by Dave McGowan
Published with permission of the author.
This article originally appeared as Newsletters #27, #28, and #29, on the author's website located at: http://www.davesweb.cnchost.com/
January 12, 2003
"My name is Dave, and I am a conspiracy theorist."
There. I did it. I finally took the first step on the long road to recovery. And it feels good. It will feel even better when I complete the program, at which time I will be able to (or so I'm told) read the morning newspaper and watch the evening news secure in the knowledge that I am being told the unvarnished truth. I will even, if I'm one of the lucky ones, be able to listen to Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly and marvel at their intellectually rigorous arguments.
Although I haven't yet been filled in on all the details of the program, I'm pretty sure that it involves the consumption of mass quantities of Prozac.
Which reminds me ... I have great news to report this week! The FDA has apparently approved Prozac for use on children as young as seven. Some talking-head on the evening news claimed that millions of depressed kids could benefit from this decision. But are there really millions of depressed kids out there in the 'land of the free'? And if so, then why are there millions of depressed kids out there?
What am I talking about? Who cares why they're depressed? Just drug them! Who cares if they're depressed? Drug them all! I foresee Toddler Prozac on the horizon. And then Infant Prozac, possibly to remedy Crying Baby Syndrome: "Does your newborn suffer from Crying Baby Syndrome? Symptoms include crying when hungry, wet, tired, or neglected. Talk to your doctor about new Infant Prozac ..."
And then ... the final frontier ... Pre-Natal Prozac: "Hello. Thank you for calling Clonaid. How may I help you? ... Yes, certainly we can create a clone for you. Would you like that with or without Prozac? ... Most people prefer the Prozac model. They're much easier to train."
Ooops ... sorry ... that's not really what I want to talk about this week. I just happened to catch the Prozac story on the news and, next thing you know, I was off on a rant. That happens sometimes.
I also will not be talking about incoming Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (who, to give credit where credit is due, sports a somewhat more life-like rug than his predecessor) and his Dahmeresque habit of adopting cats from animal shelters to stock his home dissection lab.
I think I'll also pass on commenting on Rumsfeld's recent impersonation of a schoolyard bully: "I'll take on both Saddam and Kim Jong at the same time! I'll kick both their asses with one hand tied behind my back! Let me at 'em ... huh? ... what's that? ... you say we didn't actually beat North Korea the first time around? When we were only fighting one war at a time? Oh. Well, never mind then."
I'm also not going to comment on Bush's preposterous habit of posing as a good-old-boy rancher, or on various other members of the Bush clan slumming with the commoners aboard a Disney cruise ship. Has anyone considered, by the way, that a cruise ship, with a captive, physically isolated population, would be an ideal place to conduct biowarfare experiments -- with, for example, something like the "Norwalk Virus"? Just wondering ...
But forget about all of that. What I really want to talk about are conspiracy theories. As I have whined about repeatedly in these newsletters, conspiracy theory bashing is quite fashionable these days. According to the anti-conspiracists, conspiracy theories are silly, paranoid, unproven, counter-productive, irrational, simplistic, and just plain loony.
But what exactly is a 'conspiracy theory'? How do we determine if any given theory is a 'conspiracy theory'? Because everyone, after all, has only a theoretical view of how the world we all live in really functions.
Conservatives have a theory, as do liberals. Neo-conservatives have a different theory than do 'old school' conservatives. Republicans subscribe to one theory, while Democrats subscribe to another. Libertarians have a theory, as do Greens and Independents. Socialists have one theory, and capitalists have quite another. Communists, white supremacists, anarchists, skinheads -- they all have theories. Catholics have a different theory than do Protestants. Jews have their own theory, as do Muslims, Wiccans, Buddhists, Atheists, Mormons, Episcopalians, Baptists, Scientologists, Fundamentalist Christians, Jehovah's Witnesses and Agnostics.
There are as many theories out there as there are people to formulate them. Everyone, in the final analysis, has their own personal theories that explain the world as they perceive it to be, and through which they filter incoming information about significant national and world events.
As far as I know, none of these theories has ever been proven. None of them can legitimately claim to be the objective truth, because none of us can say with 100% certainty where the truth lies. We all have only our own personal theories, based on our own life experiences and on how the world has been presented to us by family, friends, politicians, educators, clergy, and the all-powerful media.
So what is it that distinguishes a 'conspiracy theory' from any other theory? Is it that the theory posits that two or more actors have worked together, usually secretively, to achieve a common goal? That, after all, is all that a 'conspiracy' really is. Or is it that the theory is unproven?
Actually, neither of those factors are unique to what are labeled 'conspiracy theories.'
A bunch of Islamic extremists secretly plotted and carried out the attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon? Saddam Hussein and others are colluding to hide Iraq's 'weapons of mass destruction'? Saddam and others secretly conspired to hatch an assassination plot against Poppy Bush? Those are certainly all conspiracy theories, if a conspiracy theory is simply a theory that postulates that there was some conspiring going on.
And what of the theories advanced by conspiracy-bashing lefties? The U.S. is going into Iraq for the oil, not out of concern for alleged weapons of mass destruction? The Bush regime has cynically exploited the September 11 tragedy to advance an exceedingly reactionary agenda? The September 11 attacks were retaliation for the genocidal sanctions on Iraq and the deplorable treatment of the Palestinians by Israel? Conspiracy theories, one and all.
Readily apparent to just about anyone with measurable brain-wave activity is that conspiracies do exist -- that actors do work together, frequently secretively and often illegally, to achieve an outcome that is mutually beneficial. Even the mainstream media and political establishment recognize that fact; they just usually claim that it is those other guys - such as the evil-doing terrorists, or, before them, the dreaded Communists - who are doing the conspiring -- and only on rare occasions the fine group of honest statesmen assembled in Washington.
Right-wing media voices will sometimes acknowledge conspiratorial behavior involving 'Democrats' (i.e. Whitewater, Travelgate, etc.), while what passes for voices of the 'left' will admit to conspiratorial behavior by 'Republicans' (i.e. Iran/Contra, Watergate, etc.).
So the 'conspiracy theory' label obviously has nothing to do with whether or not the theory posits that there was any conspiring going on. The media never demeans their own or the government's fairy tales by tarring them with the 'conspiracy theory' label, no matter how conspiratorial in nature those fables are.
And the 'conspiracy theory' label also has nothing to do with whether or not the theory has been proven. Rarely is any compelling proof of one of Washington's far-fetched theories ever offered, and yet these theories are presented not as conspiracy theories, but as the gospel truth.
It has never been proven that Osama bin Laden masterminded the September 11 attacks. It has never been proven that the simultaneous hijacking of four commercial airliners was accomplished by nineteen Islamic fundamentalists wielding box-cutters. It has never been proven that the purported pilots had the training or the ability to perform complex aeronautic maneuvers in unwieldy passenger jets. It has never been proven that it was a passenger jet that struck the Pentagon. It has never been proven that the total collapse of the Twin Towers was due solely to the airplane crashes and resulting fires. It has never been proven that the failure to act on numerous warnings of the coming attacks was due simply to bureaucratic incompetence. It has never been proven that there is any innocent explanation for the stand-down of U.S. air defenses on that day. It has never been proven or revealed who exactly it was that placed heavy bets on Wall Street that United Airlines and American Airlines stocks were about to take a dump. It has never been proven that there is a perfectly benign explanation for why the commander-in-chief of U.S. armed forces chose to continue reading with schoolchildren well after live television coverage had informed the entire world that the U.S. was under attack. It has never been proven that there is any precedent for the actions taken by the Secret Service, who - tasked with protecting the president at all costs - allowed him to continue reading with schoolchildren at a known location that had been announced by the media in advance and that was entirely vulnerable to attack. It has never been proven that Osama bin Laden was in Afghanistan at any time during the (continuing) assault on that country. It has never been proven that Osama bin Laden is estranged from his family, which, of course, has longtime financial ties to the Bush family.
In fact, there are precious few, if any, aspects of the official story that have ever been, or will ever be, proven. It is just another theory that posits a conspiracy among certain individuals to commit horrendous crimes -- a conspiracy theory, by any reasonable interpretation.
But it, of course, isn't labeled a conspiracy theory. The media reserves that label for those theories that pose a serious challenge to the status quo -- although those theories aren't necessarily any more theoretical nor any less documentable than the government's theories, and they don't necessarily place any more emphasis on actors conspiring to achieve a common goal.
