By Davidson Loehr
03/05/06 "ICH" -- -- As we struggle to put the events of and following 9-11-2001 into the most complete perspective, we’re hampered by having to find a way through the minefields of “conspiracy theory” accusations. There are so many parts to consider, it’s almost impossible to argue from any one event. If we argue that the Bush administration was complicit in the attacks of 9-11 — that they intentionally murdered 3,000 Americans in order to further their imperialistic agenda abroad and their transformation of America into a command-and-control plutocracy here at home — a hundred others will pick holes in individual pieces of the 9-11 conspiracy theory, and derail the argument rather than clarifying or advancing it. It’s like trying to pick up Jell-O without the bowl.
Nor can this ever be a merely intellectual game. Suggesting that our own leaders orchestrated the murders of 9-11 — while proposing Arab Muslims as perhaps no more than the fictional enemy toward which they hope to direct American scorn and fury — this idea evokes deep and powerful resentment and resistance, whether it is true or not.
Author David Ray Griffin, whose research I’ll be using for some parts of this essay, quotes from a stunning letter to the Los Angeles Times Magazine from September 18, 2005 from William Yarchin of Huntington Beach, California:
“The number of contradictions in the official version of … 9/11 is so overwhelming that … it simply cannot be believed. Yet … the official version cannot be abandoned because the implication of rejecting it is far too disturbing: that we are subject to a government conspiracy of “X-Files” proportions and insidiousness.”
In this essay, I will try picking up the bowl rather than just the Jell-O — the deep story that frames much of our history — to see if I can grasp the overall story that includes 9-11, our imperialism, our invasions of Iraq and Iran, the theft of trillions of dollars from the tax base to transfer to the top tenth of a percent or so of our population, the rise in repressive laws, loss of civil liberties, increase in the state power of Christian fundamentalism, and its accompanying marginalization of women that always accompanies fascisms and fundamentalisms.
There is such a “bowl,” such a meta-story. It is not hidden, not obscure, and not hard to grasp. It is even quite easy to defend. In fact, I want to begin by defending that frame story, to get a feel for its raw and deep power and appeal.
Hearing and empathizing with this story may be the biggest challenge for Americans and perhaps many others, for it is a story grounded in “Realpolitik,” not liberal idealism. But this story is the most powerful story on the table, and one of the most powerful in American history, and its command to act before the window of opportunity closes is a command to which some powerful leaders have listened – and have believed that only fools would not listen. It is not too much to call this plot a sacred mission, worth almost any price, for so much is at stake.
Along the way, I’ll try to indicate how and where some of the other streams of action have arisen, for they all fit together into a coherent and necessary whole – which is another strong argument for this story.
The story can be put simply, though it must then be fleshed out with its historical developments, and its prehistoric foundations.
The plot we see most easily is the desire of our political leaders – of both parties – to establish a global American empire (sometimes called a Pax Americana, or a peace on American terms), wrapped in a command-and-control form of governance both abroad and at home. As the plot moves through time and thought, it gathers to it several other necessary components. These include a massive military buildup, control of all the world’s economies we can control, spread of our military to protect the economic interests of those who are steering us, disempowerment of citizens at home through disinformation and restrictions on civil rights, and the transformation of our economy into a two-tiered plutocracy in which “those who own the country ought to govern it.” That sentiment seems modern, but the words came from John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court. It’s part of the larger sentiment that those who own the world ought to govern it, which is at the heart of this ancient story.
In this story, some familiar words receive new definitions. “Democracy” and “freedom,” for example, have little or nothing to do with individual rights or the freedom of the majority of the people to choose the government that serves their interests. “Democracy” and “freedom” refer to the freedom of our large corporations to operate with a minimum of restraint in each target country, and our desire to replace uncooperative rulers – whether or not they were democratically elected – with puppet rulers who will be friendly to the economic and imperialistic objectives of those who control US policies. It would be hard to sell this longer and more honest definition, and much easier to sell it if it’s called the opposite of what it really entails: democracy and freedom. But it’s just a small part of a much bigger and more important story.
The newest incarnation of this ancient story is the “New World Order.”
George HW Bush popularized the phrase “New World Order” in a speech he made on September 11, 1990.
The roots of GHW Bush’s version of this new “order” were in the Trilateral Commission, which David Rockefeller set up in 1973. This was an effort to study restructuring the economic priorities of the world around the desires of the three major markets of the US, Europe and Japan. What this means is that the goal was to write the rules for the world’s emerging global economy in ways that gave preference and profit to the US, Europe and Japan.
A linked, prior and more significant organization was the Council on Foreign Relations, which starred some of the biggest money players in a Council that had immense influence on US foreign policy. This means they exerted influence to make sure US foreign policy kept the financial desires of America’s wealthiest individuals and corporations at the top of its priorities.
George HW Bush served on the boards of both the Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations in the 1970s, dropping out of them to present a “cleaner” image for his 1980 run for the presidency.
The biggest obstacle to this grand “New World Order,” however, was that – once the masses understood what it was about – it would be very hard to get popular support for. Why? Because this was an elitist plan, to benefit the wealthiest individuals and corporations, to enlist the military in support of their agenda – which outsiders would quickly call their greed – and it’s a hard sell to get soldiers to die just to make a handful of greedy people very rich. It would take a lot to sell this story – it would certainly take reframing, repackaging, to present it as a patriotic imperative that could get wide public support.
All this was in the background, a plot without effective characters or an adequate vehicle to move forward in restructuring the economic priorities and advantages of … well, by the time of Bush’s speech in 1990, it no longer needed to be a “trilateral” commission, for in 1989 the world had changed in an unforeseen and dramatic way. And this changed everything.
It came in the aftermath of the USSR’s fall in 1989. The fall of Communism ended the Cold War (World War II continued without armed conflict between the USSR and the US).
What the fall of Communism meant was that we were the only superpower in the world. We no longer had to think only in terms of bonding with Europe and Japan against Russia. There was no nation on earth that could defeat us in a war. We had more weapons and more money than anyone. We also had moral authority, and the respect of most of the world. History offered us an almost unprecedented chance, and it was felt that it would be both cowardly and stupid not to take it.
We had the chance to reshape the world’s operating procedures in ways that would benefit those who spoke for the US economic interests above all others. Some of the argument was that someone would be writing the rules for the order of this “new world,” and we’d be crazy if we didn’t do it. This is a powerful argument, much more powerful than the idea that doing this wouldn’t be nice.
Almost everything was at stake. With no superpower to stop us, we could control the currency in which the majority of world trade was conducted. We could be the only military superpower, and prevent other countries from developing the means to threaten us. Our corporations could demand economic advantages in the world market, as our English language made strides toward becoming the language in which international business was done. We could – perhaps most importantly – control the world’s oil supply, if we could establish a permanent presence in the Middle East, a goal the US has had since the 1920s.
