No Minister

Posts Tagged ‘ISIS

The Falling Man

I guess many of us have been wondering what the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks would be like? How it would be remembered? What feelings might exist?

Also the thought of looking back and comparing what the future looked like from that point forward to what has actually transpired, as well as looking forward from today in terms of the future of terrorism and how Western societies, especially America, might deal with that going forward.

But those are for other posts.

One of the things I never imagined for the 20th anniversary was that the circle would be so perfectly completed by two images taken twenty years apart.

The current US government has given us that perfect circle. We are almost right back where we started.

There are so many stories associated with this day. But for me there are two. First is the one published in Esquire in 2003, The Falling Man. It concerns the efforts made to identify the man in that photo on the left, and it contains some of the most beautiful writing I have ever read on that terrible subject.

In the picture, he departs from this earth like an arrow. Although he has not chosen his fate, he appears to have, in his last instants of life, embraced it. If he were not falling, he might very well be flying.

Some people who look at the picture see stoicism, willpower, a portrait of resignation; others see something else—something discordant and therefore terrible: freedom. There is something almost rebellious in the man’s posture, as though once faced with the inevitability of death, he decided to get on with it; as though he were a missile, a spear, bent on attaining his own end. He is, fifteen seconds past 9:41 a.m. EST, the moment the picture is taken, in the clutches of pure physics, 

The next morning, that photo appeared on page seven of The New York Times, but it also appeared in hundreds of newspapers around the USA and the world. Of course it did; it was too perfect a photo not to. But then it vanished, and the essay tries to explain why. The chapters of the essay are split by the other photos of the same man and they tell a different truth:

Photographs lie. Even great photographs. Especially great photographs. The Falling Man in Richard Drew’s picture fell in the manner suggested by the photograph for only a fraction of a second, and then kept falling. The photograph functioned as a study of doomed verticality, a fantasia of straight lines, with a human being slivered at the center, like a spike. In truth, however, the Falling Man fell with neither the precision of an arrow nor the grace of an Olympic diver. He fell like everyone else, like all the other jumpers—trying to hold on to the life he was leaving, which is to say that he fell desperately, inelegantly.

One reporter approached, carefully, a number of families that the man might have belonged too. From his clothes it is certain that he worked in the Windows of The World restaurant. One family split on the agreement, some thinking it was him, Norberto Hernandez, who had jumped out of a window. But his wife – they had been together since she was 15 – denied it was him.

The Norberto Hernandez Eulogia knew would not have been deterred by smoke or by fire in his effort to come home to her. The Norberto Hernandez she knew would have endured any pain before he jumped out of a window. When the Norberto Hernandez she knew died, his eyes were fixed on what he saw in his heart—the faces of his wife and his daughters—and not on the terrible beauty of an empty sky.

Will any article ever appear in Esquire that attempts to track down the men who fell from that plane in Kabul? I doubt it. We humans can only extend our compassion so far beyond our closest loves; the tribe, perhaps even a nation.

To that end I may as well tell my story of that day. Two weeks earlier I had put my wife and little boy on to a plane bound for Europe, where they would travel to Poland with her sister and father to see other relatives. As is often the case with parents I felt a bit down after seeing them off and this was observed by a close friend that I had a beer with afterwards before heading home to relieve the baby sitter taking care of our baby daughter.

He pressed me on the fact that I seemed more down than could be explained by such a parting and it was then that I told him that I was depressed because I thought that a terrorist attack might occur in Europe while they were there. I told him that Al-Qaeda seemed to hit about every 12 to 18 months, and that since almost a year had passed since the USS Cole bombing we were probably due for another one. He laughed it off and eventually so did I. In hindsight it was stupid thinking, since they had made it quite clear that America was always their target.

On the Wednesday morning (NZ time) I only slowly woke up after the radio alarm went off at 6am. As usual I’d been up in the night taking care of my baby and now, having climbed out of the crib in the dark, she was asleep on our bed beside me. In those days I still listened to Morning Report but I was so groggy that I missed the opening news. It wasn’t until a few minutes later that I heard them talking about how Wall Street had been closed and that buildings had been heavily damaged.

What the hell? I got up, turned on the TV, and stared, like everybody else, mesmerised by the images. Like more than a few people my initial thoughts were that this was just like a movie, Independence Day or Deep Impact perhaps.

The jumpers are what changed that. The networks would soon pull the coverage, but on morning TV here they were still showing them. Esquire again:

And it was, at last, the sight of the jumpers that provided the corrective to those who insisted on saying that what they were witnessing was “like a movie,” for this was an ending as unimaginable as it was unbearable: Americans responding to the worst terrorist attack in the history of the world with acts of heroism, with acts of sacrifice, with acts of generosity, with acts of martyrdom, and, by terrible necessity, with one prolonged act of—if these words can be applied to mass murder—mass suicide.

