The Propaganda Preparation
by Chaim Kupferberg,
Centre for Research on Globalisation, June 13, 2002
In the immediate aftermath of the destruction of the World Trade Center, the finger of guilt was directed toward the only plausible author for such a sophisticated and ruthless act of terror - Osama bin Laden.
In bits and pieces throughout the late '90's - punctuated by various acts of terror perpetrated against overseas American interests - we were informed that bin Laden had declared war on America by reason of the American military presence on Saudi soil in the wake of the Persian Gulf War. We were told how bin Laden, ensconced in Afghanistan, headed up a world-wide terror franchise whose sophistication and global reach dwarfed that of the Iranian-financed Hizballah or Islamic Jihad (previously, the most widely known of the terror organizations among the masses in the Middle East). From the beginning, this terror entity, al-Qaida, was presented to us as something entirely new in the annals of terrorism - a far-flung, sophisticated empire of terror, possessing -possibly - weapons of mass destruction, while having no clear or viable state sponsor behind it (as the Afghani Taliban were merely its resident protectors).
More disturbingly, Americans were presented with an apocalyptic nemesis whose animosities could not be curbed by any rational political considerations or alignments. In short, by September 11, the United States now had a bona fide enemy - and, as they say in criminal justice parlance, a suspect with motive, means, and opportunity.
And while I was a bit taken at how quickly - and confidently - the fingers were pointing only hours after the 9/11 bombings, I was positively shaken by the first red flag that popped up. His name was John O'Neill - or more precisely, he is the seam that shows. Dated September 12, in a Washington Post article by Vernon Loeb, it was revealed that O'Neill, who died in his capacity as head of security for the World Trade Center, was also formerly the New York FBI Counterterror chief responsible for the investigation into Osama bin Laden. That could perhaps be written off as one of those freak synchronicities. It was the other items - reported quite blandly, in that "there's nothing to see here, folks" tone - that gave me that sinking feeling. Apparently, O'Neill had a falling-out with the Ambassador to Yemen over his investigative style and was banned from returning there. But then there was that other nugget that I had trouble digesting - that O'Neill had resigned from a thirty-year career in the FBI "under a cloud" over an incident in Tampa - and then left to take up the security position at the WTC (only two weeks before!).
The seam that shows...
For the bulk of his career, like most of his FBI colleagues, John O'Neill was largely unknown to the public at large - respected in his circle, to be sure, yet scarcely meriting much mention in the media -beyond being referenced now and then as an expert on counterterrorism. Yet in the few months leading up to September 11, O'Neill was now suddenly the subject of a series of seemingly unrelated controversies -the first, in July, involving his dispute with the State Department over the conduct of the bin Laden investigation in Yemen; and the second, in August, in which he was reported to be under an FBI probe for misplacing a briefcase of classified documents during an FBI convention in Tampa.
In the light of the aftermath of this second controversy - the documents were found, "untouched", a few hours later - one wonders why this seemingly minor news would merit such lengthy coverage in the Washington Post and New York Times. Keeping in mind the fact that these latter articles on O'Neill appeared a mere three weeks before he was to die in the rubble of the Twin Towers, one wonders if this wasn't a well-orchestrated smear campaign against O'Neill, with a bit of unintended "blowback" - as this now-discredited counterterror chief in charge of all bin Laden bombings would finally make the news as a fatal casualty of bin Laden's final bombing. Coincidence? Or was there something more here that would bear investigating?
My gut told me that, in the months preceding September 11, somebody was out to discredit John O'Neill, yet this public campaign would come back to haunt the planners in the light of John O'Neill's ultimate demise. Was a mistake made - one pointing the way toward a plan whose scope goes well beyond the designs of Osama bin Laden? In other words, could we spot the telltale fingerprints of a domestic conspiracy?
Well, as they say, a hypothesis is only as good as its usefulness in ferreting out reality. My hypothesis: that the events of September 11 were planned by those who not only had the motive, means, and opportunity to carry out the plan, but also were best placed to manage the consequences stemming from it, as well as managing the flow of information. If this were an "inside job", the first thing to do was to look at who conveyed specific information on bin Laden before - and I stress, before - 9/11, for they were most likely involved wittingly or not with those who masterminded it. In other words, circumstantial evidence of a propaganda campaign, pre-9/11, to present Osama bin Laden as America's foremost nemesis would also provide the circumstantial case against the propaganda planners in taking down the World Trade Towers. So I monitored CNN and other media in the days immediately after, taking note of those trotted out - Judith Miller, Paul Bremer, James Risen, Vincent Cannistraro, etc. - to provide instant commentary on bin Laden. Moreover, I trolled through past articles on bin Laden - noting the wire service uniformity of information as well as sources.
But first there was the John O'Neill conundrum. If my hypothesis were correct, it wouldn't make much sense to draw public attention on September 12 - however blandly stated - to the fact that O'Neill had left the FBI "under a cloud" and that he had been banned from the bin Laden investigation in Yemen. It was a September 4 article in the Washington Post by Vernon Loeb that gave me my answer. That article, involving the Yemen investigation, mentioned briefly about O'Neill being banned by the Ambassador as well as O'Neill's travails with the briefcase incident. This was a full week before the WTC attack. It was perhaps conceivable that, upon hearing of O'Neill's demise, someone would dig up the September 4 item and smell a rat. Thus, the September 12 follow-up with its "nothing shady here" tone - employing, virtually word-for-word, the incriminating information revealed on September 4, but providing no more details than that. An almost obligatory coda to paper over a thoughtless oversight. Presumably, Loeb - the national security correspondent for the Post - had no inkling of what was to come in the week ahead, so the oversight can most probably be laid at the feet of his confidential source. In any case, the credulous tone of that follow-up reportage succeeded in the psychological trick of "normalizing" an apparent anomaly - a standard propaganda trick known as a "limited hang-out."
