Progressive Politics Research and Commentary by Janette Rainwater
 
"Terrorism" and Blowback: A Chronology of America's Descent into Fascism

Part Four:

"Terrorism" and US Foreign Policy from the Bush II Inauguration until the Beginning of Air Strikes on Afghanistan

January 29, 2001    Four days after the inauguration of the new administration Dick Cheney, ex-CEO of Halliburton, sets up an Energy Policy Task Force to help him make policy decisions. [On May 16th he issued a brief summary of the secret meetings which was too brief to satisfy Congress. On the 10th of September the General Accounting Office demanded that the White House reveal and publish the details of the program devised by the Energy Policy Task Force and the names of the people participating. As of this writing (June 16, 2002), the White House has not complied. Brisard and Dasquié, pp. 71-72.]

January 31, 2001    The bipartisan Hart-Rudman commission issues its final report, "Road Map for National Security: Imperative for Change," in which they warn that the US homeland is vulnerable to "catastrophic attack" and outline recommendations for "a new triad of prevention, protection and response." [This comprehensive 149-page report was ignored by the Bush administration. In May Bush scuttled Senate hearings on the report with his announcement of a new commission to be headed by Dick Cheney--- which failed to have its first meeting before 9-11. www.nssg.gov/PhaseIII.pdf; http://democrats.com/display.cfm?id=278. ]

February 5, 2001    The Taliban use the pages of the London Times to invite the new administration in Washington to resume negotiations. Laila Helms, the PR person for the Taliban, expedites the visit of Mullah Omar's roving ambassador, Sayed Rahmatullah Hashimi, to the United States. (She is an Afghan by birth and the niece of former CIA director, Richard Helms.) Brisard, p. 69, The Times (UK), February 5, 2001, p. 21.

February 12, 2001    Nancy Soderburg, the American ambassador to the United Nations, states that, at the request of Fransesc Vendrell, the United States will seek to "find a way to have a continuing dialogue on humanitarian issues with the Taliban." [Between April 19 and August 17 she made four trips to Kabul and Kandahar for discussions with the Taliban. In the same period the "6 + 2" meetings resumed under the sponsorship of the UN with Vendrell presiding, but with a change in personnel. The individuals attending were now people with no official positions in their current governments so as not to compromise them. There were at least three meetings in Germany, all with the goal of getting the Taliban to sign an armistice and form a coalition government with the Northern Alliance and to extradite Osama bin Laden. Brisard and Dasquié, pp. 75-76.]

May 17, 2001    Christina Rocca, in a confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for her appointment as director of the State Department's Bureau of Asiatic Affairs, testifies that the Bush administration intends to establish peace and stability in Afghanistan and that requires that there be dialogue with the Taliban. [Rocca was a CIA intelligence operative in the area, 1982-1997, during which time she coordinated relations with mujaheddin and supervised part of the delivery of Stinger missiles to them. It is rumored that 2001 informal contacts included Qazi Hussein Ahmad, the head of Jamaa-i-Islamiya, which had joined its forces with those of Osama bin Laden in the Khost area. Brisard and Dasquié, pp. 74-75.]

May 18, 2001    The Bush II administration pledges an additional $43 million to Afghanistan since the Taliban have agreed to eliminate the poppy crop. This brings the total for this year to $124 million, making the US the largest humanitarian aid donor to the country. Washington Post, 25 May 2001.

June 1, 2001    A secret meeting on the subject of Afghanistan is held in Washington between Condaleeza Rice, Christina Rocca, Fransesc Vendrell and some British observers. [Beginning May 6th Vendrell had had discussions with ex-king Zahir Shah, aged 87 and in poor health, about conditions for his return to Afghanistan and possible replacement of the Taliban. Brisard and Dasquié, pp. 77-78.]

July 4-14, 2001    Osama bin Laden is a patient in the American hospital in Dubai receiving treatment for his kidney disease. During this period he is visited by the CIA station chief who is summoned back to Washington on July 15th. Le Figaro, October 31, 2001. One wonders why this man, indicted in the US for conspiracy in the attacks on the East African embassies and the USS Cole and the subject of a targeted attack by the US in 1998, was not apprehended in Dubai or his private jet forced down (or shot down) on the way back to Afghanistan.

