portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article commentary global

imperialism & war

Saudi Attack - Who Is Really Responsible?

Amazing how "lazer keen" US intelligence was in this circumstance when it has performed abysmally in so many other respects.
Does anyone else think that the US administration's "jumping up and down and pointing" immediate indictment of Al Quaida as the culprits behind the Saudi Arabia attack is reminiscent of the kid who breaks Mom's antique lamp and then frames his little brother?

Has Al Quaida even taken responsibility for this attack? If they were responsible, it would seem that -- as in the past -- they would have made their involvement known fairly quickly.

If our intelligence is so advanced that it can so accurately predict an attack in Saudi Arabia (and it wasn't a mere warning if the US embassies and offices were all cleared a day in advance) why wasn't it better prior to 9/11 or in Baghdad where attacks remain numerous and unpredictable?

I am sure that I am not the only one who wonders if the Bush administration, finding itself unable to publicly oppose its friends in the Saudi Royal family, has taken a back door approach to either coerce cooperation or to make the Saudi government look more sympathetic (a victim, rather than an enabler).
i've had similar questions. 11.Nov.2003 12:32

this thing here

i also get suspicious when bombs go off, and the only narritive for why, the only claims of responsibility, comes not from those involved, but from a government that has big interests riding on the situation. the bombing in bali comes to mind.

but unfortunately, though many if not most terrorist groups take public responsibility for their actions, not neccessarily ALL do, so this lack of claimed responsibility is not in and of itself indicative of something in my view.

to speculate on motives, who would a destablized saudi arabia benefit?

the bush admin.? i don't know.

saudi arabia is not the same kind of target as iraq. there is no saddam in saudi arabia. all of saudi oil is not bottled up behind a dictator washington doesn't want to be seen doing business with, behind sanctions, behind a decrepit and bombed out oil infrastructure, as was the case in iraq. so there's not really any need to "liberate" saudi arabia's oil, as there was with iraq's. so why would washington want to rock that precious boat full of oil that is working just fine?

use terrorism as an excuse to install "democracy"? maybe, but i don't see the problem saudi arabia NOT being a "democracy" gives the bush admin., because they're doing a handsome, conflict free business with the saudi government as it is right now.

(and just to bring up the point, the bush admin. doesn't want to install a democracy in iraq or anywhere else, IT WANTS WHAT INSTALLING A GOVERNMENT OF IT'S OWN DESIGN AND CALLING IT A DEMOCRACY GIVES THEM. that is what is happening in iraq right now. the leverage over internal affairs, the ability to pacify the country and in doing so, provide a stable environment in which to get resource extraction going, the political gains back home in doing so, the geo-political chess board, getting control before the russians, chinese, etc., these are all the things the bush admin. wants for spending $87,000,000,000 on iraq.)

(i also think wolfowitz's assertion that democracy will bring security is just insane. how will iraq ever be a democracy if it has to have a massive internal security apparatus to put down the insurgency raging now, or one in the future? what gaurantees that holding elections will prevent conflict between the kurds and the turks? what guarantees the right to vote will prevent a civil war in iraq between the sunni's and shia's? the right to vote didn't prevent a civil war in america... what if a majority of iraqi's in their new democracy vote to nationalize their oil/trade their oil in euro's/side with palestine against israel/disobey washington? how does that mean peace and security? how does that fulfill washington's desires? how can washington guarantee for itself what democracy will bring? by fucking with elections over there too? how DOES democracy bring security and guaranteed results?

america was a democracy, and it launched an offensive military action WITHOUT worldwide approval. britain fought alongside despite something like 70% of it's citizens being against the war. germany and france, two more democracies, totally disagreed with america. stability, peace and harmony all around? hardly. so something isn't right here. the explanations aren't adding up. either wolfowitz is just completely dumb and doesn't understand democracy, or he's not talking about a real democracy or a real reform, and instead is just trying to put a pretty face on what is nothing more than regime switch out.)

so anyways, maybe the bush admin. wants to destabilize saudi arabia, but i can't figure out what motive they have for doing so, because it seems like the arangement between the saudi monarchic government and washington is working fine at the moment. but, maybe it isn't. and maybe washington is trying to head something off? or maybe they really do want complete hegemonic control over iraq, saudi arabia, iran, kuwait, etc., etc...

