A new audio tape allegedly from al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden claims responsibility for an attempt to blow up a plane en route to Michigan on Christmas Day and warns the United States of more attacks. The tape, which aired on the Arabic-language news Web site Al Jazeera on Sunday, says "the United States will not The CIA has in the past confirmed Al Jazeera reports on tapes from Osama bin Laden. … The tape continues: "It is not fair to enjoy that kind of life while our brothers in Gaza live in the worst of miseries." CNN could not independently confirm the authenticity of the message, but the CIA has in the past confirmed Al Jazeera reports on tapes from the al Qaeda leader. In another section of the audio tape that Al Jazeera broadcast, the voice says: "God willing our attacks will continue as long as you support the Israelis and may peace be on those who follow guidance." – CNN
Dominant Social Theme: Tremble before his words?
Free-Market Analysis: Another day waging a war on terror, another Bin Laden tape. We've been writing about the war on terror and 9/11 fairly regularly because we believe some of the power elite's most fundamental dominant social themes are evident in them – and also because these particular themes are destructive to the larger economy. In fact, no matter what you believe about 9/11, it is indisputable that the horrible event served as a launching pad for a seemingly endless war on terror on which the West is now embarked. And no matter what you believe about the war on terror, if you are open minded, you must grant that there are significant questions about its rationale, prosecution and goals.
As far as Bin Laden goes, we've pointed out numerous times that many believe him to be dead. Most recently we reported on a video featuring a statement by Benazir Bhutto (a few weeks prior to her murder) that can be seen on Youtube.com. In the interview, she says matter-of-factly that Bin Laden has been murdered and identifies his murderer. Click here to view.
In a recent article here at the Bell, we concluded the following:
Is it possible that Bin Laden is alive? Well … anything is possible, we suppose. But what is most problematic from our point of view is that if an analysis of Bin Laden's condition was undertaken by a private-sector enterprise, the result would be considerably more nuanced than the fairly blunt presentations of Bin Laden's availability continually promoted by Western intel. The FBI's most recent PR flub as regards an updated picture of an older Bin Laden is right in line with these sorts of heavy-handed declarations. It strikes us, in fact, as a kind of arrogance – as if Western intel agencies are simply unwilling to accept that they are working in a much different era. In fact, in a pre-Internet era, none of this would matter. The updated FBI pictures would have been disseminated and the protestations of the Spanish politician whose features were used would never seen the light of day, certainly not in the American or British mainstream press.
The trouble for Anglo-American elite is that it is seemingly still using a 20th century playbook in the 21st century. The Internet makes these promotions increasingly suspect and is gradually undermining even the most pervasive dominant social themes. It is no coincidence, in our opinion, that the FBI's effort to treat Bin Laden's existence as a given – rather than deal seriously with contradictory evidence – has blown up. Until the elite responds seriously to the challenges of the Internet, these incidents will continue to occur.
As long as we're on the subject of Bin Laden and his tapes, we can't resist pointing out a sentence in the CNN article excerpted above. It reads: "CNN could not independently confirm the authenticity of the message, but the CIA has in the past confirmed Al Jazeera reports on tapes from the al Qaeda leader."
We've read this sentence numerous times, and still don't quite understand it. It is quite unlike CNN to include such an indecipherable statement in its reporting. We think it indicates, once again (at the very least), the lack of flexibility that CNN apparently has when passing on this Bin Laden "news" to viewers. When we checked on Google, there were at least 1,000 articles on the topic, and almost all of them read exactly the same way, and hardly any of them put the tape into a larger context.
And yet there is plenty to put into context. And of course the questions go far beyond Bin Laden's death. One might think that something a decade old now (9/11) might finally be relegated to yesterday's news. But because of the Internet nothing is really yesterday's news anymore. And in fact, Jesse Ventura, the bald-headed ex-Governor of Minnesota has a new program now called Conspiracy Theory. In December, Ventura examined 9/11 and the Internet has been reverberating ever since. Unlike many such programs presented by the mainstream media, this program presented a Ventura who was willing to entertain non-government explanations and was also willing to ask tough questions:
Jesse steps into America's most controversial conspiracy by challenging the 9-11 Commission report and considering the claim that the September 11th attacks were an inside job. At the urging of victims' families, he finds witnesses who claim the towers were brought down by revolutionary explosives that were placed in plain sight, but no one knew what they were. Ventura also hears from those who claim the missing black box flight recorders were actually recovered. And he is told a shocking story about who may have been in the cockpits before the jets took off.
Featured Experts and Eyewitnesses: Physicist Steven Jones, who says he found evidence of thermite, a bomb material, in the residue from Ground Zero; explosives expert Van Romero, who performed a test purported to show that liquid thermite can make steel girders burn hotter and faster; demolition expert Brent Blanchard, who says that no inspection for explosive materials was done at the scene; former Air Force pilot Jeff Dahlstrom, who is convinced that 9-11 was a "false flag" operation carried out to push the country into war; Mike Bellone, a recovery worker at Ground Zero who says that he saw airline flight recorders recovered at the scene; Dave Lindorff, a journalist, who says that the recorders were recovered, inspected and turned over to the FBI; Dale Leppard, a former head of the Airline Pilots Association who insists recorders are always found; and former FBI investigator Jack Cloonan, who disputes claims the recorders were found.
