Debunking Conspiracy Theorists

Paranoid Fantasies About 9/11 Detract From Real Issues

c. 2003 Gerard Holmgren

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Astute observers of history are aware that for every notable event there will usually be at least one, often several wild conspiracy theories which spring up around it. "The CIA killed Hendrix" "The Pope had John Lennon murdered ", "Hitler was half Werewolf", "Space aliens replaced Nixon with a clone" etc, etc. The bigger the event, the more ridiculous and more numerous are the fanciful rantings which circulate in relation to it.

So its hardly surprising that the events of Sept 11 2001 have spawned their fair share of these ludicrous fairy tales. And as always, there is - sadly - a small but gullible percentage of the population eager to lap up these tall tales, regardless of facts or rational analysis.


One of the wilder stories circulating about Sept 11, and one that has attracted something of a cult following amongst conspiracy buffs is that it was carried out by 19 fanatical Arab hijackers, masterminded by an evil genius named Osama bin Laden, with no apparent motivation other than that they "hate our freedoms."


Never a group of people to be bothered by facts, the perpetrators of this cartoon fantasy have constructed an elaborately woven web of delusions and unsubstantiated hearsay in order to promote this garbage across the internet and the media to the extent that a number of otherwise rational people have actually fallen under its spell.


Normally I don't even bother debunking this kind of junk, but the effect that this paranoid myth is beginning to have requires a little rational analysis, in order to consign it to the same rubbish bin as all such silly conspiracy theories.


These crackpots even contend that the extremist Bush regime was caught unawares by the attacks, had no hand in organizing them, and actually would have stopped them if it had been able. Blindly ignoring the stand down of the US air-force, the insider trading on airline stocks - linked to the CIA, the complicit behaviour of Bush on the morning of the attacks, the controlled demolition of the WTC, the firing of a missile into the Pentagon and a host of other documented proofs that the Bush regime was behind the attacks, the conspiracy theorists stick doggedly to a silly story about 19 Arab hijackers somehow managing to commandeer 4 planes simultaneously and fly them around US airspace for nearly 2 hours, crashing them into important buildings, without the US intelligence services having any idea that it was coming, and without the Air Force knowing what to do.


The huge difficulties with such a stupid story force them to invent even more preposterous stories to distract from its core silliness, and thus the tale has escalated into a mythic fantasy of truly gargantuan proportions.


It's difficult to apply rational analysis to such unmitigated stupidity, but that is the task which I take on in this article. However, it should be noted that one of the curious characteristics of conspiracy theorists is that they effortlessly change their so called evidence in response to each aspect which is debunked. As soon as one delusion is unmasked, they simply invent another to replace it, and deny that the first ever existed. Eventually, when they have turned full circle through this endlessly changing fantasy fog , they then re-invent the original delusion and deny that you ever debunked it, thus beginning the circle once more. This technique is known as "the fruit loop" and saves the conspiracy theorist from ever having to see any of their ideas through to their (ill)logical conclusions.


According to the practitioners of the fruit loop, 19 Arabs took over the 4 planes by subduing the passengers and crew through the use of guns, knives, box cutters and gas, and then used electronic guidance systems which they had smuggled on board to fly the planes to their targets.


The suspension of disbelief required for this outrageous concoction is only for the hard core conspiracy theorist. For a start, they conveniently skip over the awkward fact that there weren't any Arabs on the planes. If there were, one must speculate that they somehow got on board without being filmed by any of the security cameras and without being registered on the passenger lists. But the curly question of how they are supposed to have got on board is all too mundane for the exciting world of the conspiracy theorist. With vague mumblings that they must have been using false ID (but never specifying which IDs they are alleged to have used, or how these were traced to their real identities), they quickly bypass this problem, to relate exciting and sinister tales about how some of the fictitious fiends were actually searched before boarding because they looked suspicious. However, as inevitably happens with any web of lies, this simply paints them into an even more difficult corner. How are they supposed to have got on board with all that stuff if they were searched ? And if they used gas in a confined space, they would have been affected themselves unless they also had masks in their luggage.


"Excuse me sir, why do you have a box cutter, a gun, a container of gas, a gas mask and an electronic guidance unit in your luggage?"

"A present for your grandmother? Very well sir, on you get."

"Very strange", thinks the security officer. "That's the fourth Arabic man without an Arabic name who just got on board with a knife, gun or box cutter and gas mask. And why does that security camera keep flicking off every time one these characters shows up? Must be one of those days I guess..."


Asking any of these basic questions to a conspiracy theorist is likely to cause a sudden leap to the claim that we know that they were on board because they left a credit card trail for the tickets they had purchased and cars they had rented. So if they used credit cards that identified them, how does that reconcile with the claim that they used false IDs to get on to the plane? But by this time , the fruit loop is in full swing, as the conspiracy theorist tries to stay one jump ahead of this annoying and awkward rational analysis. They will allege that the hijackers' passports were found at the crash scenes. "So there!" they exalt triumphantly, their fanatical faces lighting up with that deranged look of one who has just a revelation of questionable sanity.


Hmm? So they got on board with false IDs but took their real passports with them? However, by this time the fruit loop has been completely circumnavigated, and the conspiracy theorist exclaims impatiently, "Who said anything about false IDs? We know what seats they were sitting in! Their presence is well documented!" And so the whole loop starts again. "Well, why aren't they on the passenger lists?"


"You numbskull! They assumed the identities of other passengers!" And so on...


Finally, out of sheer fascination with this circular method of creative delusion, the rational sceptic will allow them to get away with this loop, in order to move on to the next question, and see what further delights await us in the unravelling of this marvellously stupid story.


"Uh, how come their passports survived fiery crashes that completely incinerated the planes and all the passengers? " The answer of course is that its just one of those strange co-incidences, those little quirks of fate that do happen from time to time. You know, like the same person winning the lottery four weeks in a row. The odds are astronomical, but these things do happen...


This is another favourite deductive method of the conspiracy theorist. The "improbability drive" , in which they decide upon a conclusion without any evidence whatsoever to support it, and then continually speculate a series of wildly improbable events and unbelievable co-incidences to support it, shrugging off the implausibility of each event with the vague assertion that sometimes the impossible happens (just about all the time in their world). There is a principle called "Occam's razor" which suggests that in the absence of evidence to the contrary, the simplest explanation is most likely to be correct. Conspiracy theorists hate Occam's razor.


Having for the sake of amusement, allowed them to get away with the silly story of the 19 invisible Arabs, we move on to the question of how they are supposed to have taken over the planes.


Hijacking a plane is not an easy thing to do. Hijacking it without the pilot being able to alert ground control is near impossible. The pilot has only to punch in a four digit code to alert ground control to a hijacking. Unconcerned with the awkward question of plausibility, the conspiracy buffs maintain that on that Sept 11, the invisible hijackers took over the plane by the rather crude method of threatening people with box cutters and knives, and spraying gas (after they had attached their masks, obviously), but somehow took control of the plane without the crew first getting a chance to punch in the hijacking code. Not just on one plane, but on all four. At this point in the tale, the conspiracy theorist is again forced to call upon the services of the improbability drive.


So now that our incredibly lucky hijackers have taken control of the planes, all four pilots fly them with breath taking skill and certainty to their fiery end, all four pilots unflinching in their steely resolve for a swift meeting with Allah. Apart from their psychotic hatred of "our freedoms" , it was their fanatical devotion to Islam which enabled them to summon up the iron will to do this. Which is strange, because according to another piece of hearsay peddled by the conspiracy buffs, these guys actually went out drinking and womanizing the night before their great martyrdom, even leaving their Korans in the bar -really impeccable Islamic behaviour - and then got up at 5am the next morning to pull off the greatest covert operation in history. This also requires us to believe that they were even clear headed enough to learn how to fly the huge planes by reading flight manuals in Arabic in the car on the way to the airport. We know this because they supposedly left the flight manuals there for us to find.


It gets better. Their practical training had allegedly been limited to Cessnas and flight simulators, but this was no barrier to the unflinching certainty with which they took over the planes and skilfully guided them to their doom. If they are supposed to have done their flight training with these tools, which would be available just about anywhere in the world, its not clear why they would have decided to risk blowing their cover to US intelligence services by doing the training in Florida, rather than somewhere in the Middle East, but such reasoning is foreign to the foggy world of the conspiracy theorist, too trapped in the constant rotation of the mental fruit loop to make their unsubstantiated fabrications seem even semi-believable.


Having triumphantly established a circular delusion in support of the mythical Arabs, the conspiracy theorist now confronts the difficult question of why there's nothing left of the planes. Anybody who has seen the endlessly replayed footage of the second plane going into the WTC will realize that the plane was packed with explosives. Planes do not and cannot blow up into nothing in that manner when they crash.


Did the mythical Arabs also haul a huge heap of explosives on board, and mange to deploy them in such a manner that they went off in the exact instant of the crash, completely vaporizing the plane? This is a little difficult even for the conspiracy theorist, who at this point decides that its easier to invent new laws of physics in order to keep the delusion rolling along.


There weren't any explosives. It wasn't an inside job. The plane blew up into nothing from its exploding fuel load! Remarkable! Sluggishly combustible jet fuel which is basically kerosene, and which burns at a maximum temperature of around 800 C has suddenly taken on the qualities of a ferociously explosive demolition agent, vaporizing 65 tons of aircraft into a puff of smoke. Never mind that a plane of that size contains around 15 tons of steel and titanium, of which even the melting points are about double that of the maximum combustion temperature of kerosene - let alone the boiling point - which is what would be required to vaporize a plane. And then there's about 50 tons of aluminium to be accounted for. In excess of 15lbs of metal for each gallon of kerosene.


For the conspiracy theorist, such inconvenient facts are vaguely dismissed as "mumbo jumbo". This convenient little phrase is their answer to just about anything factual or logical. Like a conjurer pulling a rabbit out of a hat, they suddenly become fanatically insistent about the devastating explosive qualities of kerosene, something hitherto completely unknown to science, but just discovered by them, this very minute. Blissfully ignoring the fact that never before or since in aviation history has a plane vaporized into nothing from an exploding fuel load, the conspiracy theorist relies upon Hollywood images, where the effects are always larger than life, and certainly larger than the intellects of these cretins.

"Its a well known fact that planes blow up into nothing on impact." they state with pompous certainty. "Watch any Bruce Willis movie."

"Care to provide any documented examples? If it's a well known fact, then presumably this well known fact springs from some kind of documentation - other than Bruce Willis movies?"

At this point the mad but cunning eyes of the conspiracy theorist will narrow as they sense the corner that they have backed themselves into, and plan their escape by means of another stunning back flip.

"Ah, but planes have never crashed into buildings before, so there's no way of telling." they counter with a sly grin.

Well, actually planes have crashed into buildings before and since, and not vaporized into nothing.

"But not big planes, with that much fuel ", they shriek in hysterical denial.

