Posts Tagged ‘Bin Laden’

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it was Khashoggi himself who had been ‘employed by the Saudi intelligence services to try to persuade bin Laden to make peace with the Saudi royal family.’ Khashoggi was ‘the only non-royal Saudi who had the beef on the royals’ intimate dealing with al Qaida in the lead-up to the 9/11 attacks.’
Who really was Jamal Khashoggi?

al-Qaeda militants, many of which also had direct ties to MBS’ father, the incumbent King Salman. These intelligence agencies had concluded that in the 1990s, Salman controlled with an ‘iron fist’ the key financial operations of a range of charities (such as the Saudi High Commission, the Third World Relief Agency and the International Islamic Relief Organisation) which had been found systematically diverting hundreds of millions of dollars to al-Qaida militants. Several 9/11 hijackers had trained in camps funded by this cash.

By some accounts, Prince Turki al-Faisal’s relationship with bin Laden continued up to 9/11. According to the French daily Le Figaro, French intelligence sources claimed that two months before 9/11, bin Laden was flown to the American hospital in Dubai for kidney treatment under Prince Turki’s patronage, where the al-Qaida chief met CIA officials.

The lobby of the CIA Headquarters Building in McLean, Virginia

 

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And I’m going to keep pasting this link to the NY Times…

Saudis Bankroll Taliban, Even as King Officially Supports Afghan Government

 

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…where in the world is Ayman Zawahiri???

Nafeez Ahmed sets the record straight in a massive article. This is must-read, from 2015:

Official history of raid camouflages US protection of governments behind 9/11

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The plot sickens…

CIA director Leon Panetta asked Boal to alert the agency if he ever traveled to the country. At the time, Boal was working on a movie called Tora Bora, about the CIA’s failure to capture Osama bin Laden in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. The title referred to the region in eastern Afghanistan where the US felt it had let bin Laden slip through its fingers during a battle in December 2001.

But less than two weeks after Boal made the call, a team of Navy SEALs raided the al Qaeda leader’s compound in Pakistan and killed him. Boal would not be going to Afghanistan after all.

Executive Producer Leon Panetta hands Boal the Osama bin Laden murder fairy tale, and Tora Bora is never made.

Tora Bora was when they let Al Qaeda escape to Pakistan when the USAF could easily have bombed their caravan and shot down the Pakistani aircraft flying them out. That’s the story the CIA wasn’t so eager to see on big screens.

Tequila, Painted Pearls, and Prada: How the CIA Helped Produce ‘Zero Dark Thirty’

The Scandal:

Zero Dark Thirty Scandal Files

Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh gestures during a panel discussion on "The Challenges of Reporting About Iraq" at the Associated Press Managing Editors annual conference in San Jose, Calif., Friday, Oct. 28, 2005. Deteriorating security in Iraq has made covering the war and reconstruction efforts exceedingly difficult, and this isn't helping efforts to give readers the coverage they need to understand what's really going on, a panel of journalists said Friday. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh gestures during a panel discussion on “The Challenges of Reporting About Iraq” at the Associated Press Managing Editors annual conference in San Jose, Calif., Friday, Oct. 28, 2005. Deteriorating security in Iraq has made covering the war and reconstruction efforts exceedingly difficult, and this isn’t helping efforts to give readers the coverage they need to understand what’s really going on, a panel of journalists said Friday. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

“Allies” were guarding and funding America’s worst enemy

AP PROVIDES ACCESS TO THIS PUBLICLY DISTRIBUTED HANDOUT PHOTO PROVIDED BY COLUMBIA PICTURES INDUSTRIES, INC. FOR EDITORIAL PURPOSES ONLY. © 2012 COLUMBIA PICTURES INDUSTRIES, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. NO SALES. 6 MONTHS USE FROM JAN. 10, 2013. This undated publicity photo released by Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. shows Navy SEALs seen through the greenish glow of night vision goggles, as they prepare to breach a locked door in Osama Bin Laden's compound in Columbia Pictures' hyper-realistic new action thriller from director Kathryn Bigelow,

