Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Is Osama bin Laden an environmentalist? Brendan O'Neill Calls Him a Weird Beard, Fatwah at 11:00

Hitting the points we mentioned Sunday and Monday (but better, backwards and in heels), Mr. O'Neill updates a 2005 opinion piece:

Osama bin Laden started life as a super-rich Saudi boy who later went to fight against the Soviet communist infidels on behalf of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. Now, according to his latest message, released over the weekend, he is a born-again anti-capitalist, more worried about corporations than communism, and more frightened by global warming than by irreligious regimes.

Sounding like a weird-beard version of Naomi Klein, bin Laden bashes corporations for controlling the political system in the West. He explains the American Democrats’ failure to stand up against the war in Iraq on the basis that ‘the democratic system permits major corporations to back candidates, be they presidential or congressional’, and the Democrats have been ‘bought off’ by the corporations just like everyone else.

He also entertains popular Western conspiracy theories about the assassination of President John F Kennedy. He claims Kennedy was killed because he ‘deviated from the general line of policy [on Vietnam] and wanted to stop this unjust war’. Apparently this ‘angered the owners of the major corporations who were benefiting from [the war’s] continuation’. ‘And so Kennedy was killed, and al-Qaeda wasn’t present at that time, but rather those corporations were the primary beneficiary from his killing.

And the war continued after that for approximately one decade’, says bin Laden. Here, bin Laden parrots what has become a familiar line in Western, especially American, discourse: that Kennedy was a Good president, and was likely done in by an evil American cabal.
It seems bin Laden is also a fan of Noam Chomsky, especially Chomsky’s theory on how the authorities use the media to ‘manufacture consent’.

‘Among the most capable of those from your own side who speak to you on this topic and on the manufacturing of public opinion is Noam Chomsky, who spoke sober words of advice prior to the war, but the leader of Texas doesn’t like those who give advice’, said bin Laden.

It’s highly unlikely that the figurehead of a largely clapped-out terror organisation holed up in a cave in the middle of nowhere has a collection of Chomsky’s books on his stone shelves – but he may have read about Chomsky’s views on numerous anti-war websites, or have been advised that Chomsky is a leading critic of the Bush administration by those al-Qaeda associates who visit him and who seem to garner most of their information from the worldwide web.

As I argued in Reason magazine in May 2006: ‘Bin Laden is a blogger....

We had the same thought yesterday. There's more at Spiked.