Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Posts Tagged ‘Al Qaeda

Burning consulates, dead Americans, it’s a real war scare dear readers, and it could get a lot worse

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I’m proud of how Americans responded to 9/11, especially New Yorkers and their first responders. They are true heroes. For the most I’m disgusted and ashamed of how our government and media and pundits responded to 9/11, they dishonoured the memory of those who died that day. It’s a distinction lost on some people I fear, but just clearing it up for those who can appreciate it. God bless!     —Doug Stych

One of the people being Steve, who blew a gasket over my 9/11 post. No offence was meant, I have friends in New York City, but apparently plenty was taken. I’m flattered in a way. His comment does reveal one thing global though, tensions are very high right now both in the USA abroad, especially the Middle East. And events of the past few days culminating in the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, resulting in the deaths of four Americans, has brought things to a very serious level.

So what the hell went down in Libya? The more or less “official” version in the mainstream western media is some variation of “those crazy Muslims rioting over an insult to their religion killed a bunch of Americans.” This does not really appear to be the case, even in the mainstream versions. Yes, there was anti-American demonstrations because a trailer of a mysterious anti-Muslim movie was translated into Arabic. In Egypt a handful of demonstrators climbed over the US embassy wall, tore down an American flag, and replaced it with an Islamic banner. Islamic slogans were painted on the walls of the embassy. It wasn’t really that big a deal, and we are only talking a few thousand demonstrators out of millions of Egyptians. In Libya, yes, there appear to have been demonstrators. However, at some point a group of professional fighters of unknown allegiance attacked the American consulate in Benghazi. It was a military style attack using RPGs and assault rifles, ten Libyan security troops died defending the consulate before they pulled back in the face of the superior attacking force. The attackers apparently attacked in two directed waves, one directed at the consulate, the second directed at the Americans trying to flee the consulate. Who were these attackers? We don’t know. The Libyan government’s response? They have vowed to bring the attackers to justice.

What the hell is going on here? Damned if I know. What I do know is that many people in the west are rushing to judgment and simply blaming Islam and or Libyans in general for the violence. All I can say is that clearly is what both the attackers, and the people who made the film intended. We can only wonder at the actual motivations of either, until further information comes out. Assuming us worms will ever know in the first place. It’s been suggested the attack was the work of Al Qaeda. Other armed factions in Libya could be responsible. Former Qaddafi loyalists could be responsible. What we do know is that leaders around the globe are now both telling their security people “Find out who is behind this attack NOW,” while simultaneously asking their most trusted advisers “Does this present a danger to us, can we take advantage of it, what can we do?” Some nations may skip the first step. Things like this in the past have led to much bigger wars, this one sure could.

It’s a war scare alright, maybe the biggest since the Russia/Georgia war. There’s things that have ratcheted up the tension, the US election campaign, the US’s current strained  relations with Israel, Israel’s almost strident calling for war with Iran, the mysterious “movie” that seems clearly designed to inflame tensions in the Islamic world, the as yet unsolved bombing of Israeli tourists in Bulgaria, and the ongoing strife in Syria, and to a lesser extent in Libya, Egypt, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Tensions were already running high when this Libya thing happened, and several of these factors seem to be deliberate attempts to stoke the flames by unknown agencies for unknown purpose. I am talking about the Bulgaria attack, the attack on the US Consulate, and the mysterious movie. It is safe to say that whoever is behind each is not trying to foster peace and understanding in the Middle East. This is why it’s a serious war scare, there’s some people trying to fan the flames of war.

I hope people don’t jump to conclusions, but they already are of course, seeing all sorts of Islamic hate speech on Facebook. The Drudge Report is outdoing itself. And demonstrations outside the American embassy in Egypt continue. I hope cooler heads prevail. I may update this post if the situation develops rapidly from here.  Feedback welcome.

(The above image is floating around Facebook, so I hope I’m using it legally. Not for profit, etc. Photograph credit: Chris Kotsiopoulos. For a larger version: It’s multiple lightning strikes over twenty minutes combined into a single ex posure. If I saw something like that, yeah, I’d worry. I’m a little worried.)


