America’s “way of life” included the forcible creation of an Empire including the oil-producing Arab lands).

In the days before “war on terror” propaganda had been fully absorbed by the media, the BBC’s report on the Saudi withdrawal was remarkably honest;

But our correspondent says the US troops have become a potent symbol of Washington’s role in the region, and many Saudis see them as proof of the country’s subservience to America.

Saudi Arabia is home to some of Islam’s holiest sites and the deployment of US forces there was seen as a historic betrayal by many Islamists, notably Osama Bin Laden.

It is one of the main reasons given by the Saudi-born dissident – blamed by Washington for the 11 September attacks – to justify violence against the United States and its allies.

This anniversary is a reminder of important facts:

  • 9/11, however murderous and unjustified, wasn’t an unprovoked attack, but a response to long-standing US aggression against Arabs, and Saudis in particular.
  • The “war on terror” was of America’s choosing; Rumsfeld and the neocons deliberately confused the issues in order to create a new, never-ending version of the Cold War.
  • America’s perpetual war will run until America ends it – and while it runs, the risk of terrorist attacks on the West climbs ever higher.
  • The US has chosen to roll the war out to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen and now Libya. This is never in response to aggression and always in pursuit of expanding the empire.

The war isn’t being conducted by “Al Qaida”, “Terrorists”, “The Arabs”, “The Muslims” or “Islam” – it’s America’s war and will end when America chooses. You’re wondering why the US withdrew? Because a month earlier, it had invaded Iraq with the goal of creating a large, stable and permanent military presence there – the after-effects of which we’re still feeling worldwide.

Zionist Terror: It’s Time To Stop

I doubt there’s anyone who didn’t hear about the murder of the family of Israeli settlers in the West Bank settlement of Itamar on 12th March. The global coverage was hard to avoid, and the condemnation was huge – even the UN Secretary General had something to say. The howls of rage from the Israeli and American Zionists resounded around the globe. And yet again, the Palestinian people learned that a single Israeli life is worth more than 100 of theirs.

The aftermath of the attack was predictable: while world leaders condemned the murders, Israeli settlers used them as an excuse to attack Palestinians while Israeli security forces turned a blind eye or even joined in. These revenge attacks – known as price tag attacks, are old news for Palestinians in the West Bank, who face terrorism from settlers on a regular basis. But this time, there’s little press coverage and no global “outrage” – only Israelis get that consideration.

The far-right Israeli government used the murders as an excuse to announce the building of hundreds of new, illegal, West Bank houses. This is Zionist mathematics: dead Jewish martyrs = more houses, more land, and a step closer to their goal of complete extermination of Palestinians in the West Bank.

The Israeli right called on pro-Palestinian campaigners to condemn the Itamar killings, as if they shared some blame in them; and as ever, they obliged. But it’s time to stop apologising. This was not simply the slaughter of innocent civilians. Let’s call it like it is:

  1. West Bank settlers aren’t civilians living in their own homes, but soldiers in a war to illegally steal land. They are armed, and they use their weapons often against Palestinian civilians.
  2. Yes, three children were killed, and they weren’t combatants; but what kind of maniac takes his children into a war zone? (Answer: a Zionist maniac who believes his violence is approved by God, who wants him to take the land.)
  3. People under illegal occupation have the legal right to take up arms against their occupiers under the Geneva Conventions. This applies to the Palestinian people, though the UN and world leaders seem to forget this simple point. In other words, Palestinians can remove settlers from their land, by force if necessary; settlers don’t have the right to shoot Palestinians or take their land. They only have the right to leave peacefully.
  4. The terror will end when the Zionists choose for it to end; but since they believe they’re doing the work of God, they’ll never voluntarily stop. It’s up to Israel to withdraw all settlers from the West Bank.

So next time settlers are killed in the West Bank, it’s not for supporters of the Palestinian cause to apologise: just ask why they were there and point out that this war is of their making. The Zionists can end the war whenever they want; the Palestinians can’t.

