Category Archives: Benefitting from the crime

John O. Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security, justifies drone attacks

The White House  Office of the Press Secretary
June 29, 2011

Remarks of John O. Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, on Ensuring al-Qa’ida’s Demise –

As Prepared for Delivery
Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Washington, D.C.

Good afternoon.  Thank you, Dean Einhorn, for your very warm welcome and for your decades of service—in government, global institutions and here at SAIS.  And it’s a special pleasure to be introduced by John McLaughlin, a friend and colleague of many years and one of our nation’s great intelligence professionals.

It’s a pleasure to be here at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, an institution that has instilled in generations of public servants the pragmatic approach to problem-solving that is essential for the effective conduct of foreign policy.  I especially want to thank the Merrill Center for Strategic Studies for its emphasis on national security and for joining with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to introduce students to our Intelligence Community and inspiring the next generation of intelligence professionals.     

It’s wonderful to see so many friends and colleagues who I’ve had the privilege to work with over many years.  You have devoted your lives to protecting our nation from many threats, including the one that brings me here today, and one that has claimed the lives of some of our friends and colleagues—that is the continued terrorist threat from al-Qa’ida.  

Today, we are releasing President Obama’s National Strategy for Counterterrorism, which formalizes the approach that we’ve been pursuing and adapting for the past two and half years to prevent terrorist attacks and to ensure al-Qa’ida’s demise.  I’m pleased that we are joined today by dedicated professionals from across the federal government who helped to shape our strategy and who work tirelessly every day to keep our country safe.  Thank you for being here.

An unclassified summary of our strategy is being posted today to the White House website,   In the time I have with you, I’d like to put our strategy in context, outline its key goals and principals, and describe how we’re putting these principles into practice to protect the American people.    

I want to begin with the larger strategic environment that shapes our counterterrorism efforts.  This starts with the recognition that this counterterrorism strategy is only one part of President Obama’s larger National Security Strategy.  This is very important.  Our counterterrorism policies do not define our entire foreign policy; rather, they are a vital part of—and are designed to reinforce—our broader national security interests.

Since taking office, President Obama has worked to restore a positive vision of American leadership in the world—leadership defined, not by the threats and dangers that we will oppose, but by the security, opportunity and dignity that America advances in partnership with people around the world.  This has enhanced our national security in many areas against many threats.  

At the same time, many of the President’s broader foreign policy and national security initiatives also help to achieve our more focused counterterrorism goals.  They do so by addressing the political, economic and social conditions that can sometimes fuel violent extremism and push certain individuals into the arms of al-Qa’ida.

For instance, when our diplomats promote the peaceful resolution of political disputes and grievances, when our trade and economic policies generate growth that lifts people out of poverty, when our development experts support good governance that addresses people’s basic needs, when we stand up for universal human rights—all of this can also help undermine violent extremists and terrorists like al-Qa’ida.  Peaceful political, economic, and social progress undermines the claim that the only way to achieve change is through violence.  It can be a powerful antidote to the disillusionment and sense of powerlessness that can make some individuals more susceptible to violent ideologies.

Our strategy recognizes that our counterterrorism efforts clearly benefit from—and at times depend on—broader foreign policy efforts, even as our CT strategy focuses more narrowly on preventing terrorist attacks against our interests, at home and abroad.

This, obviously, is also the first counterterrorism strategy to reflect the extraordinary political changes that are sweeping the Middle East and North Africa.  It’s true that these changes may bring new challenges and uncertainty in the short-term, as we are seeing in Yemen.  It also is true that terrorist organizations, and nations that support them, will seek to capitalize on the instability that change can sometimes bring.  That is why we are working closely with allies and partners to make sure that these malevolent actors do not succeed in hijacking this moment of hope for their own violent ends.  

But as President Obama has said, these dramatic changes also mark an historic moment of opportunity.  So too for our counterterrorism efforts.  For decades, terrorist organizations like al-Qa’ida have preached that the only way to affect change is through violence.  Now, that claim has been thoroughly repudiated, and it has been repudiated by ordinary citizens, in Tunisia and Egypt and beyond, who are changing and challenging their governments through peaceful protest, even as they are sometimes met with horrific brutality, as in Libya and Syria.  Moreover, these citizens have rejected the medieval ideology of al-Qa’ida that divides people by faith and gender, opting instead to work together—Muslims and Christians, men and women, secular and religious.

It is the most profound change in the modern history of the Arab world, and al-Qa’ida and its ilk have been left on the sidelines, watching history pass them by.  Meanwhile, President Obama has placed the United States on the right side of history, pledging our support for the political and economic reforms and universal human rights that people in the region are demanding.  This, too, has profound implications for our counterterrorism efforts.

Against this backdrop, our strategy is very precise about the threat we face and the goals we seek.  Paul Nitze once observed that “one of the most dangerous forms of human error is forgetting what one is trying to achieve.”  President Obama is adamant that we never forget who we’re fighting or what we’re trying to achieve.

Let me start by saying that our strategy is not designed to combat directly every single terrorist organization in every corner of the world, many of which have neither the intent nor the capability to ever attack the United States or our citizens.

Our strategy of course recognizes that there are numerous nations and groups that support terrorism in order to oppose U.S. interests.  Iran and Syria remain leading state sponsors of terrorism.  Hezbollah and HAMAS are terrorist organizations that threaten Israel and our interests in the Middle East.  We will therefore continue to use the full range of our foreign policy tools to prevent these regimes and terrorist organizations from endangering our national security.