So what exactly is a conspiracy theory? It is simply a theory put forth that is so at odds with our own theories that it poses a fundamental challenge to how we perceive the world. Everyone, in other words, has their own definition of what a conspiracy theory is; it all depends on where your own views fall on the ideological spectrum.
To many right-wingers, anyone whose views fall too far to the left is a conspiracy theorist -- including people like David Corn, Marc Cooper, Matthew Rothschild, Norman Solomon and Michael Albert, who have been at the forefront of conspiracy theory bashing, even as large swaths of America look upon them as conspiracy theorists. Writers such as these (and others, some of whom should know better) seek to portray themselves as being somehow 'above' the conspiracy fray, simply because they are advancing a different conspiracy theory than are those whom they cast aspersions on.
One man's 'conspiracy theorist,' alas, is another man's investigative journalist. There is no hard and fast dividing line that separates a conspiracy theory from a - for lack of a better term - non-conspiracy theory. That line is different for everyone, and is subject to change over the course of a person's life as attitudes and opinions change.
The term 'conspiracy theory' is, therefore, an entirely arbitrary and meaningless label. I have corresponded with people who eschew the sorts of political theories found in my writings as the ravings of a crazed conspiracy theorist, but who steadfastly maintain that UFOs routinely sweep through their fields at night because their alien pilots have an insatiable appetite for cattle rectums.
So who is the conspiracy theorist? The truth is that neither of us are. There are no conspiracy theories; there are only theories. Not all theories though are created equal. Some are decidedly better than others. The question then is how we separate the good theories from the bad ones -- for that is the only relevant classification of theories.
There are two basic criteria that a good theory must meet. First, the theory must reasonably explain as much of the available evidence as possible, and it must do so by answering more questions than it raises. Washington's theories, of course, rarely measure up in this regard, which is why official theories are - as a general rule - very bad theories.
The second criteria for a good theory is that it provide some historical context, and not treat the event under consideration as though it had occurred in a vacuum. This is, alas, a major shortcoming with many 'conspiracy theories': they fail to take into account that every significant occurrence is not a separate and unique 'conspiracy' for which blame can be assigned to specific individuals, but is a small piece in a much larger puzzle -- a puzzle in which the problems run far too deep to be remedied by removing a few bad apples.
Some 9-11 skeptics, for example, seem to think that everything was fine and dandy in this country until evil George W came along, stole the election, and then proceeded to plunge the nation headlong into overt fascism. This is, alas, a dangerous delusion.
This is not, contrary to what some visitors seem to think, a "9-11 Skeptics" site or a "September 11 Conspiracy" site. This is a site that attempts to present a comprehensive look at this bizarre world of ours -- sometimes by focusing on individual events in an effort to convey patterns, and sometimes by trying to stand back to take in the 'big picture.'
The events of September 11 have, of course, received a considerable amount of attention -- as they should, given their significance in advancing a specific agenda. But the attacks on the WTC were really just an extreme example of the types of provocations that have long been used to advance that agenda.
The point here is that the September 11 attacks, and everything that has followed in their wake, can never be properly understood if viewed as historical aberrations. They can only be understood within the framework of a theory that takes into account that where we are now is where we were headed long before Team Bush took the reins, and long before any airplanes slammed into the World Trade Center.
So what theories have we been offered to explain the events of that day?
The most popular theory, at least among Americans, is the one offered by the Washington gang -- and it is, I must say, one that would have been met with riotous laughter and ridicule had it first been offered up by a 'conspiracy theorist.' It goes something like this: a loosely-knit gang of Islamic fundamentalists, living in caves and brimming with hatred of "our freedom" and "our democracy," secretly put together an elaborate plan, presumably sketching most of it out with sticks in the dirt, whereby nineteen guys armed with toothbrushes and razor blades would board four different commercial airline flights, commandeer them, radically alter their flight paths so that they would be aimed towards the East Coast's two most densely-packed and politically and economically significant targets, and then fly them masterfully into the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon, unimpeded by the fact that the country under attack has the most sophisticated air force and air defense system in the world, and spends more on 'defense' than the rest of the world combined.
The plotters apparently knew that everyone would be caught completely off guard by the assault, due to the fact that probably lass than a dozen countries had warned of the coming attacks, as had various agents of our own government, and because everyone knows that the Pentagon, even when on the highest state of alert, as it would be after both WTC towers had been attacked, is a sitting duck that is completely incapable of defending itself, because no one ever thought of allotting any of those hundreds of billions of dollars in 'defense' money that we spend every year to designing any sort of defenses for the Defense Department itself.
In a major breach of terrorist etiquette, the terrorist group fingered for the attacks declined to take credit. But not to worry. We had evidence. And it was good evidence too. It wasn't manufactured and/or planted evidence, or anything of that nature. So don't go thinking that it was.
Take, for example, hijacker/pilot Mohammad Atta's passport -- intact and deposited like a calling card atop a literal mountain of debris, as though it had hung in suspended animation for an hour or so - while the building burned and then imploded - before settling down atop the crumbled remains. That's solid evidence.
And those flight manuals and copies of the Koran left behind in the rental car? You can hardly argue with evidence like that. And those Osama bin Laden videotapes? Why, it's clearly an open-and-shut case.
Speaking of the bin Laden tapes, by the way, the one I want to see goes something like this:
Osama speaking to assembled followers: "We're the number 1 terrorist organization in the world ... (loud applause) ... We've masterminded every significant act of terrorism around the world for years now ... (more loud applause) ... We receive countless millions of dollars in funding ... (applause) ... Can't we get a decent videocamera around here? ... (silence) ... Look at these tapes! Have you seen these? I'm grainy, I'm out of focus, the sound quality is horrible. In this one I'm thin, in this one I'm heavy. And where are my close-ups? Can someone get my agent on the phone?"
There are other theories out there to explain what happened on September 11. Lots of other theories. These can be roughly separated into six categories:
"Incompetence" theories accept most of the official story as fact, but question whether the attacks could have been prevented had incompetence and bureaucratic snafus not prevented credible tips from being acted upon. If the lack of any defense measures taken once the attacks were in progress is addressed at all by such theories, it is attributed to incompetence as well. In fact, incompetence is pretty much of an all-purpose answer for any aspect of the official story that doesn't add up.
Incompetence theories are an age-old form of disinformation. They are the first line of defense for 'the powers that be.' It's always better to be perceived as incompetent than as a ruthless criminal of the worst kind. And incompetence, of course, can always be remedied by pouring more money into the military and intelligence services, and by vastly expanding their reach and power.
But incompetence theories are just one form of disinformation. They are just one level of deceit among many that surround an event of the magnitude of September 11.
What many people fail to take into consideration is that our fearless leaders know that there will always be a certain percentage of the population that refuses to accept the official story -- no matter how often, or by how many voices of authority, that story is told. And they also know that there will always be those who will make sincere efforts to provide skeptics with alternative explanations.
That is why our illustrious leaders, in their infinite wisdom, long ago decided that the best thing for them to do would be to make sure that they were the ones providing the skeptics in the crowd with alternative explanations. It is Big Brother's way of saying: "You don't like the official story? Then try this on for size."
Most of these alternative explanations consist of a mixture of "limited hang-outs" and red herrings. The limited hang-outs are tantalizing bits and pieces of information that were omitted from the official story, and that are revealed by the fake dissidents to gain the trust of the reader. And the red herrings are there to confuse and misdirect the reader after gaining that trust.
The sad reality is that the overwhelming majority of dissenting voices in this country are part of what could be called "the controlled dissent." For the only way to really control public opinion, and to control a population, while still maintaining the illusion of tolerating varying points of view, is by controlling all of those points of view.
It is observations such as that, by the way, that so endear me to the rest of the 'progressive' community.
I find it rather interesting that any number of allegedly dissident writers will readily acknowledge that the CIA (and various other intelligence entities) have worked relentlessly for decades, spending vast sums of money, for the express purpose of placing assets in strategic positions within the media. But if someone points out how those efforts have been manifest in the real world, he or she is immediately attacked and/or ostracized by the majority of 'dissident' writers.
I guess we are supposed to believe that while such efforts have undeniably been made, they have met with nothing but failure -- due, no doubt, to 'incompetence.'