"Al-Queda" - The base, the cia base 11.Nov.2003 12:35

bean laden

Just remember "al-queda" in persian means "the base", it was always the base,

Ever since afghani under ronny-regular-raygun 'al-queda' was the financial arm through the cia so the 'patriots' could fight the ruskies,

Everytime you hear 'al-queda' just remember they're talking about the CIA,

The great thing about this is the average usa-joe thinks 'al-queda' is some sand-nigger org, but everyone in the middle east knows it means CIA,



Bird Dog

The Port Chicago Disaster
Read it.

The Port Chicago Disaster
Originally found in articles written by Robert L. Allen & Peter Vogel
as published in THE BLACK SCHOLAR, Journal of Black Studies & Research,
Volume 13, Numbers 2 and 3 - Spring 1982

On the night of 17th July 1944, two transport vessels loading ammunition at the Port Chicago (California) naval base on the Sacramento River were suddenly engulfed in a gigantic explosion. The incredible blast wrecked the naval base and heavily damaged the small town of Port Chicago, located 1.5 miles away. Some 320 American naval personnel were killed instantly. The two ships and the large loading pier were totally annihilated. Several hundred people were injured, and millions of dollars in property damage was caused by the huge blast. Windows were shattered in towns 20 miles away, and the glare of the explosion could be seen in San Francisco, some 35 miles away. It was the worst home-front disaster of World War II. Officially, the world's first atomic test explosion occurred on 16th July 1945 at Alamogordo, New Mexico; but the Port Chicago blast may well have been the world's first atomic detonation, whether accidental or not.
The Ship
The E. A. Bryan, the ship which exploded at Port Chicago, was a 7,212-ton EC-2 Liberty ship commanded by Captain John L. M. Hendricks of San Pedro, California, and operated by Oliver J. Olson & Co., San Francisco. It was built and launched at the Kaiser Steel shipyard in Richmond, California, in March 1944. She made a maiden voyage to the South Pacific and then was ordered into the US Navy's Alameda Shipyards where the five-ton (10,000-pound maximum load) booms and gear on the no. 1 and no. 5 holds were removed and replaced with 10-ton booms and gear. It then docked at Port Chicago on 13th July 1944. At 8:00 a.m. on 14th July, naval personnel began loading ammunition.

The E. A. Bryan had been moored at Port Chicago for four days, taking on ammunition and explosives night and day. Some 98 men of Division Three were hard at work loading the Bryan, and by 10:00 p.m. on 17th July the ship was loaded with some 4,600 tons of munitions including 1,780 tons of high explosives.

The second ship, the Quinalt Victory, was brand new; it was preparing for its maiden voyage. The Quinalt Victory had moored at Port Chicago at about 6:00 p.m. on the evening of 17th July. Some 102 men of the Sixth Division, many of whom had only recently arrived at Port Chicago, were busy rigging the ship in preparation for loading of ammunition which was due to begin by midnight.

In addition to the enlisted men present, there were nine Navy officers, 67 members of the crews of the two ships along with an Armed Guard detail of 29 men, five crew members of a Coast Guard fire barge, a Marine sentry and a number of civilian employees. The pier was congested with men, equipment, a locomotive, 16 railroad boxcars, and about 430 tons of bombs and projectiles waiting to be loaded.

Most of the enlisted men, upon first arriving at Port Chicago, were quite fearful of the explosives they were expected to handle. But, over time, many of the men simply accommodated themselves to the work situation by discounting the risk of an explosion. Most men readily accepted the officers' assurances that the bombs could not explode because they had no detonators.
The Explosion
Just before 10:20 p.m., a massive explosion occurred at the pier. To some observers it appeared that two explosions, only a few seconds apart, occurred: a first and smaller blast was felt; this was followed quickly by a cataclysmic explosion as the E. A. Bryan went off like one gigantic bomb, sending a column of fire and smoke more than 12,000 feet into the night sky.