Written by unitedcats

September 12, 2012 at 5:52 pm

The Post 9/11 Hangover: Domestic Terrorism

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After 9/11 there were a lot of people expecting more Al Qaeda attacks on a daily basis;  Americans, wildly encouraged by their government, literally lived in fear. And they gave the government a blank check to do whatever it took to prevent further terror attacks in the USA. And the government did just that, in spades, hundreds of billions of dollars was spent on “Homeland Security.” Whole industries were created, the Constitution was trampled, foreign nations invaded, and to this day the “War on Terror” is used to justify endless “defence” spending and whatever acts the government deems necessary, up to and including the summary execution of American’s on the president’s order.

Ten years after 9/11 is it OK to ask how successful this has all been? Yes, yes it is. Well, according to Hollywood, every single week dastardly terrorist plots have been prevented by our staunch defenders. Heck, just on NCIS alone,  dozens of horrible plots have been foiled, saving thousands if not tens of thousands of innocent American lives. And that’s just one TV show, add them all up and I’m sure every American’s life has been saved many times over. Practically brings tears to my eyes.

Unfortunately, back in the real world, the situation is a little different. How different? The facts speak for themselves. Since 9/11 the greatest anti-terrorist operation in history has identified 82 cases of domestic terrorism in the USA. Of course 49 of these were cases of Americans providing material support to foreign terrorist groups. How many were actual plots against the USA by domestic terrorists? 32. OK, so 32 terrorist plots stopped, that’s something, right? No, only ten of these got beyond the talking stage and had made actual starts at putting a plot into motion.

Woohoo! One 9/11 per year stopped, that’s worth it right? Ignoring the fact that 9/11 was the most spectacularly successful terrorist attack in history, we still have problems. Six of the ten “plots” we foiled, were FBI sting operations. As I’ve said before, trolling chat rooms and looking for unstable losers, then recruiting them into “terrorist plots,” is preventing your own terrorist plot. So four acts of terror planned or carried out. One of them, the Times Square plot, was foiled by the man in the street, not Homeland Security. Two plots were actually carried out, the Fort Hood shooting and the Carlos Bledsoe Army recruiting center shooting. One case, the Najibulla Zazi subway bombing case, does seem to have been foiled.

OK, let me see if I have this straight. For the past ten years Al Qaeda has been waging war on the USA, trying to attack the USA and exhorting America’s millions of Muslims to engage in terrorist acts. In that ten years they have only managed to inspire or pull off four attacks, two of which were thwarted. Um, can someone explain to me how Al Qaeda is an existential threat to the US? They aren’t of course, and never were. As I said within days of 9/11, the War on Terror is going to make the War  on Drugs look cheap and effective in comparison.

The facts speak for themselves. (And don’t even try to tell me that our wars overseas prevented them from attacking us here, that doesn’t pass the laugh test.)  In our reaction to 9/11 we’ve spent over a trillion dollars, tens of thousands of American soldiers have been killed and maimed, our civil rights have been severely compromised, two countries have been turned into failed states, and we are in wars in half a dozen others. All of this in response to a tiny criminal organization that pulled off one lucky attack. If “The War on Terror” isn’t the most hysterical over-reaction in history, I don’t know what is.

And worst of all, this state of endless pointless war has been normalized for lack of a better word. That’s a topic for another day’s post though.

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s Jack Bauer of the FBI, possibly Hollywood’s greatest success at persuading Americans that terrorists everywhere are out to get us. I suppose I should write a post someday about why it’s so hard for foreign terrorists to attack the USA, again though, another day. Oh, and I got my figures from this article.)

Written by unitedcats

October 20, 2011 at 3:55 pm

Countdown to 9/11 … Why?

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Now we start coming to the parts of the 9/11 saga that make me mad. Like any feeling person, I was horrified on 9/11. Unlike many people, I was more horrified by what this would unleash than by the actual event. Millions of people have died by government and terrorist violence since World War Two, in any cosmic sense 9/11 is just a drop in the bucket, it was spectacular, but the number of victims as very small in the greater scheme of things. I mourn for them, but I more mourn for what 9/11 has done to the psyche of the nation, encouraged by a political class only too willing to use 9/11 to further their own ideological agenda.

