And, indeed, polite golf claps.
Nicely done, sir.
It was a "fuel-air bomb" that would create "a superhot fireball". Anyone care to guess what I'm referring to here? A diabolical new weapon from some DoD skunkworks, perhaps? A metaphorical description of the space shuttle Challenger exploding, maybe? Actually, that was how ABC News's The Blotter with Brian Ross described the …
And, indeed, polite golf claps.
Nicely done, sir.
If these bombs were really by al Qaeda terrorists, then they would have been trained somewhere.
Imagine what must have been going through the minds of the trainers when the news started coming through of what a monumental cock-up they'd made of it.
I don't expect that al Qaeda's version of Ofstead inspectors is particularly pleasant.
Great article - your analysis seems spot on to me. I'm glad this sort of journalism is being posted to tech sites as well as political commentary sites like Spiked.
I've just been reading a BBC News "Have Your Say" forum on the topic of Heathrow trying to ban protests about their new 3rd runway. They are, of course, trying to ban on the grounds of security and health and safety, rather than that it's bad publicity.
Numerous comments from Joe Public are terrified wailings about how the police need to be spared from moderating the protests so that they can spend all their time hunting down terrorists. These people are genuinely scared. Scared to the point that they really don't care about their democratic rights anymore.
Score 1 to the propaganda machine.
if you upgrade your RAM and install a serial... err, sorry about that. I'm using language much too technical for a political mag like the Register.
Our leaders suck. Our media sucks. Life sucks. Blah, blah, blah. Better?
"What do we call people who sow fear, hoping to intimidate the public with threats of violence to advance their own interests?---we call them terrorists."
Perfect conclusion, seeing as more fear is being generated by the US government than almost anything else in the world. And there is good reason to be afraid with power being wielded in such a corrupt and irresponsible manner.
The chanced of actually being affected by a 'terrorist' attack are actually very slim (unless you count the transport problems it causes for a few days). Very few people die in most attacks, and the attackers die as well (when it involves Islamic extremists). There isn't much point in being scared as you are more likely to be run over tomorrow.
It's a pity that those who really should read and take notice, will be oblivious.
Used extensively to keep people in line in every era. Sad innit.
But what to do?
We commercialise everything thus making the government loose grip. Those are the people that should actually work for your benefits (I did say should...). But they are giving away control.
Now news(papers) drive public opinion. Money drives news. Public opinion drives government. So by making money out of creating fear, we wage war and feel even less secure...
And I was investing in software. I feel like a twat now.
"What do we call people who sow fear, hoping to intimidate the public with threats of violence to advance their own interests? "
The terrifying thing is that while Al Qaeda are intimidating their perceived enemy, the western governments seem intent on intimidating their perceived freind. In once sense you could say that, at least from a purely ideological perspective, Al Qaeda are the 'better' terrorists...
I second the applause, though with more raucous applause and cheers, not to mention foot stomping. I am an American after all...
Maybe they were Troubled and Traumatised from the Emerald Isle, Thomas.
Although whether they were teaching or learning is a question which only an idiot would want to waste time and effort and money on answering.
Changed Days if you want Constructive Journalism .....AI NeuRealism to Lead with a Following? And about phreaking Time too...:-) IT would be stupid not to.
I too applaud the discussion pieces posted over the past week, but I'm concerned that it's only on tech sites that this (and the excellent piece about the crap bomb makers) is being published.
If it wasn't because I think conspiracies are too difficult to operate, I might just consider that a possibility. Every media organisation in the UK needs to look at the way they're reporting the potential terrorist threats and actually start questioning the Government claims in the same way that Bremner, Bird & Fortune (and previously Mark Thomas) are doing. Similarly it's only "The Daily Show" in the US that seems to question anything coming out of the White House.
Excellent series of articles, though, and I shall be linking to them as often as I can.
Thanks for another super article chap!
Ladies and Gents, yes there are nasty people out there, but keep a level head. Don't get washed away in the hysteria.
...that this is not the sort of article that an IT site should include.
And they are right.