Anyway, the point that I started to make is that there are varying levels of disinformation floating around in various avenues of the media, with something to please almost everyone -- no matter how far off the beaten path you may choose to venture in search of answers. But here I have digressed from the previous discussion of the various theories advanced to explain September 11.
"Other Actors" theories are another time-honored method of employing disinformation. They work something like this: acknowledge that the official story is a cover, acknowledge that the attacks weren't likely planned and executed by some shadowy Islamic network, but point the finger at someone, anyone, other than our own elected (and appointed) leaders.
The most frequently fingered suspect is, of course, a favorite whipping-boy of conspiracy theorists far and wide: Israel. And it must be granted that there are a few clues scattered along the evidence trail pointing in that direction -- such as the so-called 'Israeli art student spy ring.'
I believe, however, that such clues were purposefully left behind precisely to misdirect the 'conspiracy' crowd -- to encourage fingers to be pointed towards Israel, rather than towards Washington. These 'clues' are, in other words, deliberately planted disinformation intended to create a false evidence trail. More obvious as disinformation are the theories that attempt to point the finger at, rather preposterously, China.
Some "Other Actors" theories posit that it was a 'rogue' element within our own government that was responsible for the attacks. Some even argue that the attacks were essentially a coup attempt directed against the current administration -- an attempt that apparently failed rather miserably since the attacks rather predictably allowed the current officeholders to assume unprecedented power.
These 'bad apples' theories are fatally flawed, as previously indicated, by a failure to recognize that just as one demagogic leader - whether named George or Adolf - does not radically alter the course of history, neither does some 'rogue' group operating outside the bounds of official Washington.
The complicity of all of Washington's institutions is required to pull off something of the magnitude of the September 11 attacks. The complicity of both political parties is required to ensure that there will be 'bipartisan' agreement as to what happened and what the response should be. A complicit Congress is required to unquestioningly accept the administration's conclusions, and to stonewall any and all attempts at a meaningful investigation. A complicit court system is required to pretend not to notice the blatantly unconstitutional nature of much of the post-September 11 legislation that has been passed. A complicit mainstream media apparatus is required to ensure that no facts that directly challenge the administration's positions make it into print, and to ensure that the administration's war plans and attacks on civil liberties will be given the proper spin. A complicit 'alternative' media is required to ensure that distrust and unease within certain segments of society will be allayed by the most non-threatening of 'dissident' voices (with events of the significance of September 11, however, it's usually necessary to call in the big guns -- those pillars of the 'progressive' community that are so revered that few dare question their wisdom; these are the voices that will, on most occasions, speak freely and accurately about the lies and criminality of the U.S. government, establishing unassailable credentials by doing so, but when called upon to address the issue of the Kennedy assassination, will answer that "Oswald did it," or when called upon to address the September 11 attacks, will respond that "Osama did it").
"Let It Happen" theories go much further than "Incompetence" theories, by positing (or, to be more accurate, acknowledging) that the administration did indeed have enough intelligence to know of the coming attacks, but let the plans proceed so that the attacks could be crassly exploited to advance an agenda -- an agenda usually said to be oil-driven.
Most "Let It Happen" theories are tempered through the addition of claims that, while the Bush gang knew in advance that an attack was coming, they did not foresee the magnitude of the damage. This is, apparently, supposed to make the criminality of the administration more palatable to readers: "Well, yes, the actions of the administration were criminal, murderous, even treasonous, but they really only thought they were putting hundreds at risk, not thousands. So let's not be too hard on them."
Going further yet are the "Aiding and Abetting" theories, which claim that not only did the administration know the attacks were coming, they actively worked to assure that the plans would succeed. The degree to which U.S. agents were complicit in the planning and execution, and the level of involvement within the U.S. government, varies within this classification of theories -- which also includes theories that the administration deliberately provoked the attacks.
The last category of theories is the "Made It Happen" theories, which hypothesize that the attacks were an entirely self-inflicted wound -- conceived, planned and executed by U.S. assets working at various levels behind the scenes. In other words, they were fully orchestrated affairs, with thoroughly scripted responses and repercussions.
So which of these theories is most consistent with historical patterns? And which of them best explains the available evidence? And which of them takes into account that everything that has transpired since September 11 is a continuation of forces and undercurrents that were in existence long before George Bush stepped up to the plate?
If we look at the alleged triggers for every major war that the U.S. embarked upon in the century prior to September 11, it becomes quite clear that every one of them was either staged or provoked to justify America's entry into a war that had nothing to do with the alleged triggering event: the explosion of the U.S.S. Maine in February of 1898, the sinking of the Lusitania in May of 1915 (which, by the way, did not 'trigger' America's entry into World War I, but was retroactively cited as justification when the U.S. went to war two years after the incident occurred), the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December of 1941, the provoked attack on South Korea in June of 1950, and the fictional attack on the U.S.S. Maddox in August of 1964.
If viewed as a trigger for war, which the September 11 attacks certainly were, then it can be safely concluded that if they were in fact unprovoked, surprise attacks perpetrated by foreign actors, then they clearly represented a break from a deeply ingrained historical pattern.
But the attacks were clearly much more than just a trigger for war. They were also a trigger for a vastly accelerated attack on civil rights, privacy rights, and due process rights. They were, in other words, a trigger for war on the home front.
As such, they are also in a line of succession with other events that provided the pretext for the passing of Draconian anti-terrorism/anti-crime bills, such as the first attack on the World Trade Center, the bombing of the Oklahoma City Federal Building, and the mass murder at Columbine High School.
Each of those crime scenes, dare I say, bore the fingerprints of actors other than, or in addition to, those who officially took the fall. As with September 11, it is virtually impossible to say with certainty what exactly transpired on any of those fateful days, but there is certainly no shortage of evidence that challenges the official stories.
Psycho-dramas played out in the theater of our collective conscious? Stage-managed acts in the long-running production of The Politics of Fear? I tend to think that they were, but then again, as we all know, I'm a recovering conspiracy theorist -- which means that I have all kinds of crazy thoughts.
I believe, for example, that the Nazi Party torched their own Reichstag. Crazier yet, I believe that one of the families that helped finance the assent to power of that very same Nazi Party is the family that now occupies the White House. And I believe (and this is really crazy) that history repeats itself when its lessons have been misrepresented and misunderstood.
There are some things that I don't believe, however. I don't believe in the old adage that "it can't happen here." And I don't believe that if we still have football on Sundays and a choice between "Friends" and "Survivor" on Thursdays, then nothing has really changed in the last two years. And I don't believe that I've really managed to maintain much of a focus in this newsletter.
Have you noticed that? I just seem to keep rambling off in different directions. Why is that? Have you been wondering exactly where it is that I am headed with this? Strangely enough, I have too. And to be honest, I'm not really sure yet.
January 23, 2003
Sorry for the delay in getting this newsletter posted and circulated. Shortly after sending out the previous one, my Internet privileges were apparently suspended. I guess I must have been a very bad boy. The problem has not yet been entirely corrected, but I do seem to have limited access at this time.
Prior to having my Internet service rudely interrupted, I received a number of new subscription requests -- attributable in large part, I presume, to the fact that Bev Conover of Online Journal (http://www.onlinejournal.com) re-posted Newsletter #27. Welcome aboard to all new readers, and a huge "thank you" to Bev.
(While we're on the subject of new subscribers, I have noticed that some people include unnecessary personal information with their subscription requests, such as last names, home addresses, and telephone numbers. I would strongly caution all of you not to do that. Keep in mind that not all 'dissident' websites are what they appear to be, and not all mailing lists are operated for your benefit. It is already far too easy for Big Brother to gather information about you; don't make it any easier.)
I also received a considerable amount of positive feedback from regular readers, so let me take this opportunity to say thanks to Donald, Jan, Brock, Barrie, Harriet, David, Andrew, T, Stephen M., Stephen S., Craig, Wythe, John, Dan, Leslie, Mike, Lisa, Mick, Jim, and (another) Andrew.
Some of you, by the way, need to tone down the lavish praise just a bit. It's not that it isn't appreciated, mind you. It's just that I am growing increasingly concerned that I may soon need to remodel my home. None of the rooms seem to accommodate my head anymore.
Thanks are also due this week to the anonymous respondent who wrote to inform me that I inadvertently listed the date of Pearl Harbor as December of 1942, when that attack in fact occurred in December of 1941. I'm a little surprised, by the way, that no one else caught that.
