Submitted by: Mike Spindell, guest blogger
Our memories not only serve the purpose of learning to avoid danger from past experience, they serve as the glue that holds our sense of our fleeting lives together into a linear personal narrative. For all of us most memories are specific to our direct life experiences. There are some memories though transcending personal encounters and that directly affect us as well as society as a whole. The murder of John F. Kennedy is one such experience from my life that profoundly affected me and my generation, even though all I knew of the man was third hand at best. Closer in time but equally, if not more indelible is the image of the destruction wrought on the World Trade Center on 9/11/2001. I would guess that almost all Americans who were alive on that day know where they were and what they were doing. This past week we passed the eleventh anniversary of this horror and innumerable solemn observances occurred throughout the nation.
I can remember one phrase that began to be used over and over from that day onward and my rising anger at the implications of that phrase. “This Changes Everything”. I’ve not been able to determine what news-person or pundit first uttered those words, but afterwards the phrase reverberated incessantly. As that fateful day passed, what took shape in the meme those words created, was that the United States had undergone an experience that changed all the rules we had purportedly lived by in dealing with the world around us. In effect it was like saying “No more Mr. Nice Guy”. Whether or not our country ever lived by the ideals it purported to live by is another question entirely. My anger rose at the overuse of this meme because I’ve spent my life wanting my country to live by a higher standard in both national and international relations. I correctly saw this meme as an attempted usurpation of this tragedy towards turning our country away from our national ideals, such as they were. As the years passed since 9/11/2001, we have watched the erosion of these America Ideals. Two murderous wars have been waged. Hundreds of thousands have died, or been maimed. Our “national treasure” depleted, torture has become legalized and with the passage of the “Patriot Act” we have watched the demolition of our personal freedom. With this anniversary, two articles appeared nationally that call into question what was really behind 9/11 and also why there was a possibility of deterring it, which was ignored by the G.W. Bush Administration. I want to discuss both of these articles and then add my own thoughts on their real context.
Bob Graham was a Senator from Florida when 9/11 occurred. He was in fact the long time Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, one of the most powerful and important positions in the U.S. Senate:
“Senator Graham opposed the War in Iraq for fear it would divert U.S. attention from the fight in Afghanistan. After reviewing information and meeting with military leaders in February 2002, he decided the war would be a “distraction” that would end poorly. He continues to oppose the Iraq War today.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Graham
The truth has been shown that Iraq was a war of poor choice and that it had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11. It is also proven that Iraq had no “weapons of mass destruction” to justify our attack upon that country either. To my mind history has added luster to Senator Graham, as a man who was bravely willing to fight against the flow of “now this changes everything” propaganda and whom history has proven prescient. Therefore I took notice when I saw his byline on this Huffpost article: “Re-Open the 9/11 Investigation Now”
“The passage of time since September 11, 2001, has not diminished the distrust many of us feel surrounding the official story of how 9/11 happened and, more specifically, who financed and supported it. After eleven years, the time has come for the families of the victims, the survivors and all Americans to get the whole story behind 9/11.
Yet the story of who may have facilitated the 19 hijackers and the infrastructure that supported the attacks — a crucial element of the narrative — has not been told. The pieces we do have underscore how much more remains unknown.
Did the hijackers execute the plot alone, or did they have the support of forces other than the known leaders of al-Qaeda — a network even — that provided funds, assistance, and cover?
It is not merely a question of the need to complete the historical record. It is a matter of national security today.”
What Bob Graham was alluding to is that the direct involvement of the Saudi’s in the 9/11 plot, perhaps even governmental. Since it is a kingdom ruled by a huge royal family, the connections between powerful Saudi’s and its government are not apparent to the outsider and highly suspicious. Graham feels that any investigation of further Saudi involvement has been derailed. We all know of the Saudi airplane that was allowed to leave the country on 9/12/2001, removing many parties who should have been directly questioned in the investigation of this terrorist act.
“Thousands of Americans, who suffered unimaginable loss, have been denied their day in court in part because evidence of support was either never gathered by law enforcement or remains locked away, sealed as “Classified.”
