Lessons of 9/10 Ten Years On Ten years passed since the tragedy of 9/11, during which lesson learned have been learned and lessons missed. The same errors are repeated, especially in not understanding that trying to accommodate Muslims in western societies, various government – and leftist liberal organisations hell bent on political correctness, managed to reach the opposite effect by further alienating them.
Authorities, national and local, fail to understand that multiculturalism deepens division and help isolate Muslims – especially from the Indian subcontinent and the Horn of Africa- into cultural ghettos instead of assimilating into British society.
Meanwhile many Arabs and Muslims (by looking into their media organs, and trends influencing public opinion) seem to have failed to learn lessons from the event which changed the geopolitical map of the world in the third millennium AD.
Western intelligence and security apparatuses, especially British ones, are still studying the lesson. British agencies were the first to realise errors early in the day. In dealing with Islamic extremism, they said in several reports, it was wrong to mainly focus on the security aspects – especially by military means and tougher laws- instead of addressing the ideological and cultural angles that enabled a few preachers of hatred and Islamists ideologues to brainwash hundreds of thousands into accepting a myth that America and the west in general is engaged in a crusade against Muslims.
It is now accepted among most western intelligence agencies ( although the Americans wouldn’t admit it in public) that locking suspects at Guantanamo was a major folly. In addition to creating a legal headache in trying suspects in courts( when you find any, non accepted evidence presented by CIA & co) while their home countries refused to take detainees back. It would have been better to follow the British MI6 suggestion back in November 2001 not to approach suspects at all, but watch them, monitor their activities and follow their movements once they left Afghanistan, thus broadening the net of intelligence gathering and providing better chance of infiltrating terror groups.
In addition to America loosing the moral high ground, while the tragically laughable practice of extraordinary rendition required cover-ups by western agencies, politicians and civil servants, especially in dealing with nasty dictatorships allowing their criminal security agencies to torture renditioned detainees. The uncovering of documents proving the collaboration between Colonel Gaddafi’s intelligence service ( accused of acts of mass murder like Lockerbie) and CIA and MI6, in Tripoli in the past few days, stained the otherwise noble operation by NATO to help the Libyans liberating themselves.
The better news is in Europe and Britain security agencies and establishment are learning 9/11 lessons and trying to avoid further errors, and correcting mistakes. The last British government, five years ago banned the phrase “war on terror” from official papers. The current Conservative led coalition continue to reverse last Labour government illiberal policies like scrapping the daft national ID scheme, the extended holding of terror suspect by police before charging them, ending control orders and stop and search on suspicion under profiling. Policies that not only provide Islamists extremist preachers with ammunition in their crusade of hatred against Britain, but also doing the terrorists work for them by changing our way of life.
We journalists in the media also became wiser and self alert not to fall into extremists traps. For example during the Danish cartoons crisis (and we were aware it was manufactured by self serving hardline Islamic activists in Denmark who sirred it up in Muslim and Arab nations to raise both funds and their own profile). Although we reported the story and its development extensively, we avoided re-publication of the cartoons themselves without any request or pressure from any quarters, but it was a professional judgment ( since the content of the cartoons were no longer the story and thus reprinting became irrelevant while it might offend the sensibilities of British muslims). We even resisted unwise calls from left wing organisations urging Fleet Street papers to reprint the cartoons in ‘ solidarity with the Danish cartoonist and his paper’s right to free expression.’ Correctly, we, as British journalists, stuck to our high standard professional training that our job is to report news, uncover facts and expose cover-ups, but to take ideological stands or use our publications as a platform for ideological campaigns were not part to our job description. It is not in our Fleet Street tradition to ram ideology down our readers throat regardless of how noble a cause might be.
In short, at least here in Britain we continue to learn the lessons of 9/11 and try hard, to avoid further cultures’ collisions (as part of the ongoing unavoidable clash of civilizations) at least we try hard not to swallow the bait when an unruly drunken is trying to pick a fight for no reason.
As I monitor a great deal of Middle East and North Africa MENA based media organs, in Arabic or in English, as well as as media in Muslims nations – especially Pakistan and Iran ( and some in Turkey), sadly I realised that most Muslims and Arabs have not thought to derive any lessons from 9/11 and its repercussions in the years that followed. Even media networks whose PR spin the image that they developed Arab media and present more transparent and freerer platforms ( like Aljazeera ) are playing to the gallery of hardline Islamists and anti-western Arab nationalists in a confusing ( and confused) message deliberately linking Arab dictators’ repression against their populace with two aspects: peace with Israel and American ( and British)foreign policy. Almost 80% of information given to support this link is factually wrong and/or straight lies. Even BBC Arabic service Television partly joins such trend. Because it lacks its own narrative and obsessed with the foolish idea of competing with al-Jazeera, BBC Arabic TV also go down this road of playing to the extremists gallery ( although the BBC Arabic editorial staff are more careful not to get caught, so they use guests carefully selected for their anti-western anti Israel views or by choosing certain columns or headlines from press during press reviews).
