Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Sticks and Stones

There is no denying that there is high hostility toward Muslims in the West. However, this hostility is being misappropriated to make political points. This is the stuff that urban myths are made of. For example, in a recent article in Foreign Policy Watch:

The Western press is largely avoiding the term “terrorist”... The term “terrorist attack” is also absent from the headlines of our country’s major media outlets... In the American press and in mainstream political discourse, “terrorism” simply means “violence committed by Muslims whom the West dislikes, no matter the cause or the target.”

This is just absolute nonsense. I’m not talking about tabloids here (neither is FPW). I’m talking about mainstream media, the kind of reliable websites that will be used in history books. And just because I’m British and I’ve heard people over here making similar arguments, I’ll include the British press.

Firstly, to get the basics out of the way, FPW cites three examples: the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. The Washington Post article they link to refers to “Two coordinated terror attacks in Norway.” And the Washington Post has continued to describe these actions as “terrorist attacks” and “terror attacks.” The Wall Street Journal has also referred to “terror attacks” and refers to the supposed two other cells as the “two other terrorist cells.”

As for the New York Times, they also faced a similar accusation from the Daily Kos where JackinSTL quotes a paragraph from an NYT article which apparently shows “once we eliminated the Arabic terrorists and found our right-wing Christian perp, he's suddenly not a ‘terrorist.’” Except it doesn’t, the paragraph which the Daily Kos quotes says:

Terrorism specialists said that even if the authorities ultimately ruled out terrorism as the cause of Friday’s assaults, other kinds of groups or individuals were mimicking Al Qaeda’s signature brutality and multiple attacks.
But if you go to the New York Times article itself, it says:

Terrorism specialists said that even if the authorities ultimately ruled out Islamic terrorism as the cause of Friday’s assaults, other kinds of groups or individuals were mimicking Al Qaeda’s brutality and multiple attacks.

Its possible that the New York Times amended their article after it was written but in the context of where that paragraph was, it should have been obvious they were talking about Islamist terrorism. Rather than showing how insensitive the New York Times is to the word terrorism, it shows the opposite. (Oh, in case you had spotted the pattern, the NYT also refers to the Oslo attacks as acts of domestic ‘terrorism’).

And the same goes for The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Times, The Sunday Times, the Associated Press, The Los Angeles Times, the Independent and the BBC. So as far as mainstream media outlets, even just the ones that FPW cited, they are not wary of using the term terrorist or terror to refer to these attacks. So what media outlets are FPW reading?!

And just a note and counter-example on using the word ‘terrorist’ in the British media: it is used in a limited way when talking about Palestinian terrorists. The official policy of the BBC on its 'Israel and the Palestinians' page states that:

The word "terrorist" itself can be a barrier rather than an aid to understanding. We should try to avoid the term, without attribution.

Which is why if you read an article on the BBC about Hamas doing something – even if its a suicide bombing against innocent civilians, even if its someone firing a rocket at a civilian town – the article will refer to them as “militants.” And the BBC is not alone in this: Reuters does the same thing (refusing even to call the 7/7 attacks ‘terrorist attacks’). Whether one agrees with this policy is another matter but what is clear is that terrorism is not just used for certain types of people and it is in fact not used when it is actually Islamists or brown people or whatever. Making simplistic statements doesn’t achieve anything. 

Monday, 25 July 2011

Tout comprendre, c'est tout pardonner #2

d. to understand, to wit, namely. 
a. To give heed to, attend to.
This is the second post I’ve written with the title ‘tout comprendre, c'est tout pardonner’ (to understand is to forgive). The first post was about the (lack of) an Iraq war-linked explanation for the 7/7 attacks. In it I wrote the main point of the title:

There is a thin line between explaining something and excusing something. If I tell you that someone has done something because of a wrong committed against him, it sanitises the action of the criminal. This encompasses the kind of nonsense that while it is wrong to blow people up, it is nonetheless 'understandable.'

