Osama Bin Gollum; We Are All Sauron

From the Washington Post in 1999. Think WETA or Industrial Light and Magic has the best technology?

I've been worried about this new power to literally create totally convincing audiovisual reality since Lord of the Rings came out. If it's not happening now; it inevitably will, and will not be detectable. That's a relativistic, postmodern threat to civilization for ya, not the pointless meanderings of some French "philosopher."

Juan Cole reports that the audio track may be from a prior audio tape...but he doesn't think it's a fake.

Anyway, here's the full video and transcript. I can't vouch for the translation, of course. Or the authenticity.

But, as with the 9/11 Truth Movement, the real possibility of fakery or deception misses the larger point.* Whether or not the tape is real, whether or not Bin Laden is what he's been presented to be (i.e., not a CIA agent, etc.), the function of Bin Laden's periodic tapes are the same: to ensure that the US stays on its current course in the Middle East. Assuming Bin Laden is a stooge of the US (or some faction within the government, etc.), that follows. Assuming Bin Laden is a homegrown jihadist, that follows just as strongly.

The best thing for Al Qaida is for the Americans not only to stay in the Middle East, but to increase our military presence there. Obviously.
*In a very real sense, it doesn't matter whether 9/11 was "as presented," or a false-flag op ("they made it happen"), or was simply allowed to happen ("they let it happen"). The result is the same: what we have seen since 9/11 in this country and around the world.

In a country that lets 1500 of its citizens drown in NOLA, denies healthcare to millions, etc., etc. -- why would anyone be surprised if 9/11 was allowed to occur? Only if you have some lingering sense of "innocence" (i.e., "willful stupidity") about human nature, power, and the United States (i.e., "American exceptionalism"), would you be at all shocked by such an occurrence.

Furthermore, it's already known that "they let it happen." For years -- decades -- it's been known that American policy in the Middle East would lead to terror at home. (Um, in 1993, the Twin Towers were almost taken out, remember?) Since making the necessary -- and morally correct -- changes to our foreign policy was as unthinkable to either party then as it is now, the inevitable occurred. That's the real "they-let-it-happen" -- and the "they" is "all of us."

Finally, for thirty years (I'm 37), it has been common knowledge -- and totally obvious, even to a 7-year-old -- that nuclear proliferation would inevitably lead to either a state-to-state war or to a nuclear terror attack, either of which would be followed by a fascist crackdown, a crackdown most likely widely welcomed, if not begged for.

This has been obvious to me since I was 7 years old, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. As with a major earthquake in California, it's only a matter of when. Unlike a major earthquake in California, it is preventable.

We still live in a very free country. For the moment, no doubt, but it's still the case. If we, the most privileged people in the history of the human race, do not put a stop to our government's suicidal policies by forcing a full pullout from Iraq, paying massive reparations, dismantling the bases, reining in Israel (or, if that doesn't work, cutting it loose to fight its own nationalistic wars), massively investing in green energy, putting all fission under international control (as per the IAEA and non-proliferation treaty), among other things, well, then we're finished as a civilization (such as it is), if not as a species.

No, there's no guarantee that doing all of those things would save us (meaning, the species). Other nations may still muck things up. But we can do our part, and it's much the largest part, given we are obviously the reigning superpower. And if we don't do all of things I (and many, many others) suggest above (it's an incomplete list, of course), we are guaranteed to self-destruct. Maybe not tomorrow; maybe not in five years; maybe not even in fifty -- but soon, and inevitably.

But those new iPhones are so shiny and pretty! Head; sand.


  1. On Bin Laden's mention of Chomsky in the recent speech...from a post to Znet's Sustainers Board.

    Dear Noam:

    I imagine you have been asked to comment on this 16,493 times already (a rough estimate), so if you're preparing a comment for elsewhere, please point me in that direction.

    The supposed reference is as follows:

    "This war was entirely unnecessary, as testified to by your own reports. And among the most capable of those from your own side who speak to you on this topic and on the manufacturing of public opinion is Noam Chomsky, who spoke sober words of advice prior to the war, but the leader of Texas doesn't like those who give advice. The entire world came out in unprecedented demonstrations to warn against waging the war and describe its true nature in eloquent terms like "no to spilling red blood for black oil," yet he paid them no heed. It is time for humankind to know that talk of the rights of man and freedom are lies produced by the White House and its allies in Europe to deceive humans, take control of their destinies and subjugate them."