July 5, 2001    Warnings and Increased Security:  Richard Clarke, the White House's long-time national coordinator for counter-terrorism, calls a meeting of the heads of the major domestic security organizations--- the Federal Aviation Administration, the Coast Guard, Customs, INS, and the FBI. Major signals have been coming to the CIA concerning a likely attack on American soil by Al Qaeda, so he enjoins the agencies to increase security in view of an impending attack. "It all came together the third week in June," Clarke later told Lawrence Wright. "The CIA's view was that a major terrorist attack was coming in the next several weeks." "The Counter-Terrorist", The New Yorker, January 14, 2002, p. 61. Unlike the general public, Attorney General John Ashcroft is warned to use private planes and to avoid commercial airlines. CBSNews.com, July 26, 2001.

July 10, 2001    Warning Signs from Arizona:  Agent Kenneth Williams of the Phoenix office of the FBI becomes suspicious of the "inordinate number" of men from Middle Eastern countries taking pilot training in his state, especially after one of them expresses hostility towards the United States and a perverted view of Islam. He writes a seven-page memo detailing his observations, including the fact that several of the men have ties to a radical Islamic organization in London and that "fatwas" have been issued declaring American domestic aviation and airports to be legitimate targets. He suggests that all training schools in the United States should be probed for students with terrorist ties. He sends this memo to several field offices as well as the Radical Fundamentalist Unit addressed to the "Osama bin Laden" desk, but no action is taken until after September 11. (Five months earlier he had complained in a letter that counter-terrorism had the "lowest investigative priority" in his office.) Paul de la Garza, "Senator says FBI memo 'takes your breath away'" St. Petersburg Times, May 23, 2002; Jerry Seper, "Agent told CIA of flight students," Washington Times, May 23, 2002; Edward Helmore, "Agent blasts FBI over 11 September cover-up," London Observer, May 26, 2002.

July 17-20, 2001    Crucial Track Two Meeting: The third round of a "track two" meeting of senior Russian, American, Iranian and Pakistani officials to brainstorm on the future of Afghanistan takes place in a Berlin hotel. The Americans propose that in exchange for delivering Osama bin Laden (wanted for his alleged involvement in the bombings of the African embassies and the USS Cole) and consenting to an enlarged government that would include Northern Alliance leaders, the Taliban could receive international recognition and financial aid. [These negotiations, first begun in November 2000, had been adopted fervently by the Bush fils administration in February. They hoped to stabilize Afghanistan and get the Unocal pipeline back on track. The Taliban, however, seemed unwilling to comply with all the conditions. Niaz Naik, a former foreign minister of Pakistan, reported to the Guardian that the Americans had threatened that "in case the Taliban does not behave and in case Pakistan also does not help us to influence the Taliban, then the United States would be left with no option but to take an overt action against Afghanistan." Naik passed this threat to his government which informed the Taliban. The Americans present were Tom Simons, former ambassador to Pakistan, Karl Inderfurth, former assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs, and Lee Coldren, head of the State Department office of Pakistan, Afghan and Bangladesh affairs until 1997. The Guardian (UK), September 22, 2001 Jean-Charles Brisard in an interview in Paris after the publication of Ben Laden: La vérité interdite, quoted Simons as saying, "either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs." Julio Godoy, Inter Press Service, November 15, 2001.

On August 2nd Christine Rocca, the director of Asian affairs at the State Department and former CIA officer, met with the Taliban ambassador in Islamabad, probably the last contact of the Americans with the Taliban before September 11th. Irish Times, November 19, 2001. So possibly September 11th was either a pre-emptive strike by Osama and the Taliban or an attack by Al Qaeda to prevent the Taliban from knuckling under and extraditing bin Laden?]

July 20-22, 2001    The G-8 conference meets in Genoa amid extraordinary security precautions. [Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and others had warned those responsible for security that there was a strong possibility that a hijacked airplane loaded with explosives would be crashed into the conference building. So all flights in the area were banned and anti-aircraft guns were deployed around the site. Bush slept on an American ship in the harbor, not on land.] "Cover-up and conspiracy: The Bush administration and September 11, wsws.org, May 18, 2002.