Everyone on the pier and aboard the two ships was killed instantly: some 320 men, 200 of whom were black enlisted men. Very few intact bodies were recovered. Another 390 military and civilian personnel were injured, including 226 black enlisted men. This single, stunning disaster accounted for almost one-fifth of all black naval casualties during the whole of World War II. Property damage, military and civilian, was estimated at more than US$12 million.

The E. A. Bryan was literally blown to bits. Very little of its wreckage was ever found. The Quinalt Victory was lifted clear out of the water by the blast, turned around and broken into pieces. The largest piece of the Quinalt Victory which remained after the explosion was a 65-foot section of the keel, its propeller attached, which protruded from the bay at low tide, 1,000 feet from its original position.

There was at least one 12-ton diesel locomotive operating on the pier at the time of the explosion. Not a single piece of the locomotive car was ever identified: the locomotive simply vanished. In the river stream, several small boats half a mile distant from the pier reported being hit by a 30-foot wall of water.

In an interview, one of the men described his experience of the disaster:

I was reading a letter from home. Suddenly there were two explosions. The first one knocked me clean off... I found myself flying toward the wall. I just threw up my hands like this, then I hit the wall. Then the next one came right behind that. Phoom! Knocked me back on the other side. Men were screaming, the lights went out and glass was flying all over the place. I got out to the door. Everybody was... that thing had... the whole building was turned around, caving in. We were a mile and a half away from the ships. And so the first thing that came to my mind, I said, 'Jesus Christ, the Japs have hit!' I could have sworn they were out there pounding us with warships or bombing us or something. But one of the officers was shouting, 'It's the ships! It's the ships!' So we jumped in one of the trucks and we said, 'Let's go down there, see if we can help.' We got halfway down there on the truck and stopped. Guys were shouting at the driver from the back of the truck, 'Go on down. What the hell are you staying up here for?' The driver says, 'Can't go no further.' See, there wasn't no more dock. Wasn't no railroad. Wasn't no ships. And the water just came right up to... all the way back. The driver couldn't go no further. Just as calm and peaceful. I didn't even see any smoke.

Rescue assistance was rushed from nearby towns and other military bases. The town of Port Chicago was heavily damaged by the explosion but fortunately none of its citizens was killed, although many suffered injuries.

During the night and early morning, the injured were removed to hospitals, and many of the black enlisted men were evacuated to nearby stations, mainly to Camp Shoemaker in Oakland. Others remained at Port Chicago to clear away debris and search for what could be found of bodies.

The search for bodies was grim work. One survivor recalled the experience:

I was there the next morning. We went back to the dock. Man, it was awful; that was a sight. You'd see a shoe with a foot in it, and then you'd remember how you'd joked about who was gonna be the first one out of the hold. You'd see a head floating across the water --just the head --or an arm. Bodies... just awful.

Some 200 black enlisted men volunteered to remain at the base and help with the clean-up operation.

Three days after the disaster, Captain Merrill T. Kinne, officer-in-charge of Port Chicago, issued a statement praising the black enlisted men for their behavior during the disaster. Stating that the men acquitted themselves with "great credit," he added, "Under those emergency conditions, regular members of our complement and volunteers from Mare Island displayed creditable coolness and bravery."
The Aftermath
Four days after the Port Chicago disaster, on 21st July 1944 a Naval Court of Inquiry was convened to "inquire into the circumstances attending the explosion." The inquiry was to establish the facts of the situation, and the Court was to arrive at an opinion concerning the cause or causes of the disaster. The inquiry lasted 39 days, and some 125 witnesses were called to testify.

However, only five black witnesses were called to testify -- none from the group that would later resist returning to work because of unsafe practices. The Court heard testimony from survivors and eyewitnesses to the explosion, other Port Chicago personnel, ordnance experts, inspectors who checked the ships before loading, and others.

The question of Captain Kinne's tonnage figures blackboard, and the competition it encouraged, came up during the proceedings. Kinne attempted to justify this as simply an extension of the Navy's procedure of competition in target practice. He contended that it did not negatively impact on safety and implied that junior officers who said it did, did not know what they were talking about.

The Court also heard testimony concerning the fueling of the vessels, possible sabotage, defects in the bombs, problems with the winches and other equipment, rough handling by the enlisted men, and organizational problems at Port Chicago.