Thanks also to reader Dave for pointing out that there is "one other important criterion" that a good theory must meet: "the theory should be predictive." That is, strangely enough, one of the things that I intend to discuss later in this rant. Dave was a little ahead of the curve on that one.
I suppose thanks are also due to those of you who sent me what are some of the most ludicrously disinformational 'news' stories that I have ever read. A little comic relief is always appreciated. Unfortunately, I didn't get the impression that these stories were sent as a joke.
The stories in question claimed that Chinese, Russian and/or Cuban troops are massed on America's southern border, eagerly awaiting the onset of the Iraq war, so that they can then march on in and effortlessly take over the country while our forces are busy elsewhere.
Do you people (and you know who you are) really believe such rubbish? Are you really that easily fooled by the most preposterous of lies? It is possible, I suppose. In the Bush Era, no lie appears to be too outlandish to be believed.
On a more somber note, the Center for an Informed America must say good-bye to one of its most ardent fans and supporters. Mel A. of Santa Monica, California passed away just after the start of the new year following a brief bout with cancer. Rest in peace, Mel. Your input will be missed. But I'm still not going to let you off the hook for once comparing my writing style to that of Christopher Hitchens.
Now ... where was I?
If I remember correctly, I was discussing the historical models for the September 11 attacks -- a discussion which tended to lend credence to theories that the attacks, unless they represented a major deviation from established patterns, were either self-inflicted, or provoked and assisted.
Of course, any number of 'lefty' opinion-shapers have claimed that this time was different -- that the old rules do not apply in this case, and that the U.S. was in fact unconscionably attacked, justifying - in fact, necessitating - a military response directed at the 'evil-doers.'
But have we targeted the real 'evil-doers,' or have we targeted patsies? What does the evidence indicate? Which theories best account for the known evidence?
That depends, alas, on what is considered 'known evidence.' So let's start with what is perhaps the only incontrovertible evidence in the case: our own observations, as witnesses, of what played out that day on live television.
Tens of millions of people across the country witnessed what happened, and had the images of that day seared into their memory. But what we want to focus on here is what we didn't see happen that day, because some of the most compelling evidence lies, strangely enough, in what no one saw happen that day.
No one, for example, saw any defensive measures taken during the entire time that the lengthy spectacle played out. None whatsoever.
No one saw any jets scrambled to intercept any of the hijacked aircraft, though their locations and flight-paths were known and there was more than ample time for a military response. No one saw any jets scrambled to secure the airspace over Washington, though some of the hijacked flights were known to be headed that way, and interceptors were sitting on the tarmac just minutes away from likely targets.
And strangely enough, no one saw or heard any demands by television talking-heads for the military to respond in some capacity, or any questioning of why no response had yet materialized. Not after the first WTC tower was hit. Not after the second WTC tower was hit. Not during the agonizingly long interval before the Pentagon was hit. Not even after the Pentagon was hit.
We were all assigned the task of sitting back in fear and watching helplessly as the attack continued and the death toll mounted, encouraged to feel powerless not only as individuals, but as a nation -- as if we had no choice but to participate only as passive spectators, watching dumfounded as the carnage unfolded.
But clearly we are not powerless as a nation. Obviously we have procedures on the books that are to be followed in the event of national emergencies, and we have thousands of qualified personnel in the military and in various federal agencies that are thoroughly trained to fill various roles when given orders to do so.
And just as clearly, we all saw that those procedures were not followed that day.
We did not see the headquarters of the world's most feared and powerful military machine attacked in broad daylight with at least an hour's warning. That was not the plot of the reality show that we all watched that day.
We couldn't possibly have been watching that, because that would have been a much different show -- one that would have ended quickly with a massive Air Force response, and that would have been recorded in the history books as a failed, and very ill-advised, attempt to attack the mighty U.S.
What we saw instead was a country under attack that didn't seem to have any means of defending itself at all, other than hoping that the hijackers would eventually run out of planes. Once the show began, the curtain wasn't going to drop until the final act had played out.
Something else that no one saw that day was the president being whisked away by the Secret Service at the first sign that a national emergency was developing. Granted, the president did have important business to attend to that day. However, you would think that the events of that morning would have merited the cancellation of Bush's scheduled 'education summit meeting' with Florida schoolchildren.
Consider, if you will, that as Sir George sat there calmly listening to the children's reading lesson, both World Trade Center towers were already in flames, hundreds of Americans were already dead, and thousands more were in imminent danger. In addition, at least two jumbo-sized, manned cruise missiles were still in the air.
This was obviously a highly unusual situation.
There was no longer any question as to whether the country was being attacked, unless one assumed that two passenger planes had, quite coincidentally, accidentally smashed into the towers. And it didn't require any calls to Miss Cleo to figure out that the remaining hijacked flights were very likely destined for similar outcomes.
What was taking place was obviously a very ambitious, coordinated, multi-pronged attack. And if this all came as a complete surprise, which we are assured it did, then no one could have known what the full extent of the plan was.
No one could have known, for example, if there were any additional flights that had been hijacked, including any in the vicinity of where the president and his entourage were stationed. No one could have known if there were, in addition to the hijackings, plans to coordinate any activities on the ground, such as bombings or assassination attempts, or even a chemical or biological attack. No one knew whether any specific individuals were targeted.
And certainly no one knew what threats the President of the United States might be facing.
And yet, remarkably enough, it never occurred to the president's staff or his Secret Service escorts that it might be a good idea to protect such a highly visible and, on that day, highly vulnerable target. It was as if everyone in the president's circle knew that he was in no danger, despite being at an unprotected location that had been publicized in advance and that was very near a major airport.
It was as if, in other words, the White House already knew the script that this bit of guerilla theater would be following.
Interestingly enough, extreme security precautions were eventually taken. That is why one of the memories of that day that most Americans have is of the president being shuttled around to various secure air bases, while solemn newscasters claimed with a straight face that Air Force 1 was a known target.
But all of that occurred after the attacks had run their course. During virtually the entire time that the attacks were in progress, Bush was sitting in a Florida elementary school, failing to address the crisis and failing to address the American people -- a fact that was almost entirely ignored by the media at the time, and which has been largely forgotten.
In retrospect, I guess it must not have happened at all. As any real American can tell you, the media in this country is hopelessly 'liberal.' As such, they would eagerly latch onto any misstep by Herr Bush like a pack of rabid pit bulls. And since that hasn't happened, then we can only conclude that Bush hasn't taken any missteps.
Just as no one saw the president's entourage perform the job that they are supposed to perform, no one saw the president himself perform the duties that his oath of office compels him to perform -- specifically, serving as the commander-in-chief of U.S. armed forces.
It was the president's duty, and a requirement of the office he holds, to immediately take charge of the situation and ensure that defensive actions were being taken. No one saw Bush make any attempt to do so.
And no one has seen any questions raised, in Washington circles or in the established media, as to why no one saw him take such actions. As some researchers have pointed out, Bush was guilty of, at the very least, gross incompetence and dereliction of his sworn duties. And that is, it should be emphasized, the most charitable interpretation of what happened.
There is little question that Bush's actions, whether due to incompetence or willful inaction, were impeachable offenses. And yet, not only has there been no mention of the "I" word, but Bush has been nearly universally hailed as some kind of heroic figure. It's not as if, I guess, he was caught doing something really serious -- like providing Ken Starr with masturbatory fantasies.
Another thing that no one saw happen on September 11 was the World Trade Center towers toppling in a way that was consistent with the damage that was inflicted upon them. This was particularly true in the case of the south WTC tower.
As we all did see, the south tower was not hit as 'cleanly' as the north tower. Rather than smashing into the face of the structure, the aircraft that allegedly caused the implosion of the south tower clipped a corner of the building (for those who have forgotten what the impact looked like, here is a reminder: http://serendipity.magnet.ch/wot/impact2.htm).
The significance of this is twofold: first, the enormous fireball created by the instantaneous ignition of the jet's payload of fuel was ejected out the side of the building adjacent to the point of impact; and second, the structural damage to the tower was almost entirely confined to one corner of the building.
This raises some rather troubling questions about the official story of the tower's collapse. For if the jet fuel was largely ejected from the building, as photos and video footage clearly show, then how is it possible that the ensuing fire attained the extreme temperatures required to weaken the massive amount of steel in the building to such an extent that the entire structure spontaneously collapsed?
