Chomsky’s statement that just because bin Laden said he was responsible for 9/11 doesn’t mean he was, is both deliberately evasive and approaches senility.
The above quote is from Bob’s post here at Politics in the Zeros. Bob’s latest post smacks of ageism. Yes, Noam Chomsky is 82-years-old. But are his mental faculties seriously questioned by anybody? At 82 I’d argue he remains one of the sharpest people on the planet. But rather than focus on this cheap shot I want to focus on the actual issue of OBL’s execution and Chomsky’s actual position on the issue.
Chomsky made a very salient point: we have been given absolutely no evidence that OBL was involved let alone the mastermind of 9/11. We do know the Taliban offered to hand OBL over to the Bush administration with one stipulation: they provide some evidence OBL was actually involved. Rather than accept this perfectly reasonable quest we illegally invaded and occupied Afghanistan killing many many times more people than the attacks on 9/11.
Chomsky alludes to the so-called confession tape that allegedly shows Osama Bin Laden (OBL) confessing and even bragging about the attacks of 9/11 as no proof at all. The tape was released in December of 2001. In it a much fatter, right-handed (OBL was left-handed) man wearing gold rings (contrary to Islamic law) boasts of the attacks in rather grainy video with poor audio quality. While many of us in the West have seen the “confession video” very few of us have read OBL’s initial response to the attacks on September 17, 2001:
“I would like to assure the world that I did not plan the recent attacks, which seem to have been planned by people for personal reasons. I have been living in the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and following its leaders’ rules. The current leader does not allow me to exercise such operations.”
His follow up pronouncement in October of 2001 basically reiterated this denial:
“I have already said that I am not involved in the 11 September attacks in the United States. As a Muslim I try my best to avoid telling a lie. I had no knowledge of these attacks, nor do I consider the killing of women, children and other humans as an appreciable act. Islam strictly forbids harm to innocent women, children, and other people. Such a practice is forbidden even in the course of battle.”
Now obviously these pronouncements by the world’s leading bad guy don’t clear him of wrong doing. But it does seem terribly strange that after weeks of denying any involvement OBL would make a complete 180 and not only confess but boast about the attacks. Let’s not forget that this video is about all the proof the world has in connecting OBL to the attacks on 9/11; and as the Washington Post reported in May 2010, the CIA did in fact create a video of OBL and his cronies drinking and boasting of their exploits with little boys. The video was never released but it’s clear that the CIA certainly was involved in this type of thing.
Finally, just a note about the actual video itself. It wasn’t delivered by a courier. It was miraculously found in the town of Jalalabad. A small VHS tape that just so happened to have the confession of the world’s baddest terrorist taking credit for one of the worst terrorist attacks in history. Doesn’t that seem rather fortuitous?
Obviously I’ll be labeled as some conspiracy theorist for questioning the validity of this so-called proof. But consider that the FBI never even listed 9/11 in connection with OBL. When asked why there was no mention of 9/11 on OBL’s Most Wanted page, Rex Tomb, Chief of Investigative Publicity for the FBI said:
“The reason why 9/11 is not mentioned on Usama Bin Laden’s Most Wanted Page is because the FBI has no hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11.”
Now I know we’ve all been conditioned to hate OBL as the latest incarnation of evil. He even happens to die on the same day as Hitler to just kinda drive that point home, I suppose. That’s the day EVIL dies apparently. But given the very little evidence condemning OBL as the mastermind behind 9/11. What is Hitchen’s response to Chomsky’s assertion:
So is one to assume that he [Chomsky] has pored through the completed findings of the 9/11 Commission? Viewed any of the videos in which the 9/11 hijackers are seen in the company of Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri? Read the transcripts of the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called “20th hijacker”? Followed the journalistic investigations of Lawrence Wright, Peter Bergen, or John Burns, to name only some of the more salient? Acquainted himself with the proceedings of associated and ancillary investigations into the bombing of the USS Cole or indeed the first attempt to bring down the Twin Towers in the 1990s?
As expected, Hitchens offers nothing by way of facts. He doesn’t have to because nearly everyone will simply accept the mainstream narrative. A recent poll showed 80% of Americans believe OBL got what he deserved. No need for facts. James Keye puts it well in a recent post at Dissident Voice:
The parade of ‘frightening’ foreign sounding names, the constant assertion of al Qaeda’s malevolent omnipresence and the attribution of unique evil to bin Laden all seem to be propaganda aimed at frightening and controlling the common folk, to create distractions from the truly devastating plans that the economic and power elite have for us.
Consider the madness! Media Story: years of planning, millions of dollars, thousands upon thousands of man-hours, extensive training, deep infrastructure of information collection, analysis and military acumen required to discover and invade a house with about 7 or 8 adults and some children. But bin Laden is supposed to be controlling the world’s most dangerous terror shop out of a cave with a few hundred to a few thousand half literate followers… and using ‘runners’, not radios, to deliver messages.
Far from giving OBL a pass, Chomsky, as usual, was merely pointing out the hypocrisy of the Empire that routinely makes wild exaggerated claims with little or no proof (think WMD’s). None of this should be taken as a defense of OBL or a claim that he was somehow an innocent victim of Imperialism. Rather we should somberly reflect on the fact that we just invaded a foreign country, a supposed ally in the WOT, to murder an unarmed man with little or no evidence that he was actually guilty.
Lastly I want to turn to another quote from Bob’s post:
Sorry Noam, the enemy of my enemy is not always my friend. Just because the US has done loathsome things doesn’t mean that others haven’t done the same, especially when they admit to it.
And the far left wonders why more aren’t sympathetic to it. Sheesh.
Chomsky has certainly never argued in defense of OBL or in any way, shape, or form claimed him a friend. In fact, as Chomsky has pointed out again and again over the last 50 or so years, (I’m paraphrasing here) to believe in our basic rights, like due process or freedom of speech means you believe they apply to those we despise most.
Finally, whether or not people are sympathetic to this view is irrelevant to the Far Left and the Left in general. Nobody, to my knowledge, is organizing around this issue. I seriously doubt Chomsky or anybody else is going to rally for an investigation into the murder of OBL, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t something we should reflect on given the serious lack of evidence. Rather than see this as some sort of defense of OBL, I think the more important angle is how this is just another sad example of the Emperor ignoring the law when it’s convenient.