The Arabic language media – and Islamic media in general spent- the past 10 years marching in the opposite direction of history, taking Arab public opinion into an impassible quagmire between western and Islamic cultures.
Some British Muslims, even when they are tiny minority in British towns provoke the non-Muslim white majority by using loudspeakers in mosques and residential areas. Whenever there is a larger community of Muslims (especially from Indian subcontinent ethnic background) they isolate themselves in a cultural ghetto refusing to integrate into a society to which they immigrated of their own free will. In fact I recall older generations in 1950s , 60s, and 70s seeking to assimilate, as Muslim children in schools would shorten their Asian/Muslim names to sound English, like Asma ( as in president Assad of Syria’s wife who was born here) becomes Emma, Fatima to Timma or Timmie and Mohammed became Mo, etc. Now they get out of their way to sound, and look different, even if it inconvenience them. Have you seen how a totally veiled woman in NIQAB with a mini curtain over her face tries to eat in public without exposing her mouth? One asks, couldn’t she wait and hour or so until going home and eat more comfortably – especially if she is accustomed to fasting Ramadan, which was 16 hours this year-, but it is a statement she makes in public by being different.
Look how a group of about five dozen Musims, with loud speakers insulted and upset the families of 9/11 victims during the memorial service in Grosvenor Square, while the police looked on ( would Metropolitan police have allowed English Defence League protesters to hold a loudspeaker outside a mosque during one of their prayers, while the preacher is spouting anti-English message of hatred?) A mixture of cowardice (fear of violent Islamists reaction) and multiculturalism peppered with misguided political correctness created an obvious bias towards Muslims at the expense of the indigenous British whites people, which in turn deepens division and suspicion. Nurses are sacked for pinning a small crucifixion into their uniform while the veil, which contradicts short cloths code designed to reduce spreading infection, is tolerated.
Every weekend in towns across Britain Muslim extremists call for implementing shari’a law in UK, the most recent example was a Muslim teacher on Today programme ( BBC4)last Thursday. The normally rottweiler-like John Humphrys, was suddenly tamed into unprecedented politeness by not asking him why he doesn’t go and live in a country where shari’a is implemented instead of staying in a country where he condemns its citizens as immoral creatures behaving like beasts?.
By such insolent thinking Muslims in Britain (most are migrants by their own free will) harm themselves in two ways: it provides ammunition to the far right groups like EDL. It also portrays the Muslims as a lot of weak faith who do not follow the way of life advised in their book ( Koran) voluntarily but need the force of the law to make them good Muslims.
And MENA governments are worse than British Muslims in missing the lessons of 9/11 while the media in the region plays most negative role. They were in denial in refusing to admit that there is a basic, historical flaw in the operating system of the collective mind – namely education system curricula, the press, and other tools shaping public opinion, the early learning which shape individuals’ belief system prevalent in the countries the 9/11 gang held citizenship (Saudi Arabia, Egypt & UAE). Instead of reprogramming such system and address the causes the press continue to publish load of rubbish and false information generated by ignorant trends taking public opinion to the dark ages
One does not need to be a psychologist in order to identify the bug in the mental operating system of those adults who, like 9/11 terrorists, are prepared to kill themselves in order to harm others How did ignoramuses who never left the confines of the Taliban’s seminaries, and who do not even know Arabic, the language of the Koran and Islamic philosophy manage to convince a university graduate like Muhammad ‘Atta (leader of 9/11 hijackers) who understood Arabic and read more books on Islam than his Taliban and Qaeda mentors did, to perpetrate mass-murder on their behalf?
In his will, obviously written while he was quite sober at least a couple of days before he hijacked the plane on 9/11, Atta provided detailed instructions for washing his body and preparing it for burial, specifying that no woman must be allowed into the room or see his naked body. What kind of education system that shapes a mind preoccupied only with hiding (what he might think) the inadequate size of his penis from women’s eyes even after his death? Moreover, Atta, in a jet carrying tonnes of fuel and heading to a WTC tower in 300 MPH speed, believed his body would emerge intact from the inferno of the crash.
Like other governments whose citizens took part in the 9/11 crime, the regime of President Hosni Mubarak in Egypt didn’t even consider setting up an inquiry not just about the failure of their intelligence service to keep a tag on those people and tip off the Americans, but also to include educational psychologists, media analysts and experts from other relevant fields to investigate both the circumstances and the mental and psychological state of the their citizens among 9/11 terrorists. More important was to check their school records, and education history, university activities in order to identify when and how they went wrong. Had this inquiry been set back in 2001, a report would have been out, say by 2004 and recommendations began to be implemented ( and sure the United States and Britain would have provided funding and expertise) to fix the Egyptian and Arab education systems to avoid both processing more Atta-like graduates and immune the young against radicalisation by terror masters. Instead of ordering such inquiry Mubarak regime (and the like) exploited 9/11 to blackmail the U.S. into giving more aid to the regime, in money and equipment designed for crowed control and suppression of opponents, just an excuse to prolong the life of the dictatorship. Other regimes used its economic muscles to find rent-a-journalist or rent-a-politician to sell us a soft gentle tolerant face of Islam claiming that terrorists were only a non-representative minority, while in fact they were the tip of an iceberg of anti western hatred.