August 16, 2001    The First Arrest for a Disaster Yet to Happen: The FBI arrest Zacarias Moussaoui, a French-born man of Arab descent from Morocco, after officials of a flight school outside of Minneapolis report their suspicions. [Moussaoui had requested flight training on a Boeing 747 although he had no skills at piloting small planes, and he was not interested in learning how to land or take off, only how to steer the plane in midair. He questioned instructors about how much fuel a Boeing 747 could hold and how much damage it could do if it hit a building. Additionally, he was evasive about his personal background and declined to speak French with a French-speaking instructor. The FBI did not investigate further despite repeated pleas from the flight school; Justice Department officials in Washington refused to give Minneapolis agents permission to examine the hard drive on Moussaoui's computer. Newsweek, October 1, 2001. A frustrated instructor warned the FBI that "a 747 loaded with fuel can be used as a bomb." On August 26 French intelligence notified the FBI that Moussaoui had links to Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda and had been on their watch list since the late '90s.. (In July Phoenix FBI agent Ken Williams had warned the counterterrorism department that he had detected a pattern of Arabs taking flight training in Arizona who might involved in terrorist groups and urged that flight schools throughout the country be investigated, but his memo and hunch were not shared with the Minneapolis agents. James Risen, New York Times, May 4, 2002.)  However, the FBI turned Moussaoui over to INS who detained him for violating the terms of his visa. After 9-11 the intelligence community examined the Moussaoui case and concluded that he was the missing "20th hijacker" who had been slated for the flight that went down in Pennsylvania. His computer, when finally examined, contained details of crop-dusting planes and evidence of links to Al Qaeda. He was indicted on December 11th in the US District Court in Alexandria on six counts of conspiracy. Four carry a maximum sentence of death. Patrick Martin, wsws.org, January 5, 2002; New York Times, December 12, 2001.]

August 22, 2001    This is the last day at work for John P. O.Neill, the deputy director of the FBI and, since 1995, the section chief for counterterrorism. [He became the expert in Islamic extremists. Long before the embassy bombings and the attack on the USS Cole, he was warning government officials about the militants they were breeding in Afghanistan and especially Osama bin Laden. He complained to Jean-Charles Brisard and others about how he felt his pursuit of bin Laden and other militants was stymied by the State Department and by Saudi Arabia. First, the Saudis executed the suspects of the Riyadh bombing before he could interview them. Second, he accused the US Ambassador to Yemen, Barbara Bodine, of impeding his inquiry into the bombing of the Cole. Finally, he was disgusted that the Bush administration had decided to negotiate with the Taliban, rather than pursuing it and its guest, bin Laden, in order to realize the goal of building a pipeline from Central Asia through Afghanistan. He told Brisard that "every answer, every key to dismantling the Osama bin Laden organizations are in Saudi Arabia." After retirement O'Neill went to work as head of security at the World Trade Center and, in the cruelest irony of all, died there on 9-11 attempting to save others' lives. Robert Kolker, "O'Neill Versus Osama," New York Magazine, December 17, 2001; Lawrence Wright, "The Counrer-Terrorist," The New Yorker, January 14, 2002, pp. 50-61; Brisard and Dasquié, Ben Laden: La vérité interdite.]

August 27, 2001    The CIA sends a cable on a classified government network warning that two "Bin Laden related individuals" have entered the United States. [Khalid Almihdhar came through JFK on July 4; Nawaf Alhazmi flew into Los Angeles International on January 15, 2000. It is believed that they were two of the group who seized control of American Airlines Flight 77 and crashed it into the Pentagon on 9-11. Both men were members of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad; the CIA believes this terrorist group merged with Al Qaeda in June. Neither man was apprehended, and the FBI disputes the "Immediate" label which the CIA claims was affixed to the message. The Los Angeles Times pointed out that a check with the California DMV would have given the several addresses where the two men lived in the San Diego area. On August 27, 2001 Alhazmi used a VISA card in his own name to buy a ticket on the internet for AA #77 on September 11th. He gave an address in Fort Lee, New Jersey. Los Angeles Times, October 18, 2001. ]

September 6-10, 2001    Activity on Wall Street:  An abnormally high number of "put" options are purchased on stock of United and American airlines. (A put option is a speculation that the stock price will go down.) United Airlines put options were 90 times the normal rate for these days. On September 6th UA put options were 285 times the average. No other airlines experienced abnormal put activity in this period. CBS News, September 26, 2001;www.fromthewilderness.com.  Morgan Stanley, the brokerage firm occupying some of the top floors of the north tower of the World Trade Center, and another WTC occupant, Merrill Lynch, also experience abnormally large put option purchases. [Some of the United puts were purchased through Deutschebank/AB Brown, a firm formerly managed by the executive director of the CIA, A.B. "Buzzy" Krongard. New York Times, September 21, 2001. Who were these buyers, what did they know, and HOW did they know? Why has there been no investigation? ]

September 7, 2001    Florida Governor Jeb Bush signs an executive order that empowers his National Guard to assist police and emergency-management teams in the event of acts of terrorism, civil disturbances, or natural disasters. (Interesting timing.)