9/11 Tweetathon

9/11 is one of the most significant events to affect America in the past few decades; and yet so few Americans seem to understand why it happened, or know anything about the events leading up to it. On September 11 last year, I posted one tweet per hour throughout the day on the subjects of 9/11, terrorism, the so-called “war on terror”, and world events in the preceding decades that played a part in building up global anger towards America.

I’d like to thank @dbudlov, a twitter user who has collated my 24 tweets into one block, and regularly reposted them to Twitter; here’s the whole set of tweets, with extra notes added in italics.

1) In memory of the almost-3,000 innocents, killed in New York by morons 9 years ago

2) 16 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis. None were Afghan or Iraqi
(It’s amazing that Bush/Rumsfeld ignored this point, and most commentators still do. The attackers weren’t a mix of “Muslims” or “Arabs” – they were almost all Saudis, as is Osama bin Laden).
3) Most of the hijackers were Saudis. In 2001, the US had 10,000 troops in Saudi Arabia (fighting which war?)
(Let’s ask again: more than a decade after the end of the Cold War, what legitimate reason did America have for a military occupation of Saudi Arabia? Wouldn’t Saudis be a little… well, pissed off, to be under foreign occupation?)

4) Al Qaeda originated in Saudi Arabia, the world’s #1 oil producer, friend of America, and creator of fundamentalist Wahhabi Islam
(So… blame Afghanistan, right?)

5) On Sep 11 1973, the elected Chilean govt was overthrown by the army with help from the CIA. Around 3,000 people were later killed
(Coincidentally, America took part in an illegal attack against a democratic government on September 11, 28 years earlier. You couldn’t make this stuff up…)

6) The Taliban were never involved in the 9/11 attacks, although this was never made clear by the Bush admin.
(By blurring different groups with distinct ideas and aims, the neo-cons created the illusion of a powerful enemy, intent on attacking America. Mixing up Al Qaeda, a Saudi terror group, with the Taliban, a fundamentalist Afghan group, was part of this propaganda exercise.)

7) Iran’s last elected govt. was overthrown in 1953 by a UK/US-backed coup. Which kinda explains why Iranians don’t trust America
(Iran has never attacked another state in modern history. On the other hand, America has been repeatedly involved in destabilising Iran, and creating propaganda about Iran being a “threat”. Iran also has the 4th biggest oil reserves; these facts are probably related.)

8 ) The only chemical weapons used in the Iraq war were deployed by US forces in the city of Fallujah http://bit.ly/cC3Dsb
(Ironic huh? Given that “Saddam’s WMDs” were the reason given for attacking Iraq… click the link above to read about the aftermath of using chemical weapons in a city of 300,000 people.)

9) Around half of Americans wrongly believed Saddam was involved in 9/11. The Iraq war claimed at least 97,000 civilian lives
(If you’re going to support a war, shouldn’t you understand why the war is happening first?)

10) Like Iraq, the Vietnam War was started by a lie. An estimated 4m civilians died
(You’d assume the US would have learned something from Vietnam, wouldn’t you?)

11) In the 1980s, Reagan backed terrorist groups throughout Central America, resulting in around 200,000 civilian deaths
(3,000 deaths in New York bad. 200,000 deaths in Central America best-not-to-mention.)

12) In 1988, US missiles took down Iran Air Flight 655, killing 290 civilians inc. 66 children http://bit.ly/cx5DQw
(Terrorism is bad, m’kay? Except where it’s our terrorism.)

13) 1976: terrorist Orlando Bosch and 3 others with CIA support blew up Cubana Flight 455, killing 73 civilians. He lives in Miami
(Terrorists are assholes m’kay? Except for our terrorists.)

14) 1979 Iranian revolution removed The Shah, America’s torturer, from power. US still seeking an excuse for revenge
(How dare a Middle Eastern country refuse to be ruled from Washington?)

