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Thursday, June 3, 2010

The true inside facts about the 7/7 London bombings

The true inside facts about the 7/7 London bombings

By James Casbolt, former MI6 agent – February 18, 2007

The British and US government are stirring an atmosphere of animosity and hatred between white and Asian people in the UK, US and around the world. Whites verses Asians invents the excuse for the invasion of the Middle East. They are also looking for a minority to blame for the terrorism in the UK and US that the governments themselves are responsible for.

This is known as ‘false flag’ terrorism. 'Al Qaeda' is an MI- 6, CIA organisation utilising Middle Eastern assets. These are big claims but this is backed up with evidence from my MI 6 contacts. My friend below was briefed in detail regarding what really happened on 7/7 and how the British Government were responsible.

James Casbolt- “ So you are saying the bombs were planted into the bus several days before the 7/7 London bombings”

X10- “ Yes, the British government switched the safety checking team. When they went into the bus depot a few days before hand a trade union spokesman who was asked about this said he couldn’t understand who the security was. He didn’t recognise anybody. These were people who come into check the buses. They normally check the buses for things like suspension, braking systems and the security cameras. Instead of staying what is usually an hour or so these people were there for the entire day. When workers approached them and started making small talk they wrere basically ignored . So they had the feeling that these people were not regular security.

James Casbolt- “So they were probably MI 5?”

X10- “They were MI 5. They were there primarily to make sure the video camera went off at a certain time. Which is of course what happened. Isn’t it is amazing that on that day, this was similar to what happened with the cameras prior to the death of Princess Diana. All the security cameras that counted on 7/7, not the ones that didn’t count, the ones that really counted weren't working. The security camera on that bus wasn't working on that particular day.

James Casbolt- “So where did they plant the bombs on the bus?”

X10- “Inside the seats and under the floor. I know that the eye witness accounts of what happened were all at variance with one another. The BBC relied exclusively on a testimony given by a Scottish guy. The Scottish guy contradicted himself so many times and yet no one in the media asked him about these contradictory statements. He said in one report that he got off the front of the bus and in another report he said he left through the rear door. One report said he was the first out and another report he said was the last off the bus. So there appears to be a lot of confusion in terms of the report”

James Casbolt- “So the four Asian lads were they MI 5 assets?”

X10- “They were stooges”

James Casbolt- “Do you think they consciously knew they were working for MI5?”

X10- “No they weren’t working consciously for MI 5. They would just be a shadow team lured into London to be part of a covert programme of simulated attacks. They were paid to be in a certain place at a certain time to take part in a simulated attack. A company was running a simulated terror attack at the time. Those boys were part of that. They were told “Your backpacks represent explosive devices but of course they aren't explosives”

James Casbolt- “So they were told ‘this is just a dummy run”

X10- “It was a dummy run. They were part of the dummy run. They stopped their car just outside of Luton and they were briefed by somebody. When they left Luton of course, they didn’t leave Luton at the time described because there was a cock up with train times. So whether they managed to get to London or not is an unknown because the video camera evidence has been shown to be faulty. There is a problem with the timing on some of the video footage.

James Casbolt- “So they bought return tickets?”

X10 - “Yea, they bought return tickets. Of course you wouldn't but return tickets if you knew you were on a one way journey to hell. Some of the other reports that were briefly mentioned in the quality, alternative media and not the tabloid media. Then they were completely ignored by the controlled tabloid media, was one eye witness who was talking about the fact that as she was coming off the train were the bomb exploded. The police officer said “Mind the hole!” and he pointed to a huge blast which showed the metal structure of the under carriage facing upwards as if the bomb had blown upwards. This was the security services taking the extra insurance that in case any of the bombs that their agents had left on the train and those were ex MI 5, ex SAS people, that they would have had a back up, a contingency to make sure those explosions did take place. A number of reports reported more bombs than there were alleged terrorists.

James Casbolt- “Why is it ex MI 5 doing it? Why is it not active MI5 agents?

X10- “In a way there is no such thing as ex MI 5. Once your MI 5 you’re always MI 5 (I would have to disagree with that statement as I managed to get away from my involvement with MI 6- James Casbolt). A lot of MI 5 people get jobs with other organisation that are similar in structure when they leave the security services. These organisations are usually part of the private sector. There have been a number of these organisations over the years. A very, very famous intelligence unit that used to work under Peter Mandelson involved in the oil business, and they announced a disclosure about three years ago. Norton Taylor who works for the intelligence part of the Guardian. He pointed out then that such organisations often announce their demise and its nothing of the sort. Its just disinformation or they just change into another company with exactly the same brief. There a lot of these little private organisations that soak up people who have left these intelligence services and they have them working on a private basis but more often than not they are contracted and they get work contracted out to them from the government”

James Casbolt- “So the four Asian lads, they were probably having their strings pulled by MI 5 officers”

X10- Oh yea, absolutely without a doubt. They were runners, a dummy team. I’ve spoken to a few people about the way in which dummy teams are run. They interest lads like that, what MI5 do is they say something like “We want you to be part of a film, part of a dummy run working with the government and also working with BBC producers on developing scenarios in which terrorist attacks in the UK could take place. You get to London and then you do this, meet us at a certain place and we give you a thousand quid”. That’s easy money and its easy money for what? Travelling to London, sitting on a train with a backpack for about half an hour or so and you collect your loot”

James Casbolt- “Do you think Mohammad Sidique Khan would have been a conscious MI 5 agent?”

X10- “He may have been paid by MI 5 to go through that on the TV. The same way as, there is another guy who is a known MI 5 agent. He used to be the sidekick of Abdul H the Muslim preacher. He was no 2. He was a ‘Mr fixer’ and had links to all sorts of exotic quasi terrorist organisations, which are of course almost all run by British intelligence. I wish I could remember his name”

James Casbolt- “You said one of the ex SAS men who was responsible for the bombings was called Mcgreagor and he was disguised as a homeless person.”

X10- “That's what they do to blend in, well not blend in but to make them look conspicuous. If you’ve got a homeless person clutching an old Tesco’s bag or something you don’t tend to look at him and say the guy looks like security threat”

James casbolt- “Can you explain what he did”

X10- “He was on the train and left a package with explosives in. The man who told me this, I developed a close relationship in the past and trusted him”

James Casbolt- “And this man was an MI 6 officer?”

X10- “Ex MI 6. He longer worked for them. Even in the days when I knew him he had already left the service. As far as the bus operations were concerned that was not his main topic. He was talking mostly about the people in the tube bombings. When all of the eye witness statements came up later on talking about the possibility that the bombs may have been placed under the buses, what the government did was put in a fail safe to make sure that even if some thing went wrong on the day with those people who were involved in the bombings themselves, they would at least have a secondary system to ensure the bombs exploded at exactly the time they wanted”

James Casbolt- “So would they have been set on timers?”

X10- “They were set on timers”

James Casbolt- “So they wouldn’t have needed to remotely detonated?”

