scary Truths Behind our “National Tragedy.”
by Michael I. Niman
Since his appointment to the White House, the general consensus has been
that George W. Bush is a rather dim bulb. Now,
since revelations about what the government knew about the impending 9/11
attacks, even Bush’s own spin-meisters and members of his cabinet are joining
the chorus. It was all innocent.
We just didn’t connect the dots. Sorry.
Junior bureaucratic heads will roll.
Early on in the Bush presidency, however, there was speculation that
Bush, like Reagan, was simply packaged to appear stupid as a strategy to throw
off the political opposition. It
goes like this – If you think he’s an idiot, you don’t take the threat he
poses seriously. Since losing in
the national popular vote during the last presidential election, and now it
appears, losing the Florida presidential election as well, Bush’s ascendancy
to the White House and his success in pushing through an unpopular reactionary
political agenda, should stand as evidence that he and his handlers are anything
but dim. With this caveat in place,
let’s revisit the 9/11 story.
The mainstream press has done a fair job in bringing us all the juicy
tidbits about what warnings the government had and did not act upon before 9/11.
The general consensus now is that the whole horror of that day could have
been prevented, if we had our shit together.
This is the scapegoat the petty bureaucrat script.
Before congratulating the media for muckraking job well done, however, we
need to look at the bigger picture. First
off, they did’nt break this story. It’s
been circulating around in the non-corporate media and in the foreign press
since late September. The mass
media’s only role has been to keep it from us until now.
The story, however, developed a life of its own and couldn’t be
stopped, hence the mass media started to play catch-up, essentially packaging
stale old news as fresh and new. In
the American psyche, however, the mass media, with their glossy pages of
cigarette, liquor and SUV ads, have given a sense of legitimacy to the story.
In reality, however, they are still stonewalling us.
They’re doing this by giving us only disjointed pieces of the story,
and by failing to juxtapose the various pieces of the puzzle, such as what the
administration knew, and what they did, over one another.
What They Knew
Here’s what we know. During
the summer immediately prior to 9/11, Italian, Israeli, Jordanian, Egyptian,
Tunisian, Moroccan, Russian, Malaysian, Filipino and British intelligence
agencies warned the Bush administration that al Qaida was planning a large
terrorist hit in the U.S. Many of
these agencies accurately speculated upon both the targets and the means by
which they would be attacked. The
Filipino report, according to The New York Times, detailed the
cross-country odyssey of one would-be terrorist as he attended flight schools in
New York, Texas, California and North Carolina in order to learn the skills
needed to precisely fly a jumbo jet directly into a target.
The FBI in Oklahoma, as early as
1998, in a memo titled, “Weapons of Mass Destruction,” warned that
suspicious foreigners were receiving flight training for no apparent reason, and
that they might be part of a plot to use airliners in the manner they were
eventually used on 9/11. In the months leading up to 9/11, other FBI offices
around the country followed suit, warning about the potential use of airplanes
as terrorist weapons, with the most recent warning coming out of the Phoenix
office in July of 2002, less than two months before 9/11. Officials in Minneapolis were more specific, and had already
identified Zacarias Moussaoui as one of the would-be hijackers.
The Bush folks countered that such an attack was unforeseeable.
Unthinkable. But in 1995, Ramsi Yousef, the mastermind of the 1993 bombing
of the World Trade Center, revealed plans to fly a hijacked jetliner into the
CIA’s headquarters in Virginia. Filipino
police, according to The Associated Press, recently warned that another
such plan was in the works. None of
this was new. In 1994, Algerian
hijackers attempted to use an Air France jetliner to destroy the Eiffel Tower,
only to be thwarted during a stop on the ground in Marseille.
The unthinkable was clearly thinkable, planned, and already attempted.
A 1999 study commissioned by the U.S, government also foresaw the
unforeseeable, reporting that al Qaida wanted to crash aircraft into several
targets in Washington, D.C. Richard
Clarke, Bush’s top Counter-Terrorism official, said that U.S. intelligence
agencies were convinced, ten weeks prior to 9/11, that a major al Qaida attack
was imminent. Documents indicate that the administration expected the
attack to be aimed at symbolic structures such as the White House and the World
The Washington Post reports that on July 5th, 2001, the
White House briefed officials from a dozen federal agencies that, “Something
really spectacular is going to happen here, and it’s going to happen soon.”
Richard Clarke ordered all counter-terrorism officials to cancel
vacations and get ready for immediate action.
The unfortunate reality is that the “immediate action” wouldn’t
take place until after the terrorists struck.
So this, in a nutshell, is what the Bush administration knew. Now let’s look at what they did.
What They Did
On July 26th, 2001, Attorney General John Ashcroft stopped
flying on commercial airliners. According
to CBS news, the only mainstream media outlet to cover the story, the Justice
Department explained that Ashcroft would no longer fly commercial airliners due
to a “threat assessment.” Officials,
however, would not “identify what the threat was, when it was detected or who
made it.” Bush, for his part,
took an extended vacation – out of Washington.
