Thursday, May 19, 2011

Obama Talks Sense After Head Surgery

Aides Stunned, Panicked Wall Street Calls For "Returning" President to Indonesia

Michael K. Smith
Legalienation News Bureau
www.legalienate.blogspot.com
May 19, 2011 6:47 a.m. EDT

(LNB) -- Following emergency surgery to correct faltering mental capacities, president Barack Obama is "finally talking sense," according to a team of neurosurgeons at Johns Hopkins.

"It may be hard to believe, but he's really lucid and rational" said his chief neurosurgeon, Dr. Ding Dong, who performed the 7 1/2 hour-operation to replace the part of Obama's skull that had rotted away from years of exposure to neo-liberal ideology. "He woke up from surgery and said new nuclear plant construction didn't make sense in the midst of a Chernobyl-like meltdown in Japan."

The president told reporters that he was "very grateful" to have a working brain, which his doctors predicted would "almost certainly" help him overcome an apparently self-inflicted lobotomy that had rendered him incapable of rational thought while the nation he was entrusted to govern careened from one national disaster to another over the past two plus years.

"The brain is in good position, the president is thinking critically, and everything looks great," said Dr. Dong. "We expect the nation's business to be on a rational footing in a very short time," he added.

These remarks provoked panic on Wall Street, with major investment houses calling for the president to be "returned" to Indonesia. "The last thing we need is a president who can rationally order the nation's priorities in accordance with the Constitution's call to promote the general welfare," said Bernie Rosenthal of Neurosis Production Unlimited, a trillion dollar a year marketing firm. "The effort to bring this treasonous project to fruition is the clearest possible proof that Barack Obama is not an American citizen and therefore not really president," he added.

Aides initially attributed the president's uncharacteristic rationality to the lingering effects of a new anesthesia, but when Obama continued to exhibit incisive common sense throughout the day, they were alerted to the surgery's complete success. Over lunch the president said that Israel's policy of locking the Palestinian people in a giant outdoor prison would "hardly have won the approval of Dr. King." Later, he proclaimed it "nonsensical" to give trillions of dollars worth of aid to swindling investment firms while Main Street "languished in economic disaster."

The president ruined his original brain reading stacks of position papers written by corporate PR flacks and "Israel forever" fanatics. As he gradually lost the power to reason, he gave away the store to plundering corporations and dispatched U.S. military forces to carry out pointless slaughters in one country after another.

Like patients with gunshot wounds to the head, Obama ended up with an extreme inability to reason. Before replacing his brain, his neurosurgical team cut a hole in his head to relieve the pressure caused by the enormous buildup of stale rhetoric inside his softened skull. Dr. Dong said an internal drain, called a shunt, was inserted into Obama's cranial cavity to carry excess verbiage from the brain to the abdominal cavity, where it can now be disposed of by normal elimination processes. Dr. Dong called the procedure an "intellectual laxative."


------Michael K. Smith is the author of "Portraits of Empire" from Common Courage Press. He can be reached at proheresy@yahoo.com

Friday, May 13, 2011

Stale Bread, Brutal Circus



With the western imperial system in grave condition its population needs constant mind game manipulation to help ruling minorities maintain control. Recent Bread and Circus spectacles have featured a marriage of royal entities from an alleged democratic nation, and a hit squad performing a mafia job and depicted as heroic for their work. This served to briefly occupy the minds of people who should be considering far more serious matters.

A marriage continuing a tradition of socially acceptable incestuous families brought some temporary escapist entertainment to souls otherwise dealing with work, rent, or unemployment. Despite the rarely mentioned contradiction of genetic royalty in a system of democratic equality, the lovely bride and less lovely groom were hailed and farewelled and will probably not be heard from again until a divorce or other scandal. But the hit job on a famously created demon will have repercussions and though useful as a propaganda tool for those in power, questions have been raised which will hopefully lead to more exposure of material reality by “ the American street" .

