Sunday, September 27, 2009

Police Brutality in Pittsburgh after the G20

Sunday, May 03, 2009

The seventh tower

How, not why, did World War Three start?

We are not talking about conspiracy theories, absolutely not. We are talking about elementary physics and chemical processes, Newton's laws, gravity, the melting point of steel, and the like.

The World Trade Center was a complex made up of several buildings. The best-known, of course, were the two towers, WTC1 and WTC2. Together with five other smaller buildings – numbered 3, 4, 5 and 6 – they formed a perimeter around a central plaza. On the far side of building 6, over 100 metres from the North Tower (WTC1), was building seven (WTC7). It was a very large 47-storey office building.

The two towers collapsed on 11 September 2001, after each was struck by an airplane. Everyone on the globe who had access to a television set has seen the dramatic and tragic images. However, to this day, only very few people are aware of the existence of WTC7 or its fate. This building was not hit by any airplane, but still collapsed seven hours after the towers. This feature article is about that event.

WTC7 was built around a core of 24 massive steel columns, connected by an asymmetric pattern of steel cross beams. The building periphery was made up of 57 smaller columns. There was enough redundant capacity in the design to handle loads several times greater than foreseeable loads from hurricanes or earthquakes, etc.

The collapse of the nearest tower, WTC1, caused damage to the lower floors in the southwest corner of WTC7. Building debris from the high tower and large amounts of dust poured in through the windows. Randomly distributed fires then broke out on other lower floors in the building. One of the other buildings in the complex, WTC5, was much more seriously damaged by the collapse of WTC1, but the rest of the structure remained standing.

WTC7 did not. After the building had smouldered for seven hours, it collapsed, perfectly symmetrically. It was quite literally levelled, and ended up as a pile that was basically confined to its footprint. The process took 6.4 seconds, which is equivalent to "free fall". If you had stood on the 47th floor and thrown an apple out the window at the exact moment the collapse began, your apple would have hit the ground at the same time as the roof.

How could it happen?
In the hours following the airplane strikes on the two towers, a global myth began to spread that the World Trade Centre collapsed due to fire and mechanical damage.

The only problem is that no steel structure has ever before collapsed due to fire, it is historically unprecedented. Over 400 cases of fire in that type of skyscraper are known prior to 2001, and none have collapsed. Not one.

During a well-known tower fire in Madrid (2005), the whole building was engulfed in an inferno of flames for 24 hours. It remained standing. We classify combustion based on how much oxygen is being supplied. In a Bunsen burner or a welding torch, air and oxygen are mixed with the gas prior to entering the combustion zone. Rather high temperatures can be reached, as can be witnessed in a welding torch. But when something burns on its surface, preventing access to large quantities of oxygen, as in the case of normal surface fires, the temperature is typically limited to 500-650° C.

The fires in the WTC1 and WTC2 towers were oxygen-starved fires of this nature, as could be seen from the large quantities of black smoke. The jet fuel was burned up within a few minutes, and the temperature would never have exceeded 650° C. This is true no matter how much jet fuel there was. It is also difficult to achieve high local temperatures in a steel structure, because the heat is conducted away and spread throughout the whole structure. According to official computer simulations, no components of the towers reached temperatures above 600° C.

Steel melts at 1,500° C, but begins to soften at around 425° C. Half of the structural strength has been lost at 650° C, and the steel begins to glow red. But even if only half of the structural strength remains, the structure can easily bear two or three times the load. It is only at 800° C that the structure would being to break down.

The fact that steel doesn't easily melt is something we should all be thankful for in our daily lives. Otherwise, your domestic oven would end up as a lump of cast iron, and frying sausages over a gas flame could also lead to unpleasant consequences. And if it was possible to bring down skyscrapers by setting fire to some office furniture, you could patent the method and set up a very profitable demolition business.

There is therefore no scientific precedent that justifies pointing to commonplace fires as a possible explanation for the collapse of WTC7.

Surely then, the explanation must be that the enormous weight of the debris from the collapse of towers WTC1 and WTC2 damaged the building or its foundations to such an extent that it collapsed?

After a delay of seven hours?

The WTC collapse
When tall buildings are exposed to extreme earthquakes, they tip over as they fall. If there is enough room, they sometimes tip right onto their sides. WTC7 collapsed exactly like a house of cards. If the fires or damage in one corner had played a decisive role, the building would have fallen in that direction. You don't have to be a woodcutter to grasp this..

It therefore wasn't damage to the foundations that caused WTC7 to collapse.

Two official explanations of the events in Manhattan on 11 September have been put forward by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST).

In the final FEMA report, WTC7 is hardly mentioned. They note that there were fires in the building, but do not attempt to explain the collapse.

The final NIST report was released in September 2005, but the section covering WTC7 was left out, with the promise that a final version would be released later. Publication has been delayed several times, and we are still waiting for it.

In a draft summary of the WTC7 report from April 2005, NIST admits that they have only worked using the hypothesis that the collapse of WTC7 was a "normal" collapse. They try to make a case for this by presenting a diagram in which a bearing column is purportedly destroyed by the fires and the mechanical damage seven hours earlier. The vertical collapse of this column is supposed to have pulled the structure apart horizontally, after which the building collapsed in one synchronous movement.

The NIST report simply presents this hypothetical sequence of events. The authors do not go to the trouble of actually claiming that this is what happened.

In other words, we should picture a huge steel grid 47-storeys high, in which one of the vertical steel girders is torn asunder. It is difficult to reconcile this mental picture with the video recordings of the collapse available on the Internet.

NIST actually took the sensible step of engaging a company to construct models of the steel structure in the two towers. The models were then exposed to fires and damage. Even though temperatures were used which were significantly higher than what could have resulted from the attack, they were unable to provoke a collapse. The models remained standing. NIST chose, however, to ignore this result.

The attack on the World Trade Center was a tragedy for the people in the towers and in the airplanes, and a tragedy for their families. It also marked the beginning of the tragic war on terror. The current trends in Western society towards greater surveillance and the loss of civil rights can also only be called tragic.

If we have also been lied to, the tragedy is complete.

How did WTC7 collapse? We are not asking 'why'. This is no conspiracy theory. There is no burden of proof on us. Some extremely simple observations have been made, and we want to hear an official explanation that is consistent with elementary physics and chemistry, and common sense.

If you want to investigate the conditions described above, you won't find anything in the media. But Google something like 'WTC7' and you will find a flood of information. There are tens of thousands of people who have a feeling something is wrong.

But there is not a word about it in the media.

Niels Harrit has been Associate Professor at the Department of Chemistry, University of Copenhagen, for 37 years. This is a translation of a feature article printed in the Danish Newspaper, Information, on 31 March 2007.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Possible Motives Of The Bush Administration

By Dr. David Ray Griffin

The 9/11 Commission understood that its mandate, as we have seen, was to provide "the fullest possible account" of the "facts and circumstances" surrounding 9/11. Included in those facts and circumstances are ones that, according to some critics of the official account of 9/11, provide evidence that the Bush administration intentionally allowed the attacks of 9/11. Some critics have even suggested that the Bush administration actively helped the attacks succeed. In light of the fact that several books have been written propounding such views, including some in English, the Commission's staff, given its "exacting investigative work," would surely have discovered such books. Or if not, the staff would at least have known about a front-page story on this topic in the Wall Street Journal. Readers of this story learned not only that a poll showed that 20 percent of the German population believed the "U.S. government ordered the attacks itself" but also that similar views were held in some other European countries. Also, as we saw in the Introduction, polls show that significant percentages of Americans and Canadians believe that the US Government deliberately allowed the attacks to happen, with some of those believing the Bush administration actually planned the attacks. Knowing that such information is available and such views are held, the Commission, we would assume, would have felt called upon to respond to these suspicions.

An adequate response would contain at least the following elements: (1) an acknowledgment that these suspicions exist; (2) a summary of the main kinds of reports and alleged facts cited as evidence by those who have promoted these suspicions; and (3) an explanation of why these reports and alleged facts do not really constitute evidence for complicity by the Bush administration.

Finally, the persistence and widespread documentation of these allegations means that an adequate response would need to consider (if only to debunk) the motives that some critics have alleged the Bush administration would have had for facilitating the 9/11 attacks just as the Commission properly looked at motives that Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda organizations may have had for planning the attacks. For many Americans, of course even considering the possibility that their own government might have had motives for facilitating such attacks would not be pleasant. But an account, if it is to be the fullest possible account, cannot decide in advance to restrict itself to the ideas that are pleasant.

In this chapter, accordingly, we will look at The 9/11 Commission Report from this perspective, asking how it has responded to the fact that some critics of the official account have alleged that the Bush administration would have had several motives for allowing the attacks and even helping them succeed.

The 9/11 Attacks As "Opportunities"

One way to approach this question would be to ask whether these attacks brought benefits to this administration that could reasonably have been anticipated.

There is no doubt that the attacks brought benefits. Indeed, several members of the Bush administration publicly said so. The president himself declared that the attacks provide "a great opportunity." Donald Rumsfeld stated that 9/11 created "the kind of opportunities that World War II offered, to refashion the world." Condoleeza Rice had said the same thing in mind, telling senior members of the National Security Council to "think about 'how do you capitalize on these opportunities' to fundamentally change...the shape of the world." The National Security Strategy of the United States of America, issued by the Bush administration in September 2002, said: "The events of September 11, 2001, opened vast, new opportunities."

Of course, the fact that these members of the Bush administration described attacks as opportunities after the fact does not necessarily mean that they could have anticipated in advance that attacks of this nature would bring such opportunities. However, all of these statements, except for the last one, were made shortly after 9/11. If the benefits could be seen so soon after the attacks, we can assume that, if these people were thinking about such attacks ahead of time, they could have anticipated that they would create these opportunities.

It would seem, therefore, that the Bush administration's description of the attacks as providing opportunities, along with the fact that at least some of these opportunities could have been anticipated, were important parts of the "events surrounding 9/11" that "the fullest possible account" would have included. These descriptions of the attacks of 9/11 as opportunities, however, are not mentioned in The 9/11 Commission Report.

In any case, the idea that members of the Bush administration could have anticipated benefits from catastrophic attacks of the type that occurred on 9/11 does not rest entirely on inference from the fact that the attacks were seen as opportunities immediately after 9/11. Critics have referred to a pre-9/11 document that speaks of benefits that could accrue from catastrophic attacks. We need to see how the Commission responded to this part of the facts and circumstances surrounding 9/11.