The implications of this global ambition were profound, and reached both abroad and within. Since the goal was power over others who might challenge us, that power would have to be established, both through armies without and laws within. It was feared, realistically, that lily-livered liberals would oppose such a bold – and bloody – plan. Above all, this new order was to serve the economic interests of the most powerful corporations and those who controlled the largest shares of wealth.
The global ambitions of the New World Order are fundamentally opposed to democracy. It was a plutocracy, an oligarchy, the rule by those who owned. This isn’t a new evil. It’s a longstanding historical reality. Those who control the money control the armies and the laws, and the distribution of wealth – which will always be claimed as their right, even their birthright.
There are two ways of putting this. One is to say that those with great wealth can and will write the laws to disempower those from whose labors their great wealth is taken. Another is to say that this system demands a few people who are willing to sell out everyone else in order to be on top. History shows there is no shortage of such people – and that, given the chance, most of us would be among them.
But everything would have to be changed, in order to organize the world around the center of serving the economic interests of those whose money commanded the world’s largest army. Consideration of individual rights would have to give way to obeying the power of the state. Why? Because in the New World Order, the vast majority of people will be doing more work for less money to benefit fewer people, and they’re not likely to keep doing it if they have choices, or even access to necessary information. Again, liberal whimpers about truth, honesty, fairness to all, and the rest – these have always been answered by the world’s realists, who say “Just stay asleep, dopes! The fight goes to the strong, not the righteous, and merely smart people are outwitted by shrewd people every time – especially when the shrewd are also wealthy, well-connected, and control enough politicians, judges and media to make the rest of you live within their story! The penalty for naivete on that scale has been and will continue to be serving those who have the gumption to go after it.”
We can all think of a few times this savvy, reality-centered, realpolitik story has slipped to the surface. I remember Bob Dole, a consummate professional politician who did get it, responding to a hopelessly naļve question – in 1996, I think. The starry-eyed liberal asked him if having so much big money in politics might mean that those who contributed the money would want something in return for it! Dole seemed amazed at the level of naivete, and gave his smiling response that, well, they certainly expected more than just good government!
In fact, campaign contributions are investments, which show some of the biggest returns of any investments in the world. Those who control the money know that, and use it. But, faced with the level of naļvete most of the masses have – as illustrated in the exchange with Bob Dole above – it’s been very easy to dismiss objections as “conspiracy theories.”
A Digression: “Conspiracies” & Conspiracy Theories
It’s worth a digression to understand what a conspiracy is. The American Heritage Dictionary defines “conspiracy” as “1. An agreement to perform together an illegal, wrongful or subversive act.” And “conspiracy theory” is defined simply as “A theory seeking to explain a disputed case or matter as a plot by a secret group or alliance, rather than by an individual or isolated act.” The etymology means “to breathe together,” or perhaps to be breathing the same kind of air. There are other ways of saying this that don’t call forth silent-movie-era images of over-costumed villains twirling handlebar moustaches. Everyone knows how fraternity brothers or school alumni can help you get what you want by moving ahead of others. You’re brothers, sisters, alums; you breathed the same air, and it creates a bond we’ve all exploited at one time or other. This is a conspiracy. It’s getting what we want not just by our merits, but also by our behind-the-scenes contacts.
“Conspiring” – breathing the same air – can also be as simple as operating out of the same paradigm. When we share basic assumptions, we don’t need secret meetings in order to work together. Teams operating out of a shared gameplan act in coordinated ways with a minimum of conversation, because paradigms have an inherent logic that helps direct the actions of those who understand and serve the paradigms.
Every major piece of legislation is the result of a conspiracy – between power brokers, pork-barrel interests, lobbyists. In fact, a lobbyist’s job is to conspire with lawmakers to see that the laws passed benefit those who pay the lobbyists rather than the vast majority of others, who may not be served by them at all. Most theories involve conspiracies, whether the ends are defined as strictly illegal, or just favoring special interests. We don’t want to reject all conspiracy theories, only the wrong ones, the outrageous ones, that are contradicted by virtually all the facts.
To reshape both our country and the world to transfer money, power and authority to the very rich, tax structures would have to be changed, because the biggest continual pot of money comes from taxes, which must be diverted away from social services, away from education, away from health care and so on, and into the control of those who own the country (and world). Why? Because no one earns a thousand times more money than those who do the work for them. They take the money because they have changed the laws to channel it to them, like diverting a thousand streams into one large reservoir: theirs.
This sounds bad, but it is also easy to see it as a just and logical order. Those at the top prefer to feel that they rose to the top through an innate or acquired superiority — and to the victors go the spoils. Many will recognize this as the script of “Social Darwinism,” the idea that “natural selection” selects the best people and classes to rise to the top – ignoring the fact that they control the laws to give them most of that money.
This story is about dominating the world – it’s one of our favorite stories, and one of the most popular plots for some of our favorite movies, and comes from the deep biological past of our highly territorial species. From “Dr. Strangelove” to “Star Wars,” “Lord of the Rings,” “The Matrix” and beyond, the ambition to dominate everything is one of our most characteristic and powerful urges – far stronger than the comparatively wimpy desire for peace and harmony.
And again, since someone must write the rules, why shouldn’t it be America — meaning those who control America’s riches and resources, and have the best access to lawmakers? Without a coherent and powerful answer to this question, there is no effective opposition to the scheme of our new imperialism – along with all that it implies. And the philosophy guiding the New World Order demands a command-and-control governance both abroad and at home, since it is not designed to serve the majority, but to serve the extreme minority – who can easily see themselves as “our best people.” To pull this off, the masses must be either converted or bamboozled, though the latter is easier.
The art of bamboozling us is not a secret art. Until recently, it was talked about quite openly, going all the way back to at least the 1920s. The name from that time, one of the most important names in the art of bamboozling the masses, was Edward Bernays. Bernays had worked in Woodrow Wilson’s Committee on Public Information, the first U.S. state propaganda agency. Bernays wrote that "It was the astounding success of propaganda during the [First World] war that opened the eyes of the intelligent few in all departments of life to the possibilities of regimenting the public mind." (Noam Chomsky, Profit Over People: Neoliberalism and Global Order, p. 54)
Here are more words from this most influential American: "The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society." To carry out this essential task, "the intelligent minorities must make use of propaganda continuously and systematically," because of course they alone "understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses" and can "pull the wires which control the public mind." This process of "engineering consent"--a phrase Bernays coined--is the very "essence of the democratic process," he wrote shortly before he was honored for his contributions by the American Psychological Association in 1949. (Chomsky, 53)
Another member of Woodrow Wilson’s propaganda committee was Walter Lippman, one of the most influential and respected journalists in America for about fifty years, and a brilliant, articulate, man. The intelligent minority, Lippman explained in essays on democracy, are a "specialized class" who are responsible for setting policy and for "the formation of a sound public opinion." They must be free from interference by the general public, who are "ignorant and meddlesome outsiders." The public must "be put in its place"; their function is to be "spectators of action," not participants--apart from periodic electoral exercises when they choose among the specialized class. (Chomsky, 54)
This “intelligent minority” were felt, by liberals, to be liberals, so they could easily agree with the thrust of Lippman’s sentiments because they shared them. Surely, the benighted masses did need the more intelligent, the more culturally advanced, to steer them into the more enlightened paths that were the private domain of America’s liberals.