For example, President Obama has made it clear that the United States is determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.  And we will continue working closely with allies and partners, including sharing and acting upon intelligence, to prevent the flow of weapons and funds to Hezbollah and HAMAS and to prevent attacks against our allies, citizens or interests.

But the principal focus of this counterterrorism strategy—and the focus of our CT efforts since President Obama took office—is the network that poses the most direct and significant threat to the United States, and that is al-Qa’ida, its affiliates and its adherents.  We use these terms deliberately.

It is al-Qa’ida, the core group founded by Usama bin Laden, that has murdered our citizens, from the bombings of our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania to the attack on the U.S.S. Cole to the attacks of September 11th, which also killed citizens of more than 90 other countries.

It is al-Qa’ida’s affiliates—groups that are part of its network or share its goals—that have also attempted to attack our homeland.  It was al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), based in Yemen, that attempted to bring down that airliner over Detroit and which put explosives on cargo planes bound for the United States.  It was the Pakistani Taliban that sent Faisal Shahzad on his failed attempt to blow up an SUV in Times Square.

And it is al-Qa’ida’s adherents—individuals, sometimes with little or no direct physical contact with al-Qa’ida, who have succumbed to its hateful ideology and who have engaged in, or facilitated, terrorist activities here in the United States.  These misguided individuals are spurred on by the likes of al-Qaida’s Adam Gadahn and Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen, who speak English and preach violence in slick videos over the Internet.  And we have seen the tragic results, with the murder of a military recruiter in Arkansas two years ago and the attack on our servicemen and women at Fort Hood.

This is the first counterterrorism strategy that focuses on the ability of al-Qa’ida and its network to inspire people in the United States to attack us from within.  Indeed, this is the first counterterrorism strategy that designates the homeland as a primary area of emphasis in our counterterrorism efforts.       

Our strategy is also shaped by a deeper understanding of al-Qa’ida’s goals, strategy, and tactics. I’m not talking about al-Qa’ida’s grandiose vision of global domination through a violent Islamic caliphate.  That vision is absurd, and we are not going to organize our counterterrorism policies against a feckless delusion that is never going to happen.  We are not going to elevate these thugs and their murderous aspirations into something larger than they are.

Rather, President Obama is determined that our foreign and national security policies not play into al-Qa’ida’s strategy or its warped ideology.  Al-Qa’ida seeks to terrorize us into retreating from the world stage.  But President Obama has made it a priority to renew American leadership in the world, strengthening our alliances and deepening partnerships.  Al-Qa’ida seeks to portray America as an enemy of the world’s Muslims.  But President Obama has made it clear that the United States is not, and never will be, at war with Islam.   

Al-Qa’ida seeks to bleed us financially by drawing us into long, costly wars that also inflame anti-American sentiment.  Under President Obama, we are working to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan responsibly, even as we keep unrelenting pressure on al-Qa’ida.  Going forward, we will be mindful that if our nation is threatened, our best offense won’t always be deploying large armies abroad but delivering targeted, surgical pressure to the groups that threaten us.

Al-Qa’ida seeks to portray itself as a religious movement defending the rights of Muslims, but the United States will continue to expose al-Qa’ida as nothing more than murderers.  They purport to be Islamic, but they are neither religious leaders nor scholars; indeed, there is nothing Islamic or holy about slaughtering innocent men, women, and children.  They claim to protect Muslims, but the vast majority of al-Qa’ida’s victims are, in fact, innocent Muslim men, women, and children.  It is no wonder that the overwhelmingly majority of the world’s Muslims have rejected al-Qa’ida and why its ranks of supporters continue to decline.

Just as our strategy is precise about who our enemy is, it is clear about our posture and our goal.  This is a war—a broad, sustained, integrated and relentless campaign that harnesses every element of American power.  And we seek nothing less than the utter destruction of this evil that calls itself al-Qa’ida.

To achieve this goal, we need to dismantle the core of al-Qa’ida—its leadership in the tribal regions of Pakistan—and prevent its ability to reestablish a safe haven in the Pakistan–Afghanistan region.  In other words, we aim to render the heart of al-Qa’ida incapable of launching attacks against our homeland, our citizens, or our allies, as well as preventing the group from inspiring its affiliates and adherents to do so.

At the same time, ultimately defeating al-Qa’ida also means addressing the serious threat posed by its affiliates and adherents operating outside South Asia.  This does not require a “global” war, but it does require a focus on specific regions, including what we might call the periphery—places like Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, and the Maghreb.  This is another important distinction that characterizes this strategy.  As the al-Qa’ida core has weakened under our unyielding pressure, it has looked increasingly to these other groups and individuals to take up its cause, including its goal of striking the United States.

To destroy al-Qa’ida, we are pursuing specific and focused counterterrorism objectives.  
For example:

    We are protecting our homeland by constantly reducing our vulnerabilities and adapting and updating our defenses.
    We are taking the fight to wherever the cancer of al-Qa’ida manifests itself, degrading its capabilities and disrupting its operations.
    We are degrading the ability of al-Qa’ida’s senior leadership to inspire, communicate with, and direct the operations of its adherents around the world.
    We are denying al-Qa’ida any safe haven—the physical sanctuary that it needs to train, plot and launch attacks against us.
    We are aggressively confronting al-Qa’ida’s ideology, which attempts to exploit local—and often legitimate—grievances in an attempt to justify violence.
    We are depriving al-Qa’ida of its enabling means, including the illicit financing, logistical support, and online communications that sustain its network.
    And we are working to prevent al-Qa’ida from acquiring or developing weapons of mass destruction, which is why President Obama is leading the global effort to secure the world’s vulnerable materials in four years.

