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The Bin Laden Prism

Spiegel Online has an interview up with US author Steve Coll on his new book: 'The Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in the American Century'. Steve Coll, who is currently Director of the New America Foundation, states the reasons for his interest in the Bin Laden family in the following way:
I believe that Osama bin Laden and the broad contradictions among religion, tradition and modernity in the Middle East, with enmity toward the West on one side and the attractiveness of our ideas and way of life on the other, is best understood through the prism of this clan.
There are some intriguing 'did you know that...?' facts in the interview. For instance, both Bin Laden's father and Bin Laden's elder brother Salem died in airplane crashes. The general arguments on the contradictions of modernity in the Middle East, and the conceptualisation of fundamentalist Islam as an essentially modern phenomenon itself are perhaps more familiar.

What Coll's angle does enlighten is the extent to which Osama Bin Laden and his family have a personal connection to the various conflicts and contradictions in the recent history of the Middle East, showing that history in an overarching frame.

Spiegel Online: 'Osama bin Laden is Planning Something for the US Election'

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Joe Noory on :

He's probably trying to kill people right before or during the US Presidential election in an effort to manipulate it. But his relatives are family people or something. And they like animals and week-long wedding receptions where thousands of people show up. I guess that makes everything okay.

John in Michigan, USA on :

I wonder how much of the article is accurate? It is Spiegel, after all. "SPIEGEL: Mr. Coll, Osama bin Laden recently broke a long silence. He threatened Europe and called for the 'liberation' of the Gaza Strip." So Fatah and Hamas are all just part of the international Zionist conspiracy. I knew it! Now we have proof. Fun stuff: "[Salem bin Laden] had five preferred girlfriends: an American, a Briton, a Frenchwoman, a Dane and a German. One day he had them all flown to London, introduced them to each other and announced that he wanted to marry each of them and give them each a villa. The only condition was that they would have to be available for him at all times -- and have their respective national flags flying on their property and a car made in their respective country parked in front of the door." That's the way to travel. Not just a fantasy, but practical, too. Imagine if you found yourself in an awkward position with regards to the law, and you had to disappear for a while. It would be nice to have these quite well established cars registered to these various nationals. A clean getaway, and romantic too. "He dreamed of his own, private United Nations." Unfortunately, not just a dream. The real UN does quite a bit of sex trafficking... One inaccuracy I noticed was confusing the so-called "Afghan Arabs" with actual Afghanis. "[Osama] distributed money, most of it donated by his family, to the Afghan insurgents and then joined the mujahidin in their holy war." "New weapons, paid for with Saudi money and delivered by the United States, turned the war around in favor of the mujahidin" The US didn't deliver any significant amounts of weapons directly to the mujahidin, we channeled it all through Pakistan's ISI. Also, when it came to arming the mujahidin, the Saudi's generally saw themselves as in competition with US, rather than in cooperation. After a while a sort of [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modus_vivendi]modus vivendi[/url] evolved in which the US (indirectly via Pakistan) armed the native mujahidin, while the Saudis armed the Arab (i.e. foreign) mujahidin. My source on all this is my college roommate, Rich Miniter, who has done extensive research on the issue and published several best-selling books. [url=http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,98115,00.html]Here is a summary he wrote back in 2003[/url]. Some of you may believe that Fox News is a bad source, but in this case they are not the source, Rich is.

Don S on :

"[Salem bin Laden] had five preferred girlfriends: an American, a Briton, a Frenchwoman, a Dane and a German. One day he had them all flown to London, introduced them to each other and announced that he wanted to marry each of them and give them each a villa. The only condition was that they would have to be available for him at all times -- and have their respective national flags flying on their property and a car made in their respective country parked in front of the door." There is a farce currently running in London ('Boeing Boeing') about a Brit with a slightly less complex romantic life. He has three girlfriends, all stewardesses with different airlines: An Italian with Alitalia, a German with Lufthansa, and an American with (sic) American. He has his life all nicely ordered upon published schedules - until storms intervene and things start breaking down. I recommend it.