AP PROVIDES ACCESS TO THIS PUBLICLY DISTRIBUTED HANDOUT PHOTO PROVIDED BY COLUMBIA PICTURES INDUSTRIES, INC. FOR EDITORIAL PURPOSES ONLY. © 2012 COLUMBIA PICTURES INDUSTRIES, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. NO SALES. 6 MONTHS USE FROM JAN. 10, 2013. This undated publicity photo released by Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. shows Navy SEALs seen through the greenish glow of night vision goggles, as they prepare to breach a locked door in Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Columbia Pictures’ hyper-realistic new action thriller from director Kathryn Bigelow, “Zero Dark Thirty.” (AP Photo/Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc., Jonathan Olley)ictures Industries, Inc., Jonathan Olle

One of America’s all-time top investigative journalists has been banished to the London Review of Books in order to get his exposés published.
The Killing of Osama bin Laden

Seymour M. Hersh:

A worrying factor at this early point, according to the retired official, was Saudi Arabia, which had been financing bin Laden’s upkeep since his seizure by the Pakistanis. ‘The Saudis didn’t want bin Laden’s presence revealed to us because he was a Saudi, and so they told the Pakistanis to keep him out of the picture. The Saudis feared if we knew we would pressure the Pakistanis to let bin Laden start talking to us about what the Saudis had been doing with al-Qaida. And they were dropping money – lots of it. The Pakistanis, in turn, were concerned that the Saudis might spill the beans about their control of bin Laden. The fear was that if the US found out about bin Laden from Riyadh, all hell would break out. The Americans learning about bin Laden’s imprisonment from a walk-in was not the worst thing.’

Despite their constant public feuding, American and Pakistani military and intelligence services have worked together closely for decades on counterterrorism in South Asia. Both services often find it useful to engage in public feuds ‘to cover their asses’, as the retired official put it, but they continually share intelligence used for drone attacks, and co-operate on covert operations. At the same time, it’s understood in Washington that elements of the ISI believe that maintaining a relationship with the Taliban leadership inside Afghanistan is essential to national security. The ISI’s strategic aim is to balance Indian influence in Kabul; the Taliban is also seen in Pakistan as a source of jihadist shock troops who would back Pakistan against India in a confrontation over Kashmir.

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“At one point our secret services simply detected direct contacts between militants from the North Caucasus and representatives of the United States secret services in Azerbaijan,” Putin said in the film, released by Rossiya 1 TV channel on Sunday.

“And when I spoke about that to the then president of the US, he said… sorry, I will speak plainly, he said, “I’ll kick their asses”, Putin recounts his conversation with George W. Bush on the issue. A few days later, he says, the heads of Russia’s FSB received a letter from their American counterparts, which said they had the right to support opposition forces in Russia.

“Someone over there, especially the West’s intelligence services, obviously thought that if they act to destabilize their main geopolitical rival, which, as we now understand, in their eyes has always been Russia, it would be good for them. It turned out, it wasn’t,” Putin muses, saying he had warned the West about the possible dangers of supporting terrorists.

Putin accuses US of backing North Caucasus militants

I brought up much background on the Chechen situation in my article on the Boston Bombing (must read):

Is This the Man Who “Radicalized” Dzhokhar Tsarnaev?

There is also a direct 9/11 tie in to the US support for Chechen terrorists connected to Osama bin Laden:

An FBI memo already established al Khattab as an Al Qaeda terrorist, but the investigation of Moussaoui’s laptop was denied to the FBI Minneapolis officers and to Coleen Rowley, the legal advisor there. “True, there was an FBI memo on the FBI director Louis Freeh’s desk explicitly warning that terrorists linked to Khattab and Bin Laden were planning a major attack, but the memo was dismissed, and the FBI man in Washington DC, who should have seen that memo but claims he didn’t, rebuffed Minneapolis and shut down their requests for a warrant to look in Moussaoui’s laptop.”

AFGHAN-WAR-01Long after anyone can remember what is happening in Afghanistan, the US suddenly rolled up its war machine under cover of the Christmas break, picked up its bombs and went home. They’ll leave 13k “adviser” types, the variety who were scurrying out of Viet Nam from the roof of the embassy in 1975, tossing their helicopters into the sea.