Or that much metal to vaporize.

"Yes but not hijacked planes!"

"Are you suggesting that whether the crash is deliberate or accidental affects the combustion qualities of the fuel?"

"Now you're just being silly".


Although collisions with buildings are rare, planes frequently crash into mountains, streets, other aircraft, nosedive into the ground, or have bombs planted aboard them, and don't vaporize into nothing. What's so special about a tower that's mostly glass? But by now, the conspiracy theorist has once again sailed happily around the fruit loop. "Its a well documented fact that planes explode into nothing on impact."


Effortlessly weaving back and forth between the position that its a "well known fact" and that "its never happened before, so we have nothing to compare it to", the conspiracy theorist has now convinced themselves ( if not too many other people) that the WTC plane was not loaded with explosives, and that the instant vaporization of the plane in a massive fireball was the same as any other plane crash you might care to mention. Round and round the fruit. loop...


But the hurdles which confront the conspiracy theorist are many, and they are now forced to implement even more creative uses for the newly discovered shockingly destructive qualities of kerosene. They have to explain how the Arabs also engineered the elegant vertical collapse of both the WTC towers, and for this awkward fact the easiest counter is to simply deny that it was a controlled demolition, and claim that the buildings collapsed from fire caused by the burning kerosene.


For this, its necessary to sweep aside the second law of thermodynamics and propose kerosene which is not only impossibly destructive, but also recycles itself for a second burning in violation of the law of degradation of energy. You see, it not only consumed itself in a sudden catastrophic fireball, vaporizing a 65 ton plane into nothing, but then came back for a second go, burning at 2000C for another hour at the impact point, melting the skyscraper's steel like butter. And while it was doing all this it also poured down the elevator shafts, starting fires all through the building. When I was at school there was a little thing called the entropy law which suggests that a given portion of fuel can only burn once, something which is readily observable in the real world, even for those who didn't make it to junior high school science. But this is no problem for the conspiracy theorist. Gleefully, they claim that a few thousand gallons of kerosene is enough to

  • completely vaporize a 65 ton aircraft
  • have enough left over to burn ferociously enough for over an hour at the impact point to melt steel (melting point about double the maximum combustion temperature of the fuel)
  • still have enough left over to pour down the elevator shafts and start similarly destructive fires all through the building.

    This kerosene really is remarkable stuff! How chilling to realize that those kerosene heaters we had in the house when I was a kid were deadly bombs, just waiting to go off. One false move and the entire street might have been vaporized. And never again will I take kerosene lamps out camping. One moment you're there innocently holding the lamp - the next - kapow! Vaporized into nothing along with the rest of the camp site, and still leaving enough of the deadly stuff to start a massive forest fire.


    These whackos are actually claiming that the raging inferno allegedly created by the miraculously recycling, and impossibly hot burning kerosene melted or at least softened the steel supports of the skyscraper. Oblivious to the fact that the smoke coming from the WTC was black, which indicates an oxygen starved fire -therefore, not particularly hot, they trumpet an alleged temperature in the building of 2000 C , without a shred of evidence to support this curious suspension of the laws of physics.


    Not content with this ludicrous garbage, they then contend that as the steel frames softened, they came straight down instead of buckling and twisting and falling sideways.


    Since they're already re-engineered the combustion qualities of jet fuel, violated the second law of thermodynamics, and re-defined the structural properties of steel, why let a little thing like the laws of gravity get in the way?


    The tower fell in a time almost identical to that of a free falling object, dropped from that height, meaning that its physically impossible for it to have collapsed by the method of the top floors smashing through the lower floors. But according to the conspiracy theorists, the laws of gravity were temporarily suspended on the morning of Sept 11. It appears that the evil psychic power of those dreadful Arabs knew no bounds. Even after they were dead, they were able, by the power of their evil spirits, to force down the tower at a speed physically impossible under the laws of gravity, had it been meeting any resistance from fireproofed steel structures originally designed to resist many tons of hurricane force wind as well as the impact of a Boeing passenger jet straying off course.


    Clearly, these conspiracy nuts never did their science homework at school, but did become extremely adept at inventing tall tales for why.

    "Muslim terrorists stole my notes, sir"

    "No miss, the kerosene heater blew up and vaporized everything in the street, except for my passport."

    "You see sir, the school bus was hijacked by Arabs who destroyed my homework because they hate our freedoms."


    Or perhaps they misunderstood the term "creative science" and mistakenly thought that coming up with such rubbish was in fact, their science homework.


    The ferocious heat generated by this ghastly kerosene was, according to the conspiracy theorists, the reason why so many of the WTC victims can't be identified. DNA is destroyed by heat. (Although 2000C isn't really required, 100 C will generally do the job.) This is quite remarkable, because according to the conspiracy theorist, the nature of DNA suddenly changes if you go to a different city.


    That's right! If you are killed by an Arab terrorist in NY, your DNA will be destroyed by such temperatures. But if you are killed by an Arab terrorist in Washington DC, your DNA will be so robust that it can survive temperatures which completely vaporize a 65 ton aircraft.


    You see, these loonies have somehow concocted the idea that the missile which hit the Pentagon was not a missile at all, but one of the hijacked planes. And to prove this unlikely premise, they point to a propaganda statement from the Bush regime, which rather stupidly claims that all but one of the people aboard the plane were identified from the site by DNA testing, even though nothing remains of the plane. The plane was vaporized by the fuel tank explosion maintain these space loonies, but the people inside it were all but one identified by DNA testing.


    So there we have it. The qualities of DNA are different, depending upon which city you're in, or perhaps depending upon which fairy story you're trying to sell at any particular time.


    This concoction about one of the hijacked planes hitting the Pentagon really is a howler. For those not familiar with the layout of the Pentagon, it consists of 5 rings of building, each with a space in-between. Each ring of building is about 30 to 35 ft deep, with a similar amount of open space between it and the next ring. The object which penetrated the Pentagon went in at about a 45 degree angle, punching a neat circular hole of about a 12 ft diameter through three rings ( six walls).A little later a section of wall about 65 ft wide collapsed in the outer ring. Since the plane which the conspiracy theorists claim to be responsible for the impact had a wing span of 125 ft and a length of 155 ft, and there was no wreckage of the plane, either inside or outside the building, and the lawns outside were still smooth and green enough to play golf on, this crazy delusion is clearly physically impossible.


    But hey, we've already disregarded the combustion qualities of jet fuel, the normal properties of common building materials, the properties of DNA, the laws of gravity and the second law of thermodynamics, so what the hell - why not throw in a little spatial impossibility as well ? I would have thought that the observation that a solid object cannot pass through another solid object without leaving a hole at least as big as itself is reasonably sound science. But to the conspiracy theorist, this is "mumbo jumbo". It conflicts with the delusion that they're hooked on, so it "must be wrong" although trying to get then to explain exactly how it could be wrong is a futile endeavour.


    Conspiracy theorists fly into a curious panic whenever the Pentagon missile is mentioned. They nervously maintain that the plane was vaporized by it's exploding fuel load and point to the WTC crash as evidence of this behaviour. (That's a wonderful fruit loop.) Like an insect which has just been sprayed, running back and forth in its last mad death throes, they first argue that the reason the hole is so small is that plane never entered the wall, having blown up outside, and then suddenly back flip to explain the 250 ft deep missile hole by saying that the plane disappeared all the way into the building, and then blew up inside the building (even though the building shows no sign of such damage). As for what happened to the wings - here's where they get really creative. The wings snapped off and folded into the fuselage which then carried them into the building, which then closed up behind the plane like a piece of meat.


    When it suits them, they'll also claim that the plane slid in on its belly, (ignoring the undamaged lawn) while at the same time citing alleged witnesses to the plane diving steeply into the building from an "irrecoverable angle." How they reconcile these two scenarios as being compatible is truly a study in stupidity.


    Once they get desperate enough, you can be sure that the UFO conspiracy stuff will make an appearance. The Arabs are in league with the Martians. Space aliens snatched the remains of the Pentagon plane and fixed most of the hole in the wall, just to confuse people. They gave the Arabs invisibility pills to help get them onto the planes. Little green men were seen were seen talking to Bin Laden a few weeks prior to the attacks.


    As the nation gears up to impeach the traitor Bush, and stop his perpetual oil war, it's not helpful to have these idiots distracting from the process by spreading silly conspiracy theories about mythical Arabs, stories which do nothing but play into the hands of the extremist Bush regime.


    At a less serious time, we might tolerate such crackpots with amused detachment, but they need to understand that the treachery that was perpetrated on Sept 11, and the subsequent war crimes committed in "retaliation" are far too serious for us to allow such frivolous self indulgence to go unchallenged.

    Those who are truly addicted to conspiracy delusions should find a more appropriate outlet for their paranoia.


    Its time to stop loony conspiracy theories about Sept 11. 

    For about thirty minutes after his chief of staff told him that America was under attack, George W. Bush continued to sit in an elementary school classroom listening to a second-grader tell a story about a pet goat. He did a marvelous job of looking completely unsurprised. Meanwhile, four hijacked jumbo jets were able to fly off-course across several states without encountering any opposition from the most powerful and responsive air force in the world.

    Less than a month later, on the pretext of pursuing terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden, the Bush administration began what it called a "war" on the impoverished and already war-torn country of Afghanistan. It turns out this assault had been in the works well before September 11 took place.

    Soon after replacing the Taliban government with one more to its liking (and, in what is surely a coincidence, resuscitating the world's most bountiful opium fields), the administration began agitating for a similar, but even more destructive, bombardment of the oil-rich nation of Iraq. This, although Osama bin Laden was still at large and no link between him and Saddam Hussein could be established.

    For these reasons and hundreds of others, the year following September 11 has seen probably the most staggering proliferation of "conspiracy theories" in American history. Angry speculation -- focused mainly on government dirty dealings, ulterior motives, and potential complicity in the attacks -- has risen to a clamor that easily rivals what followed the Kennedy assassination. Some of these suppositions are patent balderdash. But many others are coherent and well argued, and cite disconcerting reports from the U.S. corporate media and respected overseas news desks to support their claims. Providing grist for the mill are such odd episodes as last year's partisan anthrax poisonings (using U.S. army microbes) and the sniper attacks that recently plagued Washington, DC.

    Following are the ten most alarming theories about September 11, the "War on Terror," and the future of the world.

    Feel free to accept them as gospel, study them as symptoms of a traumatized culture, or scoff at them as anti-American propaganda.

    1. Great Game in the Caspian Sea


    Among the theories about the administration's real reasons for bombing and occupying Afghanistan, the one with the most traction argues that Afghanistan provides the best real estate for an oil and natural gas pipeline. Believers say that fossil fuels in the Caspian Sea, once part of the Soviet empire, are now up for grabs in a fierce contest between Russia and the West. To the winner will go control of much of the energy supply for East Asia. Sources cited in support of this idea -- which has gotten ink in England's Guardian newspaper and the BBC, as well as offhand mention on U.S. Sunday talk shows -- include Zbigniew Brzezinski's apology for empire, The Grand Chessboard, and a 1998 Taliban-damning report to Congress from the oil company Unocal. But the most telling evidence of all: Now that Afghanistan is a satellite state of the Bush administration, the pipeline is actually being built!.