I want to elaborate on that a bit more. When someone “explains” or “understands” something, there is an underlying point that is being made: that the person is less culpable. To be clear, the people who make these points are not disinterested academic parties making observations. They are in effect providing an alibi to make a political point. As an example, Robert Fisk said the following after being attacked by Afghans:

"I don't want this to be seen as a Muslim mob attacking a Westerner for no reason. They had every reason to be angry - I've been an outspoken critic of the US actions myself. If I had been them, I would have attacked me."

Ben White (author of ‘Israeli Apartheid: A Beginners’ Guide’) is infamous for making the same argument about the hatred of Jews:

I do not consider myself an anti-Semite, yet I can also understand why some are... I do not agree with them, but I can understand.

The key to distinguishing between genuine academic explanations (of which the politically activist White and Fisk are not) and excuses is the language that is being used: does it entail pointing to the evil of the victims and the helplessness of the perpetrator? For Fisk, the perpetrators were ‘angry’ and had ‘every reason to be’ (clearly implying legitimacy). For another person who I conversed with recently, these same Afghans were helpless because they were ‘illiterate’ from a ‘dirt village’ where there is no ‘bastion of morality.’ (And no, the person did not realise how borderline racist he sounded).

What is the result of all this “explanation”? Well if a person has had a deprived upbringing and ‘had every reason to be angry’ – can you really, truly blame him for what he did? He was not responsible for his anger - the American planes were! Can’t you understand what he did? Can’t you find it in your hearts to find it understandable to attack someone?! What is being proposed amounts to a caveat: ‘She stole – because she was hungry.’  

The extremist impulses of assaulting an innocent person – whether its Afghans attacking innocent Western journalists, terrorists blowing themselves on public transport or the EDL targeting innocent British Muslims – are a fringe. They are not a natural reaction of civilised, moral human beings in the vast majority. They are an aberration.  
There is nothing ‘understandable’ (i.e., worthy of taking heed to) about someone who wishes to hate or attack someone because of an act they did not commit: hatred of Muslims because of 9/11 or hatred of all Westerners because of an inadvertent strike. Nothing. The fact that people like to “explain things” despite these ‘explanations’ making no difference to majority shows they are not serious academic explanations rather they merely seek to sanitise immoral actions.

It’s not surprising that people who resort to this nonsense have to revert to blaming Americans or British imperialism. It is no less surprising that some actually utilise the thought behind British imperialism: the uncontrollable, irrational, emotional, poor brown people who can’t read who don’t know its bad to hit an innocent person are the true victims, after all they are uncontrollable, irrational, emotional, poor brown people who can’t read.

For more, Lucy from Harry’s Place wrote a post about Ben White on his “understanding” which I highly recommend reading. She rightly starts her post off by saying “‘Understanding’ is a weasel word, isn’t it.”

Monday, 18 July 2011

Bad Fences and Bad Neighbours

A Palestinian man sneaking to Israel crosses from Bethlehem, right, into Jerusalem, left, Monday, May 15, 2006. AP

When I started writing this I naively intended to write about three things: the separation barrier, the situation of Gazans and Arab immigration to Palestine. These three things are key talking points of Zionists and I wanted to give a more nuanced and substantive view of them - leaving out the propaganda and coming to a more reasoned view. But, as I started writing about the separation barrier I realised there was no way I could write it all in one post. The separation barrier is claimed by Zionists to be justified because it single-handedly brought the terror down (see for example the Israeli governmentMitchell Bard, the ADL and I assume that the crock Alan Dershowitz makes the argument as well). 


The drop in suicide bombing in Israel after the barrier started to be built is hard to deny. When the fence only covered the north of the West Bank, attacks fell from 17 to 5 from 2002-2004. In contrast, in the south of the West Bank where nothing was constructed from 2002-2004, attacks increased from 10 to 11. Hamas in carrying out terrorist attacks began targeting areas available from the south because they were easier to bypass. Amos Harel, Haaretz and one Israel’s leading security analysts made this point in 2004:

Since the completion of the first stage of the separation fence - from Salem to Elkana - in the summer, terror has migrated to the south and east, to areas in which the fence has not yet been built.