And, perhaps more importantly, how is it possible that the structural framework of the building failed in a perfectly symmetrical fashion, creating the mythical "pancake" effect that is supposed to explain the implosion of the building?
Logic, common sense, and a few laws of an apparently obscure science known as "physics" dictate that, if the tower was to collapse at all, it should have toppled over at the point of impact. The still-intact portion of the building above the point of attack should have begun tilting towards the point of structural weakness. Once this process began, gravity and momentum would have done the rest, stretching and tearing the steel on the opposing side of the structure, until an enormous chunk of the tower broke off and came tumbling down, or until the entire tower was destabilized and pulled over, creating a quartermile-long path of devastation across lower Manhattan.
But we didn't see anything like that take place. What we saw was the entire tower self-destruct and come crumbling down in a remarkably uniform fashion, with all of the debris falling neatly within the footprint of what once had been. And that is, I have to say, the kind of thing that just doesn't seem right.
Another thing that we didn't see that day was repeatedly aired footage of the collapse of WTC #7, a building that attained the dubious distinction of being the only steel-framed high-rise building in history to ever suffer a complete collapse due to fire alone. That seems a little odd to me as well.
According to The History Channel, WTC #7 happened to house the World Trade Center complex's crisis management center. Staff there were monitoring the unfolding tragedy in the two towers -- until, that is, they received a call of unknown origin advising them to evacuate the building. One can only wonder what records from the crisis center might have revealed about the collapse of the towers, had WTC #7 and everything in it not been destroyed.
Our memories of what happened that day are filled with emotionally-charged images of burning buildings and falling bodies. But we need to detach ourselves from the deliberately inflamed emotions and remember back to what we didn't see happen that day, for what we didn't see is far more significant than the smoke and mirrors that we did see.
We didn't see an Air Force response. We didn't see a presidential response. We didn't see a Secret Service response. We didn't see a response from NORAD, or from the Department of Defense, or from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, or from the Secretary of Defense. We didn't see an appropriate response from anyone of any authority in Washington.
We also didn't see, and never will see, any footage of a plane crashing into the Pentagon, despite the fact that the building and the surrounding area are protected by the best video surveillance system that taxpayer money can buy.
Of those who responded to the last newsletter, reader Mike noted that there is a name for anti-conspiracy theorists: "coincidence theorists." Fair enough. Let's consider then, very briefly, just a few of the odd coincidences surrounding the events of September 11.
Most readers are probably familiar with the Carlyle Group, through which George H.W. Bush had (has?) financial ties to the bin Laden family. Some readers are probably also aware that George W. Bush had business dealings with Salem bin Laden, brother of Osama, dating back to the days when Bush was posing as a Texas oilman (Salem, by the way, met with an untimely end when his plane Wellstoned ... oops, I meant to say crashed, in the state of Texas).
I'm guessing though that some readers are not yet familiar with a business entity formerly known as Securacom, and now known as Stratesec, Inc. And that is really a shame, because the Securacom/Stratesec story is a fascinating one indeed.
Billing itself as "a single-source provider of comprehensive technology-based security solutions for medium and large commercial and government facilities in the United States and abroad," the company is based in a Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C. -- in an area that I like to call "Spookville."
The company's clients have included the U.S. Army, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Air Force, the Department of Justice, and Los Alamos National Laboratories. Also on the company's client list were - and this is where the story gets interesting - the World Trade Center, United Airlines, and the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority -- operator of Dulles International Airport.
The company first began doing work at the Trade Center in 1993, following the first 'terrorist' attack on the building complex. In 1996, Securacom apparently received an exclusive contract to provide security at the Center. The year before, it had received a contract from the Metro Airport Authority. In the late 1990s, the WTC and the MWAA were two of Securacom's top three clients.
But that's not the most interesting aspect of this story. It gets better. Beginning in 1993, when Securacom first began doing work for the WTC, none other than Marvin Bush - brother of George, Jeb and Neil - was sitting on the board of directors and was a significant shareholder in the company.
Also sitting on that board was Mishal Yousef Saud al-Sabah, and a man named Wirt D. Walker III, who served as chairman. "Walker" is, of course, the name of one of the families that spawned the Bush clan, as evidenced by the "Dubya" in both George, Sr. and George, Jr.'s names. And "al-Sabah" is, as we all know, the name of the Kuwaiti royal family.
During the years 1993 to 1999 - while Securacom was doing contract work for the WTC, United Airlines and the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority, and while Bush, Walker and al-Sabah were sitting on the board - a large and sometimes controlling interest in the company was held by KuwAm.
And what is KuwAm, you ask? It is a Washington, D.C.-based, Kuwaiti/American investment group whose board of directors has included - you guessed it - Marvin Bush, Wirt Walker, and Mishal Yousef Saud al-Sabah.
Let's briefly recap the coincidences, shall we? The Bush family coincidentally has close business ties to the family that supplied the mastermind of the terrorist attacks. The Bush family also coincidentally had ties to the company that provided security for the principal target of the attacks, the World Trade Center (this company would, of course, have been afforded unprecedented and unquestioned access to the buildings). And the Bush family coincidentally had similar ties to United Airlines, which supplied two of the hijacked flights, and Dulles International Airport, which supplied a third.
The prime suspect, the weapons, the primary target ... I guess the question that comes to my mind is then: is there any aspect of the September 11 story that is not coincidentally covered with the fingerprints of some member of the Bush family?
Speaking of which ... I was recently invited, by a website that I've never heard of, to submit a missive on the topic of "Did Bush Know?" This question is, in a sense, rather silly, in that it assumes that George W. Bush is actually running the show, or is at least an important member of his own administration.
Had I the time and the inclination to address the question of "Did Bush Know?," I guess the first question that I would have is: which Bush exactly is it that we are talking about? Is it the Bush that has deep financial ties to the bin Laden family and the Saudi royal family? Is it the Bush that sat on the board of the corporate entity that supplied 'security' to the World Trade Center, the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority and United Airlines, and that had deep financial ties to the Kuwaiti royal family? Is it the Bush that inexplicably declared a state of emergency in the state of Florida just four days before the September 11 attacks, setting the stage for the possible imposition of martial law? Or is it the Bush who is currently posing as the president?
Here's another question that I have: at what point does the fraudulence of the "War on Terror" become so blatant, and the complicity of the media in selling Washington's lies so glaringly apparent, that the huddled masses of America will awake to the fact that there is a completely different reality out there than the one we are being sold?
Consider that even while Team Bush has been doing business with its Saudi and Kuwaiti partners, it has long been plotting to launch a completely unprovoked assault upon neighboring Iraq -- all, of course, in the name of 'fighting terror.'
Now the last time I checked, Saudi Arabia was the country that spawned the alleged mastermind of the attacks and 15 of his 19 henchmen, and also supplied most of the funding for the ethereal Al Qaeda organization. And both the Saudi and Kuwaiti royal families are fond of advocating the brand of militant Islamism that allegedly inspired the attacks.
Iraq, on the other hand, has the rather unique distinction of being the only country on the Arabian peninsula to host a secular government. And there is absolutely no paper or money trail linking Iraq to the events of September 11, or to any other purported acts of terrorism.
And yet here we are massing troops and stockpiling weapons in the very countries that supply the foot-soldiers, the funding, and the ideology to so-called 'terrorist' groups, so that we can brutally attack a country that has not attacked, nor threatened to attack, any Western targets, and that has no connection to Islamic 'terrorism'. And all the while, the media collectively pretend not to see anything wrong with that picture.
And it matters not, by the way, what Iraq does to appease Washington's warmongers.
The following quote from Rumsfeld appeared in an article on the front page of the January 16 edition of the L.A. Times: "The fact that the inspectors have not yet come up with evidence of Iraq's [weapons of mass destruction] program could be evidence in and of itself of Iraq's noncompliance."
Yes, my friends, in this post-September 11 world we live in, a complete lack of evidence now constitutes evidence. And if there is evidence? Well ... that would also obviously be "evidence in and of itself." It makes perfect sense to me. No evidence = evidence. They are one and the same.
The Times, by the way, let Rumsfeld's post-Orwellian proclamation go completely unchallenged. Just as it, and all other U.S. media outlets, never bother to challenge the constant statements from Washington mouthpieces proclaiming that the burden is on Saddam to prove that he doesn't possess weapons of mass destruction.