But what I also felt was a feeling of terrible, guilty relief. The attack had not been in Europe but in the US. My wife and child might find the voyage home tough, but they would get home. It would probably be safer than ever.

In the meantime I had to reach them. I had phone numbers in Poland but my language would not be up to par. In desperation I decided to call a friend of ours in Chicago, Kinga, born and raised in Poland before she had come to the USA as a baby. She could call the numbers and find out what was happening. It was then, for the first and only time in my life of calling the USA that I encountered the following voice message:

We’re sorry. Your call cannot be completed at this time.
All circuits are busy now. Please wait and try again.

After many attempts I got through. She was okay, having evacuated downtown Chicago along with a million other people (everybody felt the John Hancock Centre and Sears Tower would be targets) and her husband, a friend of mine, was also safe, although he was trapped in Boston, from which he was supposed to have flown out that morning, an hour or more after one of the hijacked flights left that airport. It would take him a week to get home. I gave her the Polish phone numbers and a couple where I could be reached.

I had to head to the Waikato with my daughter on a pre-arranged trip that I saw no reason to cancel, so it was not until late that evening that Kinga called me back to tell me that everybody was okay. In fact they’d been on a train and did not even find out about the attacks until they got off at their destination. My wife and son arrived home a week later.

The second story is about one of two cops, Will Jimeno, who were dug out of the rubble of the WTC collapse. The story was made into a movie, World Trade Centre, by Oliver Stone who – amazingly considering his history – played it straight and not as a conspiracy theory. I was impressed at how accurately the movie stuck to the facts and the moments. It is a superb movie.

The oddest thing about being trapped in the rubble of the World Trade Center was that Will Jimeno didn’t break any bones. The Port Authority police officer had 220 stories of the World Trade Center fall on top of him — all of both towers, first the south, then the north — a violence of unimaginable scale, velocity and intensity, one that killed three of the other officers he’d been standing with moments earlier, and entombing him and his surviving sergeant amid concrete and rock for hours on Sept. 11, 2001.

But what’s different about this article is that it deals with an aftermath the movie understandably left alone, the mental shock of the day that grew even as he physically healed. What is called PTSD:

When he returned home, he went into his older daughter’s room. “Bianca,” he asked, “does daddy yell a lot?”

“Yeah, Daddy, you scare me sometimes,” she replied, truthfully.

Jimeno was devastated. As he describes the moment in his book, “That’s when I realized if I’m not a good husband, a good dad, a good example, then the terrorists win.”

The story of his recovery from PTSD is as great as the first half of the article.

When I look at the reactions of the USA in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, with things like the Patriot Act, the ongoing TSA security theatre that was imposed at airports, the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and the recent, shameful bungling of the final withdrawal from Afghanistan, I can’t help thinking that perhaps that great nation is suffering from a form of PTSD, and that unlike Mr Jimeno, they have not yet learned how to handle it.

To that end though, ultimately the fate of all this lies in the hands of the people, and to me, aside from the heroism at the WTC and the Pentagon, the bright shining light of that day was the actions of the people on board the fourth hijacked plane, United 93. Unlike the other hero’s of that day they were not trained for such a thing:

Think of it this way. In less than 30 minutes, regular people who have been informed of horrific news on a plane are told that their plane is going to most likely suffer a similar fate. In less than a half-hour, they devise a plan to not wait for someone to save them, but to act to make sure they are not part of mass murder. Even if that means they will die anyway, they are not going to sit by and let evil win easily.

They fought back, and they saved lives — knowing that their lives would probably end as a result.

By attempting to take back control of the plane – after a vote it should be noted, democratic to the death – they prevented the Islamic Jihadist hijackers from completing their terrible mission.

Americans are better people than their leaders. I’ll take that into the future.

Written by Tom Hunter

September 12, 2021 at 6:10 pm

I’m thinking that they’re related

The terrorist attack in Auckland yesterday and the recent defeat of the USA in Afghanistan, that is.

The latter is a defeat by the way. Not in the sense of overwhelming defeat but a defeat non the less. Symbolic perhaps, but symbolism matters.

As such I wonder if our local “Mr S” was triggered by all this recent Islamic Jihadist triumphalism that’s been thundering across the Social Media accounts of the Taliban and their many associates around the world? Perhaps he thought it was time to finally act on his fantasies?