In the same way that "Radioingenieur-Monatszeitschrift" (Radio Engineer Monthly) should never have included any of those articles on how that nice Mr Hitler seemed to be getting a bit nasty with some of the Jews. After all God forbid that those with a deep interest in a certain field should allow someone to butt in and point out that maybe they should be aware the world is going down the crapper!
There are two main ingredients that come together to produce American governments-- 1) Greed and 2) Fear. Unfortunately, it is these same two ingredients that recently came together to produce American journalism. It is at best a recipe for incompentence. Some of us in the US would like to hope that this experience will be remembered and help avoid other such disasters in the future, but history so far does not provide good evidence that the American people have that sort of retention. Memory of that sort has come from the Fourth Estate, which does not bode well...
I could've sworn I'd read a couple of intelligible comments from you recently. Medicine wearing off?
"The Bush Administration certainly qualifies as a terrorist organisation: it has played the fear card for political advantage so many times, it's virtually impossible to cite an instance when they didn't exaggerate the threats facing Americans today."
Finally, somebody in the established media (The Reg is established) said it. I hope that, like you said, other journo's copy it and call the bush admin by its real name "Terrorists".
A million thanks
Thankyou for this sanity check.
It's all too easy to get washed away in the hysteria, despite the fact I should know better. I have now returned to a state of smouldering anger for being fed so much misinformation by our media.
They are the true enemy within.
What an excellent article.
For too long those of us who have been telling others about the FUD being spread by the media have been ignored or accused of supporting terrorism or told "you'd change your tune if it was *you* that was bombed!"
Frankly you ought to be published in the National press which is read by those who "make the decisions" instead of El Reg which is only read by those who think...!
I don't get it Greene. You spent your first two articles blasting the Bush administration citing American news sources over their handling of the war. And now, in this article you blast the very same news sources that you relied on to make your arguments. Are you for real?
Being an American and watching the news daily, I can say with 100% confidence that you are guilty of what you just claimed the American media is. You cherry picked a few small circumstances of the media repeating white house statements and passing them as facts. However, what you completely miss is how much the media in America, just like yourself, criticizes the Bush administration. Its 99% negative coverage of what happens in Iraq.
And I'll say it again, these articles have no place on The Register. No one comes here to get their daily dose of politics, and The Register shouldn't give a forum for people like this.
It's not just the description of bombs, every f***ing thing in the news (if it can be called as such) is sensationalised to some extent and the scum of press we have here (PC: glorified as tabloids) don't help much either.
It's great to read an article by a journalist who isn't recycling the same old FUD.
Until more people start printing, and reading, articles like this the terrorists will have won. Every time I hear an announcement about vehicles being banned form stations, or similar, I know we live in a state controlled by terrorism.
Perhaps president bush had Dune read to him and that lead him to fearing a Jihad from a desert people he has recently attacked :)
Posted Friday 27th July 2007 14:53 GMT
I could've sworn I'd read a couple of intelligible comments from you recently. Medicine wearing off?"
Don't tell me that you didn't understand that invitation for Mr Greene in Dublin and the Register to show some Lead in their pencil. I thought that was obvious. After all, it is not as if there is any viable competition to argue against the truth in what we are been sold as the truth. A bloody placebo and good for nothing.
"I could've sworn I'd read a couple of intelligible comments from you recently. Medicine wearing off?".... I hope so, it may have been hindering your progress.
Fortunately the doctor is never far away and she's very hands on, which ensures that I keep with the Program.
Thanks for the concern, I'm touched. :-)
Couldn't agree more – except...
I initially trained as a journo but the reason I gave up early on in the game was straight-forward: if ever I wrote anything remotely controversial my writing received the editor's red pen. And this isn't unusual in the industry.
It's easy to bag spineless journos for propping up Bush and his WOT but the real criminals in the media are the publishers, editors and advertising sales managers – these are the guys who really choke the content that reaches the audience.
Otherwise, though, great article – nice to see some mainstream journalism keeping it real. And my hat off to El Reg for publishing it!