X10- “No. This whole remote system is quite strange because on the day itself Ian Blair took down all of the mobile phone communications. Everything was switched off. You couldn’t make a mobile phone call. He knew in any event that there were no remote detonators and he was just covering his arse in case any curious journalists asked him a pertinent question later on. There were no remote detonations on the day at all. They were all personally delivered to the destinations”

James Casbolt- “What happened on the tube then?”

X10- “The agents were there at the exactly the right time they were supposed to be. If it was the actual case that those guys actually did get the train from Luton. I don’t believe they got the train from Luton because apparently that train never turned up. But if they had got to London before hand which s probably the case, they would have had plenty of time to receive the briefing in London. They would have got on train. They would have then been followed by these ex MI 5, SAS officers so that they were actually in the same cart as the so-called juvenile bombers. It would have taken place as scheduled”

James Casbolt- “So the guys on the train who were ex MI 5, ex SAS, they left the explosives on the train and then got off. What were their names again?”

X10- “The ex MI 5 man was codenamed ’J-boy’ and Mcgreagor was the ex SAS guy”

James Casbolt- “And then you say they escaped in a Vauxhall cabriolet?”

X10- “Yes and they were driven away from the scene”

James Casbolt- “So your MI 6 contact confirmed it was a Vauxhall cabriolet?”

X10- “Yes”

James Casbolt- “So J-boy and Mcreagor left explosives in bags under the seats but there were secondary explosives under the train carriage (See photos. Ed.) in case they didn’t go off”

X10- “Yes”

James Casbolt- “Do you know were the safe house was were Mcgreagor and J-boy went afterwards”

X10- “The safe house was in South London. This is a very unfortunate event that is going to be churning around in people’s minds for a long time to come. We need a proper public enquiry”

To the government factions who were involved in this act of mass killing I say this. How dare you blow up and murder my British people! All those who are accountable will be held fully accountable when the time comes! That time is coming soon. In my vision I see Asian and white brothers and sisters coming together in love and harmony in this country. We will confront the government peacefully for their terrorist crimes.

James Casbolt
http://jamescasbolt.com/bombings.htm

Notes:
1 “these people were not regular security”: http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/july2005/150705busbombing.htm

2 “A company was running a simulated terror attack at the time”: http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/july2005/110705bombingexercises.htm

3 cock up with train times: http://www.financialoutrage.org.uk/thameslink_database.htm

4 “Mind that hole”: http://www.thetruthseeker.co.uk/article.asp?ID=3583

5 Mohammad Sidique Khan: http://www.thetruthseeker.co.uk/article.asp?ID=4260

6 See photos: http://www.thetruthseeker.co.uk/article.asp?ID=3583

For further background also see:

The Road To World War Three
http://www.thetruthseeker.co.uk/article.asp?ID=4121

Who Was Albert Pike?
http://www.thetruthseeker.co.uk/article.asp?ID=1086

How Could They Get it So Wrong?
http://www.thetruthseeker.co.uk/article.asp?ID=3478

IMPORTANT:When Masculine Virtues Go Out of Fashion

May 31, 2010


When Masculine Virtues Go Out of Fashion

By Tom Hoffman

The culture war begun in the sixties has, in large part, been won by the left. Nowhere is this clearer than in the feminization of men. The virtues of manhood which had been extolled and celebrated throughout the middle ages right up to the 1950s have been completely expunged from academia and pop culture. The baby boom generation was the last to be taught the values of rugged individualism, risk-taking, courage, bravery, loyalty, and reverence for tradition. John Wayne epitomized the rugged individual who was committed to fighting "the bad guy," but he was only one of a whole host of competing figures cut out of the same cloth. What happened?

Today, the Boy Scouts are fighting the last battle in a lost cause. Any man who stands up to the "women's movement" is completely marginalized as a sexist and homophobe. These names have become just as stigmatizing as "racist" used to be. It is no wonder that women now are the majority of college graduates and are increasing their role in every institution from private enterprise to public service, including the military. Is this a healthy trend? The answer is clearly "no."

Edward Gibbon chronicles the increasing femininity of the Roman Empire in his six-volume work, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. He catalogues the progressive decadence that rendered the once-proud republic into spoils for barbarian hordes. The consuls in the early republic, who were warrior-generals adhering to a strict code of honor, gradually gave way to the backroom emperors who were no more than brazen criminals and thugs. It is the same script in all noble human enterprise: The fabric which bred success is torn apart by the complacency of the successful. When warfare is demonized as violence and negotiation is raised to an art, the end is near. Today, we are there.

Today's politics reminds me of the make-believe kingdom of Queen Herzeloyde. She was the mother of Parzival, the hero of Wolfram von Eschenbach's 12th-century epic poem Parzival. This masterwork is widely touted as a literary cornerstone of Western civilization. It not only extolled the virtues of knighthood and chivalry, but it also exhorted men to overcome all obstacles on the path to individual greatness.

Parzival's mother was married to a knightly king whose military campaigns against worldly evil kept him away from his kingdom for years on end. Herzeloyde is heartbroken to hear of her husband's death and vows to keep her son sheltered from the knightly world. She sets up a royal court in the wilderness with a deadly sanction against anyone who would allow her son to come in contact with a knight. The boy grows up oblivious of the outside world until he confronts two knights in shining armor on horseback. His mother is distraught to discover that there will be no discouraging her son's ambition to become a knight. She goes so far as to dress her son as a fool upon his setting out upon his adventure in hopes that he will be humiliated and return to her.

Academia, with the help of the media, has labeled all reference to manly virtue as patriarchal, sexist, and homophobic. Womanly virtue, on the other hand, is extolled. Caring, compassion, sensitivity, and understanding are virtues meant to blur the distinction between good and evil and drown out the call of manly conscience to "do the right thing." Like a mother who refuses to see the evil in her son, the feminist professors cast all moral standards as relative and subjective. 

Exit the cowboy and enter the mama's boy. Queen Herzeloyde would have no problem raising young Parzival in today's schools, as devoid of examples of manly virtue and rugged individualism as they are. All reference to the service of a higher calling -- to God and country -- has been replaced by the call to community service with the emphasis on care and compassion for the downtrodden.

We now have a would-be queen named Pelosi who sits atop a vast bureaucracy dedicated to rooting out all reference to God and a higher calling while making sure that any reference to manly virtue, rugged individualism, and decency is stigmatized as "hate speech." No nation has ever demonized manhood to its own reward. A nation that renounces violence, no matter how just the cause, signs its own death certificate -- and for a violent death at that.