    2. The Afghanistan/Enron Connection


    Rumor has it that in the months before Enron's collapse, Bush, Cheney, and the much-gossiped-about "energy task force" convened daily, high-priority meetings to try and engineer a bailout for Bush's most generous campaign contributor. At the peak of the Enron scandal and in the aftermath of the attack on Afghanistan, a fascinating document surfaced in conspiracy circles that told of a bank-breaking Enron venture: A power plant the firm had partly built in India. Plagued with cost overruns and accusations of employee mistreatment that led to violent labor disputes, the power plant became a cash sinkhole that threatened to send Enron into insolvency -- unless the plant could tap into a pipeline network to be spun off from the Caspian Sea venture and recover some of its losses by operating on natural gas. A detailed and intriguing read, this document explains why Dick Cheney would sooner chug a quart of 10W-40 than surrender the minutes of those energy meetings.


    3. The Magic Passport Theory


    We can now add Mohamed Atta's reality-defying passport to the Arlen Specter Gallery of Improbable Projectiles. This incriminating item was thrown intact from a cataclysmic fireball and miraculously plucked from 1.6 million tons of debris in a matter of hours. The corporate media rarely mention the unlikelihood of this. Many in the alternative press, though, are unafraid to draw an obvious, albeit taboo, inference: that the Atta passport is planted evidence. According to Washington, DC, peace activist John Judge, other potential plants include the Arabic-language flight manuals left in one of the hijackers' cars (with note: The discussion of the flight manuals begins at around 13:30). These manuals could serve no useful purpose at such a late stage unless the hijackers planned to finish learning how to fly during a half-hour ride to the airport. But as deliberately placed articles, they are as if a signed diary called "My Plan to Kill the President" had been unearthed in Lee Harvey Oswald's flat. Also high on the possible planted evidence list is a spiritual manifesto for the Al Qaeda kamikaze pilots, which, to journalist Robert Fisk, sounds an awful lot like it was written by a God-fearing Christian.


    4. Hijacker Oddities I


    Little-observed in the fine print of the FBI rap sheet on the September 11 hijackers was a clumsily phrased disclaimer admitting that the Bureau's document wasn't, ahem, necessarily a final draft (with note: "It should be noted that attempts to confirm the true identities of these individuals are still under way").


    Ringleader Mohamed Atta's identity was a slam-dunk, of course, owing to the propitious recovery of his passport. But bear in mind how quickly the FBI conjured its 19 Enemies of the State while you ponder the strange case of Waleed Al Shehri. In an article for the BBC, this Saudi Arabian national says that he turned up on the FBI list and feels that rumors of his death were greatly exaggerated. Not to be outdone, the British Daily Telegraph also ran an article on the subject, claiming to have found no fewer than four of the supposed September 11 attackers -- alive, well, and hopping mad. Pending long overdue clarification from John Ashcroft's vaunted Bureau, one can hardly blame the conspiracy-minded for crying "patsy."


    5. Hijacker Oddities II


    Another theory about the hijackers' real identities takes as its departure an utterly bizarre and largely overlooked story on, which says that some of the hijackers may have trained at U.S. Army bases. Yes, you read that right. Strange as it may seem, providing terrorists-slash-"freedom fighters" with lethal skills is a tradition in certain specialized arms of the American military and U.S. intelligence. The infamous School of the Americas, for example, helped to train the death squads that claimed so many innocent lives in Central America. Even so, the idea that the government might aid Osama's minions is completely beyond the pale, right? Perhaps. But remember the CIA and the military's record-breaking aid program to the Afghan Mujahedin movement, as outlined, for example, in John Cooley's Unholy Wars. Questions about hijacker links to U.S. intelligence got more complicated when the spook watchdog magazine CovertAction Quarterly claimed that many of the hijackers got into the country using CIA "snitch" visas. (This article can be found in CovertAction Quarterly's Winter 2001; the BBC conducted an interview with the author, Michael Springmann). As with many issues involving The Agency, this promises to be shrouded in mystery for a long time.


    6. Insider Trades


    Remember right after the attacks when you couldn't watch TV for five minutes without hearing somebody say "put option"? The 9/11 insider stock trades got endless airplay on the major networks before Osama bin Laden became fixed in the popular imagination, whereupon the media bent themselves to the task of establishing his guilt. Still, even if Al Qaeda placed the 4,744 suspicious transactions, wouldn't the story still be useful, if only to further illuminate the terrorist network's money machine? Apparently not, because the story didn't just fade away over time; it suddenly vanished. Once in a while, a TV news anchorperson would assure us there had been "nothing to" the rumors while failing to explain, if this was true, where the story had come from or why it had gotten so such attention.


    But conservative scandal-tracker Tom Flocco didn't give up on the hinky stock trades. In a series of articles, he follows the money back to a bigwig in the financial firm Deutsche Bank, who also was once executive director of (surprise!) the CIA. Some might question Flocco's credibility as an investigative reporter, I suppose -- although credibility in the news business appears to be a dead letter anyway, if CNN could accidentally fabricate the 5,000 trades out of whole cloth to begin with.


    7. The New World Order Will Not Be Televised


    Assuming you haven't stopped reading yet -- either to start digging a bomb shelter in your backyard or to flip on FOX News for a much-needed dose of pro-war soma -- you have to be wondering how these flabbergasting stories escaped the notice of America's intrepid newshounds. Examine this question for even a minute and you will stumble onto a proven, card-carrying evil conspiracy: It's called the U.S. Congress, and conclusive evidence links them to a truly terrifying document known as the Telecommunications Act of 1996.


    This legislation is relevant post-9/11 because it allowed the megamergers of media conglomerates to become ultra-monstermergers. As a result, today a handful of multinationals control most of what is said in the U.S. about military actions overseas and the reasons for them. At least one of these companies -- General Electric -- has financial stakes in the weapons racket as well, but this blatant conflict of interest gets as much coverage as the Telecommunications Act originally got when it was on the floor of Congress: next to none. Some media observers and academics, like MIT's Noam Chomsky and Norman Solomon of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, have doggedly pointed out that the bloated media emperor has no clothes. Too bad they stand little chance of appearing regularly on Face the Nation.


    Not many people noticed when the rules governing what gets said about war and who gets to say it were exposed in Harper's Magazine, which ran a Florida News Herald memo outlining some of the carefully crafted talking points journalists must observe in discussing U.S. bombing campaigns. Among them: Ignore or minimize innocent death. "If the story needs rewriting to play down the civilian casualties" caused by U.S. bombings, the Herald's copy desk decrees, "DO IT.... Failure to follow any of these or other standing rules could put your job in jeopardy" . Lesson? If you live in the U.S. and think you know what your government is doing to other countries and why, just because you watch cable or read a daily newspaper -- think again.


    8. Iran/Contra Redux


    This proposed logo for the US Information Awareness Office was dropped due to fears that its Masonic symbolism would provoke conspiracy theories

    Near the end of 2002, a surprisingly lethargic debate was underway in the U.S. concerning the "war on terror"'s erosion of Americans' civil liberties -- which many felt were already pretty meager anyhow, having been picked clean during two decades of the "war on drugs." The debate took a turn toward the paranormal when the corporate media briefly went agog over the Bush administration's citizen-stalking Information Awareness Office. By the time it got mentioned in the Washington Post, though, the IAO was old news to flying saucer buffs: Art Bell rival Jeff Rense had already run several articles scrutinizing the IAO's logo, which -- with its all-seeing, Masonic pyramid-and-eyeball -- seems meant to agitate the growing ranks of the understandably paranoid.


    It takes only a few clicks on the IAO's homepage to learn that the agency is presided over by Iran/Contra luminary John Poindexter, just one weapons-running Reagan-era alumnus to find an honored seat in Dubya's star chamber. Also plucked from political ignominy is Elliot Abrams, who has gone from pleading no-contest to charges of perjury before Congress to helping lead the Bush Administration's Mid-East policy. These are only two of the administration's many questionable appointments -- don't even get me started on Henry Kissinger -- but Iran/Contra is a matter of special note to conspiracy trackers.


    9. The Reichstag Fire and Operation Northwoods


    Now things get really weird. To those who scoff at the idea that the government could have had foreknowledge of or complicity in the September 11 attacks, conspiracy researchers respond that attacks have been faked or manufactured plenty of times before, usually to maneuver the public into supporting a war they would otherwise oppose. The Nazi party, for instance, most likely set fire to the Reichstag building in order to pin the crime on the communists and galvanize the people behind their police-state tactics. They also forged a fake battle to justify their invasion of Poland. Sure, you say, but the Nazis were like that. Unfortunately, similar incidents pop up in the U.S.'s recent past, as well. Frequently mentioned examples include Pearl Harbor -- which many, such as Day of Deceit author Robert Stinnett, feel was allowed to happen to prompt America's entry into World War II [see links on right] -- and the weird Gulf of Tonkin incident.


    Researchers discussing this issue often cite an interesting find: an internal Pentagon document from the early 1960s, which appears in James Bamford's book on military subterfuge, Body of Secrets, and puts the lie to the contention that the government would never manufacture incidents or attack its own people to lead the country to war. The Operation Northwoods memo is the result of a brainstorming session on ways to help sell military action in Cuba by fabricating or committing acts of violence and blaming them on Fidel Castro. Among its suggestions: shoot down a plane full of college students, sink an American ship ("casualty lists in U.S. newspapers would cause a helpful wave of national indignation"), or rig astronaut John Glenn's rocket to explode. The Northwoods memo invites us to rethink what some in the government might be capable of not only in terms of September 11 but also the Kennedy assassination. After all, if spectacular murders of people like John Glenn are conceivable, is it so fantastic to plot the assassination of a sitting president?

    Operation Northwoods may be the most corrupt plan ever created by the U.S. government. Operation Northwoods had called for nothing less than the launch of a secret campaign of terrorism within the United States in order to blame Castro and provoke a war with Cuba.

