The 9/11 Anniversary and What Didn’t Happen

undici-settembreSept. 11, 2010, the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, was a day of solemn ceremony, remembrance and reflection. It was also a time to consider the U.S. reaction to the attack nine years ago, including the national effort to destroy al Qaeda and other terrorist groups in order to prevent a repeat of the 9/11 attacks. Of course, part of the U.S. reaction to 9/11 was the decision to invade Afghanistan, and the 9/11 anniversary also provided a time to consider how the United States is now trying to end its Afghanistan campaign so that it can concentrate on more pressing matters elsewhere.

The run-up to the anniversary also saw what could have been an attempted terrorist attack in another Western country. On Sept. 10 in Denmark, a potential bombing was averted by the apparent accidental detonation of an improvised explosive device in a bathroom at a Copenhagen hotel. The Danish authorities have not released many details of the incident, but it appears that the suspect may have been intending to target the Danish Jyllands-Posten newspaper, which has been targeted in the past because it published cartoons featuring the Prophet Mohammed in 2005. Groups such as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) have tried hard to ensure that the anger over the cartoon issue does not die down, and it apparently has not. It is important to note that even if the perpetrator had not botched it, the plot — at least as we understand it so far — appears to have involved a simple attack plan and would not have resulted in a spectacular act of terrorism.

Yet in spite of the failed attack in Denmark and all the 9/11 retrospection, perhaps the most interesting thing about the 9/11 anniversary in 2010, at least from an analytical perspective, was what did not happen. For the first time, the al Qaeda core leadership did not issue a flurry of slick, media-savvy statements to mark the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. And the single statement they did release was not nearly as polished or pointed as past anniversary messages. This has caused us to pause, reflect and wonder if the al Qaeda leadership is losing its place at the ideological forefront of the jihadist cause.

Al Qaeda second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri in a video marking the 5th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks


A History of Anniversary Messages

When it comes to anniversaries, al Qaeda has not always seized upon them as opportunities for attacks, but it has long seen them as tempting propaganda opportunities. This first began in September 2002, when the group released numerous messages in a multitude of forms to coincide with the first anniversary of 9/11. These included a one-hour video titled “The Nineteen Martyrs,” referring to the 9/11 attackers; a book released by al-Ansar media telling the story of the 9/11 attacks; an audio tape from al Qaeda second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri; a statement from al Qaeda’s “Political Bureau”; and a statement from al Qaeda spokesman Sulaiman Abu Ghaith. Then, on Oct. 7, 2002, al Qaeda released a message from Osama bin Laden to the American people to commemorate the first anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.

Since 2002, other 9/11-anniversary messages from al Qaeda have included:

  • A September 2003 video of bin Laden and al-Zawahiri walking in the mountains and praising the 9/11 attackers, released via the Qatar-based Al Jazeera television network. As-Sahab, al Qaeda’s media wing, also released a video that contained Saeed al-Ghamdi’s martyrdom tape.
  • A September 2004 audio message from al-Zawahiri released on the same day as a bombing attack against the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia.
  • A September 2005 video message in which Adam Gadahn, the American-born al Qaeda spokesman, came to the world’s attention threatening attacks against Los Angeles and Melbourne. Al-Zawahiri had released a video message on Sept. 1 that contained the martyrdom video of July 7 London bomb-plot leader Mohammad Sidique Khan.
  • A September 2006 video message in which Gadahn reappeared to commemorate the fifth anniversary of 9/11, this time in tandem with al-Zawahiri. As-Sahab then issued, on Sept. 7, a video message titled “Knowledge is for Acting Upon: The Manhattan Raid,” and on Sept. 11 an interview and question-and-answer session with al-Zawahiri. As-Sahab also released some undated and previously unreleased video footage of bin Laden and other high-ranking al Qaeda members planning the 9/11 attacks.
  • A September 2007 video, released by As-Sahab, showing bin Laden speaking and titled “The Solution.” This was followed by a video released on Sept. 11 that contained an audio statement by bin Laden and the martyrdom message of Abu Musab Waleed al-Shehri, one of the 9/11 operatives.
  • A September 2008 video, released by As-Sahab, showing al-Zawahiri criticizing Iran for helping the Americans in Afghanistan and Iraq. On Sept. 17, As-Sahab released a video titled “Results of 7 Years of the Crusades” and, on Sept. 19, it released another message from al-Zawahiri.
  • A September 2009 video, released by As-Sahab, that contained an audio recording and still photo of bin Laden intended to address the American people on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. As-Sahab also released a video by al-Zawahiri on Aug. 29 entitled “The Path of Doom.”
  • A September 2010 video, released by As-Sahab, that contained an audio recording and still photo of al-Zawahiri and was titled “A Victorious Ummah, a Broken Crusade: Nine Years after the Start of the Crusader Campaign.”