And we have evidence straight from the horse’s mouth:

Mousa Abu Marzouq , deputy chairman of Hamas's political bureau in Damascus said that “[carrying out] such attacks is made difficult by the security fence and the gates surrounding West Bank residents ”

Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Abdallah Shalah said that they had no intention of abandoning suicide bombing attacks but that their timing and the possibility of carrying them out from the West Bank depended on other factors. “For example,” he said, “there is the separation fence which is an obstacle to the resistance and if it were not there, the situation would be entirely different”

Multiple Causes: Undermining the Zionist Narrative 

But, it is ludicrous to state that the barrier is the main reason or the only reason - especially today. Firstly, Palestinian infiltrators into Israel continue to sneak passed the border in their thousands. According to Israel’s Channel 2 news in 2007 there were over 17,000 arrests of illegal workers inside the Green Line in the space of two months. There are various frequent reports of random numbers of Palestinians crossing the line and being sent back (154, 50, 252). It’s inconceivable, given the sheer numbers, that the physical restrictions in crossing the border are enough to account for the decline.

Secondly, its important to note that the barrier is not finished (around two-thirds have been built) – indeed, Israeli police officials consider this to be a “calling out to terrorists.” This also explains why infiltrations are common. Thus, there must be more factors that contribute to the reduction than the incomplete fence which doesn't stop Palestinian workers. Part of the factors are indeed attributable to other Israeli counter-terrorism measures taken:
Rather than producing a tit-for-tat or loop-like confrontation, Israelicounterterrorism – mainly denying the Palestinians a sanctuary area inthe West Bank – has reduced the effects of Palestinian violence considerably.
But equally as important is that the Palestinians themselves have contributed much to the decline of attacks. While the fence played a major role during the Intifada, from 2005, there was an unofficial truce which contributed considerably to the decrease. Shin Bet and the IDF said in 2006 that "main reason for the reduction in terrorist acts over the past year is the truce in the territories" and attribute the reduction to "improvement in their joint capability to foil terrorist attacks and to act against terrorist organizations." And in the aftermath of the battle between Hamas and Fatah, Fatah carried out extensive security operations against Hamas which is probably the biggest reason for the reduction in current violence. So much so that by 2010, Israeli officials were commending PA Security Forces: 
The Palestinian Authority's security forces have shown marked improvement in their action against Hamas and Islamic Jihad recently, according to Israeli security officials... eanwhile, the Palestinian security forces are continuing to apprehend wanted men affiliated with Hamas and Islamic Jihad... [Palestinian] sources said the PA had confiscated tons of explosives and numerous firearms in recent months and that arrests of Hamas and Islamic Jihad operatives were ongoing.
Multiple consequences 

Undeniably, the route of the fence has meant land confiscations; estimates of land inside the barrier and the Green Line range from 7% to 9.5%. B'Tselem documents how the barrier has ulterior moves including the expansion of existing Israeli settlements and often these motives took over: reasons [were] of secondary importance in certain locations, in cases when they conflicted with settlement expansion, the planners opted for expansion, even at the expense of compromised security.
The barrier has also had negative effects on freedom of movement, access to agricultural land and the indirect effects to employment and healthcare. The Israeli Supreme Court even says that it goes beyond these issues, "The injury is of far wider a scope. It strikes across the fabric of life of the entire population." The result of the better security position was actually an easing of the internal security aparatus in the West Bank: in 2010, there were only 14 checkpoints in the West Bank (vs. 528 in 2006) but all the aforementioned negatives are unlikely to be outweighed. 

Overall, the barrier has contributed to the reduction of terror attacks against Israelis. Its significance has declined since the reduction of the threat (which came about mainly through Israeli counter-terror operations and joint PA-Israel cooperation). It has had several negative effects. The solution should be improving the faults not removing the barrier itself. The constant appeals to the Supreme Court should be used to re-route the barrier which helps avoid many of these issues. The courts reasoning on the barrier should be implemented effectively:
We accept that the military commander cannot order the construction of the separation fence if his reasons are political. The separation fence cannot be motivated by a desire to "annex" territories to the State of Israel.. Indeed, the military commander of territory held in belligerent occupation must balance between the needs of the army on one hand, and the needs of the local inhabitants on the other.
And just two final points: it is not a “Wall,” and trying to label it as such is ignorant given that over 90% of it is a fence. Secondly, just a word on the rationale that is being defended: the role of the barrier is not to protect Israel, it is to protect Israelis. And to that end, the barrier should protect civilians who are in the illegal settlements in the West Bank. Indeed, there was a greater casualty drop between 2002 and 2004 for Israeli settlers than there were for Israelis within the Green Line (90% vs. 75%). Their illegal presence does not mean they should be left to the slaughter. Nor should it mean that their position is made sacrosanct by the route of the barrier - as the Supreme Court says it cannot be used to annex land. 

