And no exaggeration was too great, no lie too big to continue to hype the al Qaeda threat to immense proportions. Thus no one even raised an eyebrow when Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld told or replicated endless whoppers about the MOSLEM MENACE, particularly the one wherein al Qaeda and bin Laden were holed up, after the American invasion of Afghanistan, in the Tora-Bora caves in Eastern Afghanistan, you know, the one where Rumsfeld, who perhaps really should have been a career Marvel Comics editor, pontificated publicly with an equally delusional Jim Russert about the vast complex of air-conditioned bunkers, weapons depots, bakeries and even a hydroelectric plant carved into a mountain, which fiction is so ruthlessly put under bright scrutiny by Edward Jay Epstein's website as excerpted here:
The Lair of Bin Laden is a fictoid that originated in the highly-enterprising British press on November 27th, 2001. The chronology is as follows. On November 26th, the New York Times carried a story based on the account of an a ex-Russian soldier, Viktor Kutsenko, who had served in Afghanistan in the nineteen-eighties in which he claimed that there had seen an elaborate cave complex in Zhawar with "iron doors" that contained " a bakery, a hotel with overstuffed furniture, a hospital with an ultrasound machine, a library, a mosque, weapons of every imaginable stripe; a service bay with a World War II-era Soviet tank inside, in perfect running order." The historic story then added "Mr. bin Laden is reported to have upgraded both it and a nearby camp in the 1990's."
On November 27th, the London-based Independent came up with its own fairly similar troglodyte story, except that it had moved the underground fortress from Zhawar to Tora Bora, where the manhunt for bin Laden was about to begin, and advanced it in time from the nineteen-eighties to the present.
The Independent headlined: "Al-Qa'ida almost 'immune to attack' inside its hi-tech underground lair." In the story, its correspondent Richard Lloyd Parry, in Jalalabad, described a vast redoubt burrowed deep under a mountain, with labyrinthian tunnels sealed by with iron doors. "It has its own ventilation system and its own power, created by a hydro-electric generator. Its walls and floors in the rooms are smooth and finished and it extends 350 yards beneath a solid mountain." It was therefore tunneled almost as deep as the World Trade Center was high. It was also " so well defended and concealed that -- short of poison gas or a tactical nuclear weapon -- it is immune to outside attack. And it is filled with heavily armed followers of Osama bin Laden, with a suicidal commitment to their cause and with nothing left to lose."
It further claimed that fortress was built " reportedly employing expertise from Mr bin Laden's Saudi construction businesses" and housed "as many as 2,000 Arab and foreign fighters." The story's putative unidentified witness-- the lone deep throat-- explained, "It's like a hotel, with doors on the left and the right."
The idea that Osama and his followers had entombed themselves in an unassailable fortress under a mountain immediately embedded itself into the imagination of the American press. The Associated Press put The Independent story on its services, which went to hundreds of major newspapers and broadcasting stations. ABC News re-headlined the story "Bin Laden Hide-out Resembles Hotel: Witness," depicting "The cave complex ... filled with bin Laden's fanatical followers." Yahoo noted in its Internet service "Bin Laden has reputedly built a fortress 1,150 feet (350 meters) beneath the mountains, equipped with water, electricity and ventilation and guarded by hundreds or thousands of fighters ready to die for their leader." CBS, expanding the story, reported that an Afghan "commander thinks bin Laden is in a cave fortress known as Tora Bora. The massive hideout was built by the U.S. to house forces fighting the Soviet Army in the 1980s. The complex - nicknamed "bin Laden's ant farm," is burrowed deep into Gree Khil peak -- soaring 13,000 feet above the village of Tora Bora. It is virtually impregnable -- a latticework of tunnels, storage rooms for arms and munitions, and accommodations for up to a thousand fighters. Ventilation shafts bring fresh air 1,200 feet inside the mountain. A nearby river provides hydroelectric power to the complex... at least 2,000 of bin Laden's al-Qaida fighters are believed to be hiding there," In the Los Angeles Times Professor Mark C. Taylor added to his essay on an ancient troglodyte Hittite city in Turkey that "This city and others like it provide the prototype for the underground fortresses where Bin Laden and his followers are presumed to be hiding;" The Atlanta Journal-Constitution put the underground city in context, saying "The bitter and brutal end game between Osama bin Laden and U.S.-led forces is being played out in a mountain fortress the CIA helped build... equipped with ventilation and hydroelectric power." This bunker-fortress, the story continued, "provides bin Laden with significant advantages... it is considered invulnerable even to bunker-busting bombs and impregnable to conventional military attack." The Times of London meanwhile illustrated its story with an artist's rendering of the underground fortress, which dwarfed even Hitler's infamous "eagle's nest" fortress.
