Archive for the ‘9/11 and the War on Terrorism’ Category
by Iain Mackenzie
Have you ever contemplated why there appears to be a substantive lack of political will to redress worsening global problems in general? Perhaps you might have also thought of the origins of very specific tragedies in the world. Why, for example, did United Nations agencies, various national governments, and large private organizations turn their back of the mass human suffering of the Rwandan genocide?
Why is history being allowed to repeat itself in Darfur, Sudan, and in diverse parts of Africa where rape has become a specifically organized part of contrived tribal warfare in Africa?
What is the Iraq War all about anyway? If the target is in fact, terrorists, why are supposedly freedom-fighting U.S. backed militaries using Depleted Uranium dirty bombs? These documented “dirty bombs” have caused hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, and tens of thousands of U.S. military personnel to die from cancer and other medical complications. Over one million innocent Iraqi civilians have already died as a result of a U.S. military elite endorsed assault.
Why is poverty globally, and in specific cities from Victoria, Regina, Vancouver and Toronto in Canada, to places in other countries like in St. Louis, Washington D.C., Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles in the U.S., to many other cities like London in the United Kingdom, to Soweto in South Africa, now worsening as elites seem to get more and more commercially prosperous?
Why is the vital natural heritage of our planet Earth being apparently wilfully destroyed, and in the process, ruining the quality of living of billions of people on Earth?
It is apparent that Eugenics is the common thread of premeditated instigation and wilful negligence that is associated with much of Earth’s current problems.
Practitioners and promoters of the Eugenics “super religion”, believe… [CONTINUED.. see comment below]
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by John Pilger
When ignorance is Strength…
Within weeks of his inauguration, Obama started a new war in Pakistan, causing more than a million people to flee their homes. In threatening Iran — which his secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, said she was prepared to “obliterate” — Obama lied that the Iranians were covering up a “secret nuclear facility,” knowing that it had already been reported to the International Atomic Energy Authority.
In colluding with the only nuclear-armed power in the Middle East, he bribed the Palestinian Authority to suppress a UN judgment that Israel had committed crimes against humanity in its assault on Gaza — crimes made possible with U.S. weapons whose shipment Obama secretly approved before his inauguration.
At home, the man of peace has approved a military budget exceeding that of any year since the end of the Second World War while presiding over a new kind of domestic repression.
During the recent G20 meeting in Pittsburgh, hosted by Obama, militarized police attacked peaceful protesters with something called the Long-Range Acoustic Device, not seen before on U.S. streets. Mounted in the turret of a small tank, it blasted a piercing noise as tear gas and pepper gas were fired indiscriminately. It is part of a new arsenal of “crowd-control munitions” supplied by military contractors such as Raytheon.
In Obama’s Pentagon-controlled “national security state,” the concentration camp at Guantánamo Bay, which he promised to close, remains open, and “rendition,” secret assassinations and torture continue.
The Nobel Peace Prize winner’s latest war is largely secret. On July 15, Washington finalized a deal with Colombia that gives the U.S. seven giant military bases. “The idea,” reported the Associated Press, “is to make Colombia a regional hub for Pentagon operations…nearly half the continent can be covered by a C-17 [military transport] without refuelling,” which “helps achieve the regional engagement strategy.”
Translated, this means Obama is planning a “rollback” of the independence and democracy that the people of Bolivia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Paraguay have achieved against the odds, along with a historic regional cooperation that rejects the notion of a U.S. “sphere of influence.”
The Colombian regime, which backs death squads and has the continent’s worst human rights record, has received U.S. military support second in scale only to Israel. Britain provides military training. Guided by U.S. military satellites, Colombian paramilitaries now infiltrate Venezuela with the goal of overthrowing the democratic government of Hugo Chávez, which George W. Bush failed to do in 2002.
OBAMA’S WAR on peace and democracy in Latin America follows a style he has demonstrated since the coup against the democratic president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, in June. Zelaya had increased the minimum wage, granted subsidies to small farmers, cut back interest rates and reduced poverty. He planned to break a U.S. pharmaceutical monopoly and manufacture cheap generic drugs.
Although Obama has called for Zelaya’s reinstatement, he refuses to condemn the coup-makers and to recall the U.S. ambassador or the U.S. troops who train the Honduran forces determined to crush a popular resistance. Zelaya has been repeatedly refused a meeting with Obama, who has approved an IMF loan of $164 million to the illegal regime. The message is clear and familiar: thugs can act with impunity on behalf of the U.S.
Obama, the smooth operator from Chicago via Harvard, was enlisted to restore what he calls “leadership” throughout the world. The Nobel Prize committee’s decision is the kind of cloying reverse racism that has beatified the man for no reason other than he is a member of a minority and attractive to liberal sensibilities, if not to the Afghan children he kills.