Some of the blame has to rest with the general public who, nearly 70 years after the 'War of the Worlds' radio broadcast STILL swallow everything that their media tells them.
A case in point - Cast your mind back to 2000, pre 9/11. A friend of mine works in a company in Reading UK, one of the employees from their US operation comes over to do some work in the UK. He gets to Reading via the London Underground and just happens to mention that "It's really cool the way you guys look after each other over here - all those signs to report abandoned luggage on the underground an all"
My mate "Eh? Why do you think they are there?"
US guy "So that lost luggage can be returned to the person who forgot them."
My mate "Err, no. It could be a bomb."
US guy "Don't be silly."
My mate "ask anyone..."
So the US guy asks about five people who all say "yep, bombs", it turns out that in America at the time (and even to this day) the PIRA are nice bunch of freedom fighters who don't set bombs all over mainland UK. They certainly aren't involved in organised crime, punnishment beatings, nailing people to the pavement crucifiction style etc. etc. Oh no, they just want the "evil occupier" out of their country.
The press these days are more entertainment than informative. They want the largest possible readership, for their advertisers. The BBC don't have advertisers, but they still compare audience size with their competitors, and strive to maximise their readership.
When my Dad was young, he heard a radio news broadcast where the anchor announced "There was no news today, so instead here is some light music." This would be impossible nowadays.
Thanks Thomas C Greene, and thanks El Reg. Readers who like me felt there was something persuasive in Greene's arguement might enjoy Adam Curtis' documentary "The Power of Nightmares"
The first two minutes nicely summarise how fear may be employed to gain power.
Like the guy thats confused .. I also watch the US news .. fortunately I have the ablity to operate the remote control so my "clicker" can find other news outlets besides FOX. I agree .. all that "talent" makes ones brain a little confused - hard to concentrate on the facts when Martha's just had her hair done or she's wearing a short skirt.. again .. ;) If she said Osama's just had his beard trimmed I would believe her !
All the news in the US is either left or right biased (either Republican (pro life gun carrying sons of Satan (aka Bush)) or the Democrats (peace loving sandle wearing liberals that kill babies) .. just because a show says its fair and balanced, doesn't mean its objective from an absolute non-US perspective.
The US media plays to this very limited view of the world.. i.e. they think that the world should only be viewed through blue glasses or red glasses - when in reality the scope of the problem may be bigger than the politicians and their associated/affiliated press "professionals" ( read whores ) make out.
"these articles have no place on The Register."
Then vote with your virtual feet. Go read the Faux News Web site, and fill your head with more Bush propaganda.
I read El Reg *because* it covers more than just the latest Press releases abotu the iPhone and so forth.
The few "bad journalism" examples cited are just that - examples. And they are *typical* examples. How many thousands of pages do you want? There are plenty of them at the site I mentioned above - Fox news DOT com is entirely crap about pop stars, and Administration FUD with a faux journalist's name on the byline.
As an American, and a retired Army Veteran (20 years active duty, 3 years Reserves, and 11 of the active years in the Mech Infantry), I love my country. I hate and fear my nation's current government, however. Stalin was a ham-handed clown compared to Bush.