There's more. The evidence implicating bin Laden was now pouring in. Virtually the first "smoking gun" was presented the day after 9/11, when Vernon Loeb and Dan Eggen reported in the Post that Abdel Bari Atwan, editor of the Al-Quds al Arabi newspaper in London, "received information that he [bin Laden] planned very, very big attacks against American interests" only three weeks before 9/11. Moreover, the article reported that Atwan "was convinced that Islamic fundamentalists aligned with bin Laden were 'almost certainly' behind the attacks." Incidentally, Atwan had personally interviewed bin Laden in Afghanistan in 1996 - among the very few to do so. As reported by Michael Evans in the August 24, 1998 issue of The Times, Atwan "is trusted by bin Laden."
Curious, perhaps, that Atwan seemed to be one of the major "point men" used in elaborating the Osama bin Laden "legend", as they say in intelligence parlance. In a U.S. News article dated August 31, 1998, Atwan informs us that bin Laden "is a humble man who lives simply, eating fried eggs, tasteless low-fat cheese, and bread gritty with sand. He hates America." No flash in the pan, this interviewer. Apparently, bin Laden kept Atwan's business card tucked away in his toga pocket. "Bin Laden phoned this newspaper, phoned me last Friday," Atwan revealed in an ABC News LateLine Transcript dated August 25, 1998. We'll come back to ABC News shortly.
While solidly implicating bin Laden the day after 9/11, Atwan was also the media's "go-to" guy back in 1998 when he informed us, after President Clinton bombed tool sheds in Afghanistan, that bin Laden issued this threat against the United States: "The battle has not started yet. The response will be with action and not words." In the same article (which I took from Nando Times), ABC News is the source for an additional threat called in by Ayman al-Zawahiri, a senior bin Laden aide: "The war has just started. The Americans should wait for the answer." Only a few months before that, ABC had conducted its televised interview of bin Laden. By the summer of 1998, primed by Atwan, ABC NEWS, and a surprisingly small clique of well-worn sources, we had come to know bin Laden as America's latest "Saddam", "Qaddafi", "Noriega" -take your pick and set your bomb sites. To be fair to ABC NEWS, they did include the comments of the Honourary Consul of Afghanistan in the above-noted 1998 LateLine transcript: "There is a pattern developing -I'm not quite sure about the rest of the world, but in Afghanistan that has been the case for the past 20 years. That the intelligence service they put together they create somebody [sic], and they turn them into a monster and then they attack this very same creation, they destroy that creation and then they reinvent another creation."
By October 2000, when the U.S.S. Cole was bombed in Yemen, in case there was any doubt, Atwan offered Reuters his helpful analysis with regards to the source of blame: "I do not rule out that this was undertaken by Osama bin Laden. Yemeni groups don't have the experience to carry out this kind of operation." Still, to assure us that a bin Laden connection to the Yemen incident was at least plausible, Atwan recalled, in the same interview with Reuters, how, "in the early 1990's [bin Laden] had hoped U.S. soldiers would stop off in Aden during their peacekeeping deployment in Somalia, exposing themselves to attack from his Yemen-based followers." Also, Atwan informed Reuters that bin Laden "was unlikely to claim direct responsibility for Thursday's attack for fear of U.S. reprisals." One can imagine, then, that Atwan gave his trusting phone mate cause for many a sleepless night. With friends like these...
Leading up to 9/11, by the Spring of 2001, an incriminating wedding videotape, apparently implicating bin Laden in the Yemen bombing, was circulating around the Middle East after being broadcast on the ubiquitous al-Jazeera television station (reconstituted from the BBC TV Arabic Service - more on them later). In the video, bin Laden, according to the Saudi-owned al-Hayat newspaper (more on them later, too), recited a poem celebrating the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole (shades of deja vu here?) This from the ABCNEWS.com site dated March 1: "Al-Hayat, which carried a photo of bin Laden and his son at the wedding, said its correspondent was the only journalist at the ceremony, also attended by bin Laden's mother, two brothers and sister who flew to Kandahar from Saudi Arabia." Last I heard, the official story was that bin Laden was on the outs with his family. Well, maybe they just don't invite him to the seders anymore.
And yes, here, too, Atwan offers his thoughtful review of the bin Laden video, courtesy of PTI, datelined London June 22, 2001: "[Atwan] said the video was proof that the fugitive Saudi millionaire [the Bruce Wayne of terrorists] was fit, well equipped and confident enough to send out a call to arms." Why this sudden need for proof? According to Atwan in the same article: "There have been rumours that he is ill and that he is being contained by the Taliban in Afghanistan. It is quite clear from the film that he is in good health to the point where he can fire a rifle, and is free to operate as he chooses." In other words, limber enough for his starring role in the months ahead.