To that end, I thought that this passage from a letter written twenty years ago should be brought to people’s attention. The full text of the letter can be found in many places but this is from The Guardian:

If the Americans refuse to listen to our advice and the goodness, guidance and righteousness that we call them to, then be aware that you will lose this Crusade Bush began, just like the other previous Crusades in which you were humiliated by the hands of the Mujahideen, fleeing to your home in great silence and disgrace. If the Americans do not respond, then their fate will be that of the Soviets who fled from Afghanistan to deal with their military defeat, political breakup, ideological downfall, and economic bankruptcy.

Osama Bin Laden, November, 2002

Written by Tom Hunter

September 4, 2021 at 12:00 pm

Suicide bombers mean Afghanistan can get worse (updated)

You can forget all the images and cartoons of the last decade that compared America’s withdrawal from Kabul with that of Saigon, all those choppers lifting away into the air.

This catastrophe now has it’s own images. Images we have become used to in the last twenty years. Images of the early 21st century. Images and horrors entirely unique to our age.

Deadliest Day for Troops in Afghanistan Since 2011

At least 12 Marines participating in the Afghanistan evacuation were killed in a terrorist attack at the Kabul airport on Thursday morning, making it the deadliest day in the war since 2011.

The civilian death toll will almost certainly be higher – current reports are 120, and given the images below that seems entirely possible. It appears to be multiple suicide bombing attacks, likely with vehicles on gates where people were entering the airport. The explosive attacks were accompanied by ISIS gunmen shooting at both US troops and civilians.

To anybody with even a faint knowledge of logistics it was obvious days ago that thousands of Americans and others were going to be left behind in the country as the US military itself would be drawing down towards the Taliban demand for a final departure date of August 31. Civilians were not going to continue to leave in packed planes right up until midnight on that day, at which point it would all magically stop. The troops would be the last ones out, as usual.

But now, even as confused and disorganised as the withdrawal has been, with the State Department suspending processing of Visa applications, with six Afghan’s on a no-fly list departing anyhow, and other insanities, despite heroic efforts from the troops on the ground, it’s possible that it will to come to a complete stop, especially if such attacks are ongoing.

Last week, Joe Biden bragged about evacuation efforts during an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC by saying:

“But, look – but no one’s being killed right now, God forgive me if I’m wrong about that, but no one’s being killed right now.”

Another boast from President Ice Cream that will now have to be chucked down the memory hole, possibly where even God cannot reach. Even at the time there were multiple, solid reports of at least seven deaths amid the chaos.

More than this was that none other than the State Department had issued this warning a few days ago:

Due to threats outside the Kabul airport, US citizens should avoid traveling to the airport and avoid airport gates unless you receive instructions to do so. Those at the Abbey Gate, East Gate, or North Gate now should leave immediately.

As with other recent events where the President was contradicted in his statements within hours by his own agencies, the Pentagon and State, it seems that the entire Administration is confused and not communicating well internally. That alone is a condemnation of the Biden crowd.

The bombing appears not to be the work of the Taliban but ISIS, which matches recent reports, both from unsourced intelligence reports to reporters, that ISIS and Al Queda were once more on the ground in Afghanistan.

UPDATE

Reports and video coming in of more explosions at the airport.

FFS:

U.S. officials gave the Taliban a list of names of U.S. citizens, green card holders & Afghan allies to grant entry into the outer perimeter of the city’s airport, prompting outrage behind the scenes from lawmakers and military officials.

What were they thinking? They basically handed the Taliban a kill list.

Written by Tom Hunter

August 27, 2021 at 7:55 am

Posted in Military, USA

Tagged with , ,

THE TWO FACES OF ARDERN

On the day that New Zealand ‘welcomed’ back ‘home’ Sahayra Aden, the ISIS bride, born in NZL who became an Australian citizen before she was stripped of that by the Australian government, we learn that Scott Morrison has quite rightly indicated that the Oz military will not be deployed outside the confines of Kabul airport in their efforts to evacuate Australian nationals and locally employed Afghani civilians at risk of retribution by the Taliban.

Contrast that to the Tuesday’s virtue signalling announcement by Ardern that a C130 was being deployed to Kabul to help evacuate NZL nationals and LECs … primarily those who worked for us in Bamyan. LECs that her government had previously denied entry into NZL despite the urging from many quarters for them to do so. Ardern failed to articulate just how those LECs were expected to get from Bamyan to Kabul and break through the ring of steel with which the Taliban have surrounded the airport.

The two faces of Ardern … providing aid and comfort to someone with ISIS links who voluntarily renounced her NZ citizenship and throwing to the wolves Afghani LECs who worked for our country at considerable personal risk to themselves and their families.