Bush is an idiot. He's a grown man who would benefit from strings on his mittens. The most kindly description of him came from one of the inner circle of neocon utopians who tried to use Bush to further their brave new American World Order. The neocon, ( from memory, I can't be bothered to source it ), said of Bush, the President is not an analytical thinker. To persistenly pursue his policies Bush has to be both stupid and stubborn. A bad combination. Initially the Shock and Awe campaign worked and Saddam Hussein's government fell relatively quickly. My 2 cents buys into the idea that it began to go wrong when no weapons of mass destruction were found and Bush, stupid and stubborn, began to tout bringing democracy to the Iraqi people as the saving grace of the war. It takes a very stupid person to think democracy can be brought to a people who have no wide, deeply entrenched framework upon which to mount a modern democracy. The futility of such an effort recalls the saying of the Catholic Church's shock troops, the Jesuits, "Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man". A people like the Iraqis, so deeply entrenched in schisms separating hardened tribal religions, aren't going to drop centuries of tribal, religious warfare dictated by inculcated belief systems to embrace Bush's Texas brand of bullwhipped democracy. Perhaps the winning strategy would have been to take Shock and Awe from Iraq to Iran and North Korea. Go in, kick ass, take every weapon and leave the populace to sort it out. The bombing tactics of terrorists is desperate in that it's suicidal but it speaks to the delusional values of those who promulgate the attacks. It may well be that terrorists and the governments that support them would be dealt the most devastating blows by leaving them in rubble in the midst of a population having to choose between arms or butter. Unfortunately such a course isn't politically palatable to evangelical democrats and the Israeli efforts along similar lines have failed miserably. Although Shock, Awe and Go Home would save alot of western coalition lives. FWIW I'm of the considered opinion we in the west will suffer many more terrorist attacks from Islamic terrorists. Violence in human affairs is failure. The violence of Islamic extremists speaks to the failure of Islamic government in a modern world. Fair democratic government can't succeed without the established separation of Church and State and Islamic extremists can't live in a state wherein Church and State are separated. They can't have what we have and can't compete. They can only destroy or be destroyed. Ultimately their delusional system defaults to death in this world and success in a fantasized afterlife. It serves to note well the inextricable delusional system necessary to motivate a suicide bomber and then to question the stupidity of proposing democracy at the point of a gun in the face of the primitive, tribal structures fostering suicide bombers.
The potency of the witch's brew of discontent Bush continues to stir comes from the knock on, cascading effects that fashion the recorded flow of human endeavours we call history. Tolstoy in 'War and Peace' spoke to the irrelevance of great men. Tolstoy was a man of the people and he saw men such as Napoleon as mere bit players pushed onto centre stage by the ebb and flow of human affairs but intrinsically unable or too inept to direct the course of history. It's bathotic to mention Bush while mentioning Tolstoy but intriging to watch Bush blunder stupidly onto history's centre stage and possibly, dumbly set up a strong argument against Tolstoy's view in a way maybe only Homer Simpson could manage. Francis Bacon said, "while all things are possible, not all things are permitted." Contingency doesn't permit us to see the knock on, cascading effects of Bush's collosal stupidity but attempting to track it would make for herculean game play reminescent of Hesse's Glassbead Game.
"but history so far does not provide good evidence that the American people have that sort of retention"
All too true and going all the way back to the Puritan witch trials of the 1690s, when the theocracy whipped up hysteria to strengthen their hold on the populace...and forward to the "Red Scare" of McCarthyism in the 50's.
At least those in the arts can help remind people of the risks: here in South Carolina we just restaged Arthur Miller's "The Crucible" because of this regime's tendency to fear-mongering.
Thanks again for an insight commentary!
the end of Greene's long-winded, vituperative harangue about how those in charge of governments and media outlets misuse or overuse the term "al-queda". He informs us that al-qaeda and its associates are not the real terrorists. Instead, the real terrorists are those governments and media outlets who use the term "al-qaeda" when warning of potential attacks or reporting on actual attacks of terrorists.
Thomas seems unconvinced even of the al-qaeda link to 9/11, which most rational people accept as true.
Modern mass-murder by global terrorists is defined by the al-qaeda attacks on 9/11. They set the bar for many other terrorist atrocities around the world.
Thomas' thread throughout his three-piece bloviation seems to be that the common folk hear "al-qaeda" too much and are somehow frightened into quivering sheep that are unable to see their rights being stripped away before their very eyes. That the main stream media is complicit in conspiring with some sort of world-wide cabal to brainwash said sheep. Thomas Greene seems to live in some alternate universe where he claims he is a lone voice (among thousands of others who claim the same) decrying big-brother control of people's perceptions.
If Thomas thinks the main stream media (US or international) is in complete support of Bush or other conservative leaders I would suggest he get out more.
Thomas' ability to publish his own silliness on a world-wide forum negates his claim of some percieved world domination by MSM.