So who is Abdel Bari Atwan and why is he anxious to tell us so much? According to the Winter 1999 issue of INEAS (Institute of Near Eastern and African Studies), Abdel Bari Atwan, a Palestinian, was born in a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip in 1950. Educated at the American University of Cairo, Atwan moved to Saudi Arabia and worked as a writer for the al-Madina newspaper. In 1978, he moved to London, where he became a correspondent for the Saudi-owned Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper. In 1988, after shuffling around between Saudi-owned papers, Atwan was offered a position as editor of al-Quds al-Arabi. By his account, he was offered a position as the executive editor of the Saudi-owned al-Hayat (of the bin Laden wedding video coup), yet turned it down to produce a more independent newspaper as a challenge to the "empires" of the Saudi-dominated dailies.
Al-Quds began production in April 1989. A little more than a year later, Saddam invaded Kuwait and al-Quds stood alone as the only Arab newspaper opposed to the Persian Gulf War - at least by Atwan's account. According to Atwan: "Without the Gulf War, we wouldn't have taken such political lines, which made us well recognized and well respected." In November 1996, Bari-Atwan braved a twelve-hour car ride through muddy roads, attired in shabby Afghani rags in below-zero weather, and gave us the early scoop on bin Laden, conducting a one-on-one interview in bin Laden's [bat]cave. From then on, the mainstream media - CNN, ABC, BBC, Sky News - looked to Bari-Atwan and al-Quds as the "independent" voice of the Arab street.
Incidentally, in a discussion concerning the matter of Saudi domination of the Arabic media, taken from the Carryon.oneworld.org site, Atwan, as editor of his struggling independent, was facing off against Jihad Khazen, the editor of the Saudi-owned al-Hayat. As Atwan proudly related in support of his independence: "One day I was called by the BBC-TV Arabic service [whose staff later reconstituted itself as al-Jazeera television]: 'There's a story on your front page today, saying such and such. Is it true?' I asked why he should doubt it and he replied: 'It's not published in al-Hayat [his job offer] or al-Sharq al-Awsat [his alma mater].' " Atwan boasts: "At least I can say we are 95 to 96 per cent independent" - leaving out the 4 to 5 per cent spent on bin Laden, I presume. Whether or not al-Quds truly is independent, this is the cover story the mainstream media buys into when they come trolling for their "independent" evidence.
So, to elaborate further on this (so far) fruitful hypothesis, it is my contention that al-Qaida and bin Laden are elaborate "legends" set up to promote a plausibly sophisticated and ferocious enemy to stand against American interests. I am not, however, implying that bin Laden himself is a total fabrication. Rather, it is my contention that confederates, believing themselves to act on behalf of bin Laden, are being set up in a "false flag operation" to perform operations as their controllers see fit. And who are these controllers? If they're anything resembling the folks who brought you Hizbullah and Hamas, you wouldn't be sweating the suitcase nukes (made in America), the Ames strain anthrax (made in America), the MI5-like "sleeper agents" and coded "go" messages. Instead, you would be dodging primitive nail bombs and road mines - and not needing Abdel Bari Atwan to feed you the lowdown on the blame.
In view of the fact that bin Laden is of Saudi origin, that much of the "evidence" on the Arab side initially originated from Saudi-owned or Gulf Anglo-client state sources, and that Saudi Arabia is the major financial sponsor of the Taliban brand of fundamentalism in Afghanistan (as a counter-point to Iran), I believe it is fair to say that Saudi Arabia might possibly be implicated. But why only take my word for it? Just reference French security expert Jean-Charles Brisard, who in his book quoted John O'Neill as saying, "All the answers, everything needed to dismantle Osama bin Laden's organization can be found in Saudi Arabia." Most likely, the Saudis performed their roles as subservient proxies. We'll get to the ultimate controllers soon enough (if you haven't already guessed where this is going). And now, to fill out the picture further, it is necessary to name an equally essential partner as proxy -Pakistan, or, more specifically, Pakistan's version of the CIA - the ISI (Interservices Intelligence Directorate).
And this is where we begin to "close the circle" of our closed-knit pre-9/11 propaganda clique. Returning again to the above-mentioned Dan Eggen and Vernon Loeb Post article of September 12, we're offered - in a powerful little side-bar - more critical evidence implicating bin Laden for the attacks the day before. This time, the bombshell is offered by Palestinian journalist Jamal Ismail, Abu Dhabi Television's bureau chief in Islamabad. According to Ismail, a bin Laden aide called him "early Wednesday on a satellite telephone from a hide-out in Afghanistan," praising the attack yet denying any responsibility for it. By now thoroughly cynical and looking askance at anyone providing incriminating "evidence" so soon in the day, I decided to have a look at any interesting synchronicities I might find involving Ismail. As it turns out, Ismail was also among the select few to conduct his very own bin Laden interview, published by Newsweek (owned by the Washington Post) in its April 1, 1999 issue. Here is how Newsweek described Ismail's good fortune: "Palestinian journalist Jamal Ismail's mobile phone rang just before prayers on December 18. 'Peace be upon you, ' said the voice on the line. 'You may not recognize me, but I know you.' " And thus was Jamal Ismail invited on his own mud-soaked incursion to the bin Laden [bat]cave.
