The birth of a pop icon

The Fog of Terrorism

March 17, 2004

Human beings are the best, prejudicial, reverse engineers in the entire world. Since socialist leader Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's victory in Spain's election, we all assume that the Madrid bombings that killed 200 people were designed to punish Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, for supporting the Iraq war. Forget about the fact that on its face, the claim that al-Qaeda carried out the Madrid bombings that killed 200 people, to demonstrate solidarity with Iraq, is rather absurd, but the media is not concerned, as long as reverse engineering fills all the blanks. In other words, we always invent a theory to fill a vacuum, and it doesn't matter whether it makes sense or not, because our ignorance is always the center of our universe.

The myths that the Madrid bombing have spawned are too numerous to mention, and this effort to debunk some of them is perfunctory at best. First and foremost, the suggestion that al-Qaeda is sophisticated enough to predict a free and open election, is absolutely preposterous. Moreover, if precedent is any indication, the only logical prediction of those who sought to manipulate an outcome is that the unprecedented, Madrid bombings that killed 200 people, should have caused the Spanish people to rally behind Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, in a show of solidarity, the way that Americans rallied behind George Bush after September 11. That clearly did not happen, and that is why the suggestion that al Qaeda plotted the Madrid bombing because they wanted to influence the Spanish election, is clearly the consequence of an intoxicated mind.

Media pundits routinely claimed that Operation "Mountain Storm", the latest effort to catch Osama Bin Laden, was given additional significance by concerns al Qaeda could be behind Thursday's bomb attacks on Madrid trains that killed 200 people. Spain's government, insisted the blasts were the work of Basque separatists. The government's rush to blame ETA slowed with the discovery of a stolen van containing seven detonators and tapes of Koranic verse in the town from which two of the trains departed and through which a third had passed. This dueling effort to assign blame was ultimately futile, because none of the speculation has shed any insight into the cause of the Madrid bombings.

In particular, the routine claim that al Qaeda is responsible for regime change is very odd. If al Qaeda is in fact responsible for regime change, why do the very same pundits who make such preposterous claims indicate that George Bush received an unexpected slap in the face, by the result of the Spanish election? If it was so unexpected, how did al Qaeda predict it? Clearly, al Qaeda could not control a political outcome that was not predictable, and that is what makes all the Monday morning quarterback allegations, so preposterous.

True to the fact that widespread propaganda has become unwavering, group-think assumptions that have no basis in logical analysis, both critics and fans of George Bush linked the Spanish bomb outrage to Iraq and blamed al Qaeda at the same time, even though al Qaeda has not been linked to Iraq. The truth has evidently been lost in all the propaganda about the obsession to prosecute the Iraq war and the astounding lack of knowledge about Osama bin Laden, the reputed head of al Qaeda, reflects the absolute lunacy of blaming al Qaeda for the Madrid bombings. At this stage in time, the war against terrorism has become a stab in the dark that is sustained by lies and ignorance, and the opportunity for peace is the only, consistent casualty.

Unlike the unpredictable result of the Spanish election, the prejudicial punditry is astoundingly predictable. According to Britain's conservative, Daily Telegraph, "Murder has been rewarded. The Spanish people have handed Al Qaeda, its first political victory." That's pretty good, given the fact that al Qaeda was probably not even involved. Al Qaeda has become the bogeyman of every terrorist act and the memory of al Qaeda's leader, Osama bin Laden, is frequently invoked, to sustain the impression that al Qaeda is so powerful that it can even influence the Spanish election. Despite all the propaganda, the Spanish people have proven that they and they alone are in a position to influence the Spanish election, and for that, they deserve the gratitude and the respect of the entire world -because that is what democracy is all about.

If the propaganda has created the impression that al Qaeda and the memory of Osama Bin Laden are the only threats to world peace, the people of Spain did not buy it.

Despite the fog of terrorism, Spain's new, Socialist Prime Minister defined the general consensus of the people, when he said;

"Wars such as those which have occurred in Iraq only allow hatred, violence and terror to proliferate." Why doesn't the Bush Administration understand that? Spain's prime minister-elect condemned the US led war in Iraq because it is a recipe for more terrorism and vowed to pull Spanish troops out of the war in Iraq unless control was handed over to the United Nations. "The war in Iraq was a disaster, the occupation of Iraq is a disaster", Zapatero said, and described the war as an unjustified mistake and a lie because it was waged on the claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and ties to the Al Qaeda network.