    -- James Bamford, author of Body of Secrets - The History of the National Security Agency (published April 2001) 

    In the early 1960s, America's top military leaders reportedly drafted plans to kill innocent people and commit acts of terrorism in U.S. cities to create public support for a war against Cuba. Code named Operation Northwoods, the plans reportedly included the possible assassination of Cuban »migr»s, sinking boats of Cuban refugees on the high seas, hijacking planes, blowing up a U.S. ship, and even orchestrating violent terrorism in U.S. cities. The plans were developed as ways to trick the American public and the international community into supporting a war to oust Cuba's then new leader, communist Fidel Castro. America's top military brass even contemplated causing U.S. military casualties, writing: 'We could blow up a U.S. ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba,' and, 'casualty lists in U.S. newspapers would cause a helpful wave of national indignation.' The plans had the written approval of all of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and were presented to President Kennedy's defense secretary, Robert McNamara, in March 1962. But they apparently were rejected by the civilian leadership and have gone undisclosed for nearly 40 years. The Joint Chiefs at the time were headed by Eisenhower appointee Army Gen. Lyman L. Lemnitzer, who, with the signed plans in hand made a pitch to McNamara on March 13, 1962, recommending Operation Northwoods be run by the military. Another idea was to pay someone in the Castro government to attack U.S. forces at the Guantanamo naval base - an act, which Bamford notes, would have amounted to treason.

    -- ABC News, "Friendly Fire - U.S. Military Drafted Plans to Terrorize U.S. Cities to Provoke War With Cuba," May 1, 2001

    10. Things to Come


    For many writers the corruption of American empire is relevant, but only as a sidebar. The real problem stems from two incontrovertible facts: that reserves of oil and other non-renewable resources will some day run out, and that on its current course, the Earth is soon to become overloaded with people. If these twin problems go unaddressed, our species faces a gloomy fate. As the situation gets worse, governance in the traditional mode, based around at least the pretense of liberal democracy, will become impossible. Instead, naked power grabs will become the norm for wealthy elites capable of mounting them. "The people"'s job will be simply to provide money and labor for the war machines that make these imperial conquests possible; those who aspire to a role in their own governance beyond subsidizing imperial expansion will be brutally repressed.


    Harvey and others feel that such a global transformation has already begun, and episodes like September 11 and the U.S. government's bizarre obsession with oil-laden Iraq are among its harbingers. But, you say, oil supplies look fine from where you sit. The problem won't manifest itself all at once, when the world's oil wells suddenly dry up. It is instead happening incrementally, because the rate of production has started to lag behind the world's increasing demand. Among numerous cases in point, "The Coming Anarchy," an Atlantic Monthly article describing intolerable government repression in the long-neglected region of sub-Saharan Africa. Such will be the harvest of empire for our overextended world: warlordism, brutal dictatorships that verge on chaos -- death, and in vast quantities.

    I don't know whether these predictions will come to pass. But I find the possibility an awful lot easier to imagine.



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    25 Things We Now Know About 9/11

    By Bernard Weiner

    Co-Editor, The Crisis Papers

    The Republican Party -- in a shameless , all-too-obvious attempt to manipulate the tragedy of 9/11 for partisan ends -- chose New York City for its nominating convention. Must have seemed like a great idea at the time.


    Their coming to Manhattan not only infuriates New Yorkers, who were badly played by Bush&Co. after the attacks, but enables the rest of us in the country to use Ground Zero as the backdrop for examining the gross failures and crimes of the Bush Administration since that tragic day in September 2001.


    So, here is an update* of things we've learned during the three years since 9/11 -- documented mostly from government papers and respected journalistic accounts -- about the Administration that rules in our names. If you find this compendium useful, you might want to make this list available to your friends and colleagues, especially to those still uncertain which presidential candidate they will vote for ten weeks from now.


    The 9/11 Attack Cover-up


    1. Immediately after the destruction of the Twin Towers, Bush's Environmental Protection Agency tested the air in and around Ground Zero. Anxious Lower Manhattan residents, worried about possible airborne toxic particles affecting them and especially their children, were assured by the EPA on September 18 that the tests indicated it was safe for them to return to and live normal lives in their homes and apartments and businesses. It wasn't until two years later that the EPA admitted that they had lied to New Yorkers: The Bush Administration knew from their own test results that the toxicity revealed was WAY over the safe levels. Typical Bush&Co. pattern: secrecy, lies, denial, cover-up.


    2. There is no evidence that Bush&Co. ordered Osama bin Laden -- who had been on the CIA payroll in Afghanistan when he and his forces were battling the Soviet occupiers -- to launch terrorist attacks on the U.S. Resurgent radical Islam is a genuine phenomenon, with its own religious and political roots. There definitely are Bad Guys out there.


    What is well-documented is that the highest circles around Bush were quite aware in the Summer of 2001 -- as a result of fairly detailed intelligence frantically being passed on to them by other governments in the months and weeks before 9/11-- that a massive terrorist attack was in the works, which likely would involve hijacked airplanes aimed at icon American economic and political targets. (The August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing, entitled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." talked about al-Qaida wanting to strike the nation's capital, preparations for airline hijackings, casing of buildings in New York, terrorists in the U.S. with explosives, etc.) Bush went to ground in Texas, the FBI told Ashcroft to stop flying commercial jets, etc. The attacks finally came on 9/11.


    Bush could have assumed command immediately; instead, 27 minutes went by while he sat in a schoolroom and then posed for photos. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, somewhere on the Pentagon premises, was strangely missing from action, uninvolved in defending the country until after the horrific events had unfolded. Even though the protocols were clear, NORAD could not reach Rumsfeld and did not scramble jets until long after the horrific mass-murder attacks were over. When Bush did emerge from the school, he claims he could not reach Cheney or the White House by phone. (Passengers using cell phones on the final doomed jet had no problems reaching their loved ones and emergency centers all around the country.)


    In short, the key Administration officials responsible for protecting America, and coordinating its responses to attacks, were not available, either out of incompetence and confusion or out of more nefarious motives. As Nina Moliver, a 9/11 sleuth puts it, "On 9/11, there was a grand stall. A stall for time. I learned this from a glance at the findings of the 9/11 commission. How could ANYBODY miss it? Bush and Rumsfeld didn't 'fail' on Sept 11. They succeeded masterfully." A bit far out, to be sure, but if the Bush circle knew something was coming that morning -- and numerous others did, including the mayor of San Francisco -- it's certainly a theory that can't be ruled out.


    3. We know that the future neo-conservative architects of Bush foreign/military policy, members of The Project for The New American Century (PNAC), knew that their ideas were too extreme for most Americans to swallow. They noted that "the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event -- like a new Pearl Harbor."


    Again, there is no proof of coordination by the Bush Administration with the al-Qaida terrorists who carried out the terrorist attacks, but BushCheney and their closest aides were aware on 9/11 that they now had the "Pearl Harbor" that would clear the way for their agenda to be realized.


    4. We know that Bush and Cheney, early on, approached the leaders of the House and Senate and urged them not to investigate the pre-9/11 activities of the Administration, because of "national security." The cover-up was beginning.


    5. The 9/11 Commission examined how the intelligence community screwed up the pre-9/11 intelligence -- thus effectively laying the blame on lower-level agents and officials -- but says it won't issue its report on how the Bush Administration used or misused that information until AFTER the election. The cover-up continues. Many victims' families are furious.


    6. We know that the Bush Administration has been able to obtain whatever legislation it needs in its self-proclaimed "War on Terror" by utilizing, and hyping, the understandable fright of the American people. The USA Patriot Act -- composed of many honorable initiatives, and many clearly unconstitutional provisions, cobbled together from those submitted over the years by GOP hardliners and rejected as too extreme by Congress -- was presented almost immediately to a House and Senate frightened by the 9/11 attacks and by the anthrax introduced into their chambers by someone still not discovered. Ridge and Ashcroft emerge periodically to manipulate the public's fright by announcing another "terror" threat, based on "credible" but unverified evidence; these announcements can be correlated almost exactly to when Bush seems to need a headline to distract the public from yet another scandal or significant drop in the polls.


    Attack on Iraq


    7. We know that a cabal of ideologically-motivated Bush officials, on the rightwing fringe of the Republican Party, were calling for a military takeover of Iraq as early as 1991. This elite group included Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, Woolsey, Bolton, Khalizad and others, all of whom are now located in positions of power in the Pentagon and White House, and, to a lesser extent, State Department.

    They were among the key founders of the Project for The New American Century (PNAC) in 1997; among their recommendations: "pre-emptively" attacking other countries devoid of imminent danger to the U.S., abrogating agreed-upon treaties when they conflict with U.S. goals, making sure no other country (or organization, such as the United Nations) can ever achieve parity with the U.S., installing U.S.-friendly governments to do America's will, using tactical nuclear weapons, and so on. In short, as they put it, the goal is "benevolent global hegemony" -- or, in layman's English, a kind of neo-imperialism.

    All of these extreme suggestions, once regarded as lunatic, are now enshrined as official U.S. policy in the National Security Strategy of the United States of America, published by the Bush Administration in late-2002.

    A secret blueprint for U.S. global domination reveals that President Bush and his cabinet were planning a premeditated attack on Iraq to secure regime change even before he took power in January 2001.

    -- Ted Koppel: Nightline, March 5, 2003, re Project for New American Century Corporation (PNAC), "Rebuilding America's Defenses", by "Dick" Cheney, Jeb Bush, et al.

    8. We know that the Bush Administration was planning to attack Iraq long before 9/11, and that, even though Rumsfeld was told by his intelligence analysts that 9/11 was an al-Qaida operation, he began dragging an attack on Iraq -- which had no significant contacts with bin Laden's network -- into the war planning. When the traditional intelligence agencies couldn't, or wouldn't, furnish the White House with made-up "facts" to back up an attack on Iraq, Rumsfeld set up his own "intelligence" unit inside his office, the Office of Special Plans, staffed it with political PNAC appointees, and, lo and behold, got the justifications he wanted -- which cooked-"intelligence" turned out to be the lies and deceptions that took the U.S. into Iraq.


    Note: Rumsfeld's secretive Office of Special Plans, with direct access to the Secretary of Defense and thus to shaping policy toward Iraq and Iran, is implicated in the current, serious scandal involving possible treason (passing classified material to foreign countries, in this case maybe Israel and Iran), with potential links to the slimy double-agent Ahmad Chalabi and others.


    9. We know that the Bush Administration felt that it could not get Congressional and public support for its plan to attack Iraq if the true reasons were revealed -- to control the massive Iraqi oil reserves, to obtain a military staging base in the region, and to use a U.S.-friendly "democratic" government as a lever to alter the geopolitical situation in the Middle East and beyond. So, according to Wolfowitz, it settled on the one justification they thought would work: accusing Saddam Hussein of preparing to attack its neighbors and the United States with supposed massive stockpiles of "weapons of mass destruction." Senators were lied to by Administration briefers, who told them Iraqi drone planes could drop biochemical agents over American cities; Condoleezza Rice warned about "mushroom clouds" over New York and Washington.


    Millions of citizens across the globe, and world leaders among our own allies, warned the Bush Administration that an attack on Iraq -- a weak country, with no military power to speak of -- was wrong, would backfire on the U.S. and world peace, would enrage the Islamic world and produce more terrorist recruits, and would lose America its reputation and its post-9/11 sympathy across the globe. But the Bush Administration had made the essential decision to go to war a year before the invasion ("Fuck Saddam", Bush told three U.S. Senators in March of 2002. "We're taking him out") And, even though Saddam authorized the United Nations inspectors to return to Iraq to complete their weapons survey, Bush was determined to attack. Secretary of State Powell was dispatched to the United Nations to outline the U.S. case and obtain authorization; his case was filled with laughably thin and phony intelligence, and the U.N. demurred. Bush launched his attack.