Pamela on :

I finished the Bin Laden book last week. What a great read! Kudos to Mr. Coll. But this: ""[Salem bin Laden] had five preferred girlfriends: an American, a Briton, a Frenchwoman, a Dane and a German. One day he had them all flown to London, introduced them to each other and announced that he wanted to marry each of them and give them each a villa. The only condition was that they would have to be available for him at all times -- and have their respective national flags flying on their property and a car made in their respective country parked in front of the door."" This would be the second review that reports on this with a very inaccurate tone (one of the funniest stories in the book, and there are a few), and inaccurate factually - there was no Dane. Besides, they all turned him down. Does the Speigel article note this? "I'm in trouble," Salem reported when he called a friend in America after the meeting. "They all got mad." Irony alert: He did end up marrying the Brit, Carrie. She had already converted to Islam after a harrowing plane incident in which Salem was the pilot. On the way down, she made a promise to God that if He got them out of it, she'd convert. He did. She did. Apparently, it was indeed a love match.. When he was killed, the next in line, Bakr assumed leadership of the family. Coll writes that Carrie, Salem's widow: "expressed a desire after her husband's death to remain part of the Bin Laden Family. It was not unusual in Arabia for widows to marry a brother of the widow's former husband. When Sama, Caroline's daughter by Salem, was about eight years old, Bakr approached his half-brother in Egypt, Khaled, about taking Caroline as a wife. "She's still young. She wants to live in Egypt. If she marries a foreigner, we lose our daugher, Sama. We need one of the family to marry her and be kind with her. We know you are close with her because you were close with Salem, and you will be good to Sama." So, Khaled married Carrie. Anyway, it's a terrific book, I recommend it.

Don S on :

""[Salem bin Laden] had five preferred girlfriends: an American, a Briton, a Frenchwoman, a Dane and a German. One day he had them all flown to London, introduced them to each other and announced that he wanted to marry each of them" No Dane. That makes sense, I had wondered about the nmber. Seems to me the limit is 4 wives. Salem may seem either greedy or possibly insane to the rest of us men (one women is more than enough to please for mot of us fellows), but consider that Salem does seem to have been a better kind of chap than his papa. bin Laden Pere had three permanent wives and a series of 'temporary' wives, usually young girls who had caught his eye. When he was finished with a temp he divorced her and married his next 'temp'. Nice chap. Osama was the offpring of a 'temp', BTW.

Pamela on :

"Salem may seem either greedy or possibly insane to the rest of us men (one women is more than enough to please for mot of us fellows), but consider that Salem does seem to have been a better kind of chap than his papa. bin Laden Pere had three permanent wives and a series of 'temporary' wives, usually young girls who had caught his eye. When he was finished with a temp he divorced her and married his next 'temp'. Nice chap." True, Mohammed had a lot of 'temps' - but he seems to have provided for each and every one. In the case of Osama's mother, for example, he found her another husband, and apparently she was not an exception. The book does mention that family compounds provided individual houses for 'ex-temps' and their mutual offspring. Salem was an absolute hoot. All indications are that he was a good-hearted man who was a bit nuts. READ THE BOOK!!

David on :

Nice piece by Steve Coll in this week's [url=http://www.newyorker.com/talk/comment/2008/04/14/080414taco_talk_coll] New Yorker Magazine[/url] on General Richard Cody. Here is an interesting conclusion by Coll: "In normal times, when an active four-star general implies in public that the Army is under such strain that it might flounder if an unexpected war broke out, or might require a draft to muster adequate troop levels, he could expect to provoke concern and comment from, say, the President of the United States. Some time ago, however, George W. Bush absolved himself of responsibility for his Iraq policy and its consequences by turning the war over to General David H. Petraeus"

Joe Noory on :

Yeah, that must be why he detailed Petraeus... not to improve the situation, but to cover for another flag officer. How buffoonish can you get? What do you expect from the New Yorker other that entirely subjective "analysis"?

Pat Patterson on :

That's odd when considering that during the Korean War Gen. MacArthur was removed for contradicting President Truman in public by demanding a full scale invasion of the North. Then later Gen Curtis LeMay was forced into retirement for suggesting that Kennedy and MacNamara and then Johnson and MacNamara oppostion to a strategic bombing campaign against infrastructure targets in North Vietnamwa, to put it politely based on ignorance. Even though the North Vietnamese, via Gen Giap's autobiography, admitted that these campaigns, Linebacker I and II forced the Vietnamese back into negotiations. And even more currently when Pres. Clinton strongly hinted to Gen. Wesley Clark that his services at NATO were no longer needed after calling for an invasion of Serbia via Romania and belittling the air campaign. Gen. Clark's incompetence at Pristina Airport almost caused a war with Russia which might indicate that Clinton was right on this issue. But in some people's world view if a Democrat removes a senior general or admiral its because that senior officer was either a fascist or warmonger. But if a Republican removes a senior officer its because that officer is "...speaking truth to power." Even when those clamoring for that officer's sainthood don't know the difference between a squad and a division or a fourragere and a frommage

