I remember the day Osama Bin Laden was allegedly ‘taken down’ by a group of Navy SEALS. I was watching a youtube feed of riotous celebrations occurring in downtown Manhattan when my friend and SUPERCHIEF contributor A. walked into my room and sighed: “My fat republican roommate is lying on his bed listening to The Star-Spangled Banner wearing only underwear. When I walked in he looked at me and said, ‘we got ‘em.”
I grew sick as I looked out my dorm window and saw perfectly reasonable college students marching around waving American flags and chanting nationalist slogans; my nausea, however, didn’t paralyze me until several days later, when we the Free American People were forbidden from seeing any evidence of the take down. The mad cries of 911 Truthers and Alex Jones types suddenly seemed terrifyingly reasonable, youtube black holes of conspiracy videos ensued and I missed class to educate myself about the occult elite, new world order, and Bilderberg Group building a bunker under the Denver Airport in preparation for a global holocaust like nothing before. I put all of this aside, however; I guess Nietzsche was right when he said we need to submit to life-affirming delusions if we’re to remain sane.
Al Qaeda Doesn’t Exist, But Labyrinthine Propaganda Networks are Back in a Big Way
The value one puts on conspiracy theories really has more to do with that person’s personality than with the validity of the theory: if you believe in one of them you’re more likely to believe in others as well. SUPERCHIEF isn’t infowars and I am by no means an avid reader of Alex Jones’ works, but in the postmodern ‘desert of the real,’ where claims to truth or virtue have been all but replaced by competing ideologies and claptrap polemics, playing though a thought-experiment can be a useful tool for understanding what it is we take for granted. Ideology, as Žižek has explained, is most corrosive where it is most hidden.
So let’s get down to the brass tacks of this article: Al Qaeda as we know it does not exist; there is no pervasive international terror network covertly funded by meddling Arabs who hate our freedom out to get us because we have free elections and shit. It’s not “expanding into Uganda“and it definitely doesn’t pose any threat to American freedoms because, well, we’re really not all that free. We live under an increasingly oppressive state capitalist economy and our electoral system is rigged to detonate any attempts at third-party control; Obama, hailed as some great reformer, is more conservative than Nixon and a more ardent imperialist than Bush could ever dream to be.
So what does the term Al Qaeda truly signify? It’s hard to tell, but Tony Blair (seriously) sheds some light:
Al Qaeda is not an organization. Al Qaeda is a way of working … but this has the hallmark of that approach.
Rather than a covert network, it is a blanket term for a specific method of guerrilla warfare targeting US imperialism. What we know as Al Qaeda is nothing more than a database of names of Mujahadeen fighters who were trained and armed by the CIA during the 80′s to counter the Soviet invasion going on at that time. They were very successful, and the problem is that in the mid-90s they’ve come to detest all forms of imperialism and have turned against the US. The great American war machine has turned this thorn in its side into a propaganda tool with which they can incite US citizens (like A’s nude republican roommate) and justify wars of imperialism abroad.
New York Times writer Ron Suskind explained what deep ideological propaganda consists of when he published a conversation he had with a White House aide, later identified as Karl Rove:
The aide said that guys like me were “in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” … “That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”
In order to be effective, a non-organization needs a non-leader who’s face can be plastered on bumper stickers and news briefs. This is where Osama Bin Laden comes in: already wanted for the 1992 bombing of the World Trade Center, he is the perfect scapegoat for the 9/11 attack. Dick Cheney, in fact, has been quoted saying that there is no hard evidence linking Bin Laden with Mohammed Atta, the leading hijacker of the September 11th attacks.
So what’s “the Truth?” Well, there is no truth: we will never know the extent to which the U.S. government participated in (or turned a blind eye to) the September 11th attacks, we will never have access to MOSSAD’s secret files, and alternate interpretations of this episode in American history will likely be banished to History Channel specials à la the JFK assassination once the truthers become jaded and a new generation replaces the millennials. Such is the wide orbit of truth, and such is the terrifying validity of Karl Rove’s statement: history really is written by the victors, and what is taken for knowledge in the public square really is nothing more than a function of power.
Here’s a superb documentary drawing parallels between the rise of neoconservatism and radial Islam:
What we can consider, however, is who benefitted from these attacks. Was it really “terrorists” or was it the Military Industrial Complex and the Neoconservative Israeli lobby so fascinatingly powerful in the U.S. Congress even as it espouses “anti-Semitic Zionism?” Do you, dear socially-conscious reader, support the World Trade Organization and the iron arm of global finance which allows corporations like DeBeer to exploit African countries for the rough-hewn diamonds of free trade? People have fallen for scapegoats before, the most recent example being Germany in the 30s; you can become jaded or, better yet, recognize that geopolitics is strictly realpolitik, but you can’t stop the monolithic roll of time.
When any discussion about alternate interpretations of politics, even potentially offensive interpretations, is dominated by tin-hat theorists and brushed aside as drivel by the public square, the tide of history begins to come in. Then, then, all the paranoid fantasies of Foucaultian power structures and critical thinking taken to it’s nihilistic end cannot stop you from being caught out alone on a sandbar. Utterly alone, because even Alex Jones can’t do much more than “raise awareness.” There is nothing you can do to prove you are correct or to counter the rolling waves of power-knowledge that create facts and the drowning doubt that makes you question everything once you realize that everything could be staged so easily, that we’ve probably never been to the moon at all, that all your information necessarily comes from the very grand matrix of corporate power and media you’re trying to prove wrong. It could literally all be a conspiracy against you; whether you believe this depends on how stoned you are and how big your ego is and how paranoid you tend to be, but it could be, and you couldn’t prove shit.Tweet