Photographing The Fallen



Photographing The Fallen

Saturday, 23 August 2008 12:43

The Bush administration has tried to censor photos of US war dead, but Americans need to see the Iraq war's

From the beginning of the Iraq war, the Bush administration and the military have done their best to stop photographers from taking pictures of American war dead. Their first big controversy arose in 2004 when the Seattle Times angered the Bush administration by publishing a front-page picture of flag-draped coffins in a cargo plane in Kuwait, and since then the Bush administration and the military have continued their anti-photo policy. Even the replacement of secretary of defence Donald Rumsfeld with Robert Gates has not made a difference.
The Bush administration has, if anything, let its worries about the presidential election heighten its anti-photo policies. This summer Gina Gray, the public affairs director at Arlington cemetery, was fired from her job for allowing the media access to Arlington burials when families of the fallen gave their permission for it, and in Iraq, Zoriah Miller, a freelance photographer who posted photos on the internet of Marines killed in a suicide attack, was barred from working in Marine Corps-controlled areas of the country.
For a president caught in an unpopular war, the attempts at censorship are understandable, but what the Bush administration and the military really needs to do is take a page from the second world war's lessons in photographing the fallen.
The differences between now and then are striking but not, as we might imagine, because the Roosevelt administration and second world war military leaders were always candid. For the first 21 months of the war, censors withheld all photographs of American dead. As George Roeder notes in his landmark study The Censored War: American Visual Experience During World War II, Roosevelt's memory of visits to European combat zones while assistant secretary of the US navy in the first world war made him fearful of the harm graphic pictures of the dead could cause on the home front.
But by 1943 Roosevelt's advisers were warning him of a different danger - home-front complacency about the war that stemmed from the public's underestimation of the toll it was taking on the military. The office of war information, headed by veteran radio commentator Elmer Davis, encouraged the president to authorise the publication of harsher pictures of the war in order to prepare for more casualties and to reduce civilian complaints over food and gas shortages.
The advice produced a change in policy. By the fall of 1943, the US war department's bureau of public relations acted to release photos that it had previously withheld, and army chief of staff George Marshall urged his generals to have their photographic units send material that would portray the "the dangers, horrors and grimness of war".
The big media breakthrough came in the September 20 1943, issue of Life, with the publication of George Strock's photo of three American soldiers lying dead on Buna Beach in New Guinea. By historical standards the brutality in Strock's photo was minimal. The three dead Americans it shows seem almost at peace. As they lie sprawled out in the sand, they give no indication of having painfully suffered. Timothy O'Sullivan's US civil war photo A Harvest of Death: Gettysburg, July, 1863 was far more graphic than Strock's.
Life was, nonetheless, still sufficiently worried about its decision to publish Strock's photo that it paired it with an editorial that observed, "And the reason we print it now is that last week President Roosevelt and Elmer Davis and the war department decided that the American people ought to be able to see their own boys as they fall in battle: to come directly and without words into the presence of their own dead."
Neither Life nor the Roosevelt administration ever had reason to regret their decisions. Surveys showed that by 1943 the public was prepared to deal with pictures of the war dead and that these pictures could even help make people more sympathetic to bond drives. In January 1944 George Marshall followed up his 1943 directive with a cable instructing his commanding generals to send onto Washington photos that reveal the war "as it is actually being fought, without the usual effort to eliminate the tragic aspects of battle".
In a nation that was paying higher taxes, experiencing gas shortages and conducting scrap drives, such candour paid dividends. "War calls for sacrifice," President Roosevelt insisted. "That sacrifice will have to be expressed in terms of a lack of many of the things to which we all have become accustomed." With photos of Americans killed in battle now visible in newspapers and magazines, the Roosevelt administration could push even harder for sacrifice on the home front. The deaths of their citizen soldiers, Americans came to believe, needed to be made meaningful. Carrying on business as usual - as the United States has throughout the Iraq war - was not an option.

Ιraq in the Times of Cholera…and Occupation



Ιraq in the Times of Cholera…and Occupation

Monday, 27 October 2008 21:02
Iraq in the Times of Cholera…and Occupation 
Sabah Ali
Bagdad, Oct 17, 2008
With all the tragedies that the occupation brought to Iraq, the last thing it needs now is an epidemic, the cholera which is spreading in big numbers. 
 It is a well-known fact that before April 9, 2003, Iraq was one of the countries that are clean of any epidemic. In 2001 WHO reported about the countries that are 100% clean of epidemics (tuberculosis, smallpox, AIDS, and cholera) and classified Iraq as immune against epidemics among other countries like Germany, Britain, U.S. and the Scandinavian countries. It is important to mention that Iraq, at that time, was under the economic sanctions for 12 years.  
Curiously enough, after April 9, 2003 these illnesses and epidemics began to invade the Iraqi society and environment in an unprecedented way. In the last 6 months the Cholera spread in a very noticeable manner, and if the occupiers’ attitude is indifference to this tragedy, it is curious (or rather not) that the Iraqi government too is behaving the same way, even with denial. And while the Cholera is spreading and horrifying people, the government does not move a finger to do anything, apart from giving false statement that the epidemic is under control. The black irony is as much as the government declares that the cholera is under control, new cases appear in different regions, especially in the south. 
                It is well-known that cholera spreads in certain environments as swamps, unhealthy rivers, stagnant pools, and open sanitation systems, in addition to generally deteriorated health services, lack of potable sterilized water, and bad distribution pipes nets. The majority of water nets are in decay, so are the sanitation services. The majority of the contracts which build these nets are corrupt, as everything else in the ministry of health and other governmental apparatus.  
                In addition to that, the provinces councils are controlled by what is referred to in Iraq now as the conflicting “occupation political parties” and the health executives who are protected by these parties against any charges of failure.  
                The first case of cholera appeared in Hilla, the capital of the Babylon province. In one day, there were 80 cases of sever diarrhea, of different ages, but the majority were children. It happened that at the same time there was a Turkish organization called (SPTI), which works in the field of health and water station rehabilitation, in one of the villages. They have a moving laboratory and they began to give first aid to the people with diarrhea.  
They discovered that it is cholera, and that the percentage of cases to the number of the population suggested the epidemic. SPTI immediately demanded isolating the area, and announced that the water in that area is undrinkable, because the chlorine that was used in sterilizing the water has expired for more than 2 months. The Iraqi government did not reply to SPTI positively, so it sent its report to Turkey, and it was published in the media and the “scandal” began. 
The head of the health committee in the city council of Babylon, Hasan Tofan, confirmed that the Turkish organization reports and information are correct, and that the real number of the cases is much bigger in other areas of Babylon. Tofan also confirmed that the chlorine that is used, which is imported from Iran, is expired and that the Health director and water station director in Babylon are responsible for this catastrophe because they knew about the bad chlorine but they insisted on using it. This statement came on the background of the political conflict between the two biggest sectarian parties: the Dawa and the Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq.  While Tofan is from the Dawa, the Health director and the water distribution director are from the second party. 
From that moment on, statements started coming from different parts of the south and the mid-Euphrates provinces about the increasing numbers of cases. The government officials from both parties exchanged accusations of responsibility. Three provinces (Amara, Kut, and Qadisiya) declared that the cholera epidemic has spread in these areas 2 months earlier. They demanded that these provinces declared epidemic stricken. So it was only through power conflict between the “occupation parties” that the tragedy was exposed. 
                Earlier this month, the Iraq government announced that the cholera cases all over Iraq are 460, and only 8 are dead. But other confirmed information states that the cases are at least 904, with 84 cholera deaths. The following table (obtained from the Health offices in the provinces, and checked with the corresponding reports in Baghdad Health Departments).               
Deaths
Cases
Province
8
32
Baghdad
11
74
Basra
12
102
Misan (Amara)
6
85
Najaf
16
92
Babylon
4
64
Wasit (Kut)
7
59
Quadisiya
5
80
Karbala
2
45
Mothanna
No deaths
52
Dhi Qar
4
39
Diala
No deaths
28
Nineveh
2
25
Salahadin
9
24
Anbar
3
34
Suleimaniy
No deaths
26
Dahuk
1
28
Arbil
No deaths
29
Kirkuk