This history shows a steady decline in al Qaeda’s anniversary messaging in terms of quantity and production quality (clearly seen in comparing the al-Zawahiri audio message of 2010 with the al-Zawahiri video message of 2006). Another consideration is topical relevance. Al-Zawahiri’s 2010 message was actually rather bland, uninspiring and little more than a rehash of several points the group has made in the past. There were no stirring and inspirational calls to action, no new threats to the West, and no real meaningful discussion of the 9/11 anniversary beyond the message title.

While the recent 9/11 anniversary highlighted a declining trend in al Qaeda’s messaging, it has actually been going on since long before Sept. 11, 2010. It has been more than a year since a video appeared featuring a key al Qaeda leader (the last one, of al-Zawahiri, was released in August 2009).


Explaining the Lapse

Currently, there are very few people, all in the al Qaeda core leadership and their As-Sahab media wing, who know the true reason why the group has suffered such a decline in its propaganda efforts. There could be a number of possible explanations for the lapse. The first could be that the group is observing a period of radio silence in expectation of a large attack. This is certainly possible, and something we have heard analysts propose during al Qaeda quiet times. However, an examination of past patterns of al Qaeda communiques and attacks since 9/11 has not shown any type of correlation between times of silence and attacks. This is to be expected when most of the actors conducting attacks are either affiliated with the regional franchise groups or are grassroots operatives with no link to the al Qaeda core leadership. In fact, we have seen media releases by As-Sahab shortly before past attacks such as the March 2004 Madrid bombings and the July 2005 London attacks. As-Sahab was in the midst of a media blitz in the months leading up to the thwarted August 2006 Heathrow liquid-bomb plot, and it also released several statements in the weeks prior to the November 2008 Mumbai attacks.

In the past, hackers have used the occasion of the 9/11 anniversary to disrupt jihadist websites in an attempt to cripple al Qaeda’s ability to distribute its 9/11 anniversary statements. We saw this particularly in September 2008, in a hacking that resulted in some of the messages being delayed until Sept. 17 and Sept. 19. This year, however, there is no sign of that type of broad-based hacking campaign, and while some jihadist websites are down for a variety of reasons, many other jihadist websites continue to operate unabated, offering recent Ramadan and Eid ul-Fitr sermons and salutations.

It is also possible that the floods that have ravaged Pakistan this summer could have displaced the al Qaeda leadership or the As-Sahab crew. However, the floods began with the heavy monsoon rains in late July and the dearth of messages from the al Qaeda core leadership reaches back much further, with 2010 being an unusually quiet time for the group. Past anniversary messages have been produced weeks, and even months, before their release dates, so the As-Sahab multimedia crew should have had time to adjust to the flood conditions if that was truly the cause.

The best explanation for the decline in As-Sahab’s propaganda efforts may be the increase in the number of strikes by U.S. unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) inside Pakistan in areas along the Afghan border since August 2008. More than 1,000 people have been killed in such strikes, including a number senior al Qaeda members. A confluence of factors could be responsible for the decline, with floods and hackers posing additional problems for an organization on the run from U.S. airstrikes and trying to maintain a low profile. Even if the core al Qaeda leadership is living deeper in Pakistan and away from the threat of U.S. airstrikes, many lower-level al Qaeda members are operating in the border area and have certainly been impacted by the strikes.


An Eclipse?

It is important to view the decline in As-Sahab propaganda efforts in the larger context, specifically statements involving the core al Qaeda leadership, and then compare those statements to the messages released by the franchise groups, such as AQAP.