Merkel-22 on :

Yeah, Some Tibetan rioters do attack civilian Han Chinese people during March 14 violence. That severe riots lead to about 20 civilian's death and injured hundreds of innocent people . Western media ignore such facts and instigate Tibetan people to escalate their violence. Pat, Have you check the Website www.anti-cnn.com, almost all the mainstream western media make false and distorted coverages on Lhasa . CNN crops pictures to distort truth, BBC fabricate evidence , well Washington Post and Fox NEWS, SKY online, Reuter... absurdly use pictures of confrontation between Tibetan PPL and Napal (or India) police to back their charges on communist China. There is no proof(s) that China government use violence against such rioters in March 14 . I think western media instead of PRC governtment should restrain and calm down. When violence errpts and jeopardize civilian people's life, all chinese people (Han or no Han Chinese) supports police (law-enforcement) action. German based RTL and N-TV make appology for their false report. but other western media still escape their repsonsibility. CNN who caught red-handed , stealthly changed the controversial picture. When CIA sponsor Tibet seperatists with money and ammunition to overthrow China, I don't think it is a big deal for Chinese people to know the whole situation . CIA senoir officer published a work named "secret war against red China". That book disclose how dalai lama was encouraged to "uprise" in 1959. and how CIA equiped and trained Tibet seperatists. So if bin Ladin attack US military targets instead of civilians , I don't think it is unforgivable.

David on :

General Coty's devotion to the men and women of military is evidently greater than his loyalty to President Bush. No wonder Pat despises him.

Pat Patterson on :

David-And you came to that conclusion because I pointed out that the removal of senior officers has a long tradition in the US? Personally I would prefer to see any senior officer indicate his devotion to the Constitution and the chain of command rather than dishonor his service with a poorly thought out screed while still in uniform at the end of his career. Gen. Billy Mitchell was willing to give up his career for the sake of the Army Air Corps while Gen. Cody risked absolutely nothing for the sake of a few brownie points. Even Gen. Smedley Butler, even with his very strong opinions about American foreign policy maintained his honor because he didn't criticize the president or the government until after he had retired. But I am sure that in some imagined Obama Administration a senior officer who critizes the president will be hailed as a hero by the same people that have tried to lionize Gen Cody today. Just kidding, not likely!

Anonymous on :

David and his ilk only listen to the brave whistleblowers of the military-industrial complex when the message is right and a Republican is in office.

Nanne on :

Pat, I'm a bit confused by you mentioning Clark (a Democrat ousted by a Democrat). The Clark '04 spin was that it was all Cohen's handiwork and Clinton just signed off on his resignation without even noticing what he was doing. Clark's undoing was that he was hated by the Pentagon for building too much of a public image and short-changing the line of command. Advocating a ground war the US did not want is part of that larger picture rather than the main reason. MacArthur, by the way, was sacked for threatening (against orders) to launch attacks on the Chinese mainland, not for demanding a full scale invasion of the north.

Nanne on :

A lot of the '04 spin is still online! See this Slate piece by [url=http://www.slate.com/id/2091194/]Fred Kaplan[/url], for instance.

Anonymous on :

Pure rot. check the BBC database or the Guardian for General Jackson's response to Clark: http://www.the7thfire.com/Politics%20and%20History/general_wesley_clark.htm. Clark, as opposed to Mac, LeMay, Cody or any of the other examples given, was fired for borderline incompetence not a divergent strategic/tactical view made public.

Nanne on :

I don't see how ordering a dash to Pristina was a sign of incompetence. Somewhere between all the conspiracy theories it gets lost that this was a Russian provocation and that no one was ordered to open fire.

Pat Patterson on :

If Gen. Jackson was ordered to retake the airport then how could his orders be interpreted any other way then to seize it by force of arms if necessary. Perhaps the description of Gen Clark as incompetent is extreme but rather as rash especially when he contacted only Sec-Gen Javier Solana and not the JCS or Pres. Clinton might give pause to his acuity in who actually his bosses were. There is absolutely no doubt that Gen. Clark is brave and a good leader but over a quarter century of ticket punching does not make automatically competent but one of the major drawbacks to the military chain of command now is that removal from post is to be avoided at all cost since that would mean the same scrutiny might be applied to the next guy in line.

