* "This was a crime against all humanity," opines The Guardian, but similar attacks in Israel are not
1. Some disco terror victims are treated differently
2. "Defeating terrorism must be the shared work of all humankind"
3. "Surely they must have legitimate grievances"
4. "In the shadow of terror: All are victims of the Bali massacre" (Guardian, Oct. 14, 2002)
5. "The Bali difference" (By Steven Plaut)
6. DEBKAfile reports that the Bali nightclub bombing was engineered by Osama bin Laden's brother-in-law
[Note by Tom Gross]
I attach three items concerning this weekend's Bali terror attack, with notes by me on each first.
“DEFEATING TERRORISM MUST BE THE SHARED WORK OF ALL HUMANKIND”
1. "In the shadow of terror: All are victims of the Bali massacre" (The Guardian’s lead editorial, October 14, 2002).
In line with much of the European broadcast and print media, The Guardian uses very different language to describe the Bali disco bomb than it has been doing to describe bomb attacks at teenage discos, pizzerias, cafes, markets, buses, ice cream parlors, shopping malls, Passover seders and bat mitzvah parties in Israel. "This was a crime against all humanity," opines The Guardian about the horrendous Bali atrocity. "Its victims were Muslims, Hindus and Christians," adds The Guardian, forgetting that Jewish Britons, Australians and others may be among the victims. In its editorial, this influential British daily also refers to "the killing of German tourists in Tunisia" not mentioning that the terror attack referred to was actually aimed against Jews in a synagogue. The Guardian concludes "Defeating terrorism must be the shared work of all humankind – for all humankind is its prey. Our common humanity demands that it be so." Presumably Israel is included.
“SURELY THEY MUST HAVE LEGITIMATE GRIEVANCES”
2 "The Bali difference" By Steven Plaut (a professor at Israel's Haifa University).
Contrasting terror attacks by those seeking to establish an Islamic state in Palestine and those seeking to do so in Indonesia, Plaut writes: "Not a single commentator has been insisting that if the terrorists resorted to such violence, then surely they must have legitimate grievances... then surely they must be fighting for a just cause." Plaut adds that western diplomats have yet to rush to Indonesia "to endorse the demands of the bombers. The University of Michigan and Colorado College have failed so far to organize Solidarity with the Bali Bombers Conferences."
3. The Internet news service DEBKAfile reports that the Bali nightclub bombing was engineered by Osama bin Laden's brother-in-law. DebkaFile, which claims to have close links to the intelligence services of various countries, sometimes reports stories (which prove to be accurate) before the rest of the media does. It does, however, sometimes get stories wrong, and this may or may not prove the case here.
-- Tom Gross
For more on the Bali bombing, see More on the Bali bombings: outright anti-Semitic lies and good deeds (Oct. 16, 2002).
“THIS WAS A CRIME AGAINST ALL HUMANITY”
In the shadow of terror: All are victims of the Bali massacre
October 14, 2002
This was a crime against all humanity. Its victims were Muslims, Hindus and Christians. They included Australians, Britons, other Europeans, Americans, Indonesians and south-east Asians of many, so far uncounted nationalities. They were of all ages but for the most part young, partying inside the Sari nightclub on Bali. They were all different. But what they shared transcended the particulars of colour, language and belief. All were innocent of any offence, oblivious to any threat. All were unsuspecting of fell conspiracy, all unprotected and at their ease. And the toll comprises not just those who died or were terribly injured, over 500 in all. It also includes perhaps hundreds more who were there and escaped immediate harm but whose lives were shattered by a moment of horror, whose consciousness will be forever scarred, whose dreams henceforth may always be troubled. And in truth the shock and trauma of what happened on Saturday night in Bali will spread ever outwards, like tremors from an earthquake's epicentre. It will touch eventually every corner of an inter-dependent and mutually vulnerable world. Such inhumanity makes victims of us all.