         In Amara, which is an area of marshes, the number is the highest. But these are only the registered numbers of the cases in the hospitals statistics departments. Many other cases die at home without knowing the reason; it is only after the death that the case is known. Resources in Babylon alone say that the cases are more than 1000. 
          Curiously, in Babylon, the number of deaths registered in the Health department in the last 2 months was 1562, which is high. If one third of this number, as minimum, is due to Cholera, then the number is 520 cholera deaths, not to mention the cases that survived. 
         On the other hand, the Najaf cemetery (the biggest in Iraq) receives normally between 40-70 deaths a day. In the days of battles or armed clashes the number rises to 80-120. But in the last 2 months the number rose to an average of 110-130 a day, which is higher than violent days, although there were no big armed confrontations in this period. The cemetery office says that they have over load of work, and they wanted more grave diggers. Families say that they have to wait 4-6 hours to have a chance to bury their dead.                
         On October 11, the minister of Health, Salih Al-Hasnawi, had to attend a hearing in the Parliament, to answer for the representatives’ questions, especially of the Committee of Health and of the Committee of Integrity, on the reason of the failure to confront the spread of cholera. (The Parliament and the Government headquarters are in the Green Zone). When the Health Minster arrived in the Green Zone to attend the Parliament hearing, he was prevented from entering the Parliament by the guards at the security point, on orders of Sami Al-Askari, the councilor of Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki. 
        Resources in the south of Iraq say that one of the main reasons of the cholera epidemic is the Iranian alimentation materials which are invading the markets in most of the provinces, especially dairies. The director of the Babylon Central Laboratory, Jum’a Abid Onn, stated that an Iranian dairy with trade mark DOG is especially not good because it has a festering bacterium which is a good host of the cholera virus.  Many mineral water bottles imported from United Arab Emirates or from Bahrain which are not good appeared to be actually imported from Iran by a relative of the Babylon governor. 
After he gave this statement, Jum’a was immediately fired from his job, and then disappeared. His family found his body later in the morgue of Hilla General Hospital. Actually this is not the first time that Jum’a gave a statement challenging the governor’s authority. Earlier, he threatened to expose another fishy deal, in which a medically corrupt blood was supplied by Iran to the Hilla hospitals. Jum’a said that he has all the documents which prove that, and also which expose the names of the dealers involved and how they threw the bad blood in the Euphrates River. 
Finally, a source in Al-Sabah daily in Bagdad, said that the Prime Minster’s media adviser Yaseen Majeed, met in his house in the Green Zone with the directors of Al-Iraquiya and Al-Faiha satellite TVs, and the editors in chief of Al-Sabah (the government newspaper) , Al-Mu’tamar newspaper (Ahmad Al-Chalabi group), and Al-Bayan of Al-Dawa Party. Majeed told the journalists to emphasize that the government is controlling the cholera epidemic, and that it is taking all the necessary procedures to stop the cholera spread, and that all the media fuss is politically motivated for electoral reasons to undermine the achievements of  Al-Maliki (personally) and his government. 


Iraqi Resistance According to the Iraqis Themselves

By Snorre Lindquist
 (This is a presentation of myself, only for the editors) 
 
My first encounter with the ongoing crises of the Middle East was when I was given, in my capacity as an architect, the task of designing the square and culture centre situated in front of the Nativity Church in Bethlehem and funded by the Swedes. A commission I won in a competition, it was completed in time for the Millennium celebrations in 2000. This meeting with the Palestinians and their harsh reality inspired me, after retirement, to become involved in the solidarity movement. I have, among other things, initiated a study circle in Stockholm concerning the Palestinian issue.  
The occupation of Iraq made me realise that this was predominantly where key events would take place – The Iraqi resistance would splinter the positions of power held by the US and Israel. This lead to my involvement in the Iraqi issue. I started a new study circle about the war in Iraq, compiled and wrote a compendium and organised talks with well-informed speakers. It was here I got to know Eftikhar Hashem. I worked together with her to update the version of her booklet “Iraqi Resistance”, 2006. In 2008 she revised and expanded the material for a book and I was honoured to be her co-writer. Eftikhar has the knowledge about Iraq and she has collected the facts concerning the resistance against the occupation and of the collaborators.
  
Few outsiders have insight into the Iraqis’ struggle against the mighty Goliath. But the success of their six-year freedom fight, and that in Afghanistan, raises new hope for people worldwide who resist the US strategy to dominate the world. Hence this overwhelming silence in the global media that is obviously governed by the same interests that engineer the wars. World opinion is kept in the dark and focused on other things.
 
Thus, there is every reason to draw attention to The Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq’s (AMSI) selection of a delegation of prominent Iraqis with the task of touring Europe for the first time, giving information about the resistance struggle in Iraq.
 
AMSI connects civil Iraqi organisations that oppose the occupation and has steadfastly resisted the “political process” put in place by the US, despite all the invective thrust at it. Statements issued by AMSI, respectfully heard by all the resistance organisations, bear the mark of legal pathos, moderation, balance, clarity, humanity and an absence of hate. In their work for a united front against the occupation, the representatives have acquired considerable knowledge of what is barely known to an outsider – the resistance struggle.
 
The delegation consisted of AMSI’s renowned spokesman, Dr. Mohammed Bashir Al-Faidhi, the general in the former army of Iraq Saifaldin Al-Okidi, the ex mayor of Falluja Mohammad Hassan Khlauf and the former politician and leader of the group “Loyalty to Iraq”, Raad Nassir Al-Adhami.[1]
 
The Stockholm Visit
 
The tour’s first stop was Stockholm where the small organisation Iraq Information Service (IRIS) together with the organisations ABF (Arbetarnas Bildningsförbund) and Foro Latinamerica, arranged a seminar on the 25th of April 2009, entitled “The new face of the occupation – what is in store for Iraq?”. Stockholm was first thanks to the confidential telephone interviews undertaken for many years between Eftikhar Hashem Al-Husseiny of IRIS and Dr. Al-Faidhi, which will eventually comprise a book, “Iraqi Resistance”, written by her and by myself.
 
