Comments: Sean Wilentz: Even Grosser Than I Thought

Why they have been attacking the US has been made clear. It is disgusting that people would work to con Americans about why their lives are being put at risk. For example, Thomas Friedman and Serge Schemann have abused their power to use the NYT as a platform to spread LIES, specifically the lie that the terrorists attacking in 1993 and on 9/11 had no specific demands! That lie is an extreme violation of the American people's rights and our dignity. It is designed to rob the American people of our right to decide if we want to put our lives at risk over the policy of supporting Israel.

Ramzi Yousef sent a letter to the New York Times after the 1993 bombing attack on the WTC, "We declare our responsibility for the explosion on the mentioned building. This action was done in response for the American political, economical, and military support to Israel the state of terrorism and to the rest of the dictator countries in the region."

YET Thomas Friedman ignores those crystal clear demands and in 1998 he was trying to deceive the American public about the motives behind the terrorism: Terrorists, he wrote in 1998 after the 1993 WTC bombing and after terrorists attacked two US embassies in Africa, "have no specific ideological program or demands. Rather, they are driven by a generalized hatred of the US, Israel and other supposed enemies of Islam."
We really need to get to a place where the public discourse is not dominated by lies.

It's clear what Friedman is trying to hide. Thomas Friedman lies about bin Laden's motives (this is after years of public statements by bin LAden in which he denounced the US for supporting Israel. Friedman claims, " the fact is that bin Laden never focused on this issue. He only started talking about "Palestine" after September 11, when he sensed that he might be losing the support of the Arab street. " (p311 of Longitudes & Attitudes ) and " Osama bin Laden never mentioned the Palestinian cause as motivating his actions until he felt he was losing support in the Arab world. " (p361-362 of Longitudes & Attitudes ) Friedman is flat out lying.

Posted by Tom Murphy at March 2, 2013 07:03 AM

Letter sent to the NYT in 1993:

We are, the fifth battalion in the LIBERATION ARMY, declare our
responsibility for the explosion on the mentioned building. This
action was done in response for the American political,
economical, and military support to Israel the state of terrorism
and to the rest of the dictator countries in the region.

OUR DEMANDS ARE:

1 - Stop all military, economical, and
political aid to Israel.

2 - All diplomatic relations with Israel
must stop.

3 - Not to interfere with any of the
Middle East countries interior affairs.

IF our demands are not met, all of our functional groups in the
army will continue to execute our missions against the military
and civilian targets in and out the United States. For your own
information, our army has more than hundred and fifty suicidal
soldiers ready to go ahead. The terrorism that Israel practices
(Which is supported by America) must be faced with a similar one.
The dictatorship and terrorism also supported by America) that
some countries are practicing against their own people must also
be faced with terrorism.

The American people must know, that their civilians who got
killed are not better than those who are getting killed by the
American weapons and support.

The American people are responsible for the actions of their
government and they must question all of the crimes that their
government is committing against other people. Or they -
Americans - will be the targets of our operations that could
diminish them.

LIBERATION ARMY
FIFTH
BATTALION

Thomas Friedman wrote in 1998 that terrorists "have no specific ideological program or demands." (IF PUNDITS WERE HONEST WE MIGHT HAVE BEEN ABLE TO PREVENT 9/11!)

Posted by Tom Murphy at March 2, 2013 07:08 AM

Heh. I see that Todd Gitlin makes an appearance in that thread. I'm disappointed that Zombie Arthur Schlesinger didn't show up.

Posted by Happy Jack at March 2, 2013 08:17 AM

Tom Murphy: I'm pretty sure (99.44% sure) that U&I would never agree to meet those demands. Stop support to OUR puppets? Hardly.
Its a majority rule country, Folks. Look around, the MAJORITY of YOUR neighbors like the way things are, want US to get the oil, want US to control the rest of the world in the name of security, want to kill those people. The ONLY part America doesn't like is the part that asks, "What's in your wallet?" If the money's good then its ALL good.

Posted by m at March 2, 2013 04:40 PM

I think the fact that elites feel it necessary to lie to us about why we are being attacked indicates that they are not too sure the public would continue to back the policies if they know the truth. I would argue that public opinion would be against the idea that they should be fed lies. Do you disagree? Look at what has been happening, you have Friedman and others LYING to us about why we are being targeted, LYING to us about why we are having fellow Americans killed. This really is an extremely ugly situation.