Without arrest, trial or even its pretense, the alleged mastermind of the 911 terror attack was, we are told, killed at a hideaway where he had evaded military un-intelligence for ten years. The ineptitude that allowed the 911 disasters to happen was further exemplified in the sloppy work of murdering the supposed arch-villain mastermind, and its breathless uncritical reportage followed by macho posturing of government officials of all races, creeds and sexes. We should not be surprised at the legal injustice since the president, a supposed constitutional expert, previously revealed his Bush-level ignorance in pronouncing Bradley Manning guilty without trial, so why not the foreign monster? Media in its dutiful role as stenographer and cheerleader for power had long depicted Osama as the archfiend who directed the 911 attacks, despite no evidence other than his publicly expressed hatred for those brutalizing his people. How could citizens exposed to constant manufactured fictional news be expected to question the killing of this villain? And yet many among them did just that, proving that Abraham Lincoln - who, like another alleged archfiend, Gaddafi, “killed his own people” - was correct: Americans may be ignorant, but we are not stupid. Of course that excludes our leaders, who are maintained in their stupidity only by our controlled ignorance.

The storied bravery of a hit squad encountering a madman using a woman as a shield and firing at will soon revealed that Osama wasn’t armed at all. The only resistance encountered was from his unarmed wife, who was bravely shot by the assaulting mob. While a performance of gruesome public joy was arranged, we learned that the corpse was buried at sea, and no photos would be revealed to the public. This will invite more skeptics to believe that Osama was already dead, had never been alive in the first place, or was a secret triple agent of the Mossad – CIA -3 Stooges conspiracy. But whatever level of informed or surreal belief is entertained by skeptics, the crime was clear to anyone able to pierce the plastic curtain of disinformation that turned a serious situation with implications of further terrorist threat into a grotesque glorification of murder and vengeance for a crime with which Osama likely had little if any direct involvement.

The Islamic fundamentalists at the core of 911 terror may be a tiny minority, but whether manipulated or not they represent a growing majority of the global population that is saying, one way or another: enough is enough, we refuse to live under your boot heels any longer and we demand control of our own lives.

The murderous assault on another media created villain in Libya was momentarily placed on the back pages while new legends, fables and outright lies were being presented as news of the world. A nation which once had the highest material quality of life on the African continent is being reduced to a bombed and bleeding victim of western aggression, while the conservative right and the liberal left in America join in bipartisan patriotic applause at this humanitarian justice. If genetic royalty is part of democracy, why cant mass murder be an expression of peace?

What has been romanticized as an Arab Spring may only be a seasonal hint with real democracy still on the horizon, but it is unmistakable as a trend. With growing solidarity among Palestinians and their global supporters, the western imperial response to signs that Usrael domination is nearing its end has led to feverish actions in nations where regimes which may have legitimate opposition have been transformed, especially in Libya, into bloody civil wars by euro-western manipulation and intervention. But the Arab tyrants who suck up to the west, sit on billions of dollars and rule their subjects with an iron hand, are allowed to subdue their roused populations with violence unquestioned by this “democracy” and its fellow travelers who call themselves liberals or progressives.

There may be short-term success for the military power of the empire, but in the long term its political economic contradictions will come crashing down. The profit and loss financial domination of the world by private capital, far more deadly than any royal family or individual dictatorship, is ultimately making it impossible for the continuity of the human race and its foundation: mother earth. More distractions via bread and circus spectacles should not and cannot impede the work of humanity to bring about another world, which is not only possible but absolutely necessary.

 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Gas Chamber of Sherlock Holmes

And Other Writings on the Holocaust, Revisionism, and Historical Understanding

By Samuel Crowell
Nine-Banded Books, 2011, 370 pp.

Review by Michael K. Smith
www.legalienate.blogspot.com

Reading Samuel Crowell's, "The Gas Chamber of Sherlock Holmes" is a little like stumbling across a rational mind in an insane asylum years after being taken hostage by the inmates. Following prolonged immersion in clashing dogmas, the dispassionate use of evidence and logic to arrive at a sensible conclusion comes as a jolting but thoroughly pleasant surprise. And Crowell's modesty in stating that conclusion tentatively, knowing that genuinely rational inquiry will and should be superseded by later efforts, is an equally refreshing departure from polemical norms.

