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JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSES TO A COLUMN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

Al-Qaeda said?

You certainly do not have to be a “conspiracy theorist” to look on such a statement with hard cynical eyes.

First, we have the word of former British Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, as well as other distinguished people that there is no “Al-Qaeda,” the term being a made-up catch-all for “bad guys” in general.

Since the word literally means “toilet,” it has always seemed unlikely there is such an organization even without the testimony of people who know.

Second, we pick these things up off a supposed Al-Qaeda web site?

Please, how long do you think it would take – with the NSA and CIA and other agencies constantly monitoring the Internet – to have special forces breaking down your door if you had a web site designated as an official Al-Qaeda web site?

A day? Maybe hours?

This kind of report lacks journalistic credibility.
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Response to another reader who says:

“So really the threat is still there and all must be vigilant.”

Vigilant for what?

People-eating aliens from space?

The Rapture?

Anti-Christ?

Spores from space?

Asteroids on a collision course with earth?

That is a ridiculous mode of thought which the propagandists and powers that be exploit to the hilt.

People who do murderous things are always part of life, especially in places like the United States.

You don’t have call them terrorists, just criminals or violent mental cases.

And responsible citizens have always reported truly doubtful behaviors to authorities.

Today we have lunatics day and night seeing things that aren’t there.
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Response to another reader who asks:

“Was there ever a Bin Laden?”

Yes.

He was a son of a distinguished and rich Saudi family and he is known to have intensely disliked the ruling House of Saud, and that’s why he could not live in his own homeland.

He served in America’s proxy war against the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

He is reputed to have been a brave man and a quite intelligent one.

Being an enemy of the House of Saud was itself a very dark mark against him for the United States after his being used in Afghanistan, but he also grew to dislike the United States.

He disliked the U.S. for manipulating his people over Afghanistan. They fought against the Soviets based on the notion that the Soviets were godless interlopers in Afghanistan, set on suppressing Muslims – that is the kind of line the CIA repeated endlessly while handing out Stinger missiles, rifle grenades, and packages of plastique.

After the Soviet defeat, he saw the U.S. beginning to do the very things they used to inflame hatred of the Soviets in a long series of events which saw Americans encroaching on what he and others regarded as sacred land. American troops in Saudi Arabia, land of the Prophet, and supported by the corrupt House of Saud, were especially detested.

Beyond that, our knowledge is pretty sketchy.

The U.S. never offered proof of his involvement in 9/11.

Indeed, the Taleban government in Afghanistan was willing to extradite him when the U.S. requested it after 9/11, if evidence were supplied, that being the normal international procedure in all extraditions.

It was the U.S. who refused, a fact never explained.

The U.S. made up its mind to invade Afghanistan and teach the world a lesson in the meaning of vengeance.

The odd fact is it was not the Taleban who even invited bin Laden to live in the country, it was the previous Northern Alliance government, the very same people the U.S. used to fight the Taleban, the very people who rule there today, and many of them are just as intolerant and backward as the Taleban.

The Taleban, while backward and nasty in their views, need never have been our actual enemies.

Many responsible people believe bin Laden was killed in the horrific bombing of Tora Bora a decade ago. If such were the case, it is reasonable the U.S. would want to keep it a secret to prevent the creation of a martyr.

I don’t know, but I was somewhat inclined to accept that.

This recent claim of his assassination, even if true, is so full of uncertainties and inconsistencies that great doubts exist as to what actually happened, and I am not referring to pictures or the lack of them.

It is quite possible that the Pakistani government actually gave him up to the CIA in return for some benefit – as perhaps a slowdown or halt to all the drone attacks and special forces assassinations.

There is a credible report from Pakistan that it was the Pakistani military who landed and entered the compound – this would have the effect of handing Obama a prize for his re-election – something which has not been at all certain.

Any government would be tired and angry about such high-handed treatment. But American activity’s impact on fundamentalist areas of Pakistan has been devastating in terms of terror incidents against the government for its silent cooperation. American arrogance has caused Pakistan to pay a high price in instability, literally tens of thousand of deaths.

On the other hand, Obama may just have staged a big show, a setting for announcing what may have been true for ten years.

I don’t see what gruesome pictures would settle since we can be sure there would have been pictures taken ten years ago in the mountains of Tora Bora.

Whatever is the case, I’m sure he is dead, but again we have no idea as to what his responsibility for 9/11 or other acts was. It does seem to me that he provided the United States with something of an Emmanuel Goldstein figure, the mythical arch villain with whom Oceana constantly frightened its citizens in Orwell’s 1984.

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