Dynamite! 9/11 as Dynamite. Friends at War

Michael Roberts

When Islamic zealots within Sri Lanka reaped havoc on people going about their normal practices on Easter Sunday this year 2019 via coordinated suicide attacks that generated carnage and death, I sent A NOTE (see below) around as part of a wider corpus of material on the event.  To my amazement, three friends from disparate backgrounds, French, Canadian and Sri Lankan Australian respectively, expressed strong dissent about the Islamic hand behind the 9//11 carnage in USA — firmly asserting that it was an US government plot.

All four Pics from https://www.reuters.com/news/picture/9-11-iconic-images-idUSRTS20CLO

I immediately sent their memoranda around to a few select friends. Some responded. In placing this divergence of appraisal within the public realm — a clash of interpretation that is as deep as irreconcilable – I am hoping to arouse further deeper debate on the causes and motivations behind 9/11. I present biographical data on all those embraced by these exchanges at the end of the collection. All can be considered as “intellectuals” in the best sense of the word.

May cut-and-thrust in word and debate flow – without cudgels, dynamite or bombs….. Michael Roberts

A = The NOTE from Michael Roberts …. as one part of a number of other items on the attacks:

To comprehend the thinking of the Jihadist terror cells in SL and recent events one must explore and dwell upon the SALAFI ideology and fanaticism driving Islamic jihadists in general. Towards this end it would not hurt to begin with the thinking of the 9/11 attackers –-especially ‘THE LAST NIGHT” drafted by the operational commander Mohammed Atta for the suicide bombers — strict operational orders for their last moments on earth prior to their jihadist journey towards the feet of Allah. See pp 92-94 in my article “Pragmatic Action and Enchanted Worlds” …… where I draw on the work of David Cook who can read Arabic as well as Hebrew …. So, study David Cook, 2002. “Suicide Attacks or ‘Martyrdom Operations’ in Contemporary Jihad Literature,” Nova Religio, 2002, vol 6: 7–44. My essay in its turn can be found in Social Analysis, Volume 50, Issue 1, Spring 2006, 73–102.

It drew immediate and vehement dissent[1] from three friends – every one of them  “internationalists” in the best sense of the word … viz Jean-Pierre Page of France and Sri Lanka; Chris Black of Toronto, Canada and Jeremy Liyanage of Melbourne & Sri Lanka.

 B = JEAN-PIERRE PAGE of Paris & Battaramulla[2]

Dear Michael, ……I disagree totally with this interpretation. Since 9/11 history have shown clearly that it was a pretext for the US to implement a strategy and nothing else. The wars in Afganistan and their 300 000 people killed, 1 million in Irak, the 350 000 in Syria, the destruction of Libya, Sudan…. In Sri Lanka they’re sure of nothing, but they want to keep their positions and continue the colonisation of the country with the help of this governmentWe all know the close relations between ISIS and the western powers…. 

 C = CHRIS BLACK of Toronto in Canada[3]

There is a wealth of info on this on the net -thousands of engineers, physicists, firemen and policemen who were witnesses to the internal explosions that brought the buildings down-check any of Dr. Griffin’s posts– he will lead you to all you need to know. I was in Tanzania when it happened …..  in a bar sitting with Italians, Germans, French, Greeks etc andas we watched an Italian said, “they didhat to themselves” and everyone nodded in agreement or made comments to the same effect 

 D = JEREMY LIYANAGE of Melbourne & Mannar[4]

Hi Michael  Since 2001 I have studied the 9/11 event in great detail. I have concluded that the official version of events is utterly fabricated, a ‘white-wash’ of what really occurred, and an insider job. This is also the view of tens of thousands of professional engineers, aviation experts, fire fighters, architects, intelligence personnel…and the list goes on. To me this is one of the greatest deceptions of our times. Without genuinely understanding events like this at much greater depth we will not understand Muslim anger. Such incidents (and probably including the latest Sri Lanka incident) are part and parcel of the Western project to confuse moderate Islam and terrorism. There are far more insidious (and faceless) players and agendas behind the scenes of every populist media ‘tele-drama’ portrayal of such events. We get sucked into the ‘drama’ while the writers, producers and directors cleverly fulfil their inhumane agendas, largely undetected. People alive today must study 9/11 if they are to truly get an inkling of what is really going on in the world and if we are to resist being brainwashed into believing the ‘smoke screen’ truths peddled for our gullible acceptance. The first victim is always the willing surrender of our civil liberties in exchange for ’emperor’s new clothes’ security. The easiest way to dismiss counter versions of official truths is to label it as conspiratorial.