Drawing on establishment and revisionist authors, along with a careful scrutiny of German source documents, Crowell deftly evaluates contending claims arguing that Nazi "gas chambers" were (1) weapons of extermination (2) disinfection chambers (3) bomb shelters designed to protect against aerial gas attacks. Aligning eyewitness testimony with the material and documentary record, he sketches out the basis for a rational opinion, putting readers in a position to make their own judgments, without first requiring that they join in partisan warfare. Thanks to this effort we no longer need choose between delusional orthodoxy and strident dissidence, but can simply weigh evidence. This should come as a relief to everyone, while hopefully expanding the number of readers who can move beyond ritual denunciation and actually take the gas chamber debate seriously.

Crowell's work contains not a trace of anti-Semitism. He makes no attempt to whitewash Nazi racial policy, which he characterizes as a "shameful and disgraceful chapter in Germany history," even if "we assumed revisionist theses to their maximum extent." The important consideration, he notes, is that "we would still be dealing with about a million dead European Jews, who died as a direct result of Nazi persecution, plunder, forced labor, deportation, and yes, mass killing." As for his personal beliefs, he says, "they remain what they have been for thirty years or more," that "there certainly was a Holocaust in the sense that Nazi Germany persecuted and massacred many Jews," with the likelihood "that this massacre ran into the millions." Philosemitic crusaders, please take note.

A self-declared "moderate revisionist" who clearly values the standards of rational investigation, Crowell avoids exaggeration, misrepresentation, and self-righteousness. He shows no reluctance to admit when a conclusion is debatable or when the evidence is open to varying interpretations; and he is able to perceive shortcomings in the views and tactics of those who share a revisionist stance - and even some merit in those who do not. This adds credibility to his analysis, and marks him as a rare breed of intellectual who actually does what he is supposed to do: face up to facts and plausibly explain them. It is truly sad that on such an important topic his open-mindedness is all but unique.

Alarmed by the banning of revisionist thought in Europe, Crowell originally took up Holocaust research in order to rescue intellectual freedom from the Holocaust witch hunts of the 1990s, ironically doing so under an assumed name (he fears for the safety of his family). He correctly points out that the censorship crusade against revisionism represents nothing other than "the censorship of historical investigation itself," and notes with considerable relief that it appears to be losing steam. After years of beatings, fire-bombings, heresy trials, and book shreddings, designed to suppress what is openly regarded as a species of historical blasphemy, one can only hope and pray that this judgment is correct.

Due to a lack of corroborating physical and documentary evidence, Crowell is skeptical of the mass homicidal gassing thesis, classifying it as a "conspiracy theory," which he defines as "a small group of people operating, as it were, invisibly, causing things to happen and covering the traces of their activity." He finds this an implausible line of thought, because "there is no material evidence to support the theory," i.e., no forensic evidence of homicidal gas chambers. Such an argument "demands the belief in unseen or invisible agency, which is able to accomplish its work without leaving behind clear material traces of its misdeeds." Crowell finds people who take such ideas seriously reminiscent of "those millenia of humans who attributed terrible events to demons, devils, or other invisible supernatural beings."

Crowell's analysis is particularly apt in critiquing the "convergence of evidence" model borrowed from evolutionary biology, in which multiple strands of facts allegedly "converge" on a conclusion. But as Crowell notes, "no competent historian works that way." For if historians have corroborating documentary evidence for a conclusion from a high-level document, they look for further substantiation from mid and low-level documents in order to avoid an argument with anomalous gaps. On the other hand, if they have merely eyewitness confirmation or a vague corroboratory reference, they search for higher level evidence before drawing hard and fast conclusions. The difference between this approach and conventional Holocaust historiography is striking. As Crowell notes: "The absence of evidence for gassing in a continuous hierarchy is a serious problem, just as an evolutionary biologist would be dumbfounded if he or she found entire geological strata in which there was no evidence of life at all. That is the proper analogy for the magnitude of the problem faced here."

Equally helpful is Crowell's excavation of the devastating impact of the Nuremberg Trials on subsequent Holocaust research. What scholars have been able to access about the Holocaust are a selection of documents from the German archives that were gathered and used for the express purpose of convicting the Nazi leadership in the first five years after World War II ended. Later the judgment of the International Military Court was declared unchallengeable, and criminal penalties were applied to those who publicly questioned the court's findings. This means that the same documents, along with a prosecutorial interpretation of those documents, have remained fixed for over sixty years. As Crowell notes: "This never happens in normal historiography."