September 9, 2001:    "On Videotape, Bin Laden Charts a Violent Future," reads the New York Times headline of a lengthy article by John F. Burns.  [After 9-11 the Times scrubbed it from its web site, substituting a revised article with no explanation. The original article describes a videotape of Osama which intelligence agencies had received in June. He is reciting verses at the wedding of his son in which he promises "an intensified holy war" against the United States and Israel and aid to the Palestinians fighting Israel--- this last being a new twist, as formerly his anger had been focussed on the American forces occupying the sacred land of Saudi Arabia. Against a background of US TV footage of the USS Cole explosion, he praises the suicide bombers and foresees more such attacks. He mocks the US for their failure to capture the Cole suspects and tells the faithful that they need not fear the United States--- their Islamic faith and their willingness to die is more than enough to withstand America's military strength. Praising the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar, he says that Afghanistan has become a purified Islamic state similar to that of 7th century Mecca and urges all to emigrate to Afghanistan and support the Taliban and Al-Qaeda; it is their duty to Allah. The two-hour videotape, mostly ignored by the US intelligence agencies, had become a best-seller in mosques and bazaars and was available on Islamic web sites. Just whom was the Times protecting when they deleted this article???  Fortunately, democrats.com grabbed a copy before it went into cyberspace and you may read it yourself at www.democrats.com/view.cfm?id=5942.

September 11, 2001    "The Day that Everything Changed" (?):

Around midnight (EST, but mid-morning in Afghanistan): A delegation arrives in Kabul from the People's Republic of China to sign a contract to provide the Taliban with the latest electronic defense equipment, including advance warning systems and missile tracking devices. Gordon Thomas, Seeds of Fire: China and the Story behind the Attack on Americ (2001), p. 491.

 Between 7:59 AM and 8:14 AM (EST) four planes take off from Boston's Logan Airport, Newark and Dulles headed for destinations in California. Shortly after takeoff the planes are diverted from their proper paths.

8:20 AM: Air traffic controllers become aware that AA 11, Boston to Los Angeles, has been hijacked. The airplane was headed back east, the transponder had been turned off, and the pilot had been able to push a button so the controller could hear the hijackers barking orders. New York Times, September 13, 2001.

8:38 AM: The Boston air traffic controllers notify NORAD that American Airlines Flight # 11 has been hijacked. [Standard Operating Procedure dictates that fighter jets be scrambled immediately to intercept any hijacked plane, indeed any plane that has deviated from its flight plan, as in the case of the doomed plane of golfer Payne Stewart in 1999. As of May 11, there has been no explanation why SOP was not followed on September 11.]

8:45 AM:  American Airlines Flight 11, Boston-Los Angeles, crashes into the north tower of the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan and explodes. There is a gigantic hole at the level of the 80th floor of the 110-story tower. The Secret Service has an open line to the FAA.

9:03 AM:  United Airlines Flight 175, Boston-Los Angeles, crashes into the south tower of the World Trade Center at about the 60th floor.

9:06 AM:  New York police broadcast: "This was a terrorist attack. Notify the Pentagon." New York Daily News, September 12, 2001.

9:25 AM:  The Federal Aviation Administration orders all planes grounded immediately. No further takeoffs will be allowed until noon the next day. [There was one interesting exception. Prince Bandar Bin-Sultan, the ambassador of Saudi Arabia to the United States, was allowed to use his private jet to take twenty-four members of the bin Laden family residing in the US back to Arabia. The FBI provided their escort to Logan Airport with no questions asked, no interrogation. And in the days following, Saudi Arabia would neither supply any information on the fifteen of its citizens believed to be among the nineteen alleged hijackers nor close down the bin Laden charities suspected of funding Al Qaeda. The prince (on Larry King's program, October 1st) described one of his benefactees who suddenly understood the injustice done to the Japanese-Americans in 1942. The privileged young man said, "I'm a rich man, I'm in Harvard, and I have to leave my school, not because I was guilty, but because the emotions are high." Could the ambassador possibly have been unaware of the arrogance involved in this anecdote? Christopher Hitchens, The Nation, January 21, 2002.]

9:31 AM:  Resident Bush describes the crashes as an "apparent terrorism attack" in a brief television appearance from Florida. [He had been reading a story about a goat in a photo-op with young children in a Sarasota school. When notified of the second crash, he tucked the note in his pocket and continued with the story. After his brief remarks on TV, he flew to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. He had learned of the first crash while driving to Emma Booker School in his limo. Several months later he twice told reporters how shocked he was when he saw the first crash on TV. This is odd, since no commercial TV cameras were trained on the World Trade Center at the time of the first crash. For details and analysis of this curious event, see http://emperors-clothes.com/indict/indict-3.htm#qa.]

