9/11 terror attacks: Mystery within mystery

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Shamima Begum: Smuggled into Syria by a spy working for Canada’s intelligence

Come Sunday, the United States will mark the 21st anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. US President Joe Biden will make a statement coated with political machismo aimed more at reinvigorating the Democratic Party’s diminishing prospects at the mid-term elections in November than dealing with the core issue of terrorism.

But the terror anniversary is also a time for reflection on the core issue of terrorism. Although terrorism is one of the most pressing political problems today, the issue has eluded concerted global action. States differ in their views on the definition of who and what of terrorism. The adage ‘one’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter’ is a reality and will remain so until consensus among states is reached to set up domestic and international mechanisms to alleviate injustice and other factors that drive the oppressed people to take up arms. 

Terrorism thrives also because the very states that fight or appear to fight terrorism use it as an expedient tool to achieve political ends. From time immemorial, nations have been practicing acts of terrorism but these acts were not labelled as terrorism then. They were regarded as part of warfare. For instance, since antiquity, states have poisoned potable water sources in enemy states as a terror tactic to disrupt and depopulate target areas. 
Yet, big powers resort to terrorism while taking cover behind highly sophisticated tactics to ensure their covert action cause no harm to their image as paragons of virtue, champions of human rights, promoters of democratic values, and advocates of global justice. In retrospect, terrorist events point to the imprimatur of big powers, for it is they who are seen to be reaping the benefits. 

Take, for instance, the recent BBC exposé on Shamima Begum, the then British schoolgirl who joined the Islamic State (IS or ISIS), only to be stripped of her British citizenship after her capture during the terror group’s defeat in Syria. The BBC documentary claimed she was smuggled into Syria by an intelligence agent for Canada. The documentary based on secret files seen by the BBC also says the agent had smuggled several other Britons to fight for IS. When asked for their comments, both Canada and Britain declined to comment on security issues.
The BBC investigation said the agent identified as Mohammed Al Rasheed was providing information to Canadian intelligence while smuggling people to IS. Isn’t this a case of running with the hare and hunting with the hounds? This episode is just one of many that give credence to the claim that IS was and is a product or project of the Western intelligence collective. It needs to be said again that the Western nations turned a blind eye to the flow of IS recruits to Syria through their airports. They were indeed in cahoots with the terrorists, for both the West and IS had the same goal: the violent overthrow of the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria. 

A willing partner in the political game is the corporate media in the West. They demonised the Assad government with input from the White Helmets, supposed to be a volunteer rescue group operating in areas the Western media identify as rebel-held though they should be identified as al-Qaeda-held or IS-held territories. The White Helmets group also maintains an office in London. It was co-founded by James Le Mesurier, a former British military officer, whose suicide in Istanbul in 2019 is still a mystery. The Syrian government has accused the White Helmets, also known as Syria Civil Defence Force, of being a Western-sponsored terrorist organisation with links to al-Qaeda and Israel. 

The recent terror attack in Moscow and regular terror attacks in Iran targeting its nuclear scientists also raise questions about the source of terrorist attacks. When such attacks occur in countries that are resisting the West’s effort to dominate the global politico-economic order, the presumption is that terrorism is used — as one of the definitions of the term indicates — as a violent political tool by the very nations which condemn terrorism and have launched a perpetual war on terror.

In the Western media, the story of the Moscow bomb was given a slant to insinuate Russia. Some Western analysts and Russian dissidents claim that the car bomb that killed Darya Dugina, the daughter of Vladimir Putin’s philosopher guru Alexander Dugin, was a false flag operation of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) to vilify Ukraine.

In such Russia-slamming analyses, these analysts inadvertently admit that state intelligence groups do plan terror attacks.  Many analysts question even today whether the 9/11 attacks were a false flag operation. 
Ahead of the attack that took place on September 11, 2001, officials in charge of the US national security were warned of an impending attack by the then US president George W Bush’s national security staff and European intelligence agencies – with some giving specific details regarding the target and the use of civilian
airplanes as missiles. 

Richard Clarke, Bush’s anti-terrorism advisor, later resigned in frustration and in protest over the administration’s indifference to his warnings. He told CBS television in a March 21, 2006 interview that he had warned of the impending attacks but little action had been taken. After the 9/11 attacks, Clarke said he expected the Bush administration to focus its military response on al Qaeda and its leader Osama bin Laden, but he was surprised that the talk quickly turned to Iraq.  He was asked to find a link between 9/11 and Iraq.

The 9/11 incidents are still shrouded in mystery. Many a question remains unanswered not only about 9/11 but about the anthrax scare that swept the US in its aftermath. The events that followed and investigations by well-respected journalists like Bob Woodward show that the 9/11 attacks offered a platform to sell a long war to the US public, invade oil-rich Iraq and destabilise countries hostile to the US. Though the Iraq war proved a national security liability for the US and exposed President Bush’s lies about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, it brought huge profits to the US military-industrial complex and multinationals.

While terrorism was used as a tool by big powers to achieve political goals, in Sri Lanka, which has been battered by terrorism for thirty long years, a similar controversy rages over the Easter Sunday terror attacks, with the allegation being that warnings of the attack were ignored by those in charge of national security to roll out events leading to a secret political objective. Just as the 9/11 attacks, the Easter Sunday massacres remain a mystery.

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