More on that tomorrow though, assuming Al Qaeda doesn’t kill us all in our sleep tonight. No, like some people, one of my thoughts after 9/11 was “Well, if this encourages a debate on the consequences of our waging wars in the Middle East, maybe some good will come of it.” I was sadly mistaken. Within days the administration had wholeheartedly endorsed “They attacked us for our freedoms” and the war of civilizations was on. Sigh.

OK, assuming that OBL and Al Qaeda are real, what are their motivations? I dunno, call me crazy, but maybe we should see what they say? And turns out OBL, murderous scoundrel he may have been, did in fact articulate his reasons for taking up arms against America:

  • 1. Our unequivocal and one sided support for Israel.
  • 2. Our support for despotic undemocratic regimes in the Middle East.
  • 3. Our sending troops into the Middle East to wage war. (Gulf War One.)

I don’t see anything in there about “hating us for our freedoms.” And if they really hate us for our freedoms, wouldn’t restricting American’s freedoms be giving them what they want? Sorry, I digress. In any event, my point here, is that if a nation chooses to wage war around the world, as the USA has constantly chosen to do since 1945, we are going to make enemies. Al Qaeda is one of those enemies.  The USA has killed huge numbers of peoples in foreign lands since World War Two, why should it be a surprise that someone chose to do the same to us?

In any event, and a point I have leading to, the motivations of the attackers don’t matter. The me repeat that, the motivations of the attackers don’t matter. What matters, is how the Bush administration reacted to it. This is what changed the world, not a terrible but actually pretty pedestrian crime in any global sense. 9/11 wasn’t analogous to Pearl Harbor in any global sense, in the first case a tiny extremist group got away with a terrible crime, in the later one of the world’s top ten nation states went to war with us. No comparison really.

This is where I think the 9/11 truthers are so misguided, by focusing on a theory that ultimately doesn’t matter, they are obscuring the true conspiracy. This is why the administration doesn’t case about the truthers. For one thing, they know they aren’t ever going to prove anything since they weren’t insane enough to actually blow up buildings. And secondly and more importantly, they are wasting energy and thus providing cover for the true conspiracy, the one that was hatched within days of 9/11.

And this is the one Americans are blind to. It doesn’t matter what Al Qaeda’s motivations were, it doesn’t matter who orchestrated 9/11, what matters is how we responded to it. And this is where the true horror begins. Within days it was obvious that the Bush Administration was going to gleefully seize on 9/11 and use it as a blank check to do anything they wanted. 9/11 was manna from heaven for an administration beholden to the military, the rich, Israel, and the oil companies. This is why I am insulted when 9/11 truthers accuse me of “believing administration lies.” I think the American government (and corporate fawning media) went into “all lies, all the time” mode within about ten minutes of 9/11.

I just don’t think the administration caused 9/11 or blew up any buildings, they just spat on the victims and their families and all decent Americans by using 9/11 to promote their colonial agenda. That however is tomorrow’s topic.

(The above image is claimed as Public Domain under US copyright law. The original copyright belonged to Germany’s Nazi Regime, and they aren’t around to contest it. It is of the Reichstag fire of 1933. Germany’s parliament building burned, Hitler’s Nazis blamed the communists and got them ousted from the government … and thus obtained a majority control of Germany’s government. Historians to this day don’t know if the fire was set by the Nazis or the communists. And it doesn’t fucking matter.)

Written by unitedcats

September 9, 2011 at 10:34 pm

“How is the world ruled and led to war? Diplomats lie to journalists and believe these lies when they see them in print.”

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The Arab Awakening continues. German tanks roll across Poland. Life goes on in America as if nothing is happening, as if the events unfolding in the Middle East are no more inconvenience than a brief rise in gas prices and a few images of demonstrators on TV. I mean, most Americans couldn’t find Iraq and Afghanistan on a map, how many have even heard of Libya and Tunisia? It’s fascinating to watch, I imagine it’s like America in 1939 when the Germans rolled into Poland. I’m sure plenty were concerned, but I suspect most Americans paid little attention, Europeans had been waging war with each other for centuries, how could their war affect America? Little did they know that events were being set into play that would change America, and the world, forever. I know it’s far from a perfect analogy in all sorts of ways, but I think it expresses the general tone of what’s going on. More than five decades of America’s shortsighted, self-serving, foreign policy in the Middle East is falling into ruin … and we’re watching Charlie Sheen brag about having two girlfriends.