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Classical Liberalism and Harry Potter

I started reading the Harry Potter books as a child and grew up with them and read them as they came out. In all that time, I wouldn’t have predicted that it would be used a political tool. And this isn’t a bad thing; it’s fairly amusing. Foreign Policy has run their own, as has ThinkProgress. But, as I read both, I realised that the writers merely espoused their own beliefs. So I thought I’d have a go at it from my own classical liberal perspective.

Private organisations have the power to initiate change when the state fails to. In the books and the films, the state not only fails to address aggression, it becomes a puppet apparatus for the Dark Lord. He controls the ministry. Stalin Voldemort introduces government sanctioned programmes which include creating databases of half-bloods,  putting restrictions of the freedom of speech (including adding a ‘trace’ to anyone who utters his name) and includes a de facto government-run press. In contrast, it is a private organisation – the Order of the Phoneix – which persists in fighting the Dark Lord.

Choice is central: In almost all the books, choices of individuals are key. In the first book, Harry chooses to not to be in Slytherin and the hat respects his choice. Even wands’ choices are respected: when Harry picks up his wand he is told that that “wand chooses the wizard.” The result is that when a wand is coerced, it will not serve its owner adequately. The Imperius Curse which allows individuals to control others is an ‘Unforgiveable Curse’ – which would lead to a life sentence in Azkaban.

Meritocracy: Alyssa at ThinkProgress claims that a lesson of Harry Potter is that ‘inherited wealth can be corrupting.’ She gives the example of Draco but ignores the example of Harry himself who is left a large fortune (unbeknown to him). Harry’s first home was in bourgeois Godric’s Hollow: the same area where Dumbledore and even a successful author lived. This is of course leaving aside the fact that Draco’s mother is essential to Harry’s final ploy against Voldemort. Indeed, I would say that meritocracy is at the heart of the Wizarding World. Dumbledore even changes ‘help is available to those who ask for it’ to ‘those who deserve it.’  Both Ron and Harry come from a deprived upbringing, yet J.K Rowling says when they grow old

Harry and Ron utterly revolutionized the Auror Department,” Rowling said. “They are now the experts. It doesn’t matter how old they are or what else they’ve done.”

Indeed, part of the case against Voldemort is that he values blood over ability (his dislike for Muggle-born despite their abilities, for example). While the Ministry is run by the Dark Lord, positions are given based on nepotism and corruption (when Ron is disguised as a worker while infiltrating the Ministry, a Minister threatens his wife lest he fix the water damage in his office).

Entrepreneurship: Rowling also seems to value entrepreneurship: wands are supplied not the by government but by Olivanders, HSBC Gringotts is run by another species, Madam Malkin provides robes – and there are a whole host of other shops from Honydukes to Zonkos. The entrepreneurship of Fred and George allow them to set up their own prank shop. Underlying the availability of all these outlets is economic freedom, voluntary exchange and private property.

The folly of central planning; Voldemort arrogance leads him to believe that he can outmanoeuvre Harry. In contrast, each person fighting Voldemort brings their own bit of dispersed knowledge to help: Hermione’s use of spells, Ron’s realisation of the room of requirement, Harry’s parsletongue. Accepting that knowledge is dispersed allows Harry to question Olivander, learn from the ‘half-blood prince’, seek Griphook’s help. In the first book, Ron plays chess, Harry uses his Quiditch and Hermione uses her knowledge on herbology in getting to Professor Qurriel. In contrast, the politburo Voldemort deatheaters are merely servants, any advice given to him is rejected and often leads to people being killed. 

