Five Years Later: The Official Story Falls Apart
gnn.tv / Sander Hicks | September 20 2006
State Department, media launch assault on 9/11 dissent
This article appears in the print edition of the New York Megaphone, a new montly street-smart tabloid with a circulation of 66,700 throughout New York City and New York State. To subscribe go to voxpopnet.net.
The government is getting desperate. Two major polls recently showed that a growing number of Americans doubt the official story around 9/11. On Aug. 28, the State Department responded with a direct assault against “misinformation,” by publishing a statement that attacked the fringes of the 9/11 Truth Movement. A major media brouhaha immediately followed. The New York Times published a sarcastic sniff at 9/11 activism, titled “U.S. Counters 9/11 Theories Of Conspiracy” on September 2. Time magazine ran a sympathetic but dismissive review of the popular 9/11 film “Loose Change.” ABC/Disney chimed in recently with a docu-drama based on the 9/11 Commission Report.
But not everyone is going along with the program. In New York City, the Sept. 1 edition of AM New York did a positive front-page overview of the 9/11 Truth Movement's claims. In August, Seattle's Post-Intelligencer did the same. Even the heads of the 9/11 Commission, widely criticized as too close to the government they were tasked to investigate, recently released a new book that admits they were pre-destined to fail. Popular Mechanics has turned their anti-conspiracy theory feature “9/11: Debunking the Myths” into a book. Five-time Emmy award winning journalist Peter Lance just wrote Triple Cross about the funky CIA connections of bin Laden's right-hand man, Ali Mohamed. Triple was turned into a documentary at the National Geographic TV channel, but before it was broadcast Aug. 28, Lance removed his name from the film. “They hijacked my work,” he told reporters, “The feds have gotten to them, there is no doubt.”
Author Mike Ruppert has sold 30,000 copies of Crossing the Rubicon, a study of 9/11, but after his offices were repeatedly burglarized, he expatriated himself to Venezuela, swearing never to return to the U.S. On Aug. 16, the anti-Zionist, right-leaning journalist and 9/11 researcher Christopher Bollyn was arrested and bloodied by Chicago police, for asking them why three men in an unmarked car were monitoring his house. Bill O'Reilly bent to a new (and criminal) low this summer by making death threats against Kevin Barrett, professor and co-founder of 9/11 Scholars for Truth.
The censorship and the violence come from the same place: an intense desperation. America is out on a limb in Iraq. We are there, in part, in the name of an attack used to motivate us for war. But five years later, that attack gives people gnawing feelings of betrayal. America is writhing in the birth pangs of a new way to see itself. The State Department and media are holding their hands up in front of a tsunami. People are beginning to reject the deathly falsity of the war in Iraq and the “war on terror.” Who knows how this will translate in the mid-term elections, but pro-impeachment progressives and third party candidates stand to gain big.
A Zogby poll from this summer shows mainstream opinion 42 percent against the official story, claiming deliberate cover-up. Ten percent are undecided. According to a widely-cited August 14 poll by Ohio University and Scripps Howard News Service, 36 percent of Americans believe U.S. government officials “either assisted in the 9/11 attacks or took no action to stop the attacks because they wanted to go to war in the Middle East.” Something is not right with 9/11. It was never right: from the president's non-response on Sept. 11, 2001, to the GOP abuse of New York City for their convention, to the president's recently announced plans to visit Ground Zero this Sept. 11, five years later.
When he arrives, he will meet the 9/11 Truth Movement. They are a nationwide batch of volunteers willing to risk their own skins to hunt down better explanations. The World Trade Center towers were symbolic of the grandeur, glory, and showmanship of New York and America. Their destruction, no matter who did it, was the biggest psychological blow to our collective psyche. Losing the towers shattered the anchor of the New York skyline. In the same way that no New Yorker can look at the city without seeing a gap, no American has been allowed to feel safe, secure, respected, or just, good and right, since. We have become torturers. We have become war-mongerers.
The undecided among us perhaps have not yet begun to recognize and heal the psychological trauma of 9/11. Instead, the media images have been burned into our brains, a reminder of the original experience. Last year, I toured the country speaking about 9/11. More often than not I met people who said things like, “you're right, all you say, but I'm just not ready to go there yet.”