But the “intelligent minority” could and did morph into the “opulent minority” in a heartbeat, and the liberals seemed caught completely unaware. Once mass media are recognized as a means of spoon-feeding desired attitudes and wants to the masses, isn’t it likely that they will be controlled and used by those who control the money and the media?
The point here is not to scorn Bernays, Lippman and the other brilliant and influential men who developed the science of “engineering consent.” The logic is clear: to rule masses, to get masses to serve your ends rather than primarily their own, you must help form their opinions for them by creating the story out of which they will live. Another name for this process is “colonizing,” which involves taking away people’s stories and getting them to accept supporting roles in a story that benefits you: that’s the complaint behind the phrase “taxation without representation.” Yes, it’s treating them like herd animals, but it is so easy to feel that the “masses” are herd animals. Much of the liberal ideology of the 1970s operated out of a similar feeling that the (intellectually) superior citizens should mold the options of the masses into forms the liberals saw as desirable. All power corrupts. The New World Order differs only in that it is unabashedly the desire for absolute power on a scale unprecedented in history.
I want to defend this ambition as a fundamental, permanent, part of human nature: the nature of profoundly territorial animals. It’s worth remembering that the dog who barks at you from behind his master’s fence is barking for the same reason his master built the fence.
I remember being both outraged and tickled at the same time when the professors in liberal “humanities” divisions of elite universities — who were trying to argue that we have no instincts, only “nurture” — fought to control the intellectual territory of their universities by forbidding or shouting down speakers who would come from a set of intellectual assumptions about human nature that contradicted theirs. These are territorial struggles, and they seem always to have been a large part of our definition as a species.
When I was married, my wife bred, raised, trained and showed a wonderful and rare breed of dog known as Briards: French shepherds. Still probably my favorite kind of dog, their great intelligence and innate concept of “territory” taught me a lot about territorial animals, including our own species. I remember an annual meeting where one of the owners showed a movie of French Briards as they worked their sheep. They used dogs because there were no fences. Think about this. The dogs were led around the perimeters of the owner’s land. There weren’t lines on the ground, they were just led around these invisible boundaries, and internalized them. Those, then, were the invisible boundaries within which they kept the sheep. If we don’t marvel at the very thought of it, it’s because that notion of territory is equally embedded in us, no matter how miserable we’d be at herding sheep.
Imperialistic aims for world domination are inherent, but not inherently evil. They are our territorial imperative taken to imaginative extremes. The Roman Empire (the First Reich) and the Holy Roman Empire (the Second Reich) were somewhat more benevolent schemes than the Third Reich. It all depends upon whom the empire is serving, and at whose expense. But we absolutely love the desire for world domination, and never tire of watching it unfold in movies. Yes, we almost always identify with the oppressed rather than the powerful; we do know our place.
The desire to control and command is as deeply ingrained as any trait we have, and far more powerful than altruistic or peaceful desires; again, just identifying the movie plots that attract us helps identify the stories we love.
Also we look out for Number One, and will easily and often look away from actions that could threaten our position. This was the behavior of the Good Germans in the 1930s and 1940s – those average citizens who knew what was going on but didn’t want to create trouble for themselves, and so remained silent. History has made the phrase “Good Germans” an ironic one, meaning the cowardly people rather than the truly good ones. But it’s profoundly human, and can be seen in the behaviors of nearly every other animal, too.
Lower-ranking animals in other species also routinely recede into the background when dominant animals are fighting. There’s something in us that “accepts our assigned place” when we don’t believe we have the means to oppose it, even when the assigned place is low, even demeaning — as slave-owners know.
The New World Order was a re-emergence of a will to power as old and deep as anything in our species – or any other territorial species. Even religions, which like to see themselves as forces of the highest good, kill quickly and mercilessly when the primacy of their myth is threatened by “infidels.” This is the plot of all religious persecution, every religious war, and every heretic’s trial. The crime is not accepting their definition of spiritual and intellectual territory. It’s about territory, whose territory, who makes the rules — and nearly everything is at stake.
This is some of the biological basis of all our territorial impulses, including plutocracy, oligarchy and imperialism. And the opportunity which presented itself to the US in 1989 was truly gigantic, on a scale unprecedented in human history. The goal of this “Fourth Reich” is the greatest in history, dwarfing the conquests of the Persians, Alexander, Rome, the Ottoman Empire or the British Empire, and by a huge margin. How on earth could intelligent and aware people not want to rise to the occasion history has offered us?
The plan for how to start putting this New World Order in place may have been Dick Cheney’s. The desire to attack Iraq can be traced back at least to 1992, when Paul Wolfowitz and Lewis “Scooter” Libby were the primary authors of the Pentagon’s “Defense Planning Guidance” paper, written for then Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney. The focus was on Saddam, Iraq, oil, and the Middle East. Cheney offered the plan to Bush I in the waning days of his administration, but it was leaked, then withdrawn after a brief public outcry erupted over its boldness.
This wouldn’t have surprised the great historian Arnold Toynbee, who had predicted in the 1950s that the next great conflict would not be between the US and the USSR, but between the white Christian world and the Arab Muslim world.
In 1996, Richard Perle led a study group that produced the document “A Clean Break,” recommending that Israel adopt a policy of “preemption,” including a “focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq.” Wolfowitz and Perle would become founding members of the Project for the New American Century the following year.
Momentum was gaining for transforming the US into a military force with the weapons and the will to take advantage of this historic opportunity to establish the New World Order – which must be, they believed, the American Empire.
But such plans would require a great deal of money transferred for defense spending, the relinquishment of a lot of “peacetime” individual freedoms, and a national willingness to make significant sacrifices which might continue for years. While those who loved the plan thought it was well worth it, no one believed the majority of Americans would.
This problem of how to mobilize the society occupied several thinkers.
In his 1997 book The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperative (New York: Basic Books, 1997), former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski helped strengthen and focus a key element of the grand plan. He was clear that America must gain control of the Central Asia/Mideast region to ensure its continued primacy as the word superpower. He believed there was a fairly narrow “window of historical opportunity, for America’s constructive exploitation of its global power could be relatively brief.” (p. 210). He saw the problem as being the fact that America was “too democratic at home to be autocratic abroad. This limits the use of America’s power, especially its capacity for military intimidation…. Democracy is inimical to imperial mobilization.” (pp. 35-36).