Individuality: John Stuart Mill valued the individual and his growth against the whims of the majority. In the Deathly Hallows (book), the idea of the ‘greater good’ associated with Dumbledore’s communist dark past and symbolises putting the collective first rather than the individual. The books are littered with tiny examples showing individuality and uniqueness: each person’s patronus has its own character that symbolises the individual, Luna’s eccentric behaviour even helps Harry.

Appeasement in the face of aggression, the Ministry falters and allows the threat of Voldemort to grow; Fudge first ignores that there is a clear and tangible threat as it grows. Voldemort and his followers use this time to recruit, to kill and cause havoc. This means that the state (the Ministry of Magic) cannot respond adequately. If Voldemort is Hitler, then Fudge is undoubtedly Chamberlain. Whats more apparent is that Voldemort hates Muggles and lesser wizard for who they are, not for what they do.  The use of force must be used to fight terror and any form of appeasement will merely spurn Al-Qaeda the Dark Lord.

Friday, 8 July 2011

The University of Life

Earlier in the year I attended an event at the London School of Economics about the academic boycott of Israeli academic institutions. The recording of the event is available on the LSE website here. The speaker who spoke for the academic boycott of Israel made various arguments. What emerged were a series of absurd arguments that could equally be applied to British universities. 

This attack is not to give legitimacy to any of the views of those who hold them, rather it is an internal deconstruction of their normative and moral consistency. I acknowledge that this will not deal with the issues of practicalities but only of principle. I will be referencing the Armed Force and the military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.  (My own opinion is in most cases the direct polar opposite: I support our Armed Forces and the direct material support our universities give to them in their operations in the Middle East.) The aim is to show that, unless these individuals advocate a boycott in principle, that there is a moral inconsistency in its application to Israel. Of course, the following argument applies only to those who have moral issues with the British military activities in Afghanistan, Iraq and wherever else. 

The argument presented was that universities give "ideologically and material support" to Israel's actions in the West Bank and Gaza, its military superiority which is used to oppress and kill Palestinians. Several examples of this were given through military research and development. The case study used was Tel Aviv University; geophysicists refine tunnel detection, computer scientists design robots, organic chemist help identify suspect, Zoologists train dogs for military use, mechanical engineers help improve aircraft etc. What Dr Chalcraft fails to note is that many of these things are present in British universities. 

Material Support

A study carried out by 'Study War No More' found that (.pdf)
Our research found that between 2001 and 2006, more than 1,900 military projects were conducted in the 26 UK universities covered by this report. In terms of income to these universities, we have estimated the total value of these projects to be a minimum of £725 million
As a counter case study to the Tel Aviv University, there is the University of Bristol: Bristol's Division of Farm Animal Science has recieved over £300,000 from the Defence Science & Technology Laboratory which works to "develop battle-winning technologies, based on deep and widespread research, supporting UK military operations now and in the future." Just as Tel Aviv University train and work with dogs for a military purpose, so does Bristol University. This is not to mention the inevitable funding for military research in engineering and communications which there is a "strong probability" of being used in combat missions.

Abi Haque of the Campaign Against Arms Trade has "no doubts" that the military funding has been used in Iraq and Afghanistan. And this funding is not just confined to the British military research by the Ministry of Defence; a large source of funding is the United States Army. Cambridge received over £250,000 from the United States Government. 

There are various academic institutions who work alongside the Atomic Weapons Establishment (the body responsible for the design and mafacturing of the UK's nuclear deterrent). Professor Stephen Jarvis of the University of Warwick has had four research projects with the AWE. Dr Venky Dubey of Bournemouth University recently took part in the "development of a multi-fingered robotic hand" for the AWE. 

And this does seem to be limited to material support for military, according to the report there are 'strong levels of influence of science, engineering and technology departments.' The report also asked 40 academics how they felt about the military funding, the conclusion was
Broadly speaking, the replies received present a liberal view ofthe university-military relationship. For example, when itcomes to the ethics of military research, many of theinterviewees emphasise the ‘personal conscience’ of theindividual scientist
Indeed, according to Dr. Chris Langley, university departments are pushing for the highly militaristic system:
Case studies of US and UK science and engineering programmes are used to describe the recent military-university partnerships which, it is contended, drive a high technology, weapons-dominated system... 
Hiring and Honouring

Chalcroft then goes on to discuss various other aspects which he says he doesn't have time to go into but merely lists them. Included in this are the fact that those who believe its okay to kill civilians and are part of the Zionist enterpreise are honoured and hired by Israeli institutions. Again, this is far from unique. These are just a few examples of the previous four professional heads of the British Army from 1997 to 2009. 