The facts are not enough. This is not just an intellectual struggle, last year, it became apparent something really deep is going on.
So, a year later, what changed? Katrina and the quagmire in Iraq have damaged the Bush team's credibility beyond recognition. When people saw Bush letting black people die in New Orleans, on television, a lot of people did a gut check. And now that Team Bush won't revise its Iraq strategy in light of the Pentagon's own assessments, and instead starts implying that Iran or Syria is next, people are going, hold on a minute. Meanwhile, you've got technology like Google Video virally distributing films like “Loose Change II” into the hands of millions worldwide. You've got 9/11 truth activists, working in every major city in America. You've got new veterans from the financial and intelligence underworlds coming forth and saying, yeah, 9/11 was an inside job. Even former Bush official Morgan Reynolds and former Reagan official Paul Craig Roberts agree: 9/11 is a big lie.
There are many ways to make The Argument. The recent media stories have focused on the “controlled demolition” theory, which posits that the buildings must have been brought down with explosives, since fire has never before collapsed a steel frame structure. The most popular exposition of this theory is “Loose Change II.” But controlled demolition is a bit of a straw dog. “Loose Change” is a well-edited, quickly paced 9/11 theory overview with good music. But it tends to incorporate the more esoteric of the many 9/11 conspiracy theories available.
Like the once-popular “no plane hit the Pentagon” theory, controlled demolition is a tall order. As “Loose Change II” morphs into the widely anticipated “Loose Change: Final Cut” (in which this reporter appears) the Megaphone and Loose Change teams find themselves working the same angle:
There's a certain social network in place. You catch glimpses of it, when things like the Iran/Contra scandal, or the BCCI scandal, or Enron, break above-ground, and then disappear. This social network rules by deception, taking a page straight out of Machiavelli. They use religion like a mask. They detest the people, so they keep the masses shocked into submission, through spectacles. In the first Gulf War, it was a fabricated story about Iraqi soldiers taking babies out of Kuwaiti incubators. In Vietnam, it was the fabricated attack at the Gulf of Tonkin. The history of rule-by-deception, American style, goes all the way back to the 1840s and the Mexican-American War, when President Polk fabricated a Mexican attack, started a war, and annexed the entire Southwest from Mexico. A veteran of the CIA admitted to me recently, “The U.S. decides who it wants to go to war with, and then it finds a reason.” Wait, “find” a reason? History shows us that when the rulers decide to go to war, they “create” a reason.
U.S. Foreign Policy, Democrat and Republican, is in a crisis of the soul. With the fall of the Soviet Union, there's no big national enemy to fear. There's no longer any reason to spend $500 billion a year on defense. The recipients of that $500 billion gravy train know that some kind of justification has to be created. In year 2000, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld's right-wing think tank, Project for a New American Century (PNAC), published a document “Rebuilding America's Defenses” that said the U.S. should jack up defense spending, take total control of the Internet, and expand the USA's dominance in Central Asia. Almost all the top neo-conservative figures (and some Democrats) signed on as supporters. Learning a lesson from the 1960's, and Vietnam, PNAC recognizes the public's ability to protest and stop aggressive foreign wars. So “Rebuilding America's Defenses” looks to a “catastrophic and catalyzing event—like a new Pearl Harbor” to jumpstart the funding for new war technology.
In the late 80s, President Reagan's biggest scandal, Iran/Contra, broke open and was soon covered up. Despite laws from Congress, the ascendant conservative right-wing funded anti-leftist Contra rebels in Nicaragua with drug and weapons profits from trade with Iran, Pakistan, and Iraq. 20 years ago, in Iran/Contra, the PNAC social network circumvented Congress and infused capital into a right-wing militia, using a complex international network that included massive narcotics trafficking, surface support for Islamic fundamentalism, domestic media manipulation, fake Christianity at home, and the power of the dollar. In other words, it was a lot like 9/11. The pattern is the same, and so are a lot of the names:
John Negroponte, National Intelligence Chief, presided over death squads in Honduras, while ambassador there during Iran/Contra.