But “the pursuit of power is not a goal that commands popular passion,” he added “except in conditions of a sudden threat or challenge to the public’s sense of domestic well being.” (p. 36). What could make us embrace the economic and human sacrifices needed for “imperial mobilization” would be “a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat.” (p. 212). Earlier, he had noted that the public was willing to support “America’s engagement in World War II largely because of the shock effect of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.” (pp. 24-25)
So. The goal – the worldwide American Empire, Pax Americana or Fourth Reich – was clear. As things now stood, it was not marketable because it would divert tremendous funds away from the social services, education, health care, and other infrastructure expenses that the majority of Americans saw as benefits too important to give up. The only times people seem to be willing to make this kind of a sacrifice is when they are united by an external threat to their security – as they were after Pearl Harbor. It seems to take a dramatic and often deadly attack to spur the people to agree to concerted military action, with the great sacrifices that involves. But to those convinced of the moral imperative of taking advantage of the gift history was offering us, those sacrifices were worth it – were a small price to pay.
There is a school of thought showing that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt contrived the attack on Pearl Harbor as his way of getting Congress and the public aroused enough to enter WWII. There are documents saying he transferred the naval unit from California to Hawaii where it would be more exposed, over the objections of the unit’s first commander (who he then relieved) and the second (who went), as well as withholding the information we had on the location of the Japanese fleet from our commanders in Hawaii because FDR needed the attack to happen. He believed that we needed to enter WWII in Europe (as I also do), and that the only way we were likely to get the collective resolve to do so was through an attack as dramatic and outrageous as the attack on Pearl Harbor. He may have been right. This is also saying that he believed the sacrifice of 2400 American lives was a price worth paying, and here too, many would agree — though, I suspect, not those 2400.
This background to the attack on Pearl Harbor – which Brzezinski would have known – contains within it the precedent for sacrificing several thousand innocent Americans in the “new Pearl Harbor” which was beginning to be hoped for, as a price worth paying in order to realize the New World Order.
As I recently read in John Perkins’ book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man,
“Iraq was very important to us, much more than was obvious. Contrary to common public opinion, Iraq is not simply about oil. It is also about water and geopolitics. Both the Tigris and Euphrates rivers flow through Iraq; thus, of all the countries in that part of the world, Iraq controls the most important sources of increasingly critical water resources. During the 1980s, the importance of water – politically and economically – was becoming obvious to us…. (Perkins, p. 183)
Also, Iraq is in a very strategic location. It borders Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and Turkey, and has a coastline on the Persian Gulf. It is within easy missile-striking distance of both Israel and the former Soviet Union. Military strategists equate modern Iraq to the Hudson River valley during the French and Indian War and the American Revolution. In the eighteenth century, the French, British and Americans knew that whoever controlled the Hudson River valley controlled the continent. Today, it is common knowledge that whoever controls Iraq holds the key to controlling the Middle East. (Perkins, p. 184)
The argument for attacking Iraq became more visible in 1997, after PNAC was formed. As David Ray Griffin reports (pp. 130-131 of The 9-11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions), Paul Wolfowitz and Zalmay Khalilzad published an article in the Weekly Standard – which is edited by the chairman of PNAC, William Kristol – entitled “Saddam Must Go” in 1997. A month later, these three and fifteen other members of PNAC – including Donald Rumsfeld, John Bolton and Richard Perle – sent a letter to President Clinton urging him to use military force to “remov[e] Saddam Hussein and his regime from power” and thereby “to protect our vital interests in the Gulf.” In May 1997 they sent a letter to Newt Gingrich and Trent Lott – the Speaker of the House and the Senate majority leader, respectively. Complaining that Clinton had not listened to them, these letter-writers said that the United States “should establish and maintain a strong U.S. military presence in the region, and be prepared to use that force to protect our vital interests in the Gulf – and, if necessary, to help remove Saddam from power.” Finally, Rebuilding America’s Defenses, published by PNAC in September 2000, emphasized that Iraq under Saddam Hussein was a threat to American interests in the region. (Griffin, 131)
The Project for the New American Century is very blunt about this:
“The U.S. has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein…. (PNAC, p. 14)”
The PNAC – one of the most important eighty-page papers in US history – is quite blunt throughout, as these few excerpts show:
“At present the U.S. faces no global rival. America’s grand strategy should aim to preserve and extend this advantageous position as far into the future as possible.”
“[This] requires a globally preeminent military capability both today and in the future. (p. i)”
“[The goal of all this is to maintain] a global security order that is uniquely friendly to American principles and prosperity. (v), an international security environment conducive to American interests and ideals…. (2), [that protects] American interests and principles. (3)”
We need to translate the underlined terms, because they’re not straightforward. “American principles” does not mean we want democratically-elected governments in these countries. We have routinely helped dictators who cooperated with our economic ambitions gain power. These men include a long list of tyrants, including the Shah of Iran, Mobutu in the Congo, Pinochet in Chile, all of whom replaced democratically elected heads of government.
“American principles, interests and prosperity” means a regime in which we dictate some or all economic terms, usually under the threat or presence of military power. That is the New World Order in a nutshell.
