Exploiting the Grief & Memory of 9-11

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Posted by andreas from p3EE3C3E4.dip.t-dialin.net ( on Wednesday, September 11, 2002 at 3:29AM :

Assyrian News Watch
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Assyrian Chaldean Syriac

[ng]-ge-na-da a-ba in-da-di nam-ti --tu
Whoever has walked with truth generates life
Sumerian Proverb

'When a man lies, he murders some part of the world'
Myrddin, Celtic Sage

Source: The Mirror [UK]
Date: Sept 11, 2002


By John Pilger

THE anniversary of September 11 will be remembered with highly charged
images, especially those of the grieving families of the victims.

The respect and sympathy owed to these suffering people will, or ought to
be, unqualified and universal. That much is clear.

What will not be clear is the exploitation of their grief and of our memory
of the great atrocity.

This may well be used as a means of distracting us from understanding the
iniquitous behaviour of the Bush and Blair governments as they go about
their current war plans and their dismantling of social democracy.

"I have directed the full resources of our intelligence and law enforcement
communities to find those responsible and bring them to justice," said
George W Bush on the night of September 11.

That was the first big lie.

What Bush dared not tell Americans was that his and the previous Clinton
administration knew that al-Qaeda, an organisation spawned in an American
client state, Saudi Arabia, was planning to attack America.

For example, in January 2000, the Central Intelligence Agency was told that
a crucial meeting would take place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, at which
al-Qaeda strategists discussed a series of operations, including the
successful attack on American warship, the USS Cole, in Yemen.

Two of the men at this meeting, the CIA now admits, were almost certainly
those who hijacked the American Airlines flight 77 and crashed it into the
Pentagon on September 11. Using Saudi passports, the men had flown into Los
Angeles and begun training for the attacks of September 11. At the same
time, the FBI was aware of the trainers of other hijackers almost under
their noses. One dutiful agent sent a report to his superiors in
Washington. It was ignored.

"There is no question that if we had moved," an FBI official said recently,
"we could have tied all 19 hijackers together."

SINCE then, the "full resources" of America's 13 competing intelligence
agencies have failed to secure the arrest and conviction of a single person
in connection with September 11.

Not a single leading member of al Qaeda has been captured or confirmed as

None of the 22 men on the "Terrorists Wanted" poster produced by Bush with
much fanfare, has been sighted, and not a penny of the 320million reward
money has been claimed. As failures, the enormity of this has few
historical equals.

Yet, the heads of the two principal agencies, the CIA and the FBI, have not
been sacked or forced to resign, or shamed by the Congress.

Both agencies have long served as little more than Washington cash cows,
with the CIA concentrating on secret, illegal activities, such as the
overthrow of foreign governments and the manipulation of the drugs trade.
The top jobs invariably go to what they call "friends of the company".

In order to justify their nepotism and now their criminal negligence, the
FBI has enthusiastically swept up hundreds of innocent people, or those
against whom they have insufficient evidence. Muslims have borne the brunt
of this, "the guys with beards" as they are called. More than 1200 people
have "disappeared", as people do under Latin American military regimes.

Farce has been close by. When 63-year-old Barry Reingold complained at his
local gym in San Francisco that "this war is not about getting terrorists;
it's also about money and corporate profits" - a pretty accurate analysis -
he was visited at home by FBI agents, who interrogated him on his political

Other FBI sleuths "investigated" a college student in North Carolina who
had displayed an "anti-American" poster. (The poster criticised Bush's
support for the death penalty when he was governor of Texas).

Under the Patriot Act, which a supine Congress rushed through for Bush and
effectively suspends the Bill of Rights, the FBI has the right to search
the databases of public libraries and see what people are reading.
Universities are told on the quiet to report outspoken students and their
teachers. The connection has been spelt out - dissent, far from being a
democratic right, is now part of an overall "security problem."