The strength of Crowell's book is also its weakness. He stays riveted on "gas chambers," refusing to be drawn into broader issues or concerns. He explicitly rejects the notion that revisionist theses on the Holocaust carry with them implications for Israel, whose problems, he says "have nothing to do with an aggressive recounting of the suffering of the Jewish people in World War Two."

But this observation entirely misses the point. For the so-called "mother question" in the Middle East has never been how to solve Israel's problems, but rather, how to deal with the impossible problems created by Israel. And central to those problems is the political capital the Jewish state has made out of what Crowell calls the Canonical Holocaust. Indeed, it is unlikely that a Jewish state could ever have been founded on Palestinian Arab lands, much less won license to commit permanent ethnic cleansing against them, had it not been for widespread belief in the extermination of European Jewry in gas chambers and cremation ovens, a uniquely horrible destiny, if true. But if that story is fatally flawed, as Crowell's careful research suggests it is, then world leaders' ritual deference to a presumed unique Jewish victimhood (especially on the part of U.S. leaders) may very well prove impossible to sustain, as may the justification for maintaining Israel as an exclusively Jewish state. And if U.S. support on these scores ever wavers, it is difficult to see how Israel will be able to stave off the radical transformation it will have to undergo in order to remain part of the Middle East. Whether it continues to exist in name or not, it will no longer be the state the world is familiar with.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Imperial Brain Damage: The Week in Review

by Michael K. Smith
www.legalienate.blogspot.com

The political assassination of Osama Bin Laden predictably triggered an orgy of media imbecility among U.S. pundits. The hit by heavily-armed Navy SEALS in the dead of night at a Pakistani military compound in Abbottabad was routinely described as "daring," though only a lone courier appears to have fought back, which makes it difficult to see much courage at work. But trust the U.S. media to praise to the skies any U.S. military effort to kill for an allegedly greater good (always), no matter whose national sovereignty is violated, how many innocent bystanders are killed, or how little legal or moral authority for the act is presented. "Justice has been done," intoned a clueless President Obama, who has attacked six countries in just over two years in office, without a shred of convincing legal or moral justification for any of the interventions. (The six countries are: Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan, Libya, and Somalia.)

The Philadelphia Inquirer waxed psychoanalytic, saying that Americans could at last overcome the sense of pessimism and failure they "felt - but rarely acknowledged - in not being able to apprehend bin Laden for so long." Our country continues to face "huge challenges" in Afghanistan and Iraq, the editors went on, but with Bin Laden dead "it's easier to envision a day not too long from now when the wars are over, the troops come home, and optimism reigns."

It's difficult to know where to start with this. No sane person could possibly anticipate that the endless series of U.S. sponsored wars dating back to the colonial era are about to come to an end. As noted, Obama has attacked six countries in barely half a term of office, a rate that, if sustained, would yield 20 or more interventions should Obama last eight years in the White House.

Incidentally, the "huge challenges" we face in Iraq and Afghanistan apparently do not include presenting a credible reason for being in those countries in the first place. The Taliban offered to turn Bin Laden over to U.S. authorities after 911, but Washington turned them down. And most of the world is very well aware by now that the Iraq war was launched without even the pretense of a justification.

As for why it would be good for "optimism" to reign over the U.S.A., where twenty-five million people are out of work, a quarter of American mortgages are under water, a third of the American people are without savings to fall back on, and where there continues to be no sign of economic recovery three years into the Great Recession, the Inquirer's editors unfortunately do not indicate. Suffice it so say that the conclusion is something less than self-evident.

Meanwhile the Kansas City Star editorialized that America's resolve to pursue our enemies to the ends of the earth sends them an important message, to wit: "If you do what bin Laden did, the United States will find you no matter where you hide, no matter how long it takes." Apparently, the Star's editors have forgotten that Muslim terrorists of the Bin Laden variety do not fear death, and actually welcome martyrdom, which makes intimidation a poor strategy. Unfortunately, the U.S. media have the attention span of a two-year old, and regularly forget what it is most important to remember.

Shannen Coffin in NationalReview.com said that Bin Laden was tracked down partly because of U.S. torture policy. When Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was captured in 2003, "he was resistant to any form of interrogation, conventional or otherwise." But waterboarding and "other enhanced measures" made him more "compliant," and interrogators were able to deduce from his responses clues about the whereabouts of Bin Laden's courier.