After outlining the plan and the military structures needed to implement it, the authors note,
Until the process of transformation is treated as an enduring military mission — worthy of a constant allocation of dollars and forces — it will remain stillborn. (60)
In perhaps its most famous sentence, the paper also notes that “... the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event — like a new Pearl Harbor. (p. 51, emphasis added)
And the link back to the original paper by Wolfowitz and Libby written for Cheney in 1992 is acknowledged: “In broad terms,” the authors write, “we saw the project as building upon the defense strategy outlined by the Cheney Defense Department in the waning days of the Bush Administration. (ii)”
The Project for the New American Century (PNAC) was formed by people who were members or supporters of the Reagan and Bush I administrations, some of whom also became central figures in George W. Bush’s administration. These individuals included Richard Armitage, John Bolton, Dick Cheney, Zalmay Khalilzad (closely associated with Paul Wolfowitz), Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Richard Perle, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, and James Woolsey. Interestingly, John Lehman, a member of the 9-11 Commission, has been a member of PNAC or at least puclicly aligned with it. He had been Secretary of the Navy during both Reagan administrations, and signed PNAC’s “Letter to President Bush on the War on Terrorism,” September 2001 (www.newamericancentury.org/Bushletter.html) (Griffin, The 9-11 Commission, p. 313)
Further development of the “Pearl Harbor” metaphor came in the Rumsfeld Commission Report of January 7, 2001, where he said:
“The question is whether the U.S. will be wise enough to act responsibly and soon enough to reduce U.S. space vulnerability. Or whether, as in the past, a disabling attack against the country and its people — a “Space Pearl Harbor” — will be the only event able to galvanize the nation and cause the U.S. Government to act.” (www.defenselink.mil/cgi-bin/dlprint.cgi)
And on the evening of 9-11-2001 itself, Rumsfeld said to Senator Carl Levin, then chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee:
“Senator Levin, you and other Democrats in Congress have voiced fear that you simply don’t have enough money for the large increase in defense that the Pentagon is seeking, especially for missile defense…. Does this sort of thing convince you that an emergency exists in this country to increase defense spending, to dip into Social Security, if necessary, to pay for defense spending — increase defense spending?” (www.defenselink.mil/cgi-bin/dlprint.cgi)
When the Bush administration took office in 2001, ten of the eighteen signers of the letters to Clinton and Republican congressional leaders became members of the administration. It was no mere coincidence therefore, that the Bush administration was already intent on removing Saddam Hussein when it took office. And it is also not surprising to learn that immediately after the 9-11 attacks, some members of the Bush administration wanted to use those attacks as the basis for their long-desired invasion to bring about regime change in Iraq.” (Griffin, 9-11 Commission, p. 131)
Why did the U.S. attack Afghanistan within a month after 9-11? Griffin cites several authors to say that we wanted to build a multibillion dollar pipeline route by a consortium known as CentGas (Central Asia Gas Pipeline), which was formed by US oil giant Unocal. The planned route would bring oil and gas from the land-locked Caspian region, with its enormous reserves, to the sea through Afghanistan and Pakistan. (122-123, Griffin)
It was not safe to consider building the giant pipeline because of the civil strife that had erupted in Afghanistan since the withdrawal of the Soviet Union in 1989. In the late 1990s, the US government supported the Taliban in the hope that it would be able to unify and stabilize the government through its military strength. (123)
Griffin cites Ahmed Rashid’s 2001 book Taliban: Militant Islam and Fundamentalism in Central Asia (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001) for some of this history. Griffin says, “In July 1998, the Taliban, after having failed in 1997 to take the northern city of Mazar-i-Shyarif, finally succeeded, giving it control of most of Afghanistan, including the entire pipeline route. CentGas immediately announced that it was ‘ready to proceed.’ But soon, US embassies were blown up in Kenya and Tanzania, and the US launched cruise missile strikes against Osama bin Laden’s camps in Afghanistan. Unocal withdrew from CentGas, convinced that the Taliban would not be able to make the country stable enough to invest billions in the pipeline.
When the Bush administration came to power, it decided to give the Taliban one more chance, which occurred at a four-day meeting in Berlin in July 2001. According to the Pakistani representative at this meeting, Niaz Naik, US representatives, trying to convince the Taliban — who were asking for a larger share of profits from the pipeline — to share more power with US-friendly factions, said: “Either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs.” (quoted in Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquie, Forbidden Truth: U.S.— Taliban Secret Oil Diplomacy and the Failed Hunt for Bin Laden (New York: Nation Books/Thunder’s Mouth Press, 2002), and NPH 91. (Griffin, p. 316)
Naik said he was told by Americans that “military action against Afghanistan would go ahead… before the snows started falling in Afghanistan, by the middle of October at the latest.” (from George Arney, “U.S. ‘Planned Attack on Taleban’,” BBC News, September 18, 2001, as reported by Griffin, p. 316.) The US attack on Afghanistan began, in fact, on October 7, which was as soon as the US military could get ready after 9-11. (Griffin, 125)
As early as October 10, 2001, the US Department of State had informed the Pakistani Minister of Oil that “in view of recent geopolitical developments,” Unocal was again ready to go ahead with the pipeline project. (The Frontier Post, October 10, 2001, cited in Ahmed, The War on Freedom, p. 227)
Finally, Griffin relates this quote from an Israeli writer: “If one looks at the map of the big American bases created, one is struck by the fact that they are completely identical to the route of the projected oil pipeline to the Indian Ocean.” (Chicago Tribune, March 18, 2002, quoting from Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv.)
This seems enough to suggest strongly that the US attack on Afghanistan was related to the desire to build a pipeline, and that the events of 9-11 were the pretext of this invasion, not its cause.
But the attacks of 9-11 were part of much more than just the lust for a lucrative pipeline across Afghanistan. It must finally be seen as that “new Pearl Harbor” which would let the American people and Congress finally seize the resolve to begin taking the steps needed to bring about the New World Order.
We may not duck the fact that our leaders’ decision to bring about the attacks of 9-11 included their belief that the loss of several thousand innocent American lives was a price worth paying.
This idea of the loss of innocent lives as “a price worth paying” will seem repugnant to almost everyone at first glance. On second glance, we’ve heard it before, and bought it before. Every military leader knows this.
It was FDR’s implicit assessment of the 2400 American lives lost in the attack on Pearl Harbor, as the price of getting us into WWII against Hitler.
It was LBJ’s assessment of the American and Vietnamese lives that would be lost as a result of his calculated lie about the Gulf of Tonkin incident. He had to believe this loss of life was a price worth paying. He could not have known or believed the price would finally include 59,000 dead Americans and over two million dead Vietnamese.
It was Bill Clinton and Madeleine Albright’s assessment that the more than 500,000 innocent children’s lives lost because of our sanctions against Iraq after the first Gulf War were, as Albright put it, “A price we’re willing to pay.”
Let’s not kid ourselves. When it comes to wars we believe at the time to be noble – or even ignoble wars that we nevertheless think will bring us the eventual control of noble oil fields – the loss of a few thousand or more innocent lives is always a price our leaders have been willing to pay.
Why would we think 9-11 would be different, especially after it had become part of the rhetoric, that this goal of an American Empire would probably slip through our fingers without something that could qualify as “a new Pearl Harbor”?
And somewhere here we need to remember that when the Bush administration took power, Karl Rove brought his favorite philosopher, whose thought has remained central to the Bush regime: Machiavelli, whose 17th century book The Prince was about getting and keeping power over people by any means necessary.
One way to seek the motives behind 9-11 is to ask who benefited: whether 9-11 brought benefits to this administration that they could have anticipated.
They certainly brought benefits. The Bush administration speechwriters used the theme as a leit-motif. The president declared that the attacks provided “a great opportunity.”(Bob Woodward, Bush at War [New York: Simon & Schuster, 2002, p. 32]
Donald Rumsfeld stated that 9-11 created “the kind of opportunities that World War II offered, to refashion the world.” (“Secretary Rumsfeld Interview with the New York Times,” October 12, 2001)
Condoleeza Rice had the same thing in mind, telling senior members of the National Security Council to “think about ‘how do you capitalize on these opportunities’ to fundamentally change . . . the shape of the world.” (Chalmers Johnson, The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic [New York: Henry Holt, 2004), p. 229.)
The National Security Strategy of the United States of America, issued by the Bush administration in September 2002, said: “The events of September 11, 2001 opened vast, new opportunities.” (The National Security Strategy of the United States of America, September 2002 — available at www.whitehouse.gov/nsc/nss.html).
They were intended to. It’s one of history’s great coincidences – not even the most cynical could believe it was any more than a coincidence – that eleven years to the day after George HW Bush first declared his dream for a “New World Order” on September 11, 1990, came the awful events of 9-11-2001 that at last made it possible to attempt.
9-11 as an Inside Job
On 12 February 2006, I preached a sermon on John Perkins’ important and disturbing book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. On Friday, as I was putting the sermon in final form, I was struck by the philosophy underlying all the deceptions, piracy and invasions of developing countries Perkins describes – and in which he took part for a decade. The philosophy was that everything and everyone can be subordinated to making more money for those few who control the money in our society, including assassinations, slave labor factories, invasions and mass murder (as in Panama and Iraq).
But every preacher has read enough “scripture” to know that the love of money is a demanding demon that knows no limits until and unless they are forced on it. The thoughts Perkins shows driving the ambitions of our corporations abroad cannot stop outside our borders; they must be operating here, too.
And foremost among them is the idea that people are secondary to profits, and that sacrificing people to increase profits is good business. We’re all familiar with this philosophy. It was behind the “cost-benefit analysis” approach that decided a few thousand deaths in fiery car crashes were a smarter move than spending under $10 per car to move the gasoline tank so it would be less likely to explode upon impact. It’s the same thinking that has had big tobacco companies lying about their products’ cancer risks for decades, or pharmaceutical companies selling drugs whose unpublicized side effects include death, or….
Overcome with the sudden sight of this larger pattern – an affliction ministers should learn to resist – I decided to throw in, at the end of the sermon on Perkins’ book, something on 9-11. There were several serious mistakes made here. First, 9-11 can’t be “added to” another topic without becoming the subject. Second, though I’d read several books on 9-11 (David Ray Griffin’s The New Pearl Harbor as the best), I hadn’t done much research and, by Friday night, didn’t have time to. So I sort of flung a few websites out, from the thousands that have sprung up in the “9-11 conspiracy theory” genre. Not only is that not good research, it’s so sloppy it can be offensive to anyone not already convinced of our government’s complicity in the worst attack in American history – and it did, though about a third of those present rose in a standing ovation. But some people in the good Unitarian church I serve were disgusted, insulted, outraged, and felt hurt and betrayed by what seemed a flippant treatment of an extremely contentious and painful theory of 9-11, done almost as an afterthought.
I thought the criticisms were correct, the whole range of them. I had a good sermon on John Perkins’ important book, then slapped on a short piece on 9-11 that sounded and felt like little more than an angry rant, reflecting my own anger which I hadn’t processed enough to let it power a sermon rather than disempowering it. So I pulled the sermon from our website, and from another website that had picked it up almost immediately (www.propeace.net), deciding to fix it. But I couldn’t fix it. First, I needed to separate it from Perkins’ book; then I needed better research, for such a dramatic assertion: that our government choreographed and caused the attacks of 9-11.
That night, I wrote David Ray Griffin’s publisher, asking them to forward my e-mail: I was hoping for access to his writing and research on 9-11. Griffin answered early the next morning, and attached five chapters from his new (third) book on the subject, still unpublished.
That led to this essay. David believes, as I do, that our government was behind 9-11. He describes it as a “false flag” operation, named for times when ships (including at least one well-documented case of a US ship) attacked one of our own ships, killing our own citizens, while flying the flag of the country against whom we wanted to go to war, needing only to arouse sufficient public and Congressional fury.
I recently read a current example of President Bush’s inclusion of “false flag” operations that’s worth posting as a preface to the large issue of 9-11 as a false flag. The details are contained in a new version of the book 'Lawless World' written by a leading British human rights lawyer, Philippe Sands QC:
Preident Bush had said "The US would put its full weight behind efforts to get another resolution and would 'twist arms' and 'even threaten'. But he had to say that if ultimately we failed, military action would follow anyway.'' Prime Minister Blair responded that he was: "solidly with the President and ready to do whatever it took to disarm Saddam."
President Bush also said: "The US was thinking of flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft with fighter cover over Iraq, painted in UN colours. If Saddam fired on them, he would be in breach." (from “The White House Memo,” by Gary Gibbon, 2 February 2006, from a White House meeting between Bush and Blair on 31 January 2003.
This is a textbook illustration of the “false flag” tactic. Were the attacks of 9-11-01 also a false-flag operation? I believe they were. In what follows, I have borrowed from Griffin’s own hard work, for which I thank him. The working title of his third book is Christian Faith and the Truth behind 9/11: A Call to Reflection and Action.
In his third chapter — “The Destruction of the WTC: Why the Official Account Cannot be True” — he claims to show that the official conspiracy theory of 9-11 “clearly belongs in the category of outrageous theories, because it is contradicted by virtually all the relevant facts.”
Among the data is the little-publicized fact that “Fire has never – prior to or after 9/11 – caused steel-frame high-rise buildings to collapse. Defenders of the official story seldom if ever mention this simple fact. Indeed, the supposedly definitive report put out by the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), even implies that fire-induced collapses of large steel-frame buildings are normal events. Far from being normal, however, such collapses have never occurred, except for the alleged cases of 9-11.”
After several pages of technical details about this, other serious fires in high-rises which destroyed several or many floors (after burning for 15+ hours) but never caused the buildings to collapse, he turns this around for a double-edged effect, by saying “Every previous total collapse has been caused by the procedure known as ‘controlled demolition,’ in which explosives capable of cutting steel have been placed in crucial places throughout the building and then set off in a particular order. Just from knowing that the towers collapsed, therefore, the natural assumption would be that they were brought down by explosives.”
Griffin adds that the physical evidence supports this in spades, because “the collapses had at least eleven features that would be expected if, and only if, explosives were used.” Here are some of them:
Sudden Onset. Only in controlled demolitions is the onset of collapse sudden rather than a gradual weakening, leaning, and falling.
Straight Down. Vertical collapse into or nearly into the building’s own footprint is one of the chief reasons for using controlled demolitions, so neighboring buildings won’t be damaged. For fire to produce a sudden, straight fall, all 287 steel columns would have to have weakened to the point of collapse at the same instant. The official conspiracy theory of 9-11 offers no explanation for this.
Almost Free-Fall Speed. A building can only fall at almost free-fall speed if the supports for the lower floors are destroyed, so that when the upper floors come down, they meet no resistance.
Total Collapse. The core of each tower contained 47 massive steel box columns. The official “pancake theory” needs all horizontal steel supports to have broken free from those vertical columns. This would have left 47 columns standing straight up. The 9-11 Commission tried a clever way around this problem, when they said, “The interior core of the buildings was a hollow steel shaft, in which elevators and stairwells were grouped.” They simply neglected to mention the 47 massive columns.
Demolition Rings. Rings of explosions running rapidly around a building, also shown in the collapses.
Molten Steel. This would be expected only if explosives were used, and there was much evidence of molten steel at the WTC collapse from the eye-witness accounts of firefighters.
Sounds produced by explosions. There is abundant eyewitness testimony to the occurrence of explosive sounds, along with other phenomena suggestive of controlled demolition.
(The other four characteristics of the WTC collapse that accompany controlled demotion were Sliced Steel (special explosives cut steel supports into manageable lengths); Pulverization of Concrete and Other Materials (Gravity can break concrete into chunks, but some of the dust at 9-11 was on the order of only 10 microns in size); Dust Clouds (produced by explosions propelling the pulverized dust outward); and Horizontal Ejections (in which the force of the explosives can shoot heavy steel supports out up to 500 feet horizontally, as happened in the WTC).
Then Griffin adds an interesting note, when he says “The importance of the nature of the collapses, as summerized in these eleven features, is shown by the fact that attempts to defend the official theory typically ignore most of them. For example, an article in Popular Mechanics, seeking to debunk what it calls some of the most prevalent myths about 9-11 fabricated by “conspiracy theorists,” completely ignores the suddenness, verticality, rapidity, and totality of the collapses as well as failing to mention the testimonies about molten steel, demolition rings, and the sounds of explosions.”
In a footnote, he adds more information on this widely quoted article:
“As to why Popular Mechanics would have published such a bad article, one clue is perhaps provided by the fact that the article’s “senior researcher” was 25-year-old Benjamin Chertoff, the cousin of Michael Chertoff, the new head of the Department of Homeland Security (see Christopher Bollyn, “9-11 and Chertoff: Cousin Writes 9-11 Propaganda for PM,” Rumor Mill News, March 4, 2005 (http://www.rumormillnews.con’cgi-bin/forum.cgi?bem=661761).
“Another relevant fact is that
this article was published shortly after a coup at this
Hearst-owned magazine, in which the editor-in-chief was
replaced (see Christopher Bollyn, “The Hidden Hand of the
CIA and the 9-11 Propaganda of Popular Mechanics,”
American Free Press, March 19, 2005 (http://www.rense.com/general63brutalpurgeofPMstaff.html).
Young Chertoff’s debunking article has itself been
effectively debunked by many genuine 9-11 researchers, such
as Jim Hoffman, “Popular Mechanics’ Assault on 9-11 Truth,”
Global Outlook 10 (Spring-Summer 2005), 21-42 (which
was based on Hoffman, “Popular Mechanics’ Deceptive Smear
Against 9-11 Truth,” 911Review.com, February 15, 2005 (
“To be sure,” Griffin adds, “these articles by Hoffman and Meyer, while agreeing on many points, take different approaches in response to some of the issues raised. But both articles demonstrate that Popular Mechanics owes its readers an apology for publishing such a massively flawed article on such an important subject.”
Besides the eleven distinguishing marks of controlled demolition, Griffin adds five more facts that he suggests identify this as a “false flag operation,” of which at least three deserve mention here:
Removal of steel. In false-flag operations, it’s customary for authorities to remove evidence (rather than preserving it for extensive inspections). In early January 2002, Fire Engineering magazine said: “We are literally treating the steel removed from the site like garbage, not like crucial fire scene evidence…. The destruction and removal of evidence must stop immediately.” (Fire Engineering, January 2002)
WTC Security. Why has it not often been mentioned that the President’s brother, Marvin Bush, and his cousin, Wirt Walker III, were connected to the company responsible for the security of United Airlines, Logan Airport (where Flight 77 was hijacked) and the WTC? Marvin was one of the directors of Securacom, and Wirt was CEO from 1999 to January 2002. One would think, as Griffin says, that these details would have made the evening news – or The 9-11 Commission Report.
Foreknowledge of the collapse. Mayor Rudy Giulani, talking on ABC News about setting up a temporary command center at 75 Barkley Street, said:
“We were operating out of there when we were told that the World Trade Center was gonna collapse, and it did collapse before we could get out of the building.” (for Giuliani’s complete statement, see “Who told Giuliani the WTC Was Going to Collapse on 9-11” (http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/wtc_giuliani.html. It can be heard at www.wireonfire.com/donpaul.
Griffin says, “This is an amazing statement. Prior to 9-11, fire had never brought down a steel-frame high-rise. The firemen who reached the 78th floor of the south tower certainly did not believe it was going to collapse. Even the 9-11 Commission has said that to its knowledge, “none of the [fire] chiefs present believed that a total collapse of either tower was possible.” (The 9-11 Commission Report, p. 302). So why in the world would anyone have told Giuliani that at least one of the towers was about to collapse?”
And who could have known?
While much more has been written on the collapse of the towers, the points Griffin raises are so fundamental that they must be answered clearly and directly – which they have not, either in the 9-11 report, the NIST report, or the propaganda piece in Popular Mechanics – or the only theory still on the table is the theory that these buildings were brought down by controlled demolitions set off to follow the planes hitting the buildings. Considering the access to the buildings needed to plant such demolitions, nothing points to Arab terrorists, and everything points to the collapse of the WTC as an inside job. And the implications of that are staggering.
I am persuaded by David Griffin’s arguments that 9-11 was indeed a “false flag” operation. This means we need to question the identification of the hijackers as Arabs and (especially) devout, fanatical Muslims, which could provide an emotional rationale for the desired invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran.
In an earlier book (The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions), he suggests some problems with the official conspiracy theory here too. For instance, while the 9/11 Commission Report characterized Mohamed Atta, who they called the ringleader, as “fanatically” religious, some journalists found that he loved cocaine, alcohol, gambling, pork, and lap dances. A Wall Street Journal editorial found that not only Atta but several of the other alleged hijackers also indulged such tastes in Las Vegas (“Terrorist Stag Parties,” WSJ, October 10, 2001). The 9/11 Commission ignored these reports, and professed to have no idea why these men met in Las Vegas – several times (9/11 Commission Report, p. 248). Also, the government claimed to identify Atta from two bags that failed to get loaded onto Flight 11, which contained “flight simulations manuals for Boeing airplanes, a copy of the Koran, a religious cassette tape, a note to other hijackers about mental preparation, and Atta’s will, passport, and international driver’s license. But why would Atta have intended to take such things on a plane he expected to be totally destroyed?” Griffin quotes Seymour Hersh, who wrote in the New Yorker that a former high-level intelligence official told him “Whatever trail was left was left deliberately — for the FBI to chase.” (Griffin, 9-11 Commission, p. 21)
Furthermore, although we are told that four or five of the alleged hijackers were on each of the four flights, the flight manifests that have been released have no Arab names on them. Also, Griffin noted that six of the nineteen men officially identified as the suicide hijackers reportedly showed up alive after 9-11: Waleed al-Shehri, Ahmed al-Name, Saeed al-Ghamdi, Mohand al-Shehri, Salem al-Hazmi and Abdulaziz al-Omari (Griffin, p. 19)
And in his new, unpublished, book, Griffin brings in another odd incident: the suppression of oral histories.
