Originally published via Armageddon Prose:
Let’s get this caveat out of the way for the “but muh terrorism” mouth-breathers: Osama bin Laden was a Wahhabist fundamentalist spawned from the ultra-theocratic ruling class in Saudi Arabia — not my cup of tea, and not my ideological kindred.
Unlike most other Westerners, I have lived in Saudi Arabia — an experience I chronicle in my recently released memoir, Broken English Teacher: Notes From Exile — and have seen Islamic fundamentalism as a governing ideology up close. Not super pretty.
That caveat aside, here’s the forbidden truth one is not meant to utter: bin Laden was an evidently thoughtful man who had a profound impact on world history. And he wrote a letter that can be read in a matter of minutes elaborating upon his and his comrades’ motivations for the 9/11 attack and their broader geopolitical objectives.
The proper question is not why would anyone want to read it; it’s why wouldn’t anyone interested in the subject of global jihadist terrorism want to read about their motivations straight from the horse’s mouth?
What benefit is conferred by wallowing in ignorance and repeating the knuckle-dragging “they hate us because of our freedom” line pushed by American neocons? That’s a rhetorical question; it’s obviously immensely beneficial for the government’s propagandistic efforts when no information that runs contrary to their stupid bumper sticker slogans is allowed to be seen or heard.
“TikTok has stripped [bin Laden’s] #LettertoAmerica from its search function. But more than 13 million people had already viewed it!” a histrionic Andrea Mitchell pearl-clutched on MSNBC.
She was then joined for the censorship-fest segment by “retired” CIA spook Marc Polymeropoulos who now poses as a journalist of sorts to lament that the peasants should be permitted to read literature forbidden by the state.
“CNN analyst explains disturbing Osama Bin Laden TikTok trend,” reads the CNN headline. CNN’s Chief Law Enforcement and Intelligence Analyst — a fancy title for “spook whisperer” — John Miller calls the TikTok republications of, and videos about, the letter a “digital crime scene.”
Like TikTok, presumably also under threat by the multinational corporate state, British outlet The Guardian recently removed the letter from its website.
Now, when you visit the URL where the letter was previously housed by the outlet, all you get is a page that reads “Removed: document”.
Plantation owners, similarly, barred their slaves from reading for fear they might get a little uppity and start wondering whether masta really had their best intentions at heart.
These tyrannical dinosaurs still apparently haven’t figured out how the Streisand Effect works; the harder they try to hide information, the more alluring it becomes.
The letter is still widely available online, and I would encourage everyone — if for no other reason than as a “fuck you” to the governing authorities who wish for totalitarian control over what you see and hear — to read it who wants to understand what the Islamic fundamentalist mindset is as it relates to the West and what it views as Western imperialism.
Lastly, the central lesson here is that the corporate state media has once again demonstrated that it is undeniably the enemy of every American citizen; it wants to shutter your mind in darkness so that the only ideas allowed to reverberate off of the walls of the Plato’s cave that is your curated worldview are the ones pre-approved by the CIA and filtered through the “free press.”
For now, these institutions are allowed to muzzle Americans’ speech with relatively impunity.
One fine day, though, the cleansing rain will fall…
Ben Bartee, author of Broken English Teacher: Notes From Exile, is an independent Bangkok-based American journalist with opposable thumbs.
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