So: I would appreciate your thoughts on this set of challenges –hopefully with suitable bibliographical references. I plan to generate a PUBLIC DEBATE on this issue.


RIAZ HASSAN in Adelaide & Melbourne, 30 April 2019[5]

Dear Michael, I agree with you that Wahabi/Salafi ideology is important for understanding the tragic and horrible Sri Lankan attacks and the rise of ISIS. I am not sure how useful it will be to link the Sri Lankan and the 9/11 attacks. I think explaining 9/11 attacks as an inside job is far-fetched. On ISIS please see my article which appeared in the Australian Journal of Political Science in 2016 — referring here to his review article “ISIS and the Caliphate,” Australian Journal of Political Science, 2016, vol 51/4, pp. 759-771. ………………….All best wishes, Riaz


Michael,  The debate you plan to generate will certainly be very interesting. I find it difficult to believe that the George Bush administration stage-managed the 9/11 massacre of his own people in order to rationalise a conspiratorial dimension of US foreign policy. My doubt stems from the fact that the United States (invariably in collaboration with some of its NATO allies) instigating conflict and chaos in other non-genuflecting countries has hardly ever been a secret (even in the ‘Cold War’ period) for it to be camouflaged with a horrendous carnage of 9/11 magnitude. I am also puzzled by the reference to ‘internal explosions’ to which “thousands of” engineers, physicists, policemen … are said to bear testimony…….. Best regards

HASSINA LEELARATHNA, in Los Angeles, 30 April 2019[7]

Michael,….  I don’t subscribe to the 9-11 conspiracy theories. At the crux is the contention that the airplane impacts didn’t cause the explosions and that all three buildings were wired with explosives in advance and razed in a series of controlled demolitions. But investigations have made it clear the structures were weakened by the fires and fell under the weight of the collapsing floors.  Not surprised that the conspiracy theories persist.  It’s often hard to accept the most reasonable explanation for something (the Occam’s razor effect).

Having grown up Muslim I know firsthand how much of brainwashing goes on in these communities, and how much of contempt for non-believers [prevails].  There’s a very strong Salafi movement in SL and even the Malays have succumbed, taking up the hijab and such.  Actually, Malays are forced to accept Moor leadership because we don’t have political leaders/clout of our own.  Which is another story.

These are just my first thoughts upon reading your email.  Will work on a lengthier response.  BTW: I’m Buddhist — of the meditation + green tea kind.


Hi Michael, I’m firmly in the it happened as it happened camp. There’s a great documentary somewhere debunking these claims! ………….with best regards,

ADDENDUM: Here’s a link to the BBC documentary I mentioned. “The Conspiracy Files:  9/11 Ten Years On” = https://vimeo.com/44430286.  Also, Jon Ronson, a brilliant journalist who examines conspiracy theorists   =   https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2006/nov/04/weekend.jonronson


I wouldn’t waste my time on these conspiracy morons. So, America didn’t land a man on the moon, Elvis killed JFK, and D’Oyly was Sri Wickrema in disguise. These people believe that Mossad was behind Sep 11. They will also argue that Mossad was behind the carnage in Sri Lanka.

    ****  ****


[1] I am not sure whether Page, Black and Liyanage read my article “Pragmatic Action and Enchanted Worlds.” I suspect their responses are based on set views that took hold in the immediate aftermath of the 9// carnage in 2001.

[2] Jean-Pierre Page is a member of the French Communist Party and the partner of Tamara Kunananyakam. I stayed overnight at their place in Battaramulla in 2017 and enjoyed our wide-ranging discussions.