Suddenly here we were in Stockholm with people who know all there is to know about the resistance, a well of trustworthy and current information. Here follows a resume of the seminar and the questions asked. Focus is on the statements from Dr. Al-Faidhi and former general Saifaldin Al-Okidi. Translation of all the speeches and the answers to questions will be included in a coming book.
 
The Overall Picture of the Resistance
 
Dr. Al-Faidhi gave a well-informed and erudite analysis of Iraq’s resistance from an historical perspective. He established that Iraq’s resistance is unique. Never before has a country been confronted with such an enemy: a superpower, the only one in the world to which all other nations bow down.
 
Earlier on in history, resistance movements have been able to find supportive and allied states. Vietnam for example had many. But Iraq is completely isolated, even abandoned by the UN, which, contrary to its aims, is being used as a tool for occupation. All Iraq’s neighbours act like enemies. This is what the resistance has had to contend with, and is why it has presented itself as fragments of a large collection of small factions, without central leadership, working independently of one another with no obvious public presence.
 
This situation has, however, given the resistance strength and independence with regard to the rest of the world and enabled the groups to remain militarily active and out of reach of the enemy. Without a doubt, the resistance has up till now been very successful and decidedly detrimental to the US army, its collaborators and coalition partners.
 
We are now facing a new challenge: various resistance groups have formed fronts and more or less agreed on political goals and strategies, said Dr. Al-Faidhi. The next step is forming a definite political leadership with a known strategy and the ability to negotiate with the occupying power.
 
The biggest obstacle is isolation – the absence of international sympathy and regional support. This is why AMSI is now turning to the rest of the world, and the tour of Europe is the first step down this new road. While the struggle for liberation, and hopefully awakening world opinion, grind down the obstacles, the resistance continues a long undercover struggle.
 
Another obstacle that must be overcome is the untrue picture of the resistance struggle that is drummed into the rest of the world, said Dr. Al-Faidhi. At the beginning, the occupying power tried to hide the existence of the resistance. The image of an Iraq that had returned to normality and quiet was projected. Journalists who reported on reality and resistance were pursued and killed. However, covering up the existence of the resistance was unsuccessful, and the criminal character of the American war-project was revealed for the entire world to see. Whereupon the US army allowed rumours to be spread to the ever-willing western media; namely that what appeared to be a legitimate human-rights struggle against an occupying power was in fact the work of foreigners in Al-Qaida, an organisation on the UN’s list of terrorists. Crushing them was both acceptable and admirable.
 
The True Picture of the Resistance
 
Today there are, according to Dr. Al-Faidhi, about 100.000 men in the actual armed resistance, who kill no civilians and fight solely against the occupying power, its allies and collaborators. There are roughly only 1000 Al Qaida fighters, this being one percent of the entire resistance which has no contact with them whatsoever.
 
If we are to believe the western media, and even many leftwing writers, the armed resistance has more or less come to a halt at this stage; now it is Al Qaida, suicide bombers and violence against innocent civilians that dominate Iraq. Almost daily there are reports of a few cruel massacres that interrupt the otherwise relative calm. According to Dr. Al-Faidhi this is a completely distorted picture, spread by the occupying power to neutralise potential solidarity in the rest of the world.
 
 
“Al-Qaida accepts responsibility for some of the atrocities, others are undertaken by surveillance organisations from the neighbouring countries and their interests (meaning Iran and Israel, my comment)….I can assure you, Iraq’s resistance has never faltered or weakened not for a second. However sometimes there are fewer operations due to political circumstances, but then they increase and are stronger than before. In 2007, the resistance movement lost momentum because of Al-Sahwa (Awakening Councils). It has now returned stronger than ever”  
 
The US administration focuses on Al-Qaida and sectarian violence, making sure that the media report the lies, in order tohide this fact.During the whole of 2008 and up till now year 2009, the occupying powers have been attacked continually, about 100 times a day. This was sensationally confirmed in a worried statement from the American general Lloyd Austin on the 20thMarch, 2009, where he also said that the road to success for the US army is very long.
At the moment the resistance is “booming” said Dr. Al-Faidhi. He confirmed the number of attacks and predicted that there were still more to come during the rest of year 2009.
 
A United Organisation for the Resistance
 
Dr. Al-Faidhi had some good news. There is a new resistance organisation, “The General Command of Armed Forces – The Iraqi Army”, which will be the framework for the future free army of Iraq and which has already won respect. It has no definite political or religious aims, but wishes to appeal to all Iraqis and to bring together resistance fighters of various religious beliefs, political convictions and ethnic groups, to comprise one united resistance movement.
 
Many militaries from Iraq’s old army are part of it and commanders-in-chief from the same army are included in the leadership. AMSI supports it and hopes that it will attract all other fronts under the same umbrella. In this case, the organisation will have the power needed to root out all foreign troops, security forces and the Quisling regime’s army. This cannot be achieved alone by just one or other front or faction.
 
Initially, however, it has not the military power of the other factions, the Al-Rashedeen army among the foremost of these. It attracts many Shia Muslims as opposed to the otherwise Sunni dominated resistance.
 
American Losses
 
The US army’s reports on losses of less than 5000 are ridiculous said Saifaladin Al-Okidi, the former general in the delegation that visited Sweden. They are lying: our resistance movements’ operations are documented on video. There is video evidence of more than ten deaths when the Americans have reported only one or two at the same attack. There were 1200 American deaths in Falluja alone.
 
The Association of War Veterans of America has reported 73.000 killed in action from 1991 till the end of 2007 and if you take from this number the few who where presumed dead from 1991 till 2003 you get numbers that are closer to the ones we consider to be true.
 
The American researcher and Nobel laureate in economy, Joseph Stiglitz, has estimated the total cost of the US war in Iraq and Afghanistan to 3000 billion dollars if all the follow-up and hidden expenses are included. In the long run, such expenditure will ruin a country like the US with all its astronomical debts. The reasons why the Americans are presently thinking through the occupation of Iraq are the following, said Saifalidin Al-Okidi: a) the large number of dead, injured and mentally handicapped Americans and b) the heavy economic losses sustained.
 
The Al-Sahwa Movement
 
Before this movement was formed, according to Saidaldin Okidi, there was a series of frightening “false flag” attacks against civilians undertaken by specially trained American death squadrons, “Special Forces”.
 
These bloody crimes were of course despicable and when the occupying power saw to it that the finger was pointed at “Al-Qaida of Mesopotamia (AQM)”, which hardly is a blameless movement, the situation became volatile. Getting rid of AQM became first priority for many people, and the struggle against the source of all the terror – the occupation – came second. The Islamic Party with seats in the Quisling parliament was instrumental in spreading US propaganda amongst the Sunnis. This party likes to think of itself as the Sunnis’ counterbalance to the growing power of Iran in Iraq and because there is a considerable fear of this development, many listened respectfully when the party argued for a diversion of the resistance. The fight against the US army would cease and be replaced by the hunt for AQM. This caused quite a tumult and tendencies to split the resistance movement.
 