    Here's a translation of Bin Laden's speech; I can't vouch for its accuracy, of course.

    I'll say this much: as per the propaganda model, it's interesting that the full speech is not more widely available. One would think it is important to read, no? But that'd be "moral equivalence" -- or somesuch nonsense. Nor will one find anywhere the obviously valid statement that alongside the warp of Bin Laden's warped and hypocritical propaganda (he's against capital and terror?) there is a weft of truths and truisms. No propaganda can work without some thread of validity. Such a statement would be seen as utter treason, of course, but it is not any less valid because of that mindless and childish reaction. By that logic, no one should be a vegetarian for any reason because Hitler was a vegetarian. I imagine Hitler brushed his teeth, too; should we give that up as well? Nor should anyone ever use a limited-access highway, since those were (supposedly) invented by the Nazis.

    Meanwhile, the attack by the right on the left (what there is of a left) continues, linking up Bin Laden with wacky leftwing conspiracy-theorists, such as yourself*. (*Sarcasm definitely intended.)

    I'm sure you'll have more to say about the reactions to Bin Laden's reference to you than about Bin Laden's reference itself, which sounds to me like a warped echo of Chavez's: specifically designed to whip the right into a frenzy, and frighten the left ("left" -- I'm talking about elite opposition [sic?]) into (continued) acquiescence to increased militarism in the Middle East.

    Which is obviously what OBL, or any jihadist, would want. I wonder whether David Brooks, et al, understand that -- what do you think?

    Finally, I'd just like to say re: conspiracy theories that it really doesn't much matter whether OBL is a CIA agent (or whatever) or not: the functional result is basically identical. As Robert Parry has pointed out several times, and as is obvious in international relations, extremists feed off of each other. The "Bush administration" (a short-hand label to stand for any elite element that is for current US policies) and "Al Qaida" (whatever that is; doesn't much matter) are functional symbionts. Whether they are more than that really is beside the point (to me, at least).

    The same goes for 9/11 -- it doesn't much matter whether the official story is true or whether this was some "false flag op" -- or whatever. Furthermore, as I believe you wrote, "they let it happen" is obviously true in the more important general sense. The result is what matters -- worldwide crackdown; dissecting the ultra-specific causes (ie, inconsistencies) on that day (in "truth movement," or JFK-assassination, fashion) are pretty much a distraction. We know exactly what has happened since 9/12/01 here and around the world.

    In fact, it seems to me that only someone willfully ignorant of human nature, power, and suffering from an "American exceptionalism" hangover could be much surprised that -- gasp! -- the government could acquiesce in the deaths of 3,000 of its own citizens! Happens all the time in less (and more) spectacular ways. So, I have no stake in refusing to believe that our government (any government) could do such a thing. Quite the contrary.

    I just don't think that's the key issue now: not only would it be near impossible to prove that "they let it happen" in any more specific sense (proving an absence), but it's also a major stretch to believe "they made it happen," given what we know -- or are allowed to know. But, after all, it really doesn't matter much: we ought to know by now that our government (any government) is a violent and murderous institution. Better to try to figure out how to get it to respond to popular will, if at all possible.

    Many thanks for whatever comments you'd like to make, as always. I imagine you'd want to skip any reaction to my 9/11 comments, having made your case umpteen million times, but I would like to know your thoughts on the rest, if possible.

    Doug Tarnopol

    PS: I'd just like to point out that despite his citation of you, Bin Laden isn't much of a student of your political writings, at least where JFK is concerned. He seems to think that JFK was killed for trying to stop the Vietnam War. I realize this is a common assumption, but I know you have spilled much ink showing the contrary: not only did JFK not try to stop the war, but he also (mostly) initiated it, at least in the move from covert to overt warfare. In any event, I'm sure that David Brooks will point out this disagreement between you and Bin Laden very soon....


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