In many respects, these specific counterterrorism goals are not new.  In fact, they track closely with the goals of the previous administration.  Yet this illustrates another important characteristic of our strategy.  It neither represents a wholesale overhaul—nor a wholesale retention—of previous policies.

President Obama’s approach to counterterrorism is pragmatic, not ideological.  It’s based on what works.  It builds upon policies and practices that have been instituted and refined over the past decade, in partnership with Congress—a partnership we will continue.  And it reflects an evolution in our understanding of the threat, in the capabilities of our government, the capacity of our partners, and the tools and technologies at our disposal.        

What is new—and what I believe distinguishes this strategy—is the principles that are guiding our efforts to destroy al-Qa’ida.

First, we are using every lawful tool and authority available.  No single agency or department has sole responsibility for this fight because no single department or agency possesses all the capabilities needed for this fight.  This is—and must be—a whole-of-government effort, and it’s why the Obama Administration has strengthened the tools we need.

We’ve strengthened intelligence, expanding human intelligence and linguistic skills, and we’re constantly working to improve our capabilities and learn from our experiences.  For example, following the attack at Fort Hood and the failed attack over Detroit, we’ve improved the analytic process, created new groups to track threat information, and enhanced cooperation among our intelligence agencies, including better information sharing so that all threats are acted upon quickly.  

We’ve strengthened our military capabilities. We increased the size of our Special Forces, sped up the deployment of unique assets so that al-Qa’ida enjoys no safe haven, and ensured that our military and intelligence professionals are working more closely than ever before.

We’ve strengthened homeland security with a multi-layered defense, bolstering security at our borders, ports and airports; improving partnerships with state and local governments and allies and partners, including sharing more information; increasing the capacity of our first responders; and preparing for bioterrorism.  In taking these steps, we are finally fulfilling key recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.

Learning the lessons of recent plots and attempted attacks, we’ve increased aviation security by strengthening watchlist procedures and sharing information in real-time; enhancing screening of cargo; and—for the first time—ensuring 100 percent screening of all passengers traveling in, to, and from the United States, which was another recommendation of the 9/11 Commission.  And we are constantly assessing and improving our defenses, as we did in replacing the old color-coded threat system with a more targeted approach that provides detailed information about specific, credible threats and suggested protective measures.

In addition, we are using the full range of law enforcement tools as part of our effort to build an effective and durable legal framework for the war against al-Qa’ida.  This includes our single most effective tool for prosecuting, convicting, and sentencing suspected terrorists—and a proven tool for gathering intelligence and preventing attacks—our Article III courts.  It includes reformed military commissions, which at times offer unique advantages.  And this framework includes the recently renewed PATRIOT Act.  In short, we must have a legal framework that provides our extraordinary intelligence, counterterrorism, and law enforcement professionals with all the lawful tools they need to do their job and keep our country safe.  We must not tie their hands.

For all these tools to work properly, departments and agencies across the federal government must work cooperatively.  Today, our personnel are working more closely together than ever before, as we saw in the operation that killed Usama bin Laden.  That success was not due to any one single person or single piece of information.  It was the result of many people in many organizations working together over many years.  And that is what we will continue to do.

Even as we use every tool in our government, we are guided by a second principle—the need for partnership with institutions and countries around the world, as we recognize that no one nation alone can bring about al-Qa’ida’s demise.  Over the past decade, we have made enormous progress in building and strengthening an international architecture to confront the threat from al-Qa’ida.  This includes greater cooperation with multilateral institutions such as the United Nations, our NATO allies, and regional organizations such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the African Union.

Over the past two and a half years, we have also increased our efforts to build the capacity of partners so they can take the fight to al-Qa’ida in their own countries.  That is why a key element of the President’s strategy in Afghanistan is growing Afghan security forces.  It’s why we’ll soon begin a transition so that Afghans can take responsibility for their own security.  And it’s why we must continue our cooperation with Pakistan.

In recent weeks we’ve been reminded that our relationship with Pakistan is not without tension or frustration.  We are now working with our Pakistani partners to overcome differences and continue our efforts against our common enemies.  It is essential that we do so.  As frustrating as this relationship can sometimes be, Pakistan has been critical to many of our most significant successes against al-Qa’ida.  Tens of thousands of Pakistanis—military and civilian—have given their lives in the fight against militancy.  And despite recent tensions, I am confident that Pakistan will remain one of our most important counterterrorism partners.

These kinds of security partnerships are absolutely vital.  The critical intelligence that allowed us to discover the explosives that AQAP was shipping to the United States in those cargo planes was provided by our Saudi Arabian partners.   Al-Qa’ida in Iraq has suffered major losses at the hands of Iraqi security forces, trained by the United States.  Despite the ongoing instability, our counterterrorism cooperation with Yemen continues, and I would argue that the recent territorial gains made by militants linked to AQAP only makes our CT partnership with Yemen more important.