There doesn’t seem to have been any “Al Qaeda” in the country for as long as anyone can remember, and Bin Laden, a special guest of the PAKISTANIS next door, is also dead. The loose ends of 9/11 were neatly wrapped up, tortured into silence, and the treasonous frothing ghouls who let it happen remain protected from justice. In a world of laws and justice American high officials would be sitting at war crimes trials and likely tried for aiding and abetting in the September 11th attacks to achieve their dream of a “New American Century.”

But it’s all myth all the time, all propaganda, all framing and the exploitation of the general public’s ignorance. Where to begin when your audience is worse than ignorant; they believe demonstrable falsehoods, by the plane load? And they are conditioned to reject any challenges to their pseudo-religious mythology.

The United States and NATO formally ended their war in Afghanistan on Sunday with a ceremony at their military headquarters in Kabul as the insurgency they fought for 13 years remains as ferocious and deadly as at any time since the 2001 invasion that unseated the Taliban regime following the Sept. 11 attacks.

The symbolic ceremony marked the end of the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force, which will transition to a supporting role with 13,500 soldiers, most of them American, starting Jan. 1.

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Questions about the Death and Dumping at Sea of Osama bin Laden Remain

by Vic Sadot, the TruthTroubadour

Osama bin Laden: Dead or Alive?

If he is dead, when did he die? Was he really the “mastermind of 9/11,” or not? How can we know the truth?

One thing we know is that Osama bin Laden was a CIA asset used to recruit Muslim fundamentalists to fight the Russians in Afghanistan. What else do we know for sure? Why would Obama claim to have ordered a kill on Osama, and then dispose of his body at sea? Does that sound like the American way of justice?

Dr. David Ray Griffin published “Osama bin Laden Dead or Alive” in 2009. It’s a good read today! Evidence of fraud is abundant. The questions he raises need to be answered.

The Corporate media spin machine has cranked out an avalanche of “reports” on the “daring” execution of a supposedly-alive Osama bin Laden hiding in a “million dollar mansion” in Pakistan.  The story of the amazing commando raid may end up being another high-tech production from the same folks who brought us the lies about Pat Tillman, Jessica Lynch & WMD in Iraq. In the case of Pat Tillman, the “official glory story” was that he got killed in a shoot out with the Taliban. Later, as the Tillman family bravely pressed on and on for the truth, the story was amended to be “friendly fire”. Then the military coroner report revealed that the evidence showed that Pat Tillman was shot “by 3 bullets to the forehead at 10 yards range”. Ignored AP story.

In the case of Jessica Lynch, she refused to go along with the “official glory story”. She testified to Congress that she was wounded by an explosion, not in a firefight. Iraqi hospital authorities informed the US military that she was alive and well and under their care. But the Pentagon sent a commando unit in there to “rescue the heroic soldier”. Was the truth less important than having a recruitment poster boy and girl to use to lie to young people about corporate resource & domination wars?

In the aftermath of 9/11, we were all in “shock & awe” as the media reported “explosions” at the WTC (World Trade Center) and the Pentagon. This was rapidly revised to the “official story” that the jet fuel from the planes that hit the two tallest towers of the WTC complex “melted the steel” and caused their collapse. It’s against the laws of physics! Both Dan Rather and Peter Jennings mused aloud as it was happening that the only way that steel frame buildings could be brought down by fire would be to “get at the inner structures” as in a “demolition”. What’s worse, the WTC buildings did not just collapse. They disintegrated to dust in 10 seconds! Building 7, which was not hit by a plane, did so in 7 seconds at around 5:30 that evening. In fact, Dan Rather reported on CBS that Osama bin Laden was in a Pakistani military hospital on Sept 10, 2001 getting dialysis treatments for kidney failure. Read about that here.

CBS Report

In spite of the lack of any evidence to prove that bin Laden was the man whose body was killed in Pakistan and dumped into the ocean, we are simply being intellectually bullied by authority to accept their story as true. We have a media so consolidated and conscripted into service to the secret security state that they just repeat what they are told to us so that they can keep their jobs. No wonder people call them “presstitutes” doing fake journalism for money.