In their contacts with US, UK and other western counterparts diplomats and security officials from such despotic regimes, played up the danger of Islamists groups by exaggerating the popularity influence of political wings of those groups, such as Muslim Brothers (although officially banned in Egypt but wheeled out whenever there was a need to intimidate liberal pro democracy opponents or scare America); which was the other face of the ruling National Democratic Party coin. Those officials argued behind closed doors that full democracy and free elections would strengthen the Islamists and produce Hamas like regimes ( the deliberate stirring of the anti-Israeli sentiment now in Egypt is the same ploy used by the regime to delay democratic reform ad divert attention from the real issue, while creating an illusion that democracy and western sponsored peace in the region were incompatible). Although the January 25th ‘Lotus Revolution’ in Egypt and its rehearsal movement of April 6, 2010 were both generated by liberal nationalists, not Islamists. (same apply to Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, Libya and Tunisia, neither Islamists slogans nor pro Palestine sentiment vocalised during protests). After 9/11 regimes like Mubarak’s, Ben Ali’s in Tunisia and col Gaddafi’s put out argument – through its corrupt media and by duping naive analysts in western think tanks as well as sympathetic western leftwing media – that the freedom of the press and expression will strengthen radical Islamic jihadists and similar trends enabling them to gain more popularity, and plot further attacks. But such censorship and press-control didn’t encompass media platforms run by trends far more dangerous to peace, progress and democracy like extreme Arab nationalism – which was modelled in the 1940s on Italian Fascism. For example whenever Mubarak regime in Egypt wanted to divert attention from a domestic issue, his infamous information minister Safwat Sherif who later became speaker of the upper house, followed the same pattern laid down by Mohamed Hassanein Heikal, the founder of the first information ministry under Colonel Nasser, based on methods of Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels, by instructing state run media organs like television and three state owned dailies monopolising 60% of readership to launch attacks on Israel, criticise America and spin pro-Palestinian propaganda. When Nasserite Arab nationalists media in Egypt (privately owned, and financed by Col Gaddafi, Iraqi and Syrian Baathists, Iranian regime etc), would criticise Mubarak regime for close cooperation with the CIA, MI6 or Israeli intelligence agencies (especially after terrorists attacks against Egyptian holiday resorts were traced back to Hamas and Gaza), the information minister instructed the media to attack Israel.
In addition to regime not extending censorship to anti-Semitic or anti-American items in the popular media, the regime also tolerated – and often encouraged two other trends in the media by opinion formers. The denial trend, and the conspiracy theorists.
A considerable body of opinion formers still to this day insist that Muslims were not responsible for 9/11, in hundreds of television programs, columns, feature and seminars devoted to denying the authenticity of the events and claiming that the images shown on TV were created using computer programs for producing science fiction films.
At the weekend, I came across three dozen items on TV, and newspapers in Egypt, the Gulf, Jordan and Lebanon either pushing this theory or the theory of World Trade Centre towers fell by controlled explosions.
The conspiracy theorists who accepts attacks did happened insist it was carried out by the CIA so it can increase its budget and influence, and arms industry could cash in when the inevitable war could. Israeli Mossad of course had to be involved so when Muslims are blamed, the Jews would benefit by reducing America’s pressure on Israel!
Although hardly any mention of Israel could be found in al-Qaeda literature before 9/11, non of Egyptian, Arab and Muslim intellectuals – or many leftwing Europeans would point out this fact. Nor did they mention a known historic fact that Muslim Brothers in Egypt – the grand daddy of all radical and Islamic terror groups started their wave of terrorism, planting bombs in cinemas, bars and theatres and intimidating women, in the 1930s, almost two decades before Israel was founded and before American foreign policy affected the region.
In fact the major US foreign police step that changed the region, was President Eisenhower unwise intervention to save Colonel Nasser’s dictatorship during the Anglo-French campaign to rescue Suez Canal from the late dictator’s claws.
This early American folly strengthen colonel Nasser’s influence and gave him a free hand to cause trouble and encourage many military coups. Those Nasserite like regimes who are turning lethal weapons against people currently demonstrating for democracy in Libya, Syria, Yemen and Sudan wouldn’t have been there had President Eisenhower not saved Col Nasser back in 1956.
And the backbone of anti-American trend in the Arab world are those very regimes, born out of Eisenhower ill advised policy to take over British colonial legacy, have also built dictatorships suppressing democratic and liberal secular movements, thus clearing the political arena for Islamism to grow unchecked ( or sent their Islamists to Afghanistan under CIA plan to fight Russians there) until they reached America itself on 9/11.
The media and education system was designed by regimes like Col Nasser’s. As a result ten years have passed since 9/11, and the Arabs and Muslims have wasted them on silly stories, conspiracy theories, and laughable pathetic attempts to justify the terror attacks, instead of learning a lesson and fixing the flaws in their education systems , media and social trends affecting two generations and creating a general culture in which sick individual grew to form the gand that committed the 9/11 crime.