It's always "Saddam," by the way, that the burden of proof is said to be on. The nation of Iraq is nearly always personified as the evil Saddam Hussein. It's just him we're going to war with, you see. Not the hundreds of thousands of rank and file Iraqis who are soon to be slaughtered.
As long as we now seem to have smoothly segued into a discussion of the looming Iraq bloodbath, I guess I should mention that I just heard on the news that, once the attack begins, the U.S. will move quickly to secure Iraq's oil fields.
If we don't, you see, that evil and dastardly Saddam will begin torching the country's wells and dumping vast amounts of crude oil into the ocean. Being the good guys in this fable, we of course will make preventing an environmental disaster our number one priority -- a policy which will only incidentally also serve to justify the establishment of military control over a sizable chunk of the world's oil reserves.
But wait, you say ... the Iraqis did torch wells and dump oil into the ocean the last time around. And perhaps they did. It always seemed to me though, quite frankly, that the 'oil in the Gulf' trick was more likely due to the massive and largely indiscriminate bombing of the country with virtually every type of explosive and incendiary device known to man.
And that scenario whereby America allegedly came riding to the rescue - with Andy Kaufman's performance of the theme song from Mighty Mouse playing in the background - just in time to precisely drop a smart bomb that miraculously cut off the flow of oil? That always seemed a little unlikely to me.
What seemed far more likely was that, say, an Iraqi tanker or storage facility was blown open with a bomb or cruise missile, and thereafter drained itself into the Gulf.
It also seems entirely likely that more than a few of those oil well fires were caused by the massive aerial bombardment by the U.S. and its allies. That's the funny thing about explosive and incendiary devices: they tend to blow things up and start fires. Go figure.
Of those wells that likely were destroyed by retreating Iraqis, a good number of them were wells that were set up by Kuwait specifically as slant-drilling operations to suck the oil out from under sovereign Iraqi territory. They were illegal drilling operations that Iraqi troops no doubt felt entirely justified in destroying, as would the troops of any sovereign nation that was being subjected to economic warfare.
But here I have digressed from the point that I started to make, which is that Washington has repeatedly saddled Iraq with the burden of proving a negative, which any first-year student of logic can tell you is an impossibility. Apparently though, there aren't any reporters/newscasters/commentators in the country who have studied logic.
The fact that you can't prove a negative is an underlying principle of our system of jurisprudence -- which is one of the primary reasons why the burden of proof is on the accuser to prove that something was done, rather then on the accused to prove that something wasn't done.
The Bush administration does not recognize this basic logical, and legal, principle. And neither does the U.S. media, which rather remarkably allows the Bush gang to routinely deny the Iraqi government any means of avoiding being ruthlessly pummeled by U.S. firepower.
But let's get back to the September 11 attacks. And let's ask a question that any good investigator should ask when searching for suspects: who benefited from the events of that day?
I first posed that question in the immediate aftermath of the attacks, as did other researchers. It was clear before the dust had settled over Manhattan that Washington was destined to be the primary beneficiary of the attacks. And that is, of course, exactly how things have played out.
Many 'conspiracy theory' bashers have claimed that the "who benefited?" question is an illegitimate one to ask. If so, then someone really should break the news to police detectives all around the world, who seem to think that asking that question is integral to conducting an investigation of a crime.
The fact that someone, or some entity, benefited from a crime certainly does not alone prove guilt. And Washington is certainly ready, willing and able to manipulate outcomes to serve its purposes, regardless of whether the opportunity was manufactured, or just happened to present itself.
Nevertheless, the question of "who benefited?" must be taken into consideration, along with other indicators, when attempting to ascertain the truth of what happened on September 11. And the party that gained the most from September 11, without question, was the Bush administration.
So if we look at what happened that day in terms of who benefited, the most likely place to look for suspects would be in Washington. If we look at what happened that day in terms of historical precedents, then the most likely place to look for suspects would be in Washington. And if we look at what happened that day in terms of the evidence in the case, only a portion of which was reviewed herein, then the most likely place to look for suspects would still be in Washington. And, finally, if we look at the fact that there were very clear signs that the country was already headed in the direction that we have taken since September 11, the attacks just seem entirely too convenient for the most likely suspects not to be in Washington..
Make no mistake about it, the situation that we currently find ourselves in was coming with or without the specific provocation of September 11. The warning signs were everywhere. You couldn't miss them. All that was required was taking a look at the big picture.
I indicated earlier that conspiracy theories can not generally be proven. Comprehensive conspiracy theories can, however, be tested -- just as scientific theories can be tested. This is generally accomplished by employing what is referred to as the 'scientific method' -- observing to see whether predictions drawn from those theories prove to be valid predictions.
If the predictions, or hypotheses, prove to be valid, then it can be concluded that the results lend support to the theory. This certainly does not prove the theory, but does support it ... which is about the best that can be hoped for.
And so we arrive, at long last, at what initially was the primary purpose
of this newsletter ... except that I have, once again, run out of time
and space. So once again I will continue this to next week ...
February 2, 2003
As I started to say at the end of the last newsletter, we have finally
arrived, at long last, at what initially was the primary purpose of this
newsletter series: shamelessly patting myself on the back as we review
how the Bush administration has measured up to the predictions that I made
for it back in December of 2000, just after the U.S. Supreme Court overruled
the American people and installed George II in the White House.
As readers will recall, after the election fiasco there was much fretting by the press over what the Bush team would bring to the table -- which I respectfully, as always, commented on in the opening passage of the posting:
Will Bush be weakened by the perceived illegitimacy of his presidency? Will he be stymied by an evenly divided Congress? Will he be able to reach across the aisle to forge a bipartisan consensus? Will he be able to heal the wounds of a fractured nation? Yadda, yadda, yadda.
Nobody knew what the future held for Bush's administration or for the country -- or so went the media's collective refrain. But some of us weren't so coy about assessing the situation:
Despite all the hand wringing by the press and pundits over the obstacles facing the incoming administration, it seems pretty clear that the Bush team has been emboldened by its broad-daylight theft of the election, and by the relative passivity of the American people, and will very likely move quickly and decisively to promote an exceedingly reactionary agenda.
That sounds to me like a pretty accurate description, in general, of what we have seen in the last two years. Further predictions dealt with more specific aspects of that reactionary agenda (and I will include everything from the December 2000 posting that could be considered a prediction, no matter how mundane, lest I be accused of picking and choosing only those predictions that proved to be compelling. There are very minor changes in wording, grammar, and syntax from the original December 2000 posting. This is due to the fact that I am a severely anal person and am incapable of rereading any of my stuff without 'improving' it. The substantive content of the original posting has not been changed):
One of the first things we should look for is that the shortened transition period will be crassly exploited to ram through a number of questionable cabinet appointments, who will of course be perfunctorily confirmed, in the spirit of bipartisanship, by the hideously corrupt United States Congress. These appointments will receive, of course, considerably less press coverage than the early 'diverse' appointments.
And that is, more or less, what happened -- though it wasn't a real difficult call to make. Bush's earliest nominees and appointees were intended to create the illusion of an administration that would represent all Americans; hence we saw such names as Colin Powell, Condi Rice and Karen Hughes trotted out. These were, not surprisingly, followed by such names as Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, and Otto Reich.
This next prediction proved to be inaccurate, though not entirely so:
Expect also to see Little George reach out to Congressional Democrats, particularly Senators, when passing out Cabinet posts. Besides the all-important illusion of seeking conciliation by 'reaching across the aisle,' which the press just loves to talk about, a much more important purpose is served by doing so: all Democrats siphoned off of Congress can be replaced with Republicans.
What I failed to anticipate, obviously, was that that tragic event known simply as "9-11" would enable congressional Democrats en masse to stop pretending that they are a legitimate opposition party, giving them a free hand to endorse "every reactionary proposal to emerge from the Bush White House."
And there is certainly no question that Congress has indeed given a huge thumbs-up to every far-right proposal that has come from Pennsylvania Avenue.
However, as September 11 inevitably begins to fade from memory, Democrats will have to put some limited effort into pretending to offer a different vision than their Republican cronies. Perhaps that is why the GOP has now quite likely resorted to more dubious political means to capture/retain control of both houses of Congress: electronic election rigging.
The next prediction from December 2000 pondered whether "Ollie North and Co" would once again take up residence in the White House's "basement." No sign yet of Ollie North, but we have the next best thing -- his good buddies and co-conspirators John Poindexter, Elliot Abrams, John Negroponte and the aforementioned Otto Reich. They no longer, of course, have to operate out of the basement. The dirty work can now be done right out in broad daylight, which leaves more room in the basement for Dick Cheney to tend to his duties.
This next prediction was obviously made in jest, due primarily to the fact that I appear to have seriously underestimated the brazenness of the incoming Bush team:
Shortly into the new administration, expect a fire to be staged in the Reichstag, providing the pretext to dissolve Congress and usurp legislative powers .... Oh, wait a minute ... I was thinking of another head of state that 'legally' assumed power. Never mind.
Though clearly meant as a joke, this proved to be not too far off the mark, so I think I'm going to take credit for it, if you don't mind.
Instead, expect Bush's much ballyhooed tax 'reform' to be prominent on the agenda. Don't worry though; it won't have any effect on you. Capital gains and inheritance taxes will undoubtedly be slashed dramatically, perhaps even eliminated entirely. Income taxes may be lowered as well, though primarily for corporations and those with stratospheric incomes. Some savings might even trickle down to you, but don't count on it.
This has, to no one's surprise, proven to be accurate. Even as I write this, it has been revealed that the White House is planning a propaganda campaign to justify substantially raising taxes on lower- and middle-income Americans (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A59577-2002Dec15.html and http://www.ctj.org/pdf/flat1202.pdf ), even while advancing a new 'economic stimulus' package that primarily entails handing out additional massive tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans.
Expect also a stepped-up 'war on terrorism.'
This proved to be, I think it's safe to say, a bit of an understatement. So too did the passage that immediately followed those words:
What this really means, of course, is an increased attack on the human and civil rights of Americans. We will naturally be told that our lawmakers are striking a balance between the rights of American citizens, and the need to guard against the nonexistent threat of international and domestic terrorism. In the name of protecting us, a wholesale attack on our few remaining democratic rights will be launched.
Well ... let's see now ... so far Team Bush has given us the USA PATRIOT Act, the Department of Homeland Security, the TIPS program, the Information Awareness Office, 'Total Information Awareness,' indefinite detentions without charges or trials or access to legal counsel, and secret military tribunals. Not bad for two years.
[W]e are [also] likely to see ... a new omnibus crime bill. More police, better equipped police, more prisons, more liberal use of the death penalty, restrictions on appeals, more behaviors criminalized, greater cooperation between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies: all of this and more is necessary if we're to get serious about being 'tough on crime.'
And much of that is what we have gotten, and will continue to get -- particularly so in regards to the merging of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, which is one of the stated goals of the Homeland Security Act. As it turns out though, we didn't need to bother with the passing of a crime bill, per se, since the "war on crime" and the "war on terrorism" appear to have been pretty much rolled into one.
Two buzz words to be on the lookout for from Team Bush are 'privatization' and 'deregulation.' For the Bushwhackers, the more of both, the better. Schools, healthcare facilities and prisons are prime candidates for privatization, along with, of course, Social Security and Medicare.
Team Bush hasn't destroyed Social Security and Medicare just yet through privatization, but they are certainly working diligently towards that goal. Give them time. They've just gotten started, after all. They still have six years to go ... ooops, I meant to say two years.
Six years would imply that Bush is guaranteed a second term, which is something we all know will not be decided for another two years, through a completely democratic election process that is envied around the world.
But can there really be any doubt that 'the powers that be' will do whatever is necessary to keep their boy in the White House? Didn't Al Gore's preemptive withdrawal from the 2004 race already send a very clear signal that only the weakest imaginable opponents will be allowed to challenge Herr Bush?
Sorry ... I seem to have segued there into making predictions, when I am supposed to be reviewing old predictions. Anyway, as for privatization, the Bushies have been busily working to privatize nearly 1,000,000 federal jobs. And that's just for starters.
Deregulation could strike anywhere, at any time, touted as a way to lower consumer costs by increasing competition. Expect sudden and drastic price increases to follow any act of deregulation.
Being a Southern Californian, the first thing that comes to mind for me is the deregulation of the California energy market, which led directly to looting and pillaging by some felonious energy companies, one of which was named, if I remember correctly, something like "Enron." This looting and pillaging led to skyrocketing prices for consumers.
Those in other parts of the country can insert their own favorite deregulation story. Next up is this prediction:
In the field of foreign policy, look for an increasingly belligerent attitude towards Poppy Bush's old buddy, Saddam Hussein.
We may be witness to the world's first deployment of a 'tactical' nuclear weapon. This would most likely occur under the pretense of destroying alleged Iraqi underground nuclear/biowarfare facilities.
This remains a very real possibility. There has been increasingly open talk of utilizing nuclear weapons against Iraq, and there is a very good chance that this will come to pass before Bush finishes his first term. Washington is eager to show the world, or parts of it anyway, that resisting Western hegemony can be a very unhealthy course of action.
Bear in mind, by the way, that this prediction was made well before there was any indication that the U.S. was going Back to Iraq for another round of Bomb Saddam. In fact, it was first made in April of 1999 (in the epilogue to my first book), and was then repeated in the December 2000 posting.
That epilogue also stated that "we will very likely also see the restoration of the draft in the foreseeable future." And sure enough, I see that two such proposals are now on the table -- laid there, bizarrely enough, with claims that a reinstatement of the draft will make Washington less likely to rush off to war.
Elsewhere on the foreign relations front, expect a new mission for our men and women in uniform.
I guess I should have said "expect multiple new missions." Or maybe it's just one big mission -- "The War on Terror." The first leg of that mission, Afghanistan, wasn't long in coming. How many more there will be remains to be seen.
It's ... necessary to repeatedly remind all those 'rogue' nations out there that we are serious about imposing U.S.-approved markets on every corner of the globe. Opposition to manipulation and exploitation by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Trade Organization has been known to bring on a case of Sudden Aerial Bombardment Syndrome.
It has also been known to bring on a recurring case of Transparently Orchestrated Coup Masquerading as a Popular Uprising Syndrome, as the good people of Venezuela have recently discovered.
Another thing we can expect from the Bush team ... is a couple of reactionary Supreme Court appointments.
These obviously haven't come yet, but undoubtedly will before Bush leaves the White House. It probably wouldn't do to rush into it though. The president appointing Supreme Court justices too soon after the Supreme Court justices appointed the president might raise troubling questions in many people's minds about exactly what type of 'democracy' it is we are running here.
On the brighter side, one thing we shouldn't expect from the Bush team is a repeal of abortion rights. Contrary to their carefully crafted images, the Bush family, and any number of other 'conservatives' in Washington, aren't really opposed to the practice of abortion. They just pretend that they are to insure the support of the Abortion Clinic Bombers lobby.
So far, there have been no serious efforts to restrict abortion rights. One of Bush's earliest actions as president was to approve legislation restricting funding for overseas family-planning clinics. This was an obvious bone thrown to Bush's supposed 'conservative base,' and the new policy was quietly reversed not long after it was implemented.
There is recent talk of the Roe v. Wade decision being in jeopardy of being overturned. And Bush has clearly signaled his intent to carry on the family tradition of pretending to be 'pro-life,' and pretending, more generally, to have respect for the sanctity of human life.
But Bush clearly has no respect at all for the sanctity of human life. We are talking here about a man who does not hesitate to cast about for fabricated justifications for launching an unprovoked attack that will leave hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians dead.
This man has absolutely no respect for human life, and also has no intention of criminalizing the practice of abortion. The Bush family has long had a keen interest in population control. The more means that can be utilized to thin the herd, the better. That is why, despite the posturing, it is very unlikely that any significant changes in abortion laws will come to pass.
Let's now review some of the more significant predictions: a White House full of reactionary appointees, including a smattering of Iran/Contra conspirators, rushing to implement a decidedly far-right agenda; a greatly stepped-up 'war on terrorism'; renewed hostilities with Iraq; a new military mission for our men and women in uniform; a sweeping and unrelenting attack on democratic rights; and hopelessly regressive tax policies.
Sounds about right to me.
