Friday, July 17, 2009 

Men's shirts, short skirts, oh oh oh!

Turns out then that David Shayler, the ex-spook who revealed that MI6 had co-operated with jihadists in an attempt to assassinate Colonel Gaddafi, is now calling himself Delores Kane and living in a squatted commune with members of the "Rainbow Movement". He also supposedly believes that he is the Messiah, as his website details.

All of which is remarkably sane when compared to his previous activities within the UK section of the 9/11 Truth Movement, where he wasn't just someone who believed that it was an inside job, but that there weren't any planes involved at all:

Then things really go off the rails. I ask Shayler if it's true he has become a "no planer" - that is, someone who believes that no planes at all were involved in the 9/11 atrocity. Machon looks uncomfortable. "Oh, fuck it, I'm just going to say this," he tells her. "Yes, I believe no planes were involved in 9/11." But we all saw with our own eyes the two planes crash into the WTC. "The only explanation is that they were missiles surrounded by holograms made to look like planes," he says. "Watch the footage frame by frame and you will see a cigar-shaped missile hitting the World Trade Center." He must notice that my jaw has dropped. "I know it sounds weird, but this is what I believe."

Still, you can't argue with legs like that.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007 

9/11, 7/7 and inquiry fatigue.

Peter Tatchell, for reasons unknown, has brought up yet again the supposed unanswered questions surrounding the 9/11 attacks. Sunny mentions, quite reasonably, that to even do this opens you up to the accusation of being a conspiracy theorist, but while true, it's not really much excuse for just giving the tin-foil hat brigade yet another excuse to rear their ugly heads with their delusional ravings of how it was either a controlled demolition, a missile that hit the Pentagon, or even in fact a projected hologram, and err, didn't really happen at all.

Even though some questions do remain unanswered about 9/11, the inquiries into what happened that day have been far more exhaustive than anything we've seen so far into 7/7. We know exactly who did it, how they did it, where they lived previously and their justifications for doing so. The main conspirator that plotted the attacks has been caught. al-Qaida, unlike over 7/7, 21/7 or the Madrid bombings, has claimed responsibility and only yesterday released the latest videotape containing one of the hijackers' living will. What we don't know is whether the attacks could have been prevented had either the Bush administration been more focused on the terrorist threat or if the warnings of the FBI and CIA had been acted upon.

More to the point, the fallout from 9/11 is now much more important than the attacks themselves were, and the continuing questions about them are. They happened; there's nothing we can do about that now, except learn from the lessons they've given. You don't have to be a cynical bastard to note that the Bush administration chose this week for the report to the Senate and Congress on the Iraqi surge: what better time to accuse those of wanting to end the nightmare in Iraq of being unpatriotic? The Bush line on Iraq is that they're fighting the terrorists there so that they don't have to do so in America. It's a laughable argument based on sophistry, but in a nation where 33% still believe Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11, it's one that still holds some weight. Also prevalent in the report by Petraeus were yet more accusations about Iran's involvement, while Rice today scaremongered about Ahmadinejad's pledge to fill the vacuum. The announcement that an American base, you know, the ones that are all going to be dismantled once the US withdraws, is going to be built within 4 miles of the Iranian border just shows where all that is inexorably leading to: another confrontation, more needless deaths, and the threat of yet more collateral damage through blowback.

As Simon Jenkins points out though, at least American democracy has somewhat attempted to hold those in charge of the Iraq war to account. Back here the contempt with which the opposing view has been held both by Tony Blair and now Gordon Brown has meant that we haven't even had the slightest voice in determining how much longer our own troops stay in the country. An attempt to hold an inquiry was voted down by Labour backbenchers too cowardly to listen to the overwhelming view of the public who have long wanted to know how we were dragged into this mess in the first place. Meanwhile, the families and relatives of those caught up in 7/7 are reduced to resorting to legal action to obtain a full independent inquiry into the events of that day and the acquaintances that the bombers had with other now convicted terrorist plotters. Compared to the inquiries and inquest into 9/11, we know next to nothing about where they came from, where they trained and who they had contact with. They deserve so much better.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007 

Never forget straw-man day.

What better way to commemorate the passing of another anniversary of The Day The World Changed Forever than sitting down with a nice cup of tea and reading Martin Amis's latest dispatch on how the liberal relativists are traitorous bastards?

I admit, I paraphrase slightly. But only slightly. Amis, who last regaled us with his views on Islamic terrorism, the "long war" and the inadequacies of the leader of the 9/11 attacks, Mohammad Atta, in a fictionalised account of that morning and in a lengthy essay titled the Age of Horrorism, on err, September the 10th last year, today has his latest attempt published in the Times, presumably because even the Observer is tired of his tedious, tendentious ramblings.

Titled "9/11 and the cult of death", Amis travels down the same weary, familiar trail that he has passed along numerous times before. For a man once considered and still thought of by some as our greatest living novelist, it's quite odd how he can't get beyond, like many others, simply and disingenuously comparing takfirist jihadism to either Nazism or Bolshevism. His main link, rather than any real analysis of how these movements became popular and took power, is that all three are at their very heart irrational, against modernity and hark back to a romanticised past which in actuality never existed which they want to recreate.

Thing is, Amis has tried this before, and got burned while doing it. His 2002 book, Koba the Dread, both a memoir and an account of Stalinist crimes, was widely panned because he failed to recognise the difference between Trotskyism and Stalinism, deciding after doing huge amounts of research that both were equally responsible for the crimes committed between 1917 and 1953. Indeed, he even refers to Trotsky as a "fucking liar and a nun-killer", which he may well have been, but does little to prove his point. Even more puzzlingly, Amis in the book quotes Orlando Figes eloquently explaining the difference between Nazism and the Russian revolution, with fascism "spitting in the face of the enlightenment" while communism was "an experiment which the human race was bound to make", yet he still could not see how one has become the embodiment of evil while Stalinism, responsible for possibly more deaths than Nazi Germany, has entered history condemned but with nowhere near as much ignominy. Whatever we think today of Stalin and the Soviet Union, it's hard to forget that without Hitler's greatest mistake of invading Russia and the huge blood sacrifice of the millions of Soviet citizens, the war might still have been lost.

Not learning this lesson, Amis promptly compares today's Islamic death cult to both the Nazi and Bolshevist variants, without worrying about the ahistoricism of such a weak argument. Not content with just that, he then relates a recent experience of when he appeared on Question Time, and after giving what he thought was a centrist argument on the war on terror is loudly shouted down by someone making the ignorant point that because American armed the mujahideen in Afghanistan that it should be bombing itself. Amis takes this, and the audience's apparent "unanimous" applause to mean that if they were given

the choice between George Bush and Osama bin Laden, the liberal relativist, it seems, is obliged to plump for the Saudi, thus becoming the appeaser of an armed doctrine with the following tenets: it is racist, misogynist, homophobic, totalitarian, inquisitional, imperialist, and genocidal.

Not only is this a false dichotomy, it's a fallacious straw man as well. Amis, perhaps unaware of it, appears to be channelling George Bush himself, who said in the days after September the 11th that you're either with us or you're with the terrorists. Amazingly enough, you can both oppose all the above tenets, the murderous rampages against innocent civilians by the "Islamic State of Iraq" and the original war itself, sold on lies and misinformation without having to choose between either. For once, Tony Blair was right: there is a third way, and that Amis and others don't see it is only going to entrench the failure of the so-called war on terror so far.

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