Pat Patterson on :

Nanne-But Clark like MacArthur advocated positions in public that ran counter to the stated positions of the civilian leaders, Truman and Clinton. The former not really liking the grandstanding and constant demands to extend the war to the Yalu and face the Chinese there if necessary while the latter tiring of Clark's high profile and also being concerned that the head of NATO was essentially campaigning for a type of tactic that NATO and the CINC had already ruled out. I have gone back over some of the main reference works on Gen. MacArthur and did not find any reference to either attacking or threatening to attack without orders the Chinese north of the Yalu except via Gen LeMay's bombers but rather his belittling of the idea that approaching the border would cause the Chinese to react. Many people forget that he deliberately ignored evidence that the Chinese were indeed infilitrating division sized formations into the PDRK and when pressed denied that they posed any real threat. Also he later threatened the Chinese with an invasion if they interceded and as a result managed to destroy Pres. Truman's attempt at securing an armistace before October of 1950. Gen. MacArthur obviously had some faults in regards to the chain of command and tactics but to claim he would disobey orders is a stretch considering his speech in front of Congress, when he was probably the most popular man in the US, clearly stated that he did and would follow orders and "...simply fade away." Yet in late November of 1950 they attacked American and ROK positions all along the front forcing the allies to retreat to the 38th parallel. Add that complete failure, the letters home and keeping Truman waiting on the tarmac at Wake Island made MacArthurs's removal a foregone conclusion. Truman had met MacArthur during the First World War where the impression the Generalissimo left on the junior artillery officer was less than perfect. I'm not to sure that Clinton's recollection now has much weight especially as William Cohen and the JCS chief Gen. Shelton have repeatedly stated that Cohen and then cohen and Shelton had spoken to Pres. Clinton on this issue, first because Clinton brought it up and then at the behest of the JCS. Part was payback for jumping the queue for the glamour posts ahead of more senior officers, being seen as contradicting the president on the nightly news and also for complete adherence to the Powell Doctrine which has turned out to have been quite unpopular among many of the Army and Marine officer corps at that time as being ineffective against asymmetric warfare and simply to reliant on very expensive weapons systems and static defense. Even Pres. Clinton, as feckless as he was, understood this tension and increased the size of Ranger and SOF units as well as allowing the Marines to rewrite their tactical manual. A manual that predated many of the recommendations that are being currently championed by Gen Petraeus. Quite a few American senior officers, the opposite being the outlier, take very seriously the idea that they argue in private and those arguments stay there once the president has decided. They keep their disagreements to themslves till retirement or resignation. They do not give speeches criticisng the civilian authorities while still in the chain of command. Gen. Clark ignored the lessons of Belarius, Patton and Rommel that generals often can be replaced in spite of what that full lenght mirror might show that general in the morning. Also at the time of Gen. Clark's retirement he admitted and has not denied that he had voted a straight Republican ticket for years until 2000.

Nanne on :

Interesting stuff, Pat. Thanks.

merkel-2 on :

I know Bin Laden have many reasons to attack US and western world. But Mr Bin Laden should be careful not to make civilians become the victims of its action . I believe that is against Muslin Koran . Western world defile Koran on purpose , Bin Laden, please don't play the tune of Washington.

Pat Patterson on :

Well golly, if its OK for ben Ladin to attack the US then I suppose its all right for all those Tibetans to attack the Chinese.

merkel-5 on :

