April 6, 2003

Where has Al Queda disappeared? Where has the “terrorist conspiracy” gone?

James Petras

US soldiers scrawl graffiti on the missiles and bombs " Remember 9/11" - as they send them on their way to incinerate Iraqi children, some of whom were not even born at the time. Rumsfeld speaks of new wars against Syria, Iran and terrorists the world over. Pentagon officials promise to 'deal with' North Korea, following the defeat of Iraq. Even Venezuela has become a new sanctuary of 'narco-terrorists' according to US military officials.

Washington prepares invasions and bombings everywhere in 'Phase Three' of the war against terror ( Phase 1 was Afghanistan, Phase 2 is Iraq and Phase three promises many wars).

What is missing from these bellicose declarations emanating from Washington is Al Queda, Bin Laden and his terrorist networks, the Original Terrorists who we were told were "the greatest threat to US security in the new millenium". They have disappeared from the mass media just as rapidly as they appeared; no plots, no imminent attacks, no images.

Some critics of the war argued that the US invasion of Iraq would provoke 'more terrorists' and terrorist attacks. The Administration in Washington brushed aside the potentially new terrorist threats. In some cases they merely used the same argument of future terrorist threats to bolster their arguments to…attack Syria, Iran, Lebanon.

There is good reason why Bin Laden and Al Queda have disappeared from Washington's shrill lexicon (and therefore from the obedient mass media): they - the infamous, omnipresent, and omnipotent terrorists - served the Bush Administration's purpose, they served their propaganda purposes, they aroused the ugly militarist and racist psyches embedded in many American, they served to cow Congress into suspending Constitutional guarantees and giving carte blanche to the Bush Administration. The images of a powerful Muslim-Arab terrorist conspiracy fertilized the ground for the expansion of military budgets, the creation of the internal security apparatus and the mobilization of the US public for armed imperial conquests.

The Bin Laden-Al Queda world terrorist conspiracy prepared the public to accept the Bush plan of world domination. Then it was replaced by the mass propaganda campaign against Iraq, the weapons of mass destruction, the dictator Saddam Hussein in preparation of the military invasion of Iraq. Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz followed the Nazi propagandist Hermann Goring who said that launching an imperialist war was easy, "All you have to do is tell the people they are being attacked and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger". Continuing where Goring left off, Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz propose the conquest of the entire Middle East to secure the interest of Washington and Tel Aviv.

There are many serious political problems with the quest for creating Middle East satellite regimes, not the least of which is the original or initial ideological justification for the 'war on terrorism', namely the nonexistence of the main enemy, Al Queda. Since 9/11 there has not been a single major successful terrorist incident in North America or Europe. Two major Muslim countries ( Afghanistan and Iraq ) have been invaded by the US and ravaged by bombs, mosques have been destroyed, children have been mutilated and killed - and Al Queda is totally inactive, inoperative. Despite rare pronouncements by Bin Laden for a 'jihad' - there are no violent actions against US interests either overseas in the occupied colonies or in the US. In other words there is no sign or action from anything resembling an organized disciplined terrorist conspiracy.

Almost all of the active opposition has come from the mass mobilization of people in peaceful protests, none of which is even remotely connected to Bin Laden. As the Iraq resistance persists, thousand of Arabs and Iraqi volunteer to return to Iraq. There is no increase in recruits to the terrorist conspirators. While Baghdad is under siege, bombed to rubble, US tanks, ships and airplanes run on Saudi, Algerian and Kuwaiti oil. These Arab collaborators and their oil wells have not suffered a single terrorist incident attributable to Al Queda.

A purported international terrorist organization with a ruthless leader which does not act in times of decisive battle, whose leader makes dire threats which are totally inconsequential, requires us to conclude that such an organization does not exist , that they were a fabrication of the Euro-US intelligence services. At the very least we can conclude that whatever existed in the caves of Afghanistan is today inoperative, incapable of organizing any major act, let alone carrying out widespread 'holy war', even when millions of Iraqi Muslim lives are at stake. Bin Laden's commands fall on sterile soil: between his message and action - there is a big nothing. Certainly the provocation is there for all to see on Arab television - anger and indignation runs high and is almost universal in the Arab countries; one would expect some major incident. The logical hypothesis is that without organization there can be no action. More specifically, there is no action because Al Queda as an effective international terrorist organization never existed - nor has it even come into existence under conditions of maximum Western terrorist assault on a Muslim population.

The idea of an 'international terrorist conspiracy' was completely fabricated by Washington and embellished by the empty bellicose rhetoric of Bin Laden, a leader without a following, a leader created by the mass media, a leader incapable of directing a single operative terrorist attack.

If there is no evidence of the operative existence of Al Queda, and if Bin Laden has no effective following, it is clear there never was any terrorist conspiracy. The idea was fabricated by Washington to justify previous plans designed by Wolfowitz and Perle (1992, 1998) to conquer the Middle East.

The fact that the 'worldwide terrorist conspiracy' is a clear fabrication, raises fundamental questions about the event which triggered the US drive for military conquest - 9/11.

It is now a well known fact that there was no connection between Iraq and Bin Laden/Al Queda, despite forceful efforts by Colin Powell to present the UN with bogus evidence. But what is equally important, the US, the UN, Tony Blair, the Afghan narco-warlords and other US allies have never found a single piece of evidence linking Bin Laden/Al Queda with the terrorist incidents of 9/11. Not a single de-coded message, e-mail, wiretap, video, letter, memo - despite the capture of a mountain of other documentation. The only 'evidence' is the bombastic celebrations and praise of 9/11 Bin Laden - who, himself has not been able to organize a single major terrorist attack in the US or Europe before or since. The logical conclusion is that Bin Laden/Al Queda had at best a marginal role, if any. What we do know is that several of the terrorists easily obtained multiple entry visas in Saudi Arabia from the US embassy. That at least two of the hijackers were trained at US military bases. That the FBI and CIA had prior notice of a hijacking and let the operatives proceed. That Condaleeza Rice admitted to prior knowledge of a "traditional hijacking" a short time before it occurred. That US airforce planes were not commanded to action until after the hijackers succeeded. We know now that Al Queda is inoperative outside of Afghanistan, that Bin Laden cannot command any effective action anywhere in the world. That no Middle Eastern country has been associated with Bin Laden and Al Queda. By elimination it leaves three likely possibilities: either the hijackers were an autonomous cell operating on their own or the terrorist action was a self-induced action organized by Washington to put into operation its already designed plans for military conquest of the Middle East or the action was a combination of both - autonomous terrorists and infiltrated agents operating under different agendas and with different understandings of the type of hijacking which were to take place. I tend to believe in the first hypothesis but do not exclude the third. What is important for the big story however is not who committed 9/11 - but who and how it was used, and how it led to subsequent series of political fabrications designed to further US imperial goals. At the least we can say that those who fabricated stories of weapons of mass destruction, of Iraqis welcoming US invaders, of all powerful international terrorist organizations are at the least capable of fabricating the story of 9/11. It is surely no accident, despite the great abundance of suspicious intelligence 'failures' that the US government assigned commission to investigate 9/11 has disappeared from the news, has never conducted hearings and probably never will. It serves no purpose in the quest for empire.

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