Searching deeper, I found an interesting obscure article penned by respected Pakistani journalist Rahimullah Yusufszai in The News Jang, and dated May 3 2000. It details the detention of two men of Kurdish origin, accused by the Taliban of spying for American and Israeli intelligence. As Yusufszai relates it, he spoke to the only journalists allowed by the Taliban to interview the detained men - Jamal Ismail and his cameraman. Apparently, Ismail had a special relationship with the Taliban, allowing him this rare privilege above other journalists. And, as we shall shortly see, so does Yusufszai. One wonders who debriefs them at the end of a workday. But more interestingly, by May 5, as reported by Kathy Gannon for the Associated Press, the story acquires -as they say - "new legs." Not only are the basic elements of the Yusufszai story mentioned, but the article leads off with the bombshell that one of the detained men revealed that he was recruited by the United States to find Osama bin Laden. It finishes with a little coda implicating bin Laden in the 1998 embassy bombings. Thus, in the space of two days, Yusufszai's Pakistani "spy" article sprouts a bin Laden addition when fertilized by the American Associated Press - and nicely provides a plausible explanation as to why a Kurd would be prowling around Afghanistan on behalf of the United States.
Yusufszai, incidentally, moonlighted as an ABC News producer, charged with guiding ABC News correspondent John Miller through the Afghani marshes to the bin Laden [bat]cave - the only American journalist to be accorded such an honour (and also, as it happens, a good friend of bin Laden arch-foe John O'Neill. But not chummy enough to direct O'Neill on to bin Laden's hideaway). Moreover, Ismail and Yusufszai are mentioned together in a CNN article posted January 4, 1999 - the former for his Newsweek interview, the latter for his own bin Laden dialogue for TIME Magazine the day later.
Rahimullah Yusufszai, regarded by New York Times reporters John Burns and Steve LeVine as "one man who has seen more of the Taliban than any other outsider," is also named by The Nation, in its article of January 27, 1997, as "one of the favourite journalists of [Pakistan's] ISI...one of the organizations funding and arming the Taliban. "
It's a small world after all. In the September 29, 2001 article of PressPlus, Yusufszai's ABC colleague, John Miller, mused about running into his buddy John O'Neill in Yemen while reporting on the U.S.S. Cole bombing the year before. "He said, 'So this is the Elaine's of Yemen.' "
"There is a terrible irony to all this," Miller said. I'll say: Miller, the only American who can give a first-hand account of bin Laden, bumps into his friend, bin Laden's chief investigator while both are investigating a bombing in Yemen that will later be tagged onto bin Laden - and only a year before O'Neill dies at the hands of... allegedly...bin Laden.
Now, following the logic of my hypothesis, if the bin Laden threat was, pre-9/11, a closed-knit propaganda campaign, one would expect to find the same names showing up repeatedly in combination with one another. This, too, applies to the American commentators. Let us return to the August 1998 American bombings of bin Laden's tool sheds as an example. The night of the bombing, Rahimullah Yusufszai received a call from bin Laden aide Ayman al-Zawahiri, in a report from the Associated Press. Later, Yusufszai obtained for ABC News exclusive photos of the damage to bin Laden's camp. Further commentary describing the layout of the bin Laden camp was furnished to the Washington Post by former CIA analyst and terrorism expert Kenneth Katzman, as well as Harvey Kushner of Long Island University. Only little more than a week before that, Katzman and Kushner were offering their assessment of bin Laden's culpability for the embassy bombings in Africa in a Washington Post article penned by Vernon Loeb and Walter Pincus (who once admitted to a prior CIA connection). They were joined in this effort by Vincent Cannistraro, the ABC news analyst who provided running commentary in the days immediately following 9/11. Cannistraro, a former CIA counterterrorism chief, provided covert aid to the Afghani mujaheddin in the late '80's, as well as supervised CIA operations with the contras. He was also one of the point men in the notoriously circumspect investigation at Lockerbie. In the above-noted Loeb and Pincus article - in which bin Laden is quoted from the ABC News Miller and Yusufszai interview - Cannistraro weighs in with his assessment of the embassy bombings: "I believe Osama bin Laden is the sponsor of this operation, and I think all of the indications are pointing that way."
Soon after the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen, a Vernon Loeb Post article, dated October 13, 2000, proceeded to implicate bin Laden through the detailed information provided by Kushner, Katzman, and Cannistraro. Kushner: "He [bin Laden] has been looking around for small, personal submarines. One of his relatives in the United States had an order in for one of these personal submarines, and it was stopped." Katzman: "He [bin
Laden] has claimed responsibility for bombing a hotel in Yemen in 1992 where U.S. servicemen stayed on their way to Somalia." Was that so? This, of course, was a variation on the disclosure that Atwan provided that very same day to Reuters, to whom he quoted bin Laden as saying, "We waited for them [the servicemen] in Aden but they left the region. They knew what we wanted to do to them. " Thus we have two conflicting versions that very same day - Katzman's Post version and Atwan's Reuters version - offered as evidence of bin Laden's culpability for the U.S.S. Cole bombings. To this day, it is not clear which one has been accepted into the official canon of the bin Laden "legend." Clearly, someone wasn't coordinating the information flow too well that day.