"A New Pearl Harbor" To Advance The Pax Americana

In the fall of 2000, a year before 9/11, a document entitled Rebuilding America's Defenses was published by an organization calling itself the Project for the New American Century (PNAC). This organization was formed by individuals who were members or at least supporters of the Reagan and Bush I administration, some of whom would go on to be central figures in the Bush II administration. These individuals include Richard Armitage, John Bolton, Dick Cheney, Zalmay Khalilzad (closely associated with Paul Wolfowitz), Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Richard Perle, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, and James Woolsey. Libby (now Cheney's chief of staff) and Wolfowitz (now Rumsfeld's deputy) are listed as having participated directly in the project to produce Rebuilding America's Defenses. Interestingly, John Lehman, a member of the 9/11 Commission, has been a member of the PNAC or at least publicly aligned with it.

This PNAC document, after bemoaning the fact that spending for military purposes no longer captured as much of the US budget as it once did, argues that it is necessary for defense spending to be greatly increased if the "American peace is to be maintained, and expanded," because this Pax Americana "must have a secure foundation on unquestioned U.S. military preeminence." The way to acquire and retain such military preeminence is to take full advantage of the "revolution in military affairs" made possible by technological advances. Bring about this transformation of US military forces will, however, probably be a long, slow process, partly because it will be very expensive. However, the document suggests, the process could occur more quickly if America suffered "some catastrophic and catalyzing event ? like a new Pearl Harbor." This statement, we would think, should have gotten the attention of some members of the 9/11 Commission.

After the 9/11 attacks came, moreover, the idea that they constituted a new Pearl Harbor was expressed by the president and some of his supporters. At the end of that very day, President Bush reportedly wrote in his diary: "The Pearl Harbor of the 21st century took place today." Also, minutes after the president's address to the nation earlier that day. Henry Kissinger posted an online article in which he said: "The government should be charged with a systematic response that, one hopes, will end the way the attack on Pearl Harbor ended ? with the destruction of the system that is responsible for it."

One might think that the existence of these statements would have been perceived by the 9/11 Commission as part of the relevant "events surrounding 9/11" that should be included in "the fullest possible account." But there is no mention of any of these statements on any of the 567 pages of the Kean-Zelikow Report.

Those pages are largely filled ? in line with the Commission's unquestioned assumption ? with discussions of Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda, Islamic terrorism more generally, and American responses thereto. Then, after the Commission had disbanded, its staff released another 155-page report on al-Qaeda financing.12 These matters were obviously considered essential for understand-ing the "facts and circumstances relating to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001."

But the fact that individuals who are central members and supporters of the Bush-Cheney administration endorsed a document indicating that "a new Pearl Harbor" would be helpful for furthering its aims; that some supporters of this administration and even the president himself then compared the 9/11 attacks to the Pearl Harbor attacks; and that several members of this administration said that 9/11 provided "opportunities" ? this complex fact was not thought worthy of a single sentence in the Commission's "fullest possible account." Indeed, the Commission's report does not even mention the Project for the New American Century.

Generating Funds For The US Space Command

One dimension of the "revolution in military affairs" discussed in the PNAC document is so important as to deserve separate treatment. This dimension is the militarization of space, which is now the province of a new branch of the American military, the US Space Command.

The purpose of this branch is to bring about "full spectrum dominance." The idea is that the US military, with its air force, army, and navy, is already dominant in the air and on land and sea. The US Space Command will now ensure dominance in space. "Vision for 2020," a document published by the US Space Command, puts it thus: "The emerging synergy of space superiority with land, sea, and air superiority, will lead to Full Spectrum Dominance."

The government's description of spending for the US Space Command as spending for "missile defense" makes its mission sound purely defensive ? augmenting "homeland security" by defending the United States from missile attacks. The mission statement in "Vision for 2020," however, states: "U.S. Space Command ? dominating the space dimension of military operations to protect US interests and investment." Its primary purpose, in other words, is not to protect the American homeland but to protect American investments abroad. Such protection will be needed, it says, because "the globalization of the world economy will continue with a widening between 'haves' and 'have-nots.'" The mission of the US Space Command, it is clear, is to protect the American "haves" from the world's "have-nots," as American-led globalization leaves these "have-nots" with even less.

The 9/11 Commission, however, makes no mention of the US Space Command's program and mission. To understand the full significance of this omission, it is necessary to understand that its program involves three parts. The first part involves space-based surveillance technology, through which US military leaders can identify enemies of US forces anywhere on the planet.

The second part involves putting up space weapons, such as laser cannons, with which the United States will be able to destroy the satellites of other countries. "Vision for 2020" frankly states its desire to be able "to deny others the use of space."

The third part of the program is usually called, the "missile defense shield," but its purpose, like that of the first two parts, is offensive.

As Rebuilding America's Defenses said (in a passage called "a remarkable admission" by Rahul Mahajan):

In the post-Cold-War era. America and its allies...have become the primary objects of deterrence and it is states like Iraq, Iran and North Korea who most wish to develop deterrent capabilities. Projecting conventional military forces... will be far more complex and constrained when the American subject to attack by otherwise weak rogue regimes capable of cobbling together a minuscule ballistic missile force. Building an effective...system of missile defenses is a prerequisite for maintaining American preeminence.

The purpose of the "missile defense shield," in other words, is not to deter other countries from launching a first strike against the United States. Its purpose is to prevent other countries from being able to deter the United States from launching a first strike against them.

The major impediment to making this program operational is that it will be extremely expensive. According to one expert, it will require over $1 trillion from American taxpayers. The difficulty of getting Congress and the American people to pony up was the main reason for the PNAC document's statement that the desired transformation will take a long time "absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event ? like a New Pearl Harbor."

In omitting any mention of this project for achieving global domination, therefore, the 9/11 Commission omitted a project so big that some of its backers, we can imagine, may have been able to rationalize an attack taking a few thousand American lives, if such an attack seemed necessary to get adequate funding for this project.

Donald Rumsfeld, as we saw, was a member of PNAC when it produced its document. He was also chairman of the Commission to Assess US National Security Space Management and Organization.21 The task of this commission ? commonly known as the "Rumsfeld Commission" ? was to make proposals with regard to the US Space Command. After making various proposals that would "increase the asymmetry between U.S. forces and those of other military powers," the Rumsfeld Commission Report said that, because its proposals would cost a lot of money and involve significant reorganization, they would probably encounter strong resistance. But, the report ? which was issued January 7, 2001 ? said:

The question is whether the U.S. will be wise enough to act responsibly and soon enough to reduce U.S. space vulnerability. Or whether, as in the past, a disabling attack against the country and its people ? a "Space Pearl Harbor" ? will be the only event able to galvanize the nation and cause the U.S. Government to act.

In speaking of a "Space Pearl Harbor," the report meant an attack on its military satellites in space. The 9/11 attacks were obviously not of this nature. It is interesting, nevertheless, that only a few months after PNAC had issued its statement about "a new Pearl Harbor," the Rumsfeld Commission also pointed out that a Pearl Harbor type of attack might be needed to "galvanize the nation."

When the new Pearl Harbor came, Rumsfeld, having been made secretary of defense, was in position to use it to get more money for the US Space Command. Before TV cameras on the evening of 9/11 itself, Rumsfeld said to Senator Carl Levin, then chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee:

Senator Levin, you and other Democrats in Congress have voiced fear that you simply don't have enough money for the large increase in defense that the Pentagon is seeking, especially for missile defense...Does this sort of thing convince you that an emergency exists in this country to increase defense spending, to dip into Social Security, if necessary, to pay for defense spending ? increase defense spending?

Earlier that day, the Pentagon, which by then had been under Rumsfeld's leadership for almost seven months, failed to prevent airplane attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon itself. Now that very evening Rumsfeld was using the success of those attacks to get more money from Congress for the Pentagon and, in particular, for the US Space Command. One might think that this rather remarkable coincidence would have gotten the attention of the 9/11 Commission, because it suggests that the secretary of defense may not have wanted to prevent this "new Pearl Harbor." But the Commission's report, focusing exclusively on al-Qaeda terrorists, makes no mention of this possible motive.

Rumsfeld was, moreover, not the only person highly committed to promoting the US Space Command who was in charge of military affairs on 9/11. Another was General Ralph E. Eberhart, the current head of the US Space Command, who is also the commander of NORAD. General Richard Myers, the former head of the US Space Command, was on 9/11 the Acting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Of Staff.

A truly "independent" and "impartial" commission would surely comment on this remarkable coincidence ? that three of the men in charge of the US military response on 9/11 were outspoken advocates of the US Space Command, that the US military under their control failed to prevent the attacks, and that one of these men then used the success of the attacks to obtain billions of dollars more for this branch of the military.

Coincidence does not, of course, prove complicity. Sometimes when events coincide in an improbable way, the coincidence is exactly what the term has generally come to mean; simply coincidental. It is well know, however, that after a crime the first question to be asked is cui bono? ? who benefits? A truly independent commission would at least have proceeded on the assumption that Rumsfeld, Myers, and Eberhart had to be regarded as possible suspects, whose actions that day were to be rigorously investigated. Instead, the testimonies of these three men were treated as unquestionable sources of truth as to what really happened ? despite, as we will see later, the contradictions in their stories.

The Plan To Attack Afghanistan

Critics have alleged that another possible motive on the part of the Bush administration was its desire to attack Afghanistan so as to replace the Taliban with a US-friendly government in order to further US economic and geopolitical aims.

The 9/11 Commission does recognize that the US war in Afghanistan ? which began on October 7, less than a month after 9/11 ? was a war to produce "regime change". According to the Commission, however, the United States wanted to change the regime because the Taliban, besides being incapable of providing peace by ending the civil war, was perpetrating human rights abuses and providing a "safe haven" for al-Qaeda. In limiting the US motives to these, however, the Commission ignored abundant evidence that the motives were more complex, more self-interested, and more ambitious.

At the center of these motives was the desire to enable the building of a multibillion dollar pipeline route by a consortium known as CentGas (Central Asia Gas Pipeline), which was formed by US oil giant Unocal. The planned route would bring oil and gas from the land-locked Caspian region, with its enormous reserves, to the sea through Afghanistan and Pakistan. By 2001, the Taliban had come to be perceived as an obstacle to this project.

The Taliban was originally supported by the United States, working together with Pakistan's ISI. The pipeline project had become the crucial issue in what Ahmed Rashid in 1997 dubbed "The New Great Game."26 One issue in this game was who would construct the pipeline route ? the Unocal-dominated CentGas Consortium or Argentina's Bridas Corporation. The other issue was which countries the route would go through. The United States promoted Unocal and backed its plan to build the route through Afghanistan and Pakistan, since this route would avoid both Iran and Russia. The main obstacle to this plan was the civil war that had been going on in Afghanistan since the withdrawal of the Soviet Union in 1989. The US government supported the Taliban in the late 1990s on the basis of hope that it would be able to unify the country through its military strength and then provide a stable government.