Many Sunni resistance fighters let themselves be lured into joining Al-Sahwa (Awakening Councils, Sons of Iraq), a corps created by the US. Its directives were to help destroy AQM and maintain order in the cities.
 
There were those who broke away from the resistance factions and created new ones, Iraq’s Hamas and Jaami, and started to fight AQM while continuing to fight the occupying power. The Islamic Army, a faction formerly so dreaded by the US, also became involved and is now a mere shadow of its former self.
 
AQM, the organisation that, according to AMSI, had severely damaged the US army and its collaborators, was now weakened. This is how, after a year, the “relative calm” in Baghdad and the Anbar province managed to mislead foreign opinion. Thus Al-Sahwa has served its purpose for the occupying power.
 
“The US has abandoned Al-Sahwa. It is now in the hands of its enemies, Mailiki’s government forces. (Most of them were formerly part of the resistance and are Sunnis, my comment) Maliki and the US army have done a deal. Maliki has eliminated his rival, the Shiite Mehdi army, loyal to Iran and enemy of the US, and is now free to destroy Sunni Al Sahwa, formerly supported by the US. The US allows Maliki kill Al-Sahwa’s leader and has handed over the movement’s documents, maps and list of members…….Al-Sahwa caused resistance in the Anbar province to weaken, but at the same time it became stronger in Mosul and the Diyalah province. Now that the US has betrayed Al-Sahwa, opposition is growing everywhere. We believe it will become even stronger in the next six months or so.” (Dr M B Al-Faidhi)
 
Al Qaida in Mesopotamia
 
Dr Al-Faidhi treated this issue with great care as it has such impact on western opinion. He gave the following balanced picture:
 
“Their behaviour towards ordinary civilians is intimidating and shocking and quite unacceptable. They are being used by the US – and the media are permitted to aggravate the situation. AQM has committed horrible crimes, which they occasionally take responsibility for. One example is the massacre in the bazaars of the town Hillah. We say the AQM has lost face. This is an organisation with contradictions, some of its factions fight only the US, others fight the resistance…at the beginning, AQM was seen as a protector of people, now it is seen as a threat. The various factions and fronts that make up the resistance no longer look on AQM as merely a brother-in-arms. Some accept it, others like the Al Rashedeen army, say nothing, and still others look upon it as a saboteur of the resistance”
 
The Kurds in Iraq
 
This issue too, is controversial to western opinion due partly to the support given to the Kurds’ struggle for greater independence, and partly to the fact that the Kurdish leaders collaborate with Israel. Dr Al-Faidhi took the view that their demands are justified:
 
“We Iraqis are prepared to solve these issues. They are not very complicated……The Kurdish people have never harboured any bad feelings against any of the nationalities that surround them…….The contradiction Arabs/Kurds is a fabrication…it is used by certain leaders. These collaborate with countries outside Iraq (meaning above all US, Iran and Israel, my comment) that strive to impose their policies on Iraq for their own gain; they wish to tear Iraq apart. Note that conflicts have arisen just when the country was having difficulties[2]
 
The Kurdish people who live in extreme poverty are obliged to watch while the riches from Iraq’s oil pass to the leaders and their clans and cronies and the needs of the masses are neglected. An example of this is that nothing has been done to repair the supply of electricity despite the fact that the province government has received 30 billion dollars from the central government for this purpose. 93% of Kurds disagree with their leaders’ demands for a federal Iraq according to The Washington Post. This is a signal to the leaders that the Kurds are turning their backs on them and it makes them nervous.
 
Iran’s Involvement
 
Iran’s involvement in Iraq is probably the one issue that has put international solidarity with Iraq’s resistance on hold. Many who are critical of Israel and support the Palestinians look to Iran as the only country in the world that consistently opposes Zionism in favour of the Palestinians. Because of this, the solidarity movement does not criticise Iran’s involvement in Iraq. This is not advantageous either for the people of Iraq or the Palestinians. As long as Iran opposes the resistance struggle against the occupation of Iraq, there is less credibility for its support of the Palestinians.
 
“Iran’s involvement is considerable…………a catastrophe that adds to the already difficult situation in Iraq…we have been thrown into a deep sand pit and Iran does not lend us a hand to clamber out. Indeed, Iran helps the Americans to shovel more sand over us……..Iran is very dangerous for us…….but we have chosen to focus on the struggle against the US, our major enemy. The US started the invasion of Iraq, and allowed Iran to become involved…..the Americans treat Iran as an associate in Iraq. It was the US that saw too it that Iran’s collaborators attained government positions. Militaries and death squadrons trained in Iran have, with the help of the US, established themselves in Iraq’s police force and army”
 
These statements by Dr Al-Faidhi must be judged against a backdrop of considerable and bloody campaigns to exterminate Sunnis, Christians and secular intellectuals in Baghdad and southern Iraq, together with the ongoing “Persification process”. Iran’s government holds most of the responsibility for the fact that a fifth of Iraqis are now refugees. Regarding the sectarian conflict, Dr Al-Faidhi had this to say, as a “private person and scientist”:
 
“There are two branches of Shiite Islam in Iraq: 1) a popular people’s branch that manages to peacefully cohabit with Sunnis, secular people and other religions, and 2)The Iranian theocracy’s ideal that demands slavish obedience to the priests in Tehran and which is covertly or openly opposed to Sunni Islam, secularity and other religions”
 
After appealing to Europeans to support the struggle for a Free Iraq, Dr A-Faihidi ended his main talk by telling this amazing story from Iraq of today:
 
“The people of Iraq are steadfast in their conviction that Iraq’s territory and civil society will be kept intact even after the liberation. Let me prove this by telling a true story that has been confirmed and documented in words and pictures, and that underlines the truth about US crimes in Iraq. (He was referring to a video about American deeds in Iraq that had been shown at the seminar, my comment.)
 
There was a football match on the 26th of August last year at the People’s Stadium in Baghdad, between two Iraqi clubs, Zawra´a and Erbil, the latter from the Kurdish region in the north of Iraq.
For the first time since the occupation there were 50.000 football fans at the match. The Americans saw themselves as benefactors, having guaranteed security during the match and made it possible for all these people to attend. So they marched onto the pitch, officers and men, and started to wave to the public.
 
But they had never counted on what happened next. On the spur of the moment, completely spontaneous with no preparation, people started throwing shoes, water bottles and anything else they were holding at the Americans, while shouting angry slogans. The whole thing looked like a tsunami. Among the slogans were “America be damned, America be damned” and “Out Bush, out”, “We Iraqis are brothers, Sunni and Shia together and we will not sell our country to the Americans”
 
Ladies and gentlemen. This is Iraq and this is the general mood of the country and the challenges that face the Iraqi resistance”.
 