Nevertheless, the bin Laden "legend" was continuing to be elaborated, with helpful revelations provided by the same cast of characters. In the Vernon Loeb Post article dated July 3, 2000, Yusufszai, Kushner, and Cannistraro unveil bin Laden aides Ayman al-Zawahiri and Muhammed Atef as the men to watch as bin Laden's likely successors, with a helpful tidbit on the Zawahiri biography thrown in by the Saudi-owned al-Sharq al-Awsat.
None of the above, of course, is offered as the "smoking gun" pointing the way to a propaganda conspiracy, nor are my chosen examples meant to be exhaustive in evidencing this point. Clearly, I have not heretofore made mention of the other experts who have worked assiduously toward building our knowledge base on bin Laden - Steven Emerson, Daniel Pipes, Yosef Bodansky, Judith Miller, and various British and EU elites. However, the above examples do show how the information flow on bin Laden could be plausibly managed by the skilfully placed revelations of a relatively insular clique of "experts" called upon repeatedly by the mainstream media. Such a technique of covert media manipulation was, in fact, revealed as an institutional norm with the exposure of the CIA's Project Mockingbird in the '70's. Officially, it was discontinued. Nevertheless, the essential infrastructure remains intact. A relatively few well-connected correspondents provide the "scoops" that get the coverage in the relatively few mainstream news sources - the four TV networks, TIME, Newsweek, CNN - where the parameters of debate are set and the "official reality" is consecrated for the bottom feeders in the news chain. In other countries, this is what is known as propaganda -or, put less politely, psychological warfare. A key element in the uses of psychological warfare is the repeated traumatization and sheer numbing of a populace in order to achieve the desired strategic goals.
But before I leave this topic, I would like to provide an example of "news management" that is revealing for what is omitted - that is, the "smoking gun" of Pakistani ISI involvement in the events of 9/11. This from Karachi News, September 9, 2001:
"[Pakistani] ISI Chief Lt-Gen Mahmood's week-long presence in Washington has triggered speculation about the agenda of his mysterious meetings at the Pentagon and National Security Council. Officially, State Department sources say he is on a routine visit in return to [sic] CIA Director George Tenet's earlier visit to Islamabad...What added interest to his visit is the history of such visits. Last time Ziauddin Butt, Mahmood's predecessor, was here during Nawaz Sharif's government the domestic politics turned topsy-turvy within days. That this is not the first visit by Mahmood in the last three months shows the urgency of the ongoing parleys...Interestingly, his visit also saw two CIA reports expressing concern on issues related to Pakistan this week. One of them was about the effects of demographic explosion and Pakistan's continued build up in its nuclear and missiles programme."
Now, let us move ahead three weeks later, to a transcript of ABC's "This Week", posted on the Washington Post website September 30, 2001: "As to September 11, federal authorities have told ABC News they've now tracked more than $100,000 from banks in Pakistan to two banks in Florida to accounts held by suspected hijack ringleader Mohamed Atta. As well this morning, TIME magazine is reporting that some of that money came in the days just before the attack and can be traced directly to people connected to Osama bin Laden."
Now, a little more than a week later, on October 9, 2001, as reported by The Times of India: "While the Pakistani Inter Services Public Relations claimed that former ISI director-general Lt-Gen Mahmud Ahmad sought retirement after being superseded on Monday, the truth is more shocking. Top sources confirmed here on Tuesday that the general lost his job because of the "evidence" India produced to show his links to one of the suicide bombers that wrecked the World Trade Centre. The US authorities sought his removal after confirming the fact that $100,000 were wired to WTC hijacker Mohammed Atta from Pakistan by Ahmad Umar Sheikh at the instance of Gen Mahmud. Senior government sources have confirmed that India contributed significantly to establishing the link between the money transfer and the role played by the dismissed ISI chief. While they did not provide details, they said that Indian inputs, including Sheikh's mobile phone number, helped the FBI in tracing and establishing the link."
These three news items, taken together, shine a devastating spotlight on the events preceding, and following, 9/11. The first item, the Karachi report of September 9, serves to highlight the ISI chief's "unusual" visit in the days immediately preceding 9/11. Yet with the subsequent revelations of The Times of India report, this visit starts to take on sinister implications. But again, as I said before, if there is Pakistani - read, ISI - involvement in the WTC bombings, there is little reason to believe that Pakistan's involvement was anything more than that of a proxy agent serving the interests of a powerful controller. Some might assail the credibility of the Times of India article in light of India's state of belligerence with Pakistan. Yet both the Karachi report and the ABC report tend to lend credibility to the Indian report, not only because they both precede the Times of India by a matter of weeks, but most importantly in light of the fact of what is omitted in each. The Indian article, if part of a smear campaign against the ISI chief, would surely have highlighted the well-timed visit of the ISI chief to Washington. Or would it - for surely such a revelation in conjunction with its report would unavoidably implicate a player whose overwhelming power could be used as a vengeful bludgeon against Indian interests: the United States.
Examining the implications more deeply, the ABC report blatantly references the FBI as the source for the $100,000 revelation, calling in TIME magazine to make the bin Laden link and thereby cementing another brick in the case against al-Qaida. Yet any propaganda gains made by this revelation were immediately threatened by the blowback of the Times of India report several days later. In other words, this was a "limited hang-out" that went disastrously wrong. No matter. The US authorities immediately went into damage control mode by insisting on the quiet retirement of the "outed" ISI chief. Thus removed from the public eye, the Lt-Gen's role in all this could be effectively ignored, and an American media black-out could be safely assumed.