Oh, happy day! Torture works after all. The fact that Bin Laden's death does nothing to make anyone safer, and in fact, has U.S. authorities redoubling their efforts to prevent expected terrorist revenge attacks, is beneath our contempt to notice. We're celebrating, after all, and we want no more of "pessimism" pointing out the cost of our suicidal recklessness.

Richard Cohen of the Washington Post weighed in with the judgment that for too long Obama has displayed a "counterproductive sensitivity for the sensitivities of the Muslim world," by deferring to U.N. approval (When? Where?). But by sending in a commando team to assassinate bin Laden, "whether or not Pakistan or anyone else liked it," Obama has broken free of the wimp factor.

In point of fact Obama has shown utter contempt for Muslims in Palestine, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. His sending in an assassination squad to kill Bin Laden is simply more of the same. There is nothing "manly" in this, and U.S. punditry's cheerleading for militarist machismo is a deadly plague leading the world to incalculable destruction. Only a juvenile delinquent could see anything to be happy about here.

Louis Klarevas in NewRepublic.com at least got a point half right: "Decapitating al Qaida will not stop those who feel it is their duty to strike against the U.S. and its assets in the name of bin Laden's twisted version of Islam." Right. The issue is not Bin Laden, but the adherents of his and similar ideologies, who can be counted on to strike back for this latest attack, killing yet more innocents. ["Terrorists almost certainly will attempt to avenge him," said CIA Director Leon Panetta.] Why should more Americans die for Israel and U.S. Empire? And why should we be happy about a foreign policy that invites those deaths?

In any event, it is an open question as to how "twisted" Bin Laden's version of Islam is. Is it more "twisted" than Obama's Zionism, now laying waste to what remains of historic Palestine? Or more twisted than his Christianity (sorry for the repetition), which somehow allows his conscience to rest easy as he sets records for pilotless drone attacks, a particularly cowardly form of "warfare"? One very much doubts it. As usual, U.S. hypocrisy is boundless.

David Barno in the New York Times said that Bin Laden's killing reminds his followers that the U.S. is "a power to be reckoned with," which they were apparently unaware of when the U.S. was merely reducing one Muslim-dominant country after another to rubble. It is apparently inconceivable to the pundit class that a limitless willingness to kill does not make the U.S. respected in the world. Quite the contrary.

Juliette Kayyem in the Boston Globe commented that our government's formerly "excited" posture vis-a-vis terrorism has transformed itself into "resolute calmness" (an improvement?). The new watchword is, "Secretly kill. Publicly chill." Uncharacteristically, the Department of Homeland Security didn't even issue a new alert this week, since no new specifics about future attacks were uncovered to "warrant freaking everyone out." This is supposedly evidence that we're now better at coping with the "nature of the world we live in."

Secretly kill, publicly chill? Is this woman serious? Such comments bespeak a level of dissociation from reality that should make Ms. Kayyem certifiable. And we're better at coping with reality in the wake of killing Bin Laden? While the newspapers shriek that we "got our man" and citizen mobs besiege the White House with vulgar chants of "USA! USA! USA!"

If this is sanity, what is madness?

Source:

Quoted material from "The Week, "May 13, 2011

-----Michael K. Smith is the author of "Portraits of Empire," from Common Courage Press. He can be reached at proheresy@yahoo.com

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Osama Bin Laden - The Real Story

How angry America gets when it attacks people and those people resist!

-----------Osama bin Laden, December 1998

How can they hope to be blessed with security while they are dishing out destruction, devastation, and murder on our people in Palestine and Iraq?

-----------Osama bin Laden, December 16, 2004

He dates his political awakening to 1973, when a U.S. airlift helped Israel turn the tide in the so-called Yom Kippur War. Egypt and Syria had overrun Israeli defenses and its vaunted Bar-Lev line at the beginning of the war, leading a stunned Tel Aviv to hint that it might resort to nuclear weapons if the U.S. didn't save the day for the Jewish state. When Washington's intervention helped deal the Arabs another bitter defeat, fifteen-year-old Osama stopped watching cowboy shows, refused to wear Western clothes (except at school, where it was required), and "would sit in front of the television and weep over the news from Palestine." [Lawrence Wright, "The Looming Tower - Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11."]