    10. We know that no WMDs were discovered. No nuclear program. No missiles aimed at U.S. or British interests. No drone planes. No biochemical weaponry. Bush and his spokesmen then attempted to change the rationale for the war away from those scary WMDs to an implication that Saddam was part of the terrorist network that carried out the 9/11 attacks. There was no convincing proof offered, merely the constant repetition of the non-existent al-Qaida tie -- so much so that the Big Lie technique worked early on as 70% of Americans thought there must have been some tie-in to 9/11. The 9/11 Commission verified that there was no such operative connection to al-Qaida. Bush publicly agreed, but Cheney and others even today continue to suggest otherwise. When the American public stopped believing in the al-Qaida/Iraq lie, the rationale for the war was switched again. Now the reason for the war was that Saddam Hussein was a terrible tyrant -- an assertion everybody could agree on -- though why we toppled this guy and not a half dozen other equally as bad dictators (some of them our close allies) was left unanswered.


    10. We know that the predictions of our key allies, and those millions in the streets who protested, have come true. The U.S., having had no "post-war" plan, is bogged down in Iraq, facing a nationalist insurgency, and a rebellious religious faction of fighters, with no end in sight; it has lost the countryside and is losing the cities as well. The U.S. has engineered an American-friendly interim government that is locked into the reconstruction contracts that permit huge American corporations such as Bechtel and Halliburton -- who, quite by coincidence, of course, are huge financial backers of the Bush Administration -- to make out like bandits in that country, often with no-bid contracts. The U.S. has at least 14 military bases in Iraq, which it intends to continue using as a military/political lever in reshaping the geopolitics of the Middle East -- regardless of the costs in lives and treasure, and not caring that its policies with regard to the Palestinian/Israeli problem fan the flames of terrorism in that area of the world, and beyond.


    Authoritarian Maneuvers

    11. We know that CIA Director George Tenet fell on his sword, taking the thrust of the bad-intel blame away from Bush. Other elements inside the agency, outraged by Bush&Co. using them as whipping-boys, then began leaking all sorts of damaging information about White House skulduggery. Elements in the State Department, appalled at the neo-cons in control of U.S. military policy at the Pentagon, likewise leaked information damaging to the extremists.


    12. We know that once Bush assumed power, he moved to obtain immunity for U.S. officials and troops from international war-crimes prosecutions, pulling America out of the relevant treaties. We didn't know why at the time, but later, after our covert and overt behavior in Afghanistan and Iraq and the tortures scandal erupted, we figured it out.


    13. We know that Bush lawyers in the White House and Pentagon (State Department attorneys did not agree) issued memoranda that outlined how Bush and other key officials could avoid criminal prosecution for their wartime policies and for advocating use of "harsh interrogation methods" (read: torture) of suspected terrorists at Guantánamo, and in Afghanistan, Iraq and other U.S. facilities around the world. Ignoring the Founders' wise "separation of powers" -- designed to keep any leader or branch of government from assuming total control of the levers of powers -- the lawyers claimed that whenever Bush acts as "commander in chief" during "wartime," he is above the law. In common parlance, these are rationalizations for authoritarian rule, by dictatorial decrees.


    14. We know that the Pentagon was well aware of the tortures at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere -- key military reports had been submitted -- but the issue was ignored until grisly photographs and videotapes surfaced in public media documenting the "harsh interrogation methods"; some of those methods resulted in a goodly number of deaths to prisoners under U.S. control. Several commissions reported that the rot came from the top at the Pentagon, including Rumsfeld, but, by and large, only lower-level troops and officers have been disciplined or charged. In the meantime, the humiliating and brutal treatment of Muslim men, women and children in U.S. custody has reverberated throughout the Islamic world, helping create more and more converts to terrorist organizations.


    Scandals at Home


    15. In two instances, the Bush Administration, for its own political reasons, compromised American national security by naming key intelligence operatives -- one a CIA agent, Valerie Plame, with important contacts in the shadowy world of weapons of mass destruction (outed by two "senior Administration officials," apparently in retaliation for her husband's political comments); revealing the name of a CIA agent is a felony. The other, more recently (apparently to show off how successful they were in their anti-terrorism hunt), was a high-ranking mole close to bin Laden's inner circle, who could have kept the U.S. informed as ongoing and future plans of al-Qaida. That's our anti-terrorism government at work.


    16. We know that Karl Rove -- Bush's senior political advisor, who along with Dick Cheney, manipulates Bush's strings -- has been instrumental in helping get the so-called "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" off the ground. Longtime GOP operatives and major Bush donors supplied the money and organizing skill, and then let them loose with their lies -- with precious little skepticism displayed by the corporate-owned mass-media. Apparently, at least initially, the Big Lie technique worked once again -- though now polls show the smears being doubted -- forcing Kerry to stop his attacks on Bush domestic policies and concentrate on damage control. The Kerry campaign took a while to rev up its counter-campaign, bringing in all sorts of eyewitnesses that documented the truth of his heroism in winning his Vietnam medals. Even slimier charges are expected at any moment about Kerry's post-discharge opposition to that war.


    Protecting the Vote


    17. We know that even though several large states -- among them, California and Ohio -- have prohibited computer-voting machines from being used in the November election, unless there is a voter-verified paper trail, most of the toss-up states will be using the touch-screen, unverified system. This would be suspicious if Democrats or Republicans were in charge of those machines, but in this election it's virtually all Republicans. The three largest makers of the machines are owned by far-right Republicans; those same companies tabulate the results. Republican-leaning companies also control the testing of those machines. In short, it smells rank -- especially inasmuch as it's been demonstrated how easily the software can be manipulated, without anybody knowing -- and definitely looks as if the fix is in. The CEO of one of the companies, a major "Pioneer" donor to the Bush campaign, promised Bush he would "deliver" his state to the GOP candidate, and Gov. Jeb Bush in Florida has quashed all attempts to stop or alter computer-voting in his state. (Note: The GOP has urged all its members in Florida to vote by absentee ballot, because the machines are "unreliable." Get the picture?)


    18. We know that the GOP is trying, by hook or by crook, to lower the number of potential Democrat voters. Attempts have been made to remove thousands of African-American citizens from the rolls (reminiscent of Florida in 2000, where anywhere from 47,000 to 90,000 black voters where disenfranchised), police agents have visited numerous elderly black voters in their rural homes and warned them about possible violence at the polls, a GOP official in Michigan talked about the need to "discourage" the vote in largely-black Detroit, GOP "observers" will stand outside voting places in rural areas as possible intimidators of older black voters, GOP operatives registering new American citizens filled out the paperwork for them and signed them up as Republicans, and so on.


    19. We know that Administration lawyers have issued memoranda making it possible for Bush to "postpone" the November election for "anti-terrorist" reasons -- say, a major attack or "credible" threat of a major attack. Note: There has never been a national election postponed, not even during the Civil War.


    20. We know that Administration attorneys have issued memoranda that would make it possible for Bush to be elected by partial voting. That is, he could be elected by voters supporting him, even if citizens in pro-Kerry states were prohibited from voting or having their votes counted. Again, the fig-leaf is "terrorism." If a "red alert" were to be issued for certain areas on November 2 -- say, the West Coast and New England states -- Bush could, under state-of-emergency declarations, "limit the movement" of citizens in those areas, while the election proceeded as normal elsewhere. A truncated election would be permitted, and, under this scheme, whoever had the most ballots would win.


    Starving the Government


    21. We know that the Bush Administration paid off its backers (and itself) by giving humongous tax breaks, for 10 years out, to the already wealthy and to large corporations. This was done at a time when the U.S. economy was in recessionary doldrums and when the treasury deficit from those tax-breaks was growing even larger from Iraq war costs. So far as we know, the Bush Administration has no plans for how to retire that debt and no real plan (other than the discredited "trickle-down" theory) for restarting the economy and creating jobs. In 2004, it's clear that whatever positive "trickle-down" effect the tax refunds may have provided, that impact is no more, and the (jobless) "recovery" is slowing and starting to look recessional again. People need good-paying employment.


    22. We know that the Hard Right conservatives who control Bush policy don't really care what kind of debt and deficits his policies cause; in some ways, the more the better. They want to decimate and eviscerate popular social programs from the New Deal/Great Society eras, including, most visibly, Head Start, Social Security, Medicare (and real drug coverage for seniors), aspects of public education. Since these programs are so well-approved by the public, the destruction will be carried out stealthily with the magic words of "privatization," "deregulation," "choice" and so on, and by going to the public and saying that they'd love to keep the programs intact but they have no alternative but to cut them, given the deficit, weak economy and "anti-terrorist" wars abroad.


    23. We know that Bush environmental policy -- dealing with air and water pollution, national park systems, and so on -- is an unmitigated disaster, more or less giving free rein to corporations whose bottom line does better when they don't have to pay attention to the public interest.


    24. We know from "insider" memoirs and reports by former Bush Administration officials -- Joseph DeIulio, Paul O'Neill, Richard Clarke, et al. -- that the public interest plays little role in the formulation of policy inside the Bush Administration. The motivating factors are greed and control and remaining in political power. Further, they say, there is little or no curiosity to think outside the political box, or even to hear other opinions -- in other words, don't bother me with facts, my mind's made up. Some of this non-curiosity may be based in fundamentalist religious, even Apocalyptic, beliefs.


    25. Finally (although we could continue forever detailing the crimes and misdemeanors of this corrupt, incompetent Administration), we know that more and more, the permanent-war policy abroad and police-state tactics at home -- with the shredding of Constitutional rights designed to protect citizens from a potential repressive government -- are taking us into a kind of American fascism at home and an imperial foreign policy overseas.

    As a result, we are beginning to see more alliances between liberal/left forces and libertarians/traditional conservatives horrified that their party has been hijacked by extreme ideologues. If Bush loses his bid for a second term, it will come less from what we progressives do and more from those moderate-to-conservative Republicans and Libertarians, who cannot abide what Bush&Co. have done to their party, their movement, and to this country.

    The "Dodgy Dossier" of 2003 and Colin Powell's 'Weapons of Mass Destruction' presentation to the UN General Assembly, the "Kuwaiti Baby Incubators of 1991 or, to go further back, the Gulf of Tonkin Incident in 1964 and the Suez Crisis in 1956.

    In all of these, governments conspired to justify their actions with false information.

    n. [Latin praetextum, pp. of praetextere, to weave before, pretend, disguise; prae-, before + texere, to weave], a false reason or motive put forth to hide the real one; excuse.