15) The terrorist IRA killed over 3,000 civilians in Britain and Ireland from the 70s to the 90s, with money from American supporters
(NORAID raised money for the Provisional IRA in the US, while the IRA were blowing up civilians in Britain and Ireland. Apparently some terrorism is worse than others.)

16) Both Saddam and bin Laden were American agents who went astray – pick your friends more wisely?
(The US helped bring the Ba’ath Party to power in Iraq via a 1963 coup, and later encouraged and supported Saddam Hussein in his illegal war against Iran. When Saddam gassed Kurdish civilians in 1988, the US response was muted and support for Saddam continued until Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990. The Arab and Afghan mujahideen that became Al Qaeda and the Taliban was supported and trained by the US, partly in Pakistani “madrassas” during the 1980s. The results of US cold war policy in the region are clear today.)

17) Occupations always create terrorists. The US has over 1,000 military bases on foreign soil
(…in over 150 countries. People don’t like foreign troops on their soil – no doubt Americans would also object if it happened to them.)


18) Half a million Iraqi children died under US-led sanctions in the 90s, usually through shortages of medicine
(A total of around a million Iraqis died under the sanctions regime. In hindsight, this was done to weaken Iraq enough to attack it with minimal military resistance. This helps explain why Iraqis were less enthusiastic about the US invasion than expected.)


19) 1,271 Afghan civilians were killed in 1st 6 months of 2010 alone
(3,000 deaths in New York changed the world. Thousands of deaths elsewhere can be ignored.)

20) It’s not about Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia or Yemen. The terrorist problems emanate from Saudi Arabia and Israel
(The neo-cons turned America’s post-9/11 fear and loathing against convenient targets, avoiding the 2 sources of most anger and discontent in the region. The Saudi regime is among the world’s most tyrannical, but sits on massive oil reserves. Democracy in Saudi Arabia is a pre-requisite for Middle Eastern peace, and also a threat to US oil interests. Israel is America’s most reliable regional ally, and hence gets away with murder – literally.)

21) The “Saudi royal family” was a creation of the British Empire and later adopted by the US. Oil beats democracy
(As the British Empire collapsed, it appointed puppets to continue maintaining British interests. With the rise of the US Empire, these switched from being UK clients to US clients. If Saudi Arabia had no oil, America would call for democracy there, as it does for Syria and Yemen.)

22) The top Middle Eastern oil reserves and US control: 1) Saudi (check) 2) Iran (in progress) 3) Iraq (check) 4) Kuwait (check)
(The list of oil reserves by country reads like a checklist of America’s foreign policy priorities.)
23) In 2001 Rumsfeld said Al Qaeda had 100,000 followers. In reality, less than 1,000. The lie of the decade?
(The end of the cold war by 1990 threatened the power of the US military, intelligence community and arms industry. A new enemy had to found, whether real or fabricated. 9/11 gave the pretext: a small terrorist group took advantage of lax airline security to carry out a massive terrorist attack. Rumsfeld’s big lie laid the basis for the “global war on terror”. Acceptance that Al Qaeda numbered no more than a few hundred activists would have precluded a military response. The Al Qaeda brand was largely created by the US response to 9/11 – had YOU heard of it beforehand?)

24) The war machine sucks up tax dollars that could create the world’s best health and education systems. Just Say NO
(The “cold war”, the “war on drugs” and the “war on terror” were all chosen as pretexts to allow an endless American war. In 1942, hundreds of thousands of US troops were deployed to fight Japan and Germany, but the end of WW2 was a strategic turning point. Rather than bring the troops home, they were kept overseas, and remain to this day: 369,000 US troops are based in over 150 countries, maintaining the biggest empire the world has seen. While the empire drains America’s pockets, it creates trillions of dollars of wealth for America’s richest; the Global American War can be viewed as a massive redistribution of American wealth, from poor to rich. It can happen because Americans allow themselves to be frightened by a never-ending list of new enemies. As European empires collapsed, Europe was able to invest in health, education, transport and housing while America fell behind. Now it’s America’s turn.)