did 19 hijackers manage to decimate the Pentagon, destroy
the World Trade Center, and plunge us into a war without end?
That is the question we still don't have an answer to, two
years after the worst terrorist attack in American history,
and, if the Bush administration has anything to say about
it – and they do – we won't have an answer any time soon.
An 800-page report written by congressional investigators
is being withheld from the American public, as
Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball report in the current
Newsweek, "including provocative, if unheeded
warnings, given President Bush and his top advisers during
the summer of 2001."
has been the rationale for a policy of perpetual
war, the radical
abridgement of our constitutionally-guaranteed liberties,
and the barking chorus of television
screamers who shout down all dissent as "treason."
Yet Americans have no right to know how or why it happened.
During ten months of probing by a joint
House-Senate investigation headed by former prosecutor
and Pentagon inspector general Eleanor
Hill, staff members reviewed classified documents made
available by U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies.
They also interviewed field agents, spooks, and senior government
officials. The Senate and House intelligence committees approved
the report, but the White House insisted that it be "scrubbed"
before being released – that is, cleansed of any hint that
the attack might have been prevented.
if to underscore the profound guilt at the core of their adamant
obstructionism, administration officials are insisting that
portions of the report detailing what is already widely known
be "reclassified." The infamous "Phoenix
memo" written by an FBI investigator warning of Al
Qaeda-linked operatives enrolling in flight schools is now
an official "secret," although it has been published
and cited in media all over the world. In explaining this
Orwellian maneuver, an administration spokesman summed up
the neo-imperialist theory of "democratic" governance
to a tee:
because something had been inadvertently released, doesn't
make it unclassified."
few weeks ago, a
federal goon squad invaded an Indian restaurant just off of
Times Square, held everyone at gunpoint, and burst into
the kitchen like Reno's Raiders at Waco. One of the restaurant's
customers, Jason Halperin, an American citizen – like everyone
in the place – was on his way to see a play with a friend.
They had stopped for a quick bite to eat – but, as it turned
out, they would miss curtain time. "You have no right
to hold us," his friend said. The response of the goons,
as reported by Halperin, was that they were being held under
the authority granted by the "Patriot Act." When
Halperin demanded to see a lawyer, the masks really came off:
I continued to press for legal counsel, a female officer who
had been busy typing on her laptop in the front of the restaurant,
walked over and put her finger in my face. 'We are at war,
we are at war and this is for your safety,' she exclaimed.
As she walked away from the table, she continued to repeat
it to herself: 'We are at war, we are at war. How can they
not understand this.'"
are at war, but what was the provenance of the catalytic attack
that launched it? How is it that the mightiest nation on earth,
a country that spends tens of billions per year on intelligence-gathering,
was taken so completely by surprise? In the period leading
up to the attack, after all, numerous
commissions had issued well-publicized reports warning
of the terrorist threat even naming Osama Bin Laden
as the potential perpetrator. Even if we accept the official
line that they attacked us because we're so wonderful, we
have McDonald's and free elections and MTV, the nagging question
remains: how did they manage to pull it off? The National
Commission on Terrorist Attacks, charged with coming up with
the definitive report on 9/11, is having trouble getting the
documents it needs. What does the Bush administration have
has been "a cover-up," charges Senator Bob Graham,
Florida Democrat. Sure, he's a presidential wannabe, but even
before his somewhat quixotic bid for the White House was announced,
Graham – chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee – was
at the dark secrets of 9/11. In an
interview with Gwen Ifill of PBS about the content of
this secret report, Graham said:
back to your question about what was the greatest surprise.