[1] More about AMSI and the delegates, see attachment
[2] The Kurd leader Jalal Talabani (president of the Quisling regime) and Massoud Barzani (prime minister of the province government) work together with the US. Their instruments of power are the infamous Peshmergas, trained by Israel’s Mossad. They played a leading part in the destruction of Falluja and now fight to throw out the Arabs, Turkmen and Christians from the Mosul and Kirkuk regions where the huge oil wells are.





The U.S. Military, al-Qaeda, and a War of Futility

Sunday, 17 January 2010 23:11
By Nick Turse* and Tom Engelhardt**


In his book on World War II in the Pacific, War Without Mercy, John Dower tells an extraordinary tale about the changing American image of the Japanese fighting man. In the period before the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, it was well accepted in military and political circles that the Japanese were inferior fighters on the land, in the air, and at sea -- “little men,” in the phrase of the moment. It was a commonplace of “expert” opinion, for instance, that the Japanese had supposedly congenital nearsightedness and certain inner-ear defects, while lacking individualism, making it hard to show initiative. In battle, the result was poor pilots in Japanese-made (and so inferior) planes, who could not fly effectively at night or launch successful attacks.

In the wake of their precision assault on Pearl Harbor, their wiping out of U.S. air power in the Philippines in the first moments of the war, and a sweeping set of other victories, the Japanese suddenly went from “little men” to supermen in the American imagination (without ever passing through a human phase). They became “invincible” -- natural-born jungle- and night-fighters, as well as “utterly ruthless, utterly cruel and utterly blind to any of the values which make up our civilization.”

Sound familiar? It should. Following September 11, 2001, news headlines screamed “A NEW DAY OF INFAMY,” and the attacks were instantly labeled “the Pearl Harbor of the twenty-first century.” Soon enough, al-Qaeda, like the Japanese in 1941, went from a distant threat -- the Bush administration, on coming into office, paid next to no attention to al-Qaeda’s possible plans -- to a team of arch-villains with little short of superpowers. After all, they had already destroyed some of the mightiest buildings on the planet, were known to be on the verge of seizing weapons of mass destruction, and, if nothing was done, might soon enough turn the Muslim world into their “caliphate.”

Al-Qaeda was suddenly an organization against which you wouldn’t launch anything less than the full strength of the armed forces of the world’s “sole superpower.” To a surprising extent, they are still dealt with this way. You can feel it, for instance, in the recent 24/7 panic over the thoroughly inept underwear bomber and the sudden threat of a few hundred self-proclaimed al-Qaeda members in Yemen. You can feel it in the ramping up of the Af-Pak War. You can hear it in the “debate” over moving al-Qaeda detainees from Guantanamo to U.S. maximum security prisons. The way some politicians talk, you might think those detainees were all Lex Luthorsand Magnetos, super-villains incapable of being held by any prison, just like the almost magically impossible-to-find Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri in the wild borderlands of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Because most Americans have never dealt with or thought of al-Qaeda as a group made up of actual human beings or accepted that, for every televisually striking success, they have an operation (or several) that go bust, the U.S. can’t begin to imagine what it’s actually up against. The current president, like the last one, claims that we are “at war.” If so, it’s a war of one, since al-Qaeda and the U.S. military are essentially not in the same war-fighting universe, which helps explain why repeatedly knocking off significant punortions of al-Qaeda’s leadership (even if never finding bin Laden and Zawahiri) doesn’t seem to end the threat.

But let’s stop here and try, for a moment, to imagine these two enemies side by side in the same universe of war. What, in that case, would the line-up of forces look like?


Assessing al-Qaeda’s “Troops” 


According to U.S. intelligence estimates, there are currently about 100 al-Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan, as well as “several hundred” in Pakistan and, so the latest reports tell us, a similar number in Yemen. Members of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (Algeria, Mali, and Mauritania) and those based in Somalia undoubtedly fall into the same category at several hundred each. According to authorities from the Iraq Study Group to the U.S. State Department, even at the height of the insurgency and civil war in Iraq, al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia never had more than 1,300-4,000 active fighters. Today, it is believed to consist only of “small, roving cells.”

Combined, these groups -- think of them as al-Qaeda’s shock troops -- add up to perhaps 2,100 fighters, about one-fifth the number of U.S. troops now based in Italy. As the 9/11 attacks, the intelligence on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, and the failure to disrupt the underwear-bomber’s plot indicate, U.S. intelligence has long been flying blind, but even if al-Qaeda turned out to have sleeper cells with 300 additional committed members in every nation on Earth, its clandestine operatives would only moderately exceed the number of U.S. forces now based in Germany.

Al-Qaeda does, of course, have some “training camps” in the backlands of countries like Yemen, and it has civilian supporters, financiers, and other scattered allies. Over the years, and sometimes with good reason, Washington has lumped Taliban fighters in Afghanistan and Pakistan with al-Qaeda and counted various militant groups, including Somalia’s al-Shabab Islamic rebels, as al-Qaeda affiliates. Add such fighters in and you would swell these numbers by many thousands.

Additionally, al-Qaeda has an arsenal of weaponry. Members have access to rocket-propelled grenades, small arms of various sorts, the materials for making deadly roadside bombs, car bombs, and of course underwear bombs. 

Assessing America’s Troops

U.S. efforts to crush al-Qaeda have certainly not failed for lack of resources. The U.S. military has spent about one trillion dollars on its post-9/11 wars so far. It has an Army, a Navy, an Air Force, and a Marine Corps which, like the Navy, has its very own air force. It possesses trillions of dollars in weapons, materiel, and other assets. It can mobilize spy satellites, advanced fighter planes and bombers, high-tech drones and helicopters, fleets of trucks, tanks, and other armored vehicles. It has advanced missiles and smart bombs, aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, and state-of-the-art ships in all shapes and sizes.

It also has incredibly well-trained special operations forces -- almost 56,000 elite troops, including Army Rangers and Special Forces, Navy SEALs and Special Boat Teams, Air Force Special Tactics Teams, and Marine Corps Special Operations Battalions, armed with incredibly advanced weaponry. It has military academies that churn out highly-educated officers and specialized training camps, schools, and universities. It has more than half-a-million buildings and structures on more than 800 bases sitting on millions of acres of prime real estate scattered around the world, including in or near lands where various branches of al-Qaeda operate.

In addition, the U.S. military has manpower -- lots of it. All told, the United States has approximately 1.4 million active duty men and women under arms and another 1.3 million reserve personnel. It employs more than 700,000 civilians in support roles -- from stocking shelves and serving food at stateside bases to assisting in intelligence analysis in war zones -- and utilizes untold tens of thousands of private security hired-guns and various other kinds of private contractors all around the globe. These numbers would be further swelled by intelligence agents who aid military efforts, including 100,000 members of the civilian intelligence community. And then there are the allies the U.S. can draw on ranging, in Afghanistan alone, from the Afghan army and police to tens of thousands of NATO and other foreign allied troops from more than 40 countries.

Comparing the Sides: The Mark of the Beast or the Mark of Futility?