Such a scenario certainly fits in snugly with my hypothesis, which I will now proceed to elaborate completely. The events of September 11 were masterminded by those who were in the best position to manage the consequences - namely, those most able to manage the flow of information, those most able to coordinate all the elements necessary for the perpetration of a successful operation (subverting airport security, guiding the planes to their specific targets), and most significantly, those who stood to reasonably benefit in the aftermath. Conspiracies, by their very nature, are not crimes of passion. They may involve rational, albeit cold-blooded, attempts to achieve a desired end by employing the most effective means available. It is for this reason that "mainstream" terror groups like Hamas and Hizbullah largely avoid attacking American interests where such attacks would serve no practical interest. For all their talk of Jihad, these terror groups tend to plan their specific attacks with an eye to the consequences that could reasonably be expected to follow. Thus, knowing the moral and political constraints of Israeli deterrent strategies, they calibrate their attacks to elicit consequences that are most tolerable for them - and hence, manageable. Yet surely, in the light of the cult of suicidal martyrdom, such considerations no longer hold sway. Perhaps. But then, in the case of such a far-flung anti-Zionist movement as al-Qaida, one would expect at least a little more exertion against Israeli interests than has heretofore prevailed - unless, of course, the "point" of al-Qaida was to provide a plausible dire threat to American interests where none had then existed. In any case, as nobody has noticed this particular anomaly, there was no need for any needless exertion of resources in order to bolster a credibility that needed no bolstering in this one particular sector.
Motive, means, and opportunity. While I presented the Saudis and Pakistani intelligence as clear-cut proxies, the only motive these elements would have to benefit from a crime of this nature is an assurance that no punishment would be forthcoming but rather, they would be on the right side of power and wealth among those in a position to determine the booty. In the light of this supposition, it is clear as to why the American media and government have steadfastly avoided any substantive investigations of Pakistani and Saudi involvement. And I am not the first to notice that particular anomaly.
Another anomaly: only two days before September 11, the head of the Afghani National Alliance - a cultishly popular figure within that group, and one who stood adamantly for Afghani independence - was assassinated by two terrorists posing as cameramen. Keeping in mind the fact that, throughout the '90's, American leaders such as Clinton, and American companies such as Unocal, were largely throwing their support over to the Taliban in opposition to the National Alliance, it seems rather convenient that, in the aftermath of 9/11, the way was now cleared for the National Alliance to be co-opted as an instrument for setting up a more pliant Afghani government (now headed, incidentally, by a former consultant to Unocal). One wonders what the fiercely independent, now-deceased, former leader of the National Alliance would have had to say on that point.
So who are the ultimate controllers? To begin with, the circumstantial evidence seems to point to an operative clique primarily based out of New York City and the State of Florida. I stress the word "operative", as this clique appears to be subservient agents involved in laying the preparations. Once again, John O'Neill serves as an effective Rosetta Stone in interpreting the raw outlines of this operative clique (which is by no means a "rogue" clique). The FBI and CIA elements involved in counterterrorism have a checkered past. For one, Oliver North in the 1980's served as Counterterrorism Chief while he used his office as a cover to deal with such narco-terrorists as Monzar al-Kassar (who figures in the crash at Lockerbie - also investigated by Cannistraro). In the late '90's, O'Neill was transferred from the federal office of Counterrorism to the New York Counterrorism Office of the FBI - and it was the New York branch which was then designated as the primary investigator of all overseas investigations involving bin Laden. Moreover, this branch was also involved in the somewhat suspect investigation of TWA 800 - investigated by O'Neill and reported upon by ABC's John Miller, who was formerly the Deputy Police Commissioner of Public Relations for the NYPD before he joined up with ABC. As regards New York, there is another element involved in germ warfare operations. Actually, a multi-million dollar bunker - serving as a command and control center in the event of a biological attack - was set up at 7 World Trade Center at the direction of Rudolph Giuliani, who also oversaw a mass spraying over the boroughs of New York City when the West Nile Virus hit town a few summers previously.
Moreover, there has been a widespread campaign on to link the threat of al-Qaida with that of a mass biological attack. At least the day after September 11, the link - as the Anthrax mailings had yet to arise - was not so apparent. Yet on PBS' Frontline, the New York Times' Judith Miller (no apparent relation to John Miller, as far as I'm aware), accompanied by the New York Times' James Risen, was interviewed as an apparent expert on al-Qaida. Several weeks later, Judith Miller would once more make the headlines as the apparent recipient of an anthrax mailing which turned out to be a false alarm - yet was all the same conveniently timed with the well-publicized launching of her book on...germ warfare. Thus, with Ms. Miller, we have the interesting synchronicity of someone who, on September 12, unveiled herself before a television audience as an al-Qaida expert, while only weeks later, presenting herself as an authority on biowarfare - while at the same time making the news as a presumed anthrax recipient, targeted - as initially presumed - by al-Qaida elements. As was later discovered, the anthrax mailings petered out once the news leaked that a DNA test revealed the material to be of the Ames strain of anthrax, an agent synthesized out of a CIA laboratory in Fort Detrick, Maryland. Nevertheless, this was sufficient to fast-track Bioport's exclusive license for the anthrax vaccine toward FDA approval. Formerly, Bioport's experimental anthrax vaccine was being forcibly administered - under threat of court-martial - to hundreds of thousands of American servicemen (in conformity with Bioport's exclusive and lucrative contract with the Department of Defense). The point of the above-noted information is to draw attention to an apparent propaganda campaign to prepare the public for a catastrophic biological attack. As with the Twin Towers, the blame for any coming attack may be duly and plausibly assigned by those who carefully laid the groundwork in preparing us for this eventuality. I do not claim to know the motive behind any possible widespread biological attack - be it for population control or for other reasons beyond my ken - yet I do perceive a concerted effort to link the fear of al-Qaida with the fear of a catastrophic biological attack. For those interested in investigating this further, I suggest that one "place" to start is the New York operative clique centered in the New York Counterrorism branch, as well as minor elements of the NYPD (by way of John Miller and Giuliani) and certain elements based out of Long Island University (Harvey Kushner).