To quote Mr. Greene in his last paragraph: "I'll confess it; I go down the pub and drink with colleagues in the press." While I would never, ever deny a man(or woman) the right to have excursions to the local watering hole, one wonders about the length of such excursions, how much is imbibed and possibly what other substances are consumed there or at other places.
I would dearly love to sit down with Mr. Greene across a table made for holding adult beverages and discuss our views. I would wait until I sobered up in the morning before I wrote a story and claimed to be "journalist".
I'm tired of being told to be scared of clowns with chapati flour, suicide bombers who don't even have the decency to die and revolutionary jihadis who seriously think chemical weapons can be made from cow turd
Honestly - town on a Saturday night is far scarier than anything these morons could come up with
Most of all I'm ashamed that my country is an ally in all this GWOT nonsense - especially since we are helping the Americans (sorry - the Bushies) force the Iraqi parliament to give away over 80% of their oil to our combined private companies (hows that for the trust fund they were promised?)
But I'm sure instead of reporting on anything like that I'm sure our two nations media will continue to bleat about terrifying clowns with a evil master plans (incidentally I'm taking bets that the next one involves bicycles of doom and the contents of a happy shopper hardware shelf)
God be praised a fellow conservative fighting these evil liberals (can a guy from Ireland be a damn Liberal - dunno - but lets throw him into the fire anyhow - they must be stopped! ) Gotta go .. Rush is on.
Spot on, but alas your are already preaching to an audience of cynics and only those willing to question the propaganda dished out to them by the quislings who claim to be reporters and the ever hysterical crap news presenters in the mass media!
Sadly to day the majority of leaders we have elected in these wonderful democracies of ours are nothing but charlatans using the guise of preaching patriotism and fear to the weak minded majority to lead us astray!
To quote from the the late Edward R. Murrow
"No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices".
"The speed of communications is wondrous to behold. It is also true that speed can multiply the distribution of information that we know to be untrue."
" We are currently wealthy, fat, comfortable and complacent. We have currently a built-in allergy to unpleasant or disturbing information. Our mass media reflect this. But unless we get up off our fat surpluses and recognize that television in the main is being used to distract, delude, amuse and insulate us, then television and those who finance it, those who look at it and those who work at it, may see a totally different picture too late".
"If Thomas thinks the main stream media (US or international) is in complete support of Bush or other conservative leaders I would suggest he get out more."
AFAIK, it took quite a while before the majority of US media called off the 'let us attack Iraq'-dogs and resumed semi-serious journalism again. Some of them even offered half-assed apologies (http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/26/international/middleeast/26FTE_NOTE.html?ex=1185681600&en=50147ff838dfeac8&ei=5070), although they wriggled like worms as they did so.
Most of these journalists should be held accountable. Having visited the USA on several occasions, I can only conclude that 50% of americans are gullible and simple (oh wait, that was the previous two elections). Quite like most foreigners (and my own countrymen). But the US media sucks donkeys' balls and cause quite a lot of harm due to the way they mislead their fellow countrymen.
Democracy in Iraq? How about introducing democracy in the US first?
"Wild exaggeration is the norm: every incident is a potential catastrophe; every wannabe clown is a battle-hardened jihadi; al Qaeda is everywhere and stronger than ever; Osama is ready to pounce at any moment."
This is why I end up automatically skipping over about 80% of articles on the BBC website - they're all the same! It's just become too much of a chore to read all of them, all saying the same thing. I know I shouldn't, it's good to know what is going in the world, but for that I read the Economist - yes it's biased but there's some variety there...
This is an excellent series of articles, going against the flow of the cowardly mainstream press, with what is obviously the truth.
This is the sort of work that should be given the highest public awards.
And yet, is it picked up and carried by the major papers?
No, the mainstream media further damage their public credibility by pretending that they published and broadcast the news items that we all saw.