I agree with what Senator Shelby said the degree to which
agencies were not communicating was certainly a surprise but
also I was surprised at the evidence that there were foreign
governments involved in facilitating the activities of at
least some of the terrorists in the United States. I am stunned
that we have not done a better job of pursuing that to determine
if other terrorists received similar support and, even more
important, if the infrastructure of a foreign government assisting
terrorists still exists for the current generation of terrorists
who are here planning the next plots."
isn't some wacko who stands on a street corner handing out
crudely printed pamphlets, but a U.S. Senator who is in a
position to know – so why isn't attention being paid? It isn't
Enquirer or the Weekly
World News but the respected German
weekly Die Zeit that reports
the story of how Israel's Mossad intelligence agency was tracking
the 9/11 hijackers around the clock in the weeks and days
prior to the attacks:
indicates that the terrorists were constantly observed by
years ago this September, Fox News investigative reporter
Cameron told his audience:
is no indication that the Israelis were involved in the 9-11
attacks, but investigators suspect that the Israelis may have
gathered intelligence about the attacks in advance, and not
shared it. A highly placed investigator said there are 'tie-ins.'
But when asked for details, he flatly refused to describe
them, saying, 'evidence linking these Israelis to 9-11 is
classified. I cannot tell you about evidence that has been
gathered. It's classified information.'"
what they're telling us today when skeptics of the official
story wonder how it could have happened: "Sorry, but
that's classified information." The people of Iraq rifle
through the files of the infamous Mukhabarat,
yet we are denied access to vital government documents
relating to the most important event of our times. Who is
freer? In a curious inversion of the historical process, it
looks like we're exporting "democracy" to Iraq
and importing totalitarianism to our own shores.
Graham avers that foreign intelligence agencies are implicated
not only in the financing but also in the execution of the
hijackers' plans. Add to this the Isikoff-Hosenball revelations
that our presidential helmsman was asleep at the wheel, and
the political implications of the growing scandal are explosive.
As Newsweek reports:
such CIA briefing, in July 2001, was particularly chilling
and prophetic. It predicted that Osama bin Laden was about
to launch a terrorist strike 'in the coming weeks,' the congressional
investigators found. The intelligence briefing went on to
say: 'The attack will be spectacular and designed to inflict
mass casualties against U.S. facilities or interests. Attack
preparations have been made. Attack will occur with little
or no warning.'"
sounds very much like the warning the Israelis claim to have
issued in the summer
of 2001, when an Israeli delegation of intelligence officials
traveled to Washington. However, U.S. officials maintain that
their warning was non-specific, except that the target was
supposed to have been overseas. As to whether the Israelis,
or the Americans, are covering up, is an open question. The
answer is quite possibly both.
any event, the President and other senior officials received
that report, according to Newsweek, but since the list
of recipients has been classified as "Top Secret,"
the Bushies are off the hook – for now. Another classified
report given to Condoleezza Rice predicted attacks by Al Qaeda
utilizing hijacked airliners, but it apparently only gathered
dust on her desk.
If so, it's of the criminal variety. Complicity? Please don't
tell me that "Bush
knew" – that is the onanistic fantasy of the tinfoil
hat brigade. But somebody knew, apart from Mohammed
Atta & Co., or should have known. There is no question
that the terrorists, in pulling off the 9/11 attacks, had
access to some of this nation's most important secrets. New
York Times columnist Bill Safire reported that, as the
WTC went down in flames, the terrorists made it clear they
the inner defenses of White House security:
threatening message received by the Secret Service was relayed
to the agents with the president that 'Air Force One is next.'
According to the high official, American code words were used
showing a knowledge of procedures that made the threat credible."
swears this was told to him by Karl
Rove, who said the President was going to go back to Washington
until the Secret Service "informed him that the threat
contained language that was evidence that the terrorists had
knowledge of his procedures and whereabouts." As Safire
knowledge of code words and presidential whereabouts and possession
of secret procedures indicates that the terrorists may have
a mole in the White House that, or informants in the Secret
Service, F.B.I., F.A.A. or C.I.A."
deeper we get into what is already known, the more it seems
like some formulaic thriller, with agents and double-agents
operating in a clandestine world parallel to our own where
the rules are repealed and everyone is a potential enemy.