From the outset of the Congressional Joint Inquiry into 9/11, it seemed implausible that the hijackers — most of whom spoke no English and had never been to the U.S. — could have executed the heinous plot on their own. The inquiry proved those suspicions justified, and a 28-page chapter in its report centered on sources of foreign support for some of the September 11 hijackers while they were in the United States. That chapter remains censored, denied to the American people.
Sadly, those 28 pages represent only a fraction of the evidence of Saudi complicity that our government continues to shield from the public, under a flawed classification program which appears to be part of a systematic effort to protect Saudi Arabia from any real accountability for its actions. For example, after a nearly eight year delay, the CIA recently responded to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests submitted on behalf of the 9/11 families in 2004, for reports and documents cited in the notes of the 9/11 Commission’s Final Report. Unfortunately, when it came to documents such as a 16-page CIA report titled “Saudi Based Financial Support for Terrorist Organizations,” our own government redacted every word of substantive text.
Despite the carefully orchestrated campaign to protect our Saudi “friends,” ample evidence of Saudi Arabia’s intimate ties to al-Qaeda and the 9/11 attacks has come to light. The executive director of the 9/11 Commission, Dr. Philip Zelikow, stated in 2007 that while at that time he did not feel the evidence established “Saudi government agents,” were involved “there is persuasive evidence of a possible support network.”http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bob-graham/911-saudi-arabia_b_1868863.html
Please read the Graham article and see if you find it as persuasive as I do. There was a second article though, that appeared in the New York Times Op Ed page on September 10, 2012, by Kurt Eichenwald entitled: “The Deafness Before the Storm” Kurt’s premise in this article is that the Bush Administration had clear evidence of the dire possibility of an impending Al Qaeda attack and chose to ignore it. From Eichenwald’s article:
“On Aug. 6, 2001, President George W. Bush received a classified review of the threats posed by Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network, Al Qaeda. That morning’s “presidential daily brief” — the top-secret document prepared by America’s intelligence agencies — featured the now-infamous heading: “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” A few weeks later, on 9/11, Al Qaeda accomplished that goal.”
When the investigation of 9/11 took place the Bush Administration’s position:
“….dismissed the document’s significance, saying that, despite the jaw-dropping headline, it was only an assessment of Al Qaeda’s history, not a warning of the impending attack. While some critics considered that claim absurd, a close reading of the brief showed that the argument had some validity.”
Kurt Eichenwald goes on to write that the Bush Administration’s dismissal of the significance of the document had validity:
“…unless it was read in conjunction with the daily briefs preceding Aug. 6, the ones the Bush administration would not release. While those documents are still not public, I have read excerpts from many of them, along with other recently declassified records, and come to an inescapable conclusion: the administration’s reaction to what Mr. Bush was told in the weeks before that infamous briefing reflected significantly more negligence than has been disclosed. In other words, the Aug. 6 document, for all of the controversy it provoked, is not nearly as shocking as the briefs that came before it.
The direct warnings to Mr. Bush about the possibility of a Qaeda attack began in the spring of 2001. By May 1, the Central Intelligence Agency told the White House of a report that “a group presently in the United States” was planning a terrorist operation. Weeks later, on June 22, the daily brief reported that Qaeda strikes could be “imminent,” although intelligence suggested the time frame was flexible. But some in the administration considered the warning to be just bluster.” http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/11/opinion/the-bush-white-house-was-deaf-to-9-11-warnings.html?_r=2&src=twr
Reading this article one sentence resonated with me based on much that I’ve thought about 9/11 and have expressed here in many guest blogs:
“An intelligence official and a member of the Bush administration, both told me in interviews that the neoconservative leaders who had recently assumed power at the Pentagon were warning the White House that the C.I.A. had been fooled; according to this theory, Bin Laden was merely pretending to be planning an attack to distract the administration from Saddam Hussein, whom the neoconservatives saw as a greater threat.”