The people of Spain have sent leaders like George Bush a clear message. People are tired of being lied to and misled, and the gimmicks that fanatics rely upon to veer people to the right, are not working. Like the Spanish people who were insulted by the perception that their Prime Minister was trying to exploit a national tragedy, Americans reacted with disgust when King George tried to exploit 911 for political gain, and his ignorant advisers are so absolutely brain-dead they continued to air 911 ads even though the families of the victims had complained. If you want to know what 911 was all about, check this out, and you will clearly understand the ignorance of trying to create the impression that 911 made a hero out of George Bush. The Spanish punished the government for the Madrid bombing, and for some strange, bizarre reason, Bush's handlers expect to be applauded for 911, and that is sick.

Perhaps, the assumption that the worst peacetime massacre in Spanish history would cause the government to rally around their "warmongering" Prime Minister, is a rude awakening because the assumption fell flat on its face. Ideals like integrity and anger over the impression that a national tragedy was being exploited for political purposes, determined the result of the Spanish election, and if there are more terrorists out there who are planning to exploit another attack for political purposes, they should forget about it.

The Bush Administration is run by the most out of touch Administration in world history. Leaders from around the world are disturbed by the perception that Bush lied to justify the Iraq war, and when Kerry matter of factly mentioned this simple reality, the Bush Administration resorted to smart ass commentary like "Americans are going to decide this election". To be sure, Americans are going to decide the election, and the unprecedented arrogance of an Administration that is beginning to turn a stomach a minute, is threatening to turn George Bush into another Howard Dean -a fighter till the bitter end.

The claim that al Qaeda is responsible for the Madrid bombing does not reflect reality, it reflects the confusion of George Bush's foreign policy. After all, we are talking about a President who went after Saddam when Bin Laden was still on the loose. The collusion between Al Qaeda and Iraq, is more a figment of the fanatics who seek to use the threat of terrorism, to create the impression that George Bush is a steady leader. To be sure, Asa Hutchison can easily make the connection between 911, Madrid and Iraq, but this is the same person who made the connection between sex and high crimes and misdemeanors.

Clearly, the effort to blame al Qaeda at all cost, is rather extreme, to say the least. "I'm satisfied there are connections to al Qaeda" Asa Hutchison, undersecretary of homeland security said. US authorities even speculated on the possibility that Muslim extremists were working with the Basque separatist group, ETA. Nobody really knew who was in fact responsible, but "evidence" like a copy of the Koran, pointed to Islamist involvement and the unprecedented nature of the attack made it difficult to ignore the possibility. Indeed, when the government insisted the attacks were the work of the Basque terrorist group, the ETA, voters thought they were being manipulated for political purposes, especially since the Socialists were being portrayed as being soft on the ETA, and the Spanish people voiced their anger over the appearance that a national tragedy was exploited for political purposes.

Other Bush officials like Secretary of State, Colin Powell said that the United States had no evidence that al Qaeda is behind the bombings. The videotape, found in a garbage bin near a Madrid mosque after a telephone tip to a television station, featuring a man speaking Arabic, has all the earmarks of the obsession to blame al Qaeda. According to the man on the tape, "We claim responsibility for what happened in Madrid just 2 1/2 years after the attacks in New York and Washington. This is an answer to your co-operation with the Bush criminals and their allies. This is an answer to crimes which you committed in the world, notably in Iraq and Afghanistan, and there will be more, so help us God."

The claim was made in the name of "al Qaeda's military spokesperson in Europe...Abu Dujan al-Afghani". European intelligence agencies do not know who al-Afghani is, and Colin Powell and his vast network has also failed to identify him.

The imbalance between the surface capacity to blame al Qaeda and the failure to authenticate al Qaeda involvement suggests that the only known premeditation of the Madrid bombings is the obsession to blame al Qaeda, and when we set hysteria aside, al-Afghani's "confession" is not authentic because al-Afghani has no public profile and it is therefore silly to claim that his dictated motivation is any more credible than Asa Hutchison is.