Around the world, we will deepen our security cooperation with partners wherever al-Qa’ida attempts to take root, be it Somalia, the Sahel or Southeast Asia.  For while al-Qa’ida seeks to depict this fight as one between the world’s Muslims and the United States, it is actually the opposite—the international community, including Muslim-majority nations and Muslim communities, united against al-Qa’ida.

This leads to the third principle of our strategy—rather than pursuing a one-size fits-all approach, we recognize that different threats in different places demand different tools.  So even as we use all the resources at our disposal against al-Qa’ida, we will apply the right tools in the right way and in the right place, with laser focus.

In some places, such as the tribal regions between Afghanistan and Pakistan, we will deliver precise and overwhelming force against al-Qa’ida.  Whenever possible, our efforts around the world will be in close coordination with our partners.  And, when necessary, as the President has said repeatedly, if we have information about the whereabouts of al-Qa’ida, we will do what is required to protect the United States—as we did with bin Laden.

In some places, as I’ve described, our efforts will focus on training foreign security services.  In others, as with our Saudi Arabian and Gulf state partners, our focus will include shutting down al-Qa’ida’s financial pipelines.  With longtime allies and partners, as in Europe, we’ll thwart attacks through close intelligence cooperation.  Here in the United States—where the rule of law is paramount—it’s our federal, state, and local law enforcement and homeland security professionals who rightly take the lead.  Around the world, including here at home, we will continue to show that the United States offers a vision of progress and justice, while al-Qa’ida offers nothing but death and destruction.

Related to our counterterrorism strategy, I would also note that keeping our nation secure also depends on strong partnerships between government and communities here at home, including Muslim and Arab Americans, some of whom join us today.  These Americans have worked to protect their communities from al-Qa’ida’s violent ideology and they have helped to prevent terrorist attacks in our country.  Later this summer, the Obama Administration will unveil its approach for partnering with communities to prevent violent extremism in the United States.  And a key tenet of this approach is that when it comes to protecting our country, Muslim Americans are not part of the problem, they’re part of the solution.    

This relates to our fourth principle—building a culture of resilience here at home.  We are doing everything in our power to prevent another terrorist attack on our soil.  At the same time, a responsible, effective counterterrorism strategy recognizes that no nation, no matter how powerful—including a free and open society of 300 million Americans—can prevent every single threat from every single individual who wishes to do us harm.  It’s not enough to simply be prepared for attacks, we have to be resilient and recover quickly should an attack occur.

So, as a resilient nation, we are constantly improving our ability to withstand any attack—especially our critical infrastructure, including cyber—thereby denying al-Qa’ida the economic damage and disruption it seeks.  As a resilient government, we’re strengthening the partnerships that help states and localities recover quickly.  And as a resilient people, we must remember that every one of us can help deprive al-Qa’ida of the success it seeks.  Al-Qa’ida wants to terrorize us, so we must not give in to fear.  They want to change us, so we must stay true to who we are.

Which brings me to our final principle, in fact, the one that guides all the others—in all our actions, we will uphold the core values that define us as Americans.  I have spent more than thirty years working on behalf of our nation’s security.  I understand the truly breathtaking capabilities of our intelligence and counterterrorism communities.  But I also know that the most powerful weapons of all—which we must never forsake—are the values and ideals that America represents to the world.

When we fail to abide by our values, we play right into the hands of al-Qa’ida, which falsely tries to portray us as a people of hypocrisy and decadence.  Conversely, when we uphold these values it sends a message to the people around the world that it is America—not al-Qa’ida—that represents opportunity, dignity, and justice.  In other words, living our values helps keep us safe.

So, as Americans, we stand for human rights.  That is why, in his first days in office, President Obama made it clear that the United States of America does not torture, and it’s why he banned the use of enhanced interrogation techniques, which did not work.  As Americans, we will uphold the rule of law at home, including the privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties of all Americans.  And it’s because of our commitment to the rule of law and to our national security that we will never waver in our conviction that the United States will be more secure the day that the prison at Guantanamo Bay is ultimately closed.

Living our values—and communicating to the world what America represents—also directly undermines al-Qa’ida’s twisted ideology.  When we remember that diversity of faith and background is not a weakness in America but a strength, and when we show that Muslim Americans are part of our American family, we expose al-Qa’ida’s lie that cultures must clash.  When we remember that Islam is part of America, we show that America could never possibly be at war with Islam.

These are our principles, and this is the strategy that has enabled us to put al-Qa’ida under more pressure than at any time since 9/11.  With allies and partners, we have thwarted attacks around the world.  We have disrupted plots here at home, including the plan of Najibullah Zazi, trained by al-Qa’ida to bomb the New York subway.

We have affected al-Qa’ida’s ability to attract new recruits.  We’ve made it harder for them to hide and transfer money, and pushed al-Qa’ida’s finances to its weakest point in years.  Along with our partners, in Pakistan and Yemen, we’ve shown al-Qa’ida that it will enjoy no safe haven, and we have made it harder than ever for them to move, to communicate, to train, and to plot.

Al-Qa’ida’s leadership ranks have been decimated, with more key leaders eliminated in rapid succession than at any time since 9/11.  For example, al-Qa’ida’s third-ranking leader, Sheik Saeed al-Masri—killed.  Ilyas Kashmiri, one of al-Qa’ida’s most dangerous commanders—reportedly killed.  Operatives of AQAP in Yemen, including Ammar al-Wa’ili, Abu Ali al-Harithi, and Ali Saleh Farhan—all killed.  Baitullah Mahsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban—killed.  Harun Fazul, the leader of al-Qa’ida in East Africa and the mastermind of the bombings of our embassies in Africa—killed by Somali security forces.