9:33 AM:  The air traffic controller at Dulles notifies Reagan National Airport and the Secret Service that a "fast-moving primary target" (an airplane without a transponder) is headed east toward the forbidden airspace over the White House and the Capitol. Shortly thereafter the White House, the Pentagon and the Capitol are evacuated. Vice President Cheney is hustled into an underground bunker at the White House along with other key officials.

9:40 AM:  American Airlines Flight 77, Dulles-Los Angeles, crashes into the west side of the Pentagon. After this third crash F-16s are ordered to scramble from Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Virginia, 130 miles from Washington. [This according to the testimony of General Richard B. Myers (Acting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) before the Armed Services Committee on September 13th. Vice President Cheney made a similar assertion to Tim Russert on NBC's "Meet the Press" on the 16th. However, the official story changed a few days later after there were questions about why fighter jets had not been scrambled much sooner to intercept the hijacked planes--- if not immediately after 8:20 AM. The public was then told by CBS News that jets from Otis Air Base on Cape Cod, Massachusetts had indeed been scrambled at 8:52 AM , but had arrived at the World Trade Center too late to do anything but view the disaster. Marine Major Mike Snyder, spokesperson for NORAD, declined to comment on the news report, but stated categorically that no planes had become airborne until after the crash at the Pentagon. Glen Johnson, "Otis Fighter Jets Scrambled Too Late to Halt the Attacks," Boston Globe, September 15, 2001.]

10:00 AM:  The south tower implodes and collapses within seconds into a cloud of dust. The spectacle resembles the controlled demolitions of obsolete buildings that have been shown on TV for years..

10:10 AM:  United Airlines Flight 93, Newark-San Francisco, crashes southeast of Pittsburgh. Either the passengers had been alerted by cell phone to the previous crashes and were able to overcome the hijackers and crash the plane short of its possible destination of Washington (the fashionable explanation) or the plane was shot down by a US fighter jet.
[Human remains, singed papers and other debris from Flight 93 were found as far as eight miles from the crash site. Since it seems improbable that they could have blown that far over a mountain ridge in a light breeze (10 mph), a midair explosion would seem to be a more logical explanation for the crash. www.flight93crash.com.] For an interactive map showing the proper paths of the four planes plus a demonstration of their actual paths, see: http://www.usatoday.com/graphics/news/gra/gflightpath2/flash.htm

10:28 AM:  The north tower implodes and collapses similarly to the south tower.

12:39 PM:  Bush, speaking from Louisiana, pledges to hunt down the evil ones and punish those reponsible. He leaves for Orfutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. Mayor Rudy Guiliani has taken charge in New York and Vice President Cheney is running the show from the bunker in Washington.

7:00 PM:  Bush returns to the White House. [Many people in the US spent the day tethered to their TVs in a state of shock and millions more watched worldwide as the horrors escalated. Speculation was immediate by the administration, the TV networks and the public that this was the work of Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda network. By afternoon airport security photos were aired of two of the suspected hijackers as they passed the security camera at Logan. First estimates were that the death toll would be 6000-7000 people, but due to the space of time before the collapse of the towers, the final number of 3128 (including crews and passengers and deaths at the Pentagon and New York) was mercifully lower. A significant proportion of the deaths were the gallant police and firefighters who strove to rescue people at the World Trade Center. The damage was estimated at $15 billion plus another $1 billion to clean up the flaming debris, heaped seven stories high. It was believed that it would require 12-18 months to clean up the rubble, shore up the wall against the Hudson River, restore the underground utilities and repair the damaged subway station. Los Angeles Times, September 12, 2001; New York Times, October 16, 2001.]

[For an exquisitely-detailed timeline, see Paul Thompson's The Complete 9/11 Timeline --- caution: multi megabytes--- at www.unansweredquestions.org/timeline/.]

[In the following week the FBI announced the identities of 19 men believed to be the suicide bombers, and soon there were photos to go with the names. Details began to emerge of their lives in Germany, Britain and the United States prior to 9-11, their training in Al Qaeda camps, their behavior at the flight schools they attended in the US, and some nightclubbing inconsistent with the moral strictures of fundamentalist Muslims.

(For their names and pictures, see http://boston.com/news/packages/underattack/news/hijackers_list.htm. For a discussion about the possible "stolen identities" of the alleged hijackers, see The Two Ziad Jarrahs at www.unansweredquestions.org/timeline/AAjarrah.html. For a detailed account of the activities of the 19 alleged hijackers in the years, months and days preceding 9-11, see the declassified report of FBI Director Robert Mueller released September 26, 2002: www.fas.org/irp/congress/2002_hr/092602mueller.html.)  