The immediate cause of the war was Israeli "development" of the Northeastern Sinai, which involved the forcible removal of Arab farmers from their lands. U.S. support for Israeli annexation of large parts of the Occupied Territories and its refusal to respond to Anwar Sadat's peace overtures, made war inevitable. For bin Laden, it made sympathetic consideration of Western culture impossible.

It was the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, which killed 20,000 people, overwhelmingly civilians, that planted in bin Laden the seed of revenge. In a November 2004 video he recalled the carnage, the "blood and severed limbs, women and children sprawled everywhere. Houses destroyed along with their occupants and high rises demolished over their residents . . ." He longed to strike back. "As I looked at those destroyed towers in Lebanon, it occurred to me to punish the oppressor in kind by destroying the towers in America, so that it would have a taste of its own medicine and would be prevented from killing our women and children. On that day I became sure that the oppression and intentional murder of innocent women and children is a deliberate American policy."

A decade before the release of this video, bin Laden had been stripped of his Saudi citizenship (1994) for his continued harsh criticism of the Saudi royal family. He wrote a letter to the Chief Mufti, the foremost juridical authority in the Kingdom, calling his endorsement of the 1993 Oslo Accords an "astonishing juridical decree," a betrayal of the word of God and the community of the faithful. Like millions of other Arabs, bin Laden was anguished at the contemptuous treatment Palestinian Arabs continually received at the hands of the West, and saw no reason why it should continue.

Bin Laden's letter argued flat out that the Jews that came to Palestine were not indigenous to the region: "The current Jewish enemy is not an enemy settled in his own original country fighting in its defense until he gains a peace agreement, but an attacking enemy." The only proper course of action, therefore, was to wage jihad, both for the sake of God and "so that Palestine may be completely liberated and returned to Islamic sovereignty." The Oslo Agreement, which nullified Palestinian national rights, converting the PLO to a municipal authority, was a patent fraud: ". . . the alleged peace that the rulers and tyrants are falling over themselves to make with the Jews is nothing but a massive betrayal, epitomized by their signing of the documents of capitulation and surrender of the Holy City of Jerusalem and all of Palestine to the Jews, and their acknowledgement of Jewish sovereignty over Palestine for ever."

In a March, 1997 interview with Robert Fisk of the London Independent, bin Laden again made clear that Israel was a primary grievance. Referring to the Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia the year before, he said: "The explosion in al-Khobar did not come as a direct reaction to the American occupation, but as a result of American behavior against Muslims, its support of Jews in Palestine and of the massacres of Muslims in Palestine and Lebanon - of Sabra and Chatila and Qana - and of the Sharm el-Sheikh conference." Sabra and Chatila was a 1982 massacre of over a thousand Palestinian refugees by Israel's Phalangist Christian allies in Lebanon; Qana was a U.N. base attacked by Israel in 1996, in which roughly a hundred Lebanese were killed; Sharm el-Sheikh was an "anti-terrorism" conference in which Bill Clinton accused Hamas and Hizbollah of terrorism but said nothing of Israel's far greater violence. Events like these merged Israel and the U.S. in bin Laden's mind. ""For us there is no difference between the American and Israeli governments or between the American and Israeli soldiers."

Four months after the 1998 attacks on the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which Bin Laden disclaimed responsibility for, he returned to the theme of the betrayal of Palestine: "Every time a king meets a president they say they have 'discussed the Palestinian issue,' but over half a century a clear picture has emerged: they have abandoned the mujahidin in Palestine. . . they have given a guilty verdict on those lions whose fathers and brothers have been killed, imprisoned, tortured, and persecuted . . . . I don't know what people are waiting for after this clearest of betrayals, and after the shameful way in which the Arab rulers have acted in the interests of the Jews or America."

An interesting side note on the Nairobi Embassy bombing concerns a young Arab questioned by F.B.I. investigator Stephen Gaudin. Identifying himself as Khaled Saleem bin Rasheed from Yemen, he shouted at Gaudin: "You want to blame this (bombing) on me? It's your fault, your country's fault for supporting Israel!" Livid at the death toll, he asked Gaudin: "Why did these people have to die? They had nothing to do with the United States and Israel and Palestine!"