Posted by Tom Murphy at March 2, 2013 06:49 PM

Yes, yes, America's automatic support for Israel is a bad thing, and not only for reasons of our own protection. Likewise killing huge numbers of people in various other countries in the middle East. And yes, yes, point taken about Ramzi Yousef, but he wasn't Bin Laden. Here's a bunch of Bin Laden quotes I found, to give an idea of his concerns:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/02/bin-laden-war-words-quotes

And yes, Friedman's a twit, but I don't think that's news to anybody reading.

Posted by godoggo at March 2, 2013 08:53 PM

Tom Murphy: Yes, politicians lie constantly. WE should teach that in school. Thomas Paine wrote about the same problem in "Common Sense". In fact I'm saying that WE realize the lies, its just that WE LOVE THEM is what I'm saying. I'm afraid not much can be said or done about such a situation.

NO REVOLUTION can fix that, no matter what size, big or small, &ITS NO JOKE!!!

Posted by Mike Meyer at March 2, 2013 09:31 PM

"point taken about Ramzi Yousef, but he wasn't Bin Laden"
what the hell is that supposed to mean? Another BS attempt to downplay the role US support of Israel had in motivating the attacks? Contrary to Friedman's claims, bin Laden had been angry at US support of Israel for decades (even before he resorted to terrorism) So even before saying this: "We swore that America wouldn't live in security until we live it truly in Palestine. This showed the reality of America, which puts Israel's interest above its own people's interest. America won't get out of this crisis until it gets out of the Arabian Peninsula, and until it stops its support of Israel." -Osama bin Laden, October 2001
Bin Laden was saying, My Muslim Brothers of The World: Your brothers in Palestine and in the land of the two Holy Places are calling upon your help and asking you to take part in fighting against the enemy --your enemy and their enemy-- the Americans and the Israelis"

Peter Bergen tried to expose the elite's canard:
"conventional wisdom has it that bin Laden adopted the Palestinians issue only recently. Reading this declaration [the first declaration of war, issued in 1996] SHOULD PUT THAT CANARD TO REST." p164 The Bin Laden I Know. YET when he was a guest on Anderson Cooper's show, Copper repeated the canard!: "It -- it's interesting, also, to hear them reference Palestinians. As -- as I read in your book "The Osama Bin Laden I Know: The Oral History of Osama bin Laden," I mean, bin Laden wasn't talking about Palestinians from the get-go." Bergen looked uncomfortable in having to explain to Cooper, "Well, he -- he has always been interested in the Palestinian issue."

So bin Laden was very much motivated by his anger at US support of Israel and Thomas Friedman (and the rest of the elites dominating our society [See The Real 9/11 Conspiracy: Traitorous 9/11 Commissioners Served Israel Agenda]) has really crossed the line with a massive fraud perpetrated in order to protect the policy of supporting Israel. And bin Laden could do nothing by himself, so look at the other perpetrators and the mastermind of 9/11, KSM and his motivation too: "By his own account, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's animus toward the United States stemmed not from his experiences there as a student, but rather from his violent disagreement with U.S. foreign policy favoring Israel." Chapter 5 of the 9/11 Report

My own research has turned up even more evidence which the Commission had access to as well:
Abdulaziz Alomari, one of the hijackers aboard Flight 11 with Mohammed Atta, said in his video will, "My work is a message those who heard me and to all those who saw me at the same time it is a message to the infidels that you should leave the Arabian peninsula defeated and stop giving a hand of help to the coward Jews in Palestine."
Ahmed Al Haznawi, a hijacker aboard Flight 93, said in his video will, "Here is Palestine for more than a half-century, its wound has continued to bleed."

Posted by Tom Murphy at March 2, 2013 09:43 PM

I think it's hard to know what really motivates killers, whether it's the respectable Western official or some nut in a cave. Come to think of it, the respectable Western officials hang out in bunkers sometimes, so I repeat myself. Anyway, Jon has written a lot on this subject--how killers and propagandists seem to believe their own lies. I've read (and am too lazy to look it up) that Osama claimed to have been motivated by various things, including Israel's bombing of Beirut in 1982, the Iraqi sanctions, and our presence in Saudi Arabia. He was outraged by the deaths of innocent people, so he decided to kill some.


Wilentz and Hitchens interest me more for some reason, especially Hitchens. What Hitch wrote on Sept 13 2001 is what I would have expected him to write, based on his whole life up to that point, yet a few days later he morphed into a pseudo-George Orwell fighting the Islamofascists and the lefties (like his Sept 13 self) who thought that US foreign policy was partly to blame for 9/11. What were his motives for the 180 degree shift? His career skyrocketed after he started his left-bashing, but was he really that cynical?

Posted by Donald Johnson at March 2, 2013 10:13 PM

I posted a long post with links so it wasn't cleared yet.