General Sir Roger Wheeler – Chief of the General Staff, head of the British Army 1997-2000: Honorary Fellow of Hertford College, University of Oxford

General Sir Michael Walker – Chief of the General Staff, head of the British Army 2000-2003: Honorary Graduate of Cranfield University.

General Sir Mike Jackson – Chief of the General Staff, head of the British Army 2003-2006 and had responsibility for force generation for Afghanistan and Iraq: Honorary Graduate from the University of Sheffield.

General Sir Richard Dannatt – Chief of the General Staff, head of the British Army 2006-2009, Commander-in-Chief, Land Command 2005-2006 and before which he was the Commander of the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (which planned for the military deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan): Honorary Doctorate in Civil Law from the Universities of Durham and Kent and in Technology from Anglia Ruskin University and Honorary Fellow of Hatfield College, Durham.

And if we’re going outside of the British military and just giving space to those who think its ‘okay to kill civilians’ then one need no go farther than the whole host of extremist speakers that have given talks across British universities including the current head of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Anwar Awalaki.  Indeed, just as one further example, Grote Professor Emeritus of the Philosophy of Mind and Logic at University College London, Ted, Honderich, has ludicrously written that 

‘Palestinians have a moral right to their terrorism within historic Palestine against neo-Zionism… Terrorism, as in this case, can as exactly be self-defence, a freedom struggle, martyrdom, the conclusion of an argument based on true humanity, etc.’

Other University Programmes 

A further aspect Chalcroft lists is the 'extensive institutionalised links, special privileges in the form of accelerated degree programmes, training programme for military personnel.' It should be obvious by now that this man either has complete ignorance of Western universities or is oblivious to them. Study War No More notes that military funding goes toward
student and staff sponsorship (e.g.studentships, chairs, bursaries, prizes, scholarships, fees andgrants), industrial placements, conferences, benefactions,consultancies, careers and graduate fairs, travel grants andteaching programmes
For a specific example, King's College London has a department called the Defence Studies Department which is
an integral part of the UK Joint Services Command and Staff College (JSCSC), which provides command and staff training at single-service, advanced and higher levels for the three Armed Services of the United Kingdom to a world class standard.. DSD staff also provide expert advice and academic leadership on study-tours to battlefields, and wider policy advice to the Ministry of Defence as part of the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom.
King's College London has "responsibility for academic support to military command and staff training." And this is not a rare occurence, Edinburgh University recieves money from the Ministry of Defence to pay for degrees. There are "collaborative research grants at UK universities with the EPSRC to the tune of £5 million per annum" collaborating on 153 research projects.

So it appears the British universities help advance military technology, provide programmes for security personnel and honour those who have helped lead the Armed Forces. This is not something to be shamed, this is something to be proud of. The major nexus between Israel and the UK is whether the military is doing something which should be encouraged - it has been accepted that the issue of moral consistency relies on whether someone takes a view that the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq are wrong. Of course, it is likely that someone may think British universities are not worthy of shunning because they support those wars. But, the key thing is that there are those who support Israel's action in the same way - and the way to change either of these views is through engagement. 

Saturday, 2 July 2011


There is a lot of nonsense about the War on Terror and there are a select group of people who seek to undermine Western actions at every corner. One of the many, many tidbits of nonsense that goes around these circles is the claim that the Taliban offered Bin Laden to the U.S and the U.S rejected it. Thus, the U.S never really cared about terrorism, they just wanted to go to war with Afghanistan. Noam Chomsky is part of this school of thought, as is Gareth Porter recently writing 
The Bush refusal to negotiate with the Taliban was in effect a free pass for bin Laden and his lieutenants, because the Bush administration had no plan of its own for apprehending bin Laden in Afghanistan.
They usually cite these reports: 
After a week of debilitating strikes at targets across Afghanistan, the Taliban repeated an offer to hand over Osama bin Laden, only to be rejected by President Bush... The offer yesterday from Haji Abdul Kabir, the Taliban's deputy prime minister, to surrender Mr bin Laden if America would halt its bombing and provide evidence against the Saudi-born dissident (The Independent, 15/10/2001)