As I have written here before and will supply background on, in the links at the end of this piece, “The Project for the New American Century” (PNAC) http://jonathanturley.org/2011/07/23/the-american-quest-for-empire/#more-37487was a document that represented the blueprint of the neo-conservative movement to achieve world dominance and achieve their dream of an American Empire established in the Twenty-First Century. With the election of George W. Bush in 2000, the people behind PNAC and the neo-conservative movement found themselves in charge of the Foreign Policy of the Administration and in charge of the Defense Department. Iraq was mentioned in PNAC as one of the regimes that needed to be overthrown to obtain control over its oil resources. PNAC also postulated the need for some calamity akin to the shock of “Pearl Harbor” to gain support from the American People. It is obvious where my train of thought is leading and I will go there, but first to be fair let us take the least damning view of what occurred.
Perhaps the Neo-Conservatives were not behaving duplicitously, but merely could not recognize evidence which differed from their pre-conceptions. If this were the case, then they and the entire Bush Administration were guilty of the grossest incompetence/arrogance in not actively trying to counter the Al Qaeda threat. By this incompetence they then set in motion a tragedy that is ongoing into the present and perhaps distant future. If this least case scenario is what actually happened then these neo-conservatives have forfeited any right to be involved with American Foreign Policy. Unfortunately, they are still overly involved with our country’s foreign policy and many of them are on the Romney Team, while others work for the current administration. All, however, are today interviewed by the media as “foreign policy experts” and thus continue to persist in pushing their distinctly anti-Constitutional doctrine.
Reading these two articles on subsequent days, as 9/11/12 arrived, got me to thinking about what was the truth behind this terrible event about which so many were willing to say “now this changes everything”, which then became a self-fulfilling prophecy. There are many conspiracy theories abounding: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/9/11_conspiracy_theories , which you probably know, but can peruse if you will. My life experiences have taught me not to discount the possibilities of almost anything, since so much in life seems so bizarre and so many of what seemed eternal truths in my youth, have lost substance as the years have passed. I’ll let those who wish to comment on these conspiracies have at it below. Here though is my theory on what was the “truth” of 9/11, weaving in the implications of these two articles and my past efforts to explore PNAC and to dissect the warp and woof of this America history we share.
The experiences that World War II had upon those living in America, proved to be trans-formative for many in the Conservative establishment. Liberals, via the Progressive Tradition, embodied by Teddy Roosevelt, were already on board with the idea of the United States as an international power. Both conservative and liberal visions were capitalist in outlook and elitist in conception. Though the elitism was played down in our electoral processes, so as not to offend the majority of voters, it comes through historically overtly and covertly. Prior to this war the American conservatives were mainly isolationist, although both American continents were viewed as our bailiwicks. With World War II came the realization of the profits to be made in defense contracting and also necessarily the interweaving of business men with governmental operations.
The conservative isolationists had always seen the socialist and communist movements in our country as dangerous to their corporate interests. FDR’s “New Deal” had mollified those elements by bringing them into the process. The defeat of the German’s as they invaded Russia morphed into a rout and in the process established the USSR as a world power, second only to the U.S. At least two years before the end of World War II both conservative and liberal foreign policy “realists” were urging that our country prepare to do battle with the spectra of a world communist movement radiating out of the USSR. The former isolationists changed their outlook and joined in common cause with the progressive internationalists among the U.S. elite. This is where the whole concept of a “bi-partisan” foreign policy arose. This “bi-partisanship” among the American foreign policy establishment lasted in the Presidency’s and in the Congress until the Viet Nam War, when some in the “foreign Policy” elite on the Left began to re-think their premises.
In truth the “re-thinking” had always existed, but began in earnest in the 1950’s, as “Progressivism” transformed itself from the Teddy Roosevelt concept of the duty of the Anglo-Saxon elite to impose their superior culture onto a barbaric world, thus uplifting it to just below our standards of superiority. This transformation led to an agreement among most progressives about the realization that our culture is not superior to other cultures and in fact perhaps all cultures can learn something from other cultures. This came along with the rejection of imperialism and the dismantling of empires small and large.
