You’ll have to pardon me if I utter a long, drawn-out sigh, but the prospect of facing yet another year of phony "crises," official fabrications, and Obama-esque double-talk is daunting, to say the least. My task, as I see it, is to unpack the hyperbole, debunk the hysterics, and give my readers a clear-headed and fact-based analysis of what in the world our rulers are up to. It’s more than a fulltime job, and the holidays provide no respite: indeed, it’s starting early this year, and, nose to the grindstone, I’m on their case ….
The antics of the panty-bomber have certainly provided a lot of grist for the War Party’s mill. Not only is his failed attempt the occasion for the opening of a new front in our eternal "war on terrorism," in Yemen, but now we are informed that ex-inmates of Guantanamo are among the "leaders" of "Al Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula," (AQAP), which, we are told, planned and executed the Christmas Day incident. That’s the official story – but is it the truth?
AQAP is a shadowy organization whose origins and personnel are described by various "experts." Yet these experts are either frauds, or else confused by the sheer complexity of having to undertake their analyses from a distance of several thousand miles, because – to take just one example, chosen at random – let’s go to this Christian Science Monitor piece about how the new focus on Yemen calls into question the administration’s decision to close Guantanamo:
"The attempted Christmas Day attack is focusing more international attention on Al-Qaeda activity in Yemen, much of which has been organized by former detainees from Guantánamo Bay, reports Al Jazeera. Two of its leaders have been linked to the US-run island prison: Abu al-Hareth Muhammad al-Oufi, a field commander, and Said al-Shihri, its deputy leader, who was transferred to Saudi custody and then released in 2007."
Okay, so if you follow the link above, helpfully provided by the editors of the Monitor, it takes you to this Al Jazeera piece, purporting to describe the provenance and current leadership of "Al Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula," which states:
"Abu al-Hareth Muhammad al-Oufi, another former Guantanamo detainee, has also been identified as a field commander for the group."
Mr. al-Oufi, however, seems to have had several changes of heart, according to his Wikipedia entry, which is backed up by several credible references. Reuters, Agence France Presse, and the New York Times all reported on 2/17/09 that al-Oufi had surrendered to Saudi authorities in Yemen. A slightly different story was reported by the Saudi Gazette, which claims he turned himself in to Yemeni authorities at the border between Saudi Arabia and Yemen. CNN says the Yemenis "captured" al-Oufi, who was then turned over to the Saudis.
Al-Oufi was among those released to the Saudis from Guantanamo, who then "turned" him – via a "jihadist rehabilitation program," which involved (believe it or not!) "art therapy," among other rehabilitative techniques – and set him free. He subsequently relapsed into his former habits, joining "Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula," until he turned himself in again – and, according to Wikipedia, "is scheduled to return to the rehabilitation program." Except that the US government has now listed him as having relapsed once again. And, of course, AQAP has forgiven him for going over to the infidels not once but twice, and re-installed him in the leadership: what a kindly, trusting bunch!
This really is a joke, especially when we see that al-Oufi was giving "evidence" to Saudi officials that Iran is sponsoring "Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula." Yeah, sure they are – and, hey, by the way, I have a bridge in Tehran you might be interested in buying.
Of course, most Americans don’t have time to sit around tracing the contradictory stories floated by our government officials and various others who have a vested interest in keeping the war-racket going. They don’t have the leisure to prove that the Saudi "franchise" of Al-Qaeda, which supposedly planned the panty-bomber’s escapade, is a shadow without much substance. They don’t have the opportunity or the patience to follow the complex storyline and unpack the narrative being peddled to them as "fact." They don’t have the knowledge of Yemeni history, and the various machinations by which the Saudis seek to use the US to quell their own restive people. All they know is that the mainstream media is telling them Yemen houses the new "enemy," and that our Glorious Leader has declared we will pursue them there – and everywhere.
So Diane Feinstein should relax, because the ABC News report referenced in that Hill piece is plain wrong – or just outright deceptive. The confusion is perhaps due to al-Oufi’s name change: when he’s pretending to be "Al-Qaeda on the Saudi Peninsula" he’s "Mohamed Atiq Awayd Al Harbi." When he’s being "good," he reverts to his "al-Oufi" moniker.
Lazy "reporters" fail to do their homework – and the War Party smiles. And that’s the reason – right there, in a nutshell – for Antiwar.com. That’s why I write three columns a week, and tirelessly toil in these vineyards: because my readers deserve the truth, or as much of the truth as I can discern. I don’t pretend to be "objective": Antiwar.com definitely has a point of view. However, that doesn’t mean we mold the facts to fit ideological presuppositions: it means we employ the unvarnished facts to advance our goal, which is to challenge the premises of a foreign policy that protects the powerful, victimizes the powerless, and impoverishes the American people materially and morally.
The new year will necessitate a lot more of the sort of debunking you see above: all the lies, both little and big, that pass for "news" these days are like ticking time-bombs, waiting to explode. Antiwar.com’s job is to defuse them.
We have been doing our job, in this space and elsewhere on this Website, for over a decade now, and there are times when it feels more like a century or two. What keeps me going is the kudos we get, the letters, the moral support – and, yes, the financial support our loyal readers have generously provided over the years. I don’t think there’s any equivalent anywhere on the Internet.
Not that this unique success is ever recognized, either by the "mainstream" media or the blogosphere – but I don’t really care about that. As long as my readers are happy, so am I – until, that is, I read about yet another complicated pro-war "narrative" that requires extensive unpacking, and then I’m off – with a weary sigh, and a helpful surge of adrenaline – and onto the next debunking.
The road ahead is long, and distinctly unpromising: before I set out on it, however, I want to take just a small breather, a little pause in the unending forward march, just enough time to say: thanks for marching beside me.