And all it took was about $1,600 in toll charges for calls to the Psychic Friends Network. Oh shit ... I just remembered that I already slipped a Miss Cleo joke into this newsletter series. I guess a Psychic Friends Network joke at this point would be a little redundant. So I should probably think up something else to use here. But nothing really comes to mind. Sorry.
All that was really required was a willingness to look beyond the conventional explanations given for why things happen as they do, coupled with the ability to connect enough of the dots that a picture begins to emerge of the hidden forces and patterns at work in this cancerous impersonation of a democratic state.
So what is the point of all this? I suppose that - in addition to filling column space with old writings, which comes in very handy since I've been too busy to write much new stuff - it is to illustrate that far from being counter-productive diversions, far from being loony, silly, paranoid delusions, carefully and comprehensively constructed 'conspiracy theories' can in fact aid immeasurably in understanding the world that we live in.
In fact, it is impossible to make sense of the world if you play by the rules, utilizing only those theories and those pieces of the puzzle that are provided by Washington and its media cohorts. There are too many pieces missing to ever catch even a faint glimpse of the big picture.
You have to be adventurous. You have to travel far off the beaten path, first through the world of the progressive/alternative media, oftentimes wallowing nearly neck-deep in putrid disinformation, picking through the muck to find pieces of the puzzle as you go, being ever vigilant not to pick up any red herrings, which look deceptively like the real pieces of the puzzle, and will seem to fit, until you discover that there is another piece that fits a little better.
Such a journey will give you a better view of the big picture, but most of what you will read is controlled dissent -- which is to say that you will come away with a somewhat dimmer view of the country you call home, but still firmly committed to the erroneous belief that this is the greatest goddamn country that ever graced the earth, and that overall we have been a great force for good in the world, though we may have taken a few missteps.
As you continue to venture further and further away from the mainstream, you will continue to find pieces of the puzzle, and the picture will become more troubling. At some indefinable point, you will cross the line into the mysterious Conspiracy Zone. You must go in. Some key pieces of the puzzle are hidden in there.
But you must use extreme caution. You never know what you will encounter.
Various oddities have been known to inhabit this area. You could encounter UFOs, crop circles or chemtrails. Various forms of alien life are lurking around every corner. Disinformation runs thick, coating everything in sight, and giving the entire Zone a noxious odor. Still, you must persevere. Buried deep in that odorous ooze are some essential pieces of the puzzle.
The truth is out there. Most of it, anyway. But it is scattered around in bits and pieces, and you have to find enough of them, and assemble enough of them in the correct sequence, to create a picture that begins to approximate an accurate reflection of an objective reality -- which looks a whole lot different than the manufactured reality.
Of course, if you're not equipped with a good 'bullshit detector,' you could easily come back from your journey with a new reality that is no more accurate than your old reality, though it will certainly contain some interesting new elements.
It's a very large puzzle, with a lot of pieces and any number of variations of each piece. Everyone puts the puzzle together a little differently, which is why, as I said at the beginning of this now-lengthy diatribe, there are as many theories out there as there are people to formulate them.
I happen to like the way that I have assembled the puzzle, though it is certainly not yet complete -- and never will be.
I guess I shouldn't say that I like the way that I have assembled the puzzle. I actually fear and despise it. The picture that I have created is an ugly one indeed -- far uglier than I ever imagined when beginning the journey. But what I like about it is that it provides answers. It allows me to make sense of events as they unfold -- events that never made any sense when viewed through a manufactured reality.
This, for example, was how 9-11 looked to me on the day of the attacks (written on September 11, posted on September 12):
Our elected leaders - who are elected only in the sense that every couple of years we are given a choice between two interchangeable candidates - will revel in the free reign they will be given to ram through legislation so appallingly reactionary that it would have been unthinkable just days ago. Military spending and the militarization of the country will escalate to a fever pitch. Welcome to the new and improved police state -- the largest, most powerful, and most technologically advanced the world has ever seen.
And with that, I suppose, I will conclude this extended rant.... after, that is, I offer a few comments on The Smirk's State of the Union address.
What can I say about George the Younger's speech? Watching George, Jr. deliver a speech is always a singularly unsettling experience, and this time was certainly no different. All of the standard elements were there: the crude hypocrisy; the outlandish lies; the piss-poor attempts to feign sincerity; the transparency of his real motives; the facial expressions that belie the emotions that he is attempting to express; and, as always, that trademark smirk.
I can't even begin to catalogue all the lies that rolled off King George's lips. Virtually everything that he said was a lie. It's quite possible that Bush set some kind of record for telling more lies in a single one-hour speech than any politician in American history.
And he knows that. Not only does he know that, but he can't seem to restrain himself from gloating over it even as he is telling the lies. That is why he always sports that smirk. What that smirk says is: "Yeah, I'm lying my ass off, and we both know it, but there's not a damn thing that you can do about it, and nobody in this room with me here today and nobody in the media is going to call me on my lies, no matter how transparent and outrageous they are."
What that smirk means, in other words, is "fuck you."
While Bush's performance was truly appalling, his was certainly not the only appalling performance on display. No ... pretty much everyone in attendance turned in a repulsive performance as well -- repeatedly giving Caligula standing ovations for uttering the most outrageous of lies and the crudest of threats.
Seventy-three applause breaks in an hour-long speech. That works out to one every 49 seconds -- which is pretty amazing given that Bush can normally go for months without saying anything worth applauding.
The Republican side of the chamber, which is normally impossible to differentiate from the Democratic side, stood out this time due to the party's decision to punctuate their standing O's with asinine whoops and cheers, undoubtedly leaving some viewers wondering if perhaps the State of the Union address had been preempted by a particularly obnoxious episode of the Jerry Springer Show.
If I had to pick out a defining moment from the speech, I'd have to give consideration to the moment when the gallery erupted in thunderous applause in response to Caesar's proclamation that the United States would not hesitate to act in defiance of world opinion -- shortly after he had harshly denounced Iraq for, of all things, allegedly acting in defiance of world opinion.
I would also have to give consideration to the moment when the gallery burst into deafening applause in response to Bush openly gloating, in his inimitable frat-boy style, over the assassination of foreign nationals who are claimed to be 'terrorists.'
And I would have to give consideration to the moment when Bush discussed his frustration at not finding Osama bin Laden ... except that, come to think of it, George never actually mentioned bin Laden at all. But that shouldn't have come as much of a surprise. Osama is so 'last year.'
But I would have to give consideration to the moment when 'Dumbya' managed to mispronounce the names of all three of the nations that make up the comic book creation known as the 'Axis of Evil' -- which, if I remember correctly, was spawned by Captain America's former foe, and the world's previous arch-villain: the 'Evil Empire.'
By the way, does anyone know exactly where the "Krean peninshula" is? It must be important, because King George mentioned it twice, but I haven't been able to locate it on a map.
In the end, there was one moment that stood out above all others as the defining moment of the speech -- a moment when the Orwellian lies reached such a surreal level that Bush could be seen struggling, and failing, to keep a straight face, as if even he could not believe that he could get away with such a complete, and completely transparent, inversion of reality.
That moment came when Bush actually said, and I'm quoting here, that "all free nations have a stake in preventing sudden and catastrophic attacks." He said this not long before reaffirming that his administration will not be deterred from, of all things, launching a sudden and catastrophic attack on a defenseless nation that has done absolutely nothing to justify such an attack.
No one, of course, challenged the comment. No one challenged any of the lies. And no one will. No one, that is, who is given a platform to speak to an audience of any appreciable size. That, you see, is how a 'free press' operates.
I'm sorry to report that, due to continuing problems with my Internet service, I have little in the way of new links to pass along -- though I do have a couple here that are particularly compelling. Both are fairly lengthy exposés that come from sources that are far off the beaten path that most researchers follow.
The first is entitled "The Lords of Bakersfield," and comes courtesy of the tiny Bakersfield Californian (http://ww2.bakersfield.com/2003/lords/). The second, from The Crime Library, concerns "The Mysterious Dr. Ford" (http://www.crimelibrary.com/terrorists_spies/terrorists/larry_ford/1.html).
Both are highly recommended. With a little bit of reading between the lines, and a little connecting of the dots, these stories reveal many truths about the world we live in.
Check back next week when we will open the mailbag
and revisit the Pentagon attack, among other things. Until then ...
(Isaiah 33:22) For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; he will save us.
Copyright 1996, 2014, by Gregory Allan; All rights reserved.