Perhaps the clearest, plausible analysis that reflection permits is that the mastermind who planned the Madrid bombing was probably trying to sow resentment against the large, Muslim populations in Europe and to try to shock European authorities out of the perception that they are failing to aggressively target terrorists. If that is what the Madrid bombings were all about, the desire to deliver a wake up call is certainly more understandable than all the Monday morning quarterbacks who claim that the terrorists successfully changed the regime in Spain. Reverse engineering theories do not make any sense, unless the consequences that they focus upon, are predictable. Terrorists are vicious, cowardly murderers, and the suggestion that they have the power to change a regime is a figment of the reverse engineer's imagination.

Terrorists are cowards who are very careful about their obsession to get away with murder. Israeli troops at a West Bank checkpoint recently arrested a 12-year-old boy who unknowingly tried to smuggle a bomb out of the city of Nablus. The boy was hired to carry baggage and did not know what was in the backpack. Militants planned to explode the device as the boy passed through the checkpoint but a technical malfunction thankfully thwarted the plot to murder innocent Israelis.

The difference between the kingpin and the mule is too huge to make a big deal out of all the obvious signs that point to al Qaeda, in the Madrid bombings. Cases which prompt a rush to judgment are frequently designed to mislead, and they are usually the ones that are never conclusively solved. Unfortunately, most acts of terrorism are ultimately a deliberate act to influence or to derail the peace process and since extremists on different sides of the same issue are usually involved, it is frequently difficult to conclusively assign blame.

Clearly, anyone who suggests that a handful of terrorists has the power to change any regime it decides to overthrow, is talking about the frustrated ambitions of every terrorist. They can plan and they can execute, but they will never control the will of people who refuse to be manipulated.

Even the assassination of anti-war activist, Robert Kennedy, did not produce the desired effect in Vietnam, because at best, the benefit that terrorists achieve is always short term. The assassination of Robert Kennedy further betrays the perpetual fog that terrorists produce, because Sirhan Sirhan is still in prison even though he was just a pawn of the sophisticated, regime change plot that was reversed, when Richard Nixon was impeached. Unfortunately, the mastermind of the RFK assassination was never exposed, and as long as we are still subject to be controlled by murderers like the Anthrax terrorists who claimed innocent, American lives, nothing much has changed, since 1968, or 1963 for that matter, when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

It is very easy to be mislead and to assume that al Qaeda is responsible for the Madrid bombings because we are beginning to assume that every Islamist is al Qaeda. It is also quite easy to find a radical Islamic group to claim that the bombings were payback for the Spanish government's support of the Iraq war, but this "bragavado" is not reality. The reality is, if al Qaeda is an organization headed by the Bin Laden we have come to know, it would not plan the murder of 200 Spaniards. After all, 90% of the Spanish people opposed the war in Iraq, and al Qaeda would have to be intoxicated, to seek to incite the wrath of people who had not rallied around Spain's Conservative, Prime Minister, in support of a so called war against terrorism. Where is Osama Bin Laden? Has he been captured yet, and if not, where are all the rumors coming from? Perhaps he can resolve the mystery that surrounds the Madrid bombings.

A few hours after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, the Bush administration concluded without supporting evidence, that "Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda organisation were prime suspects". CIA Director George Tenet stated that bin Laden has the capacity to plan "multiple attacks with little or no warning." Secretary of State Colin Powell called the attacks "an act of war" and President Bush confirmed in an evening televised address to the Nation that he would "make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them". Former CIA Director James Woolsey pointed his finger at "state sponsorship," implying the complicity of one or more foreign governments. In the words of former National Security Adviser, Lawrence Eagleburger, "I think we will show when we get attacked like this, we are terrible in our strength and in our retribution."

Meanwhile, parroting official statements, the Western media mantra has approved the launching of "punitive actions" directed against civilian targets in the Middle East. In the words of William Saffire writing in the New York Times: "When we reasonably determine our attackers' bases and camps, we must pulverize them -- minimizing but accepting the risk of collateral damage" -- and act overtly or covertly to destabilize terror's national hosts".

Like the bombings in Madrid, the fog ot terrorism is evidently foggy by design. This is a whole new age. The terrorists of the past were more than happy to claim responsibility, without outside support.

We cannot pulverize the entire world, just in case...

Next: Ashcroft's idea of a terrorist.

Plus: Rumsfeld's world

  • Lincoln and Kennedy
  • Mel Gibson's Passion
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