Over the past few years, STRATFOR has often discussed how the war against the jihadists is occurring on two planes, the physical battlefield and the ideological battlefield. We have also discussed how we believe that the al Qaeda core leadership has lost its place in recent years at the forefront of the physical battlefield and has instead focused its efforts largely on the ideological battlefield, where its role is to promote jihadism and inspire jihadist groups and individuals to conduct attacks.

This belief that the franchise groups are assuming leadership on the physical battlefield was supported by attacks in 2009 and early 2010 that were linked to groups such as AQAP and allied organizations like the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan. Even the suspect in the June 2009 shootings in Little Rock, Ark., claimed to be part of “Abu Basir’s Army” and not bin Laden’s. (Abu Basir is the honorific name, or kunya, for Nasir al-Wahayshi, the current leader of AQAP.)

And it appears that the leadership provided by the franchise groups may not be confined to just the physical battlefield. As the core al Qaeda leadership continues to maintain a low profile, the leaders of groups like AQAP and figures such as Anwar al-Awlaki and Nasir al-Wahayshi have dramatically increased their profile and significance on the ideological battlefield. They have been the individuals leading the way in calling for grassroots jihadists to conduct simple attacks and in fanning the flames over issues such as the Mohammed cartoons. Even the al Qaeda core tried to jump on the AQAP bandwagon when spokesman Adam Gadahn echoed al-Wahayshi’s call for simple grassroots attacks and praised AQAP-inspired Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan as an example for all Muslims to follow. Indeed, it was interesting to watch the core al Qaeda group following the lead of a regional franchise rather than paving the way themselves.

Now, perhaps in a few days or a few weeks, As-Sahab will return to releasing a flurry of slick, high-quality messages as it has done in years past. Maybe fresh videos of bin Laden and al-Zawahiri will appear that will present new ideas, vault them back into prominence in jihadist discourse and motivate their intended audience to action. But we may be witnessing, instead, the eclipse of the al Qaeda core leadership on the ideological battlefield.

By Scott Stewart

The 9/11 Anniversary and What Didn’t Happen is republished with permission of STRATFOR.


WTC ed i suoi misteri

11 settembre 2001A distanza di anni da quel undici settembre del 2001 ancora ci si domanda : come mai le Torri gemelle sono crollate? E perchè è crollato il WTC7?
I complottisti si domandano : cosa è stato usato per indebolire le strutture metalliche e provocare il collasso delle strutture?
Cosa mai si sono inventate le “segretissime organizzazioni capitanate da Bush per scatenare la guerra in Iraq ed in Afganistan?”
Bene, la risposta è data dalla scienza, nessun complotto ma fenomeni dei quali si hanno indizi seri e che sono da studiare attentamente per evitare il ripetersi di disastri simili.
Buona lettura .

There is no indication that any of the fires in the World Trade Center buildings were hot enough to melt the steel framework.
Jonathan Barnett, professor of fire protection engineering, has repeatedly reminded the public that steel–which has a melting point of 2,800 degrees Fahrenheit–may weaken and bend, but does not melt during an ordinary office fire. Yet metallurgical studies on WTC steel brought back to WPI reveal that a novel phenomenon–called a eutectic reaction–occurred at the surface, causing intergranular melting capable of turning a solid steel girder into Swiss cheese.
Materials science professors Ronald R. Biederman and Richard D. Sisson Jr. confirmed the presence of eutectic formations by examining steel samples under optical and scanning electron microscopes.
A preliminary report was published in JOM, the journal of the Minerals, Metals & Materials Society.
A more detailed analysis comprises Appendix C of the FEMA report.
The New York Times called these findings “perhaps the deepest mystery uncovered in the investigation.” The significance of the work on a sample from Building 7 and a structural column from one of the twin towers becomes apparent only when one sees these heavy chunks of damaged metal.

A one-inch column has been reduced to half-inch thickness. Its edges–which are curled like a paper scroll–have been thinned to almost razor sharpness. Gaping holes–some larger than a silver dollar–let light shine through a formerly solid steel flange. This Swiss cheese appearance shocked all of the fire-wise professors, who expected to see distortion and bending–but not holes.