FBI officials all over the country, who accurately predicted an impending
al Qaida strike, petitioned the Justice Department for more resources for
counter-terrorism operations. John
Ashcroft turned down their requests despite the fact that he, as his own actions
indicate, clearly believed the threat to commercial aviation was real. During
the prior year, Ashcroft, now a born-again anti-terrorism zealot, did not list
anti-terrorism efforts as a priority for the Justice Department.
Of the 68 programs he requested budget increases for, anti-terrorism
efforts were not among them. Anti-terrorism
was also not listed among his seven priorities.
Prior to 9/11, the Justice Department was more focused on raiding
California Health Care clinics dispensing medical marijuana, then on preventing
Not only did Ashcroft’s Justice Department ignore warnings from the FBI
and refuse to fund anti-terrorism operations – something was also amiss within
the FBI as well. Reports of
potential terrorists training as pilots were routed from both the Phoenix and
Minneapolis FBI offices, to the Washington, D.C. based Radical Fundamentalists
Unit of the FBI, where they were promptly misplaced until 9/11.
FBI Special Agent Colleen Rowley, in a very rare X-file-ish break from
agency decorum, accused a supervisory agent at FBI headquarters, of
“Consistently, almost deliberately, thwarting the Minnesota FBI efforts” to
investigate the terrorist-flight school connection.
Back off the
Also, during the months leading up to the 9/11 attacks, the Bush White
House ordered the FBI to back off on its investigation both of al Qaida and bin
Laden. FBI Deputy Director John
O’Neill, who was active in the bin Laden investigation, was so disgusted with
the order that he quit the agency, taking a job as the security director for the
World Trade Center, where, ironically, he died on September 11th.
The official position is that the
bin Laden’s, minus Osama, are a respectable family. The Wall Street Journal reports that they are heavily
involved in the Carlyle Group, an investment banking firm headed by Ronald
Reagan’s former Secretary of Defense, Frank C. Carlucci.
Carlyle employs George Bush Senior, and formally employed George W. Bush.
Despite their close connections to the U.S. government, however, Greg
Palast, a London based investigative reporter working for the BBC and The
Guardian, reports that prior to 9/11, the FBI was investigating two
bin Laden brothers. We later
learned that they lived two blocks away from four of the 9/11 terrorists. Following 9/11, the bin Laden brothers were evacuated out of
the country by Bush’s State Department.
Also, prior to 9/11, the Defense
Department drew up plans for the invasion of Afghanistan.
U.S. and British troops were already en route to Central Asia on 9/11.
Hunches about impending terrorism
seemed to be pretty common immediately prior to 9/11. San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown cancelled his September 11th
trip to New York because of warnings he had heard about security concerns.
Brown prefers not to talk much about his sudden change in travel plans or
whose loose lips saved his life. In
the weeks following September 11th, many similar stories have
emerged. Equally spooky is the
stock market activity leading up to 9/11, where investors bought “put
options,” basically gambling that a stock’s price will fall, on United and
American Airlines, the two carriers whose planes were hijacked. (For more
information, see my previous article, “9/11 Conspiracy Tales,” archived at http://mediastudy.com/articles).
Fast forward to the present.
As mainstream media outlets pick up alternative press reports about what
Bush knew, people across the political landscape are calling for a full-scale
investigation. The Bush administration, led by Vice President Dick Cheney,
however, are doing everything in their power to stonewall any independent
investigation. According to Cheney,
the same intelligence community that is being implicated for failing to thwart
the 9/11 attacks, should run the investigation instead of an independent
So now we have two levels of this
story juxtaposed together – what they knew versus what they did.
The third and final dangling story line is what has happened since 9/11
and who profited from our national tragedy.
In a nutshell, Bush’s failed presidency was rescued, with an
illegitimate president morphing, literally overnight,
into one of the nation’s most popular presidents in history.
The final reports about the Florida presidential election, which showed
that more Floridians cast votes for Gore than Bush, were due to be released to
great media fanfare in mid-September. That
release, which would have been damning to the whole Bush clan, was postponed and
finally obscured and obfuscated by a compliant “wartime” press.
Kathleen Harris, Florida’s shameless Bush campaign co-chair and Secretary of State responsible for openly stealing the presidential election, rose from being a discredited political assassin, to being a congressional candidate. A slew of draconian laws such as the misleadingly named USA PATRIOT Act, have been enacted, giving John Ashcroft’s Judicial Department big brotheresque police state powers. Our political landscape has so changed in one year, that we now openly talk about chargeless detentions, secret military tribunals and the “practical value” of torture.
On the economic front, energy companies such as Dick Cheney’s
Halliburton and the Bush-connected Unocal are completing lucrative deals in
newly “liberated” Central Asia. The
war on terrorism, we are told, mandates that we drill for oil in all sorts of
environmentally sensitive areas, extracting our last reserves, while still
ironically buying and driving gas guzzling SUVs.
Oh yeah. SUVs. That’s the forth story that needs juxtapositioning. Despite this whole mess – What the Bush crowd knew, what they did, and how they profited – Americans are still intoxicated with the fantasy that our individual anti-social behaviors, such as driving to Wal Mart in a 5,000 pound behemoth, has nothing to do with this whole degenerating global political, social and environmental meltdown.
Copyright 2002 Michael I. Niman
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