Establishments being what they are, difficult to dislodge, the “bi-partisan” consensus remained among the established elite, forged by the lessons of Neville Chamberlain’s Munich debacle. “Hawkish” Democrats like Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scoop_Jackson joined together with Republican “Hawks” to promote an aggressive American Foreign Policy and prosecute the “Cold War”, overtly and covertly. That this aggressive policy seemed to perfectly dovetail with private America economic interest’s world wide was not just an added benefit of this policy, but actually was intertwined into the impetus for its continuance. There was money to be made in feeding the hunger of the Defense Department and the ever growing intelligence establishment. There were economic interests to be advanced world wide in controlling other country’s natural resources and in destabilizing governments who weren’t receptive to the economic control of the growing International Corporate exploitation. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the “Cold War” removed the “raison d’etre” of the “Defense Hawks”. Despite the “Reagan did it” mythology, spread about for political purposes, the collapse was really about the inability of Communist leadership to hide from their people the deficiency’s of their oppressive system and thus a collapse in the myth of a “worker’s paradise”.
With the “Cold War” over and with the rise to prominence of formidable nations vying for economic superiority, the aims of the “Hawkish Elite” to maintain American dominance needed new material to weave into a mythology of justification for American hegemony, which by then really meant multinational corporate hegemony over nation states. We thus had the merger of neo-Liberal and neo-Conservative foreign policy administrators, advisers and experts, who came together to formulate this mythology of America Empire for the sake of humanity. Its’ intellectual apogee was in the PNAC document and the events subsequent to it as discussed above.
The election of George W. Bush brought those behind PNAC into power. They were, by their own admission in 1998, looking for a national tragedy akin to Pearl Harbor, which would rally the nation together under their banner and give impetus for “a new American Century” where our country would become the world’s dominant empire. 9/11 came and off they went. However, in the world view of most American’s, which sees this country as the center of the all the activity on this Earth, we perhaps miss the other possibilities that exist. As backward as Saudi Arabia is from a socio-religious perspective, their leadership is and always has been quite sophisticated. Through the years this sophistication has led them to use their wealth to buy our politicians and to even buy our media institutions like CNN. They have had long standing economic partnerships with the Bush Family for instance, and to us down here it is not quite clear who the dominant partner is, but my bet is on the Saudi’s being in effect the employer, of employees who aren’t fully aware of their subservience. These economic relationships extend to almost all of the signatories to PNAC.
My propositions are that the Saudi government or powerful forces within it, understanding PNAC’s implications, were delighted by and financially supported George Bush’s ascension to the Presidency. With Dick Cheney really in charge of the incompetent and malleable Bush, the Saudi’s saw their opportunity to gain their long cherished hegemony in the Middle East, by using its American tool to do the heavy lifting of making war. They helped devise and financially backed the Al Qaeda plan to attack the World Trade Center. Their neo-con minions so focused on their desire to impose the American will upon the world, misled perhaps by the Saudi Intelligence Agency, ignored the obvious information before them and attacked Iraq, which was led by the Saudi’s number one contender for Middle Eastern hegemony, Saddam Hussein. Afghanistan, not part of the Saudi’s original plan, was set upon by the Neo Cons after it became apparent that the now destroyed Iraq wasn’t behind 9/11. The Afghanistan bonus was the potential for the estimated three trillion dollars of vital natural resources under their mountain ranges.
The war drums are beating again to attack the last Muslim competitor for Middle East Hegemony, Iran. If Iran is neutralized, or defeated, the Saudi’s will have become a Middle Eastern Empire, which no doubt is their goal. The United States will have continued to play its Hessian like role for the Saudi Empire as we try to enforce a “Pax Americana” on the world, though despite our own egotistic national pretensions we are merely the “hired help”.
9/11 really did change everything, but not as most expected. This country has shredded our Constitution in the name of a “War on Terror”. We have renounced the “Geneva Conventions” and the “Judgments at Nuremburg”. We have become a warlike nation, striving for empire and seeing the deaths of hundreds of thousands as collateral damage. We have sold out a dedicated generation of young Americans who have willing fought for a cause, that their war experience shows them is false and with that experience they’ve reacted with PTSD and an unholy high rate of suicide. I could go on, but if you haven’t gotten the bitter irony of it all as yet, you never will.
Below are links within which all the documentation I’ve used to back up my contentions can be found:
Photo credit should read DOUG KANTER/AFP/Getty Images
Submitted by: Mike Spindell, guest blogger