This is the Call of Obama. It is not unlike a dog whistle: inaudible to most, irresistible to the besotted and boneheaded. “When Obama walks into a room,” gushed George Clooney, “you want to follow him somewhere, anywhere.”
The great voice of Frantz Fanon understood this. In The Wretched of the Earth, he described the “intermediary [whose] mission has nothing to do with transforming the nation: it consists, prosaically, of being the transmission line between the nation and a capitalism, rampant though camouflaged.”
Because political debate has become so debased in our media monoculture — Blair or Brown; Brown or Cameron — race, gender and class can be used as seductive tools of propaganda and diversion. In Obama’s case, what matters, as Fanon pointed out in an earlier era, is not the intermediary’s “historic” elevation, but the class he serves. After all, Bush’s inner circle was probably the most multiracial in presidential history. There was Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Clarence Thomas, all dutifully serving an extreme and dangerous power.
Britain has seen its own Obama-like mysticism. The day after Blair was elected in 1997, the Observer predicted that he would create “new worldwide rules on human rights,” while the Guardian rejoiced at the “breathless pace [as] the floodgates of change burst open.” When Obama was elected last November, Denis MacShane MP, a devotee of Blair’s bloodbaths, unwittingly warned us: “I shut my eyes when I listen to this guy, and it could be Tony. He is doing the same thing that we did in 1997.”
First published in the New Statesman.
About the writer:
John Pilger is a renowned investigative reporter and documentary filmmaker who was called “the most outstanding journalist in the world today” by the Guardian. He is the author of numerous books, including most recently Freedom Next Time: Resisting the Empire, a collection of investigations into the effects of war crimes and globalization. His books and films are featured at JohnPilger.com.
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Donna Tara Lee, a transgender activist living in Florida, retired postal worker and an organizer for October’s National Equality March in Washington, D.C., describes her response to the first year of the Obama administration:
by Donna Tara Lee
I WOULD like to say that I have been a lifelong Democrat since I was first eligible to vote in 1969.
Before that, I leafleted cars for RFK in 1964 in his Senate race in New York. My family revered Franklin Roosevelt for getting us through the Great Depression and Second World War, and thought Harry Truman was a great successor to FDR for expanding the New Deal and fighting communism. These were the politics I was brought up with and learned at the dinner table.
Since that time, as I got older, I have been an unabashed liberal. I have been active in all the following causes dating back to the 1960’s: civil rights, antiwar, feminism, pro-choice, the farmworkers’ movement ( I boycotted grapes for years), no nukes, free speech, justice for the Palestinians, anti-imperialist, anti-apartheid, and, lastly, the LGBTQ movement.
I was always sympathetic, but never took action on LGBTQ issues, except to vote against any anti-gay politicians and for any LGBTQ rights initiatives that I could. And yes, I spoke up for equality for LGBTQ persons.
And I have been a loyal Democrat all these years. So why am I now thinking of leaving the party after our biggest electoral success since 1964?
I have become so disenchanted that the changes we were promised instead seem to be more of the same old politics as usual. The lobbyists are still in control.
Let’s take a look at the health care non-reform bill–as it should really be called. The insurance companies have spent an enormous amount in a misleading advertising campaign to defeat health care. Right-wing thugs took over town hall meetings during the August recess, not allowing a rational health care debate. “Blue dog” Democrats joined the Republicans in lying and slandering health care legislation, and those who support it.
Personally, I don’t support the health care bills out there. I favor a single-payer, cradle-to-grave health care plan, like they have in all other industrial countries. I believe the Obama administration has basically caved in on real health care reform to achieve a non-achievable bipartisan law.
And allowing something like the Stupak Amendment to go forward is an affront to all women in this country and everyone who favors reproductive rights. So as far as I’m concerned, there is no real health care reform on the table.
On other domestic issues, huge sums of bailout money were given to the big corporations that got themselves and us in this mess by their greed. But there have been no regulatory reforms passed to make sure the banks can no longer fleece us. So it’s back to business as usual on Wall Street.
Amazing how both unemployment and stock prices are both rising. Main Street continues to suffer, and Wall Street does better. This does not compute.
The repressive and unconstitutional USA PATRIOT Act remains in effect, and lawbreakers of the previous administration go unpunished. Hate crimes against LGBTQ people are on the rise, as are gun and ammunition purchases. Reproductive providers are threatened, and one has been killed. The birthers, tea baggers and 10th Amendment folks are all on the loose, threatening our democracy. Our education institutions continue to fail our young. The birth rate is going up for unwed mothers. There is no real climate reform. Unemployment continues to rise, and our major parties are more partisan toward each other than ever.
In foreign affairs, the wars go on, taking more of our treasury, and the death toll among our soldiers grows higher. We still support regimes that persecute women for being women, and that are repressive and corrupt. Now, we call it anti-terrorism–it used to be anti-communism.
Except for some cosmetic changes–you could call it a new brand of make-up–what has changed? Nothing is my brutally frank answer.
