GLW archive on 9/11, 'war on terror': How US warmongers exploited 9/11

Submitted by Webmaster on Wed, 13/09/2006 - 11:22

How the CIA created Osama bin Laden

"Throughout the world ... its agents, client states and satellites are on the defensive - on the moral defensive, the intellectual defensive, and the political and economic defensive. Freedom movements arise and assert themselves. They're doing so on almost every continent populated by man - in the hills of Afghanistan, in Angola, in Kampuchea, in Central America ... [They are] freedom fighters."

Is this a call to jihad (holy war) taken from one of Islamic fundamentalist Osama bin Laden's notorious fatwas? Or perhaps a communique issued by the repressive Taliban regime in Kabul?

In fact, this glowing praise of the murderous exploits of today's supporters of arch-terrorist bin Laden and his Taliban collaborators, and their holy war against the "evil empire", was issued by US President Ronald Reagan on March 8, 1985. The "evil empire" was the Soviet Union, as well as Third World movements fighting US-backed colonialism, apartheid and dictatorship.

How things change. In the aftermath of a series of terrorist atrocities - the most despicable being the mass murder of more than 6000 working people in New York and Washington on September 11 - bin Laden the "freedom fighter" is now lambasted by US leaders and the Western mass media as a "terrorist mastermind" and an "evil-doer".

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How US warmongers exploited 9/11

But by the end of the 9/11 anniversary hoopla, after the thousands of hours of TV time and the column-kilometres published in the world's newspapers and magazines, you can be sure that the most glaring aspect of the post-9/11 period will have remained unmentionable by all but the most honest commentators: that Washington's "war on terrorism" is a cynical fraud.

The most repeated 9/11 media cliche is that on that day "the world changed". However, few commentators have bothered to explain how.

September 11 did mark a change in the US and world politics - just how permanent remains to be seen. On that day, the US rulers realised that those awful acts of terrorism provided them with a golden opportunity to achieve the US capitalist ruling class' long-held objective of world domination - the "American century" it predicted was at hand at theend of World War II.

Top officials in President George Bush junior's administration seized that opportunity, coldly calculating that the traumatised US people would now support significant military interventions by US ground troops abroad, in the guise of fighting "terrorism", even if there was a risk of large numbers of US casualties - something they have refused to accept since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975.

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JOHN PILGER: Bush's `war on terror' is a cruel hoax

At the British Labour Party conference following the September 11, 2001, attacks, Prime Minister Tony Blair said memorably: "To the Afghan people, we make this commitment. We will not walk away... If the Taliban regime changes, we will work with you to make sure its successor is one that is broad based, that unites all ethnic groups and offers some way out of the poverty that is your miserable existence."

He was echoing US President George Bush, who had said a few days earlier: "The oppressed people of Afghanistan will know the generosity of America and its allies. As we strike military targets, we will also drop food, medicine and supplies to the starving and suffering men, women and children of Afghanistan. The US is a friend of the Afghan people."

Almost every word they spoke was false. Their declarations of concern were cruel illusions that prepared the way for the conquest of both Afghanistan and Iraq. As the illegal Anglo-American occupation of Iraq now unravels, the forgotten disaster in Afghanistan, the first "victory" in the "war on terror", is perhaps an even more shocking testament to power.

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How the Bush gang seized the `opportunity' of 9/11

Even while working people were still coming to terms with the shock of witnessing the unimaginable and traumatic collapse of the World Trade Center, top US officials were describing this mass-murder of 3000 people as "an opportunity", recent books by government "insiders" and Washington Post assistant managing editor Bob Woodward have revealed.

As the country went into mourning, Bush's war cabinet quickly began to coolly debate just how soon it could get away with shifting the enemy in its coming "war on terrorism" to Iraq, a country that had absolutely nothing to do with the attacks.

In the days that followed September 11, 2001, the US rulers immediately recognised that those awful acts of mass murder had provided them with a golden opportunity to achieve the US capitalist ruling class' long-held objective of unchallenged world domination - the "American century"it predicted was at hand at the end of World War II.

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Stop all the terror! Troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan

On July 7, some of the horrific consequences of the "war on terror" hit working-class Londoners. In a series of bomb blasts on the London tube and buses, more than 50 people were killed, and more than 700 injured, many losing limbs or suffering other debilitating injuries.

This was the third major terrorist attack targeting citizens whose governments compose the "coalition of the willing" since the invasionof Iraq: following the 2002 Bali bombing; and the 2004 bombing in Spain. As in those cases, the incessant media coverage of the suffering inflicted upon innocents - those who have never bombed or shot or starved a nation - has brought home to First World residents just how awful political violence against civilians is.

And at the same time, there are the attempts to use this to further the war on the Third World. We have already been treated to pronouncements by British PM Tony Blair, US President George Bush and Australian PM John Howard, that these terrorists are targeting "civilisation", "our values" and that great standby, "our way of life".

But this approach is deliberately misleading. Robert Fisk said it best in the Independent on July 8: "It's no use Blair telling us, 'They will never succeed in destroying what we hold dear'. They are not trying to destroy 'what we hold dear'. They are trying to get public opinion to force Blair to withdraw from Iraq, out of his alliance with the United States, out of his adherence to Bush's policies in the Middle East.

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Terrorism: the new Cold War

Terrorism has become a kind of new Cold War. During the post-World War II struggle of the US-led "free world" against the Soviet Union and its allies, everything was justified by the needs of the fight against "communism", Soviet "totalitarianism", Reagan's "evil empire", etc. Under these banners, the West carried out a permanent arms race (which included the massive deployment of nuclear weapons), sponsored and supported scores of atrocious Third World dictatorships, and witch-hunted its own citizens and attacked their democratic rights.

Today the "war on terror" fulfils the same function for the Western ruling classes as did the Cold War before it. And it is just as spurious. During the Cold War period the real threat to the mass of ordinary people around the world was not the Soviet bloc but Western imperialist capitalism, which sucked the blood of the Third World and exploited the labour of the workers at home.

And today - by any rational yardstick - Osama bin Laden and his acolytes are really only a minor threat to our wellbeing. But our rulers and their media lackeys hype up the terrorist threat - to truly surreal levels - in order to justify anti-democratic legislation that is far harsher than anything seen in the West during the Cold War.

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Date: Monday 11/Serp/2006 18:20:33
From: glparramatta glparramatta at



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