A eutectic compound is a mixture of two or more substances that melts at the lowest temperature of any mixture of its components.
Blacksmiths took advantage of this property by welding over fires of sulfur-rich charcoal, which lowers the melting point of iron.
In the World Trade Center fire, the presence of oxygen, sulfur and heat caused iron oxide and iron sulfide to form at the surface of structural steel members. This liquid slag corroded through intergranular channels into the body of the metal, causing severe erosion and a loss of structural integrity.
“The important questions,” says Biederman, “are how much sulfur do you need, and where did it come from? The answer could be as simple–and this is scary- as acid rain.”
Have environmental pollutants increased the potential for eutectic reactions? “We may have just the inherent conditions in the atmosphere so that a lot of water on a burning building will form sulfuric acid, hydrogen sulfide or hydroxides, and start the eutectic process as the steel heats up,” Biederman says. He notes that the sulfur could also have come from contents of the burning buildings, such as rubber or plastics. Another possible culprit is ocean salts, such as sodium sulfate, which is known to catalyze sulfidation reactions on turbine blades of jet engines. “All of these things have to be explored,” he says.
From a building-safety point of view, the critical question is: Did the eutectic mixture form before the buildings collapsed, or later, as the remains smoldered on the ground. “We have no idea,” admits Sisson. “To answer that, we would need to recreate those fires in the FPE labs, and burn fresh steel of known composition for the right time period, with the right environment.” He hopes to have the opportunity to collaborate on thermodynamically controlled studies, and to observe the effects of adding sulfur, copper and other elements. The most important lesson, Sisson and Biederman stress, is that fail-safe sprinkler systems are essential to prevent steel from reaching even 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, because phase changes at the 1,300-degree mark compromise a structure’s load-bearing capacity.
The FEMA report calls for further metallurgic investigations, and Barnett, Biederman and Sisson hope that WPI will obtain NIST funding and access to more samples. They are continuing their microscopic studies on the samples prepared by graduate student Jeremy Bernier and Marco Fontecchio, the 2001–02 Helen E. Stoddard Materials Science and Engineering Fellow. (Next year’s Stoddard Fellow, Erin Sullivan, will take up this work as part of her graduate studies.) Publication of their results may clear up some mysteries that have confounded the scientific community.

Articolo da : WPI

Sono stato responsabile per gli attacchi avvenuti a New York e Washington l’11 settembre 2001

“Sono stato responsabile dalla A alla Z per gli attacchi avvenuti a New York e Washington l’11 settembre 2001”. Questa è la dichiarazione che Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, l’uomo sospettato di essere stato il numero tre di al Qaeda, ha rilasciato di fronte al tribunale militare incaricato di giudicare i detenuti di Guantànamo.
Durante la confessione, diffusa dal Pentagono mercoledì 14 marzo e pubblicata dal New York Timesil giorno successivo, Khalid avrebbe ammesso le responsabilità  di altri 30 imputati, tutti coinvolti negli attacchi terroristici da lui stesso organizzati. In un inglese stentato, Khalid ha detto di non essere felice della morte di tremila americani e ha dichiarato il suo dispiacere per scomparsa di ragazzi e bambini ma nella guerra, ha aggiunto, ci sono sempre delle vittime. Nella confessione, trascritta su 26 pagine, il terrorista catturato nel marzo 2003 in Pakistan ammette altri attentati, tra cui l’attacco dinamitardo al nightclub di Bali e il tentativo di far esplodere due aerei americani con l’uso di dinamite nascosta nelle scarpe. Khalid a inoltre confermato i sospetti delle autorità  americani, e cioè di essere membro di al Qaeda, capo operativo del gruppo terroristico di Osama bin Laden per le azioni all’estero e di aver pianificato e seguito personalmente l’esecuzione degli attentati dell’11 settembre.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

Khalid Sceicco Mohammed che bella faccia rassicurante, vero?