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Now we have a new Hollywood movie called “Zero Dark Thirty” that was done in secret complicity with the CIA and the Orwellian-named fascist sounding Homeland Security apparatus to deliver a movie that falsely claims that torture works and was necessary. The 9/11 Commission had no access to CIA prisoners but they accepted and used confessions wrought through torture as if they were reliable evidence gained from good detective work.

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) not only authorized 622 billion dollars for the Pentagon, the bill passed the U.S. House on Dec. 14, 2011, the U.S. Senate on Dec. 15, 2011, and was signed into United States law on December 31, 2011 by President Barack Obama while most Americans were celebrating the New Year and he signed similar repressive legislation on New Year’s Eve 2012 as well. These NDAA bills include a clause that legalizes the dissemination of propaganda to US citizens. With executive claims to the power to indefinitely detain and disappear anyone it deems a “suspect” without judicial due process as the Constitution clearly requires, we have treasonous criminal and immoral conduct declared acceptable.

Those who question the 9/11 story and the rewarding of those who failed to defend us on that day, what hit the Pentagon or how that could even happen after the New York attacks, why and how three World Trade Center buildings could disintegrate to toxic dusk and rubble in 10 seconds, the WMD lies about Iraq, the lack of accountability for torture and murder in secret prisons, the prosecution and punishment of whistle-blowers instead of the criminals they expose, the incredibly lethal firepower unleashed on Libya without Congressional authorization, and the need for evidence and transparency about major events and policies to have an informed electorate and a functioning democracy, the challenge is frightening and intimidating. But as any American who has taken an oath “to honor and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies both foreign and domestic” will tell you, it does not have to continue to go down this way. The US does not have to descend into a fascist police state or global corporate empire. We have a right to question and we will continue to do so.

Movies like “Zero Dark Thirty” turn our political culture into a stinking cesspool. The reader is referred to this excellent critique in Global Research on 2-25-13 by London-based writer Patrick Henningsen,“Hollywood History: CIA Sponsored “Zero Dark Thirty”, Oscar for “Best Propaganda Picture”. Henningsen asks, “Was bin Laden really killed by Seal Team 6 that day? Examine the evidence, if you can find any.” In mock sympathy, Henningsen says,

“I felt sorry for the director, the cast and all the production crew who put in their hard work and sweat, and probably believed that bin Laden was indeed in the Abbotabad compound in May 2011, and that they were reenacting a rare and proud piece of American history. In order to believe this, they would also would have to have believed that somehow, that same bin Laden also masterminded a multi-pronged assault that managed to bypass the whole of the US Defense apparatus – all from his legendary cave in Tora Bora. …Unfortunately, the mythology does not measure up to reality, with multiple admissions in public by heads of state, by Pervez Musharraf, and Benazir Bhutto, as well as by Madeline Albright and others, and even mainstream media reports going all the way back to 2001, stating that Osama bin Laden was dying, or had in fact died in late 2001. Knowing all this, when I heard the news of Obama and the Navy Seal Team 6 raid on bin Laden, I knew immediately that not only was this almost certainly a fiction, but that there would be no photographs and videos released, because a dead man cannot come back to life after 10 years for a photo session. As predicted, a few days later the White House confirmed my suspicions, announcing that indeed, ‘no photos or video will be released’… On top of that, we were also told that they dumped bin Laden’s body at sea 48 hours after allegedly killing him. Fancy that? But even that pillar of the official story fell apart later when it was revealed that no US sailors aboard the USS Carl Vinson ever saw the alleged burial at sea, and that no images exist in any government records of bin Laden aboard the decorated US sea vessel.”

With all of this heavy information, I would recommend a good laugh at it all as well. This Joy Camp Channel video spoof at YouTube is just what the doctor ordered!

“Best Propaganda Film (OSCAR 2013 SPOILER!LEAKED CLIP!!)” http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Clza1XVA0SI

 

[Extensive coverage of the Zero Dark Thirty torture scandal here.]