All told, over the past two and half years, virtually every major al-Qa’ida affiliate has lost its key leader or operational commander, and more than half of al-Qa’ida’s top leadership has been eliminated.  Yes, al-Qa’ida is adaptive and resilient and has sought to replace these leaders, but it has been forced to do so with less experienced individuals.  That’s another reason why we and our partners have stepped up our efforts.  Because if we hit al-Qa’ida hard enough and often enough, there will come a time when they simply can no longer replenish their ranks with the skilled leaders they need to sustain their operations.  And that is the direction in which we’re headed today.

Now, with the death of Usama bin Laden, we have struck our biggest blow against al-Qa’ida yet.  We have taken out al-Qa’ida’s founder, an operational commander who continued to direct his followers to attack the United States and, perhaps most significantly, al-Qa’ida’s symbolic figure who has inspired so many others to violence.  In his place, the organization is left with Ayman al-Zawahiri, an aging doctor who lacks bin Laden’s charisma and perhaps the loyalty and respect of many in al-Qa’ida.  Indeed, the fact that it took so many weeks for al-Qa’ida to settle on Zawahiri as its new leader suggests possible divisions and disarray at the highest levels.

Taken together, the progress I’ve described allows us—for the first time—to envision the demise of al-Qa’ida’s core leadership in the coming years.  It will take time, but make no mistake, al-Qa’ida is in its decline.  This is by no means meant to suggest that the serious threat from al-Qa’ida has passed; not at all.  Zawahiri may attempt to demonstrate his leadership, and al-Qa’ida may try to show its relevance, through new attacks.  Lone individuals may seek to avenge bin Laden’s death.  More innocent people may tragically lose their lives.

Nor would the destruction of its leadership mean the destruction of the al-Qa’ida network.  AQAP remains the most operationally active affiliate in the network and poses a direct threat to the United States.  From the territory it controls in Somalia, Al-Shabaab continues to call for strikes against the United States.  As a result, we cannot and we will not let down our guard.  We will continue to pummel al-Qa’ida and its ilk, and we will remain vigilant at home.

Still, as we approach the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, as Americans seek to understand where we stand a decade later, we need look no further than that compound where bin Laden spent his final days.  There he was, holed-up for years, behind high prison-like walls, isolated from the world.  But even he understood the sorry state of his organization and its ideology.

Information seized from that compound reveals bin Laden’s concerns about al-Qa’ida’s long-term viability.  He called for more large-scale attacks against America, but encountered resistance from his followers and he went for years without seeing any spectacular attacks.  He saw his senior leaders being taken down, one by one, and worried about the ability to replace them effectively.

Perhaps most importantly, bin Laden clearly sensed that al-Qa’ida is losing the larger battle for hearts and minds.  He knew that al-Qa’ida’s murder of so many innocent civilians, most of them Muslims, had deeply and perhaps permanently tarnished al-Qa’ida’s image in the world.  He knew that he had failed to portray America as being at war with Islam.  In fact, he worried that our recent focus on al-Qa’ida as our enemy had prevented more Muslims from rallying to his cause, so much so that he even considered changing al-Qa’ida’s name.  We are left with that final image seen around the world—an old terrorist, alone, hunched over in a blanket, flipping through old videos of a man and a movement that history is leaving behind.

This fight is not over.  But guided by the strategy we’re releasing today, we will never waver in our efforts to protect the American people.  We will continue to be clear and precise about our enemy.  We will continue to use every tool at our disposal, and apply them wisely.  We will continue to forge strong partnerships around the world and build a culture of resilience here at home.  And as Americans, we will continue to uphold the ideals and core values that inspire the world, define us as people and help keep us safe.  

President Obama said it best last week—we have put al-Qa’ida on a path to defeat, and we will not relent until the job is done.  Thank you all very much.

Backgrounds of US war against Afghanistan

“Pipelines to 9/11”: The Struggle to control oil on the east side of the Caspian Sea


This is a research article by Rudo de Ruijter, containing about a hundred facts leading ultimately to the U.S. war against Afghanistan. For each of them reliable sources are mentioned. It is a disturbing article, if you don’t know these facts yet.

For fair use, you may publish and/or forward this article.

Short content:

This article is about backgrounds of the U.S. war against Afghanistan. It is about oil, gas and pipelines around the Caspian Sea. To transport oil and gas from the east side of the Caspian Sea, pipelines had been planned through Afghanistan. Because a U.S. company, UNOCAL, failed to control  the Afghan route, the war was prepared. When the military was ready to strike, the “terrorists” of 9/11 gave Bush the pretext to start this war and obtain support from Congress, the U.S. population and the rest of the world.


• Introduction

• Timeline 1989 – 2000

• Neo-conservative ideas

• Wealthy actors and influences

• Preparations for 9/11 and the invasion of Afghanistan


• Conclusion



Our politicians have shaped the idea many people have about our world. They have divided our world into good and bad. Of course, they are always the good guys and the ones they accuse are the bad guys. Simple, isn’t it?

However, if we stick to the facts, and throw out all the information that comes from unverifiable sources, our world looks very different. This research is not meant to offend anyone. If you are pleased with the “official” version of our history, don’t read any further.