But the specific cause of the explosion was never officially established by the Court of Inquiry. Anyone in a position to have actually seen what caused the explosion did not live to tell about it.

Although there was testimony before the Court about competition in loading, this was not listed by the Court (or the Judge Advocate) as in any way a cause of the explosion (although the court saw fit to recommend that, in future, "the loading of explosives should never be a matter of competition" -- a small slap on the hands of the officers).

Thus, the Court of Inquiry in effect cleared the officers-in- charge of any responsibility for the disaster, and in so far as any human cause was invoked, the burden of blame was laid on the shoulders of the black enlisted men who died in the explosion.
The Mutiny
After the explosion, many of the surviving black sailors were transferred to nearby Camp Shoemaker where they remained until 31st July; then the Fourth and Eighth Divisions were transferred to naval barracks in Vallejo near Mare Island. During this period, the men were assigned barracks duties but no ship-loading was assigned. Another group, the Second Division, which was also at Camp Shoemaker until 31st July, returned to Port Chicago to help with the cleaning up and rebuilding of the base.

Many of the men were in a state of shock, troubled by the vivid memory of the horrible explosion in which so many of their friends had died. All were extremely nervous and jumpy. "Everybody was scared," one survivor recalled. "If somebody dropped a box or slammed a door, people be jumping around like crazy. Everybody was still nervous."

There was no psychiatric counseling or medical screening of the men except for those who were obviously physically injured. The men's anxiety was probably made worse by the fact that they did not know what caused the explosion. Rumor and speculation were rife. Some thought it was caused by an accident, some suspected sabotage, others did not know what to think. Apparently the men were not informed that the Navy was conducting an investigation. Certainly, none of those who would later be involved in the work stoppage was called to testify at the Court of Inquiry.

The men talked among themselves. They had not yet been ordered back to their regular duty and no one knew what would happen next, but many of them hoped they would be transferred to other stations or to ships.

Many of the survivors expected to be granted survivors' leaves to visit their families before being reassigned to regular duties. But such leaves were not granted, creating a major grievance. Even men who had been hospitalized with injuries were not granted leaves.

The survivors and new personnel expressed their opposition to returning to loading ammunition, citing the possibility of another explosion. The first confrontation occurred on 9th August. A ship had come into Mare Island to be loaded with ammunition, and the Second, Fourth and Eighth Divisions, 328 men, were ordered out to the loading pier. The great majority of the men balked, and eventually 258 men were arrested and confined for three days on a barge tied to the pier. Officers told the men they faced serious charges, including mutiny for which they could be executed. They were also being threatened by guards with being summarily shot.

In early September, 50 men were selected as the ring-leaders and charged with mutiny. On 24th October 1944, after only 80 minutes of deliberation by a specially convened military court, all 50 men were found guilty of mutiny. Ten were sentenced to 15 years in prison, 24 sentenced to 12 years, 11 sentenced to 10 years, and five sentenced to eight years. All were to be dishonorably discharged from the Navy.

After a massive outcry over the next year, in January 1946, 47 of the Port Chicago men were released from prison and exiled for one year overseas before returning to their families.

Of the Navy personnel who died in the blast, most -- some 200 ammunition-loaders -- were black. Indeed, every man handling ammunition at Port Chicago was black, and every commissioned officer was white. This was the standard operating procedure in the segregated Navy at that time.
Development of the Uranium Bomb
About 400 to 600 pages of reports and memoranda on Port Chicago are held at the Los Alamos (Manhattan Project) Laboratories. They were declassified in 1981. The most substantial record of the accident was prepared by US Navy Captain William J. Parsons and transmitted to US Rear Admiral W. R. Purnell, member of the Atomic Bomb Military Policy Committee and Parsons' superior officer.

Parsons is credited with designing the ordnance for the first atomic bomb and bringing it to battle-ready status. He was assigned to Los Alamos and named Deputy Director under J. Robert Oppenheimer and Division Leader for the Ordnance Engineering Division established in June 1943. They developed, designed and constructed the uranium-235 gun-bomb used on Hiroshima. Immediately after the Port Chicago disaster, Captain Parsons was elevated to the rank of Commodore, USN. He was subsequently the bombing officer aboard the B-29, the Enola Gay, which dropped the U-235 bomb on Hiroshima. After Hiroshima, Parsons was elevated to the rank of Rear Admiral, US Navy.