THESE FAILURES have led me to rethink my political philosophy. I would say that for most of my life, I have been a social democrat. I wanted to see the U.S. evolve into a social welfare democracy, like the western European and Scandinavian countries. I can see now that in our current climate, which has been growing since the big business opposition to the New Deal in the 1930s, I have been wrong, and there’s no way the evolution I hoped for will take place.
I will be leaving the Democratic Party soon and registering as a socialist. I do this with a heavy heart, but I am convinced that the only way now to a peaceful and economically just society is through socialism.
I believe we should be at peace and not supporting corrupt governments in the name of anti-terrorism. I believe our citizens have the following rights endowed to them: reproductive freedom, an equal rights for all our citizens. I believe that there is no place in a just society for racism, sexism and homophobia, and that we need economic justice, not a corporate dictatorship. I believe all citizens should have the right to health care, an education and a decent living. These obscene profits need to end, and wealth needs to be redistributed to the workers. I also believe in open borders and an end to our insane anti-immigration policies.
Since I see our two major parties doing nothing but fighting among themselves as to which is the best to keep the evils of capitalism working, I gladly embrace socialism and its goal of peace and freedom for all.
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Many people who were Barack Obama’s most enthusiastic supporters a year ago have grown disillusioned and angry. Alan Maass looks at the differences between President Obama and Candidate Obama — and where the hope for real change lies.
by Alan Maass
AS THE first year of Barack Obama’s presidency drew to a close, one event symbolized the gap between the promise he represented to so many people and the frustrating reality: A war president accepting the Nobel Peace Prize.
Here was the man who owed his electoral success, at least during the Democratic primaries, to the perception that he was the main antiwar candidate — and he accepted the Nobel in Oslo a week after announcing he would escalate the already-eight-year-old U.S. war on Afghanistan, with a second troop surge that brought to more than 50,000 the total number of soldiers he had committed to the war since taking office.
Sure, Obama’s Nobel speech started with the usual claims of “great humility” to be receiving such an honour — right before he delivered as ugly an example of American imperial arrogance as anything George W. Bush could have managed:
Whatever mistakes we have made, the plain fact is this: the United States of America has helped underwrite global security for more than six decades with the blood of our citizens and the strength of our arms. The service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform has promoted peace and prosperity from Germany to Korea.
Underwritten global security? Tell it to the relatives of the innocent Afghans torn to pieces by U.S. bombs dropped on wedding parties. Promoted peace and prosperity? Ask the people of East Timor trying to rebuild a ruined nation after a quarter century of a U.S.-sanctioned occupation and genocide by Indonesia. Blood of our citizens? An Iraqi could tell you about the blood of their citizens, spilled to protect the U.S. government’s control of Middle East oil.
If Obama’s goal was to win the approval of right-wing Republicans–the ones who accuse him of “paling around with terrorists” and pander to the crazies who think Obama was born in Kenya — he did succeed on that count. “I liked what he said,” Sarah Palin chirped. Newt Gingrich praised “a very historic speech.”
Walter Russell Mead — whose title of Henry Kissinger senior fellow for U.S. foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations tells you everything you need to know about him — couldn’t contain his delight:
There are no flies on our President. He could sell shoes to a snake.
Barack Obama’s acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize was a carefully reasoned defense of a foreign policy that differs very little from George Bush’s. He is winding down one war, escalating a second, and stepping up the pressure on Iran. He is asserting America’s sovereign right to unilateral action in self-defense, while expressing the hope that this right will not need to be exercised.
If Bush had said these things, the world would be filled with violent denunciations. When Obama says them, people purr. That is fine by me… I’ve waxed lyrical about Obama’s ability to sell our foreign policy to the world. He didn’t just put lipstick on the pig; he gave it a makeover and sent it to charm school.
Meanwhile, among the people who actually wanted Barack Obama to become president, there was bitter disappointment. As author Garry Wills wrote:
Although he talked of a larger commitment to Afghanistan during his campaign, he has now officially adopted his very own war, one with all the disqualifications that he attacked in the Iraq engagement… I cannot vote for any Republican. But Obama will not get another penny from me, or another word of praise, after this betrayal.
Obama’s surge to Afghanistan was a turning point for others who supported him in 2008. But it’s worth noting that many leading liberals weren’t nearly as put off as Wills. Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel, speaking to National Public Radio, claimed that Obama’s Nobel speech–the very same one admired by Sarah Palin–“had a humility and grace while confronting the paradoxes.”
When Obama announced his Afghanistan escalation a week earlier, the liberal antiwar group MoveOn.org urged its members not to protest Obama, but to call on Congress to support “a binding military exit strategy and firm benchmarks so we can bring our troops home safely and quickly.”
So the president of the United States doubles the number of U.S. troops committed to a war that even some conservatives now considered a disaster, and all MoveOn.org could ask for was “benchmarks”? That tepid response goes a long way in explaining why the Obama administration wasn’t concerned about an antiwar backlash when it approved the Pentagon’s proposal for a further surge.