As for Florida, the connection with this state is obvious, for not only was the first anthrax mailing directed to the Florida offices of the National Enquirer, but the accused hijackers were also reported to receive their pilot training from flight schools in Orlando and Tampa. Moreover, Florida, by way of the MacDill Air Force Base, is also Central Command for the war in Afghanistan. And again, there is a John O'Neill connection - for not only did O'Neill meet his professional undoing at a convention in Tampa, but in an Associated Press article dated May 24, 1997, John O'Neill was commenting on the threat of Islamic terrorism while the same article pointed out the existence of a Tampa-based "think tank" possibly linked with terrorists - the World and Islam Studies Enterprise. In addition to its function as Central Command for the war on terrorism, MacDill is -outside of Langley - also a major base of the CIA. Thus, in the CIA's own backyard, we find the infrastructure and financial support that went into the planning for the events of 9/11. And, as we so often find with events surrounding 9/11, another synchronicity - for coincidentally enough, the woman who happened to find an apartment for one of the alleged hijackers was the wife of the senior editor of the National Enquirer. Moreover, her husband, Michael Irish, also happened to make use of an airfield that served as flight training for some of the hijackers. In intelligence operations, foreign assets are often placed with resident "controllers" whose job it is to supervise the asset as well as provide accommodations as the need arises. Who are Michael and Gloria Irish? Or, perhaps more revealingly, what kind of social circles do they run with? This is certainly an avenue worth exploring - by reason of its many synchrocities if for nothing else. Again, the seam that shows.
So, to sum up, it appears that the events of September 11 were planned years in advance, with the groundwork being carefully laid by a propaganda campaign orchestrated to convince the public that the United States has a plausibly sophisticated nemesis with the motive, means, and opportunity to perpetrate a devastating act of terror against Americans. Toward that end, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have been used as the primary proxy agents to run a "false flag" operation, setting up and financing the infrastructure of al-Qaida in Afghanistan. Through madrassas based in Pakistan, Saudi and Yemenite militants were instructed in the Saudi brand of Wahabbi Islam, and subsequently "graduated" to the camps that were set up in Afghanistan - again, under Saudi and Pakistani sponsorship. Stateside, the operative agents were mostly based out of New York City and Florida. In the aftermath of 9/11, elements in the American government are now widely disseminating information in vast quantities, overwhelming the populace and lending credibility to the government's version of events. Thus, post-9/11, the actions of this formerly insular propaganda clique are no longer perceptible. Information is now being doled out in generous portions to credulous reporters who are outside the loop, yet perform their unwitting service as "bottoms feeders" in the downward flow of information.
In all cases, the actions of these proxy agents and operative planners are sufficiently distanced and compartmentalized from the true masterminds to create a condition of "plausible deniability". In short, the proxies have also been set up as possible patsies with evidence that has been carefully laid to incriminate them should cracks in the "official story" become too discernible. Moreover, the groundwork has already been carefully laid to cast aspersions on another convenient patsy - the Jews, by way of the State of Israel and its supporters. Already, for those prone to perceive Jewish conspiracies, the reliable vein of anti-semitism - combined with anti-Zionism - has been mined to distract the masses and to create a modern version of the ritual blood libel, thereby further "muddying the waters" should the true masterminds be threatened with exposure. In other words, the present difficulties in the Middle East work perfectly to set up the State of Israel as a plausible alternative suspect with motive, means, and opportunity. Toward that end, a low-level "buzz" has been circulating over the Internet (and especially in Europe) - fueled by a coy report from Fox News - of an Israeli spy ring that was rounded up in the days after September 11. Whether or not these reports are credible is not the point. Most likely, there was a spy ring operating, and various Israelis were unwittingly set up as patsies, to be exposed should the need arise. Thus, while evidence may be marshalled to taint the Saudis, Pakistanis, and Israelis, the real guilt must inevitably lie with those in the best position to manage the flow of information as well as reliably benefit from the new order created, primarily, the political and corporate elites of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union - also, as it happens, the very parties orchestrating the global war on terrorism. In this respect, the Saudis, Pakistanis, or Israelis have far less to gain (other than the benefits of going along with the designs of the rich and mighty).