In a statement faxed to Al Jazeera on September 24, 2001, bin Laden excoriated USrael hypocrisy in waxing moralistic on the issue of human rights while it was engaged in wholesale killing in Iraq and Palestine: "Until this point, a million innocent children have been killed in Iraq . . . As I speak, Israeli tanks and bulldozers are going in and wreaking havoc and sin in Palestine - in Jenin, in Ramallah, in Rafah, in Beit Jala . . . . and we do not hear anyone protesting or even lifting a finger to stop it." He insisted on reciprocal security or none at all: "I swear by God Almighty Who raised the heavens without effort that neither America nor anyone who lives there will enjoy safety until safety becomes a reality for us living in Palestine and before all the infidel armies leave the land of Muhammad." The U.S. response came two weeks later, when the White House announced that it had asked the five major U.S. T.V. networks to censor footage of al-Qaeda. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice "urged all the American network chiefs not to screen videos of Bin Laden."

In a October 21, 2001 interview with Al Jazeera reporter Taysir Alluni in Afghanistan, bin Laden expressed outrage that President Bush and Colin Powell had promised in their first few months in office that "they would move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and that Jerusalem would be the eternal capital of Israel." Asked about the justification for killing innocent civilians, Bin Laden condemned Washington's selective and self-serving morality: "Whenever we kill their civilians, the whole world yells . . . . and America starts putting pressure on its allies and puppets. . . . What about the people that have been killed in our lands for decades? . . . Who said that our blood isn't blood and that their blood is blood? . . . More than 1,000,000 children died in Iraq, and they are still dying . .. . Everyday in Palestine, children are killed . . . . How is it that these people are moved when civilians die in America, and not when we are being killed everyday?" Near the end of the interview he returned to the constant killing in Palestine: "By what right are our families in Palestine denied safety? The helicopters hunt them while they are in their homes, while they are amongst their women and children; everyday the bodies and wounded are removed."

In an interview published in London's Al Quds on November 12, 2001, bin Laden explained that, "The United States and their allies are killing us in Palestine, Chechnya, Kashmir, and Iraq," so "that's why Muslims have the right to carry out revenge attacks on the U.S.." He added that the democratic nature of the U.S. government implicated all Americans in such crimes. "The American people should remember that they pay taxes to their government and that they voted for their president. Their government makes weapons and provides them to Israel, which they use to kill Palestinian Muslims. Given that the American Congress is a committee that represents the people, the fact that it agrees with the actions of the American government proves that America in its entirety is responsible for the atrocities that it is committing against Muslims. . . . The onus is on Americans to prevent Muslims from being killed at the hands of their government."

In a statement recorded for release to Al Jazeera in December 2001, bin Laden reiterated his claim that the 911 attacks were retaliation for the West's injustices against Muslims worldwide. Once again, he drew attention to Palestine: "Our terrorism against America is a praiseworthy terrorism in defense against the oppressor, in order that America will stop supporting Israel, who kills our sons."

In a letter to the American people on October 6, 2002, bin Laden posed the question, "Why are we fighting and opposing you?" He answered succinctly: "Because you attacked us and continue to attack us." He again drew special attention to Palestine. "The creation and continuation of Israel is one of the greatest crimes, and you are the leaders of its criminals. . . . The creation of Israel is a crime which must be erased . . . The British handed over Palestine, with your help and your support, to the Jews, who have occupied it for more than 50 years, years overflowing with oppression, tyranny, crimes, killing, expulsion, destruction, and devastation." He rejected out of hand tortured Zionist justifications for taking control of the land: "It brings us both laughter and tears to see that you have not yet tired of repeating your fabricated lies that the Jews have a historical right to Palestine, as it was promised to them in the Torah." Debate, he noted, is not tolerated, as "anyone who disputes with them on this alleged fact is accused of anti-semitism." But the Zionist legend claiming justification for Israel "is one of the most fallacious, widely-circulated fabrications in history," since "the people of Palestine are pure Arabs and original Semites." Therefore, "it is the Muslims who are the inheritors of Moses (peace be upon him) and the inheritors of the real Torah that has not been changed," so "if the followers of Moses have been promised a right to Palestine in the Torah, then the Muslims are the most worthy nation of this."