Eliot Abrams was indicted for lying to Congress about Iran/Contra, yet he laid low and came back strong as one of the National Security Council's Senior Directors in the Bush White House.
The most relevant example of the whole guilty lot of them is Richard Armitage. In 1989, he couldn't get a job in President Bush the First's Department of State, because of his odious Defense Department work with Iran/Contra criminal Oliver North. Skip ahead a scant 12 years later, to the summer of 2001:
Armitage sails into a position as Assistant Secretary of State, without a peep from the media or Senate Foreign Relations Committee. After a lifetime in CIA/DIA circles, Armitage happens to hold the highest civilian decoration from the Pakistani military, and has deep social ties there, from his work in the Afghan/Soviet civil war.
Remember that one? That was the 1979-1988 operation where bin Laden, the Mujahedeen, and the Pakistani intelligence group, ISI, were used as proxies for the U.S. military, a mix that later created the Taliban, which helped create Al Qaeda. The 9/11 Commission Report distored all this, because it's at the core of understanding 9/11.
Also noticeably missing from the Report is Richard Armitage's close relationship to the Pakistani funders of 9/11. The Report incredibly states that discovering the funding for 9/11 is “of little practical significance.” However, the FBI, the Wall Street Journal, and the Times of India have all acknowledged that Pakistani ISI Chief Mahmood Ahmad wired $100,000 to Mohamed Atta on Sept. 10, 2001. Ahmad had met extensively that May with the State Department's Richard Armitage, and CIA Director George Tenet, in Pakistan. On the morning of 9/11, Ahmad was in D.C., meeting with Representative (and later CIA director) Porter Goss and Senator Bob Graham. When news of Mahmood Ahmad's wire transfer reached his home country, he was let go, a month after 9/11. The Pakistani ISI works very closely with the U.S. State Department, and handlers like Armitage. Ahmad was fired quietly, when he should have been arrested, extradited, and served up to the American public as a culprit for the attacks. Remember how high the passions flared in October, 2001? Instead, the whole incident was buried. Ahmad walked.
Asia Times called the Ahmad scandal 9/11's “real smoking gun.” There's been zero coverage in the U.S. media. The White House edited Ahmad's name out of the official transcript, the one time Condi Rice was asked about the scandal at a press conference. Instead of prosecuting Ahmad, the U.S. gave Pakistan an aid package of $3 billion over five years, right after 9/11.
So, it's ironic that this same State Department denounces 9/11 Truth as “conspiracy theories.” This same State Department is packed to the gills with the top criminal minds of Iran/Contra. This same State Department's Francis X. Taylor, in July 2001, told an informant from the Joint Terrorism Task Force, Randy Glass, “we know about the threat, the terrorist threat, from Al Qaeda and bin Laden flying air planes into the World Trade Center. Musharraf [the Pakistani president] has guaranteed us—because his ISI behind it—that he can stop it if we support him publicly.”
Randy Glass is one of many 9/11 whistle-blowers who were trying to stop the attacks. If the American people really want the truth about 9/11, we've got to stop diddling around with theories about maybe a cruise missile hit the Pentagon, or maybe controlled demolition took down the towers. Maybe so, but let's go there only after we've met the real people in flesh and blood, who have suffered to get the truth out. They are the real heroes of this whole thing: Randy Glass, Robert Wright (the FBI agent who was stopped by higher-ups from tracking bin Laden's finances), Sibel Edmonds (a translator who discovered pro-Al Qaeda elements inside FBI, but was gagged by John Ashcroft for speaking out), Colleen Rowley (the FBI lawyer who was mysteriously stopped from getting a routine warrant to search Zacharias Moussoui's laptop), etc. Most recently, this past year, a lot of new ground has been broken with Anthony Shaffer, the Lieutenant Colonel who did intelligence work in the Pentagon. His operation, Able Danger, identified terrorist Mohamed Atta in year 2000. But unfortunately, someone higher up was protecting Atta. The real cutting edge of 9/11 Truth is an Internet search for Shaffer's 48-page statement. Just don't believe what you read about him in the Washington Post.
Sander Hicks is an author of The Big Wedding: 9/11, the Whistle-Blowers and the Cover-Up, available at voxpopnet.net.
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