Dear Mr. Green:
Regarding your recent article on fear and terrorism, I would like to extend my most sincerest gratitude. I applaude your words, as I read every one of them with the personal conviction that nothing could be closer to the truth. I am an American -- a fact for which I sometimes feel shame, especially when considering our standing (or posturing, as some would say) amongst the rest of the world -- and I completely agree wholeheartedly with your comments. My only regret is that your words, though ringing true as they are, will most likely fall unheard by those most in need of heeding them. However, my spirits are refreshingly lifted as I consider that, just when I thought I was perhaps alone in my views of the situation, only to learned that there are still other sane and rational people unwilling to give in to such transparent bunk, indeed, some of them members of the press itself; there may be many others who share our conviction.
Although I haven't high hopes of things changing radically and miraculously in any timely manner, I do sincerely feel that perhaps we're not as doomed as it seems. And to this end I'll do my part; just as you do yours by voicing your opinions and injecting some rational words into the public sphere, I too will do what I can to spread the truth. Having my thoughts expressed in such eloquent and consice manner as in your text, helps greatly in this regard, and for this I am immensely greateful.
Thank you and cheers,
-dZ. - FL, USA
Your sub-Chomsky witterings get more fanciful every article - I guess you're encouraged by the clapping seals who lap up the outpourings of your limited mind. Go and check the fevered conspiracy theorists on Medialens; they'll give you the news you want to hear.
Where are the facts to back up your opinions? You demand research and facts from others but proffer none yourself.
The reaction to the attempted bombings in London and Glasgow was very muted by the Government, and as you'd expect it would be from the mainstream media.
Move along, nothing to see here...
"The reaction to the attempted bombings in London and Glasgow was very muted by the Government, and as you'd expect it would be from the mainstream media."
If by "muted" you mean that they waited 30 minutes before declaring the cars a massive terrorist attack on the infrastructure and the capital of the country , 24hrs before blaming al-Qaeda, and a fortnight to use it justify a reduction in freedom and the rule of law, then I see your point.
Or to put it another way: don't talk shite.
"The reaction to the attempted bombings in London and Glasgow was very muted by the Government, "
It appeared to be muted at first, yes. But what actually hapened was that they used the incidents to push the removal of haebus corpus (or at least, whats left of it) and widely extend the use of ANPR technology. They did it quietly, but they still did it, and they were able to do so because of the FUD generated by the ridiculous 'carnage' headlines.
"and as you'd expect it would be from the mainstream media."
Well yes, it was exactly what we've come to expect, e.g complete and utter toss, wrapped in sensastionalism and labeled as facts.
Just because we can no longer expect better from the press doesn't mean we ought to be happy with the situation.
Nice one, El Reg.
An earlier reply pondered what the answer is.
I dunno what the answer is, but according to the BBC the US think part of the answer is for the USA to have their very own $20billion arms deal with the Saudies. Call it Al Yamamah 2, I suppose, but without the corruption, because the US Foreign and Corrupt Practices Act says it's illegal for any US company (or its overseas subsidiaries?) to indulge in dodgy dealing.
Can someone remind me where Osama bin Laden's family are from, and where Prince "Fahrenheit 9/11" Bandar is from, and where lots of cleverer folk than me think a lot of Iraqi troublemakers get lots of support from?
Oh, that's right, Saudi Arabia.
Never mind, His Eminence Sir Anthony Blair, Special Emissary to the Middle East (by appointment, but not to Gordon Brown :)) will surely sort it all.
Now only if the other mainstream Media would be willing to print these three articles on their front pages and acknowledge how they duped themselves ! Patriotic Sycophants anyone?
This time they brought friends.
The incidents were, as you put it, attacks on infrastructure and Gordon Brown wasn't wrong to tell Andrew Marr on the following Sunday that "it's clear that we are dealing, in general terms, with people who are associated with al-Qaeda". So what's your point? You obviously don't follow international politics at all if you think that the UK Government's response was over the top; what comparisons are using to come to this conclusion?
As for the Met Police been given Transport for London's live ANPR data (only in the case of threats to national security), then great. If it's available then they should be allowed to use it. Or should the Old Bill be restricted to magnifying glasses and notebooks like in the good old days?