Sorry , I lost the sequence when i replyed your posts. I resent the post hereinafter. *********************************************** Merkel-22 - #4.1 - 2008-04-08 11:21 - (Reply) Yeah, Some Tibetan rioters do attack civilian Han Chinese people during March 14 violence. That severe riots lead to about 20 civilian's death and injured hundreds of innocent people . Western media ignore such facts and instigate Tibetan people to escalate their violence. Pat, Have you check the Website www.anti-cnn.com, almost all the mainstream western media make false and distorted coverages on Lhasa . CNN crops pictures to distort truth, BBC fabricate evidence , well Washington Post and Fox NEWS, SKY online, Reuter... absurdly use pictures of confrontation between Tibetan PPL and Napal (or India) police to back their charges on communist China. There is no proof(s) that China government use violence against such rioters in March 14 . I think western media instead of PRC governtment should restrain and calm down. When violence errpts and jeopardize civilian people's life, all chinese people (Han or no Han Chinese) supports police (law-enforcement) action. German based RTL and N-TV make appology for their false report. but other western media still escape their repsonsibility. CNN who caught red-handed , stealthly changed the controversial picture. When CIA sponsor Tibet seperatists with money and ammunition to overthrow China, I don't think it is a big deal for Chinese people to know the whole situation . CIA senoir officer published a work named "secret war against red China". That book disclose how dalai lama was encouraged to "uprise" in 1959. and how CIA equiped and trained Tibet seperatists. So if bin Ladin attack US military targets instead of civilians , I don't think it is unforgivable. ******************** P.s. PRC had disclosed 20 victims who died in March 14 riots ( 2 victims can not be identified for the time being) ,mainly Han Chinese and Hui Chinese. Their name, race and age are available for weeks,Dalai lama had no comment on that. He insist 140 death, Where is his victim-list? Does he understand that audiences (even in western world) get tired of his manipulating way. Napal and India police action like what happedn in London and Paris during Olympic torch replay,have nothing to do with China's fabricated "crack-down in March 14" . It's a pity that Dalai lama had to face the situation that his spy network in Lhasa is out of action. Those violent rioters was detained for justice. Dalai lama had no influence on China's law enforcement. China had released those misdemeanor tibetan guy recently and leave those felony culprit for sentence. Videotape had recorded all those atrocity happened in Lhasa ,so there is no way for those rioters to escape punishment.

bashy on :

people working in the world trade center. people enjoying a night out in bali. people riding a train in madrid. people working in embassies in africa. on and on. these were not civilian targets. why do you try to make excuses for him? or is it just that you hate the west so much?

merkel-3 on :

Dear bashy, You are absolutely right about something. First I hate what western world did against those under-developed African and Asia countries(like opium trade ,salve trade, colonization...), I hate what western world is doing right now . They use false and distorted coverages on Lhasa riots to smear Chinese, blackmail China, ignoring the riot's victims . Those ludicrious coverages' snapshot collected in WWW.anti-CNN.com. When I check Reuter's false reports (picture Napal police dispese tibetan protesters in front of Chinese embassy then charge Chinese government for crack down by violence) , I found almost all the audience in western world can not distinguish China's police with Napal or india police. They got impression and instruction from the highly biased western media. I rewrite Reuter's one report concerning a human-rights council(committee) conference. Within that false report (my edition) I did not mention it is the report comes from Reuter. But I do use those HR group's tone to bash Washington's atrocity in Iraq and Cuba Guantanamo prison. I know these HR groups 's embarrassment (mainly financial issues),since they reluctantly bring US govenment to the HR spotlight, I would like to promte HR movement in my own way. I want to prompt westeners to face the facts: Those politician like Nancy Pelosi always brag herself(himself) as HR Pioneer, but they always keep silent on atrocity happend in US or Iraq.She give no glance to millioins of innocent Iraq people, Iraq trouble only mentioned by her as an tool in politician struggle. Bin Laden phenomenon deserve thoroughly research. I think He had many reasons to attack US but Bin Laden have no rights make civilian PPL victims. Bin Laden himself is not important, the most important what circumstance lead to Bin Laden and anti-western trends in developing world.I will no excuse Bin Laden's crime with insubstantial evidences. Those reasons i mentioned hereinbefore is western world can understand but can never accept it. They indulge in these reasons to defend even validate Caucasia and Tibet terrorist violence. now Western world need to test: do they immunise from such violence and how can they validate their hypocritic behaviours. bash me as you want ! pay attention the possible backfire. That may hurt US and its alliance 's credibility.

Joe Noory on :

Virtually all of Bin Laden's victims have been civilians, and as a Lebanese immigrant, I can confirm to you that if there is some article of faith restricting civilians from being attacked, it's been ignored for the past century.