Tra le intenzioni della cellula americana di al Qaeda, sarebbe stato progettato l’assassinio dell’ex presidente Usa Jimmy Carter e l’attacco al ponte sospeso di New York. Al termine della ammissione di colpevolezza, Khalid avrebbe rivelato 31 attacchi tra cui: quelli alle navi americane avvenuti ad Hormuz, Gibiltera e Singapore; il fallito attentato dell’ex presidente Clinton; i pianificati attentati allo stretto di Panama, al Big Ben di Londra e all’aeroporto di Heathrow.
Nella stessa sessione, il tribunale militare ha inoltre interrogato un altro terrorista sospettato di essere stato ai vertici di al Qaeda, Abi Faraj al Libi, che, asserendo di essere trattenuto da due anni senza ragione, si è rifiutato di rispondere. Ora le autorità  indagheranno sulla confessione rilasciata da Khalid, anche se non è ancora chiaro perché il prigioniero abbia ammesso le responsabilità  di altri 30 terroristi. Khalid, dopo essere stato arrestato dal Fbi durante un’operazione a Rawalpind, in Pakistan, è stato tenuto per lungo tempo in custodia dalla Cia, accusata di aver inflitto torture al detenuto durante gli interrogatori, cosa comunque ammessa dalla legge americana in casi di minaccia alla nazione. La posizione dell’amministrazione Bush, che aveva puntato sulla lotta al terrorismo e sul progetto Guantà namo, esce rafforzata dalla confessione del terrorista internazionale e anche se le procedure di arresto e di detenzione dei sospettati terroristi sono state più volte criticate dalle organizzazioni per i diritti umani, nel tempo si è dimostrata una strategia vincente.

libertà  fondamentali

In questi tempi, è bene ricordarsi di queste parole di libertà , che ci vengono da un periodo forse più buio di questo, e, chissà come mai , dall’America:

In the future days which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.
Nei giorni futuri che cerchiamo di rendere sicuri, noi guardiamo avanti a un mondo fondato su quattro essenziali libertà umane.

rockwell speech

rockwell speech

The first is freedom of speech and expression — everywhere in the world.
La prima è la libertà di parola e di espressione — ovunque nel mondo

rockwell worship

rockwell worship

The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way — everywhere in the world.
La seconda è la libertà di ogni persona di adorare Dio nel suo proprio modo — ovunque nel mondo

rockwell want

rockwell want

The third is freedom from want, which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants — everywhere in the world.
La terza è la libertà dal bisogno, che, tradotta nei termini del mondo, significa intese economiche che assicureranno a ogni nazione una vita sana e pacifica per i suoi abitanti ovunque nel mondo

rockwell fear

rockwell fear

The fourth is freedom from fear, which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor anywhere in the world.
La quarta è la libertà dalla paura, che, tradotta nei termini del mondo, significa una riduzione mondiale degli armamenti ad un tal punto ed a così modo completo che nessuna nazione sarà in condizione di commettere un atto di aggressione fisica contro nessun nazione confinante ovunque nel mondo

That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called “new order” of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb.

Questa non è la visione di un millennio distante. È una base definita per un tipo di mondo raggiungibile nel nostro tempo e nella nostra generazione. Questo genere di mondo è l’antitesi stessa del cosiddetto “nuovo ordine” di tirannia che i dittatori cercano di creare con l’esplosione di una bomba.

Presidente degli Stati Uniti d’America Franklin Delano Roosevelt,
Estratto dal messaggio annuale al Congresso del 6 gennaio 1941.
(le immagini sono dell’artista Norman Rockwell della series The Four Freedoms, ispirate dal discorso del presidente)


Bloggers honor the innocent victims of that awful day…

For some people, it’s about the numbers: 4 planes. 4 targets. 2,996 victims. 4 years and 10 months. 1,763 days. 42,312 hours. 2,538,720 minutes. For others, like me, it’s about the people. Every victim was, at the very least, a son or daughter. Many were parents, grandparents, siblings, etc… Many of the victims themselves were related to each other. Each one represents a void in many lives, where new memories aren’t made and old ones are the only thing that stands in the way of insanity.

Our dearest friends lost their daughter, Heather Lee Smith, on Flight 11. These people live with a grief that is so vastly different, in a world that has been forever changed. Their loss is marked every year by an entire nation – that can be a great comfort but also a terrible intrusion. But in the 9/11 memorial services they have organized all over the Northeast, they honor their losses while celebrating the lives of their loved ones. I have had the privilege of attending these ceremonies in Boston and I’ve seen the youth and potential that was lost. Yet I’ve also seen the powerful resilience of the families, capable of laughter in the midst of great sorrow.