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Michael Moore, Inc.

by MARK EPSTEIN

I thought Michael Moore was supposed to be a director…    I thought he was supposed to have made some documentaries…

I guess Michael Moore, having become “Inc.”, now has other priorities, such as propagandizing for those institutions that have “honored” him and his ‘fellow’ club-members (please don’t try any more “captatio benevolentiae”, Mike, of the kind my “fellow leftists” etc…; after the way you have treated Ralph Nader and even more after this piece, I doubt there will be any somewhat sane members of the human race who would consider you a ‘leftist’ of any kind…).    I must say both the movie he defends and the essay he wrote to defend it are the ones that at this point should more appropriately be entitled “Sicko”…

Michael Moore has come out to “defend” Kathryn Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty”.    So let us take a look at this “defense” and contrast it with what is actually a careful, thorough, calm, balanced but devastating assessment, that of David Bromwich.

One of Moore’s chief arguments, following the desperate attempts to grab at straws by the director herself, is that actually “Zero Dark Thirty” is against torture, and in fact is an ethical film, a film that looks at the “morality” of torture instead of its “practicality”…

To ‘factually’ anchor this contention, Moore frames it by the alleged contrast in “torture” policies of the W Bush administration and those of the Obama administration.

For someone with the sort of background in documentary filmmaking and the at least partial investigative work this entails (at least done by others, consultants, etc.) this pseudo-factual architecture is perhaps the most egregious web of deceit in his whole essay…     In fact its factual basis is as nonexistent as that in those political “vote for us, we have no achievements of our own to run on, but be scared, oh so scared of what the OTHER party could do…” ads, these days the bread-and-butter of autho-totalitarian electoral manipulation of fear that the one-party system with two right-wings the Empire has become (or party-politics as torture…)…

Has Michael Moore not been following any political news for the last 4 years?     Has he digested even one story in the non-Korporate or “less-Korporate media”??

Moore’s essay is basically founded on the Obama promises (from his 2007-8 run) in the area of rights and foreign policy, vs. some of the W administration facts.    Let’s start with torture: did the Obama administration actually stop the use of torture?    Given what has leaked out of prisons in Afghanistan and those of proKonsular allies, that contention seems completely devoid of credibility and unfounded…

On the other hand what we DO know is that the Obama administration did everything it possibly could to NOT prosecute all those in the W administration that were guilty of masterminding, implementing, “legally” defending, etc. said practices of torture…

John Kiriakou, a former CIA agent, has instead been persecuted by the Obama administration, for REVEALING facts about the torture program(s).   Kiriakou who, being a person who actually does have moral convictions, also was outraged by the government’s persecution of Aaron Swartz.    Instead both the journalists and White House personnel guilty of revealing the identity of Valerie Plame Wilson, as in the case of those involved in the torture program(s), were never touched by US “justice” under either W Bush or Obama…

So much for the ‘moral high ground’

One of the other major oppositions Moore tries to sell in this horror-travesty dressed as a fairy-tale, is that the film shows the opposition of: 1) the W administration, characterized by torture (immoral), no will to find or pursue Bin Laden, incapable of engaging in any “detective work”, and therefore complete lack of results vs. 2) the Obama administration, characterized by opposition to torture (moral), the will to find and pursue Bin-Laden, deeply engaged in “detective work”, and therefore … hey presto, Bin-Laden’s head on a platter… (yes the biblical echo is intentional dear Mike…)

Well Mr. Moore must think his ‘pals’ on the “left” really all are embodiments of the insults that Rahm Emanuel hurled at them…  if he thinks his story amounts to any “detective work” of any kind whatsoever…

I think virtually any (I mean literally any) issue of “CounterPunch” in the last four years would have at the very minimum one article that would totally disprove Moore’s fantasies about the Obama administration.

Let’s start with those issues most closely related to torture and human rights in foreign policy, in other words Moore’s much touted alleged “morality”.

* Guantanamo?    Never closed, still open for business, complete betrayal of electoral promises.

* Similar prisons, as for instance at Bagram in Afghanistan, or similar facilities in Pakistan, other third party proKonsular “allies” (i.e. accomplices):    Open for business as usual, same as under W.    (For one of many accounts cf. Andy Worthington “Bagram and Beyond”.)