This position is open to two sets of criticisms, both of which undermine the "offers" given by the Taliban. Firstly, the credibility of such offers is minimal for several reasons. The Taliban claimed that Bin Laden went "missing" before they then went on to offer him when faced with air strikes. The Taliban continued to speak with two voices, the highest echelons (Mullah Omar) rebuffing any indication saying in October "there was no move to hand anyone over" while the less senior officials like Muttawakil and Kabir needed "evidence" and would pass him over to a "third country" which would never "come under pressure from the United States." Even this offer is unreasonable given the British government published a dossier on Bin Laden's involvement in 9/11. 

And even this is being far too generous to the Taliban: they have a history of making "offers" which amount to nothing. The National Security Archives obtained a file which was written pre-9/11 which documents talks with the Taliban on Bin Laden:
In our talks we have stressed that UBL has murders Americans and continues to plan attack against Americans and others and that we cannot ignore this threat... These talks have been fruitless. The Taliban said that they want a solution but that cannot comply with UNSCRs [United Nations Security Council Resolutions that demand his expulsion from Afghanistan]. In October 1999 the Taliban suggested several “solutions” including a UBL trial by a panel of Islamic scholars... Taliban consistently maintained that UBL’s activities are restricted despite all evidence to the contrary. Often our discussions have been followed by Taliban declaration that no evidence exists against UBL
This all sounds very familiar but these talks did not concern 9/11 but the other attacks Bin Laden carried out against Americans pre-9/11. At this stage it should be sufficient to say that the Taliban have a track record of dilly-dallying but there's more. Evidence was consistently rejected by the Taliban: 
On May 27, in Islamabad, Undersecretary Pickering gave Taliban Deputy Foreign Minister Jalil a point-by-point outline of the information tying UBL to the 1998 embassy bombings... The Taliban subsequently rejected this evidence.
This is also the conclusion of the British government:
[In June 2001] Despite the evidence provided by the US of the responsibility of Usama Bin Laden and Al Qaida for the 1998 East Africa bombings, despite the accurately perceived threats of further atrocities, and despite the demands of the United Nations, the Taleban's regime responded by saying no evidence existed against Usama Bin Laden, and that neither he nor his network would be expelled.
Sometimes they just refused to respond to the USG (e.g. Sept. 29, 2000, October, 2000). The result is that the U.S approached the Taliban to expel Bin Laden 30 times before 9/11 to no avail. This in spite of repeated "negotiations," and demands not just from the USG but from the United Nations Security Council. Even the Bush administration tried three times in 2000 to no avail. In sum, we had multiple voices speaking out on something that the Taliban regime was clearly not serious about and had avoided. It is no surprise that the USG did not take seriously calls for evidence or negotiations: they completely lacked credibility. 


Secondly, even accepting entirely that Bin Laden would have been handed over and bought to justice; this is just simply not enough. The Bush administration had several legitimate demands and only one of them was dubiously addressed by the Taliban regime.
Bush's demands include turning over not only bin Laden, but all members of his al Qaeda network. The United States has also urged Afghanistan to close all terrorist training camps, give the U.S. access to those camps and release eight Western aid workers accused of trying to convert Muslims to Christianity. (CNN, 07/10/2001, BBC, 14/10/2001)
This was made explicitly clear by Colin Powell in his interview with NBC's Meet the Press, 12 days after 9/11:
And even if we were to get Osama bin Laden tomorrow, he showed up turned over to us, that would be good, but it would not be the end. It's his lieutenants we have to get, it's the whole network that has to be ripped up. We can't take out the head and have the tail and other parts of it laying around waiting. (Washington Post, 23/09/2001)
Whats funny about this point is that often the same people who say that Bin Laden is 'just a figurehead' or is a 'myth' that has been created by the West to fight wars are often the ones making the argument that the U.S rejected Bin Laden being handed over - and they fail to see the irony.