I guess ‘defenders of the faith’ will argue that ‘thems the breaks’. Others might disagree.

Written by The Veteran

August 21, 2021 at 2:51 pm

Posted in New Zealand

Tagged with , ,

America’s new Paper of Record

At least it seems that way as satirical website The Babylon Bee, maintains its track record of puncturing the inflated egos and puffed up pretensions of the US MSM.

Washington Post To Run All Headlines By In-House ISIS Marketing Rep

WASHINGTON, D.C.—In order to ensure all headlines about Islamic terrorism are culturally sensitive and do not offend any brave freedom fighters in the Middle East, The Washington Post has retained an ISIS marketing representative.

All headlines published about terrorism will be run by the marketing rep. The PR rep was immediately put to work as headline writers worked to come up with a sensitive take on the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Do you think we should call him an extremist terrorist leader or is that considered offensive?” one intern asked the representative, Aarif al-Samarrai, in a brainstorming session Sunday.

An angered Samarrai began firing his AK-47 into the air and screamed, “ALLAHU AKBAR!” at this suggestion, apparently not happy with the angle. Post writers frantically tried to come up with different headlines to appease him,…

Sure it’s satire, but nowadays it’s increasingly hard to tell the difference between that and the published news.

I liked this one too, although it’s not from The Babylon Bee because even they’re not this mean.

Fake – but accurate:

Written by Tom Hunter

October 28, 2019 at 8:25 pm

Die MSM, Die – The Saintly Terrorist

If you were under any doubts as to the degradation, uselessness and sheer assholery of the US MSM then today’s Washington Post effort to write an obituary for the terrorist Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is the latest example.

Yes! Really

The thing is that they had actually produced an accurate headline the first time up, where he was described factually as the “terrorist in chief” of ISIS.

And then they changed it to the above. Incredible. I would love to know what the discussions were behind the scenes on this change. Was the first too judgmental? Too “othering”? Too colonialist? Too redolent of White Privilege and Western European superiority? Too much of a deviation from “One Man’s Terrorist is Another Man’s Freedom Fighter“? Too positive for Trump?

FFS – this piece of human garbage was the religious, philosophical and political inspiration and leader of ISIS, a group of Islamic Jihadists that gleefully terrorised a good chunk of the Middle East for several years by killing men, woman and children in the most brutal ways they could find. Who can forget the shit they “advertised” across the Internet, with men in Orange jumpsuits paraded before the cameras before a mass head slicing routine. Or the Jordanian fighter pilot they captured who was put in a cage and burned alive. Not to mention the untold thousands of Christians, Yazidis and Muslims they slaughtered to build their “Caliphate”.

And yet the hatred for Trump, the President of the US who demanded that Baghdadi be found and who ordered the raid on him, is so great, so visceral, so unhinged, that even a supposed sober and mainstream media publication like the WaPo could not help trying to cleanse Baghdadi in order to prevent Trump getting the same win treatment that Obama did with Osama Bin Laden’s killing.

About the only good thing to come out the WaPo’s fantastically stupid coverage is the stream of Twitter responses they got. Here’s my favourites:

And my absolute fave….

Apparently the WaPo is still shameable – slightly – because after getting humiliated on Twitter they changed the title for a third time.

Too late fucktards. Hours too late. We know how you think because you showed us.

Written by Tom Hunter

October 28, 2019 at 5:54 am

Here They Go Again

The Telegraph reports on Islamic State’s experiments with and intentions for chemical weapons.

“Islamic State has moved its chemical weapons operation to densely populated residential areas and is testing homemade chlorine and mustard gas on its prisoners, residents of the Iraqi city of Mosul have claimed.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) is reported to have set up laboratories in built-up neighbourhoods in the heart of its so-called caliphate to avoid being targeted by coalition air strikes.”

What a bugger for the Democrats.  If Crooked Clinton wins in November she might for the second time find herself voting for an invasion of Iraq.  Of course later she will claim she was for it before she was against it.

Written by adolffinkensen

May 23, 2016 at 3:02 am

Posted in Islam, Middle East

Tagged with ,

Teacher Taught

It was just another routine day in class.

Beheading class, that is. In Syria.

On this occasion a British SAS sniper gave the class a day off by skillfully decapitating the teacher with one shot from 1,200 metres away.   That’s pretty fancy shooting in anyone’s language.

A .338 Israeli made rifle was used.  Apparently the bullet tumbles end over end through the target.

However, you have to laugh at the Yanks.  They had to put up a photo of a US Marine posing with a sniper rifle.

Written by adolffinkensen

February 22, 2016 at 8:21 pm

Posted in New Zealand

Tagged with ,