* Renditions?     Continue as before, or rather, more secretively than ever…     Again, absolutely no prosecution or even the faintest attempt at enforcing legal accountability in this area…

*Drone strikes (remember the Nazi V1 and V2 programs: those are the sort of powers that like state-terror and legal non-accountability): at their acme under Obama, with the overwhelming majority of victims being innocent civilians (except in the tyrannical Obama administrations serial lies about the results and consequences).    Decidedly Mr. Moore’s moral arguments are getting more ballistic by the minute…

* Targeted assassinations: the exact opposite of the Moore narrative.    It is Obama who has introduced them, boasts of personally approving them, and in the processes has put the Constitution through the shredder (he has on so many different issues it is difficult to keep count…), something the W administration, at least officially, did not engage in.    Obama actually has a US citizen assassinated without any proof or having to defend (as if it really could be defensible in any case, unless Mr. Moore’s morality comes with a defense of the death penalty, etc.) its proofs, decisions, courses of action, etc. in a court of law…    In fact Obama has reversed to worse than Richard Nixon, since it was the Church committee and other similar developments that led to the exposure and shut-down (at least from what we know overtly) of the sorts of programs that the Obama administration is now pursuing with a vengeance (Bigelow’s kind of ‘vengeance’…).   For a discussion of some of these continuing practices cf. Noah Gimble “Obama and Rendition”.

Continues

[Editor’s Note: With the second installment of this Ayn Rand novel coming to screens, let’s take a closer look at the philosophy and mindset of the much-referenced author.]

Ayn Rand and Al Qaeda
Two Voices, One Terrorism

by Evan Knappenberg

Originally published at Counterpunch

As an embarrassed former advocate of “Objectivism” (the hate rhetoric disguised as philosophy by the late Ayn Rand) and as a former US army intelligence analyst, I was struck by an almost unconscious image of the firebrand Russian Capitalist author that has been growing in the back of my mind for quite some time.  Let me preface this by saying that the vast majority of people who agree with Ayn Rand on particular issues (e.g. atheism) have problems with her world-view taken as a whole, and those who do take Rand at face value are usually emotionally-susceptible young adults who don’t know the hypocrisy of her views: for example, that Rand relied on Medicare in her later years despite her hatred of public health programs.  It bears noting that by and large, Randians are harmless anti-social oddities, until, like Alan Greenspan or Paul Ryan, they are given a public platform from which to hurl righteous moral thunderbolts and play havoc with other peoples’ money.  I have yet to meet (face-to-face at least) a “Rand-roid” who seemed capable of any type of physical violence.  Rand herself, however, is in another entire category: morally- and legally- dangerous.

In her 1100-page shelf-busting Atlas Shrugged (1957), as well as in her 900-page doorstopper The Fountainhead (1943), Rand commits a series of federal crimes.  In Atlas, the protagonist South-American mine-owning billionaire logically and methodically kills striking American workers with sniper fire from a rooftop while Rand praises his 20-20 vision and steady hand. In Rand’s “magnum opus” (which many of her followers have compared to the Bible,) a squad of executive-class terrorists carries out armed attacks with the stated goal of “stopping the engine of the world” and destroying “parasites,” “lice,” “dolts,” and “collectivists.”  The terrorist-businessmen have a fleet of marauding pirate ships which they use to seize only humanitarian aid shipments; they laugh while the victims of their infrastructure attacks starve or freeze to death, presumably because “the dolts” didn’t have the good sense to invent something from scratch to sell for millions of dollars.  Perhaps most striking is Rand’s depiction of her railroad baroness heroine’s cold-blooded execution of a fresh-faced, young United States soldier after what can only be described as an ideological rant that runs almost a hundred pages.  In this scene, Rand makes it clear that the murder is being committed for what amounts to a violent political disagreement, and she praises her character’s calm, remorseless, methodical execution of a uniformed member of the US military.  And this is just a sampling of the terrorist acts extolled in Rand’s novels.