Parsons was a member of the LeMay Subcommittee of the Joint Chiefs of Staff which became the Joint Crossroads Committee in 1946. He was Assistant Chief of Naval Operations for Special Weapons prior to his appointment as Chairperson of the Joint Crossroads Committee which planned the Bikini Atoll tests. He was also Deputy Task Force Commander for Technical Direction of the Bikini tests. Parsons died in 1952.

Specifications for the U-235 gun-bomb used at Hiroshima were complete by February 1944, according to Volume I of the Manhattan District History. Hardware for at least three uranium-235 guns was ordered at the end of March 1944. According to the US Department of Energy Oak Ridge records, 74 kilograms of U-235 was available by December 1943, 93 kg by December 1944 and 289 kg by December 1945. The uranium-235 gun-bomb weighed about 9,000 pounds when assembled.

Effective 1st August 1944, Los Alamos Laboratories were reorganized, all work on the U-235 gun-bomb was curtailed, and efforts were concentrated on the plutonium-239 Nagasaki bomb.
The Government's Story
The US Government claimed that 1,780 tons of high-explosive TNT-equivalent exploded spontaneously at Port Chicago. (This is in contrast to the two previous ship explosions, Mont Blanc in Halifax in 1917, and SS Fort Stikine in Bombay in 1944, which followed shipboard fires.) The government claimed there was not enough uranium-235 available for a bomb. This is now known to have been a lie, as noted above. According to the declassified Oak Ridge documents, 15.5 kilograms of U-235 is needed for a gun-bomb. The December 1943 inventory was 74 kg of U-235, and in December 1994, six months after Port Chicago, it was 93 kg. If a nuclear weapon was detonated at Port Chicago, it is likely to have been one of the U-235 gun-bombs built after March 1944.
The Evidence for an Atomic Explosion
The force of the blast was greater than the 1,780 tons of high explosives could have caused, when one considers the total disintegration of the ship, the size of the blast crater, the tidal wave, the destruction of the Quinalt Victory, the 12-ton locomotive, etc.

Eyewitnesses reported "an enormous blinding incandescent." The Navy reported "the first flash was brilliant white," such as is now known to be characteristic of nuclear explosions which achieve several tens of millions of degrees Centigrade in milliseconds. Conventional explosives reach a maximum of 5,000&degree;C and do not give off a white flash except when mixed with magnesium. There was no magnesium on the list of explosives loaded onto the Bryan. The white flash occurs with atomic bombs of five kilotons and greater.

The Port Chicago disaster gave rise to a Wilson condensation cloud like those at Bikini -- now known to be characteristic of atomic bombs detonated in vapor-laden atmospheres.

The seismic records show a very rapid detonation not characteristic of conventional explosions but the signature of atomic explosions. There was a typical nuclear fire ball.
The Film
The Navy has a film record of the disaster at its Concord Naval Weapons Station. After being challenged, the Navy claimed this was a Hollywood simulation of a miniature explosion. The film shows a typical nuclear explosion, which would have been hard to simulate. According the Navy, the film was created to support their argument to the US Congress sometime in the 1960s that the remains of the town of Port Chicago be purchased by the Navy and incorporated into the Concord Naval Weapons Station as a buffer zone in the event of another large explosion.

Significantly, the Navy did not claim the film was a re-creation until after it was suggested that the film could be the record of a nuclear detonation. However, Dan Tikalsky, public affairs chief at Concord, told Peter Vogel, writing for The Black Scholar magazine, that the film was a nitrate-base film, which would require the film to have been produced prior to 1950 when nitrate-base film was replaced with non-explosive cellulose-base film.