Living under elected government, he went on, "the American people have chosen, consented to, and affirmed their support for Israel's oppression of the Palestinians, the occupation and usurpation of their land, and its continuous killing, torture, punishment, and expulsion of the Palestinians." Better choices exist. "The American people have the ability and choice to refuse the policies of their government, and even to change it if they want."

On the matter of violence, he observed that "If Sharon is a man of peace in the eyes of Bush," (which Bush declared he was), "then we are also men of peace. America does not understand the language of manners and principles, so we are addressing it using the language it understands."

In a video dated February 14, 2003, bin Laden warned that "The current Zionist-Crusader campaign . . . is the most dangerous and rabid ever . . . He claimed again that al-Qaeda's violence was merely retaliation, since "we strike them (the U.S.) because of their injustice towards us in the Islamic world, especially in Palestine and Iraq, and their occupation of Saudi Arabia. He observed that the 60 states identified by President Bush as prime targets in his "crusade" against terror pretty much defined the Islamic world. "Is the Islamic world not around 60 states? . . . Did they not say that they want to change the region's ideology, which vents hatred against the Americans?"

In a statement broadcast by Al-Jazeera a month after the Madrid train bombings in 2004 bin Laden accused Washington of "persistently ignor[ing] the real problem, which is the occupation of Palestine," and decried the double standard that allowed U.S. leaders to "indulge in lies and deceit about our right to self-defense," which proved "they have no self-respect." "They show contempt for peoples' blood and minds through such deceit, but it only means that your blood will continue to be shed." He was not too blinded by passion to see the injustice being done to ordinary Americans: ". . . an important truth becomes clear, which is that we are both suffering injustice at the hands of your leaders, who send your sons to our countries, despite their objections, to kill and be killed." He identified a common enemy benefitting from all the carnage: "It is all too clear . . . who benefits most from stirring up this war and bloodshed: the merchants of war, the bloodsuckers who direct world policy. . . President Bush . . . the big media . . . the United Nations . . . These and others are groups who are a mortal danger to the entire world, the most dangerous and difficult of these being the Zionist lobby . . ."

Condemning the transparent fraud of Bush's talk of peace, he asked: "Why hasn't he spoken about the one who slit open the bellies of pregnant women in Sabra and Shatila . . . the 'man of peace' [Ariel Sharon]?" He reiterated that al-Qaeda violence was retaliatory: "We only killed Russians after they invaded Afghanistan and Chechnya, we only killed Europeans after they invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, and we only killed Americans after they supported the Jews in Palestine and invaded the Arabian peninsula. . . " He offered to make peace with any state that agreed to leave Muslims alone: "So I present to them this peace proposal, which is essentially a commitment to cease operations against any state that pledges not to attack Muslims or intervene in their affairs . . . It will come into effect on the departure of its last soldier from our lands."

Just days before Bush was re-(s)elected in November 2004, bin Laden released a video telling the American people that its security was in its own hands, that it could achieve safety by reigning in its lawless government. "We have been fighting you because we are free men who cannot acquiesce in injustice . . . Just as you violate our security, so we violate yours. Whoever encroaches upon the security of others and imagines that he will himself remain safe is but a foolish criminal. When disasters happen, intelligent people look for the reasons behind them, so they can avoid them in the future."

Bin Laden's determination to rectify the injustice of dismembering Palestine is apparently not going away. On March 20, 2008 a videotape reputed to be his was aired on Al Jazeera, in which he urged holy war on behalf of the Palestinians. "Palestine cannot be retaken by negotiations and dialogue, but with fire and iron."

The Sources:

"Bin laden accuses pope of 'crusade' in new tape," March 20, 2008 msnbc.com

Bruce Lawrence, ed., "Messages To The World: The Statements of Osama bin Laden" (Verso, 2005)

Lawrence Wright, "The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11," (Knopf, 2006)

Alfred Lilienthal, "The Zionist Connection - What Price Peace?" (Dodd, Mead, 1978)

Anonymous, "Imperial Hubris - Why The West Is Losing The War on Terror," (Brassey's, 2004)

Robert Fisk, "The Great War For Civilisation - The Conquest of the Middle East," (Knopf, 2005)

-----Michael K. Smith is the author of "Portraits of Empire" and "The Madness of King George (illustrations by Matt Wuerker,) from Common Courage Press. He can be reached at proheresy@yahoo.com