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Posts Tagged ‘Islamic Jihadism

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

When the MSM works

To say that I’ve been hard on the MSM, both in the USA and here in NZ, would be an understatement given that one of my taglines for the posts has been Die MSM, Die.

So it’s nice to be able to give credit, for once, to MSM sources doing their job.

First up is a rather amazing press conference conducted the other day with a Biden Administration spokesman for the US State Department, Ned Price. This is a daily press conference and the topic of the day was the current US withdrawal from Afghanistan, which is not going well. Price’s spin was that they were simply doing what the Trump administration had negotiated with the Taliban and that there was nothing they could change about that. That spin also did not go well for Ned Price when – of all people – an Associated Press reporter, Matt Lee, got stuck into him about that claim:

LEE: “This administration inherited plenty from the previous administration that it absolutely reversed,”

How about the Geneva protocol on the anti-abortion stuff?

PRICE: This was the point that we have made on any number of steps about the importance of the durability of American foreign policies – American foreign policy across administrations.

LEE: How about the agreements with the Northern Triangle, with Mexico and the Northern Triangle? Those are international agreements that you guys jettisoned.

PRICE: These are … Matt, I think

LEE: I mean, you just challenged me to come up with an international agreement that the previous administration signed that you guys have walked away from, and I just gave you, I think, three.

Wow. A non-right-wing reporter actually challenging some of the Biden Administration’s bullshit. Miracles do happen. I was also mightily impressed by something that came just before that exchange:

LEE:  And then lastly, the thing I don’t understand – well, maybe not understand, but you don’t want to talk about the historic analogy that Said made to Vietnam. Let’s go next door to Cambodia. Are you familiar at all with the letter that Sirik Matak wrote to John Gunther Dean, who was the U.S. ambassador to Cambodia in April of 1975?

RICE: It’s

LEE: If you’re not familiar with it

PRICE: It’s been a while.

LEE:  I suggest you familiarize yourself with it because it may end up being sadly prescient.

So this is not just some lightweight “journalist” like those of the Whitehouse press corp, who aim for fluff and “gotcha” questions of the “When-did-you-stop-beating-your-wife” type – when faced with a Republican. Matt Lee really knows his shit on foreign policy.

===========

Next up is coverage of local news that appeared overseas in The National Pulse, New Zealand Professors Claim CCP Is Planting Spies At Their Colleges:

Dr. Stephen Noakes, of Auckland University, said that non-enrollees showed up to his lectures and “appeared to be gathering intelligence.” On one occasion, an individual whom Noakes had never seen before was in the lecture theater, taking pictures.

“It made me incredibly uncomfortable and I followed it up afterwards. I’ve not seen that person again,” Noakes stated.

Catherine Churchman, a professor at Victoria University in Wellington teaching ancient Chinese history, said that, in 2017, a man came to her class and “upbraided her about her lecture content.” When asked why he was in the class, the man claimed to be a “visiting scholar.”

So we’re not just talking about Ann Marie Brady any longer.

It would be nice to think that such events will no longer be dismissed as they have been in the past

I have read Brady’s work, and spoken to her. She is an China alarmist. I don’t agree with her perspective.

… and it seems they’re not since this US article references their information as coming from a Radio New Zealand podcast. They supplied no link but here it is:

Redline: Can we walk the thin line between what some see as an evil empire and others as our greatest economic opportunity? A four-part series investigating China’s growing influence in New Zealand

So kudos to RNZ also.

===========

Finally there’s this, courtesy of MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute), who do a great job in covering various Middle Eastern news sites and translating them for the rest of the world.

It’s quite extraordinary how open some of the Palestinian news sites are about their society.

Written by Tom Hunter

July 13, 2021 at 6:00 am

I’ve seen this movie before – twice!

Actually it’s more like watching three sequels.

2nd Lt. Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani
Ahmed Ibrahim al-Haznawi

In the original story a Saudi Arabian who flew the hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 as part of the 9/11 attacks in 2001 helped develop the plot in Florida where he also may have attended flight schools. That’s him on the left.

In the latest sequel just last Friday a Saudi Arabian shot eleven people at a flight school he was attending in Florida, killing three and injuring eight before being shot and killed himself by police. This time it was an officer in the Saudi Air Force who was training at the Pensacola Naval Air Station. That’s him on the right.

Is it just me or should the US intelligence agencies and military be a little more wary of Middle Eastern Arabs training at flight schools in Florida than they seem to be?

I guess we should be grateful that Alshamrani only used a handgun rather than an airplane – especially a military airplane!

Some 62,700 foreign military students from 155 countries participated in such training in the USA in 2018 alone, so it may be that looking for a potential Islamic Jihadist is needle-in-the-haystack stuff.

 
“A person familiar with the program said that Saudi Air Force officers selected for military training in the United States are intensely vetted by both countries.
 

The Saudi personnel are ‘hand-picked’ by their military and often come from elite families, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they did not have permission to speak to a reporter. Trainees must speak excellent English.”
 
Okay, but during all this intense vetting did anyone, especially in the USA, have an extended chat with him about his thoughts on America and the global jihad? Were there any follow-ups to this, especially after he returned from Saudi Arabia when others noted that he had become notably “more religious” than he had been before?I doubt it. Any effort to have done so would have been denounced as “Islamophobic” and would have been career suicide for whoever did the questioning.