    [Gr. Strategema, device or act of a general; stratos, army + agein, to lead], a trick, scheme or device used for deceiving an enemy in war.

    How to Start a War
    The American Use of War Pretext Incidents

    Throughout history, war planners have used various forms of deception to trick their enemies. Because public support is so crucial to the process of initiating and waging war, the home population is also subject to deceitful stratagems. The creation of false excuses to justify going to war is a major first step in constructing public support for such deadly ventures. Perhaps the most common pretext for war is an apparently unprovoked enemy attack. Such attacks, however, are often fabricated, incited or deliberately allowed to occur. They are then exploited to arouse widespread public sympathy for the victims, demonize the attackers and build mass support for military “retaliation.”

    Like schoolyard bullies who shout ‘He hit me first!’, war planners know that it is irrelevant whether the opponent really did ‘throw the first punch.’

    As long as it can be made to appear that the attack was unprovoked, the bully receives license to ‘respond’ with force. Bullies and war planners are experts at taunting, teasing and threatening their opponents. If the enemy cannot be goaded into ‘firing the first shot,’ it is easy enough to lie about what happened. Sometimes, that is sufficient to rationalize a schoolyard beating or a genocidal war.

    Such trickery has probably been employed by every military power throughout history. During the Roman empire, the causes of war -- cassus belli -- were often invented to conceal the real reasons for war. Over the millennia, although weapons and battle strategies have changed greatly, the deceitful stratagem of using pretext incidents to ignite war has remained remarkably consistent.

    Pretext incidents, in themselves, are not sufficient to spark wars. Rumors and allegations about the tragic events must first spread throughout the target population. Constant repetition of the official version of what happened, spawns dramatic narratives that are lodged into public consciousness. The stories become accepted without question and legends are fostered. The corporate media is central to the success of such ‘psychological operations.’ Politicians rally people around the flag, lending their special oratory skills to the call for a military “response.” Demands for “retaliation” then ring out across the land, war hysteria mounts and, finally, a war is born.

    Every time the US has gone to war, pretext incidents have been used. Upon later examination, the conventional perception of these events is always challenged and eventually exposed as untrue. Historians, investigative journalists and many others, have cited eyewitness accounts, declassified documents and statements made by the perpetrators themselves to demonstrate that the provocative incidents were used as stratagems to stage-manage the march to war.

    Here are a few particularly blatant examples of this phenomenon.

    1846: The Mexican-American War

    Context After Mexico’s revolution in 1821, Americans demanded about $3,000,000 in compensation for their losses. 1 Mexico abolished slavery in 1829 and then prohibited further U.S. immigration into Texas, a Mexican state. In 1835, Mexico tried to enforce its authority over Texas. Texans, rallying under the slogan "Remember the Alamo!”, drove Mexican troops out of Texas and proclaimed independence. For nine years, many Texans lobbied for US annexation. This was delayed by northerners who opposed adding more slave territories to the US and feared a war with Mexico. 2

    In 1844, Democratic presidential candidate, James Polk, declared support for annexing Texas and won with the thinnest margin ever. 3 The following year, Texas was annexed and Mexico broke off diplomatic relations with the US. Polk sent John Slidell to Mexico offering $25 million for New Mexico, California and an agreement accepting the Rio Grande boundary. Mexican government officials refused to meet the envoy. 4

    John Stockwell, a Texan who led the CIA’s covert 1970s war in Angola, summed up the start of Mexican American war by saying “they offered two dollars-a-head to every soldier who would enlist. They didn't get enough takers, so they offered a hundred acres to anyone who would be a veteran of that war. They still didn't get enough takers, so [General] Zachary Taylor was sent down to parade up and down the border -- the disputed border -- until the Mexicans fired on him.... And the nation rose up, and we fought the war.” 5

    President Polk hoped that sending General Taylor’s 3,500 soldiers into Mexico territory, would provoke an attack against US troops. 6 “On May 8, 1846, Polk met with his Cabinet at the White House and told them that if the Mexican army attacked the U.S. forces, he was going to send a message to Congress asking for a declaration of war. It was decided that war should be declared in three days even if there was no attack.” 7

    When news of the skirmish arrived, Polk sent a message to Congress on May 11: “Mexico has passed the boundary of the U.S. and shed American blood on American soil.” 8 Two days later Congress declared war on Mexico. 9

    Response Newspapers helped the push for war with headlines like: “‘Mexicans Killing our Boys in Texas.’ 10

    With public support secured, U.S. forces occupied New Mexico and California. US troops fought battles across Mexico and stormed their capital. A new more US-friendly government quickly emerged. It signed over California and New Mexico for $15 million and recognized the Rio Grande as their border with the US state of Texas. 11

    General Taylor became an American war hero and he rode his victory straight into the White House by succeeding Polk as president in 1849.

    Real Reasons The US secured over 500,000 square miles from Mexico, including Texas, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, California and parts of Colorado and Wyoming.

    The war was a boon to US nationalism, it boosted popular support for a very weak president and added vast new territories to the US where slavery was allowed.

    1898: The Spanish-American War

    Context Cubans fought several wars to free themselves from Spanish colonial rule, including 1868-1878, 1879-1880 and 1895-1898. 12 In 1898, Cubans were on the brink of finally winning their independence. The US government agreed to respect Cuba’s sovereignty and promised they would not step in.

    "On January 24, [1898] on the pretext of protecting the life and safety of Mr. Lee, U.S. consul in Havana, and other U.S. citizens in the face of street disturbances provoked by Spanish extremists, the Maine battleship entered the bay of Havana.” 13

    Pretext On February 15, 1898, a huge explosion sank the USS Maine killing 266 of its crew. 14

    In 1975, an investigation led by US Admiral Hyman Rickover concluded that there was no evidence of any external explosion. The explosion was internal, probably caused by a coal dust explosion. Oddly, the ship's weapons and explosives were stored next to the coal bunker. 15

    Response The Maine’s commander cautioned against assumptions of an enemy attack. The press denounced him for "refusing to see the obvious." The Atlantic Monthly said anyone thinking this was not a premeditated, Spanish act of war was "completely at defiance of the laws of probability." 16

    Newspapers ran wild headlines like: “Spanish Cannibalism,” “Inhuman Torture,” “Amazon Warriors Fight For Rebels.” 17 Guillermo Jimpnez Soler notes: “As would become its usual practice, U.S. intervention in the war was preceded by intensive press campaigns which incited jingoism, pandering to the most shameless tales and sensationalism and exacerbated cheap sentimentality. Joseph Pulitzer of The World and William Randolph Hearst from The Journal, the two largest U.S. papers... carried their rivalry to a paroxysm of inflaming public opinion with scandalous, provocative and imaginary stories designed to win acceptance of U.S. participation in the first of its holy wars beyond its maritime borders.” 18

    US papers sent hundreds of reporters and photographers to cover the apparent Spanish attacks. Upon arrival, many were disappointed. Frederick Remington wrote to Hearst saying: “There is no war .... Request to be recalled.” Hearst’s now-famous cable replied: "Please remain. You furnish the pictures, I'll furnish the war." For weeks, The Journal dedicated more than eight pages per day to the explosion. 19

    Through ceaseless repetition, a rallying cry for retaliation grew into a roar. “In the papers, on the streets and in…Congress. The slogan was "Remember the Maine! To hell with Spain." 20

    With the US public and government safely onboard, the US set sail for war launching an era of ‘gunboat diplomacy.’ Anti-war sentiments were drowned out by the sea of cries for war. On April 25, 1898, the US Congress declared war on Spain.

    Real Reasons Within four months “the US replaced Spain as the colonial power in the Philippines, Guam and Puerto Rico, and devised a special status for Cuba. Never again would the US achieve so much…as in that ‘splendid little war,’ as…described at the time by John Hay, future secretary of state.” 21

    Historian Howard Zinn has said that 1898 heralded “the most dramatic entrance onto the world scene of American military and economic power.… The war ushered in what Henry Luce later referred to as the American Century, which really meant a century of American domination.” 22

    1915: World War I

    Context  In 1915, Europe was embroiled in war, but US public sentiment opposed involvement. President Woodrow Wilson said they would “remain neutral in fact as well as in name.” 23

    Pretext On May 7, 1915, a German submarine (U-Boot) sank the Lusitania, a British passenger ship killing 1,198, including 128 Americans. 24

    The public was not told that passengers were, in effect, a ‘human shield’ protecting six million rounds of US ammunition bound for Britain. 25 To Germany, the ship was a threat. To Britain, it was bait for luring an attack. Why?

    British Admiralty leader, Winston Churchill, had already commissioned “a study to determine the political impact if an ocean liner were sunk with Americans on board.” 26 A week before the incident, Churchill wrote to the Board of Trade’s president saying it is “most important to attract neutral shipping to our shores, in the hopes especially of embroiling the U.S. with Germany.” 27

    British Naval Intelligence Commander, Joseph Kenworthy, said: “The Lusitania was sent at considerably reduced speed into an area where a U-boat was known to be waiting and with her escorts withdrawn.” 28

    Patrick Beesly’s history of British naval intelligence in WWI, notes: "no effective steps were taken to protect the Lusitania.” British complicity is furthered by their foreknowledge that: · U-boat commanders knew of the Lusitania’s route, · a U-boat that had sunk two ships in recent days was in the path of the Lusitania, · although destroyers were available, none escorted the Lusitania or hunted for U-boats, · the Lusitania was not given specific warnings of these threats. 29

    Response US newspapers aroused outrage against Germany for ruthlessly killing defenceless Americans. The US was being drawn into the war. In June 1916, Congress increased the size of the army. In September, Congress allocated $7 billion for national defense, “the largest sum appropriated to that time.” 30

    In January 1917, the British said they had intercepted a German message to Mexico seeking an alliance with the US and offering to help Mexico recover land ceded to the US. On April 2, Wilson told Congress: “The world must be safe for democracy.” Four days later the US declared war on Germany. 31

    Real Reasons Influential British military, political and business interests wanted US help in their war with Germany. Beesly concludes that “there was a conspiracy deliberately to put the Lusitania at risk in the hope that even an abortive attack on her would bring the U.S. into the war.” 32

    Churchill’s memoirs of WWI state: "There are many kinds of maneuvers in war, some only of which take place on the battlefield.... The maneuvre which brings an ally into the field is as serviceable as that which wins a great battle." 33

    In WWI, rival imperialist powers struggled for bigger portions of the colonial pie. “They were fighting over boundaries, colonies, spheres of influence; they were competing for Alsace-Lorraine, the Balkans, Africa and the Middle East.” 34 US war planners wanted a piece of the action.