As in the 50s, at the height of America's paranoia about communists, the
Justice Department recently urged people to spy on neighbours and friends
and report "patterns of suspicious activity".

With rare black humour, Congressman Denis Kucinich of Ohio remarked: "It
appears we are being transformed from an information society to an
informant society. Do the maths. One tip a day per person and within a year
the whole country will be turned in, and we can put up a big fence around
America, and we'll be safe."

THIS nonsense has crossed the Atlantic unhindered. In the weeks following
September 11, Scotland Yard was sent on a number of FBI-inspired missions
which, as one police officer remarked: "Made us look bloody ridiculous."

The most notorious of these was the case of Lotfi Raissi, an Algerian- born
pilot who, according to the FBI, had taught several of the September 11
hijackers to fly. The FBI claimed to have a videotape of Raissi with one of
the hijackers. The man turned out to be his innocent cousin. A Bow Street
magistrate threw out the American request for extradition.

The harassment of Muslims in Britain by the police and MI5 reached such a
point that last month Home Secretary David Blunkett was forced to apologise
to Muslim leaders for indiscriminate arrests of people based "documents"
found in Afghanistan and which turned out to be mostly false or irrelevant.

The arrests are often conducted with accompanying American-style drama.

A computer analyst in Bradford told the Daily Telegraph: "They (the police)
appeared at my desk with the managing director and made sure those sitting
close to me could hear what was going on. What sort of future have I got in
this company after being linked with Islamic terrorism even though the
allegations were rubbish?" These are the ordinary people who have to bear t
he brunt of the incompetence of corrupt American institutions (and their
willing British servants), which failed to protect their own people from
what was probably the most advertised act of terrorism in modern times.

Since then, rather than a pursuit of justice, conducted professionally,
injustice has reached epidemic proportions.

Among the 598 people being detained without charge at "Camp X Ray" on Cuba,
13 are Britons. According to an FBI official speaking privately, "only one
of these guys is a genuine suspect". The Blair government is aware of this,
yet says nothing about the mistreatment of British citizens.

In this country, David Blunkett, having first tried to force through too
many repressive measures for Parliament to swallow at once, secured the
Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act, which allows unaccountable detention
similar to that in America. Of 150 people arrested since September 11, only
10 await trial and none has been convicted.

Most are still in prison, their release date uncertain. These are our

The human rights solicitor Gareth Peirce described, "their bitterness at
both the unfairness of the accusation, their frustration at their inability
to combat such vague allegations". I've interviewed lawyers representing
people held in dictatorships who have said almost identical words.

Most of those held are from the Asian community, which, believe many
British Asians, raises the question of the disguised racism of this
government. They say that when the Home Secretary is confident enough to
abuse publicly those who speak up for Muslims attacked by racists as
"bleeding heart liberals", the mask slips.

Abroad, the great crime of last September has been exploited most acutely
in the use of violence against innocent people by the Bush and Blair
governments. Up to 5,000 people were bombed to death by the Americans in
Afghanistan, according to a University of New Hampshire study. These
included 150 people killed at two engage-ment parties in Oruzgan and 69
people killed at prayer in a mosque in Kabul.

Hospitals and villages, which were not in Taliban areas, were destroyed.
Professor Marc Herold, who conducted the probe, says they were not

In a documentary film, Massacre at Mazar, the Irish film-maker Jamie Doran
has assembled powerful evidence that 4,000 surrendered men were murdered in
cold blood by the forces of Rashid Dostum, a leading member of the
so-called Northern Alliance, a favourite of the Americans and now
Afghanistan's deputy foreign minister.

The men were packed in sealed containers and taken to Shoberghan prison,
which was under US control. They were murdered, say witnesses, and buried
in the desert with the knowledge and complicity of up to 40 American
special forces soldiers, including officers.

One witness, a truck driver, said he and others were forced to take
hundreds of the men, many of whom were still alive, into the desert.

