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9/11 AND THE RESPONSE September 13, 2011

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics, Modern History, Peace, Terrorism Issues, US Politics.
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The place of  the 11th of  September as a date of significance in US and World history was preceded by other events, most notably the overthrow of the Allende Government in 1973.

There seems little doubt that the US was changed by the events of 2001. The earlier events which put the Bush Administration in power by a decision of the Supreme Court and not the voters  was a precursor. A broader context of the end of the Cold War in 1989 and aftermath of the Vietnam War cannot be ignored as the legacy that shaped the way the opportunity of 9/11 was used to launch the continuing wars and military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, and then beyond, and more recently the management of the overthrow of the Gaddafi Regime in Libya.

Was this merely a great flip or a great turning, occurring ahead of generational change? It seems clear that fear reigned, perhaps not incidentally and that the power elite in the US walked away from a commitment to the rule of law, human rights and adherence to international law. The recent murder of Osama bin Laden and the extension of the drone attacks, with the promise of evolved technology is clear evidence, as is the prison without habeas corpus at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba

Tom Engelhardt observes:

The attacks of September 11, 2001 were in every sense abusive, horrific acts. And the saddest thing is that the victims of those suicidal monstrosities have been misused here ever since under the guise of pious remembrance. This country has become dependent on the dead of 9/11 — who have no way of defending themselves against how they have been used — as an all-purpose explanation for our own goodness and the horrors we’ve visited on others, for the many towers-worth of dead in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere whose blood is on our hands.

Chris Hedges was on the scene at the collapsing Twin Towers in New York, a witness to the people that jumped from the burning building. Of course it is a hard lesson, because violence offers the catharsis of anger and action. Then what? Chris Hedges notes:

We have still not woken up to whom we have become, to the fatal erosion of domestic and international law and the senseless waste of lives, resources and trillions of dollars to wage wars that ultimately we can never win. We do not see that our own faces have become as contorted as the faces of the demented hijackers who seized the three commercial jetliners a decade ago. We do not grasp that Osama bin Laden’s twisted vision of a world of indiscriminate violence and terror has triumphed. The attacks turned us into monsters, grotesque ghouls, sadists and killers who drop bombs on village children and waterboard those we kidnap, strip of their rights and hold for years without due process. We acted before we were able to think. And it is the satanic lust of violence that has us locked in its grip.

Perhaps the mask was simply been torn away. As for the people of the US, or those that write to the NYT, they seem remarkably like everybody else.

Questions remain about the intelligence prior to the attacks on 11 September. The Real News featured Jason Leonard and Ray McGovern:

Australia has followed the lead of the US, as it always does, although left in this case with a questionable cost benefit analysis from its role in Afghanistan. Tom Hyland in The Sydney Morning Herald reports:

AS AUSTRALIA’S bill for fighting terrorism edges towards $30 billion, security experts are beginning to question whether we are getting value for money.

This estimate is based on what we have paid to fight two wars, boost intelligence and policing, and strengthen domestic security in the 10 years since the September 11 attacks on the United States.Part of the problem in assessing the value of the security bill is a lack of clarity in official accounting, and the absence of any cost-benefit analysis. Unlike the US, Australia does not have a separate homeland security budget.

The US budget, since September 11, is about $US1 trillion – that is, $US1000 billion. Add in the costs of the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the cost is $US3-4 trillion.
Mark Thomson, a former Defence Department official and now an analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, is an expert on the defence budget. Drawing on budget figures, he calculates Australia has spent an extra $21.3 billion on defence and security since 2001.
The largest share has gone on the military commitments to the Iraq war ($2.4 billion) and Afghanistan ($7 billion and counting). A further $10.4 billion has been spent on extra security at home.

The Australian Federal Police and ASIO have been major beneficiaries. The nominal increase in ASIO’s budget over the past nine years is 471 per cent, according to Mr Thomson’s calculations. Its budget allocation in 2001 was $69 million. This year it is close to $400 million, after peaking at $450 million in 2007. Mr Thomson’s total figure of $21.3 billion also includes an extra $1.5 billion in aid to Iraq and Afghanistan. It does not include spending by state and local governments, nor the cost of extra security introduced by business and non-government organisations.

These costs are calculated by Athol Yates, executive director of the Australian Security Research Centre. He says Canberra spends about $10.5 billion on homeland security, while state and local government plus private industry spend another $5.5 billion.

When combined with extra military spending, the tally is $26.9 billion so far. Given Australia’s commitment to Afghanistan will continue at least until 2014, the bill will easily reach $30 billion in coming years. Whether Australia is getting value for its security dollar will be the focus of a security industry conference in Canberra this week. Mr Yates, conference chairman, said there was growing evidence that a lot of the spending was ineffective, and some a waste.

Foreign Minister Rudd, rather than the great white hope, equivocates, promoting fear, as do the other sycophants in the government, including the Attorney General (via SMH and AAP):

Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd says another September 11-style attack could occur if nations drop their guard against terrorism. On the 10th anniversary of the terror attacks in the US, Mr Rudd said nations had to remain constantly alert to a possible terrorist attack.
. . .
Since the deadly attacks in New York a decade ago, Australia had foiled four domestic terrorist attacks, Mr McClelland said. Of the 38 people charged with planning the attacks, 21 were born in Australia. “If you’re looking at the history, the major threat has been from the so-called homegrown potential terrorists,” Mr McClelland told Network Ten today.”

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