[3] Chris Black is a Canadian international lawyer with radical leanings who has challenged the processes of international law in Rwanda and Kosovo et cetera and charged the West with manipulation of its processes (in ways I find persuasive). Though we have not met, we have exchanged emails and I have found him amenable to conversations by mail in a manner that is rarely –very rarely – extended to little people in little lands by the eminent intelligentsia in the West. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8NHawXaOPc  and …………………………………………………… https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2015/04/11/toronto-lawyer-claims-hes-target-of-death-threat-from-rwandan-government.html. SEE Michael Roberts, “American Trojan horses entering Sri Lanka Now?”  5 January 2016, https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/american-trojan-horses-entering-sri-lanka-now/

[4] Jeremy Liyanage’s family migrated to Queensland in Australia when he was a small boy. Aided by friends Jeremy set up an organisation named “Bridging Lanka” in 2010 and since then this body has been heavily engaged in social service and rebuilding work on Mannar island and its hinterland. I observed a town planning session in Mannar in 2011 and visited the arena once again in Jeremy’s company in 2017. I count him as a buddy. See http://diasporaaction.org.au/jeremy-liyanage-founder-of-bridging-lanka-moved-the-conference-audience-with-his-personal-journey-from-sri-lanka-to-a-rural-queensland-town-he-attributes-the-conference-to-helping-him-connect-with/…. AND……….. https://thuppahis.com/2018/04/23/a-catering-kitchen-in-mannar-mothers-4-mothers/

[5] I first met Riaz Hassan at a conference in Colombo organised by Neelan Tiruchelvam in 1974(?). When my family moved to Adelaide, I was delighted to find Riaz ensconced as a University teacher at Flinders University not far from our home suburb. The Robertses quickly became friends with the Hassan family. Given his Islamic background and his experiences in northern India as a young child in the 1940s and then his lifetime in Pakistan, Singapore and Adelaide, he brings a wealth of experience to this topic.

[6] Gerald Peiris was one-year senior to me at Ramanathan Hall in Peradeniya University in the late 1950s. One of the University’s brightest products, his research output is enormous and extends beyond economic geography to politics and economics. Our vigorous engagements – and disagreements – on Sri Lankan affairs extend from the late 1960s and the Ceylon studies Seminar …. and continue to this day while sipping arrack in his lounge in Kandy.

[7] Hassina Leelarathna is a Sri Lankan Malay 9and thus not a “Muslim” in the political connotations of that label in Sri Lanka where juxtaposed beside “Tamil” and “Sinhalese”). She worked as journalist before migrating to USA and settling in Los Angeles way back in the !980s or so (?). Given this background it is not surprising that she is aware of the conspiracy theories marking the US government which emerged in USA after the September 9th attacks –theories originating as often as not among White American intellectuals

[8] Maithrie Samaradivakara was brought up in Uva but his family migrated to Europe when he was a small boy. He is versed in English and German and works as a professional executive in companies that straddle Europe and the Americas. My wife and I have stayed with Maithrie and Fiona in London on several occasions. It was Maithrie who provided the snapshots and the inspiration for the article on almsgivings for the Sinhala Buddhist war-dead leading to investments in bus shelters — https://thuppahis.com/2014/09/03/bus-shelters-and-charities-for-departed-loved-ones-an-exploration-from-an-ignoramus/

[9] Eardley Lieversz migrated to Australia after a stellar cricketing career at Royal College and completed a Ph. D in Social Anthropology at Sydney University that involved extended fieldwork in Uva District. He re-activated his ‘affair’ with Lanka again recently –  vis a vis school, cricket and his village peoples. The two of us met recently in Sydney and maintain regular email exchanges.


Filed under accountability, american imperialism, arab regimes, architects & architecture, authoritarian regimes, centre-periphery relations, conspiracies, disparagement, fundamentalism, historical interpretation, Islamic fundamentalism, jihad, landscape wondrous, law of armed conflict, legal issues, life stories, martyrdom, Middle Eastern Politics, military strategy, Muslims in Lanka, politIcal discourse, power politics, propaganda, religious nationalism, security, self-reflexivity, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, suicide bombing, terrorism, the imaginary and the real, trauma, truth as casualty of war, vengeance, violence of language, world events & processes

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