Why is it that when the main motive is anger at US support of Israel do we have all this questioning about what is "really" the motive? You list other things and it's true that he was angry about other brutality and deaths too BUT it is only US support of Israel which Friedman and others feel it necessary to specifically spread canards about. I have seen pundits happily talk about the troops in Saudi Arabia. (it's usually portrayed as if it is a superficial grievance)

Peter Bergen tried to expose the elite's canard:
"conventional wisdom has it that bin Laden adopted the Palestinians issue only recently. Reading this declaration [the first declaration of war, issued in 1996] SHOULD PUT THAT CANARD TO REST." p164 The Bin Laden I Know. YET when he was a guest on Anderson Cooper's show, Copper repeated the canard!: "It -- it's interesting, also, to hear them reference Palestinians. As -- as I read in your book "The Osama Bin Laden I Know: The Oral History of Osama bin Laden," I mean, bin Laden wasn't talking about Palestinians from the get-go." Bergen looked uncomfortable in having to explain to Cooper, "Well, he -- he has always been interested in the Palestinian issue."

I don't see such agonizing over and questioning of other motives, for example about Nat Turner's motives. Was he REALLY upset about slavery? Turner talked about visions in the sky and was religious. I don't see people going to great lengths to talk about "radical Christianity" being the motive for Turner's rebellion. What I do see is a downplaying of the extent of Turner's terrorism so the details like the chopping off of 10 white school children's heads is something I never learned in school. Clearly elites don't want the lesson taught that sometimes people do horrible acts of terrorism in response to real injustices.

Posted by Tom Murphy at March 2, 2013 11:02 PM

I'm not going to get into a long back and forth about it... but I just found Osama's October 2001 statement. He does mention Israel, as well as a lot of other grievances.
http://newsvote.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/1585636.stm

But if you insist on believing that Israel is the #1 concern of all middle eastern terrorists, well, life will go on.

Posted by godoggo at March 2, 2013 11:27 PM

OK, I just read your last post. We're really arguing about nothing. Or splitting hairs at worst.

Posted by godoggo at March 2, 2013 11:32 PM

Donald Johnson: I do wish I were better at understanding the motivations and hidden thoughts of and feelings strangers. This seems to be an excellent skill for the purpose of manipulating them into doing what one wants, but I'm afraid this information largely remains hidden to me.

Of course, there was a lot of speculation about this when he died. I remember a lot of talk about intellectual arrogance, of "contrarianism," of drink, as well as marketing. I recall his explanation had something to to with Trotsky and revolution. I've always suspected he'd been influenced by the company he began keeping when he started writing mean things about Clinton, although, then again, Clinton supported the Iraq war.

Posted by godoggo at March 2, 2013 11:45 PM

Donald Johnson:

I've read (and am too lazy to look it up) that Osama claimed to have been motivated by various things, including Israel's bombing of Beirut in 1982

Yikes, that was nine years ago.

godoggo:

I remember a lot of talk about intellectual arrogance, of "contrarianism," of drink

I'd guess his drinking had a lot to do with this. Old guys often get more conservative (David Mamet, Bob Woodward), and I'm pretty sure much is due to various forms of brain damage.

Posted by Jon Schwarz at March 3, 2013 07:21 AM

"Why is it that when the main motive is anger at US support of Israel do we have all this questioning about what is "really" the motive? "

I suppose that's mainly aimed at godoggo's post, but it might also include mine. I don't doubt that Osama really was angry at our support for Israel (and some other things too, mentioned above). But he responded to the killing of innocent people by killing innocent people. In that he is very much like our wonderful Western leaders. That's Jon's favorite theme here . People who kill innocents all use very similar rationalizations. And the hypocrisy might even be subconscious. They probably really do think they are "the good guys". Maybe we'd all be like that if we had that much power (though OTOH maybe power just attracts the sort of people who think that way.)

Posted by Donald Johnson at March 3, 2013 12:33 PM

Jon Schwarz: AGREED!!! (on both posts)
Tom Murphy: I don't consider myself a Marxist, BUT Marx wrote much on how money drives this sort of opportunism. Personally, I don't want The U.S. sending money to Israel, nary a dime, because I don't want to PAY for people to kill each other. I don't want The U.S. sent money to The Palestinians, nary a dime, because I don't want MY TAX DOLLAR paying people to take pot shots at each other. AND I don't want The U.S. sending money to Egypt, nary a dime, because ya know how POROUS BORDERS can be and a little smuggling goes on and MY MONEY might be PAYING for people to shoot&bomb each other.