Even excluding from the U.S. side of the equation all those U.S. reserves, Defense Department civilians, intelligence operatives and analysts, private contractors and allies of various sorts, if you compare the two enemies in the current “war,” you still end up with either the Mark of the Beast or a marker for futility.

The active duty U.S. military alone enjoys a 666:1 advantage over the estimated number of al-Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Iraq, Algeria, Mauritania, Mali, and Somalia. Adding in the reserves, the ratio jumps to an embarrassingly-high 1,286:1. Even if you were to factor in those hordes of nonexistent al-Qaeda sleeper agents, 300 each for 195 countries from Australia to Vatican City, the U.S. military would still enjoy a 23:1 advantage (or 45:1 if you included the reserves, now regularly sent into war zones on multiple tours of duty).

In sum, after the better part of a decade of conflict, the United States has spent trillions of taxpayer dollars on bullets and bombs, soldiers and drones. It has waged wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that have yet to end, launched strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, dispatched Special Ops troops to those nations and others, like the Philippines, and built or expanded hundreds of new bases all over the world. Yet Osama bin Laden remains at large and al-Qaeda continues to target and kill Americans. 

Open-Source al-Qaeda

Founded in 1988, bin Laden’s al-Qaeda formally issued a “declaration of war” on the United States in 1996, primarily over the U.S. military presence in the Middle East. While Washington has been hunting bin Laden and al-Qaeda since the mid-1990s, a post-9/11 Congressional resolution authorized the president to use force against that group and the Taliban. Ever since, the Pentagon has been waging one of the most ineffective campaigns of modern times in an effort to destroy it.

During these years, President George W. Bush declared himself a “war president” heading a country “at war” and living in “wartime.” In a milder way, President Obama has repeatedly declared the U.S. to be “at war” and, as in his surge speech at West Point in December, has identified the main enemy in that war as al-Qaeda. In the process, the U.S. military has unleashed tremendous destructive power on parts of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, and Somalia causing the deaths of al-Qaeda fighters, non-Qaeda militants, and innocent civilians. Thousands of its own troops have died and tens of thousands have been wounded in the process, not to mention the losses to allied forces.

In these years, new al-Qaeda “affiliates” like al-Qaeda in Iraq/Mesopotamia have nonetheless sprung to life regularly and, as in Yemen, have even been officially crushed, only to be reborn. These groups have often made up their own “al-Qaeda” membership requirements, and focused on their own chosen targets. Meanwhile, al-Qaeda wannabes and look-alikes have proliferated and the organization (or those sympathetic to it or praising it) has reportedly spurred further attacks in the U.S. and encouraged men from New York to California, Nigeria to Jordan, to join the movement, and then work, fight, kill, and die for it, sometimes in attacks on Americans.

Al-Qaeda has no tanks, Humvees, nuclear submarines, or aircraft carriers, no fleets of attack helicopters or fighter jets. Al-Qaeda has never launched a spy satellite and isn’t developing advanced drone technology (although it may be hacking into U.S. video feeds). Al-Qaeda specializes in low-budget operations ranging from the incredibly deadly to the incredibly ineffectual -- from murderous car bombs and airplanes-used-as-missiles to faulty shoe- and underwear-explosives.

Of course, comparisons of the strengths of the U.S. military and al-Qaeda “at war” would be absurd, if it weren’t for the fact that the United States actually went to war against such a group. It was a decision about as effective as firing a machine gun at a swarm of gnats. Some may die, but the process is visibly self-defeating.

In the present War on Terror, called by whatever name (or, as at present, by no name at all), the two “sides” might as well be in different worlds. After all, al-Qaeda today isn’t even an organization in the normal sense of the term, no less a fighting bureaucracy. It is a loose collection of ideas and a looser collection of individuals waging open-source warfare.

You don’t sign up for al-Qaeda the way you would for the U.S. Army. If you and two friends are sitting around a table in some country and you’re angry, alienated, and dissatisfied with the state of the world, you can simply claim to adhere to the basic ideas of Osama bin Laden and declare yourself al-Qaeda in [fill in the blank]. Who then gets into your organization and how you link up, if at all, with other “al-Qaedas” is up to you.

That’s why groups like al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia are always referred to in the press as ”homegrown.” What you have, then, in this post-War-on-Terror war is a massive global military force aided and abetted by allied troops, “native” forces, and all sorts of corporate contractors facing off against something fluid and “homegrown,” fierce but strangely undefined, constantly morphing and shape-shifting. Every one of its “members” could be destroyed without the “enemy” being destroyed, because the enemy is a set of ideas, however extreme or strange to most Americans.

The Pentagon, with its giant bureaucracy and its miles of offices and corridors, is the headquarters of the U.S. war effort, but there is no central al-Qaeda headquarters, not in Afghanistan or Pakistan -- not anywhere. There is probably no longer even an “al-Qaeda central.” Osama bin Laden has vanished or, for all we know, may be dead. Think of it, at best, as an open-source organization that is remarkably capable of replicating by a process of self-franchising.

Isn’t it time, then, to stop imagining al-Qaeda as a complex organization of terrorist supermen capable of committing super-deeds, or as an organization that bears any resemblance to a traditional enemy military force? With al-Qaeda, the path of war has undoubtedly been the road to perdition -- as we should have discovered by now, more than one trillion dollars later.

When this “war” began, George W. Bush and his followers, like Osama bin Laden and his followers, were eager to proclaim future “victory” and to say with bravado to the other side: “Bring ‘em on!” The word “victory” has long since fled Washington’s lips, along with boasts that the U.S. is a new Rome.

So far, no matter how many of its operatives may be dead, “victory” remains on the lips of those calling themselves al-Qaeda-in-anywhere. After all, they did get Washington to “bring ‘em on” and the results have been disastrous and draining for the United States. The U.S. military has killed many al-Qaeda operatives, but it cannot annihilate its appeal by “surging” in Afghanistan and making war, with all the civilian destruction involved, in Muslim lands.

It’s time to put al-Qaeda back in perspective -- a human perspective, which would include its stunning successes, its dismal failures, and its monumental goof-ups, as well as its unrealizable dreams. (No, Virginia, there will never be an al-Qaeda caliphate in or across the Greater Middle East.) The fact is: al-Qaeda is not an apocalyptic threat. Its partisans can cause damage, but only Americans can bring down this country. 



* Nick Turse is the associate editor of TomDispatch.com and the winner of a 2009 Ridenhour Prize for Reportorial Distinction as well as a James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Nation, In These Times, and regularly at TomDispatch. Turse is currently a fellow at New York University's Center for the United States and the Cold War. He is the author of The Complex: How the Military Invades Our Everyday Lives (Metropolitan Books). His website is NickTurse.com.

** Tom Engelhardt, co-founder of the American Empire Project, runs the Nation Institute's TomDispatch.com. He is the author of The End of Victory Culture, a history of the Cold War and beyond, as well as of a novel, The Last Days of Publishing. He also edited The World According to TomDispatch: America in the New Age of Empire (Verso, 2008), an alternative history of the mad Bush years.