"Some of them were not fighters at all," said Doran, "but they were rounded
up because of their ethnicity and were packed into the containers and stuck
on the back of lorries.

"Many of them were left sealed in the heat. Another witness, a taxi driver
stopped at a petrol station, said he smelt something awful.

"The guy from the petrol station said, `Look at that container parked
behind you'. Blood and goo were leaking out of the container."

THE United Nations and Physicians for Human Rights have found mass graves
in the area. The Pentagon denies the allegations.

Doran is worried that, with no independent investigators on the scent, the
graves will be tampered with, and the evidence destroyed.

If this gruesome story is half-true, its crime ranks with some of the worst
of the post-Second World War period. But who will investigate? Such is the
post-September 11 power of the United States across those parts of the
world it considers its property that the United Nations has virtually no
authority to intercede.

It makes all sense, from the point of view of the Bush gang, that they
oppose the establishment of an International Criminal Court. They wisely
remember Nuremberg. For the rest of us, the lesson of September 11 ought to
be understanding the rampant nature of the dominant power in the world, of
which the Blair government has made itself a part.

There is a threat to ordinary lives - people in aircraft, people going
about their everyday routine - from Islamic extremism; that has been
demonstrated. However, what is not generally known in the West is that
numerically the longest suffering victims of terrorism are Muslims
themselves; and that the far greater threat comes not from the Islamic
world, but from the West.

Take two examples. In Palestine, the American-underwritten Israeli state
has brutalised the Palestinian people for more than half a century. In
Iraq, the US-driven embargo on civilian life in that country (and which has
strengthened the tyranny of Saddam Hussein) has, according to two American
researchers, caused the deaths of more people "than have been slain by all
so-called weapons of mass destruction throughout history".

Extremism is not a word we like to associate with our own societies. But
what is at work in the world now is Western, specifically American
extremism, attended by British courtiers.

The extremism of the Bush gang is a matter of record since September 11.
Bush's declared intention to attack Iraq (undoubtedly with weapons of mass
destruction, like "bunker bombs" and depleted uranium) has been compared by
the historian Correlli Barnett with the "tone and language used by an
earlier leader hard at work stoking up a needless international crisis -
Adolf Hitler in September 1938".

INDEED, Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney and the rest are now so extreme that the
likes of Henry Kissinger and "Stormin" Norman Schwarzkopf oppose their
plans, along with almost all the leaders of humanity.

But not Britain's Tony Blair. This puzzles some people. How can this
polite, church-going Englishman be called an extremist? A chameleon yes, an
opportunist surely; but an extremist? By his own actions, the Prime
Minister is probably the most ideological leader this country has had in
the modern era. It is the ideology of an insidious totalitarianism, devoted
to the rapacity of a rigged market and the militarism of the imperial
overlord, though with the face of democracy and cultural freedom.

Blair's friends are the far right in the European Union, such as Berlusconi
in Italy, who governs in alliance with crypto fascists. His closest friends
are the Christian fundamentalists running the unelected government in
Washington and who recognise in Blair a kindred spirit, and a useful one.
He, after all, is their "coalition."

In 1917, in the great slaughter called the First World War, the great
American sage Mark Twain described how the seduction into extremism worked.
"Next," he wrote, "the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame
upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those
conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and to
examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince
himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he
enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception."

In denying the pursuit of true justice to the families of the victims of
September 11, in smashing the lives of thousands of innocent people in
faraway dusty villages, in threatening the world with "endless war in order
to protect the homeland," as Bush put it, the polite grey-suited extremists
in Washington and London are creating more extremists on the other side of
a divide of their own making.

In so doing, they endanger all of us. And they should be disowned by us,
regardless of their democratic trappings. The difficult truth is that Osama
bin Laden and Bush/Blair are two sides of the same coin. That is the lesson
of September 11.

JOHN Pilger's documentary, "Palestine is still the Issue," is on ITV this
Monday, September 16, at 11 pm.


-- andreas
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