Peter Vogel wrote in the Spring 1982 edition of The Black Scholar:

Based on viewing an edited video copy of that film which was made available to me, I have concluded that the film records, in every detail, the progression of the actual explosion of July 17, 1944 at Port Chicago. For example, early frames of the film suggest a record of the expansion of the Wilson condensation cloud during which the formation of the ball of fire is obscured. Furthermore, the movements exhibited by several large, independent fragments of the explosion over time compared to the speed of the explosion itself are evidence of the very large distances those fragments travelled during the course of the film sequence.

It is obvious, of course, that only an intentional film record of the blast could have been made since the probability of having, by chance, a motion picture camera rolling and pointed in the right direction at the right time at night is exceedingly remote.

If the explosion was filmed at the Port Chicago site, it would follow that the explosion was planned and anticipated.

The July 1944 blast caused a crater 66 feet deep, 300 feet wide and 700 feet long in the river bottom. A five-kiloton nuclear bomb on the surface of wet soil creates a crater 53 feet deep and 132 feet in diameter. Some of the blast was absorbed by the ship's hull, so it may have exceeded five kilotons.

Residual radiation exposures in this area are unknown, as Port Chicago was used also as a decontamination port for ships exposed to nuclear blasts in the Marshall Islands.

Los Alamos Laboratories have an inventory of all munitions loaded onto the Bryan before the disaster. For 18th July 1944, there are two empty boxcars, DLW44755 and GN46324, listed with an asterisk. The asterisk refers to a note at the bottom of the page: "Papers showing that these cars were loaded we destroyed, so cars do not show on attach[ed] list." These may have been the cars which carried two parts of the uranium-235 gun.
After examination of the historical evidence, the testimonials of survivors and eyewitnesses, the subsequent investigations as well as the film record, it is hard not to reach the conclusion that the blast at Port Chicago was in fact an atomic explosion -- which, if so, would make it the world's first atomic detonation.

What really needs to be investigated further is whether or not this device was deliberately detonated by the military, using low-ranking (black) personnel as guinea pigs to test its effects.
Primary Sources of History
There are two primary sources, The Los Alamos Project, Volumes I and II (distribution, 1961), which contains the official history of the Manhattan Project, code-name for the atomic bomb program in World War II, and a Los Alamos declassified document entitled "History of the 10,000-ton Gadget," which dates from about September 1944.

Manhattan District History-Project Y: The Los Alamos Project, Volumes I and II, LAMS-2532, Los Alamos, Paragraph 11:20, refers to work accomplished at Los Alamos following 1st August 1944 in describing the process of an atomic explosion. It is almost identical with the Los Alamos document, "History of the 10,000-ton Gadget," procured by Peter Vogel, a Santa Fe historian. Both appear to describe an actual nuclear explosion. Joseph O. Hirschfelder (later of University of Wisconsin at Madison) was director of the project at Los Alamos. Paragraph 11:20 of the Manhattan District History (supposedly prepared in November 1944) reads:

Much more extensive investigation of the behavior and effects of a nuclear explosion were made during this period than had been possible before, tracing the history of the process from the initial expansion of the active material and tamper [Tuballoy, an inert neutron-reflective material] through the final stages. These investigations included the formation of the shock wave in the air, the radiation history of the early stages of the explosion, the formation of the ball of fire, the attenuation of the blast wave in air at greater distances, and the effects of blasts and radiations of [sic] human beings and structures. General responsibility for this work was given to Group T-7, with the advice and assistance of [the British Mission consultant] W. G. Penney.

Los Alamos Laboratories Theoretical Division Group T-7 (Damage) was formed in November 1944 and had been the former Group O-5 (Calculations) of the Ordnance Division. As was noted, William Parsons was the Division Leader for Ordnance. He reported to J. Robert Oppenheimer. Both O-5 and T-7 were headed by Hirschfelder. The responsibility of G-7 was to complete the earlier investigations of damage and of the general phenomenology of a nuclear explosion.
Further Resources
The Port Chicago Mutiny
by Robert L. Allen
Port Chicago
Mushroom Cloud at Port Chicago?
Port Chicago "Update"