The centrality of this issue is shown by the title Rashid gave to two of his chapters: "Romancing the Taliban: The Battle for Pipelines."28 With regard to the United States in particular, Rashid says that "the strategy over pipelines had become the driving force behind Washington's interest in the Taliban." However, although the Kean-Zelikow Commission cites Rashid's well-known book several times, it makes no reference to his discussion of the centrality of the pipelines to Washington's perspective.

From reading the Commission's report, in fact, one would never suspect that "pipeline war" (as it became called) was a major US concern. The pipeline project in general and Unocal in particular are mentioned in only one paragraph (along with its accompanying note). And the Commission here suggests that the US State Department was interested in Unocal's pipeline project only insofar as "the prospect of shared pipeline profits might lure faction leaders to a conference table". The United States, in other words, regarded the pipeline project only as a means to peace. That may indeed have been the view of some of the American participants. But the dominant hope within Unocal and the US government was that the Taliban would bring peace by defeating its opponents, primarily Ahmad Shah Masood ? after which the US government and the United Nations would recognize the Taliban as the government of Afghanistan, which in turn would allow Unocal to get the loans it would need to finance the project.

The Commission's report, by contrast, suggests that neither the US government nor Unocal took the side of the Taliban in the civil war. The Commission tells us that Marty Miller, who had been in charge of the pipeline project for Unocal, "denied working exclusively with the Taliban and told us that his company sought to work with all Afghan factions to bring about the necessary stability to proceed with the project". As is often the case, the Commission's "exacting investigative work" consisted primarily of interviewing people and recording their answers. Had the Commission consulted Steve Coll's Ghost Wars, which the Commission quotes elsewhere, it could have learned that although "Marty Miller insisted publicly that Unocal remained 'fanatically neutral' about Afghan politics, " in reality "Marty Miller and his colleagues hoped the Taliban takeover of Kabul would speed their pipeline negotiations." Coll is here referring to September 1996, when the Taliban, heavily financed by Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, took over Kabul, the capital, by forcing Masood to flee. As soon as this occurred, Rashid reports, a Unocal executive "told wire agencies that the pipeline project would be easier to implement now that the Taliban had capture Kabul." We are again left wondering if the Kean-Zelikow Commission's research was simply inadequate or if it deliberately left out information that did not fit its narrative.

There is a similar problem with the Commission's statement about US neutrality. The Commission says flatly: "U.S. diplomats did not favor the Taliban over the rival factions but were simply willing to 'give the Taliban a chance'". Interviews are again the only support offered. Had the Commission consulted Rashid's book on this issue, it would have read that the United States "accepted the ISI's analysis...that a Taliban victory in Afghanistan would make Unocal's job much easier." Rashid also reports that "within house of Kabul's capture by the Taliban" ? when much of the country still remained under the control of other factions ? "the US State Department announced it would establish diplomatic relations with the Taliban." The lack of US neutrality is likewise shown by Steve Coll, who says: "The State Department had taken up Unocal's agenda as its own" ? which meant, of course, support for the Taliban.35

Rashid, summarizing the situation, says that "the US-Unocal partnership was backing the Taliban and wanted an all-out Taliban victory ? even as the US and Unocal claimed they had no favourites in Afghanistan."36 The Kean-Zelikow Commission, by contrast, simply gives us public relations statements of some of the US and Unocal actors, repeated in recent interviews, as actual history.

Why is it important to point out this distortion? Because the Commission's portrayal of US interests in Afghanistan suggests that the United States had no imperialistic or crass material interests in the area ? the kind of interests that might lead a government to devise a pretext for going to war. This issue becomes more important as we move to the point in the story at which the United States comes to think of the Taliban as an obstacle rather than a vehicle of the Unocal (CEntGas) pipeline project.

In July 1998, the Taliban, after having failed in 1997 to take the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, finally succeeded, giving it control of most of Afghanistan, including the entire pipeline route. After this victory CentGas immediately announced that it was "ready to proceed." Shortly thereafter, however, the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were blown up, leading the United States to launch cruse missile strikes against OBL's camps in Afghanistan. These and related developments led Unocal to withdraw from CentGas, convinced that Afghanistan under the Taliban would never have the peace and stability needed for the pipeline project.38 Rashid, finishing his book in mid-1999, wrote that the Clinton Administration had shifted its support to the pipeline route from Azerbaijan through Georgia to Turkey, adding that "by now nobody wanted to touch Afghanistan and the Taliban."

When the Bush administration came to power, however, it decided to give the Taliban one last chance. This last chance occurred at a four-day meeting in Berlin in July 2001, which would need to be mentioned in any realistic account of how the US war in Afghanistan came about. According to the Pakistani representative at this meeting, Niaz Naik, US representatives, trying to convince the Taliban to share power with US-friendly factions, said: "Either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs." Naik said that he was told by Americans that "military action against Afghanistan would go ahead...before the snows started falling in Afghanistan, by the middle of October at the latest." The US attack on Afghanistan began, in fact, on October 7, which was as soon as the US military could get ready after 9/11.

The 9/11 Commission's discussion of what transpired in July is much milder. Some members of the Bush administration, we are told, were "moving toward agreement that some last effort should be made to convince the Taliban to shift position and then, if that failed,...the United States would try covert action to topple the Taliban's leadership from within". There is no mention of Niaz Naik or the meeting in Berlin. The Commission's reference to the fact that the United States wanted the Taliban to "shift position" does not mention that this shift involved not simply turning over OBL but joining a "unity government" that would allow Unocal's pipeline project to go forward. Nor does the Commission mention the statement by US officials that if the Taliban refused, the United States would use military force (not merely covert action). And yet all this information was available in books and newspapers articles that the Commission's staff should have been able to locate.

In any case, there was still further evidence, ignored by the Commission, that the US war against the Taliban was related more to the pipeline project than to 9/11. For one thing, President Bush's special envoy to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad (mentioned previously as a member of PNAC), and the new Prime Minister, Hamid Karzai, were previously on Unocal's payroll. As Chalmers Johnson wrote: "The continued collaboration of Khalilzad and Karzai in post-9/11 Afghanistan strongly suggests that the Bush administration was and remains as interested in oil as in terrorism in that region."43 As early as October 10, moreover, the US Department of State had informed the Pakistani Minister of Oil that "in view of recent geopolitical developments," Unocal was again ready to go ahead with the pipeline project.44 Finally, as one Israeli writer put it: "If one looks at the map of the big American bases created, one is struck by the fact that they are completely identical to the route of the projected oil pipeline to the Indian Ocean."

There is considerable evidence, therefore, that, in Chalmer Johnson's words, "Support for [the dual oil and gas pipelines from Turkmenistan south through Afghanistan to the Arabian Sea coast of Pakistan] appears to have been a major consideration in the Bush administration's decision to attack Afghanistan on October 7, 2001" ? a point that Johnson makes apart from any allegation that the Bush administration orchestrated the attacks of 9/11. But the 9/11 Commission does not even mention the fact that many people share Johnson's view, according to which the US war in Afghanistan was motivated by a concern much larger than those mentioned by the Commission.

This larger concern, furthermore, "was not just to make money," suggests Johnson, "but to establish an American presence in Central Asia." Evidence for this view is provided by the fact that the United States, besides establishing long-term bases in Afghanistan, had within a month after 9/11 arranged for long-term bases in Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan.47 The United States could thereby be seen to be carrying out the prescription of Zbigniew Brzezinski in his 1997 book, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives, in which he portrayed Central Asia, with its vast oil reserves, as the key to world power. Brzezinksi, who had been the National Security Advisor in the Carter administration, argued that America, to ensure its continued "primacy," must get control of this region. The Bush administration's use of 9/11 to establish bases in several countries in this region provided an essential step in that direction. In The 9/11 Commission Report, however, there is no hint of this development. The United States simply wanted to stop the war, bring an end to the Taliban's human rights abuses, and prevent Afghanistan from being used as a haven for terrorists. In the world of the Kean-Zelikow Commission, the United States had no larger ambitions.

The omission of Brzezinksi's book means, furthermore, the omission of an earlier suggestion that a new Pearl Harbor could be helpful. Brzezinski, having argued that the present "window of historical opportunity for America's constructive exploitation of its global power could prove to be relatively brief," bemoans the fact that the American public might be unwilling to use its power for imperial purposes. The problem according to Brzezinski's analysis, is that:

America is too democratic at home to be autocratic abroad. This limits the use of America's power, especially its capacity for military intimidation...The economic self-denial (that is, defense spending) and the human sacrifice (casualities even among professional soldiers) required in the effort are uncongenial to democratic instincts. Democracy is inimical to imperial mobilization.

Brzezinski suggests, however, that this weakness in democracy can be overcome. Having said that "the pursuit of power is not a goal that commands popular passion," he then adds: "except in conditions of a sudden threat or challenge to the public's sense of domestic well being."

What would make the American public willing to make the economic and human sacrifices needed for "imperial mobilization," he suggests, would be "a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat." This passage, near the end of the book, is parallel to an earlier passage, in which Brzezinski said that the public was willing to support "America's engagement in World War II largely because of the shock effect of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor." A new Pearl Harbor would, accordingly, allow America to ensure its continued primacy by gaining control of Central Asia.

In deciding which events belonged to the category of "events surrounding 9/11"a ? meaning events relevant to understanding why and how the attacks of 9/11 occurred ? the Commission chose to include OBL's 1998 statement that Muslims should kill Americans. That was considered obviously relevant. But the 9/11 Commission did not include Brzezinski's 1997 suggestion that a new Pearl Harbor would prod Americans to support the increased money for the military needed to support imperial mobilization ? even though the Commission points out that 9/11 had exactly the result that Brzezinski predicted saying:

The nation has committed enormous resources to national security and to countering terrorism. Between fiscal year 2001, the last budget adopted before 9/11, and the present fiscal year 2004, total federal spending on defense (including expenditures on both Iraq and Afghanistan), homeland security, and international affairs rose more than 50 percent, from $345 billion to about $547 billion. The United States has not experienced such a rapid surge in national security spending since the Korean War.

But the Commissioners evidently thought it too much of a stretch to ask whether motive might be inferred from effect.

We see again how the Commission's unquestioned assumption ? that the 9/11 attacks were planned and executed entirely by al-Qaeda under the guidance of Osama bin Laden ? determined in advance its selection of which events constituted "events surrounding 9/11." In line with this assumption, the 9/11 Commission has given us an extremely simplistic picture of US motivations behind the attack on Afghanistan. The Commission has, in particular, omitted all those facts suggesting that 9/11 was more the pretext than the basis for the war in Afghanistan.