Merkel on :

Joe Noory

Merkel on :

Joe, As a Palstiniane, I guess you got deep impression on how US government ignore those Palestinian miserable life to suck Israel expansionism. Do you believe western media 's propaganda that Palestinian people select Hamas and Hezbollah government are owing to their religion belief and terrorist inclination. Netherlands rightest politician defiled Islam Koran and Prophet(Mohammed) and France challenge Muslim tradition by prohibiting wearing muffle in school. Do you sense a kind of atmosphere that western world want to tightly grasp its hands on Islam world. Although western world allege they will promte democracy and freedom speech in the world, Do you believe western world will accept an democratic regime which is anti-western world. I don't see any respect to Hezbollah legal government from western world. Hypocrisy is two-sided weapon, Western world use one-side to morally crticize its enemies, Use the other side to validate their atrocity. There are so mant victims under US military action (in Korean war , Viernam war, Yugoslavia war). Such tragedy happened everyday in Iraq. But western media deleberately ignore such things. Let the painful groan from war-torn Iraq people orchestrate western media's propaganda Like "IS America a greatest power in history or not". I guess suppressed Palstiniane people ,Iraq people are not in mood to celebrate US winning.

franchie on :

"France challenge Muslim tradition by prohibiting wearing muffle in school." I am fervently supporting these rules in public administrations ; I am glad some senseful politicians gave us that laic law in 1905 : separation of the religions businesses with the state's. Other than that, the "muslims" enjoy quite a lot of liberties in our country ; I wish we could do the same in muslim countries ; it appears that this is not the reality

Joe Noory on :

They are the silliest imposition on the right if the individual imaginable, yet they implosed them rather nakedly to make sure the aboriginal French wouldn't notice the people with different traditions in their midst, and thus not react/ feel put upon/ etc. It's a sort of palliative care for people who can't dissociate their inability to understand individual rights and what being a good citizen is. The policy was driven by the false assumtion that the French of local origin are bigotted. That is a such low standard to hold people to, that it's degrading.

franchie on :

Joe are you living on french soil ? and are you also muslim ? this law is the best pass for our immigrants to get integrated ; The muslims responsables in France don't condamn it (except the broherhood types') seeems that the communautarism so priced in UK, Holland, Danemark... has not proven to be the successful story as it was ment ; people there live under the sharia fear as being the next step in their constitution. that what was regarded as a stiff rule in France is working. why is it that the best rate of mixed marriages is in our country ?

John in Michigan, USA on :

Joe, True, Americans don't trust the state enough to give it the power to force people to integrate. The French approach would not be right for America, but it is certainly a valid approach to integration. There is an interesting theoretical debate over which approach (force of law plus social pressure vs. social pressure alone) is best, but that debate is much less important than the pressing need to reconcile Islam with the modern world. There's room for both approaches. I have a hard time getting upset about the French approach, it is certainly proven to work for them historically, and is reasonable, humane, etc. even if it isn't what we might choose to do in the US. The important thing is that France may no longer be making an exception for Islam. Banning the hijab is an important step, I hope it will lead to eventually integrating the banlieues. Perhaps it would be correct to say: the French state supports the right of the individual to be individually, universally French. If one wants to be some non-French type of individual, then maybe France isn't the right place to pursue it.

franchie on :

john you catched globally the story :lol: the surburbs are another problem, not religious, but of concentration with poor educated families, thus the unemployment rates

John in Michigan, USA on :

I'm afraid I must disagree a little. Failure to govern, and lack of economic opportunity, are only part of the problem in the banlieues. It is simply impossible, and unwise, to ignore the religious dimension. France has started to pay attention to this dimension, and I hope it will continue to do so.

Pat Patterson on :

bashy-Notice the modifier "if" and then notice that it was one of the Merkelettes that was excusing ben Ladin, not me. Plus, even though I fell for it again, Merkel did not stay on topic and immediately got on his hobby horse concerning the same dreary web site and the same one-sided view of Tibet. And to quote The Who, "Won't get fooled again."

John in Michigan, USA on :

Pat, I think bashy was bashing merkel-X, not you. Bash on, bashy!

Pat Patterson on :

I agree except I was somewhat concerned in that bashy's reponse was linked as a reply to one of my comments.