good question 11.Nov.2003 13:21

Red suspenders

Yeah, good question. "Whodunnit" and whos responsible can be two different things alltogether.
Saudi Arabia is a bad place. After the second world war, the allies split up the middle east. My personal feelings is that the British, having a big navy, wanted to ensure a good, cheap supply of oil for thier fleet, (navy ships dont exactly get good gas mileage) So they installed the Saud tribe in the region with the best oil deposits. Many middle eastern peoples are known for being well developed, and having outstanding intelligence and rich culture. The Saudis were not among this group, and were placed in charge of this vast supply of oil, becuase they could easily be kept happy, and give thier oil freely to the western world without doing anything like trying to nationalize the oil resource and use the profits for the betterment of thier country. (This happened in Iran, where the US had to pitch in to help England dispose of Mr. Mossadeq, in the early 1950's who was leading Iran towards a constitutional democracy much like the one we thought we had here in the United States) Fast forward a little bit. We have a few thousand members of the royal family in Saudi Arabia. These folks live in pampered luxury. They are well known for traveling to Egypt to drink and gamble and party with prostitutes. And they are known for beating and raping their foreign (filipino government website has posted a warning to this effect) domestic. They send their children to the US and Europe to misbehave in our universities and shop at nordstroms. Meanwhile the vast majority of thier population lives in abject third world poverty, and suffers from an even higher rate of unemployment than Oregon. Unlike the ruling class, the general population is subject to a draconian interpretation of Islamic Law. For example, you steal a candy bar most places in Iran, much the same thing that would happen to you here in the US would apply. You get a stern lecture, if you have some money, you hire a good lawyer, if not you might get in some trouble, maybe a night in jail or some community service. The most devout followers of Islam belive in a compassionate God, and many are shocked by the conditions they see on thier pilgramage to the holy sites in Saudi Arabia. Steal that same candy bar in Saudi Arabia- you just might actually lose your hand. Freedom of speech? Anti-establishment newspapers flourish in Iran. They do regularly get closed down, maybe the editor spends a few nights in jail, then change their name without even giving the presses time to cool. Dissident college students even hold demonstrations, And there was a large candlelight vigil by women in Tehran after "9-11". Free speech isnt as cheap in Iran as it is here in the US, but it does exist, as in most of the middle east. No free speech allowed in the house of Saud. The state executioner actually gets a production bonus. All this leads to an angry, repressed population- and this means easy recruiting for any number of fanatical types. Never mind most Saudi Arabs don't posess the intelligence and sophistication of most of thier neighbors- anyone can break things and hurt people with a little encouragement by lunatics who can string a good speech together, especially if they pose as a religious leader.
The shame is the west, specifically Europe and the United States, tend to judge everyone in the middle east by the actions of Saudis. Meanwhile we remain their "friends" (even after they demolish lower Manhattan) becuase they are our cheap oil connection.

If any country needs to be liberated/ occupied/ "rebuilt" it's Saudi Arabia

to bean laden 11.Nov.2003 13:32

this thing here

everything you said is true. bin laden himself had extensive contacts with the CIA.

i just can't figure out what motive the bush admin. has for destabilizing saudi arabia.

the only motive i can come up with is that OPEC secretly wants to trade their oil in euros, but not before washington gets control of it by proxy, by taking control of the territory from which the oil comes, by installing hand picked governments they can trust.

that's the only interest with dire enough magnitude (in the eyes of the bush admin.) that i can come up with for them to start f'ing around in saudi arabia. but if that was what saudi arabia wanted to do, why haven't they done so already?.....

Reason for Attack? 11.Nov.2003 15:29

Suspicious Mind

There's been a lot of embarrassment for the Bush administration lately, re. the Saudis. News reports that were initially lightly distributed have gained "feet" . . . the number of Saudi nationals among the hijackers on 9/11 . . . the secret, hurried flights to pick up and transport members of the Saudi Royal Family out of the country which other air traffic had been shut down . . . the increasing exposure of Bush personal coziness over the years with the Bin Ladens and others. Arranging for "terrorists" to strike at Saudi Arabia might have been a subtle show of strength and a reminder that it would be in their best interests to play ball and jump more publicly on the "anti-terrorism" bandwagon . . . say, send troops or police to Iraq . . . because they could easily become victims, too.