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Special to The Canadian [abridged text]
US President Barack Obama has disappointed many of those who hoped his presidency would deliver “change we can believe in.”
But there’s one campaign promise Obama has kept — twice.
In his prime-time speech on December 1, Obama followed through on a pledge to escalate the war in Afghanistan for a second time, announcing that he would send an extra 30,000 US troops.
When Obama took office, less than 50,000 US soldiers were deployed in Afghanistan. He ordered an additional 21,000 soldiers there earlier this year. With the extra 30,000, he has doubled the US presence.
Obama motivated the troop buildup with a speech that recalled George W. Bush’s call for a “war on terror”. He recycled the Bush lie that the US invasion of Afghanistan, launched eight years ago, was retribution for the September 11, 2001 attacks.
He falsely claimed that Afghanistan’s Taliban government refused to hand over Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda. “America, our allies and the world were acting as one to destroy al-Qaeda’s terrorist network, and to protect our common security”, Obama told West Point cadets.
Later, Obama concluded by summoning the war frenzy cynically whipped up by the Bush administration after September 11: “It is easy to forget that when this war began, we were united — bound together by the fresh memory of a horrific attack, and by the determination to defend our homeland and the values we hold dear.
“I refuse to accept the notion that we cannot summon that unity again. I believe with every fibre of my being that we — as Americans — can still come together behind a common purpose.”
Wrapping himself in the flag Bush-style, Obama strained to sell people on the idea that the discredited, fraudulently elected government of President Hamid Karzai can rule legitimately.
“[W]e and our allies prevented the Taliban from stopping a presidential election,” Obama boasted, “and although it was marred by fraud, that election produced a government that is consistent with Afghanistan’s laws and constitution.”
So the US military helped Karzai to hold an election so obviously fraudulent that the UN demanded a run-off, but the second-place finisher refused to take part — that’s some triumph of democracy!
Obama tried to sugarcoat the war drive with a promise that US troops will start pulling out of Afghanistan in July 2011. But given the scale of the Taliban resistance, that plan is utterly lacking in credibility. The talk about Afghans taking responsibility for their own security was a dead ringer for Bush’s promises that “as Iraqis stand up, we will stand down”.
In another note reminiscent of the Bush years, we were treated in the run-up to the speech to a steady media diet of good news about the Afghan war campaign, designed to suggest that there’s “light at the end of the tunnel”.
Take, for example, the revelation that anti-Taliban militias are “spontaneously” springing up in various parts of Afghanistan. A November 21 New York Times report said, “the Americans hope the militias will encourage an increasingly demoralised Afghan population to take a stake in the war against the Taliban”.
But even the NYT acknowledged that US Special Forces are “fanning out across the countryside, descending from helicopters into valleys where the residents have taken up arms against the Taliban and offering their help” — casting serious doubt about how “spontaneous” these militias are.
With this effort, the US is hoping to bypass unpopular and tyrannical warlords and set up tribal networks allied with occupation forces. Money for development will be used to further cement these ties.
But this strategy is a long shot at best. The NYT admitted, the strategy of giving ammunition, communication hardware and other support to these militias could backfire spectacularly.
This isn’t just a hypothetical. US backing for Afghanistan’s mujahideen fighters against the ex-USSR’s occupation in the 1980s gave rise to the armed networks that eventually produced al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.
Now the Obama administration cites the fight against the terrorists of al-Qaeda as the main reason for sending even more US troops to kill and be killed in Afghanistan.
This involves a double conceit — historical amnesia about the bitter fruits of US policy in Afghanistan since the 1970s, and deception about the real reasons for the continued US interests in cultivating a pro-US regime in Afghanistan.
That effort goes back to the 1979 invasion of Afghanistan by the USSR. “The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter”, recalled Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was Carter’s national security advisor from 1977 to 1981. “We now have the opportunity of giving to the Soviet Union its Vietnam War.”
At the time, US foreign policy officials encouraged the growth of the most extreme Islamic elements because they considered them the key to defeating the USSR.
After the US achieved its goal, the mujahideen fighters it had backed came to power — and Washington stepped aside and watched, as the country descended into a civil war among the divided factions that had triumphed over the Soviet Union.
When the Taliban emerged as the victor in 1996, the US adopted an attitude of benign indifference. At least the Taliban brought stability and an unrelenting hostility to the opium trade, reasoned US officials.
But September 11 gave the US a new opportunity to project military power into the heart of Central Asia. It quickly installed military bases in countries that had been part of the old USSR, giving the Pentagon the means to pressure China, Russia and neighbouring Iran, and provide greater US access to the region’s oil and gas resources.
Bush’s failure to secure those gains with the “war on terror” drew criticism from Obama throughout the presidential campaign.