The casualties of Bali could, and did, come from anywhere and everywhere. And this gruesome attack upon them came out of nowhere, out of a balmy, insouciant night, without any prior warning, without compunction and without mercy. That it was a carefully planned assault seems clear. That a smaller bomb, detonated moments before outside another nearby disco, and a third device that exploded close to a US consular office, formed a trap designed to maximise the carnage and intensify the sudden, enveloping sense of utter terror also seems evident. That a "soft" target was deliberately chosen to minimise the risk to the perpetrators only serves to emphasise the base and cowardly nature of the act.
It was, whichever way it is looked at, an inhuman deed by people who, whatever their convictions and motives, demonstrated a lack of common feeling that places them beyond the pale of any concept of society. Yet simply to dub this Islamic terror and to bewail some sort of global confrontation between Islam and the west is to fall into the extremists' wider trap. These skulking murderers besmirch and dishonour the religion for which they claim to fight. They know nothing of Islam's true path. But they are hardly unique. There have through history always been individuals prepared cynically to exploit belief and to sacrifice others for their own twisted ends. And the way to defeat them, as all history shows, is not blindly to demonise whole peoples or faiths but rather to isolate and disarm those small minorities who betray them while simultaneously addressing the roots of their dispossession, ignorance and anger.
The linear connection of Bali to the fundamentalist killers behind September 11 does indeed appear all but certain. That al-Qaida, or groups affiliated to it, or supportive of it, carried out this latest outrage is a conclusion that, even without firm evidence, seems inescapable. That there has so far been no admission of culpability is merely another, typical sign of al-Qaida's hand. There have been indications in recent months that the group was building up its strength in south-east Asia and especially in Indonesia amid hardline domestic agitation over President Megawati Sukarnoputri's support for US anti-terror policies. Malaysia earlier expressed its concern. Singapore arrested several alleged operatives last winter. In the southern Philippines, despite US military intervention, the al-Qaida sympathisers of Abu Sayyaf remain unvanquished. Last month, fearing new attacks, particularly by car or truck bombs, the US temporarily closed its regional embassies. Last week it issued a worldwide alert.
None of this should be taken to imply that somehow Bali could have been specifically foreseen or prevented. But it does surely demonstrate that the threat directly represented and symbolised by al-Qaida remains undiminished, despite all efforts at elimination, and is perhaps increasing. The main difference now may be that the organisation has decentralised its operations since its expulsion from Afghanistan and that small cells or even lone individuals are now tasked with carrying out "freelance" assaults wherever and whenever they can.
The broader pattern into which this may fit includes such recent incidents as the gun attack on US marines in Kuwait, the ramming of a French oil tanker off Yemen, the attempted assassination of the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, in Kandahar, numerous outrages in Pakistan, the killing of German tourists in Tunisia and several other plots, executed or planned, extending across much of the globe. Looked at in this uncomfortable context, the trumpeted success of the US-led anti-terror campaign in Afghanistan now seems ever more vacuous. The problem has simply been displaced and dispersed. Nearly a year after Osama bin Laden and his henchmen disappeared into the Tora Bora mountains, it is plain that their malign cause has far from disappeared and is far from defeated.
Two imperatives arise in the face of this ramifying, many-headed menace: that all that possibly can be done is done, collectively, to defeat the terrorists; and that nothing is undertaken that may aid or assist their campaign. In these key respects, there is an obvious danger that the current US focus on Iraq is counter-productive on both counts. A war in Iraq will do nothing to prevent further massacres of the type witnessed at the weekend. Even the Bush administration will find it a stretch to blame Bali on Saddam Hussein. More worryingly still, by inflaming opinion in the Muslim world and beyond, war may disrupt anti-terror efforts, weaken or destroy the international coalition and act as a persuasive recruiting sergeant for al-Qaida, raising the prospect of yet more murders of innocents. If Bali tells us anything, it is that the defeat of stateless, international terrorism is the most pressing security issue of the day. It is far too important to be misdirected or diverted for dubious, divisive reasons by one country against another. Defeating terrorism must be the shared work of all humankind - for all humankind is its prey. Our common humanity demands that it be so.