    "War is the health of the state," said Randolph Bourne during WWI. Zinn explains: “Governments flourished, patriotism bloomed, class struggle was stilled.” 35

    1941: World War II

    Context US fascists opposed President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) from the start. In 1933, “America's richest businessmen were in a panic. Roosevelt intended to conduct a massive redistribution of wealth…[and it] had to be stopped at all costs. The answer was a military coup…secretly financed and organized by leading officers of the Morgan and du Pont empires.” 36

    A top Wall Street conspirator said: "We need a fascist government in this country…to save the nation from the communists who want to tear it down and wreck all that we have built.” 37

    The Committee on Un-American Activities said: “Sworn testimony showed that the plotters represented notable families -- Rockefeller, Mellon, Pew, Pitcairn, Hutton and great enterprises -- Morgan, Dupont, Remington, Anaconda, Bethlehem, Goodyear, GMC, Swift, Sun.” 38

    FDR also faced “isolationist” sentiments from such millionaires who shared Hitler’s hatred of communism and had financed Hitler’s rise to power as George Herbert Walker and Prescott Bush, predecessors of the current president. 39 William R.Hearst, mid-wife of the war with Spain, opposed a war against fascism. Hearst employed Hitler, Mussolini and Göring as writers. He met Hitler in 1934 and used Readers’ Digest and his 33 newspapers to support fascism. 40

    Pretext On December 7, 1941, Japanese bombers attacked the US Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbour, Hawaii, killing about 2,460. people. 41 FDR, and his closest advisors, not only knew of the attack in advance and did not prevent it, they had actually provoked it. Lt. Arthur McCollum, head of the Far East desk for U.S. Navy intelligence, wrote a detailed eight-step plan on October 7, 1940 that was designed to provoke an attack. 42 FDR immediately set the covert plan in motion. Soon after implementing the final step, Japan attacked Pearl Harbour.

    After meeting FDR on October 16, 1941, Secretary of War Henry Stimson wrote: "We face the delicate question of the diplomatic fencing to be done so as to be sure Japan is put into the wrong and makes the first bad move -- overt move.” On November 25, after another meeting with FDR, Stimson wrote: "The question was: how we should maneuver them [the Japanese] into the position of firing the first shot.” 43

    The next day, an insulting “ultimatum” was delivered to the Japanese. The US intercepted a coded Japanese cable calling the ultimatum a “humiliating proposal” and saying they would now prepare for war with the US. 44

    The US had cracked Japanese diplomatic and military codes. 45 A Top Secret Army Board report (October 1944), shows that the US military knew “the probable exact hour and date of the attack.” 46 On November 29, 1941, the Secretary of State revealed to a reporter that the attack’s time and place was known. This foreknowledge was reported in the New York Times (Dec. 8, 1941). 47

    Response After Pearl Harbour, the US quickly declared war against Japan. With media support, “Remember Pearl Harbour!” became an American rallying cry. On December 11, Germany and Italy declared war on the US.

    As the war wound down, decoded messages revealed to the US military that Japan would soon surrender. They knew the atomic destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was unnecessary. Although nuclear weapons are commonly believed to have ended WWII, they were an opening salvo in the Cold War against the USSR.

    Real Reasons The US used WWII to maneuver itself into a position of superiority over former imperial rivals in Europe. In Parenti’s words the US “became the prime purveyor and guardian of global capitalism.” 48 As the only nation wielding nuclear weapons, the US also became the world’s sole superpower.

    1950: The Korean War

    Context There is “extensive evidence of U.S. crimes against peace and crimes against humanity” KWCT committed after they occupied southern Korea in September 1945. The US worked to “create a police state…using many former collaborators with Japanese rule, provoke tension…between southern and northern Korea, opposing and disrupting any plans for peaceful reunification. The U.S. trained, directed and supported ROK [South Korea] in systematic murder, imprisonment, torture, surveillance, harassment and violations of human rights of hundreds of thousands…, especially…nationalists, leftists, peasants seeking land reform, union organizers and/or those sympathetic to the north.” 49

    University of Hawaii professor, Oliver Lee, notes a “long pattern of South Korean incursions” into the north. In 1949, there were more than 400 border engagements. A US Army document states: “Some of the bloodiest engagements were caused by South Korean units securing and preparing defensive positions that were either astride or north of the 38th parallel. This provoked violent North Korean actions.” 50

    Pretext On June 25, 1950, the North Korean military were said to have moved three miles into South Korea territory.

    Dr. Channing Liem, the former South Korean ambassador to the UN (1960-1961) wrote: “For Washington, the question, ‘who fired the first shot?’ carried special significance…. Assistant Secretary of State for UN Affairs…[revealed] before the Senate Appropriations Committee, 1950, the US had devised a plan prior to the start of the war to gain approval from the UN to send its troops to Korea under the UN flag in the event that South Korea was attacked. It was imperative, therefore, that the ‘first shot’ be fired by the North, or at least that such an argument could be made.” 51

    ROK President Syngman Rhee triggered the war “with behind the scene support of John Foster Dulles,” the former-U.S. Secretary of State who met Rhee (June 18, 1950) just days before the pretext incident. Dulles told Rhee that “if he was ready to attack the communist North, the U.S. would lend help, through the UN…. He advised Rhee…to persuade the world that the ROK was attacked first, and to plan his actions accordingly.” 52

    Albert Einstein told Liem in 1955 that “the US was manipulating the UN…. [It] was being exploited by the great powers at the expense of the small nations…. He went on to say great powers do not act on the basis of facts only but manufacture the facts to serve their purposes and force their will on smaller nations.” 53

    I.F.Stone was perhaps the first to expose how a US diplomat deceived the UN Secretary General into believing there had been an unprovoked North Korean attack. 54

    North Korea claimed the attack began two days earlier when ROK divisions launched a six-hour artillery attack and then pushed 1 or 2 kilometers across the border. They responded to “halt the enemy's advance and go over to a decisive counterattack.” 55

    Response Secretary of State, Dean Acheson was “quick to seize the opportunity to blame the war on North Korea regardless of the evidence.” North Korea was accused of “brutal, unprovoked aggression.” 56

    The public was told that this ‘invasion’ was the first step in Soviet plans for world domination. Anyone opposing the war was called a communist. McCarthyism was on.

    On June 27, 1950, Truman orders US troops to support South Korea, Congress agrees and the UN Security Council approves the plan. 57

    About three million civilians were killed, two-thirds in North Korea. 58

    Real Reasons To maintain power, South Korea required major US military support. One month before the pretext, Rhee suffered a terrible electoral defeat. Opposing North Korea, diverted public attention from Rhee’s repression to the communist north.

    The war was used to triple the Pentagon budget, boost NATO’s military build-up and create a new military role for the UN that could be manipulated by the US.

    1964: The Vietnam War

    Context Long before WWII, Vietnamese fought for independence from French Indochina. Resistance continued when Japanese troops occupied the colony during the war. Much of the region reverted to French control after the war. As early as 1950, the US aided French efforts to defeat the Ho Chi Minh’s revolutionary forces. When France lost a decisive battle in 1954, the Geneva Accord recognized the independence of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Vietnam was “temporarily” divided. Ngo Dinh Diem’s repressive regime in South Vietnam was backed by thousands of US military “advisors.” A military coup overthrew Diem in November 1963. 59

    That same month, President Kennedy -- who had resisted escalating the war -- was assassinated. President Johnson took power and began intensified US involvement in Vietnam.

    Pretext On July 30, 1964, enemy torpedo boats supposedly attacked a US destroyer, the USS Maddox, in North Vietnam’s Gulf of Tonkin. This lie of an “unprovoked attack” against a “routine patrol” threw the U.S. headlong into war.

    The Maddox was actually involved in “aggressive intelligence gathering in coordination with actual attacks by South Vietnam and the Laotian Air Force against targets in North Vietnam.” 60 They wanted to provoke a response “but the North Vietnamese wouldn't bite. So, Johnson invented the attack.” 61

    The US task force commander for the Gulf of Tonkin “cabled Washington that the report was the result of an ‘over-eager’ sonar man who picked up the sounds of his own ship's screws and panicked.” 62

    Response On August 5, 1964, although he knew the attack had not occurred, Johnson couldn’t resist this opportunity for a full-scale war.

    Johnson went on national TV to lie about the Tonkin incident and to announce a bombing campaign to “retaliate.” The media repeated the lie ad nauseum. The fabricated assault was “used as justification for goading Congress into granting the president the authorization to initiate a protracted and highly lucrative war with North Vietnam.” 63 Johnson asked Congress for powers “to take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the US and to prevent further aggression.” 64

    Before the war ended in 1975, about four million in Southeast Asia were killed.

    Real Reasons As during the Spanish-American war, the American business elite sought to acquire colonies from failing imperial powers.

    President Dwight Eisenhower propounded the ‘Domino Theory’ in 1954. 65 If South Vietnam ‘fell,’ then other countries would too, ‘like a set of dominos.’ The Vietnam War was a threat to all revolutionaries and their supporters.

    The war also gave a huge boost to US war industries. Other US corporations wanted access to region’s markets and resources, like tin, tungsten, rubber. 66

    1983: The Invasion of Grenada

    Context For decades, Eric Gairy dominated the tiny British colony of Grenada. Gairy “a vicious dictator…[was] the only Caribbean leader to maintain diplomatic relations with Pinochet’s Chile.” When his “notorious security forces” returned from training in Chile “‘disappearances’ became frequent.” 67 ‘Gariyism’ was so bad that when Britain offered independence, Grenadans united to “shut down the country…prior to Independence Day, February 7, 1974." 68

    The New Jewel Movement (NJM) led a successful uprising on March 13, 1979. The NJM “organized agrarian reform…, expanded trade union rights, advanced women's equality…, established literacy programs and instituted free medical care.” 69

    The CIA "relentlessly used every trick in its dirty bag” including "an unending campaign of economic, psychological and openly violent destabilization." Reagan met Caribbean leaders, the US urged "regional governments to consider military action" and CIA chief, William Casey, met Senate Intelligence Committee members "to discuss CIA involvement." Gairy began “recruiting mercenaries from…the Cuban exile community in Miami.” 70 (ER BS)

    In October 1981, a US military exercise simulated an invasion of Grenada ostensibly to rescue Americans and "install a regime favorable to the way of life we espouse." 71

    In March 1983, Reagan exclaimed on TV that Grenada’s tourist airport threatened US oil supply routes. 72

    On October 19, 1983, NJM leader Maurice Bishop, and others, were put under house arrest during an coup by NJM’s Deputy PM Bernard Coard. Oddly, they were freed by a "well organized crowd…including counter-revolutionary elements…with anti-communist banners…. [led by] well known businessmen…. Who organized this rally, planned so well, and in advance?" Freed NJM leaders were whisked away and as a “crowd gathered…the soldiers, apparently panicked by explosions, opened fire.… something provoked them, leading to a massacre." NJM leaders surrendered to soldiers and were soon executed. 73

    Significantly, "Pentagon officials informed Members of Congress that they had known of the impending coup…two weeks in advance." 74

    The coup plotters were charged with the murders but their lawyer, former US Attorney General Ramsey Clarke believe them innocent of the murders. 75 It seems the coup was hijacked by US interests to kill some NJM leaders, jail the rest and set the stage for an invasion.