They possess the ability to turn their tragedy into community action and they have, in immeasurable ways. Memorial scholarships will pave the way for hundreds of students to pursue an educational path they might not otherwise have been able to afford. Foundations have been set up to shepherd a victim’s dearest cause to a higher profile. Charitable organizations will benefit from the largesse of friends and family for generations to come. In their grief, these families and friends are ensuring that the memories of their loved ones are not lost to time, but rather that they endure thru the lives of countless others.

As our great nation moves further away from the events of 9/11/01, I see us forgetting what we felt in the days and weeks that immediately followed. That sense of unity of purpose, that feeling of brotherhood, of belonging to something larger than ourselves. And I worry that in the process of forgetting, we will lose part of what makes us a great nation – our ability to be compassionate for our fellow man, to extend ourselves past our immediate world and recognize that sometimes we need to make sacrifices to ensure our safety.

We can’t afford to forget 9/11/01 – for the sake of our country’s future. The victims of 9/11 deserve the same respect from all of us that their families and friends give to them. They are, and should remain, a reminder of what the world could look like. Their deaths should not divide us they should unite us as they did in the days and months after 9/11. So that we never forget their sacrifice; so that we make certain the world we caught a glimpse of that horrible morning will never become a reality. We must honor them and remember them.

Frank V. Moccia, age 57

Place killed: World Trade Center. Resident of Hauppauge, N.Y. (USA).

Frank V. Moccia will be honored by Carlo at the blog I diavoli neri. This was the 1012th blogger to sign up for the 2,996 Tribute project.

Frank V. Moccia

Frank V. Moccia

By filling out and submitting this form, you are agreeing to create a tribute to a 9/11 victim on your blog. Your tribute can take any form you like — but please remember that the purpose is to honor the victim. You must fill out all the fields in the form above with valid information. Once you’ve completed and submitted the form, the system will randomly select one of the unassigned 9/11 victims. The key information about this victim will then be presented to you, and a copy will be emailed to you. Please record this information (or save the page). If you lose the information, you can always get it again by visiting the assigned victims page on the site.

I Remember
Frank V. Moccia, age 57
Resident of Hauppauge, N.Y. (USA)

Ring da Il Castello a Cecilia

Questa non è una guerra contro il terrore è una lotta contro i nemici dell’America