“NO ONE HAS DESCRIBED THE BALI BOMBINGS AS ‘RESISTING OCCUPATION’”
The Bali difference
By Steven Plaut
I certainly do not mean to detract for an instant from the horror and outrage over the Bali bombing, but at the same time I cannot leave without comment the dramatic differences in the reactions of the world to the Bali bombing and the countless Arab atrocities against Jews.
Not a single media outfit has referred to the perpetrators of the Bali bombings as "activists" or "militants". Not even the BBC and CNN. Indeed, both uncharacteristically used the "T" word to refer to the bombers.
If it turns out that the car bomb was triggered by suicide terrorists, no one in the world will include those dead terrorists in the total body count of the "tragic affair".
Not a single commentator has been insisting that if the terrorists resorted to such violence, then surely they must have legitimate grievances.
Not a single commentator has been insisting that if the terrorists resorted to such violence, then surely they must be fighting for a just cause.
Not a single commentator has been insisting that if the terrorists resorted to such violence, then surely it must be because they are so desperate and mistreated. And no one demanded that Australia ask itself what it has done wrong to earn such hatred.
Not a single commentator has been insisting that Indonesia and Australia need to open dialogue and negotiations with the terrorists because - after all - there is no military solution to the problems of terrorism.
The Nobel Prize Committee has not suggested that the perpetrators of the bombing be awarded a Peace Prize.
Meretz party chief Yossi Sarid has not suggested that the poems composed by the perpetrators be taught in Israeli schools.
Israeli professors from the Left have not yet organized petitions to demand that the demands of the bombers be met.
Jimmy Carter has not rushed to Bali to endorse the demands of the bombers.
Israeli leftist lawyers have not yet offered to defend any of the bombers caught and indicted.
Student demonstrators in Berkeley did not stage mock street theater representations of the bombings, showing the Australians as villains.
Britain's Chief Rabbi did not declare that only withdrawal from occupied Australia is the solution.
Tikkun's Mikey Lerner did not refer to the bombings as "unrest" and demand that we all feel the pain of the bombers.
The University of Michigan and Colorado College have failed so far to organize Solidarity with the Bali Bombers Conferences.
Canada has not confiscated any leaflets that declare that Australia has the right to exercise self-defense against the terrorists.
The newspapers have not been telling Australians that they brought it all on themselves for being racist and insensitive and obstinate.
No one has yet proposed allowing the terrorists to set up their own state in New South Wales.
No one has described the Bali bombing as "resisting occupation".
No progressive churches or synagogues have offered to host the spokeswoman for the Bali bombers.
No one has described the Bali bombers as moderates who need to be cultivated lest really radical Islamist terrorists gain power.
Shimon Peres and Yossi Beilin have not yet offered the bombers parts of Jerusalem.
“BALI NIGHTCLUB BOMBING ENGINEERED BY OSAMA BIN LADEN’S BROTHER-IN-LAW”
DEBKAfile reports that the Bali nightclub bombing was engineered by Osama bin Laden's brother-in-law.
No group claimed responsibility for the two car bombs that turned the Indonesian island paradise of Bali into a fiery inferno Saturday, October 12, killing close to 200 and maiming many hundreds. But the hand of al Qaeda was hard to miss.
According to DEBKAfile's counter-terror sources, Osama Bin Laden's own brother in law, Mohammed Khalifa, overall operations chief for al Qaeda in Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and other parts of South East Asia, engineered the Bali horror.
Not only did the brutal massacre bear all the hallmarks of Osama bin Laden's deadly network, it occurred on the second anniversary of the day that a suicide cell in a speedboat struck the USS Cole in Aden harbor, six days after a copycat strike against the French oil tanker Limburg off the Yemeni coast, four days after a US Marine was killed and another wounded in a shooting attack in Kuwait, and just about a week after the recorded voices of Osama bin Laden and Ayman Zawahri scattered dire threats over the Arab satellite TV station, Al Jazeera.
The time spread is too tight to be random; the geographical spread too broad for any but a far-flung network. The ability to strike where least expected is a recurring feature in Osama bin Laden's blood-spattered record. But the Islamist movement's affinity with Iraq is the common thread running through the al Qaeda terror offensive erupting this month.