The Null Device

Inventing al-Qaeda

Some believe that al-Qaeda doesn't exist, and that the highly organised global terror network is a myth made up by Western officials:
'Bin Laden never used the term al-Qaeda prior to 9/11', Dolnik tells me. 'Nor am I aware of the name being used by operatives on trial. The closest they came were in statements such as, "Yes, I am a member of what you call al-Qaeda". The only name used by al-Qaeda themselves was the World Islamic Front for the Struggle Against Jews and Crusaders - but I guess that's too long to really stick.'
Having given bin Laden and his henchmen a name, Western officials then proceeded to exaggerate their threat. 'In the quest to define the enemy, the US and its allies have helped to blow it out of proportion', wrote Dolnik and Kimberly McCloud of the Monterey Institute in 2002. They pointed out that after 1998, US officials began distributing posters and matchboxes featuring bin Laden's face and a reward for his capture around the Middle East and Central Asia - a process that 'transformed this little-known jihadist into a household name and, in some places, a symbol of heroic defiance'

See also: locally-printed "Osama Bin Laden World Hero" T-shirts selling like hotcakes in markets all over the Islamosphere.

In fact, I have been wondering whether or not, within a decade, "al-Qaeda" will morph into an umbrella term for any resistance to neo-liberalism/globalisation/capitalism/The Man, with Latin American (non-Islamic) qaedistas waging guerilla war against US-installed authoritarian governments and right-wing death squads, whilst their French comrades torch McDonalds restaurants, and dreadlocked Nu Marxists all over McWorld replace their Che T-shirts with Osama ones.

According to Dolnik: 'In a world where one email sent to a news agency translates into a headline stating that al-Qaeda was behind even the blackouts in Italy and the USA, anyone can claim to be al-Qaeda - not only groups but also individuals'.
Sajid Badat, the 24-year-old student arrested by British police in Gloucester yesterday, on suspicion of planning to carry out a terrorist attack, was immediately referred to in media reports as a 'suicide bomber' and 'al-Qaeda terrorist' - after it was revealed that he had boasted to college mates and neighbours: 'I'm in al-Qaeda.' Whatever the truth of the allegations against him, however, it is clear that anybody can make an impact today by claiming a link to the largely mythical al-Qaeda.

There are 9 comments on "Inventing al-Qaeda":

Posted by: mitch http:// Sun Nov 30 11:09:01 2003

Ironically, Laurie Mylroie (chief proponent of the Iraq-did-it theory) says something similar, but for rather different reasons! She says that under Clinton, the USA didn't want to deal with state-sponsored terrorism, and so everything was attributed to "loose networks". The focus on Al Qaeda is just a convenient way to concretize the new paradigm.

"Hezbollah" poses similar problems. Originally it's just a phrase out of the Koran, the "party of Allah". Hezbollah, as a real-world political organization, seems to have its roots in a call by Khomeini to build an international Islamic army. Lebanese Hezbollah has grown into a recognized political party, while other groupings like "Turkish Hezbollah" and "Saudi Hezbollah" remain clandestine. I can't tell if you have to be in contact with some central group in Iran to qualify as Hezbollah, or if it's a do-it-yourself thing.

Posted by: acb Sun Nov 30 15:50:49 2003

Maybe "(Turkish/Saudi) Hezbollah" is like "(Sicilian/Russian) Mafia".

Btw, were there any regional Illuminati other than the Bavarian ones?

Posted by: Ben Sun Nov 30 18:21:46 2003

Well there are 9 secret masters, and only 1 of them runs the Illuminati/CFR/Halliburton, so the other 8 must have similar responsibilities. Hmmm, I wonder what Prince Phillip is up to these days?

Posted by: mitch http:// Sun Nov 30 21:38:20 2003

Of course! The Illuminati are literally the guys who light things up, i.e. the power companies.

Posted by: kstop Mon Dec 1 10:21:38 2003

And then maybe in 20 years the US will develop some kind of hypercomputer capable of translating Arabic into American, leading to a pogrom against bassists.

Posted by: Alex http:// Mon Dec 1 12:18:52 2003

I wonder if people in ten years ran the risk of getting locked up for yelling 'BASS FOR YOUR FACE!' and being mistaken for an Al Qeda operative. The Base ...

Posted by: Graham Mon Dec 1 13:00:19 2003

Shh, don't tell anyone, but I'm one of the other secret masters.

Posted by: dj Tue Dec 2 00:13:39 2003

I thought we had agreed not to release that information until next month? Remember drip feeding will get the populous comfortable with the notion!

Posted by: Terry Funk Tue Dec 2 13:29:55 2003


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