Apparently King Salman informed President Trump that the Saudi people “love Americans” and “are greatly angered by the barbaric actions of the shooter...”.  I don’t doubt that many of them, including King Salman, genuinely do feel like that about the shooter as well as having other emotions about him like shame and disgust.

But that’s not the point.

Of the 19 men involved in the September 11 attacks, 15 were Saudi Arabian, and that was a quite deliberate selection by Osama Bin Laden, who wanted to demonstrate to both the US and the leaders of Saudi Arabia that the majority of the nation was on his side, not theirs.

Frankly the jury is still out on that, especially following the arrests of six other Saudis. At best you could describe the Saudi’s as being “frenemies” of the USA. What that’s going to change about the “intense vetting” is anybody’s guess but were I a US military officer working with Saudi nationals I think I’d start asking to be allowed to carry my handgun at all times rather than trusting the higher ups, let alone the “gun free zone” bullshit that actually translates to “you can shoot here and nobody will shoot back until its too late“.

Major Nidal Malik Hasan

The reason for such a precaution is that overlooking the fact that a military officer is a secret Islamic Jihadist has happened before in the USA, with the latest chapter perhaps being a different sequel – this time to the 2009 Fort Hood shootings.

They were conducted by the guy on the left, Major Nidal Hasan, a US Army psychiatrist of all things, who killed 13 people and wounded more than 30 others at the military base.

He was considered a “lone wolf” who supported terror network Al-Qaeda, but he’d left a huge trail of breadcrumbs. He’d been investigated by the FBI after intelligence agencies intercepted at least 18 e-mails between him and an Islamic preacher named Anwar al-Awlaki between December 2008 and June 2009. Even the US Army was informed of the e-mails, but the higher-ups did not see anything worrying about Hasan’s questions to Awlaki. Instead, they viewed them as:

general questions about spiritual guidance with regard to conflicts between Islam and military service, and judged them to be consistent with his legitimate mental health research about Muslims in the armed services”.

As such he was actually praised and promoted despite alarming people who actually had to work with him, what with all his talk of violent jihad. None of his superiors dared do anything except promote him. They undoubtedly knew that if they questioned him about his loyalties it would probably be they who would face a dishonorable discharge because of “Islamophobia”.

Later of course, numerous former members of the CIA and Homeland Security would say things like:

“E-mailing a known al-Qaeda sympathizer should have set off alarm bells. Even if he was exchanging recipes, the bureau should have put out an alert.”

Well duh! But by then 13 people were dead.

One basic difference this time is that six ten more Saudi’s have been arrested near the base, three of whom were seen filming Alshamrani’s shooting spree, so we likely won’t have to hear any crap about “lone wolves” or it being a “an act of workplace violence“, which was the fantastically moronic take on the Fort Hood shootings by the Obama Administration.

Mind you, even aside from the haystack-needle problem I can see how tough such investigations could be when you look at what this latest Islamic shooter apparently left behind in a Twitter account:

“O American people, I’m not against you for being American, I don’t hate you because your freedoms, I hate you because every day you supporting, funding and committing crimes not only against Muslims but also humanity,”

“What I see from America is the supporting of Israel which is invasion of Muslim countrie (sic), I see invasion of many countries by it’s troops, I see Guantanamo Bay. I see cruise missiles, cluster bombs and UAV.”

That could come from almost any university liberal arts professor, student or Leftist poltical activist in the USA nowadays!

Written by Tom Hunter

December 8, 2019 at 7:44 pm

Posted in New Zealand

Tagged with , ,

Usman, why do you need me to die?

MORE FARCE

The 2012 Bombing and Stabbing Team

The Daily Mail now reports that of the nine original terrorist plotters of 2012, only two are still in prison.

The remaining six were released, like Khan, well before their terms had been served.

Their whereabouts are unknown.

Jesus – look at them! You want to run into any of them down a dark alley? What are the odds that they’re all still of the mindset of Mr Usman (pictured middle, bottom-row)?

And it really puts into perspective the idiots who write sarcastic comments like:

No Parole. No Rehabilitation. Make them serve their sentence. 

As if the current “justice” situation in Britain is like that, when the reality is the exact opposite.

History repeats itself, first as farce, second as tragedy.
…..

Usman Khan, 28, had been free a year after serving just half of a 16-year sentence for plotting with eight others in 2010 to bomb such London landmarks as the stock exchange, American embassy, and Westminster Abbey.

He was still wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet when he went berserk with two long knives after speaking about his own “rehabilitation” during a Cambridge University-sponsored criminal justice conference in London, killing two and injuring three.

Just to add a further touch of farce to the tragedy, that rehab program was called Learning Together.
A specter is once again haunting Europe, but this time all the powers of old Europe are not trying to exorcise it at all. The place is filled with Nikolai Bukharin’s, who will learn nothing from this and change their minds not one iota – even as those ideas send them into their own graves.

Written by Tom Hunter

December 1, 2019 at 8:30 pm

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

Those Pesky Presbyterians

They’re at it again.

Three people stabbed in Manchester and eight pedestrians run down by a vehicle in Tokyo.

In both cases, the perpetrators screamed “Hallelujah, Hosanna in the highest!”

Arab apologists in Australia call these incidents ‘irritations.’

Written by adolffinkensen

January 1, 2019 at 2:28 am