In The Fountainhead (1943) , the protagonist, a jilted and sociopathic architect with undiagnosed personality disorder, blows up a public building for a diversity of purely selfish and convoluted aesthetic reasons.  Rand’s fondness for terrorism is mostly openly political violence, which amounts to an endorsement of terrorism, which she justifies through a series of emotive attacks on altruism, religion, Cartesian rationalism and Kantian epistemology, among other targets.  She is also fond of rape.  Reference the scene in Fountainhead in which her “perfectly selfish” architect-hero rapes his debutant heroine counterpart.  Sadly, Rand seriously intended this depiction of sexual violence as her ideal male-female partnership; Rand honestly saw this kind of rape as both passionate and loving.  For more of these bizarre cases of insane rhetoric, try Rand’s Romantic Manifesto (1969).

Rand’s rhetoric is little more than hate speech targeting environmentalists, union workers, immigrants, the poor, churches, government employees, newspaper publishers, modern artists and 18th-century philosophers.  Her vitriol ran the gamut of Christians, socialists, Platonists, anti-abortion protestors, prose poets, NGO workers…  the list continues.  If any of this type of agonizing fundamentalism is starting to sound familiar, now I would like to direct your attention to another monomaniacal millionaire who fantasized about killing US soldiers.  The man I am thinking of had the stated mission of bringing the world to its knees using both terrorist physical violence as well as crippling economic violence. That’s right, Osama Bin Laden.

If comparing Ayn Rand to Osama Bin Laden sounds extreme, you don’t know Ayn Rand sufficiently.  Unfortunately, those of us who are aware of her extremism were mostly indoctrinated into it at an early age.  Social critic John Rogers said of Atlas Shrugged: “…it is a childish daydream that can lead to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood in which large parts of the day are spent inventing ways to make real life more like a fantasy novel.”  Renowned thinker Raj Patel agrees.  If you would rather save yourself from the high blood pressure associated with reading Rand, John W. Robbins does an excellent take-down of Rand’s mis-titled, self-styled philosophy (“objectivism”) in Without a Prayer: Ayn Rand and the Close of her System (1997).  Rand considered herself the arch-nemesis of the centuries-dead Immanuel Kant, presumably after once hearing his 1785 work on ethics referenced in her semester-long academic career in Petrograd University.  Robbins barely has to exhale for the charade of “objectivism” to fall apart.  Robbins thoroughly exposes Rand’s willful misunderstandings of the metaphysics and epistemology which she was so found of.  After reading Robbins, I was left wondering if Rand might not have benefited from some well-timed Cliffsnotes or a copy of Aristotle for Dummies.  To witness Rand’s disturbing personality and its effects on her followers, The Ayn Rand Cult by Jeff Walker is highly recommended.  Walker details the arbitrary psychological abuse Rand doled out to her young followers on a regular basis, including the decades-long extra-marital affair she had with a man half her age, who was “excommunicated” when he finally left her.  Walker does a good job of explaining the intense hatred between various sects of “objectivism” after Rand’s death, which are still at each others’ throats a generation removed.

As to the damage done by Rand’s followers, I wont even touch Rush Limbaugh or Michael Savage, who was banned from the UK for hate speech.  I could also point to Alan Greenspan who, after the economy collapsed in 2008, publicly admitted to doubts about the “rational free-market” idea which he took from Rand.  I could also point to vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan, who is admittedly not a good Randian because of his professed Christian faith, but still cites Rand as his inspiration to cut veterans’ benefits, the medicare programs that Rand relied upon, and almost every last thread of the social safety net.  Perhaps I could also offer myself as an example of Rand’s mischief: my life has been a spotty process of embarrassing violence and rehabilitation in the aftermath of reading Rand.  I personally blame Rand for my temper, which I learned to justify from an early age with the outrageous rhetoric of a “John Galt” terrorist or “Howard Roark” rapist. But it is only after my involvement in anti-terrorist operations as an intelligence analyst in the Middle East that I dare to venture the (tasteless?) comparison of Rand to Bin Laden.