musulmani in preghiera

musulmani in preghiera

Al tempo in cui mi occupavo dell’occupazione russa dell’afganistan, scendevo a volte per Jalabad e attraversavo il confine con il Pakistan per trovare un po’ di riposo a Peshawar. Negli ambienti cupi e sporchi del vecchio Hotel Intercontinental battevo le mie storie su un telex sofferente accanto ad un ufficio che recava sulla porta la scritta “Capo Contabile”. Sul muro vicino alla porta — non so se fosse stato il capo contabile ad apporlo — c’era un foglio di carta incorniciato che riportava quattro versi di Kipling che ricordo ancora: una scaramuccia ad un posto di frontiera / una galoppata in uno passo stretto / cinquemila sterline di istruzione abbattute da un fucile da cinque rupie. Oppure, suppongo oggi, da un kalashnikov AK-47, prodotto a Quetta, oppure da uno di quei missili Blowpipe che abbiamo consegnato ai mujahedin con tanto trasporto all’inizio degli anni ’80 affinchè potessero uccidere i loro — e nostri — nemici, i Russi. Ma ho pensato più a lungo ai nascondigli, alle gole e alle montagne soprastanti, alle muraglie di roccia nuda alte 1500 metri, alle caverne e ai tunnel immensi che Osama bin Laden ha scavato in queste montagne. Qui, presumibilmente, si trovano i “buchi” dai quali l’Occidente vuole stanarlo “con il fumo”, sempre ammesso che sia stato abbastanza gentile da scappare a nascondervisi. Giacchè esiste un parere sempre più diffuso–fondato sulla nostra retorica–che bin Laden ed i suoi uomini siano in fuga, alla ricerca di posti in cui nascondersi. Non ne sono così sicuro. Sono pieno di incertezze su ciò che bin Laden possa star facendo ora. In realtà non sono affatto sicuro di ciò che noi — l’Occidente — stiamo per fare. è vero, i nostri cacciatorpedinieri e le nostre portaerei e i nostri caccia e bombardieri e le truppe si stanno ammassando nella vasta regione del Golfo. I nostri ragazzi del SAS — così dicono in Medio Oriente — stanno già arrampicandosi nelle regioni nord dell’Afganistan, ancora sotto il controllo delle forze dell’ultimo Shah Mosud. Ma cosa stiamo progettando di fare esattamente? Rapire bin Laden? Abbatterci sui suoi accampamenti e ucciderli in blocco, bin Laden e tutti i suoi algerini, egiziani, giordani, siriani e arabi del golfo? O forse bin Laden è solo il primo capitolo della nostra nuova avventura medio-orientale, che si allargherà dopo ad includere l’Iraq, il rovesciamento di Saddam Hussein, la distruzione degli Hezbollah libanesi, l’umiliazione della Siria, la mortificazione dell’Iran, la reimposizione di un altro fraudolento “processo di pace” tra Israele ed i Palestinesi? Se tutto ciò vi sembra il frutto di una fervida fantasia, dovreste ascoltare ciò che proviene da Washington e Tel Aviv. Mentre le fonti interne al Pentagono di The New York Times lasciano intendere che Saddam potrebbe essere il capitolo due, gli Israeliani stanno cercando di mettere in lista il Libano — il “centro del terrore internazionale” secondo il primo ministro israeliano Ariel Sharon — per un bombardamento o due, assieme alla piccola striscia di spazzatura di Yasser Arafat laggiù a Gaza dove gli Israeliani hanno scoperto, incredibile a dirsi, una “celluna bin Laden”. Gli Arabi chiaramente vorrebbero egualmente porre fine al terrore nel mondo. Ma preferirebbero altri nomi sulla lista. Ai Palestinesi piacerebbe vedere Sharon catturato per il massacro di Sabra e Chatila, un massacro terrorista condotto dagli alleati libanesi di Israele–che erano stati addestrati dall’esercito israeliano–nel 1982. Con 1800 morti arriva solo ad un quarto del numero delle vittime dell’11 settembre. I Siriani di Hama vorrebbero porre Rifaat Al-Assad, fratello dell’ultimo presidente, sulla loro lista di terroristi per la strage condotta dalle sue Brigate di Difesa nella città di Hama quello stesso anno. Con 20.000 morti è più del doppio del dazio dell’11 settembre. I libanesi vorrebbero processi per gli ufficiali israeliani che progettarono l’invasione del Libano nel 1982, che uccise 17500 persone, la maggior parte civili–di nuovo, ben più del doppio del dato dell’11 settembre. I cristiani del Sudan vorrebbero che il presidente Omar al-Bashir fosse portato in tribunale per strage. Ma come gli Americani hanno chiarito, è solo alla caccia dei loro nemici terroristi che vanno, non dei loro amici terroristi o di quei terroristi che hanno di continuo macellato popolazioni al di fuori della “sfera di interesse” americana. Finanche quei terroristi che vivono comodamente in USA ma non hanno fatto del male agli USA sono al sicuro: prendiamo per esempio il miliziano pro-Israele che uccise due soldati irlandesi dell’ONU nel sud del Libano nel 1980 e che ora vive tranquillo a Detroit dopo essere fuggito da Tel Aviv. Gli irlandesi hanno il nome e l’indirizzo, se ma l’FBI fosse interessata — ma chiaramente non lo è. Per questo non ci viene realmente chiesto di combattere il “terrore del mondo”. Ci viene chiesto di combattere i nemici dell’America. Se ciò significasse ingabbiare gli assassini che si celano dietro le atrocità di New York e Washington, pochi avrebbero da ridire. Ma solleverebbe la questione del perchè queste migliaia di innocenti sono più importanti–perchè meritino di più il nostro sforzo e forse il nostro sangue– che tutte le altre migliaia di innocenti. E solleva anche una domanda molto più scomoda: se ai crimini contro l’umanità commessi negli USA l’11 settembre debba essere fatta corrispondere giustizia o no — o piuttosto un assalto militare inteso ad estendere il potere politico americano nel Medio Oriente. Ad ogni modo, ci viene chiesto di sostenere una guerra i cui fini sembrano essere tanto fuorvianti quanto nascosti. Gli Americani ci dicono che questa guerra sarà diversa da tutte le altre. Ma una di queste differenze pare essere il fatto che non sappiamo chi stiamo andando a combattere e per quanto tempo. Certamente nessuna nuova iniziativa politica, nessun vero impegno politico reale a favore del Medio Oriente, nessuna giustizia neutrale sarà parte probabile di questo conflitto di durata indefinita. La disperazione e l’umiliazione e la sofferenza dei popoli del Medio Oriente non figurano tra gli obiettivi della nostra guera–solo la disperazione e l’umiliazione e la sofferenza di americani ed europei. Per quanto concerne bin Laden, nessuno crede che i Talebani davvero non sappiano dove si trovi. è in Afganistan. Ma è veramente finito a terra? Durante la guerra russa, emergeva ogni volta per combattere gli occupanti russi dell’Afganistan, per attaccare la seconda superpotenza mondiale. Ferito sei volte, era un maestro delle imboscate tattiche, come i russi scoprirono a loro spese. Il male e la cattiveria non si avvicinano alla descrizione del massacro di massa degli USA, ma — se fosse stato davvero un lavoro di bin Laden — ciò non significa che non ricomincerebbe di nuovo a combattere. E combattere sul terreno di casa. Ci sono tantissimi nascondigli oscuri in cui infilarsi. E tanti fucili a basso costo per spararci. E questa non sarebbe affatto “un nuovo tipo di guerra”.