How can we possibly get through this dizzying maze of deliberate
disinformation and tantalizing leaks without access to the
intelligence gathered by our own officials, who supposedly
serve at our behest? The answer is, we can't – so we'll just
have to take the government's word for it, and accept the
lies – that is the worst aspect of the cursed age we are living
in. The same government that lied us into war is now trying
to stop us from getting at the truth about 9/11. Desperately,
furiously, intransigently, they are fighting congressional
investigators every step of the way before giving up even
material that is already entered into the public record. That's
how frightened they are. No doubt, they have good reason for
just what are they afraid of? What is the final secret of
9/11? Will we really hate our rulers that much when
we find out how they messed up? If so, then no wonder the
Bushies are pulling out all the stops in covering up their
IN THE MARGIN
turn, out of a sense of duty, to the
final issue of Partisan Review, the journal that
– in an important sense – spawned the neoconservatives, and
traced their evolution from New York City's Bolshevik
Bohemia to post-Trotskyite
orphans of the ideological storm to their current role
as the influential (and well-heeled) vanguard of the War Party.
Not just to celebrate the demise of a magazine that was the
brand name for pretentious prose, but to point out the idiocy
Louis Horowitz's piece, entitled "The American Consensus
and The American Conservative." This low-grade
error-filled smear is a fitting epitaph for a periodical that
was wrong about the Soviets (it was founded as a high-toned
version of the New Masses), wrong about Trotsky (its
editors were briefly enamored of the founder of the Red Army),
and mistaken about practically everything else in its long
history of accumulated wrongness.
begin with, Horowitz gets basic facts wrong. In order to "prove"
Buchanan's affinity for "revolutionary socialism,"
he states that Lenora
Fulani was Pat Buchanan's running mate "on his 1996
Reform Party ticket." Not even close. Fulani was never
Buchanan's running mate, not in 1996 – when he ran in the
Republican primaries, instead of as the Reform party candidate
– and not in 2000, when Buchanan ran as the Reform standard-bearer.
Within the Reform Party, Fulani at first reconciled herself
to Buchanan's takeover of the party, but then turned
against him at the convention and bolted. Pat's running
mate was another woman of color, Ezola
Foster, a conservative activist – but to Horowitz, apparently,
all those black ladies look alike.
us not harry the befuddled Horowitz with too many facts, however,
since they might get in the way of his thesis: that Buchanan
and his followers are a manifestation of "left fascism."
The supposed recruitment of Fulani, you see, was explained
by Horowitz as the result of a "red-brown alliance"
with Nazis and communists, linking capitalism with the Jewish
impulse to aggrandize the wealth of the nation helped to cement
this otherwise inexplicable alliance in seamless fashion."
that there was no "alliance." The ditzy old
fool can't even get the simplest facts straight: e.g., he
misspells my name. Entire sentences of his screed make no
sense whatsoever, and one can only interpret them as the literary
expression of hardened
arteries in the brain. But through the vague fog that
characterizes Horowitz's thought processes, the one emotion
that comes through loud and clear is hate. God, does
Horowitz hate The American Conservative! Buchanan
is a "demagogue" for reminding us of the wisdom
of the Founding Father's warning against foreign entanglements,
a "conspiracy theorist" akin to Lyndon
LaRouche and Father
Coughlin who "embody many of the causes espoused
by Buchanan" (although we are never told which
"causes"). This farrago of lies brings to mind a
passage from Ayn Rand's The
anything of men. Ask them to achieve wealth, fame, love ,
brutality, murder, self-sacrifice. But don't ask them to achieve
self-respect. They will hate your soul. Well, they know best.
They must have their reasons. They won't say, of course, that
they hate you. They will say that you hate them. It's near
enough, I suppose. They know the emotion involved."
is a senile old hater, who respects his readers even less
than his subject or the facts. But to a neocon in a
rage, facts are not stubborn things: they are infinitely
malleable, raw material to be moulded to suit his pet hates.
you, Horowitz. You babble on about how "there is a growing
liberal-conservative alliance in general ideological terms,"
and how those nasty old paleoconservatives are just ruining
this emergent "consensus." Tough, buster. Your "consensus"
isn't worth the paper it's printed on, and is headed for the
trash-can just as surely as the final number of the Partisan
Review. So get used to having The American Conservative
around, Irving old boy – and I hope every issue is like
an arrow through your shriveled up heart. Long live TAC!
Long may it publish – and prosper!
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