The story probably reached its high point on NBC's Meet The Press on December 2nd when Tim Russert, the host of the program, provided Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld with the artist's rendering of bin Laden's fortress. The interview proceeded:
Russert: The Times of London did a graphic, which I want to put on the screen for you and our viewers. This is it. This is a fortress. This is a very much a complex, multi-tiered, bedrooms and offices on the top, as you can see, secret exits on the side and on the bottom, cut deep to avoid thermal detection so when our planes fly to try to determine if any human beings are in there, it's built so deeply down and embedded in the mountain and the rock it's hard to detect. And over here, valleys guarded, as you can see, by some Taliban soldiers. A ventilation system to allow people to breathe and to carry on. An arms and ammunition depot. And you can see here the exits leading into it and the entrances large enough to drive trucks and cars and even tanks. And it's own hydroelectric power to help keep lights on, even computer systems and telephone systems. It's a very sophisticated operation.
Rumsfeld: Oh, you bet. This is serious business. And there's not one of those. There are many of those. And they have been used very effectively. And I might add, Afghanistan is not the only country that has gone underground. Any number of countries have gone underground. The tunneling equipment that exists today is very powerful. It's dual use. It's available across the globe. And people have recognized the advantages of using underground protection for themselves.
A few weeks after the "Meet the Press" interview, US special forces and their Afghan allies occupied Tora Bora. They painstakingly searched Gree Khil mountain and the surrounding area. They found no underground fortress, no hydro-electric power plant, no 2000-room hotel, no ant farm, no iron doors, no ventilating shafts. The troglodyte Lair of Bin Laden turned out to be mythic. (Source)
This was on a par with just about everything else said about al Qaeda, then and now, and it served to drag the suckered American people into multiple grotesque and bankrupting wars, proxy wars, Black Ops and other morbid agendas that are still ongoing today. All of this means, of course, cha-ching, cha-ching, cha-ching, billlions and billions of dollars for the military industrial complex, which is only too eager to keep the fear, hatred and revenge going. It is what pays for their mortgages and loans.
And now even Colonel Gaddafi sees how you can pull off almost any crime or scam under the sun if you just attribute your excesses to the war on al Qaeda.
But lately the American people have been growing less enthusiastic about underwriting the permanent warfare state and the corollary shades-of-the-Third-Reich "Homeland" Security tyranny that is reducing Americans to insects in a laboratory tube waiting to be poked, prodded, groped and observed 24/7 before, perhaps, being chloroformed somewhere down the line. "So what to do, what to do?" the control freaks ruminate at the rumblings of discontent within the body politic.
Answer: Let's take a page from the 1930s and 50s, our colorless Homeland Security bureaucrats and color-obsessed Islamophobic demagogues brainstorm (or is that Der Sturmer?), melding a little Nazi-style race-baiting with a little Joe McCarthy fear-mongering on a national scale. And, VOILA, enter well-groomed, graying and thick-jowled New York Republican Congressman Peter King, whom I have noticed, looks a little like a white version of the character George "Kingfish" Stevens from Amos and Andy, the hit Black TV comedy from the early 1950s, whose reruns used to crack me up big time when I was a kid. Later on the show was criticized for being "politically incorrect", but I never bought that. It was just plain-damned witty, slap-stick style hilarity.
From left to right: Amos, the Kingfish and Andy (source)
Congressman Peter King(fish) (source)
Peter is the chair of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), WHOOPS , I mean the House Committee on Homeland Security (HCHS - when you try to pronounce HCHS, it produces a strange, Arabic-or Hebraic type guttural sound, which ought to set off alarm bells among really astute anti-Semites that HCHS may really be an al Qaeda or Mossad cell itself).
The Kingfish's job is to rejuice the Clash of Civilizations and all the irrational fear, hatred and revenge that is needed to pump the War on Terror back up, to keep America in lock-jawed lockstep with the Fascist paradigm that turns us against ourselves within America, as well as against our brothers and sisters across all lands.
ENTER AMY GOODMAN, Playing Ramona
However, just as in Amos and Andy, wherein the Kingfish was always being foiled by the wiles of his wife Sapphire's strong-willed mother, Ramona, so is it that our contemporary farcical Kingfish is already under scrutiny in his latest escapade in foolishness by another strong-willed Earth-Mama, Amy Goodman, co-host and executive producer of Democracy Now. And she has got HIS number.