Perhaps some Obama supporters thought that the Democratic candidate’s call to escalate troop strength in Afghanistan was simply rhetoric to shield him from criticism on the right. But Obama’s West Point speech makes it perfectly clear that he’s a willing and aggressive proponent of the pursuit of US imperial aims.
White House estimates say each additional US soldier sent to Afghanistan will cost taxpayers US$1 million a year. So Obama’s double dispatch of troops will cost an additional $55 billion over the next year. Compare that to the Afghan government’s entire national budget of roughly $1 billion a year.
The Obama administration hasn’t committed as many troops as some military hardliners want. But the reality is that the current combined US/NATO presence — 68,000 US soldiers, 33,000 from various NATO countries, and more than 70,000 US military contractors — already exceeds the number of troops deployed by the USSR at the height of its involvement in Afghanistan.
The US could continue to muddle through — unless it meets a significant opposition that can’t be ignored. Already, there is anxiety that the US public may not be willing to put up with a five- or 10-year strategy.
The anti-war movement needs to give those anxieties concrete expression by organising a visible opposition. The demonstrations organised in cities across the US to respond to Obama’s speech are an important opportunity to begin building a vocal opposition to a war that is all Obama’s now.
From: International News, Green Left Weekly issue #821 9 December 2009.
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by David Ray Griffin
|9/11 Contradictions book by Dr. David Ray Griffin.|
With regard to the morning of 9/11, everyone agrees that at some time after 9:03 (when the South Tower of the World Trade Center was struck) and before 10:00, Vice President Dick Cheney went down to the Presidential Emergency Operations Center (PEOC), sometimes simply called the “bunker,” under the east wing of the White House. Everyone also agrees that, once there, Cheney was in charge—that he was either making decisions or relaying decisions from President Bush. But there is enormous disagreement as to exactly when Cheney entered the PEOC.
According to The 9/11 Commission Report, Cheney arrived “shortly before 10:00, perhaps at 9:58” (The 9/11 Commission Report [henceforth 9/11CR], 40). This official time, however, contradicts almost all previous reports, some of which had him there before 9:20. This difference is important because, if the 9/11 Commission’s time is correct, Cheney was not in charge in the PEOC when the Pentagon was struck, or for most of the period during which United Flight 93 was approaching Washington. But if the reports that have him there by 9:20 are correct, he was in charge in the PEOC all that time.
Mineta’s Report of Cheney’s Early Arrival
The most well-known statement contradicting the 9/11 Commission was made by Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta during his public testimony to the 9/11 Commission on May 23, 2003. Saying that he “arrived at the PEOC at about 9:20 AM,” Mineta reported that he then overheard part of an ongoing conversation, which had obviously begun before he arrived, between a young man and Vice President Cheney. This conversation was about a plane coming toward Washington and ended with Cheney confirming that “the orders still stand.” When Commissioner Timothy Roemer later asked Mineta how long after his arrival he overheard this conversation about whether the orders still stood, Mineta replied: “Probably about five or six minutes.” This would mean, Roemer pointed out, “about 9:25 or 9:26.”
This is a remarkable contradiction. Given the fact that Cheney, according to Mineta, had been engaged in an ongoing exchange, he must have been in the PEOC for several minutes before Mineta’s 9:20 arrival. If Cheney had been there since 9:15, there would be a 43-minute contradiction between Mineta’s testimony and The 9/11 Commission Report. Why would such an enormous contradiction exist?
One possible explanation would be that Mineta was wrong. His story, however, is in line with that of many other witnesses.
Other Reports Supporting Cheney’s Early Arrival
Richard Clarke reported that he, Cheney, and Condoleezza Rice had a brief meeting shortly after 9:03, following which the Secret Service wanted Cheney and Rice to go down to the PEOC. Rice, however, first went with Clarke to the White House’s Video Teleconferencing Center, where Clarke was to set up a video conference, which began at about 9:10. After spending a few minutes there, Rice said, according to Clarke: “You’re going to need some decisions quickly. I’m going to the PEOC to be with the Vice President. Tell us what you need.” At about 9:15, Norman Mineta arrived and Clarke “suggested he join the Vice President” (Against All Enemies, 2-5). Clarke thereby implied that Cheney was in the PEOC several minutes prior to 9:15.
In an ABC News program on the first anniversary of 9/11, Cheney’s White House photographer David Bohrer reported that, shortly after 9:00, some Secret Service agents came into Cheney’s office and said, “Sir, you have to come with us.” During this same program, Rice said: “As I was trying to find all of the principals, the Secret Service came in and said, ‘You have to leave now for the bunker. The Vice President’s already there. There may be a plane headed for the White House.’” ABC’s Charles Gibson then said: “In the bunker, the Vice President is joined by Rice and Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta” (“9/11: Interviews by Peter Jennings,” ABC News, September 11, 2002).
