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Back to Bali


Finally, a 9/11 for our coalition partners. Something they can stake their cases for preemptive war against the Third World on, at long last.

It came out of nowhere, like a midnight phone call from an ex whose voice and smell you can’t shake. Ring, ring, ring. Thirty-three dead Brits out of a total of over 200 departed souls, giving Tony Blair the perfect opening to hold forth, W style, about eradicating the evil in our world. Kim Sengupta in the October 15 edition of the London Independent quotes the ever-predictable Blair as speaking of “the appalling depths to which these extremists will sink.” One senses that the Bali tragedy primarily will be spun in the Anglo-American media as yet another installment in this endless battle between overzealous Islamists and the forces of reason that nominally govern the western world.

Yet, at least in the Independent, there are glimmers of an alternate perspective. The aforementioned Sengupta, in the same edition of the paper, tells us that Indonesian cleric Abu Bakar Bashir of Jemaah Islamiyah fame is a “prime suspect” and that said cleric “expects to be arrested” for the Bali blasts. After making that token nod to what will be the official version of events, Sengputa then did something fairly unheard of when the US press reports on the evildoing of an official enemy; he used a direct quote from the enemy himself.

One wonders when or if an official of the United States government will respond to the following claim made by Abu Bakar Bashir. “All the allegations against me are groundless. I challenge them to prove anything. I suspect the bombings were carried out by the US and its allies to justify allegations that Indonesia is a base for terrorists.”

I second Bashir’s challenge. For over thirteen months now, the citizens of the US have waited in vain for concrete proof of any claim made to justify this tumescent War on Terror. Any broaching of the idea that the WTC and Pentagon attacks weren’t carried out by flight-school dropouts undertaking faith-based initiatives is painted as delusional, anti-Semitic, or anti-freedom. Meanwhile, what passes for mainstream discourse encourages supposedly respectable folks to declare large swathes of the world population as evil and motivated by baseless hatred. We have heard this garbage for over thirteen months, and now it is time for the Brits and the Aussies to embrace unabashedly the rhetoric of this corporate apocalypse and all that comes with it.

One wonders if the gray-faced professional politicians of the western world can get away with this mendacity for much longer. Now is the time to demand concrete proof. Now is the time to refuse to accept baseless claims made by those in the employ of any of the so-called coalition governments. The verifiable targets of this so-called war on terror are civilian populations, civil liberties, and the freedoms that justify US policies of gunboat mercantilism, and it is long past time for the people to rise up and call out the ruling class on this risible, contemptible assault on humanity.

ANTHONY GANCARSKI makes his home in Spokane, WA. He welcomes comments at


ANTHONY GANCARSKI is a regular CounterPunch columnist. He can be reached at

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