"You obviously don't follow international politics at all if you think that the UK Government's response was over the top; what comparisons are using to come to this conclusion?"
Well, you know, a fairly simple before and after type of comparison. Like, before, I could expect that if I were to be arrested, then I would be charged within 28 days (still a life destroying amount of time in the case a wrongful arrest, of which there have recently been plenty.). After, looks like it's going to be 56. Thats twice as oppressive, see ?
Changing the law so that you can bang someone up without charging them or allowing them access to legal representation for the best part of two months, in response to exactly zero deaths, one serious injury (to the perp), and some mild property damage seems fucking disproportionate to me.
The wannabombers could have caused more destruction just by running people over, even assuming their stupid 'bombs' had detonated (or rather, ignited), and even had they done so, the numbers involved probably wouldn't have added significantly to the statistical likelihood of my being run over tomorrow.
When I'm more likely to get blown up than run over, then you can be a cheerleader for the dismantling of the framework of laws that protect ordinary citizens aganist the excesses of over zealous officers of state without me pitying you. (Although I'll still disagree)
Until then, quit your pathetic whining, put down that Daily Mail, and get yourself a spine.
All this remimds me of the old emails found on a looted laptop in Kabul
To: Ezzat (real name unknown)
From: Ayman al-Zawahiri
Folder: Outgoing Mail—To Yemen
Date: February 11, 1999
Noble brother Ezzat …
Following are my comments on the summary accounting I received:
… With all due respect, this is not an accounting. It's a summary accounting. For example, you didn't write any dates, and many of the items are vague.
The analysis of the summary shows the following:
1- You received a total of $22,301. Of course, you didn't mention the period over which this sum was received. Our activities only benefited from a negligible portion of the money. This means that you received and distributed the money as you please …
2- Salaries amounted to $10,085—45 percent of the money. I had told you in my fax … that we've been receiving only half salaries for five months. What is your reaction or response to this?
3- Loans amounted to $2,190. Why did you give out loans? Didn't I give clear orders to Muhammad Saleh to … refer any loan requests to me? We have already had long discussions on this topic …
4- Why have guesthouse expenses amounted to $1,573 when only Yunis is there, and he can be accommodated without the need for a guesthouse?
5- Why did you buy a new fax for $470? Where are the two old faxes? Did you get permission before buying a new fax under such circumstances?
6- Please explain the cell-phone invoice amounting to $756 (2,800 riyals) when you have mentioned communication expenses of $300.
7- Why are you renovating the computer? Have I been informed of this?
8- General expenses you mentioned amounted to $235. Can you explain what you mean? …
To: Ayman al-Zawahiri
Folder: Incoming Mail—From Yemen
Date: February 17, 1999
Kind brother Nur al-Din [al-Zawahiri]:
… We don't have any guesthouses. We have bachelor houses, and the offices are there too. We called it a guesthouse hypothetically, and we don't have any bachelors except Basil and Youssef. And Abd al-Kareem lives at his work place.
If I buy a fax and we have two old ones, that would be wanton or mad.
Communication expenses were $300 before we started using the mobile phone—and all these calls were to discuss the crises of Ashraf and Dawoud and Kareem and Ali and Ali Misarra and Abu Basel and others, in compliance with the orders.
Renovating our computer doesn't mean buying a new one but making sure that adjustments are made to suit Abdullah's [bin Laden's] work. There were many technical problems with the computer. These matters do not need approval.
There are articles for purchase that are difficult to keep track of, so we have put them under the title of general expenses …
The first step for me to implement in taking your advice is to resign from … any relationship whatsoever between me and your Emirate. Consider me a political refugee …
I'd just like to take some time off from demonising Muslims as per EU Directive 1234567/07/07 and congratulate the writer for kicking the shins of the New World Order.
Unfortunately for the mainstream media a lot of us now gather news and opinions from alternative sources such as the internet. We are not as gullible as we are supposed to be, ergo, we provide a threat of our own by having and even expressing our own opinions from time to time.
Anyone bothered by the way the world seems to be going could do a lot worse than visiting: