by Naba’a Muhammad and Brian E. Muhammad
More than 500 people poured into the streets in the Surkh Rod district of Nangahar province to protest the raid by international forces that they claim killed at least nine civilians. AP Photo/Rahmat Gul
“And Allah’s is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth. And on the day when the Hour comes to pass, on that day will the followers of falsehood perish. And thou wilt see every nation kneeling down. Every nation will be called to its record. This day you are requited for what you did.”
—Holy Qur’an 45:27.28
Twenty years have passed since jumbo jets flew into New York City’s World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. In horror, the world watched the implosion of the twin towers followed by reports of passenger planes striking the Pentagon outside of Washington, D.C., and going down in Pennsylvania.
On that day 3,000 people perished, changing reality for Americans and millions around the world in different ways. 9/11 was so momentous an event that many who lived it remember what they were doing and where they were that Tuesday at 8:46 a.m. Eastern Standard Time when tragedy struck.
The hours, days, weeks, and months after the attack brought stories of “the best” of America surfacing and praise for fire fighters, police and EMT professionals who were injured, died, and lost colleagues answering the call to save lives in New York. It also left many Americans crying for blood and a president vowing to give them blood.
September 11, 2001, was an emotional and unifying event for a country divided after the controversial election of Republican George W. Bush over Democratic Party candidate and former vice-president Al Gore in November 2000. With Mr. Bush ostensibly declared president by a Supreme Court decision to stop a vote recount in Florida, a state politically controlled by Mr. Bush’s brother, and a Gore concession, many were bitter and angry. “Hail to the thief!” had been chanted at Mr. Bush during his inauguration months before 9/11 happened and galvanized the nation.
The 20-year mark for 9/11 warrants a look at America and the world. Analysts say America must come to grips with herself, ugly truths behind 9/11, bloody U.S. foreign policy, deceit and a loss of freedoms at home and abroad.
“The tragedy of 9/11 is a tragedy on many levels,” said Mauri Saalakhan, of the Aafia Siddique Foundation, a Muslim human rights group. “It’s a tragedy for this nation vis-a-vis what this nation is supposed to represent theoretically as a nation with liberty and justice for all.”
Mr. Saalakhan said 9/11 exposed deep, “ever-present” contradictions in America’s well-crafted image as a bastion of freedom.
The U.S. government moved swiftly to attach blame for the deadly act. Officials said the enemies were Arabs, Muslims, who acted out of hatred for America’s freedoms.
The U.S. blamed Osama Bin-Laden, a Saudi businessman, onetime U.S. ally in a war against the Soviet Union, and founder of the militant organization Al-Qaeda. The U.S. blamed Al-Qaeda and its leader for the act of “terrorism,” and accused the Taliban government ruling Afghanistan of harboring him. America demanded that the Taliban turn him over. The Taliban refused to do so without evidence of his guilt. U.S. bombs quickly followed the request, and the Taliban government fell as President Bush declared a “global war on terror” divided into those with America and those against America. The first nations targeted were Afghanistan and Iraq.
“The Taliban just wanted proof,” recalled Abdul Akbar Muhammad, International Representative of the Nation of Islam. “And America went after Afghanistan and began to dismantle it as a nation,” he said. The war in Afghanistan was underway by October 2001 and, two decades later, on Aug. 31 a defeated America left the country using a resurgent Taliban to help guarantee her safe exit.
Kevin Barrett, of Veterans Today and an author, believes none of the war on terror hype and calls 9/11 a “false flag” operation that triggered years of adverse events and war in Afghanistan and Iraq. A false flag is a covert operation designed to deceive and create the appearance of a particular party, group, or nation being responsible for some activity while disguising the actual source of the action.
“Of course, it was a false pretext,” he said, “the whole story of anti-terrorism is a big lie.” “It’s very interesting and ironic that the liberation of Afghanistan happened almost simultaneous with the 20th anniversary of 9/11,” he added.
He said fighting terrorists and going after those the Bush administration deemed responsible for 9/11 put a noble face on a bold lie. The true reasons for invading Afghanistan were planned in July 2001, months before 9/11, and the goals were to protect heroin profits, secure oil pipelines, and establish U.S military bases, he said.
Mr. Barrett referred back to America’s sordid past in Afghanistan during the 1980s when the CIA backed and trained Osama Bin Laden and the mujahadeen, Muslim warriors engaged in an armed struggle to drive the Soviet Union out of the country.
The Soviets were initially invited to Afghanistan by the socialist government of Afghan leader Mohammad Najibullah. These were the years of the Cold War between America and the Soviet Union. The U.S. military operation to oust the Soviets was initiated by Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security advisor to President Jimmy Carter.
In the nine-year conflict, an estimated one million civilians were killed as well as 90,000 mujahideen fighters, 18,000 Afghan troops, and 14,500 Soviet soldiers. The Soviets withdrew leading to a long civil war won by the Taliban in 1996.
Outside of that history, there are questions about intelligence failures by the FBI prior to 9/11 and failures of American officials to act. Coleen Rowley, an FBI agent in Minnesota, was chosen as a Time magazine person of the year in 2002.
“Coleen Rowley is the FBI staff attorney who caused a sensation in May with a memo to FBI Director Robert Mueller about how the bureau brushed off pleas from her Minneapolis, Minn., field office that Zacarias Moussaoui, who is now indicted as a Sept. 11 co-conspirator, was a man who must be investigated,” said Time.
Other questions surfaced about how U.S. intelligence agencies missed tips about foreigners trying to learn to fly planes paying large amounts in cash for classes but uninterested in learning to land and other acts. Later disclosures, including a 2015 Politico piece by researcher and writer Chris Whipple, revealed how pre-attack warnings given to President Bush and the White House officials went unheeded.
“ ‘Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.’ The CIA’s famous Presidential Daily Brief, presented to George W. Bush on August 6, 2001, has always been Exhibit A in the case that his administration shrugged off warnings of an Al Qaeda attack. But months earlier, starting in the spring of 2001, the CIA repeatedly and urgently began to warn the White House that an attack was coming,” wrote Mr. Whipple.
“By May of 2001, says Cofer Black, then chief of the CIA’s counterterrorism center, ‘it was very evident that we were going to be struck, we were gonna be struck hard and lots of Americans were going to die.’ ‘There were real plots being manifested,’ Cofer’s former boss, George Tenet (onetime CIA director), told me in his first interview in eight years. ‘The world felt like it was on the edge of eruption.’ ”
Persistent angry questions about what happened and different connections, especially any links to U.S. ally Saudi Arabia, were so strong that President Biden was disinvited from 2021 commemorations by family members who lost loved ones seeking answers and demanding more secret information be declassified. Mr. Biden, days before the 20-year anniversary, directed that some additional information be made public and was invited back to take part in commemorations. Mr. Biden made the announcement Sept. 3.
Min. Akbar Muhammad said it’s also important to understand the spiritual context 9/11 sprang from, the subsequent events, and that it occurred during the prophesied time of America’s decline and fall as a power. He referenced the warnings and guidance to America and world nations by the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, the Eternal Leader of the Nation of Islam, and his student and National Representative, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan.
‘It’s all signs,” said Min. Akbar Muhammad, referring to America’s “unravelling, both domestically and internationally.” “When you get a sign and are heedless to that warning, you pay a price,” he said.
“You will be foolish not to see the hand of the Almighty in what is happening to the world and America in particular,” explained Minister Akbar Muhammad.
The 9/11 remembrance comes while America is beset with manifest loss from a Covid-19 pestilence, weather calamities, and military defeat. Abdul Akbar Muhammad said people should consult the scriptures of Bible and Holy Qur’an to understand why America is losing.
Elijah Muhammad in his pivotal book “The Fall of America” wrote that the United States would reap what she has sown on the world stage. “She is destined to never win a war again. America is losing control of her world. In desperation, she feels that her guns, rockets, bombs, and technology will keep her kingdom in power,” he warned.
“However, more powerful kingdoms than America had to lay their burden down when the time came, and America is no different. Time is declaring that America had better change or the end is upon her. Furthermore, as past empires had to pay for the injustices in their history, America is now in the throes of judgement.”
“America’s knees are bowing due to her corrupt domestic and foreign policies,” said Minister Farrakhan in Part 13 of a 2013 lecture series called “The Time and What Must Be Done.”
Minister Farrakhan compared America’s predicament to that of Pharaoh in the scriptures, finally bowing down when the last plague struck Egypt. “So will America bow down,” he said. At the outset of the Afghan War, Min. Farrakhan warned the president that America would not win and could unite the Muslim World against her and move closer to a final cataclysmic battle that would destroy her.
The aftermath of 9/11 changed global politics and the faith of 1.6 billion Muslims was attacked and blamed for a horrible killing.