Bush said the attacks of 9/11 were the reason to invade Afghanistan. [1]

This article shows that the war was the logical result of an unsuccessful struggle, by the U.S., to build and control pipelines through Afganistan, and that preparations for this war took place before 9/11.

In 2000 the neoconservatives said they needed some catastrophic and catalysing event.

This article shows how this event may have taken place on September 11, 2001.

The 1993 attack

The attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 eclipse an earlier attack on the World Trade Centre in 1993. On January 20 1993, William (Bill) Clinton had become President. A month later, on February 26, an “immense blast happened at 12:18 local time in the Secret Service’s section of the car park underneath and between what are New York’s tallest buildings.” [2]

BBC published the words of an eyewitness: “It felt like an airplane hit the building.” Apparently the explosion was intended to bring both WTC towers down. The New York Times found out that the FBI was involved in the attacks. The FBI would have infiltrated a group of “terrorists”, would have known about their intentions and for some unknown reason let it happen. [3] Six people died and a hundred were injured. [2]

Timeline 1989 – 2000

In this chapter I will present a timeline of Afghan events. I will also mention events related to terrorism, which will become U.S. final pretext for war.

Immediately after the attacks on September 11, 2001, U.S. officials accused Osama bin Laden. Since the man would reside in Afghanistan, it provided a pretext for George W. Bush to attack and invade Afghanistan.

Let’s have a closer look at the situation prior to 9/11. As promised by Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev, the USSR had withdrawn its last soldiers from Afghanistan on February 15, 1989. It was the end of ten years of war. It was also the last war of the Soviet Union.

A few months later, on November 9, 1989, the Berlin wall fell. The Iron Curtain broke down. The people living on the other side of the curtain, of whom our leaders had always pretended they were dangerous and ferocious, turned out to be as friendly as us.

With the concept of the Cold War our leaders had divided our world and maintained fear in our minds for over forty years. This terror, fabricated by our own governments, was finally over.

Pipeline projects through Afghanistan

On December 25, 1991, the Soviet flag was lowered from the Kremlin for the last time. [4] The former Soviet republics become independent. Among them were the countries around the Caspian Sea, all rich in oil and gas. [MAP: ]

Before, the oil and gas went through pipelines to their soviet neighbours, or were exported via Russia to Europe. Now each country could sell its own oil and gas and explore new markets. Buyers showed up from everywhere.

In the beginning, the new leaders still had no experience with the world oil business. One of the first deals of Turkmenistan was to auction an oil well for as little as $100,000. [5] U.S. companies showed up, too.

The biggest challenge was to get the Caspian oil and gas to the world markets. The problem? The region is land-locked. If you trust neither Russia on the North side of the Caspian Sea, nor Iran on the South side, you need to build new pipelines. [MAP: ]

Today, from the West side of the Caspian Sea, oil is pumped through several pipelines towards the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea from where it can be shipped.

Big business on the East side of the Caspian Sea is still limited. To unlock oil and gas from this side, pipelines have to be built through Afghanistan. Here, since the early nineties, two pipelines – one for gas and one for oil – have been in project. [MAP: ]

The oil pipe should go South to the Indian Ocean, ending at the port of Gwadar in Pakistan. The gas pipe would turn East to Multan in the middle of Pakistan. From Pakistan an extension is planned to Bombay (Mumbai, India), where a U.S. company with close ties with father and son Bush, Enron, has built a power plant. [6]

Contracts for pipelines are not just multi-billion dollar projects to build them. The main contractor generally also buys and sells the oil or gas going through them. With contracts he disposes of it, determines how much the supplier gets in return, and what fee is paid to crossed countries. He determines who gets it, how much, when, to what price and in which currency it has to be paid.

In fact, he determines a lot in the economical developments of both the selling and the buying countries. With Turkmenistan eager to sell its gas, Pakistan eager to buy it and Enron in India hoping to see it arrive as soon as possible, the pipelines through Afghanistan are of high interest.

However, in 2001, the work in Afghanistan had not yet started. Since the withdrawal of the Soviets in 1989, unrest was still in the country.

The Taliban: From ally to “terrorist”

The unrest in Afghanistan that blocked the business is worth mentioning. In 1992, the pro-Russian President Mohammad Najibullah was ousted. In 1993, Burhanuddin Rabbani became President, supported by the Tajik minority of the population.

In 1994, the Pashtun, forming half of the population, challenged Rabbani. Because the pipelines have to cross mainly Pashtun territory, their movement, the Taliban, had support from the U.S. and Pakistan.

In March 1995, two companies, BRIDAS from Argentina and UNOCAL from the U.S., both claimed to have obtained the contracts from the seller of the gas (Turkmenistan) and the buyer (Pakistan). At that moment no deal had yet been signed with the Afghan authorities.

In October 1995, President Niyazov of Turkmenistan signed an official agreement with UNOCAL, but in February 1996, President Rabbani of Afghanistan signed an agreement with BRIDAS for the main section of 875 miles through Afghanistan. [7]

UNOCAL’s chances seemed compromised. Fortunately for UNOCAL, the Taliban wanted to oust president Rabbani. In September 1996, they took Jalabad, Kandahar, and then Kabul. President Rabbani fled to join the Northern Alliance.

UNOCAL sighed with relief. It expressed support for the Taliban takeover, saying it makes the pipeline project easier. (Unocal later said it was misquoted.)