There are plenty of tough questions to ask, thousands of them. And in this era of electronic communication it is doubtful they will ever go away unless they are in some sense addressed by the authorities that have declared 9/11 a closed case. Here is very recent article by 9/11 researcher David Ray Griffin:
Response to Questions Evoked by My Fifth Estate Interview … "Without the widespread assumption that the 9/11 attacks had been planned and carried out by al-Qaeda, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq would not have been possible. With regard to the war in Afghanistan in particular, Michel Chossudovsky has recently emphasized the fact that NATO's decision to support this US-led war was based on a briefing by Frank Taylor of the US State Department, in which he provided what was called conclusive evidence of al-Qaeda's responsibility for the attacks. Although the contents of Taylor's briefing have never been made public, the main evidence provided to the general public has consisted of the hijack-describing phone calls reportedly received from passengers and flight attendants aboard the airliners. But when subjected to a detailed analysis, these alleged phone calls, far from supporting the war-justifying story, lead to a very different conclusion: that these alleged calls were faked. This analysis thereby suggests that the entire 9/11 story used to justify the US-led wars is a lie."
We don't know what happened on 9/11, but we do know that the questions remain pertinent and that the answers that the 9/11 Commission received from the Bush administration and from the intelligence community in no way constituted honest feedback or even a smidgen of transparency. As we've pointed out in these pages, the perception of a government cover-up is not merely limited to "troofers" and others that have been labeled kooks. Late last year a book written by the Commission's senior counsel blasted government cooperation. Here's an article excerpt about the book in the Salem-News:
The 9/11 Commission Rejects own Report as Based on Government Lies … In John Farmer's book: "The Ground Truth: The Story Behind America's Defense on 9/11″, the author builds the inescapably convincing case that the official version… is almost entirely untrue … The 9/11 Commission now tells us that the official version of 9/11 was based on false testimony and documents and is almost entirely untrue. The details of this massive cover-up are carefully outlined in a book by John Farmer, who was the Senior Counsel for the 9/11 Commission. Farmer, Dean of Rutger Universities' School of Law and former Attorney General of New Jersey, was responsible for drafting the original flawed 9/11 report. … Farmer states…"at some level of the government, at some point in time…there was an agreement not to tell the truth about what happened… I was shocked at how different the truth was from the way it was described. … The [Norad air defense] tapes told a radically different story from what had been told to us and the public for two years. This is not spin." … In 2006, The Washington Post reported…"Suspicion of wrongdoing ran so deep that the 10-member commission, in a secret meeting at the end of its tenure in summer 2004, debated referring the matter to the Justice Department for criminal investigation, according to several commission sources. Staff members and some commissioners thought that e-mails and other evidence provided enough probable cause to believe that military and aviation officials violated the law by making false statements to Congress and to the commission…"
9/11 sits like an indigestible lump at the heart of the modern American experience. As a result of 9/11 America is embroiled in a war on terror on innumerable fronts that has already cost the lives of thousands of Americans and irradiated much of Iraq and Afghanistan with fallout from depleted uranium weapons.
Meanwhile, the whole life-fabric of America (and actually throughout the West) has changed. Rights have eroded and responsible government officials often misstate constitutional guarantees and imply that Americans have to give up more and more freedom in order to live safely. The constantly reoccurring tapes of a never-dead yet not-quite-alive Bin Laden are a reminder of the lack of resolution that Americans – and the rest of the world – live with every day as the US government continues to act with overwhelming force on the basis of secret and apparently unverifiable information.
NOTED: The real story behind the Glaciergate scandal … Dr. Rajendra Pachauri (pictured left) has rapidly distanced himself from the IPCC's baseless claim about vanishing glaciers. But the scientist who made the claim now works for Pachauri. I can report a further dramatic twist to what has inevitably been dubbed "Glaciergate" – the international row surrounding the revelation that the latest report on global warming by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) contained a wildly alarmist, unfounded claim about the melting of Himalayan glaciers. Last week, the IPCC, led by its increasingly controversial chairman, Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, was forced to issue an unprecedented admission: the statement in its 2007 report that Himalayan glaciers could disappear by 2035 had no scientific basis, and its inclusion in the report reflected a "poor application" of IPCC procedures. What has now come to light, however, is that the scientist from whom this claim originated, Dr. Syed Hasnain, has for the past two years been working as a senior employee of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), the Delhi-based company of which Dr. Pachauri is director-general. Furthermore, the claim – now disowned by Dr. Pachauri as chairman of the IPCC – has helped TERI to win a substantial share of a $500,000 grant from one of America's leading charities, along with a share in a three million euro research study funded by the EU. – UK Telegraph
These wars have cost upward of US$1 trillion now and estimates are that eventually they will cost upwards of US$5 trillion. The distortions to the larger market are manifold with the growth of the military and securities industries in the US and Britain. Taxes have gone up in America and throughout the West, inflation is likely to rise aggressively and living standards continue to drop. Ease of movement is restricted, entrepreneurship is discouraged and business suffers. Power is concentrated and opportunities are reduced. There are few winners in these situations and many losers. Is it possible those who are not prepared to clarify the many issues surrounding 9/11 in some sense miscalculated? Did they perhaps underestimate the power of modern communication technology? Time will surely tell.