Civil liberties were stripped from American citizens carrying such names as Abdul, Karriem, Ayesha or Muhammad. Anti-Arab xenophobia and blatant Islamophobia were rampant. Being Muslim, Middle Eastern led to being profiled as an enemy with “enemy combatants” arrested, disappeared, or held without charge at Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba or CIA black sites scattered around the world. At Guantanamo Bay two decades later, 39 detainees remain, 27 held as law-of-war detainees without a charge or trial, according to the New York Times.
Mr. Saalakhan is an activist against wrongful detention cases such as Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist jailed on charges related to attempted murder and assault of U.S. officers in Afghanistan in 2008. America, he said, had legislation that was accelerated in the climate of 9/11.
“The process was already begun before 9/11,” said Mr. Saalakhan. “What 9/11 did was basically open the floodgates and justified what was already in the works.”
In the tradition of Communist witch hunts and illegal surveillance of individuals and organizations during the Black liberation struggles of 1960s-1970s America, the Patriot Act was enacted. The act allowed the federal government expanded authority to track and intercept communications for law enforcement and foreign intelligence gathering.
“All of this was to unveil a new Cointelpro … that was in the open and on steroids,” Mr. Saalakhan said. He was referring to the FBI’s infamous Counterintelligence Program aimed at Black and groups calling for change in American society.
While the entire U.S. was affected by these policies, the Muslim community was disproportionately affected, he said. For the military industrial complex, Muslims replaced Communists as the new bogeyman after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989. 9/11 was used to connect the fear to Islam with a “war on terror” that was really a “war on Islam,” said activists and advocates.
Washington’s war on terror also became a cover for American plans to remake the Middle East in five years. The countries to be overthrown were Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran.
The war in Afghanistan shifted to an illegal war on Iraq, only with an added façade—to root out weapons of mass destruction. History debunked the lie, but not before the U.S. overthrew the government, executed Saddam Hussein, and spilled Iraqi blood.
With 9/11 the U.S. government played the American people through manipulation of their emotions to justify endless war driven by a multi-billion-dollar military industrial complex, not justice for thousands of citizens killed in a heinous act.
The government became too invasive and ratcheted up public fear, said Barry Landendorf of Veterans for Peace. It used constant streams of high alerts through color coded daily reminders of the next imminent threat, he said.
“A lot of the information was coming from prisoners at Guantanamo who were being tortured, who would just say anything not to be tortured,” Mr. Landendorf added. “And they (U.S. officials) would use that information as public propaganda,” he said.
Since 9/11, America paid a hefty price in deaths and treasure and the blood of many worldwide is on her hands. If America remains on the same course, the worse is yet to come.
An annual report released by the Costs of War project at Brown University, the leading watch group on the toll of war, tells the story. In 20 years of post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan, America spent an estimated $8 trillion and killed more than 929,000 people.
The Afghanistan/Pakistan war zone costs were $2.3 trillion; Iraq/Syria war zone costs $2.1 trillion; and $355 billion in other wars including Libya, Somalia, and elsewhere. These staggering figures were spent based on lies.
“Eight trillion dollars dedicated to the murder of Muslims, and I see no better way to make this sound any better or different,” said Dr. Maha Hilal of Justice for Muslims Collective during a Sept. 1 virtual forum.
She added the true loss was of humanity, citing 2013 congressional testimony by a 13-year-old boy from Pakistan named Zabir whose family was targeted by U.S. drones. He told lawmakers: “I no longer love blue skies. In fact, I now prefer gray skies. The drones do not fly when the skies are gray.”
“This is the cost of war,” stated Dr. Hilal. “That a young boy can never see the sky the same as people who were never bombarded with violence can.”
Catherine Lutz, co-director of Costs of War and a professor of international and public affairs at Brown University, noted the so-called war on terror has been “long and complex,” “horrific and unsuccessful” but continues in over 80 countries.
Researchers said though the total number of direct deaths caused by wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are less than both World Wars and the Vietnam War, the post-9/11 conflicts are different because of the long-term damage done to societies that suffered years of constant bombings, death, and destruction.
“The twenty-first century was supposed to be the century of America,” said Ajamu Baraka, national organizer with the Black Alliance for Peace. That fantasy was ruined by America, “fueled by colonialist hubris” and belief she could fight two major wars simultaneously in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“What they ended up doing was not only losing those wars, but exposing the U.S. … as a paper tiger,” said Mr. Baraka. “So instead of the 21st century being the century of U.S. power, it will be the century of U.S. decline, and what we’re seeing is, in just 20 years, the precipitous decline of the U.S.,” said Mr. Baraka. “That to me is what signifies the 20-year anniversary of 9/11.”