The 9/11 Commission’s Late-Arrival Claim
The 9/11 Commission agreed that the Vice President was hustled down to the PEOC after word was received that a plane was headed towards the White House. It claimed, however, that this word was not received until 9:33. But even then, according to the Commission, the Secret Service agents immediately received another message, telling them that the aircraft had turned away, so “[n]o move was made to evacuate the Vice President at this time.” It was not until “just before 9:36” that the Secret Service ordered Cheney to go below (9/11CR 39). But even after he entered the underground corridor at 9:37, Cheney did not immediately go to the PEOC. Rather:
Once inside, Vice President Cheney and the agents paused in an area of the tunnel that had a secure phone, a bench, and television. The Vice President asked to speak to the President, but it took time for the call to be connected. He learned in the tunnel that the Pentagon had been hit, and he saw television coverage of the smoke coming from the building. (9/11CR 40)
Next, after Lynne Cheney “joined her husband in the tunnel,” the Commission claimed, “Mrs. Cheney and the Vice President moved from the tunnel to the shelter conference room” after the call ended, which was not until after 9:55. As for Rice, the Commission added, she “entered the conference room shortly after the Vice President” (9/11CR 40).
The contradiction could not be clearer. According to the Commission, Cheney, far from entering the PEOC before 9:20, as Mineta and others said, did not arrive there until about 9:58, 20 minutes after the 9:38 strike on the Pentagon, about which he had learned in the corridor.
Cheney’s Account on Meet the Press
The 9/11 Commission’s account even contradicted that given by Cheney himself in a well-known interview. Speaking to Tim Russert on NBC’s Meet the Press only five days after 9/11, Cheney said: “[A]fter I talked to the president… I went down into… the Presidential Emergency Operations Center… [W]hen I arrived there within a short order, we had word the Pentagon’s been hit.” Cheney himself, therefore, indicated that he had entered the PEOC prior to the (9:38) strike on the Pentagon, not 20 minutes after it, as the Commission would later claim.
Dealing with the Contradictions
How did the 9/11 Commission deal with the fact that its claim about the time of Cheney’s arrival in the PEOC had been contradicted by Bohrer, Clarke, Mineta, Rice, several news reports, and even Cheney himself? It simply omitted any mention of these contradictory reports.
Of these omissions, the most important was the Commission’s failure to mention Norman Mineta’s testimony, even though it was given to the Commission in an open hearing—as can be seen by reading the transcript of that session (May 23, 2003). This portion of Mineta’s testimony was also deleted from the official version of the video record of the 9/11 Commission hearings in the 9/11 Commission archives. (It can, however, be viewed on the Internet.)
During an interview for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in 2006, Hamilton was asked what “Mineta told the Commission about where Dick Cheney was prior to 10 AM.” Hamilton replied: “I do not recall” (“9/11: Truth, Lies and Conspiracy: Interview: Lee Hamilton,” CBC News, 21 August 2006). It was surprising that Hamilton could not recall, because he had been the one doing the questioning when Mineta told the story of the young man’s conversation with Cheney. Hamilton, moreover, had begun his questioning by saying to Mineta: “You were there [in the PEOC] for a good part of the day. I think you were there with the Vice President.” And Mineta’s exchange with Timothy Roemer, during which it was established that Mineta had arrived at about 9:20, came immediately after Hamilton’s interrogation. And yet Hamilton, not being able to recall any of this, simply said, “we think that Vice President Cheney entered the bunker shortly before 10 o’clock.”
Obliterating Mineta’s Problematic Testimony
To see possible motives for the 9/11 Commission’s efforts to obliterate Mineta’s story from the public record, we need to look at the conversation he reported to the Commission. He said:
During the time that the airplane was coming in to the Pentagon, there was a young man who would come in and say to the Vice President, “The plane is 50 miles out.” “The plane is 30 miles out.” And when it got down to “the plane is 10 miles out,” the young man also said to the Vice President, “Do the orders still stand?” And the Vice President turned and whipped his neck around and said, “Of course the orders still stand. Have you heard anything to the contrary?”
Mineta’s story had dangerous implications with regard to the strike on the Pentagon, which occurred at 9:38. According to the 9/11 Commission, the military did not know that an aircraft was approaching the Pentagon until 9:36, so that it “had at most one or two minutes to react to the unidentified plane approaching Washington” (9/11CR 34). That claim was essential for explaining, among other things, why the Pentagon had not been evacuated before it was struck — a fact that resulted in 125 deaths. A spokesperson for Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, when asked why this evacuation had not occurred, said: “The Pentagon was simply not aware that this aircraft was coming our way” (Newsday, Sept. 23, 2001). Mineta’s testimony implied, by contrast, that Cheney and others knew that an aircraft was approaching Washington about 12 minutes before that strike.