Would BRIDAS now have lost the game? No. In November 1996, BRIDAS signed an agreement with the Taliban and Gen. Dostum to build the pipeline. Unfortunately, except from Pakistan and Saudi-Arabia, the Taliban government didn’t obtain international recognition.

In April 1997, because work on the pipeline still had not started, the Taliban announced it would award the contract to whomever starts first. However, UNOCAL claimed there must be peace first.

In July 1997, Turkmenistan and Pakistan accepted a new delay and signed a new contract with UNOCAL, saying they had to start the work within a year and a half.

In December 1997, UNOCAL tried to become good friends with the Taliban and invited a delegation to their head office in Sugarland, Texas, where they received a VIP treatment while staying in the best hotels. [8]

In Afghanistan, civil war went on. With no internationally recognized legal representative of Afghanistan, the pipeline project seemed to be deadlocked. [9]

U.S.-bombs on Afghanistan after U.S. embassies are attacked in Africa

On February 4, 1998 and May 30, 1998, very heavy earthquakes shook the North East of Afghanistan. They attracted a lot of international attention and many groups of relief workers came into the North-East of Afghanistan to help.

According to U.S. accusations, this was the moment that somewhere in this same region of Afghanistan a certain Osama bin Laden would have been planning the bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa, one in Nairobi (Kenya), and one in Dar es Salaam (Tanzania).

The bombings had a high impact in the press. 258 people were killed and some 5,000 injured. The bombings occurred on August 7, 1998, apparently for no specific reason. [10]

Apparently only President Clinton benefited from it. In the U.S., the Monica Lewinsky affair had come to a height. The press and the public were excited and angry. Clinton had stated under oath, that he had had no sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky. Proof had come out he had. Clinton was close to the point of being convicted of perjury.

The bombings of the embassies drew people’s attention to the drama in Africa. Finally, on August 17, Clinton came away with the perjury charge by arguing that oral sex was not a sexual relation. [11]

A few days later, August 21, 1998, the U.S. military threw bombs on Kandahar and other targets in Afghanistan. Only afterwards Clinton explained to the journalists that this was because of Osama bin Laden, who was supposed to be behind the bombings of the U.S.’ embassies in Africa. [12]

Unlike George W. Bush in 2001, Clinton did not invade Afghanistan. An invasion would have given hope to UNOCAL to see the Afghan deadlock broken, but with the Lewinsky affair still being argued, Clinton did not have enough credit for such a war.

On August 28, 1998, UNSC resolution 1193 blamed the Taliban for the problems in Afghanistan. [13]

On November 5, 1998, a U.S. Grand Jury indicted Osama Bin Laden. (Not for the bombings of the embassies in Africa, but essentially for considering the U.S. as his enemy.) [14] & [15]

UNOCAL withdraws

In December 1998 UNOCAL withdrew from the pipeline consortium and, at least for the outside world, the pipeline project seemed halted. [8]

However, in January, 1999, Turkmenistan’s foreign minister visited Pakistan, saying the pipeline project was still alive. In February, BRIDAS had talks with leaders in Turkmenistan, Pakistan and Russia.

In March, Turkmenistan’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Muradov met with Taliban leader Mullah Omar in Kandahar to discuss the pipeline. In April, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, and the Taliban signed an agreement to revive the pipeline project. In May, a Taliban delegation signed an agreement with Turkmenistan to buy gas and electricity. [8]

“Terror” warning

On June 25, 1999, the U.S. State Department announced: “As some of our embassies in Africa have been under surveillance by suspicious individuals, we are taking the precaution of temporarily closing our embassies in Gambia, Togo, Madagascar, Liberia, Namibia and Senegal from June 24 through the 27th of June – that is Sunday.” [16]

The speaker seemed to have no idea where these countries are, considering the strange order of announcing them. Besides, the only African countries, where incidents like attacks and hostage taking have been reported that year, are Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Burundi and Ethiopia. None of these countries is on the list. [17]

On July 4, 1999, President Clinton issued an executive order prohibiting commercial transactions with the Taliban. [18]

Back to Cold War budgets

On September 23, 1999, Presidential candidate George W. Bush exposed his views on the U.S. military. He complained that since the end of the Cold War the Defence budget had fallen 40 percent and that the army had never been in such a bad shape since Pearl Harbor.

“As President, I will order an immediate review of our overseas deployments – in dozens of countries. … My second goal is to build America’s defences on the troubled frontiers of technology and ‘terror’.”

Among his views of arms: “In the air, we must be able to strike from across the world with pinpoint accuracy – with long-range aircraft and perhaps with unmanned systems.” [19]

On October 15, 1999, things were getting more serious for the Taliban. UN resolution 1267 against the Taliban threatened an aircraft ban and fund freezing, if Osama Bin Laden was not handed over before November 14, 1999. [20] & [2]

On November 11, 1999, during a press conference, the Taliban minister of Foreign Affairs said Osama bin Laden and the Taliban were unable to organize attacks like those on the embassies in Africa and condemned these actions.

In 2000 the U.S. had Presidential elections. It was time to postpone delicate decisions.