I could go on and further highlight the obvious geostrategic gains of those who are clearly managing the flow of information - the proverbial pipelines, oil, wealth, and so forth. But I think those purported benefits are a bit of a "red herring" - more of a side benefit than the main motivating factor. It is no small act to intentionally take down such an overarching symbol of financial stability as the Twin Towers, and chance killing thousands in the process. Such a conspiracy, if in fact perpetrated from within, would by its nature necessitate a huge structural, cultural, and demographic change. The very brazenness of the act, the naked aggression, would necessitate a tenacious determination to achieve the ends for which these actions were perpetrated. There is no going back now. An infrastructure is being laid out - one that will, finally, provide a dissident-proof totalitarian oligarchy composed of like-minded elites served by an under-class kept under constant surveillance. The edifice of this regime is being constructed, brick by brick, with the mortar of the Office of Homeland Security (to centralize and coordinate an effective police state), the Freedom Corps (to indoctrinate the most idealist - and therefore activist - elements of the populace toward service to the state), and the Patriot Act (to provide the legal basis for subverting long-held rights under the screen of national security). If all of this sounds strangely familiar, if it is redolent of Huxley and Orwell, that is perhaps because Huxley and Orwell were both intimately involved with the elites of their time - in fact, were fully subsumed among them - in ways that made their future projections abundantly prescient, and, in their minds, inevitable. With further refinements in mind control technologies - yes, they do exist -as well as the monopolization of the food supply by way of sterile seed "terminator technology" - the approval for which was granted in the months following 9/11 - the masses may be perpetually culled and exploited by those who hold the keys to this fully managed society.
For such a plan to be effective, there is no need for all elements to be "in the loop." Many look upon the Council On Foreign Relations (CFR) as one likely agent of a possible elitist conspiracy. Yet with a membership consisting of thousands, it would be too unwieldly to manage such a group of individuals with such varying interests and outlooks. In any case, that is not how the CFR is structured. Members of the CFR are invited into the ranks - particularly where they have already achieved some measure of prominence in politics, finance, or the media. The CFR, rather, exists as an organ to manage these "second-tier" elites - to ensure a consensus of sorts simply through the technique of "mainstreaming" their thoughts and beliefs, as these are folk who are unduly preoccupied with preserving their status in the ranking order. No need to "rock the boat" with foolish notions that could only serve to discredit oneself in the eyes of one's peers. Standing over and above the CFR is a more manageable and, on the whole, more powerful group of elites who do, in fact, perceive it as their duty and entitlement to determine the mores and values, lifestyles and fate of the rest of us. Where the rank and file members of the CFR are largely motivated by a self-interested careerism, these higher elites see it as their moral duty to guide the "ship of state", as it were. To them, a unified world government is the most logical way to manage the affairs of the world. After all, these global elites have more in common with one another than they do with the bulk of their respective countrymen.
If this notion of reality strikes you as somewhat dissonant, at odds with your own personal experience, it may be perhaps that we have not quite arrived there yet, and that you have personally not felt the corrosive lash of political corruption and governmental malfeasance. In all likelihood, you have not read the mountain of evidence detailing political and elite deviant behaviour in this country. You may even be dismissive of "conspiracies theories", yet wholly unaware of the well-documented attempts by the CIA and FBI to subvert, surveill, and propagandize the populace through programs such as Project Mockingbird (media infiltration) and MK-Ultra (mind control through chemical, hypnotic, or electro-magnetic means). These programs are effected primarily through "think tanks" that are set up across the United States for the purpose of disseminating information and propaganda under the rubric of "expertise". Moreover, various foundations, such as the Rockefeller or Ford Foundations, are often used as funnels to finance and feed the arteries of these propaganda networks. In the 1970's, a good deal of this structural corruption was officially exposed - in a "limited hang-out" - by way of the Church Commission, as well as the House Select Committee on Assassinations. Thereafter, much of the most damaging revelations were played down or ignored by the mainstream media, and the waters were then muddied by a stream of outlandish conspiracy theories - aliens, Elvis, etc. - that merely served to discredit the information that was most credible. "Muddying the waters", incidentally, is a tried and true staple of the intelligence craft.
It is really just a matter of familiarizing yourself with all the documented anomalies that do not accord with the received, mainstream reality put forth to you by the mainstream media. As a practical guide to begin, you might want to confine your search to strictly "mainstream" sources, as I have sought to do in attempting to construct my case on 9/11. My evidence is by no means exhaustive. In fact, it is merely the proverbial tip of the iceberg. Yet proceeding in this direction, under my hypothesis, has been most fruitful in analyzing the various anomalies that pop up now and then.
Any simple keyword search of the following terms may be helpful in pointing toward a more substantive understanding of the elites who ultimately guide your fortunes: "Iran-Contra" , "Mena", "BCCI", "Project Paperclip", "Michael Aquino", "Paul Bonacci", "Operation Northwoods", "MK-Ultra". Much of the information on these topics is credible and well-documented. More disturbingly, it highlights behaviour committed by the very same elites who are now interpreting the events of 9/11 for you. Read for yourself, and decide, at the end of the day, how much credibility you will continue to accord to those who claim to be the proper trustees of your fate and well-being.
Chaim Kupferberg is a freelance researcher and writer. Copyright © Chaim Kupferberg 2002. Permission is granted to post this text on non-commercial community internet sites, provided the source and the URL are indicated, the essay remains intact and the copyright note is displayed.