Even more problematic was the question of the nature of “the orders.” Mineta assumed, he said, that they were orders to have the plane shot down. But the aircraft was not shot down. Also, the expected orders, especially on a day when two hijacked airliners had already crashed into buildings in New York, would have been to shoot down any nonmilitary aircraft entering the “prohibited” airspace over Washington, in which “civilian flying is prohibited at all times” (“Pilots Notified of Restricted Airspace; Violators Face Military Action,” FAA Press Release, September 28, 2001). If those orders had been given, there would have been no reason to ask if they still stood. The question made sense only if the orders were to do something unusual — not to shoot the aircraft down. It appeared, accordingly, that Mineta had inadvertently reported Cheney’s confirmation of stand-down orders.
That Mineta’s report was regarded as dangerous is suggested by the fact that the 9/11 Commission, besides deleting Mineta’s testimony and delaying Cheney’s entrance to the bunker by approximately 45 minutes, also replaced Mineta’s story with a new story about an incoming aircraft. According to The 9/11 Commission Report, here is what really happened:
At 10:02, the communicators in the shelter began receiving reports from the Secret Service of an inbound aircraft… At some time between 10:10 and 10:15, a military aide told the Vice President and others that the aircraft was 80 miles out. Vice President Cheney was asked for authority to engage the aircraft… The Vice President authorized fighter aircraft to engage the inbound plane… The military aide returned a few minutes later, probably between 10:12 and 10:18, and said the aircraft was 60 miles out. He again asked for authorization to engage. The Vice President again said yes. (9/11CR 41)
The 9/11 Commission thereby presented the incoming aircraft story as one that ended with an order for a shoot down, not a stand down. And by having it occur after 10:10, the Commission not only disassociated it from the Pentagon strike but also ruled out the possibility that Cheney’s shootdown authorization might have led to the downing of United Flight 93 (which crashed, according to the Commission, at 10:03).
Given the fact that the 9/11 Commission’s account of Cheney’s descent to the bunker contradicted the testimony of not only Norman Mineta but also many other witnesses, including Cheney himself, Congress and the press need to launch investigations to determine what really happened.
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About the writer:
This essay is the second in a series of articles written by Dr. David Ray Griffin for The Canadian. This particular one is an abbreviated version of Chapters 2 and 3 of Dr. Griffin’s 9/11 Contradictions: An Open Letter to Congress and the Press (Northampton: Olive Branch, March, 2008).
by Paul J Balles
Mr. Balles examines the phenomenon of suicide bombers from the socio-psychological perspective. Noting the French sociologist and philosopher Emile Durkheim’s remark that, when an individual’s needs surpass his capacity to satisfy them, “the result can only be friction, pain, lack of productivity and a general weakening of the impulse to live”, he says: “The suicide bomber, unable to develop and express his individuality under [Israeli] occupation and unable to serve his society in constructive ways, turns to a goal beyond this world.
A report on MSNBC news stipulates that “a suicide takes place somewhere around the world every 40 seconds, or nearly one million a year, and the rate looks set to surge over the next two decades”.
The report adds that suicide is a major world health problem, that it’s largely preventable. The highest suicide rates (in percentages of population) have been in former Communist states – Lithuania, Estonia, Russia, Latvia and Hungary, followed by Sri Lanka, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Slovenia and Finland.
Judging from numbers alone in 2000, the greatest incidents of suicide have occurred in China (195,000), where there are more women suicides than men; India (87,000); Russia (52,000); and the USA (31,000). While there have been suicides in Arab countries, they certainly haven’t figured among the major sufferers either in numbers or rates per 1,000.
My interest in the topic has been fuelled by a wish to discover authoritative studies about what leads a person to self-destruct. According to New Scientist Digital (8 September 2004), “Suicide kills more people each year than road traffic accidents in most European countries, the World Health Organization is warning. And, globally, suicide takes more lives than murder and war put together, says the agency in a call for action.”
The death toll from suicide at almost one million people per year accounts for half of all violent deaths worldwide, said the WHO report. It also noted, “people in Latin America, Muslim countries and a few Asian nations are least likely to die by their own hand”.
“It’s important to realise that suicide is preventable,” points out Lars Mehlum, president of the International Association for Suicide Prevention. “And that having access to the means of suicide is both an important risk factor and determinant of suicide.”
Since high self-esteem and social “connectedness” can protect against suicide, it’s logical to conclude that the absence of these factors can play an important role leading to suicide. The problem not only affects those who die at their own hands. It’s been estimated by health officials that 20 times that number have failed in their attempts to commit suicide.
The yearly costs associated with self-afflicted injuries have been estimated in the billions of dollars. As pointed out by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), “For every suicide death there are many survivors; their lives are profoundly affected emotionally, socially and economically.”
Professor Mehlum, the president of IASP, said, “Suicidal behaviour has a large number of underlying causes which are complex and interact with one another. Factors such as living in poverty, unemployment, loss of loved ones, arguments with family or friends, legal or work-related problems are all acknowledged as risk factors when affecting those who are predisposed or otherwise especially vulnerable to self-harm.”