The Plan To Attack Iraq

The Bush administration's attack on Iraq in 2003 is probably the issue on which the 9/11 Commission has been regarded as the most critical, stating that it found no evidence of "collaborative operational relationship" between OBL and Saddam Hussein's Iraq and no evidence, in particular, "that Iraq cooperated with al Qaeda in developing or carrying out any attacks against the United States". This statement, released in a staff report about a month before the publication of the final report, created much discussion in the press. The quantity and the intensity of this discussion was increased by the fact that the president and especially the vice president reacted strongly, with the latter calling "outrageous" a front-page story in the New York Times headed "Panel Finds No Qaeda-Iraq Tie." The resulting commentary ranged from William Safire's column, in which he lashed out at the Commission's chairman and vice chairman for letting themselves be "jerked around by a manipulative staff," to a New York Times story headed "Political Uproar: 9/11 Panel Members Debate Qaeda-Iraq 'Tie,'" to Joe Conason's article entitled "9/11 Panel Becomes Cheney's Nightmare."

This commentary gave the appearance that the 9/11 Commission, perhaps especially its staff, was truly independent, telling the truth no matter how embarrassing it might be to the White House. That, of course, was mere appearance. Nevertheless, given the fact that Bush and Cheney continued to insist on the existence of ties between Iraq and al-Qaeda, the Commission did in this case report something contrary to the public position of the White House.

The Commission was furthermore, forthcoming about the extent to which certain members of the Bush administration pushed for attacking Iraq immediately after 9/11. It pointed out that Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld instructed General Myers to find out as much as he could about Saddam Hussein's possible responsibility for 9/11. It also cited a report according to which, at the first session at Camp David after 9/11, Rumsfeld began by asking what should be done about Iraq. The Commission even portrayed Rumsfeld's deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, as arguing that Saddam should be attacked even if there were only a 10 percent chance that he was behind the 9/11 attacks. Finally, the Commission reported Richard Clarke's statement that the president told him the day after 9/11 to see if Saddam was linked to the attacks in any way. The Commission was, therefore, quite frank about the fact that some leaders of the Bush administration were ready from the outset to attack Iraq because of its possible connections to 9/11 or at least al-Qaeda-connections for which the Commission said that it could find no credible evidence.

The Commission has, nevertheless, omitted facts about the decision to attack Iraq that should have been included in a "fullest possible account." These facts are important because their omission means that readers of The 9/11 Commission Report are shielded from evidence about how deep and long-standing the desire to attack Iraq had been among some members of the Bush administration.

Some of these omitted facts support the claim that the plan to attack Iraq had, in Chalmers Johnson's words, "been in the works for at least a decade."55 In pushing it back that far, Johnson is referring to the fact that after the Gulf War of 1991, several individuals in the White House and the Pentagon believed that the United States should have gone to Baghdad and taken out Saddam Hussein, as they indicated "in reports written for then Secretary of Defense Cheney."56 In 1996, a document entitled "A Clean Break" was produced by a study group led by Richard Perle (who would the following year become a founding member of PNAC). Recommending that Israel adopt a policy of "preemption," Perle and his colleagues suggested that Israel begin "rolling back Syria," an effort that should "focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq." Advocating that Israel invade Lebanon and then Syria, this document included texts to be used for speeches justifying the action in a way that would win sympathy in America. Besides "drawing attention to [Syria's] weapons of mass destruction," Israel should say:

Negotiations with repressive regimes like Syria's require cautious realism...It is dangerous for Israel to deal naively with a regime murderous of its own people, openly aggressive toward its neighbors...and supportive of the most deadly terrorist organizations.

As James Bamford points out in A Pretext For War, these justifications were very similar to those that would be used in later years to justify America's attack on Iraq.

The argument for this American attack on Iraq became more visible the following year, after PNAC was formed. In December 1997, Paul Wolfowitz and Zalmay Khalilzad published an article in the Weekly Standard ? which is edited by the chairman of PNAC, William Kristol ? entitled "Saddam Must Go."59 A month later, these three and fifteen other members of PNAC ? including Donald Rumsfeld, John Bolton, and Richard Perle ? sent a letter to President Clinton urging him to use military force to "remove Saddam Hussein and his regime from power" and thereby "to protect our vital interests in the Gulf." In May 1997, they sent a letter to Newt Gingrich and Trent Lott ? the Speaker of the House and the Senate majority leader, respectively. Complaining that Clinton had not listened to them, these letter-writers said that the United States "should establish and maintain a strong U.S. military presence in the region, and be prepared to use that force to protect our vital interests in the Gulf ? and, if necessary, to help remove Saddam from power."60 Finally, Rebuilding America's Defenses, published by PNAC in September 2000, emphasized that Iraq under Saddam Hussein was a threat to American interests in the region.

When the Bush administration took office in 2001, Chalmers Johnson points out, "ten of the eighteen signers of the letters to Clinton and Republican congressional leaders became members of the administration."62 It was no mere coincidence, therefore, that ? as both Paul O'Neil and Richard Clarke have emphasized ? the Bush administration was already intent on removing Saddam Hussein when it took office. And it is also not surprising to learn that immediately after the 9/11 attacks, some members of the Bush administration wanted to use those attacks as the basis for their long-desired invasion to bring about regime change in Iraq.

But the Kean-Zelikow Commission, having left out that background, provides no context for readers to understand why and how strongly some members of the Bush administration wanted to attack Iraq. Indeed, the Commission fails to make clear just how ready some of them were to go to war against Iraq even if there was no evidence of its complicity in the attacks. A crucial omission in this respect is the failure to quote notes of Rumsfeld's conversations on 9/11 that were jotted down by an aide. These notes, which were later revealed by CBS News, indicate that Rumsfeld wanted the "best info fast. Judge whether good enough hit S.H. [Saddam Hussein] at same time. Not only UBL [Usama Bin Laden]. Go massive. Sweet it all up. Things related and not." James Bamford, after quoting these notes, says: "From the notes it was clear that the attacks would be used as a pretext for war against Saddam Hussein."

The Commission, by contrast, merely tells us that notes from that day indicate that "Secretary Rumsfeld instructed Myers to obtain quickly as much information as possible" and to consider "a wide range of options and possibilities". The Commission then adds:

The secretary said his instinct was to hit Saddam Hussein at the same time ? not only Bin Laden. Secretary Rumsfeld later explained that at the time, he had been considering either one of them or perhaps someone else, as the responsible party.

From the Commission's account alone, we would assume that Rumsfeld was thinking of hitting Saddam if and only if there was good evidence that he was "the responsible party." As the notes quoted by CBS and Bamford show, however, Rumsfeld wanted to use 9/11 as the basis for a "massive" response that would take care of many threats to American interests ("Sweep It Up"), especially Saddam Hussein, whether he was responsible or not ("Things related and not"). The Kean-Zelikow Commission, with its omission and distortions, hides this fact from us.

Furthermore, just as the Commission failed to point out the centrality of oil and military bases in the Bush administration's interest in Afghanistan, it does the same in relation to Iraq ? even though this country has the second largest known oil reserves in the world. The Commission does say that at a National Security Council meeting on September 17, "President Bush ordered the Defense Department to be ready to deal with Iraq if Baghdad acted against U.S. interests, with plans to include possibly occupying Iraqi oil fields". But this is the sole hint in the Kean-Zelikow Report that the Bush administration might have had an interest in getting control of Iraqi oil.

Even this statement, moreover, is doubly qualified. Far from suggesting that Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and other members of the Bush administration were chomping at the bit to attack Iraq, as the PNAC letters reveal, the Commission suggests that the Bush administration would have thought of acting against Saddam only if he "acted against U.S. interests." And far from suggesting that getting control of Iraq's oil would be a central motivation, the Commission suggests that the plans for attack might only "possibly" include occupying Iraqi oil fields.

From other sources, however, we get quite a different pictures. Within months after 9/11, Paul O'Neill reports, the Defense Intelligence Agency, which works for Rumsfeld, had begun mapping Iraq's oil fields. It also provided a document, entitled "Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts," which suggested how Iraq's huge reserves might be divided up. The centrality of oil was also pointed out by Stephen Gowans, who wrote:

The top item on the Pentagon's agenda, once it gave the order for jackboots to begin marching on Baghdad, was to secure the oil fields in southern Iraq. And when chaos broke out in Baghdad, US forces let gangs of looters and arsonists run riot through "the Ministry of Planning, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Irrigation, the Ministry of Trade, the Ministry of Industry, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Information."...But at the Ministry of Oil, where archives and files related to all the oil wealth Washington has been itching to get its hands on, all was calm, for ringing the Ministry was a phalanx of tanks and armored personnel carriers.

These accounts reveal the distorted picture provided by the 9/11 Commissioners, whose solitary mention of Iraq's oil suggests that US troops, if they attacked Iraq, might or might not occupy the oil fields.

A more realistic account is also given by Chalmers Johnson, who emphasizes that in relation to oil-rich regions, the US interest in oil and its interest in bases go hand in hand.

The renewed interest in Central, South, and Southwest Asia included the opening of military-to-military ties with the independent Central Asian republics of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan and support for a Taliban government in Afghanistan as a way to obtain gas and oil pipeline rights for an American-led consortium. But the jewel in the crown of this grand strategy was a plan to replace the Ba'ath regime in Iraq with a pro-American puppet government and build permanent military bases there.

Johnson's emphasis on the motivation to establish more military bases is supported by PNAC itself, which said in its 2000 document:

The United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.69

As this statement indicates, the plan was for the American military to remain in Iraq long after Saddam Hussein was deposed-perhaps until the exhaustion of the Iraqi oil reserves.

If we move beyond the 9/11 Commission's simplistic and noncontextual account of the Bush administration's reasons for attacking Iraq, we can see that the stakes were immense, involving not only trillions of dollars but also global geopolitical control. (For example, even if the United States will not need Iraqi oil in the near future, East Asia and Europe will, so that the United States, by controlling their oil supply, will be able to exert strong influence over their political-economic life.) Accordingly, we can see that the desire to attack an occupy Iraq, expressed by the same people who suggested that a "new Pearl Harbor" could be helpful, might have provided a motive for facilitating the attacks of 9/11.

The 9/11 Commission Report, however, omits all the parts of the story that might lead to this thought. We receive no idea that Iraq might have been "the jewel in the crown" of the US master plan. In the world of the Kean-Zelikow Report, in fact, America has no imperialistic master plan. It is simply an altruistic nation struggling to defend itself against enemies who hate its freedoms.


As I pointed out in the Introduction, The 9/11 Commission Report endorses the official conspiracy theory, according to which the attacks of 9/11 were carried out solely by al-Qaeda, under the direction of Osama bin Laden. I am looking at this report from the perspective of the alternative conspiracy theory, according to which officials of the US government were involved. Although the Commission did not mention this alternative hypothesis, it was clearly seeking to undermine its plausibility. One way to do this would be to show that, contrary to those who hold this hypothesis, the Bush administration did not have any interests or plans that could have provided a sufficient motive for arranging or at least allowing such murderous attacks on its own citizens. The Commission did not do this directly, by explicitly addressing the motives alleged by those who endorse the alternative hypothesis. But it did do it indirectly, by portraying the Bush administration, and the US government more generally, as devoid of motives in question.

The Kean-Zelikow Commission, however, could provide this portrayal only by means of numerous omissions and distortions. Besides omitting the Bush administration's reference to the 9/11 attacks as "opportunities," it omitted any discussion of the US Space Command, with its mission to solidify global dominance, and of the PNAC document, with its suggestion that a new Pearl Harbor would be helpful. It omitted historical facts showing that the Bush administration had plans to attack both Afghanistan and Iraq before 9/11, so that the attacks served as a pretext rather than a cause. And the Commission distorted US motives in those attacks, portraying US leaders as interested only in self-defense, human rights, and peace, not oil, bases, and geopolitical primacy.

The Death Of John O'Neill

The Propaganda Preparation For 9/11.

In the immediate aftermath of the destruction of the World Trade Center, the finger of guilt was directed toward the only plausible author for such a sophisticated and ruthless act of terror - Osama bin Laden.

In bits and pieces throughout the late '90's - punctuated by various acts of terror perpetrated against overseas American interests - we were informed that bin Laden had declared war on America by reason of the American military presence on Saudi soil in the wake of the Persian Gulf War. We were told how bin Laden, ensconced in Afghanistan, headed up a world-wide terror franchise whose sophistication and global reach dwarfed that of the Iranian-financed Hizballah or Islamic Jihad (previously, the most widely known of the terror organizations among the masses in the Middle East). From the beginning, this terror entity, al-Qaida, was presented to us as something entirely new in the annals of terrorism - a far-flung, sophisticated empire of terror, possessing -possibly - weapons of mass destruction, while having no clear or viable state sponsor behind it (as the Afghani Taliban were merely its resident protectors).

More disturbingly, Americans were presented with an apocalyptic nemesis whose animosities could not be curbed by any rational political considerations or alignments. In short, by September 11, the United States now had a bona fide enemy - and, as they say in criminal justice parlance, a suspect with motive, means, and opportunity.

John O'Neill.

And while I was a bit taken at how quickly - and confidently - the fingers were pointing only hours after the 9/11 bombings, I was positively shaken by the first red flag that popped up. His name was John O'Neill - or more precisely, he is the seam that shows. Dated September 12, in a Washington Post article by Vernon Loeb, it was revealed that O'Neill, who died in his capacity as head of security for the World Trade Center, was also formerly the New York FBI Counterterror chief responsible for the investigation into Osama bin Laden. That could perhaps be written off as one of those freak synchronicities. It was the other items - reported quite blandly, in that "there's nothing to see here, folks" tone - that gave me that sinking feeling. Apparently, O'Neill had a falling-out with the Ambassador to Yemen over his investigative style and was banned from returning there. But then there was that other nugget that I had trouble digesting - that O'Neill had resigned from a thirty-year career in the FBI "under a cloud" over an incident in Tampa - and then left to take up the security position at the WTC (only two weeks before!).

The seam that shows....

For the bulk of his career, like most of his FBI colleagues, John O'Neill was largely unknown to the public at large - respected in his circle, to be sure, yet scarcely meriting much mention in the media -beyond being referenced now and then as an expert on counterterrorism. Yet in the few months leading up to September 11, O'Neill was now suddenly the subject of a series of seemingly unrelated controversies -the first, in July, involving his dispute with the State Department over the conduct of the bin Laden investigation in Yemen; and the second, in August, in which he was reported to be under an FBI probe for misplacing a briefcase of classified documents during an FBI convention in Tampa.

In the light of the aftermath of this second controversy - the documents were found, "untouched", a few hours later - one wonders why this seemingly minor news would merit such lengthy coverage in the Washington Post and New York Times. Keeping in mind the fact that these latter articles on O'Neill appeared a mere three weeks before he was to die in the rubble of the Twin Towers, one wonders if this wasn't a well-orchestrated smear campaign against O'Neill, with a bit of unintended "blowback" - as this now-discredited counterterror chief in charge of all bin Laden bombings would finally make the news as a fatal casualty of bin Laden's final bombing. Coincidence? Or was there something more here that would bear investigating?

My gut told me that, in the months preceding September 11, somebody was out to discredit John O'Neill, yet this public campaign would come back to haunt the planners in the light of John O'Neill's ultimate demise. Was a mistake made - one pointing the way toward a plan whose scope goes well beyond the designs of Osama bin Laden? In other words, could we spot the telltale fingerprints of a domestic conspiracy?

Well, as they say, a hypothesis is only as good as its usefulness in ferreting out reality. My hypothesis: that the events of September 11 were planned by those who not only had the motive, means, and opportunity to carry out the plan, but also were best placed to manage the consequences stemming from it, as well as managing the flow of information. If this were an "inside job", the first thing to do was to look at who conveyed specific information on bin Laden before - and I stress, before - 9/11, for they were most likely involved wittingly or not with those who masterminded it. In other words, circumstantial evidence of a propaganda campaign, pre-9/11, to present Osama bin Laden as America's foremost nemesis would also provide the circumstantial case against the propaganda planners in taking down the World Trade Towers. So I monitored CNN and other media in the days immediately after, taking note of those trotted out - Judith Miller, Paul Bremer, James Risen, Vincent Cannistraro, etc. - to provide instant commentary on bin Laden. Moreover, I trolled through past articles on bin Laden - noting the wire service uniformity of information as well as sources.

But first there was the John O'Neill conundrum. If my hypothesis were correct, it wouldn't make much sense to draw public attention on September 12 - however blandly stated - to the fact that O'Neill had left the FBI "under a cloud" and that he had been banned from the bin Laden investigation in Yemen. It was a September 4 article in the Washington Post by Vernon Loeb that gave me my answer. That article, involving the Yemen investigation, mentioned briefly about O'Neill being banned by the Ambassador as well as O'Neill's travails with the briefcase incident. This was a full week before the WTC attack. It was perhaps conceivable that, upon hearing of O'Neill's demise, someone would dig up the September 4 item and smell a rat. Thus, the September 12 follow-up with its "nothing shady here" tone - employing, virtually word-for-word, the incriminating information revealed on September 4, but providing no more details than that. An almost obligatory coda to paper over a thoughtless oversight. Presumably, Loeb - the national security correspondent for the Post - had no inkling of what was to come in the week ahead, so the oversight can most probably be laid at the feet of his confidential source. In any case, the credulous tone of that follow-up reportage succeeded in the psychological trick of "normalizing" an apparent anomaly - a standard propaganda trick known as a "limited hang-out."

There's more. The evidence implicating bin Laden was now pouring in. Virtually the first "smoking gun" was presented the day after 9/11, when Vernon Loeb and Dan Eggen reported in the Post that Abdel Bari Atwan, editor of the Al-Quds al Arabi newspaper in London, "received information that he [bin Laden] planned very, very big attacks against American interests" only three weeks before 9/11. Moreover, the article reported that Atwan "was convinced that Islamic fundamentalists aligned with bin Laden were 'almost certainly' behind the attacks." Incidentally, Atwan had personally interviewed bin Laden in Afghanistan in 1996 - among the very few to do so. As reported by Michael Evans in the August 24, 1998 issue of The Times, Atwan "is trusted by bin Laden."

Curious, perhaps, that Atwan seemed to be one of the major "point men" used in elaborating the Osama bin Laden "legend", as they say in intelligence parlance. In a U.S. News article dated August 31, 1998, Atwan informs us that bin Laden "is a humble man who lives simply, eating fried eggs, tasteless low-fat cheese, and bread gritty with sand. He hates America." No flash in the pan, this interviewer. Apparently, bin Laden kept Atwan's business card tucked away in his toga pocket. "Bin Laden phoned this newspaper, phoned me last Friday," Atwan revealed in an ABC News LateLine Transcript dated August 25, 1998. We'll come back to ABC News shortly.

While solidly implicating bin Laden the day after 9/11, Atwan was also the media's "go-to" guy back in 1998 when he informed us, after President Clinton bombed tool sheds in Afghanistan, that bin Laden issued this threat against the United States: "The battle has not started yet. The response will be with action and not words." In the same article (which I took from Nando Times), ABC News is the source for an additional threat called in by Ayman al-Zawahiri, a senior bin Laden aide: "The war has just started. The Americans should wait for the answer." Only a few months before that, ABC had conducted its televised interview of bin Laden. By the summer of 1998, primed by Atwan, ABC NEWS, and a surprisingly small clique of well-worn sources, we had come to know bin Laden as America's latest "Saddam", "Qaddafi", "Noriega" -take your pick and set your bomb sites. To be fair to ABC NEWS, they did include the comments of the Honourary Consul of Afghanistan in the above-noted 1998 LateLine transcript: "There is a pattern developing -I'm not quite sure about the rest of the world, but in Afghanistan that has been the case for the past 20 years. That the intelligence service they put together they create somebody [sic], and they turn them into a monster and then they attack this very same creation, they destroy that creation and then they reinvent another creation."

By October 2000, when the U.S.S. Cole was bombed in Yemen, in case there was any doubt, Atwan offered Reuters his helpful analysis with regards to the source of blame: "I do not rule out that this was undertaken by Osama bin Laden. Yemeni groups don't have the experience to carry out this kind of operation." Still, to assure us that a bin Laden connection to the Yemen incident was at least plausible, Atwan recalled, in the same interview with Reuters, how, "in the early 1990's [bin Laden] had hoped U.S. soldiers would stop off in Aden during their peacekeeping deployment in Somalia, exposing themselves to attack from his Yemen-based followers." Also, Atwan informed Reuters that bin Laden "was unlikely to claim direct responsibility for Thursday's attack for fear of U.S. reprisals." One can imagine, then, that Atwan gave his trusting phone mate cause for many a sleepless night. With friends like these...

Leading up to 9/11, by the Spring of 2001, an incriminating wedding videotape, apparently implicating bin Laden in the Yemen bombing, was circulating around the Middle East after being broadcast on the ubiquitous al-Jazeera television station (reconstituted from the BBC TV Arabic Service - more on them later). In the video, bin Laden, according to the Saudi-owned al-Hayat newspaper (more on them later, too), recited a poem celebrating the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole (shades of deja vu here?) This from the site dated March 1: "Al-Hayat, which carried a photo of bin Laden and his son at the wedding, said its correspondent was the only journalist at the ceremony, also attended by bin Laden's mother, two brothers and sister who flew to Kandahar from Saudi Arabia." Last I heard, the official story was that bin Laden was on the outs with his family. Well, maybe they just don't invite him to the seders anymore.

And yes, here, too, Atwan offers his thoughtful review of the bin Laden video, courtesy of PTI, datelined London June 22, 2001: "[Atwan] said the video was proof that the fugitive Saudi millionaire [the Bruce Wayne of terrorists] was fit, well equipped and confident enough to send out a call to arms." Why this sudden need for proof? According to Atwan in the same article: "There have been rumours that he is ill and that he is being contained by the Taliban in Afghanistan. It is quite clear from the film that he is in good health to the point where he can fire a rifle, and is free to operate as he chooses." In other words, limber enough for his starring role in the months ahead.

So who is Abdel Bari Atwan and why is he anxious to tell us so much? According to the Winter 1999 issue of INEAS (Institute of Near Eastern and African Studies), Abdel Bari Atwan, a Palestinian, was born in a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip in 1950. Educated at the American University of Cairo, Atwan moved to Saudi Arabia and worked as a writer for the al-Madina newspaper. In 1978, he moved to London, where he became a correspondent for the Saudi-owned Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper. In 1988, after shuffling around between Saudi-owned papers, Atwan was offered a position as editor of al-Quds al-Arabi. By his account, he was offered a position as the executive editor of the Saudi-owned al-Hayat (of the bin Laden wedding video coup), yet turned it down to produce a more independent newspaper as a challenge to the "empires" of the Saudi-dominated dailies.

Al-Quds began production in April 1989. A little more than a year later, Saddam invaded Kuwait and al-Quds stood alone as the only Arab newspaper opposed to the Persian Gulf War - at least by Atwan's account. According to Atwan: "Without the Gulf War, we wouldn't have taken such political lines, which made us well recognized and well respected." In November 1996, Bari-Atwan braved a twelve-hour car ride through muddy roads, attired in shabby Afghani rags in below-zero weather, and gave us the early scoop on bin Laden, conducting a one-on-one interview in bin Laden's [bat]cave. From then on, the mainstream media - CNN, ABC, BBC, Sky News - looked to Bari-Atwan and al-Quds as the "independent" voice of the Arab street.

Incidentally, in a discussion concerning the matter of Saudi domination of the Arabic media, taken from the site, Atwan, as editor of his struggling independent, was facing off against Jihad Khazen, the editor of the Saudi-owned al-Hayat. As Atwan proudly related in support of his independence: "One day I was called by the BBC-TV Arabic service [whose staff later reconstituted itself as al-Jazeera television]: 'There's a story on your front page today, saying such and such. Is it true?' I asked why he should doubt it and he replied: 'It's not published in al-Hayat [his job offer] or al-Sharq al-Awsat [his alma mater].' " Atwan boasts: "At least I can say we are 95 to 96 per cent independent" - leaving out the 4 to 5 per cent spent on bin Laden, I presume. Whether or not al-Quds truly is independent, this is the cover story the mainstream media buys into when they come trolling for their "independent" evidence.

So, to elaborate further on this (so far) fruitful hypothesis, it is my contention that al-Qaida and bin Laden are elaborate "legends" set up to promote a plausibly sophisticated and ferocious enemy to stand against American interests. I am not, however, implying that bin Laden himself is a total fabrication. Rather, it is my contention that confederates, believing themselves to act on behalf of bin Laden, are being set up in a "false flag operation" to perform operations as their controllers see fit. And who are these controllers? If they're anything resembling the folks who brought you Hizbullah and Hamas, you wouldn't be sweating the suitcase nukes (made in America), the Ames strain anthrax (made in America), the MI5-like "sleeper agents" and coded "go" messages. Instead, you would be dodging primitive nail bombs and road mines - and not needing Abdel Bari Atwan to feed you the lowdown on the blame.

In view of the fact that bin Laden is of Saudi origin, that much of the "evidence" on the Arab side initially originated from Saudi-owned or Gulf Anglo-client state sources, and that Saudi Arabia is the major financial sponsor of the Taliban brand of fundamentalism in Afghanistan (as a counter-point to Iran), I believe it is fair to say that Saudi Arabia might possibly be implicated. But why only take my word for it? Just reference French security expert Jean-Charles Brisard, who in his book quoted John O'Neill as saying, "All the answers, everything needed to dismantle Osama bin Laden's organization can be found in Saudi Arabia." Most likely, the Saudis performed their roles as subservient proxies. We'll get to the ultimate controllers soon enough (if you haven't already guessed where this is going). And now, to fill out the picture further, it is necessary to name an equally essential partner as proxy -Pakistan, or, more specifically, Pakistan's version of the CIA - the ISI (Interservices Intelligence Directorate).

And this is where we begin to "close the circle" of our closed-knit pre-9/11 propaganda clique. Returning again to the above-mentioned Dan Eggen and Vernon Loeb Post article of September 12, we're offered - in a powerful little side-bar - more critical evidence implicating bin Laden for the attacks the day before. This time, the bombshell is offered by Palestinian journalist Jamal Ismail, Abu Dhabi Television's bureau chief in Islamabad. According to Ismail, a bin Laden aide called him "early Wednesday on a satellite telephone from a hide-out in Afghanistan," praising the attack yet denying any responsibility for it. By now thoroughly cynical and looking askance at anyone providing incriminating "evidence" so soon in the day, I decided to have a look at any interesting synchronicities I might find involving Ismail. As it turns out, Ismail was also among the select few to conduct his very own bin Laden interview, published by Newsweek (owned by the Washington Post) in its April 1, 1999 issue. Here is how Newsweek described Ismail's good fortune: "Palestinian journalist Jamal Ismail's mobile phone rang just before prayers on December 18. 'Peace be upon you, ' said the voice on the line. 'You may not recognize me, but I know you.' " And thus was Jamal Ismail invited on his own mud-soaked incursion to the bin Laden [bat]cave.

Searching deeper, I found an interesting obscure article penned by respected Pakistani journalist Rahimullah Yusufszai in The News Jang, and dated May 3 2000. It details the detention of two men of Kurdish origin, accused by the Taliban of spying for American and Israeli intelligence. As Yusufszai relates it, he spoke to the only journalists allowed by the Taliban to interview the detained men - Jamal Ismail and his cameraman. Apparently, Ismail had a special relationship with the Taliban, allowing him this rare privilege above other journalists. And, as we shall shortly see, so does Yusufszai. One wonders who debriefs them at the end of a workday. But more interestingly, by May 5, as reported by Kathy Gannon for the Associated Press, the story acquires -as they say - "new legs." Not only are the basic elements of the Yusufszai story mentioned, but the article leads off with the bombshell that one of the detained men revealed that he was recruited by the United States to find Osama bin Laden. It finishes with a little coda implicating bin Laden in the 1998 embassy bombings. Thus, in the space of two days, Yusufszai's Pakistani "spy" article sprouts a bin Laden addition when fertilized by the American Associated Press - and nicely provides a plausible explanation as to why a Kurd would be prowling around Afghanistan on behalf of the United States.

Yusufszai, incidentally, moonlighted as an ABC News producer, charged with guiding ABC News correspondent John Miller through the Afghani marshes to the bin Laden [bat]cave - the only American journalist to be accorded such an honour (and also, as it happens, a good friend of bin Laden arch-foe John O'Neill. But not chummy enough to direct O'Neill on to bin Laden's hideaway). Moreover, Ismail and Yusufszai are mentioned together in a CNN article posted January 4, 1999 - the former for his Newsweek interview, the latter for his own bin Laden dialogue for TIME Magazine the day later.

Rahimullah Yusufszai, regarded by New York Times reporters John Burns and Steve LeVine as "one man who has seen more of the Taliban than any other outsider," is also named by The Nation, in its article of January 27, 1997, as "one of the favourite journalists of [Pakistan's] of the organizations funding and arming the Taliban. "

It's a small world after all. In the September 29, 2001 article of PressPlus, Yusufszai's ABC colleague, John Miller, mused about running into his buddy John O'Neill in Yemen while reporting on the U.S.S. Cole bombing the year before. "He said, 'So this is the Elaine's of Yemen.' "

"There is a terrible irony to all this," Miller said. I'll say: Miller, the only American who can give a first-hand account of bin Laden, bumps into his friend, bin Laden's chief investigator while both are investigating a bombing in Yemen that will later be tagged onto bin Laden - and only a year before O'Neill dies at the hands of... allegedly...bin Laden.

Now, following the logic of my hypothesis, if the bin Laden threat was, pre-9/11, a closed-knit propaganda campaign, one would expect to find the same names showing up repeatedly in combination with one another. This, too, applies to the American commentators. Let us return to the August 1998 American bombings of bin Laden's tool sheds as an example. The night of the bombing, Rahimullah Yusufszai received a call from bin Laden aide Ayman al-Zawahiri, in a report from the Associated Press. Later, Yusufszai obtained for ABC News exclusive photos of the damage to bin Laden's camp. Further commentary describing the layout of the bin Laden camp was furnished to the Washington Post by former CIA analyst and terrorism expert Kenneth Katzman, as well as Harvey Kushner of Long Island University. Only little more than a week before that, Katzman and Kushner were offering their assessment of bin Laden's culpability for the embassy bombings in Africa in a Washington Post article penned by Vernon Loeb and Walter Pincus (who once admitted to a prior CIA connection). They were joined in this effort by Vincent Cannistraro, the ABC news analyst who provided running commentary in the days immediately following 9/11. Cannistraro, a former CIA counterterrorism chief, provided covert aid to the Afghani mujaheddin in the late '80's, as well as supervised CIA operations with the contras. He was also one of the point men in the notoriously circumspect investigation at Lockerbie. In the above-noted Loeb and Pincus article - in which bin Laden is quoted from the ABC News Miller and Yusufszai interview - Cannistraro weighs in with his assessment of the embassy bombings: "I believe Osama bin Laden is the sponsor of this operation, and I think all of the indications are pointing that way."

Soon after the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen, a Vernon Loeb Post article, dated October 13, 2000, proceeded to implicate bin Laden through the detailed information provided by Kushner, Katzman, and Cannistraro. Kushner: "He [bin Laden] has been looking around for small, personal submarines. One of his relatives in the United States had an order in for one of these personal submarines, and it was stopped." Katzman: "He [bin

Laden] has claimed responsibility for bombing a hotel in Yemen in 1992 where U.S. servicemen stayed on their way to Somalia." Was that so? This, of course, was a variation on the disclosure that Atwan provided that very same day to Reuters, to whom he quoted bin Laden as saying, "We waited for them [the servicemen] in Aden but they left the region. They knew what we wanted to do to them. " Thus we have two conflicting versions that very same day - Katzman's Post version and Atwan's Reuters version - offered as evidence of bin Laden's culpability for the U.S.S. Cole bombings. To this day, it is not clear which one has been accepted into the official canon of the bin Laden "legend." Clearly, someone wasn't coordinating the information flow too well that day.

Nevertheless, the bin Laden "legend" was continuing to be elaborated, with helpful revelations provided by the same cast of characters. In the Vernon Loeb Post article dated July 3, 2000, Yusufszai, Kushner, and Cannistraro unveil bin Laden aides Ayman al-Zawahiri and Muhammed Atef as the men to watch as bin Laden's likely successors, with a helpful tidbit on the Zawahiri biography thrown in by the Saudi-owned al-Sharq al-Awsat.

None of the above, of course, is offered as the "smoking gun" pointing the way to a propaganda conspiracy, nor are my chosen examples meant to be exhaustive in evidencing this point. Clearly, I have not heretofore made mention of the other experts who have worked assiduously toward building our knowledge base on bin Laden - Steven Emerson, Daniel Pipes, Yosef Bodansky, Judith Miller, and various British and EU elites. However, the above examples do show how the information flow on bin Laden could be plausibly managed by the skilfully placed revelations of a relatively insular clique of "experts" called upon repeatedly by the mainstream media. Such a technique of covert media manipulation was, in fact, revealed as an institutional norm with the exposure of the CIA's Project Mockingbird in the '70's. Officially, it was discontinued. Nevertheless, the essential infrastructure remains intact. A relatively few well-connected correspondents provide the "scoops" that get the coverage in the relatively few mainstream news sources - the four TV networks, TIME, Newsweek, CNN - where the parameters of debate are set and the "official reality" is consecrated for the bottom feeders in the news chain. In other countries, this is what is known as propaganda -or, put less politely, psychological warfare. A key element in the uses of psychological warfare is the repeated traumatization and sheer numbing of a populace in order to achieve the desired strategic goals.

But before I leave this topic, I would like to provide an example of "news management" that is revealing for what is omitted - that is, the "smoking gun" of Pakistani ISI involvement in the events of 9/11. This from Karachi News, September 9, 2001:

"[Pakistani] ISI Chief Lt-Gen Mahmood's week-long presence in Washington has triggered speculation about the agenda of his mysterious meetings at the Pentagon and National Security Council. Officially, State Department sources say he is on a routine visit in return to [sic] CIA Director George Tenet's earlier visit to Islamabad...What added interest to his visit is the history of such visits. Last time Ziauddin Butt, Mahmood's predecessor, was here during Nawaz Sharif's government the domestic politics turned topsy-turvy within days. That this is not the first visit by Mahmood in the last three months shows the urgency of the ongoing parleys...Interestingly, his visit also saw two CIA reports expressing concern on issues related to Pakistan this week. One of them was about the effects of demographic explosion and Pakistan's continued build up in its nuclear and missiles programme."

Now, let us move ahead three weeks later, to a transcript of ABC's "This Week", posted on the Washington Post website September 30, 2001: "As to September 11, federal authorities have told ABC News they've now tracked more than $100,000 from banks in Pakistan to two banks in Florida to accounts held by suspected hijack ringleader Mohamed Atta. As well this morning, TIME magazine is reporting that some of that money came in the days just before the attack and can be traced directly to people connected to Osama bin Laden."

Now, a little more than a week later, on October 9, 2001, as reported by The Times of India: "While the Pakistani Inter Services Public Relations claimed that former ISI director-general Lt-Gen Mahmud Ahmad sought retirement after being superseded on Monday, the truth is more shocking. Top sources confirmed here on Tuesday that the general lost his job because of the "evidence" India produced to show his links to one of the suicide bombers that wrecked the World Trade Centre. The US authorities sought his removal after confirming the fact that $100,000 were wired to WTC hijacker Mohammed Atta from Pakistan by Ahmad Umar Sheikh at the instance of Gen Mahmud. Senior government sources have confirmed that India contributed significantly to establishing the link between the money transfer and the role played by the dismissed ISI chief. While they did not provide details, they said that Indian inputs, including Sheikh's mobile phone number, helped the FBI in tracing and establishing the link."

These three news items, taken together, shine a devastating spotlight on the events preceding, and following, 9/11. The first item, the Karachi report of September 9, serves to highlight the ISI chief's "unusual" visit in the days immediately preceding 9/11. Yet with the subsequent revelations of The Times of India report, this visit starts to take on sinister implications. But again, as I said before, if there is Pakistani - read, ISI - involvement in the WTC bombings, there is little reason to believe that Pakistan's involvement was anything more than that of a proxy agent serving the interests of a powerful controller. Some might assail the credibility of the Times of India article in light of India's state of belligerence with Pakistan. Yet both the Karachi report and the ABC report tend to lend credibility to the Indian report, not only because they both precede the Times of India by a matter of weeks, but most importantly in light of the fact of what is omitted in each. The Indian article, if part of a smear campaign against the ISI chief, would surely have highlighted the well-timed visit of the ISI chief to Washington. Or would it - for surely such a revelation in conjunction with its report would unavoidably implicate a player whose overwhelming power could be used as a vengeful bludgeon against Indian interests: the United States.

Examining the implications more deeply, the ABC report blatantly references the FBI as the source for the $100,000 revelation, calling in TIME magazine to make the bin Laden link and thereby cementing another brick in the case against al-Qaida. Yet any propaganda gains made by this revelation were immediately threatened by the blowback of the Times of India report several days later. In other words, this was a "limited hang-out" that went disastrously wrong. No matter. The US authorities immediately went into damage control mode by insisting on the quiet retirement of the "outed" ISI chief. Thus removed from the public eye, the Lt-Gen's role in all this could be effectively ignored, and an American media black-out could be safely assumed.

Such a scenario certainly fits in snugly with my hypothesis, which I will now proceed to elaborate completely. The events of September 11 were masterminded by those who were in the best position to manage the consequences - namely, those most able to manage the flow of information, those most able to coordinate all the elements necessary for the perpetration of a successful operation (subverting airport security, guiding the planes to their specific targets), and most significantly, those who stood to reasonably benefit in the aftermath. Conspiracies, by their very nature, are not crimes of passion. They may involve rational, albeit cold-blooded, attempts to achieve a desired end by employing the most effective means available. It is for this reason that "mainstream" terror groups like Hamas and Hizbullah largely avoid attacking American interests where such attacks would serve no practical interest. For all their talk of Jihad, these terror groups tend to plan their specific attacks with an eye to the consequences that could reasonably be expected to follow. Thus, knowing the moral and political constraints of Israeli deterrent strategies, they calibrate their attacks to elicit consequences that are most tolerable for them - and hence, manageable. Yet surely, in the light of the cult of suicidal martyrdom, such considerations no longer hold sway. Perhaps. But then, in the case of such a far-flung anti-Zionist movement as al-Qaida, one would expect at least a little more exertion against Israeli interests than has heretofore prevailed - unless, of course, the "point" of al-Qaida was to provide a plausible dire threat to American interests where none had then existed. In any case, as nobody has noticed this particular anomaly, there was no need for any needless exertion of resources in order to bolster a credibility that needed no bolstering in this one particular sector.

Motive, means, and opportunity. While I presented the Saudis and Pakistani intelligence as clear-cut proxies, the only motive these elements would have to benefit from a crime of this nature is an assurance that no punishment would be forthcoming but rather, they would be on the right side of power and wealth among those in a position to determine the booty. In the light of this supposition, it is clear as to why the American media and government have steadfastly avoided any substantive investigations of Pakistani and Saudi involvement. And I am not the first to notice that particular anomaly.

Another anomaly: only two days before September 11, the head of the Afghani National Alliance - a cultishly popular figure within that group, and one who stood adamantly for Afghani independence - was assassinated by two terrorists posing as cameramen. Keeping in mind the fact that, throughout the '90's, American leaders such as Clinton, and American companies such as Unocal, were largely throwing their support over to the Taliban in opposition to the National Alliance, it seems rather convenient that, in the aftermath of 9/11, the way was now cleared for the National Alliance to be co-opted as an instrument for setting up a more pliant Afghani government (now headed, incidentally, by a former consultant to Unocal). One wonders what the fiercely independent, now-deceased, former leader of the National Alliance would have had to say on that point.

So who are the ultimate controllers? To begin with, the circumstantial evidence seems to point to an operative clique primarily based out of New York City and the State of Florida. I stress the word "operative", as this clique appears to be subservient agents involved in laying the preparations. Once again, John O'Neill serves as an effective Rosetta Stone in interpreting the raw outlines of this operative clique (which is by no means a "rogue" clique). The FBI and CIA elements involved in counterterrorism have a checkered past. For one, Oliver North in the 1980's served as Counterterrorism Chief while he used his office as a cover to deal with such narco-terrorists as Monzar al-Kassar (who figures in the crash at Lockerbie - also investigated by Cannistraro). In the late '90's, O'Neill was transferred from the federal office of Counterrorism to the New York Counterrorism Office of the FBI - and it was the New York branch which was then designated as the primary investigator of all overseas investigations involving bin Laden. Moreover, this branch was also involved in the somewhat suspect investigation of TWA 800 - investigated by O'Neill and reported upon by ABC's John Miller, who was formerly the Deputy Police Commissioner of Public Relations for the NYPD before he joined up with ABC. As regards New York, there is another element involved in germ warfare operations. Actually, a multi-million dollar bunker - serving as a command and control center in the event of a biological attack - was set up at 7 World Trade Center at the direction of Rudolph Giuliani, who also oversaw a mass spraying over the boroughs of New York City when the West Nile Virus hit town a few summers previously.

Moreover, there has been a widespread campaign on to link the threat of al-Qaida with that of a mass biological attack. At least the day after September 11, the link - as the Anthrax mailings had yet to arise - was not so apparent. Yet on PBS' Frontline, the New York Times' Judith Miller (no apparent relation to John Miller, as far as I'm aware), accompanied by the New York Times' James Risen, was interviewed as an apparent expert on al-Qaida. Several weeks later, Judith Miller would once more make the headlines as the apparent recipient of an anthrax mailing which turned out to be a false alarm - yet was all the same conveniently timed with the well-publicized launching of her book on...germ warfare. Thus, with Ms. Miller, we have the interesting synchronicity of someone who, on September 12, unveiled herself before a television audience as an al-Qaida expert, while only weeks later, presenting herself as an authority on biowarfare - while at the same time making the news as a presumed anthrax recipient, targeted - as initially presumed - by al-Qaida elements. As was later discovered, the anthrax mailings petered out once the news leaked that a DNA test revealed the material to be of the Ames strain of anthrax, an agent synthesized out of a CIA laboratory in Fort Detrick, Maryland. Nevertheless, this was sufficient to fast-track Bioport's exclusive license for the anthrax vaccine toward FDA approval. Formerly, Bioport's experimental anthrax vaccine was being forcibly administered - under threat of court-martial - to hundreds of thousands of American servicemen (in conformity with Bioport's exclusive and lucrative contract with the Department of Defense). The point of the above-noted information is to draw attention to an apparent propaganda campaign to prepare the public for a catastrophic biological attack. As with the Twin Towers, the blame for any coming attack may be duly and plausibly assigned by those who carefully laid the groundwork in preparing us for this eventuality. I do not claim to know the motive behind any possible widespread biological attack - be it for population control or for other reasons beyond my ken - yet I do perceive a concerted effort to link the fear of al-Qaida with the fear of a catastrophic biological attack. For those interested in investigating this further, I suggest that one "place" to start is the New York operative clique centered in the New York Counterrorism branch, as well as minor elements of the NYPD (by way of John Miller and Giuliani) and certain elements based out of Long Island University (Harvey Kushner).

As for Florida, the connection with this state is obvious, for not only was the first anthrax mailing directed to the Florida offices of the National Enquirer, but the accused hijackers were also reported to receive their pilot training from flight schools in Orlando and Tampa. Moreover, Florida, by way of the MacDill Air Force Base, is also Central Command for the war in Afghanistan. And again, there is a John O'Neill connection - for not only did O'Neill meet his professional undoing at a convention in Tampa, but in an Associated Press article dated May 24, 1997, John O'Neill was commenting on the threat of Islamic terrorism while the same article pointed out the existence of a Tampa-based "think tank" possibly linked with terrorists - the World and Islam Studies Enterprise. In addition to its function as Central Command for the war on terrorism, MacDill is -outside of Langley - also a major base of the CIA. Thus, in the CIA's own backyard, we find the infrastructure and financial support that went into the planning for the events of 9/11. And, as we so often find with events surrounding 9/11, another synchronicity - for coincidentally enough, the woman who happened to find an apartment for one of the alleged hijackers was the wife of the senior editor of the National Enquirer. Moreover, her husband, Michael Irish, also happened to make use of an airfield that served as flight training for some of the hijackers. In intelligence operations, foreign assets are often placed with resident "controllers" whose job it is to supervise the asset as well as provide accommodations as the need arises. Who are Michael and Gloria Irish? Or, perhaps more revealingly, what kind of social circles do they run with? This is certainly an avenue worth exploring - by reason of its many synchrocities if for nothing else. Again, the seam that shows.

So, to sum up, it appears that the events of September 11 were planned years in advance, with the groundwork being carefully laid by a propaganda campaign orchestrated to convince the public that the United States has a plausibly sophisticated nemesis with the motive, means, and opportunity to perpetrate a devastating act of terror against Americans. Toward that end, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have been used as the primary proxy agents to run a "false flag" operation, setting up and financing the infrastructure of al-Qaida in Afghanistan. Through madrassas based in Pakistan, Saudi and Yemenite militants were instructed in the Saudi brand of Wahabbi Islam, and subsequently "graduated" to the camps that were set up in Afghanistan - again, under Saudi and Pakistani sponsorship. Stateside, the operative agents were mostly based out of New York City and Florida. In the aftermath of 9/11, elements in the American government are now widely disseminating information in vast quantities, overwhelming the populace and lending credibility to the government's version of events. Thus, post-9/11, the actions of this formerly insular propaganda clique are no longer perceptible. Information is now being doled out in generous portions to credulous reporters who are outside the loop, yet perform their unwitting service as "bottoms feeders" in the downward flow of information.

In all cases, the actions of these proxy agents and operative planners are sufficiently distanced and compartmentalized from the true masterminds to create a condition of "plausible deniability". In short, the proxies have also been set up as possible patsies with evidence that has been carefully laid to incriminate them should cracks in the "official story" become too discernible. Moreover, the groundwork has already been carefully laid to cast aspersions on another convenient patsy - the Jews, by way of the State of Israel and its supporters. Already, for those prone to perceive Jewish conspiracies, the reliable vein of anti-semitism - combined with anti-Zionism - has been mined to distract the masses and to create a modern version of the ritual blood libel, thereby further "muddying the waters" should the true masterminds be threatened with exposure. In other words, the present difficulties in the Middle East work perfectly to set up the State of Israel as a plausible alternative suspect with motive, means, and opportunity. Toward that end, a low-level "buzz" has been circulating over the Internet (and especially in Europe) - fueled by a coy report from Fox News - of an Israeli spy ring that was rounded up in the days after September 11. Whether or not these reports are credible is not the point. Most likely, there was a spy ring operating, and various Israelis were unwittingly set up as patsies, to be exposed should the need arise. Thus, while evidence may be marshalled to taint the Saudis, Pakistanis, and Israelis, the real guilt must inevitably lie with those in the best position to manage the flow of information as well as reliably benefit from the new order created, primarily, the political and corporate elites of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union - also, as it happens, the very parties orchestrating the global war on terrorism. In this respect, the Saudis, Pakistanis, or Israelis have far less to gain (other than the benefits of going along with the designs of the rich and mighty).

I could go on and further highlight the obvious geostrategic gains of those who are clearly managing the flow of information - the proverbial pipelines, oil, wealth, and so forth. But I think those purported benefits are a bit of a "red herring" - more of a side benefit than the main motivating factor. It is no small act to intentionally take down such an overarching symbol of financial stability as the Twin Towers, and chance killing thousands in the process. Such a conspiracy, if in fact perpetrated from within, would by its nature necessitate a huge structural, cultural, and demographic change. The very brazenness of the act, the naked aggression, would necessitate a tenacious determination to achieve the ends for which these actions were perpetrated. There is no going back now. An infrastructure is being laid out - one that will, finally, provide a dissident-proof totalitarian oligarchy composed of like-minded elites served by an under-class kept under constant surveillance. The edifice of this regime is being constructed, brick by brick, with the mortar of the Office of Homeland Security (to centralize and coordinate an effective police state), the Freedom Corps (to indoctrinate the most idealist - and therefore activist - elements of the populace toward service to the state), and the Patriot Act (to provide the legal basis for subverting long-held rights under the screen of national security). If all of this sounds strangely familiar, if it is redolent of Huxley and Orwell, that is perhaps because Huxley and Orwell were both intimately involved with the elites of their time - in fact, were fully subsumed among them - in ways that made their future projections abundantly prescient, and, in their minds, inevitable. With further refinements in mind control technologies - yes, they do exist -as well as the monopolization of the food supply by way of sterile seed "terminator technology" - the approval for which was granted in the months following 9/11 - the masses may be perpetually culled and exploited by those who hold the keys to this fully managed society.

For such a plan to be effective, there is no need for all elements to be "in the loop." Many look upon the Council On Foreign Relations (CFR) as one likely agent of a possible elitist conspiracy. Yet with a membership consisting of thousands, it would be too unwieldly to manage such a group of individuals with such varying interests and outlooks. In any case, that is not how the CFR is structured. Members of the CFR are invited into the ranks - particularly where they have already achieved some measure of prominence in politics, finance, or the media. The CFR, rather, exists as an organ to manage these "second-tier" elites - to ensure a consensus of sorts simply through the technique of "mainstreaming" their thoughts and beliefs, as these are folk who are unduly preoccupied with preserving their status in the ranking order. No need to "rock the boat" with foolish notions that could only serve to discredit oneself in the eyes of one's peers. Standing over and above the CFR is a more manageable and, on the whole, more powerful group of elites who do, in fact, perceive it as their duty and entitlement to determine the mores and values, lifestyles and fate of the rest of us. Where the rank and file members of the CFR are largely motivated by a self-interested careerism, these higher elites see it as their moral duty to guide the "ship of state", as it were. To them, a unified world government is the most logical way to manage the affairs of the world. After all, these global elites have more in common with one another than they do with the bulk of their respective countrymen.

If this notion of reality strikes you as somewhat dissonant, at odds with your own personal experience, it may be perhaps that we have not quite arrived there yet, and that you have personally not felt the corrosive lash of political corruption and governmental malfeasance. In all likelihood, you have not read the mountain of evidence detailing political and elite deviant behaviour in this country. You may even be dismissive of "conspiracies theories", yet wholly unaware of the well-documented attempts by the CIA and FBI to subvert, surveill, and propagandize the populace through programs such as Project Mockingbird (media infiltration) and MK-Ultra (mind control through chemical, hypnotic, or electro-magnetic means). These programs are effected primarily through "think tanks" that are set up across the United States for the purpose of disseminating information and propaganda under the rubric of "expertise". Moreover, various foundations, such as the Rockefeller or Ford Foundations, are often used as funnels to finance and feed the arteries of these propaganda networks. In the 1970's, a good deal of this structural corruption was officially exposed - in a "limited hang-out" - by way of the Church Commission, as well as the House Select Committee on Assassinations. Thereafter, much of the most damaging revelations were played down or ignored by the mainstream media, and the waters were then muddied by a stream of outlandish conspiracy theories - aliens, Elvis, etc. - that merely served to discredit the information that was most credible. "Muddying the waters", incidentally, is a tried and true staple of the intelligence craft.

It is really just a matter of familiarizing yourself with all the documented anomalies that do not accord with the received, mainstream reality put forth to you by the mainstream media. As a practical guide to begin, you might want to confine your search to strictly "mainstream" sources, as I have sought to do in attempting to construct my case on 9/11. My evidence is by no means exhaustive. In fact, it is merely the proverbial tip of the iceberg. Yet proceeding in this direction, under my hypothesis, has been most fruitful in analyzing the various anomalies that pop up now and then.

Any simple keyword search of the following terms may be helpful in pointing toward a more substantive understanding of the elites who ultimately guide your fortunes: "Iran-Contra" , "Mena", "BCCI", "Project Paperclip", "Michael Aquino", "Paul Bonacci", "Operation Northwoods", "MK-Ultra". Much of the information on these topics is credible and well-documented. More disturbingly, it highlights behaviour committed by the very same elites who are now interpreting the events of 9/11 for you. Read for yourself, and decide, at the end of the day, how much credibility you will continue to accord to those who claim to be the proper trustees of your fate and well-being.