    Pretext In his Naval Science course, Captain M.T.Carson lists the invasion’s "stated reasons" as "protect Americans, eliminate hostage potential; restore order; requested by OECS [Organization of Eastern Caribbean States]." 76

    The US helped form the OECS, and then got it and the Grenadan governor to "request" an invasion. Under “potential problem,” Carson notes "Act fast with surprise and present world with fait accompli. If not, world opinion of U.S. invasion of tiny country will be critical. So: · “Get OECS to request action.” · “Get Governor Scoon to request action.” · “Emphasize students-in-danger aspect" 77

    Carson quotes a "medical school official": "Our safety was never in danger. We were used as an excuse by this government to invade…. They needed a reason…and we were it." MTC Most students "insisted” that they were “not…in any danger before the US invasion; only afterwards." 78

    Response On October 22, 1983, "Operation Urgent Fury" was ordered. 79 Three days later, the invasion hit like a cyclone.

    The Organization of American States "deeply deplored" the invasion and the UN Security Council voted 11 to 1 against it. 80

    Real Reasons Grenada threatened the US by providing a powerful example of viable alternative ways to organize social, political and economic structures.

    Carson lists these reasons: · "Chance to eliminate Communist regime and replace with pro-U.S. government” · “Demonstrate U.S. military capabilities” · “President Reagan commented that U.S. military forces were back on their feet and standing tall." 81

    US military morale was damaged two days before the invasion when 241 Marines were killed in Lebanon. 82

    The Wall Street Journal said the invasion made Grenada a "haven for offshore banks." 83

    1989: The Invasion of Panama

    Context The Panama Canal has dominated Panama’s history. US military invasions and interventions occurred in 1895, 1901-1903, 1908, 1912, 1918-1920, 1925, 1950, 1958, 1964 and 1989. 84

    In November 1903, US troops ensured Panama’s secession from Colombia. Within days, a treaty gave the US permanent and exclusive control of the canal. 85

    Former Panamanian military leader, Manuel Noriega, recruited by US military intelligence in 1959, attended the US Army School of the Americas in 1967 and led Panama’s military intelligence the next year. By 1975, the US Drug Enforcement Agency knew of Noriega’s drug dealing. He met, then-CIA Director, George Bush in 1976. 86

    In 1977, Presidents Jimmy Carter and Omar Torrijos, signed a treaty to return the canal to Panamanian control in 1999. Other Americans undermined the treaty using “diplomatic…and political pressure, through to economic aggression and military invasion.” 87

    In the early-1980s, Noriega’s drug smuggling helped fund the contras in Nicaragua. He took control of Panama’s National Guard in 1983 and helped rig elections in 1984. Falling from US favour, the US indicted Noriega for drug crimes in 1988.88

    On April 14, 1988, Reagan invoked “war powers” against Panama. In May, the Assistant Defense Secretary told the Senate: “I don’t think anyone has totally discarded the use of force.” 89

    Pretext On December 16, 1989, there was what media called an “unprovoked attack on a US soldier who did not return fire.” 90 The soldier was killed when driving “through a military roadblock near a sensitive military area.” 91 Panama’s government said “U.S. officers…fired at a military headquarters, wounding a soldier and…a 1-year-old girl. A wounded Panamanian soldier…confirmed this account to U.S. reporters.” 92 The wife of a US officer was reportedly arrested and beaten.

    Response George Bush called the attack on US soldiers an “enormous outrage” 93 and said he “would not stand by while American womanhood is threatened.” 94 Noam Chomsky questions why Bush “stood by” when a US nun was kidnapped and sexually abused by Guatemalan police only weeks earlier, when two US nuns were killed by contras in Nicaragua on January 1, 1990, and when a US nun was wounded by gunmen in El Salvador around the same time. 95

    The US media demonized Noriega and turned the “‘Noriega’ issue into an accepted justification for the invasion…. Colonel Eduardo Herrera, ex-Director of [Panama’s] ‘Public Forces,’…said: “If the real interest of the US was to capture Noriega, they could have done so on numerous occasions. [They] had all of his movements completely controlled.” 96

    On December 20, 1989, “Operation Just Cause” began. More than 4,000 were killed. US crimes included indiscriminate attacks, extra judicial executions, arbitrary detentions, destruction of property (like leveling the Chorrillo neighborhood), use of prohibited weapons, erasing evidence and mass burials. 97

    A US-friendly president, Guillermo Endara, was soon sworn in on a US military base.

    Real Reasons The Carter-Torrijos Treaty was torn up and the Panama’s military was dismantled.

    A right-wing, US think tank stated in 1988 that: “once [Panama] is controlled by a democratic regime….discussions should begin with respect to a realistic defense of the Canal after…2000. These discussions should include the maintenance, by the US, of a limited number of military installations in Panama…to maintain adequate projection of force in the western hemisphere.” 98

    Real Reasons The invasion was a testing ground for new weapons, such as the B-2 bomber (worth US $2.2 billion) that was used for the first time.

    The invasion also: · rectified “Bush's ‘wimpy’ foreign relations image” · gave a “spectacular show of U.S. military might in the final months before the Nicaraguan elections, hinting…that they might want to vote for the ‘right’ candidate.” · “sent a signal…that the US…[would] intervene militarily where the control of illegal drugs was ostensibly at stake. · “demonstrated the new U.S. willingness to assume active, interventionist leadership of the ‘new world order’ in the post-Cold War period.” 99


    There are dozens of other examples from US history besides those summarized here. The “Cold War” was characterized by dozens of covert and overt wars throughout the Third World. Although each had its specific pretexts, the eradication of communism was the generally-used backdrop for all rationales. 100

    Since the Soviet Union’s demise, US war planners have continued to use spectacular pretext incidents to spawn wars. Examples include Iraq (1991), Somalia (1992), Haiti (1994), Bosnia (1995) and Yugoslavia (1999).

    Throughout this time, the US “War on Drugs” has been fought on many fronts. Lurking behind the excuse to squash illicit drug trafficking, are the actual reasons for financing, training and arming right-wing, US-backed regimes, whose officials have so often profited from this illegal trade. The CIA has used this trade to finance many of its covert wars. 101 The “War on Drugs” has targeted numerous countries to strengthen counter-insurgency operations aimed at destroying opposition groups that oppose US corporate rule.

    Military plotters know that the majority would never support their wars, if it were generally known why they were really being fought. Over the millennia, a special martial art has been deliberately developed to weave elaborate webs of deceit to create the appearance that wars are fought for “just” or “humanitarian” reasons.

    If asked to support a war so a small, wealthy elite could shamelessly profit by ruthlessly exploiting and plundering the natural and human resources in far away lands, people would ‘just say no.’

    We now face another broad thematic pretext for war, the so-called “War Against Terrorism.” We are told it will be waged in many countries and may continue for generations. It is vitally important to expose this latest attempt to fraudulently conceal the largely economic and geostrategic purposes of war. By asking who benefits from war, we can unmask its pretense and expose the true grounds for instigating it. By throwing light on repeated historical patterns of deception, we can promote skepticism about the government and media yarns that have been spun to encourage this war.

    The historical knowledge of how war planners have tricked people into supporting past wars, is like a vaccine. We can use this understanding of history to inoculate the public with healthy doses of distrust for official war pretext narratives and other deceptive stratagems. Through such immunization programs we may help to counter our society’s susceptibility to “war fever.”


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    America Betrayed

    Bush, bin Laden, 9-11

    by Rhawn Joseph, Ph.D.

    University Press, 2nd Edition ISBN: 0971644578


    Prescott Bush and Rockefeller's Standard Oil had been in business with the Hitler regime and the Nazis since 1933, and in 1942, three Bush businesses were seized by the U.S. government, for violation of the Trading With the Enemies Act.


    Three generations of the Bush clan became members of a German secret society: the Yale chapter of the "Order of Skull and Bones." In Germany, the Order of Skull of Bones --also known as "The Brotherhood of Death"-- gave rise to Hitler and the dreaded SS. Prescott Bush, through his shipping company, became a special "Friend" of Himmler's SS--the same SS which, in conjunction with IG Farben, ran the concentration and slave labor camps.


    The Bush clan and Rockefeller's standard Oil, were in business with IG Farben, as well as with the Saudis who had also partnered with Hitler.


    At the conclusion of WWII, and Germany's defeat, thousands of high ranking Nazis and SS agents were recruited, by Bush-Rockefeller lawyer, Allen Dulles, into what would later become the CIA. Allen Dulles, and later, George Bush, would become directors of the CIA...


    ...IG Farben, a consortium of companies that included Bayer, conducted horrible experiments on concentration camp inmates to discover an "ethnic biological weapon" --a deadly disease that would target specific ethnic groups... Doctors funded by the Rockefeller foundation directed this research.


    In 1957, a scientist who completed his medical training in Nazi-occupied Poland, and who was funded by the Rockefeller foundation, injected 300,000 Central African men, women, and children, with an experimental polio vaccine--a vaccine that contained a deadly AIDS-like virus, monkey HSIV. Years later, Central Africa would become "Ground Zero" for the AIDS/HIV epidemic...


    On August 6, 2001, Bush received a memorandum titled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.," but then did nothing. Two weeks later, CIA Chief Tenet and his top deputies received a briefing paper labeled "Islamic Extremist Learns to Fly." Bush and Cheney were notified and did nothing...War would be good politics and good for the business of war.


    ...Three generations of the Bush clan have been in business with governments and people who kill Americans, and on the morning of 9-11-2001, Bush sr. was in business with the bin Ladens and other Saudis who had helped fund Osama bin Laden and the attack of 9-11-2001... 15 of the hijackers were from Saudi Arabia and Bush did nothing to stop the attack.


    The attack of 9-11, would transform an inept, incompetent president into a war time leader who would attack not Saudi Arabia but Iraq and then steal its oil and well as attack American Civil Liberties and the U.S. constitution...


    Bush knew in advance, but welcomed the attack of 9-11-2001, as its aftermath would not only earn his family and associates billions of dollars, but would provide an excuse for attacking Iraq and toppling its leader, Saddam Hussein--the sworn enemy of Osama Bin Laden.


    Key FBI Headquarters personnel had to be spies or moles.. who were actually working for Osama Bin Laden....Key FBI HQ personnel... continued to, almost inexplicably, throw up roadblocks and undermine Minneapolis' desperate efforts... to stop terrorists...." who planned "to take control of a plane and fly it into the World Trade Center.

    -- FBI supervisor, and Coleen M. Rowley, FBI Special Agent & Chief Division Counsel...


    It was as if Osama bin Laden, hidden in some high mountain redoubt, were engaging in long-range mind control of George Bush.

    -- United States Counterterrorism Chief, Richard A. Clarke.


    ...and it goes on and on...