Behind the provocative light in which I am portraying Ayn Rand, there is another more troubling and critical issue at stake in this comparison.  By evoking it, I hope to eviscerate the Obama administration and the federal court system, as well as the moral stench that is the Patriot Act.  Knowing the danger of openly mocking both Rand and the xenophobic “we-got-‘im” armchair patriots, I would hope to turn the attention of both camps to the hypocrisy of the Global War on Terror, and how even someone as patriotic as Ayn Rand easily fits into the category of terrorist.  My hope is that the libertarian fringe will at least try the shoe on to see if it fits, and then to consider some truly moral alternatives to their beliefs.  First, I call into evidence the recent case of Tarek Mahenna.

Unlike Rand, Tarek Mahenna was born in the US, a natural American citizen.  As a follower of Islam, Mahenna was upset about the treatment of civilians in lands occupied by US troops.  In April 2012,  Mahenna was convicted of the new and ambiguous federal felony called “material support of terrorism.”  Mahenna’s sole offense was that he admittedly watched and re-posted al Qaeda internet videos on his personal computer.  Mahenna’s conviction was upheld on the basis of his motivation for watching violent videos: according to federal prosecutors, Mahenna was watching said videos in order to radicalize himself to support terrorism.  This talking-yourself-into-something it turns out, is a federal crime that is punishable by 20 years in federal Supermax.  It also begs the question: aren’t the libertarian “terrorists-in-intentive-pre-radicalization” doing the same thing with the writings of Ayn Rand that Mahenna did with the al Qaeda propaganda?  The offenses depicted in Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead are at least as odious as anything Osama Bin Laden ever said in his infamous tapes, or for that matter anything that Agent Jack Bauer is depicted doing in the television show 24.  Ayn Rand explicitly considered herself an intellectual propagandist, even going so far as saying in public that she was “aiming for” young, left-leaning intelligent types, presumably to radicalize, much the same as Mahenna allegedly was.

The real-life Orwellian twist to the story is the fact that at no point was Tarek Mahenna ever criminally violent in his direct actions or speech, even though, according to the Christian Science Monitor, he was repeatedly provoked by undercover FBI agents who failed at eliciting even verbal agreement for violence.  This is more than some of Rand’s followers, myself included, can say.

This trend of faux-terror is becoming disturbingly common in not just large Muslim enclaves, but in modest communities of color and dissent.  This, and the blurring of lines in cases like Mahenna’s, raises some serious questions: what is terrorism, essentially?  What is radicalization, and where is there culpability?  What is hate speech? What is violence?  Who decides what is an acceptable depiction of violence in any context?

It is obvious from even a basic philosophical standpoint that the current spoken and legislated conceptualization of Terrorism as such is supplemented by a non-verbal, unwritten and ideological legal code that adjudicates not on the basis of criminal action or even intention.  Instead the unspoken paradigm that determines who is patriotic and who is a dirty terrorist is ideological.  How else can you explain the imprisonment of someone like Tarek Mahenna and the simultaneous freedom of the Yaron Brook, a fundamentalist Randian leader who has, undoubtedly read and promoted the emotive, political violence –the terrorism– that make up a large part of the writings of Ayn Rand?  Certainly Christians and democratic socialists must cringe everywhere whenever the term “radical” is thrown around.  But the question stands: why isn’t the FBI infiltrating the Ayn Rand Institute with agents trained in the art of provocation?  Why isn’t anyone concerned with the explicit calls to political terrorism in Rand’s writing?  Why is representative Bachmann focused on the imagined terrorist sympathies of Huma Abedin and not those of Leonard Peikoff?  The answer is simple: ideology.

At its best, Rand’s ideology is merely raunchy and outdated.  At its worst, we could cite the policies of Greenspan which brought us economic disaster, or the political career of someone like Paul Ryan.  There is, to my knowledge, at least one internet-based group trying to build a Rand-inspired armed separatist group in this country.  So is Rand’s ideological embrace of violence any better in than the ideology of the self-aggrandizing Saudi millionaire whose obscure rantings culminated in bombings in Nairobi, Kenya, New York and Washington?  Is Rand’s ideology any more or less rational, and by what standard?  As we move forward toward a post-9/11 pluralist democracy, what place do either Rand or Bin Laden have in our public discourse?  This is a serious question that requires a serious answer, and not in the form of a work of fiction.

Evan Knappenberger is an Iraq war veteran, former teenaged “objectivist,” and philosophy and theology student at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia.