It isn't only Nazi Germany (setting the Reichstag fire, engineered to spook the Germans into authorizing laws enabling their dictatorship) that was capable of terrorism and lies to justify otherwise unpopular actions – many governments have done so and continue to do so. Prior to 9/11 there were other convenient pretexts for US wars. The destruction of the USS Maine in Havana was the pretext for the Spanish-American War, which marked the first major effort by the US to acquire overseas colonies (such as Puerto Rico and the Philippines). Historians see the explosion as being either a convenient accident or deliberate provocation by the government. The sinking of the passenger liner Lusitania in 1915 by a German U-boat (as a trigger for US entry into WWI) was engineered by disguising the ship as a military vessel and routing it, without escort, at a slow speed, where it would probably be targeted by the Germans. Some historians believe the Roosevelt Administration allowed the Pearl Harbor attack, following severe economic sanctions on Japan and provocations (this argument is summarized in WOF and at www.allianceml.com/AllianceIssues/Alliance-44-wtc-htm). Conveniently, the vital aircraft carriers usually stationed at Pearl Harbor left before the attack, and the damage to the Pacific Fleet was quickly repaired. In 1964 President Johnson lied about attacks by the Democratic Republic of Vietnam against US Navy vessels in the Gulf of Tonkin to justify intensifying the Vietnam War (there were no torpedoes, possibly only phosphorescent invertebrates). Under both Clinton and G.W. Bush, the USAF attempted to provoke responses from Iraqi defenses to justify aggression.
In March 1962 the five Joint Chiefs of Staff presented a plan to President Kennedy that proposed terrorist acts in DC, Florida, Cuba, and elsewhere, to justify attacking Cuba, for "the replacement of the Castro regime with one more devoted to the interests of the Cuban people and more acceptable to the US, in such a manner to avoid any appearance of US intervention." Among the ideas were blowing up an American ship in Guantánamo, launching a mortar attack on that base, exploding "plastic bombs" in the US, sinking an actual or fake Cuban exile ship, attacking Cuban exiles in the US non-fatally, staging an attack by a fake Cuban air force fighter on civilian aircraft or ships, faking the shooting down of a USAF fighter by Cuba, shooting down a fake airliner, attacking other Caribbean countries, and blaming Cuba if John Glenn's space launch failed. Apparently President Eisenhower initiated the planning, and Kennedy decided not to follow one of the plans. It was classified by the Assassination Records Review Board, but later released to the non-profit National Security Archive. The entire memo is reproduced in Rubicon.
9/11 as an "opportunity"
Readers of Alliance!, and even readers of bourgeois papers alone, are probably aware of numerous ways the leaders of the US benefited from 9/11. Many even called it an opportunity. Bush called it "a great opportunity," Rumsfeld said it offered "the kind of opportunities that World War II offered, to refashion the world," Rice told the National Security Council to "think about 'how do you capitalize on these opportunities' to fundamentally change…the shape of the world," and the Administration's National Security Strategy said "The events of September 11, 2001 opened vast, new opportunities" (all quoted in O&C).
Fortune favors the prepared mind. The neoconservative Project for a New American Century (www.newamericancentury.org), the PNAC, published Rebuilding America's Defenses in the fall of 2000, calling for massive military spending if the "American peace is to be maintained, and expanded," since it "must have a secure foundation on unquestioned U.S. military preeminence." The authors saw this as a hard sell "absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor." PNAC members include Richard Armitage, John Bolton, Cheney, Zalmay Khalizad, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Richard Perle, Donald Rumsfeld, and James Woosley. Libby and Wolfowitz were among the producers of the quoted report. On 9/11 Bush is said to have written in his diary that "The Pearl Harbor of the 21st century took place today" and Kissinger wrote an online article calling for "a systematic response, that, one hopes, will end the way the attack on Pearl Harbor ended – with the destruction of the system that is responsible for it" (quoted in O&C).
In 1997 Zbigniew Brzezinski published The Grand Chessboard: America's Primacy and Its Geostategic Imperatives, calling for control over Central Asia as a way in to dominate Eurasia and limit Russia and China. He said "as America becomes an increasingly multicultural society, it might find it difficult to fashion a consensus on foreign policy issues, except in the circumstance of a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat." Brzezinski was Carter's National Security Advisor, and admits that that Administration aided the violent opposition to the progressive, leftist government of Afghanistan, intending to provoke a Soviet intervention. He even said this policy, which resulted in the shattering of Afghanistan and the rise of al Qaida, and the disintegration of the pro-capitalist USSR, "was an excellent idea. The effect was to draw the Russians into the Afghan trap" (to Agence France Presse (AFP), quoted in WOF). After the Carter years, Brzezinski was an intelligence advisor to Reagan and H.W. Bush (and co-chair of the National Security Advisory Task Force in 1988). He was on the board of the CFR and helped found the Trilateral Commission (Carter is a member of both), and now lectures on US foreign policy at John Hopkins University. Until 1998 Brzezinski was a consultant to BP-Amoco, one of three main developers of Central Asian oil and gas, which is the reason Afghanistan is important to US economic interests, as a pipeline route avoiding Iran and Russia.
September 11th provided a door for many of the capitalist elites' desired, but unpopular policies. As Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed points out, the Administration was in a deepening economic and political "crisis" (WOF) prior to 9/11. After the attacks (and the anthrax letters), the Administration was able to silence Congress and the media for years by appealing to 9/11 on issues from war to tax cuts. The Administration was able to launch two wars and measures cutting civil liberties, such as the Patriot Act.
David Ray Griffin points to the Administration's interest in "full spectrum dominance" (military superiority on land, sea, air, and in space), "missile defense," and enlarging the US Space Command. The Space Command's Vision for 2020 report says the Command's mission is "dominating the space dimension of military operations to protect US interests and investment," since "globalization of the world economy will continue with a widening between 'haves' and 'have-nots,'" echoing the rhetoric which started the Cold War. The goal is developing the capability "to deny others the use of space." This is aimed against serious challengers to US power, such as China and the European Union, and more recently the military said EU global positioning satellites were potential targets if US enemies used them. Griffin points out that key American actors in the 9/11 attacks are associated with the Space Command. Rumsfeld called for the militarization of space, but wrote that the cost and bureaucratic changes required might only be tolerated after "a disabling attack against the country and its people – a 'Space Pearl Harbor'" (quoted in O&C). The night of 9/11 he even asked Senator Carl Levin, then chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, regarding missile defense and "the large increase in defense spending," "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?" General Richard Myers is a former leader of the Space Command and was Acting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on 9/11. General Ralph E. Eberhart, a major player discussed in the future article about how the attacks were carried out, is in charge of the Command and NORAD. According to the 9/11 Commission, between fiscal years 2001 and 2004, the military budget increased by 50%, from $345 billion to about $547 billion dollars, an unprecedented rate since the Korean War.
Michael C. Ruppert points out the impending global peak in oil production, threatening the world economy and US hegemony, since oil powers society, the financial system, and is vital to agriculture and industry. He shows that the Administration knows this is coming and Ruppert argues that the government is acting to secure oil supplies for the USA. Ruppert and others also point out that illegal drugs help fuel the financial system, and opium poppy production has been restored in Afghanistan, after being sharply limited by the Taliban.
There were also opportunities for abundant corporate welfare in military and homeland security contracts and even more wealth for members of the Administration. Military purchases from the five largest contractors rose from $43.5 billion in 2001 to $66.4 billion dollars by 2003 (Waking Up From Our Nightmare, by Don Paul and Jim Hoffman). Bush I profits from Bush II's wars through the Carlyle Group, which owns military contracting corporations. Cheney was CEO and chairman of Halliburton, and still receives over $160,000 dollars a year from the corporation, which is involved in US efforts in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere (and accused of fraud and abuse of its employees). In the five years before Cheney took office, Halliburton profited $1.2 billion dollars from government contracts, and $2.3 billion in five years of the Bush Administration. Without 9/11, Bush would have had trouble invading Iraq, where the occupation could privatize Iraqi industry and open it to foreign ownership, impose flat taxation, and force Iraqi farmers to buy seed from multinational corporations.