In a scholarly paper on “Suicide (1897)”, Robert Alun Jones reports on studies by the great French sociologist and philosopher Emile Durkheim that dealt with a whole range of topics including:
1. What is suicide?
2. Extra-social causes
3. Social causes and social types
a. Egoistic suicide
b. Altruistic suicide
c. Anomic suicide
4. Suicide as a social phenomenon
5. Critical remarks
“Suicide thus varies inversely with the degree of integration of the religious, domestic and political groups of which the individual forms a part; in short, as a society weakens or “disintegrates,” the individual depends less on the group, depends more upon himself, and recognizes no rules of conduct beyond those based upon private interests. Durkheim called this state of “excessive individualism” egoism, and the special type of self-inflicted death it produces “egoistic suicide”.
If suicides are low in Arab societies, what accounts for the increasing rates of suicide in Bahrain, especially among Indians? With the expatriate society weak and the individual independent of the group, he becomes the egoistic suicide defined by Durkheim. That certainly wouldn’t explain the suicides of the Palestinians. For this, Durkheim had another explanation:
“But if excessive individuation thus leads to suicide, so does insufficient individuation: …men on the threshold of old age, women upon the deaths of their husbands, followers and servants upon the deaths of their chiefs — in which the person kills himself because it is his duty.” Such a sacrifice, Durkheim argued, is imposed by society for social purposes; and for society to be able to do this, the individual personality must have little value, a state Durkheim called “altruism”.
Durkheim notes that “the altruist commits himself to a goal beyond this world, and henceforth this world is an obstacle and burden to him… the unhappiness of the altruist… springs from hope, faith, even enthusiasm, and affirms itself in acts of extraordinary energy”.
Those responsible for the suicide of the Palestinian bomber may know full well what their treatment of the Palestinians does to their psyches, in which case they remain entirely responsible for the deaths incurred.
To quote Durkheim again, “No living being can be happy unless its needs are sufficiently proportioned to its means; for if its needs surpass its capacity to satisfy them, the result can only be friction, pain, lack of productivity and a general weakening of the impulse to live.”
Whether they knew the outcome or not, this means that the Israeli occupation forces have themselves been responsible for the deaths made of their own sacrificial lambs that they have attributed to terrorists.
Palestinian suicide bombers have a kinship with the Romans at the time of Cato. Romans viewed suicide as a rational act, calmly undertaken, carefully planned in advance and intended for public consumption (almost entirely at odds with our modern conception of suicide).
Whereas most modern societies tend to view nearly all suicides as irrational, hastily planned and executed in a fit of passion, and usually undertaken alone, this type of suicide was the sort most deplored by the Romans, the type of suicide they sought to avoid when choosing their own deaths.
Thus Tacitus criticizes a man who leapt to his end from a building for his “sudden and undignified death” and reports that his mother was blamed and banished from Rome for 10 years. The Romans never condoned hasty, messy, irrational suicides. They haven’t been by Arabs either.
The suicide bomber, unable to develop and express his individuality under occupation and unable to serve his society in constructive ways, turns to a goal beyond this world.
Fouad Ajami U.S. News reports, “We love death,” said that quintessential merchant of death Osama bin Laden, “as much as the infidels love life.” Ajami adds, “The young homicide bomber walking into a Tel Aviv discotheque has come to serve a warrant of death on people his age whose ways he yearns for yet cannot have.”
Ajami concludes his article by saying, “…the 9/11 commission recently recommended the launching of a campaign of public diplomacy in the Muslim world. But this is illusion. For at heart, this war for Islam is one for Muslims to fight. It is for them to recover their faith from the purveyors of terror.”
Both conclusions are illusion. “Diplomacy in the Muslim world” will do nothing to change the circumstances – the sense of hopelessness imposed on the Palestinians and the oppression and humiliation of occupation felt by the Iraqis – under which the victims feel compelled to commit suicide.
The Muslim clerics that Ajami refers to as “purveyors of terror” are no more responsible for the conditions experienced by their congregations than their followers themselves are.
Neither the clerics nor their followers are fooled by the propaganda that calls the suicide bombers terrorists while ignoring the gross terrorism of occupation forces that murder, maim, destroy homes and livelihoods and instil constant fear with fighter jets, bombers, tanks, helicopter gunships and a well-armed military machine.
The propagandists may deceive their willing audiences in the West, but they don’t delude either the hopeless who have been impelled to suicide or those who feel empathy for the abject victims of oppression.
Something needs to be done about the disgusting tendency in the West to feel sorry for the victims of the victims. As Cesare Pavese has written, “No one ever lacks a good reason for suicide.” It’s time to stop bluffing and bullying and to start corrective work on the reasons.
About the writer:
Paul Balles is a retired American university professor and freelance writer who has lived in the Middle East for 35 years. For more information, see LINK.
Editorial reference, LINK
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