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Shining Light on Roots of Terrorism

By       Message Ray McGovern     Permalink
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Yet, the Fawning Corporate Media won't stop performing its creative editing -- or creative composition -- to obscure this motive. Never mind what the 9/11 Commission Report said about Mohammed not being driven by resentments from his college days in North Carolina, the Washington Post offered a revisionist view on that point on Aug. 30:

"KSM's limited and negative experience in the United States -- which included a brief jail stay because of unpaid bills -- almost certainly helped propel him on his path to becoming a terrorist," according to an intelligence summary, the Post reported. "He stated that his contact with Americans, while minimal, confirmed his view that the United States was a debauched and racist country."

A telling revision perhaps extracted from one of Mohammed's 183 waterboarding sessions -- and certainly politically more convenient in that it obscured Mohammed's other explanation implicating "U.S. foreign policy favoring Israel."

But let's look for a moment at the "debauched and racist" part. Could Mohammed be speaking some truth here -- and not just about his college days of the 1980s?

Would the Washington Post's editors be so supportive of the "war on terror" if captives from a more favored ethnic or religious group were stripped naked before members of the opposite sex, put in diapers, immobilized with shackles in stress positions for long periods, denied sleep and made to soil themselves?

In my view, racism comes very much into play here. If Mohammed and other detainees looked more like us, would it be so easy to demonize and waterboard them? [See, for example, Consortiumnews.com's "Bush's Interrogators Stressed Nudity."]

Unguarded Moments

At rare moments, however, hard truths about the 9/11 motivations slip out -- although not in high-profile presidential speeches nor in Washington Post op-eds. For instance, at a public hearing in June 2004, 9/11 Commissioner Lee Hamilton asked a panel of government experts, "What motivated them [the hijackers] to do it?"

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The CIA analyst in the group is seen in some panic, directing his eyes toward the other panelists in the all-too-obvious hope that someone else will answer the politically loaded question. FBI Supervisory Special Agent James Fitzgerald rose to the occasion, saying:

"I believe they feel a sense of outrage against the United States. They identify with the Palestinian problem; they identify with people who oppose oppressive regimes, and I believe they tend to focus their anger on the United States."

For Hamilton and his colleagues that proved to be a politically incorrect answer. Ergo, you will not find that testimony in the 9/11 Commission Report. And notably absent from the report's recommendations is any suggestion as to how one might address the question of Israeli treatment of Palestinians and U.S. support for it.

In their book Without Precedent: The Inside Story of the 9/11 Commission, Chairmen Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton are unusually candid in admitting that this issue was so sensitive and contentious that they chose the course of least resistance.

Despite the findings of the Commission staff -- and FBI Agent Fitzgerald -- that the hijackers were not motivated by religious ideology, many of the Commissioners much preferred attributing the attacks to Islam than to U.S. policy toward Israel.

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Kean and Hamilton explain that those commissioners were dead set against identifying Israel as a major factor motivating the terrorists, because someone might get the idea that Washington should reassess its policy.

But it's a legitimate and urgent question: Would a more determined commitment by the U.S. government to secure an independent state for the Palestinians and to alleviate their suffering undercut the appeal of al-Qaeda and other extremist groups to young people in the Muslim world?

Or put differently, why should ardent supporters of Israel in the U.S. Congress behave in such a way as to make the Muslim world view the United States as disinterested in the plight of the Palestinians and thus increase the danger of future attacks against the United States, as well as against Israel?

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Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He was an Army infantry/intelligence officer and then a CIA analyst for 27 years, and is now on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). His (more...)
 

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