The focus is still on Libya, effectively in a state of civil war, with Qaddafi holding onto pats of his capitol, Tripoli, and making grandiose and bizarre claims about how his people still love him and the problems are all being caused by terrorists and Al Qaeda agents! In fact he’s claimed that his people were fed drugs by Al Qaeda, yes, that’s what’s going on! Well, on the plus side, at least we now know that his selling out to the west a  few years ago was sincere, he’s trotting out the obedient propaganda that when something happens the west doesn’t like in the Middle East, why, it must be those goddamn islamo-fascist terrorists! Hell, Qaddafi may even believe it, his hold on reality appears a bit tenuous at this point. If Qaddafi is a malignant narcissist, and that may very well be the case, he simply can’t grasp that his people don’t love him.

And how is the west responding to Libya? Why, they have a number of brilliant ideas. Sanctions. No-fly zones. International condemnation and isolation. Yes, all those things that worked so well to force Saddam to resign. Can we spell “lack of imagination?” Yes, the west has no ideas. All they’ve done in the Middle east for decades is prop up dictators while talking democracy. And now that Arabs have decided they want to give democracy a try and to hell with the western imposed dictators, the west has no plan B. Or to be more accurate, there is a plan B, but it’s insane. Yes, the USA is apparently seriously considering “humanitarian intervention” in Libya. That they are even considering the ultimate failed strategy in Libya shows the shallowness of American foreign policy, our government simply can’t grasp that events are spinning out of our control and that we are becoming irrelevant to what is going on in the Middle East.

How about we MYOB? Apparently letting the people of the Middle East determine their own destiny isn’t an option. As a final example of the utter failure of the USA government to even grasp the basics of what is going on in the world today is that the USA insisted that the African mercenaries who Qaddafi as hired be made immune from prosecution. That’s right, Obama insisted that Qaddafi’s hired thugs be immune from prosecution. Why did he do this? To protect American mercenaries in Iraq and Afghanistan from prosecution. Yes, we are doing something stupider to fix something stupid we did. How well does that work in real life? It doesn’t, at least not for very long. We shouldn’t be hiring American mercenaries in Iraq and Afghanistan, trying to shield them from the law is simply going to make America even less popular in the Middle East. And in a world where we will have to actually have relations with the people of the Middle East instead of the quisling governments we install, this is head-in-the-sand strategy at best.

Speaking of head-in-the-sand, I’ve come across a few Faux News viewers who appear to actually believe that the revolutions sweeping the Middle East are some sort of Al-Qaeda/Islamist plot. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. News flash, the “War on Terror” is propaganda, Al-Qaeda and their ilk are tiny number of fanatics that pose essentially zero threat to the USA. The USA has been wildly exaggerating the “threats” facing it since at least 1945 … to justify our militaristic imperialistic foreign policy. “Get Smart” was an escapist fantasy, “KAOS” an absurd literary device, not a reality. No, the revolutions sweeping the Middle East are because of decades of poverty, lies, and repression. They aren’t fuelled by AlQaeda, if anything they are fuelled by Al Jazeera. Yes, the Middle East now has a free press, like the USA did in the sixties. Something to think about.

Lastly, as a synchronistic event, the USA’s last veteran from World War One has just died. Yeah, just a coincidence, but symbolic of the end of an era. And in a few decades from now the last World War Two veteran will be dead. I don’t know what’s going to emerge from the events unfolding in the Middle East, but whatever transpires, I suspect it’s going to put post World War Two America and our “New American Century” fantasy empire in the dustbin of history with the Soviet Union and the Ottoman Empire. The era of colonial empires is over, we are a relict state of a bygone era, like Cuba or North Korea. No amount of spin will fix that, reality trumps Hollywood movies every day.

(The above image is Public Domain under US copyright law. It’s American soldiers going ashore in Operation Torch in North Africa in World War Two. Here’s hoping it doesn’t happen again soon. Coming next, a nice diversion from current events, a post about religion and prayer. Oh, the post title. It’s a quote from Karl Kraus, it seemed appropriate.)







Written by unitedcats

March 2, 2011 at 6:41 am