On September 23rd Secretary of State Colin Powell announced (on a Sunday talk show) that a "white paper" was forthcoming that would detail all the information on Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda and prove to the world that they were responsible for the attcks on the 11th. However, this paper has never been released to the public and of all the governments to whom it has been shown, only that of the compliant Tony Blair has found the contents convincing. Seymour Hersh, "Mixed Messages," The New Yorker, June 3, 2002.

Also there came reports of warnings that had been given to the US government by foreign intelligence services:

  •  In June the US was warned by German intelligence that Middle Eastern terrorists were "planning to hijack commercial aircraft to use as weapons to attack important symbols of American and Israeli culture." This intelligence had been derived from Echelon. Frankfurter Allegemeine Zeitung, September 14, 2001
  • In August two Mossad agents came to Washington to tell the CIA and FBI that there were as many as 200 terrorists linked to Osama bin Laden in the US preparing for a "large-scale attack" on "highly visible targets" in the continental United States. There were "strong grounds for suspecting Iraqi involvement." David Wastell, Telegraph (UK), September 16, 2001 (re-posted May 30, 2002)
  • In August the French secret services told the FBI that a French-Algerian who was taking flying lessons in Boston had links to Osama bin Laden. BBC News, September 14, 2001.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the US that commercial airliners were going to be used by terrorists to attack, among other structures, the World Trade Center in the week of September 9th. MSNBC interview with Putin, September 15, 2001. Izvestia wrote on September 12 that Russian intelligence had warned the US government that as many as 25 pilots were training for suicide missions that would involve the crashing of airliners into important targets.
  • During the summer the Jordanian secret service, GID, picked up intelligence that Al Qaeda was planning a major attack inside the continental United States involving aircraft and sent the warning to the United States. The code name was "Al Ourush al Kabir" or The Big Wedding." John K. Cooley, "The U.S. ignored foreign warnings, too", International Herald Tribune, May 21, 2002
  • A further warning may have come from Morocco. According to a November story in a French magazine and a Moroccan newspaper, Hassan Dabou, a Moroccan secret agent, managed to infiltrate Al Qaeda where he learned that "large-scale operations in New York in the summer or autumn of 2001" were planned. Bin Laden, he told his superiors in Rabat, was "very disappointed" that the 1993 attack had failed to destroy the World Trade Center. He lost his entreé to Al Qaeda after a trip to the US to tell his story. (But he got asylum and a new identity in the US.) Cooley, IHT, May 21, 2002.

After every major catastrophe in the United States there has been some blue-ribbon commission to investigate the incident. Pearl Harbor, for instance, was investigated even as a major war was going on. (And by the order of the president, FDR.) But as of this date--- May 11, 2001, eight months after 9-11--- there has been no such commission established, and Bush, Cheney and others have pressured the Senate Intelligence Committee and Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle to have "no investigation," not even of the obvious intelligence failure. This has only given fuel to concerned citizens and conspiracy theorists who fall roughly into four groups:

Level One: Those who ask, what happened to our vaunted intelligence community which receives $30 billion+ yearly? Why couldn't they connect the dots between the foreign intelligence warnings, the Phoenix FBI agent's observations, and the frantic fears of the people in Minneapolis after Moussaoui's apprehension? Didn't they remember the Bojinka Plot that was so closely aborted in Manila in 1995? Or the 1994 terrorist threat to fly a plane into the Eiffel Tower in Paris? Are there no Tom Clancy fans in the CIA? (His 1994 thriller, Debt of Honor, featured a plane slamming into the Capitol and killing nearly a thousand people.) Or the warning and unusual precautions for the G-8 meeting in Genoa in July? Was it turf warfare between the FBI and the CIA that was responsible?

Why has there been no investigation of the pre 9-11 activity in certain stocks that implies either insider trader knowledge or marvelous intuition? And why, oh why did it take so long to get those F-16s in the air when the FAA knew almost immediately that four planes had been hijacked? Don't any of these agencies communicate with one another?

Level Two: Those who believe that the dots must have been connected, and the administration was warned, but--- Bush's poll ratings were slipping and the stock market was taking a nosedive, so "they" decided to let it happen and so have a cause around which to rally the public, and a good excuse to bomb Afghanistan and establish US primacy in Central Asia. Michael Ruppert at www.copvcia.com. Nico Haupt has a 91-page discussion of 20 suspects for "they" in They Let It Happen On Purpose at www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/HL0208/S00068.htm.

Level Three: Those theorists who claim that the unnamed "they" not only connected the dots but decided to help it along. Explosives were planted at strategic places to insure the collapse of the twin towers. This theory claims it requires 550 degrees C (1022 F) to "melt steel" yet aviation fuel burns at a maximum of 360 degrees C (680 F.) A variation of this theory says that there were no suicide bombers; control of the planes was seized by the mysterious "they" using technology that has been developed to regain control from the ground of airplanes that have been hijacked and then fly the planes by remote control. This is the technology that was used in Global Hawk that flew across the Pacific unmanned in April, 2001. Carol Valentine, "Operation 911:No Suicide Pilots", http://serendipity.magnet.ch/wot/valentine.htm

Level Four: Piggybacking on Level Three, there is a more complicated thesis in which three drone planes (no pilots, no passengers) hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Soon after takeoff the pilots of the four planes headed for California are notified by radio that the United States is under attack and they must turn off their transponders and head for a certain northeastern air force base. There the passengers and crew of flights 77, 11 and 175 (or at least the people who are not in on the game) are loaded onto UA Flight 93 ostensibly to return to Washington. (All four flights were carrying far fewer passengers than usual, so one plane could theoretically have accommodated all of them.) Over Pennsylvania that plane is either shot down by an Air Force F-16 or explosives loaded aboard at the air force base are detonated. Meanwhile the three drone planes have taken on the function of the three commercial flights and hit their targets. In this scenario Mohammed Atta and the other Arabs had boarded flights in Boston, Dulles and Newark as directed by their CIA handlers. They would later be labeled "the hijackers." This theory, of course, is contradicted by the cell phone calls made by passengers on the doomed flights describing the hijackings. http://serendipity.magnet.ch/wtc.html.

For a most thoughtful essay on the topic, see Salim Muwakkil's "Nightmares of Reason: Sorting fact from fiction in 9/11 conspiracy theories," In These Times, June 24, 2002, pp. 14-17 or www.inthesetimes.com/issue/26/15/feature1.shmtl.

    Until we have an independent and impartial investigation of all the facets of 9-11, there will be more and more converts to these theories. If the Bush people are indeed innocent of a "Level Two" conspiracy, it would be in their best interests to order rather than discourage a full-scale investigation.

September 14, 2001     Someone Knew Something: Officials at a Canadian jail open a sealed envelope which had been handed to them on August 11th or 12th by inmate Delmart "Mike " Vreeland. The envelope contains one sheet of paper with a list of targets that includes the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, the White House, "water supplies," the Sears Tower in Chicago, the Royal Bank in Toronto, the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa plus the ominous notation, "Let one happen. Stop the rest!!!"

[Vreeland had attempted to warn his jailers verbally that attacks were coming against Canadian and America landmarks such as the World Trade Center. He had been arrested in December 2000 upon entry to Canada from Moscow upon request of the US government which declared that he was wanted in Michigan for credit card fraud (using his own credit card.) Vreeland, however, identified himself as a lieutenant in the US Navy assigned to the Office of Naval Intelligence. He claimed that he had been sent to Moscow to obtain Russian military plans to counter the US proposed "Star Wars" missile defense system. (Mike Ruppert believes that this is a cover story for his real mission to uncover US navy personnel drug smuggling.) The US denied all of this and said their only record of him is that of a seaman busted in 1986 after a few months of "unsatisfactory performance." Yet Vreeland's highly redacted military record came to 1200 pages. A phone call to the Pentagon made in open court produced the office number and direct-dial number of Lt. Delmart Vreeland and confirmed his rank as a Lieutenant O-3.

Vreeland resisted extradition, fearing assassination should he be returned to the United States, and asked for refugee status. This was granted on a temporary basis and he is living, at this writing on May 7, in a safe-house in Canada. His attorneys, former Canadian prosecutors Rocco Galati and Paul Slansky, have been harassed (dead cats, broken car windows, etc.) and have received death threats. Some journalists have maintained that Vreeland actually wrote down the information after September 11th. However, Vreeland was clever enough to use a Pilot pen with light-blue ink that was not allowed in the jail. He told his jailers about the pen after he wrote the note, and the pen was confiscated on August 13th.
www.citizenspokane.com/delmart_vreeland_expose.htm; www.copvcia.com.

September 14, 2001    Blowback to Constitutionally-Mandated Separation of Powers: Congress with only one dissenting vote gives the unelected resident of the White House a blank check to "use all necessary and appropriate force against nations, organizations, or persons he (emphasis added) determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons." Barbara Lee, Democrat of Oakland, California, voted "Nay," saying, "However difficult this vote may be, some of us must urge the use of restraint.... Let us... think through the implications of our actions today so that this does not spiral out of control."

September 20, 2001    Bush Addresses a Joint Session of Congress and the American People:  He first expresses appreciation for international support--- "America will never forget the sounds of our National Anthem playing at Buckingham Palace, and on the streets of Paris, and at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate. We will not forget South Korean children gathering to pray outside our embassy in Seoul, or the prayers of sympathy offered at a mosque in Cairo." He then goes on to warn Americans to expect a "lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have seen." The rest of the world is put on notice: "Every nation, in every region, has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are against us. [Emphasis added.] From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime." The Taliban are ordered to deliver up all Al Qaeda members and close all training camps immediately, or else they will share the fate of Al Qaeda. He explains to Americans that 9-11 happened because "they hate our freedoms."

September 24, 2001    Blowback on the Freedom to Know: This is the day when the study of the uncounted Florida ballots was scheduled to be released. [The study had been commissioned by a consortium of newspapers--- New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Wall Street Journal, CNN, Palm Beach Post and others---- to the National Opinion Research Center (NORC). The first indication that there would be no release came when NORC eliminated its Florida ballot survey web pages. Most of the media involved, when commenting, attributed the joint decision to a "matter of resources," i.e., the need for personnel to concentrate on reporting the aftermath of the 9-11 disaster. Richard Berke of the New York Times was a bit more disingenuous: “Until September 11th, the capital was riding a historically partisan period, with leading Democrats still portraying their president as 'appointed' by the Supreme Court. In a move that might have stoked the partisan tensions, but now seems utterly irrelevant, a consortium of news organizations, including The New York Times, had been scheduled this week to release the results of its ambitious undertaking to recount the Florida presidential ballots.... ” New York Times, September 23, 2001; Paul Lukasiak, Online Journal, October 6, 2001. However, many Americans do NOT consider this suppression to be irrelevant. See Robert Parry's article " Dissing Democracy" (December 5, 2001) (Previously I had a URL here to NORC's dispatch, but it is no longer available on the web.)

September 26, 2001    Blowback on the Freedom to Speak: White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer denounces comments made by Bill Maher on his ABC-TV program "Politically Incorrect." [Maher had disagreed with George W. Bush's calling the 9-11 hijackers "cowards." Maher said, "We have been the cowards, lobbing cruise missiles from 2000 miles away. That's cowardly. Staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, it's not cowardly." Fleischer warns all Americans that they must "watch what they say and watch what they do." (The phrase "watch what they say" was censored out of the official transcript.) Time to dust off that old copy of 1984?]

September 30, 2001    Supreme Court Justice Sandra O'Connor in a speech to the NYU School of Law predicts that there will be unprecedented restrictions of democratic rights as a result of the September 11 attacks. "We're likely to experience more restrictions on our personal freedom than has ever been the case in this country. ... [The attacks] will cause us to reexamine some of our laws pertaining to criminal surveillance, wiretapping, immigration and so on." [This open statement of an opinion broke the unwritten rule that Supreme Court justices do not make public comments on issues that are likely to come to the Court. It perhaps gave a signal to the Bush administration that authoritarian measures would be OK. The Court, it must be remembered, has not always been a firm guardian of the Bill of Rights. In the 1925 Gitlow v. New York the court upheld the imprisoning of socialists and anarchists for their political views and in the 1945 Korematsu v. United States, the internment of Japanese-Americans for their ethnicity. O'Connor was one of the five justices who selected the current resident of the White House in the Bush v. Gore decision of December 12, 2000.]

October 4, 2001   Anthrax: Canadian researchers send an e-mail to the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta telling them that tests have demonstrated that anthrax spores can leak through envelopes. [Unfortunately, the mail was not read for another ten days. The next day Robert Stevens, a photo editor for the Sun tabloid newspaper, died from inhalation anthrax, the first anthrax inhalation fatality in the US in 25 years. New York Times, December 26, 2001. Shortly after September 11th the Sun's sister tabloid, The Globe (housed in the same facility in Boca Raton, Florida), had run a picture of Osama bin Laden with the headline: WANTED: DEAD OR ALIVE. The word ALIVE had been crossed out. This led to speculation that the perpetrator was from Al Qaeda, since some of the hijackers had lived in nearby communities. Bergen, p. 234.]

October 5, 2001    Blowback on the Right of Congress to Know:  The White House announces that congressional briefings involving classified information will be restricted to only eight members of Congress. The administration alleges that there have been unauthorized leaks to the media. [Strong criticism from Congress and the public forced the White House to rescind the memo and include all members of the Intelligence Committees in the briefings. In March, 2002 the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press released a 40-page white paper, Homeland Confidential, detailing this and subsequent administration restrictions on the free flow of information to the public.  See: www.rcfp.org/news/documents/Homefront_Confidential.pdf.]

Last Update: January 15, 2003

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