Merkel-2 on :

Mr Pat, you made mistake again. It seems a reply to your comment but it isn't. Slf-esteem lead you to overeact to "Bashy" and to me. I noticed you use the words "nonesense","raving","teanage-student" "got on his hobby horse" to describe my posts and my image. I understand your position. you can not come up with my requests(posts) every time. You can nnot provide sound proofs for your points. Pat, You don't need to fix those errors in your posts (like Tibet referendum in 1951) to save your face, I admit that I am hostile to many people in this forum. But believe me, no one gonna push you to the corner and face your desperate counter-reaction. A desperate man can do anything I never doubt it for one second. Since I always call BBC ,CNN liar , I think there is no excuse to object you or Bashy to call me liar in return. So bash on , SO Pat on... if you like I can handle your attack . What I can not stand is post-censoring and restrict my free-speech in this forum. My posts once prohibitted from publishing for a while. I change forum accounts to avoid post-censoring, And told you in my post if I left the forum , it is not because you convince me with your poor facts and theory.

John in Michigan, USA on :

This might help everyone trying to see what is a response to what. First, [url=http://atlanticreview.org/index.php?url=archives/1050-The-Bin-Laden-Prism.html&serendipity[cview]=threaded#comments]click here to view all comments in "Threaded" mode[/url]. In linear mode, comments are numbered 1,2,3, etc according to the order they were posted. In threaded mode, you will notice that the comments are numbered a little differently. Responses to the original post are still numbered 1,2,3, etc. But responses to comments are labeled X.Y. X is the original comment. X.1 is the first response to comment X. X.1.1 is the first response to X.1, and so on. So bashy's comment is labelled like this: [i]bashy - #5.2 - 2008-04-08 11:26 - (Reply)[/i] therefore it is numbered 5.2. Therefore it is the 2nd response to comment number 5, which was from merkel-X, and labelled [i]merkel-2 - #5 - 2008-04-08 06:49 - (Reply)[/i] ------------- Finally - Merkel why do you put a different number after your name most of the time? Are you getting marked as spam or something?

merkel on :

original post from John Merkel why do you put a different number after your name most of the time? Are you getting marked as spam or something? reply: My posts were once prohibited from displaying in this forum. the forum administrator prompts me something concerning spam , i can not remember now, Another prompt sounds like "Your comments had been added ,but will be check before display". So I add suffix to my user account to fool the possible computer program which play the role of network police. When I found the rule of the forum and got to know how the forum labels a post and its replys. I do really want to follow that rule. But Mr.Paterson 's negative evaluation upon me like "teanage strudent trick" make me think there is no need to play in Paterson's tune or favor. Since I got Paterson's Archilles heel , I will express my discontent on him in other way. I respect your proposition and sorry for the confusion. I try to use "Merkel" as my user-account for my future posts.

bashy on :

Pat, I was replying to Merkel. I was also replying to the topic bin laden. Merkel you assume that I believe the drive-by media. I have no trust in the media. you can give your opinion. the rest of us can give ours. just because someone dosen't agree with you dosen't mean we are trying to censor you.

Pat Patterson on :

No problem!

Merkel-2 on :

If you are not webmaster of this forum, I guess you have no capability to restrict my posts-sending. I had no such worry concerning you or Mr paterson's repulsion or disgust towards me. Several days ago, I tryed to reply Joe and Paterson's posts , every time I got prompts like "your post was added ,but will be checked before displayed ","prevent spasm ...", I can not remember clearly those responses from this forum's web-administrator. I think that is a kind of technic tactic to kick me out of this forum. I intentionally change my account to avoid being the victim of post-censoring. Believe me I don't mean to behave like a "teanage strudent" (Paterson's words ). I very appreciate Mr. paterson lash out his angry fire against me ,including use very derogative words sometimes. That give me an illusion that he can not find facts to support his points.We all know incapacity always lead to angry. First angry me then angry himself. compassion to dear Merkel and more compassion to paterson himself. I will try my best to be moderate in my posts to Joe , Paterson and you. At the same timie held a sarcastic tone towards western world(esp one-sided western media),the harsher the better. Take a look who can not calm down and Speak with highly insulting words . No matter using his account or anonymous(fake name) , if the bad-temper guy is not trust-worthy, then his words is meaningless. I earnestly hope someone who disagree with my points can use more defiant tone (way) to response me,the harsher the better. I don't remember exactly when I was kicked out from Globalvoiceonline.org, I got a feeling of achievements at that special occasion. I guess this forum webmaster can also make me feel good some day in its own way. When it can not convince me with its facts , when it can only use its privileges to protect its authority, I guess I'll reach my goal in the end. I prove the hypocrisy of free- speech exists in western media.

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