Posted by Mike Meyer at March 3, 2013 12:35 PM

Tom Murphy: That said---Should ANY of those three nations want to come up with THEIR OWN CASH and buy American Made Weapons, guns, ammo, and bombs then be my guest.

Posted by Mike Meyer at March 3, 2013 12:41 PM

Godoggo and Jon--

I think some combination of drink, aging, the company he was keeping, and plain old careerism played a role, plus the golden opportunity he saw of becoming the new George Orwell, the lefty who told the truth about other lefties. Hitch always admired Orwell and now he could become him. What's fascinating is that he must have made that decision in a matter of days, between his Guardian column on Sept 13 and the NATION column that came out a little later, which was a 180 degree shift that painted his Sept 13 self as a total moral idiot, though of course without mentioning his Sept 13 reaction. No, it was his former friends he attacked. Wilentz is his own kind of moral idiot, but he was correct that Hitch took a Stalinist approach at rewriting his own history.

This all shows that I think too much about this. But I really used to admire Hitch.

Posted by Donald Johnson at March 3, 2013 12:55 PM

I do think that anecdote with Anderson Cooper is thought-provoking, and I am curious to know where the claim about Osama's earlier indifference to Palestians might have originated. Considering whom he was talking to, I don't think what he was doing was deliberate lying. I think it was probably closer to what Jon wrote about here.
http://www.tinyrevolution.com/mt/archives/003650.html

Posted by godoggo at March 3, 2013 06:31 PM

... not that I was ever on 1st name terms with OBL.

Posted by godoggo at March 3, 2013 07:45 PM

" I am curious to know where the claim about Osama's earlier indifference to Palestinians might have originated."

I think Thomas Friedman is a main pusher of that canard as I show he specifically spread the canard in his book Longitudes & Attitudes" on p311, "the fact is that bin Laden never focused on this issue. He only started talking about "Palestine" after September 11, when he sensed that he might be losing the support of the Arab street. "and p361-362 " Osama bin Laden never mentioned the Palestinian cause as motivating his actions until he felt he was losing support in the Arab world. "

Friedman is a dishonest spoiled bigot who abuses his position as basically the top elite opinion writer in America.

There is more to say about Cooper and the power to conform with the dominating powers in America. A lot of manipulation is being perpetrated and I think many people have been browbeaten out of thinking critically. I suspect that exposing children to images of nude corpses with genitals exposed plays a role in that. If one were to think about that practice objectively I think one might conclude it is a crude and vile thing to do. For example, I take the 9/11 attacks very serious BUT I think it would also be crude and vile to push images of the jumpers bodies after they impacted the sidewalks around the twin towers. I highly recommend the movie "Defamation" by Yoav Shamir to see how the line is crossed.

BTW, Cooper has said he wished he was Jewish. Looks like there has been a lot of manipulation in our society and many people feel very uncomfortable examining it. This is the kind of response you will get from some people when you point out that we are being lied to about why we were attacked on 9/11: "Just out of curiosity, Tom, would it be enough for us to abandon the Israelis, or would we actually have to march them into the ovens to make you and your Chomskyite pals happy?" This is the kind of garbage Michael Reynolds ("MightyMiddle.com") throws at someone who points out the motives for the 9/11 attacks. It is an over the top sick minded attack the messenger tactic.

And I think such aggressive tactics have warped many people's minds and those who get filtered into positions of power in the media are the worst as far as wanting to suck up: Reporter N.J. Burkett is an embarrassment, here is his comments from Gaza: "I mention in the piece that the prayers reached a cresendo as the troops were breaking in and that was extraordinary - that was a moment that I will never forget and I'm not Jewish, and as I made my way through the crowd I suddenly realized that here I was and their world as they know it was falling apart all around them, and I'm not wearing a yarmulke. I pulled out a handkerchief from my back pocket and covered my head as a gesture of respect."

Posted by Tom Murphy at March 4, 2013 12:07 AM

Anyway the main importance of 9-11 was that it served as a pretext for starting a couple wars that killed round about a hundred times as many died in the twin towers. Seeing as how my fear of terrorists is several notches below my fear of getting struck by lightning I can think of a lot of better reasons not to support Israel.

It's certainly weird to wish one were Jewish. I don't think I've ever run across this affliction before. Personally I'd say taking Tom Friedman seriously is more problematic. Heretofore about all I'd known about Anderson Cooper was that one of the few times I've watched 60 Minutes in recent years (I'm the sort of person who likes to claim he doesn't own a TV), he jumped in the water with a white shark, at a beach where they like to gather to feed on seals, so I'd say his judgement is questionable in any case.

Posted by godoggo at March 5, 2013 04:00 PM

godoggo: Poor judgement indeed!

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