While the Fire Department of New York recorded hundreds of interviews in 2001, the City of New York, amazingly, suppressed them. Early in 2002, the New York Times requested copies under the freedom of information act, but Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration refused. Finally, several families of 9/11 victims joined the Times in filing suit. After a long process, the New York Court of Appeals finally ordered the release of most — but not all — records on August 12,2005.
As David Griffin reports, “Once the content of these testimonies is examined, it is easy to see why persons concerned to protect the official story about 9/11 would try to keep them hidden.” Here are some of those statements:
“There was just an explosion [in the south tower]. It seemed like on television when they blow up these buildings. It seemed like it was going all the way around like a belt, all these explosions.” – Firefighter Richard Banaciski
“I saw a flash flash flash at the lower level of the building. You know like when they demolish a building?” – Assistant Fire Commissioner Stephen Gregory
Wall Street Journal reporter John Bussey, describing his observation of the collapse of the south tower from the ninth floor of the WSJ office building, said: “I … looked up out of the office window to see what seemed like perfectly synchronized explosions coming from each floor…. One after the other, from top to bottom, with a fraction of a second between, the floors blew to pieces.” (John Bussey, “Eye of the Storm: One Journey Through Desperation and Chaos,” WSJ, Sept 12, 2001)
Another Wall Street Journal reporter said that after seeing what appeared to be “individual floors, one after the other exploding outward,” he thought: “My God, they’re going to bring the building down. And they, whoever they are, HAD SET CHARGES…. I saw the explosions.” (Alicia Shepard, Cathy Trost, and Newseum, Running Toward Danger: Stories Behind the Breaking News on 9/11, Foreword by Tom Brokaw (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2002, p. 87)
A similar perception was
reported by Beth Fertig of WNYC Radio, who said: “It just
descended like a timed explosion — like when they are
deliberately bringing a building down…. It was coming down
so perfectly that in one part of my brain I was thinking,
‘They got everyone out, and they’re bringing the building
down because they have to.’
(Quoted in Judith Sylvester and Suzanne Huffman, Women Journalists of Ground Zero (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2002), p. 19.
“Pops” – a term often used to describe the sound of professionally-set charges in controlled demotions of buildings – were described by many eyewitnesses in the oral histories obtained after August 12, 2005:
“As we are looking up at the [south tower],” said firefighter Joseph Meola, “it looked like the building was blowing out on all four sides. We actually heard the pops. Didn’t realize it was the falling – you know, you heard the pops of the building. You thought it was just blowing out.” (Oral history of Joseph Meola, 5)
“Pops” were also reported by paramedic Daniel Rivera:
Q. How did you know that it [the south tower] was coming down?
A. That noise. It was noise.
Q. What did you hear? What did you see?
A. It was a frigging noise. At first I thought it was – do you ever see professional demolition where they set the charges on certain floors and then you hear “pop, pop, pop, pop, pop’? That’s exactly what – because I thought it was that. When I heard that frigging noise, that’s when I saw the building coming down.” (Oral history of Daniel Rivera, 9)
Another common feature of controlled demolitions is that people who are properly situated may see flashes when the explosives go off. Assistant Commissioner Stephen Gregory said: “I thought … before … No. 2 came down, that I saw low-level flashes…. Lieutenant Evangelista … asked me if I saw low-level flashes in front of the building, and I agreed with because I … saw a flash flash flash … at the lower level of the building. You know like when they demolish a building, how when they blow up a building, when it falls down? That’s what I thought I saw. (Oral history of Stephen Gregory, 14-16)
Battalion Chief Dominick DeRubbio, speaking of the collapse of the south tower, said: “It was weird how it started to come down. It looked like it was a timed explosion.” (Oral history of Dominick DeRuibbio, 5)
If firemen, who have experience with the sights, sounds and procedures of buildings felled by controlled demolitions, saw and heard such explosions on 9-11, why has this not been discussed more widely? Griffin reports that “at least part of the reason may be suggested by a statement made by Auxiliary Lieutenant Fireman Paul Isaac. Having said that “there were definitely bombs in those buildings,” Isaac added that “many other firemen know there were bombs in the buildings, but they’re afraid for their jobs to admit it because the ‘higher-ups’ forbid discussion of this fact.” (Randy Lavello, “Bombs in the Building,” Prison Planet.com (www.prisonplanet.com/analysis_lavello_050503_bombs.html)
No, not a conclusion, but the realization that we can’t conclude this story until we have done more investigation into the outrageous conspiracy theories slapped together in the official version of what happened on 9-11, and a bold (if frightening) willingness to ask what really happened – and consider the evidence that 9-11 may indeed have been an inside job done by our own government to stage the “new Pearl Harbor” that would at last let the bold and brazen plan for a certain kind of New World Order begin to take its bloody, terrible, shape.
My sermon of 12 February, “Demons of the Heart,” was pulled from websites in order to “fix” it. Instead, the original sermon has been re-posted, without the 9-11 piece, and that piece has been expanded and combined here with what I suggest is the best “bowl” to contain all the otherwise shapeless “Jell-O” whirling around the painful and unsettled events of 9-11: the story of the New World Order.
For now, I’ll end this using the voices of two other people.
As reported in The Village Voice recently, Luke Rudkowski was an earnest Brooklyn College freshman, who began investigating 9-11 and joined the “9-11 Truth Movement” and was soon among a group holding up a banner at the subway exit at Ground Zero that said “9-11 Was an Inside Job” and passing out over 50,000 pamphlets. Some shout at them, call them names, or just shout “Bullshit!” It has not been easy, Rudkowski says, but he sees progress. "At first my family thought I was an idiot," he recalls. "Now they're just scared." (from “The Seekers: The Birth and Life of ‘the 9-11 Truth Movement’” by Jarrett Murphy, 21 February 2006, The Village Voice)
Finally, an e-mail I received at the end of February 2006 (I’ve withheld her last name):
Dear Rev. Loehr,
I am writing to ask why your sermon, Demons of the Heart, was removed from your website. (I sincerely hope not because of intimidation.) I found it very interesting, though profoundly troubling. My husband was killed on 9-11. For the first 2 yrs. I was numb. Now I am finally willing to look straight at the facts — if they are the facts. I recoil from "conspiracy theory," but need to understand what really happened... to separate fact from theory. Who are the authoritative voices who can separate truth from opinion? You seem to be one person willing to have this dialogue. There are far too few people with that kind of integrity. Even if these theories are wrong, we as a nation need to address them and prove or disprove them ... not remain silent out of fear. The silence reminds me too much of pre-Nazi Germany.
In peace and hope, Andrea
Rev. Davidson Loehr is a liberal minister in Austin,
Texas and author of the book AMERICA, FASCISM & GOD: SERMONS
FROM A HERETICAL PREACHER (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2005).
He can be reached at
© Davidson Loehr 2006