The Afghanistan War
There is evidence that an attack on Afghanistan was planned to occur in October 2001, scheduled before the 9/11 attacks were carried out. US hostility to the Taliban seems to have come more from the Taliban's obstruction of US business interests than because of its human rights record. During the 90's the CentGas Consortium, led by Unocal, was competing with the Argentinean Bridas Corporation to build a pipeline from the gas fields around the Caspian Sea, through Afghanistan, to the Indian Ocean. A problem was the civil war in Afghanistan, which by the 90's was mainly an ethnic civil war between the Taliban and the Northern Alliance. Some factions in the US might have wanted a peaceful settlement, or the victory of the Northern Alliance, but US policy agreed with Unocal's policy. Unocal allegedly favored the Taliban, for example telling the media that the pipeline was closer to realization in September 1996, after the Taliban took the capital, Kabul. Within hours the US said it would form diplomatic relations with the Taliban government. According to Republican Representative Dana Rohrabacher, the US supported the Taliban by allowing Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to send most US Afghan aid to "the most anti-western non-democratic elements of the mujahideen," would not stop the Taliban from taking control of the Afghan Embassy in Washington (against the wishes of the Afghan UN delegation), hurt efforts to aid the Hazara people, under siege by the Taliban, and in spring 1998 the Clinton Administration advised the Northern Alliance to accept a ceasefire, which Rohrabacher said aided the Taliban most. In July 1998 the Taliban took Mazar-i-Sharif, giving them control of the proposed pipeline route, and CentGas was "ready to proceed" with construction. Unocal left the Consortium after the east African embassy bombings and the resulting US missile strikes in Afghanistan and the Clinton Administration switched to favoring a pipeline through Azerbaijan and Georgia to Turkey. In late 2000 the US, Russia, and India began discussions of what should replace the Taliban (according to the Washington Post, December 19, 2000). There were reports over the next months that India and Iran would support a US and Russian attack on Afghanistan.
When Bush came to power, his administration approached the Taliban a final time. $43 million dollars in unaccountable aid in food and housing was given to the Taliban, making the total funding $124 million dollars. This is the period when a US delegation infamously told Taliban representatives "either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs" (WOF). The imperialist powers wanted an Afghan national unity government. Included in the delegation was at least one of the same officials who had advised the Northern Alliance to accept a ceasefire in 1998.
According to The Guardian (September 26, 2001), based in London, by early 2001 the Bush Administration was preparing to attack Afghanistan. Military cooperation with the Central Asian republics bordering Afghanistan was increased, US special forces were training, and Britain was hosting UN meetings involving British, Pakistani, and anti-Taliban representatives. In time for 9/11 two US Navy taskforces arrived in the Persian Gulf, the UK's "largest armada since the Falklands War" was on its way to Oman, later joined by 23,000 soldiers, another 23,000 US soldiers and 17,000 from NATO were on exercises in Egypt, and 12,000 NATO troops were in Turkey. Much of this had been planned up to four years in advance (cited in WOF). September 9, 2001, two alleged al Qaida members conveniently assassinated Ahmed Massoud Shah the popular leader of the Northern Alliance, and the likely leader of any post-Taliban government. Naiz Naik, a former Pakistani Minister of Foreign Affairs told the BBC that in mid-July US officials told him that, if the Taliban did not extradite Osama bin Laden, there would be war against the Taliban and al Qaida by the middle of October, and it actually began on October 7th. Naik thought it would not be stopped, even if bin Laden had been held, and, as the next installment of this article will show, the US rejected past offers of extradition. October 10, 2001 Unocal told Pakistan that the pipeline project was back on. It should be noted that large US bases today mark the proposed pipeline route and Afghan Prime Minister Hamid Karzai and former US special envoy to post-Taliban Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad (a member of the PNAC) both worked for Unocal.
Gunning for Iraq
It is now well-known (or, at least, it should be) that the Bush Administration, most of whom were members of PNAC, which spent the late 90's calling for war on Iraq and other Arab countries, wished to replay the Iraq War of 1991 and overthrow President Saddam Hussein. The 9/11 Commission is willing to admit that Rumsfeld asked Myers to research Iraqi involvement in 9/11 and that Rumsfeld started the first post-attacks meeting at Camp David with a focus on Iraq. Even if there were only 10% certainty that Iraq was involved, Wolfowitz was for attacking Iraq. Bush tasked Richard Clarke with researching Iraqi complicity. The Commission omits that Rumsfeld's notes from 9/11, as reported by CBS (September 4, 2002), indicated that he wanted to use 9/11 as a pretext for aggression against Iraq. 9/11 wasn't enough to justify attacking Iraq (though many people have still been 'misled' into thinking Iraq was complicit), so the Administration used further half-truths and lies to launch the war in March 2003.
There will be another article, covering Pakistani and Saudi complicity, US shielding of Osama bin Laden, and physical evidence against the official story of the attacks, in a future issue of Alliance!.
Good Web sites to start with in learning more about 9/11 revisionist arguments are www.911truth.org, home of the 9/11 Truth Movement, www.historycommons.org, hosting the Complete 9/11 Timeline, www.fromthewilderness.com, www.911citizenswatch.org, and www.globalresearch.ca. The Family Steering Committee for the 9/11 Independent Commission is online at www.911independentcommission.org.
An Alliance article skeptical of the official story and describing the evidence for Pearl Harbor complicity and US terrorism is online at www.allianceml.com/AllianceIssues/Alliance-44-wtc-htm.