The Independent 25 settembre 2001 Robert Fisk.

Happy Birthday, America!

standard2 On July 4, 1776, we claimed our independence from Britain and Democracy was born. Every day thousands leave their homeland to come to the "land of the free and the home of the brave" so they can begin their American Dream.

Happy Birthday, America!

In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain [George III] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained, and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies, without the consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

  • For protecting them by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
  • For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
  • For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
  • For depriving us in many cases of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
  • For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
  • For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
  • For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
  • For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms. Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren.

  • We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us.
  • We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here.
  • We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence.

They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare.

That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown

and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is and ought to be totally dissolved;

and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce,

and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.


The Signers of the Declaration
and the new States they represented

  • Connecticut

  • Roger Sherman
  • Samuel Huntington
  • William Williams
  • Oliver Wolcott
  • Delaware

  • Caesar Rodney
  • George Read
  • Thomas McKean
  • Georgia

  • Button Gwinnett
  • Lyman Hall
  • George Walton
  • Maryland

  • Samuel Chase
  • William Paca
  • Thomas Stone
  • Charles Carroll of Carrollton
  • Massachusetts

  • John Hancock
  • Samual Adams
  • John Adams
  • Robert Treat Paine
  • Elbridge Gerry
  • New Hampshire

  • Josiah Bartlett
  • William Whipple
  • Matthew Thornton
  • New Jersey

  • Richard Stockton
  • John Witherspoon
  • Francis Hopkinson
  • John Hart
  • Abraham Clark
  • New York

  • William Floyd
  • Philip Livingston
  • Francis Lewis
  • Lewis Morris
  • North Carolina

  • William Hooper
  • Joseph Hewes
  • John Penn
  • Pennsylvania

  • Robert Morris
  • Benjamin Rush
  • Benjamin Franklin
  • John Morton
  • George Clymer
  • James Smith
  • George Taylor
  • James Wilson
  • George Ross
  • Rhode Island

  • Stephen Hopkins
  • William Ellery
  • South Carolina

  • Edward Rutledge
  • Thomas Heyward, Jr.
  • Thomas Lynch, Jr.
  • Arthur Middleton
  • Virginia

  • George Wythe
  • Richard Henry Lee
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Benjamin Harrison
  • Thomas Nelson, Jr.
  • Francis Lightfoot Lee
  • Carter Braxton