Robert Fisk's explanation 12.Nov.2003 12:11


Published on Wednesday, November 12, 2003 by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Riyadh's War on Terror Bites Back
by Robert Fisk

Osama bin Laden has an awful lot of friends in Saudi Arabia. In the mosque, among the disenchanted youth, among the security forces, even -- and this is what the West declines to discuss -- within the royal family. Saudi ambassadors routinely dismiss these facts as "unfounded" but Saturday's devastating attack in the capital, Riyadh, is part of a growing insurrection against bin Laden's enemies in the House of Saud.

Whether or not the bombers were members of the Saudi security forces -- they were certainly wearing Saudi military uniforms -- the Riyadh government's own version of the "war on terror" is now provoking bombings, gun battles and killings almost every day in the kingdom. The 11 dead were all apparently Muslims, most of them expatriate workers.

The enemies of the House of Saud want to make the kingdom ungovernable, just as the United States' enemies in Iraq want to make U.S. occupation ineffective. Iraqis are still the principal victims of the bombings in Baghdad, just as Saudis were the principal victims Saturday night.

It's clear that after years of procrastination, the Saudi authorities are passing on some of their own intelligence to the United States. For once, the latest warning from Washington -- that al-Qaida's next attack was moving from the "theoretical" to the "operational" stage -- was spot on the mark. But the Saudi royal family -- that part of it that is still desperate for U.S. assistance -- provided plenty of reasons during the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq this year for their Arab enemies to attack them.

For although they publicly maintained that the United States would not use Saudi military facilities during the war, they quietly allowed the Americans to direct 2,700 air sorties a day from the huge Prince Sultan Air Base. Far more damaging, they even gave secret permission for 200 U.S. combat aircraft at the base to fly 700 combat missions over Iraq daily.

The Jordanians suspect that the bombing of their embassy in Baghdad this summer was retaliation for a secret military operation in which 26 U.S. F/A-18 fighter bombers flew missions from a Jordanian air base to bomb Iraqi air force facilities that might be capable of firing missiles at Israel.

So, Crown Prince Abdullah, the effective ruler of Saudi Arabia, must be feeling some frightening winds blowing across the Saudi desert this winter. For by a weird coincidence, bin Laden's principal aim to destroy the royal family is shared by the American right wing. When Laurent Murawiec, the friend of the then U.S. defense policy board chairman Richard Perle, gave his odd but damning assessment of Saudi Arabia as an enemy of the United States and the "Kernel of Evil" he might have been a spokesman for bin Laden.

Murawiec, a somewhat mysterious figure who works with the Rand Corp. and has been an executive editor of Executive Intelligence Revue (owned by Lyndon La Rouche Jr.), presented a slide show to the Pentagon last year with titles that included "taking 'Saudi' out of Arabia." He claimed that since 1745, 58 percent of all Saudi rulers have met a violent demise, that Saudis are seen by other Arabs as "lazy, overbearing, dishonest, corrupt" and that they are "active at every level of the terror chain, from planners to financiers, from cadre to foot-soldier, from ideologist to cheer leader."

There persists in Washington the suspicion the Saudi royal family is still trying to compromise with the country's religious hierarchy and with its al-Qaida enemies. The Pentagon and the CIA, for example, remain angry that Saudi clerics allegedly named on one of bin Laden's videotapes as supporting the 9/11 attacks are still preaching freely in Saudi Arabia. Bin Laden's messages are still laced with venom for the House of Saud. Indeed, his original -- and still most important -- aim is to do what Murawiec demanded: to take the "Saudi" out of Arabia.

Now it looks as if his erstwhile protectors have abandoned him when his side of the royal family is in far greater peril. Could this be true? Could the Americans sit back and watch al-Qaida take over the nation's oil wells?

There are those in the House of Saud who take a particularly fearful view of U.S. policy. In the past, they say, Americans could sit in Saudi Arabia and seize the Iraqi oil fields whenever they chose to cross the border. Now they are in Iraq, they can -- in the event of a revolution -- just drive in the other direction and seize the oil fields in northern Saudi Arabia, leaving Riyadh and other cities to whichever Arabian ruler takes control.

Robert Fisk writes for The Independent in Great Britain.

1996-2003 Seattle Post-Intelligencer