On April 2, 2000, Richard Clarke, who had been appointed counter-terrorist coordinator a few months before the attacks against the embassies in Africa (on May 22), predicted: “They will come after our weakness, our Achilles heel, which is largely here in the United States.” [21]

Curious No-Fly list

On April 21, 2000, something remarkable happened. As an antiterrorist measure, the U.S. Congress announced a single unified “terrorist” watch list, the TID (or Terrorist Identities Database), into which all international “terrorist” related data available to the U..S government – mainly the TIPOFF no-fly list – would be stored in a single repository. In airports, this list is used to prevent suspected people from going on board and from entering the U.S. [22]

However, the same day that Congress announced the unified TID list, the FAA created a new and separate domestic no-fly list and put only six names on it. Two weeks before 9/11, the list was expanded with six other names, making it a total list of 12 names.

Thanks to this separate list the hijackers of 9/11, using domestic flights, and not listed among the 12 names, could board the planes without difficulties. On August 23, 2001, two names, later published as being two of the hijackers, had been added to the official TID-list, which counted 60,000 suspects, but was discarded for domestic flights. [23]

Neo-conservative ideas

This second chapter starts with September 2000, when the neo-conservatives present their views. Their ideas will spread through the White House Administration with the election of  George W. Bush. Even before he enters the White House, two imperialistic  wars are on the agenda: Iraq and Afghanistan. Afghanistan gets the priority.

In September, 2000, the neoconservative think tank Project for a New American Century (PNAC) published their imperialistic views for the U.S. [24] In the document, they warned that the process of transforming the U.S. into “tomorrow’s dominant force” would likely be a long one in the absence of “some catastrophic and catalysing event – like a new Pearl Harbor”.  [25]

After 9/11, to those who would not yet have understood the benefits of the events at Pearl Harbor in 1941, Bush would explain: “The four years that followed transformed the American way of war” and “even more importantly, an American President and his successors shaped a world beyond a war.” And, to make sure that people understood that 9/11 was just like Pearl Harbor, he would add “September 11th, 2001 – three months and a long time ago – set another dividing line in our lives and in the life of our nation.”  [27]

Many PNAC members would become members of the Bush administration. Those members include Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, and Richard Perle. [26]

On October 12, 2000, three weeks before the Presidential elections, the U.S. population was shortly reminded of the “terrorist” threat in the world. The U.S. Navy destroyer USS Cole in the Yemeni port of Aden was rammed with an inflatable raft with explosives and was damaged. Published detail: it looked as if the raft was coming to help the warship to moor to a buoy. [28] Message: you can trust nobody.

On November 7, 2000 the elections took place. George W. Bush or Al Gore would become President. The counting gave an extremely close result. The results in the State of Florida became decisive, but the counting was and remains far from clear.

The opponents fought in many different courts until December 13. It turned out that in Florida, 180,000 votes had been thrown out of the counting. This way Bush led by less than 600 votes. Partial recounts resulted in much lower estimates. Finally, all recounts could not be executed within the time limit set by the intervening Supreme Court. This is how Bush won the elections. [29]


A few days later, on December 18, speaking at the Capitol, Bush joked about his new relationship with some congressional leaders: “If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier….just so long as I’m the dictator.”  [30]

Just a slip of the tongue? Not really. In July 1998, about governing Texas, he said already: “A dictatorship would be a lot easier.” [31] And on July 26, 2001, speaking once again about his struggles with Congress he repeated: “a dictatorship would be a heck of a lot easier.” [32]

Well, for the ambitious plans of the neoconservatives, the U.S. Congress was a major hurdle to clear. The budget of the military had shrunk by 40 percent after the Cold War and with the wars they had in mind they would need a lot more money.

How would they get the budget they wanted? If the U.S. would be attacked, there would be no problem. They would receive all the budget, political support and public sympathy they needed. But, as written in their document, without a new Pearl Harbor things would go slowly. [25]

When Bush started his presidency, many neoconservatives considered Iraq as the first target to hit. In their document of September 2000 they had named Iraq as a “potential rival” of the U.S. [24]

First Target Iraq?

Iraq has the world’s second largest oil reserves. The country was exhausted. It had tried to conquer Iran from 1980 to 1988, had invaded Kuwait in 1990, had been defeated by Operation Desert Storm in 1991, and a subsequent UN embargo had brought the Iraqi economy to a standstill and the population to the edge of starvation.

Since 1996, the Oil For Food program of the UN had brought some relief for the Iraqi people. The country had been disarmed. Extensive weapon inspections had concluded the country formed no threat anymore. Well, at least, not military. In 2000, Saddam had still found a trick to hit the main pillar of U.S. hegemony, the dollar. He started to sell his oil in Euros, instead of Dollars. [ , see: Dollar Hegemony 

Afghanistan back on the agenda

However, not even a week after George W. Bush had been declared winner of the elections, Afghanistan was back on the international agenda. UNSC resolution 1333 of December 19, 2000, imposed the sanctions the UN had promised more than a year before, if the Taliban would not hand over Osama bin Laden before November 14, 1999 (aircraft ban and funds freezing). [33]

Afghanistan in the Caspian context

Geopolitically, Afghanistan had become a more urgent target. Since 1996, the U.S. had experienced severe setbacks in their ambition to control gas and oil on the East side of the Caspian Sea and was loosing influence. The lack of control over Afghanistan was leading to severe complications.

As mentioned earlier, the problems had started in February 1996, when Afghan President Rabbani signed a contract with UNOCAL’s competitor BRIDAS for the construction of the gas pipeline through Afghanistan, between Turkmenistan and Pakistan. [8] In March 1996, the U.S. tried to block this deal, putting pressure on Pakistan and telling them they should grant exclusive rights to UNOCAL. This resulted in a diplomatic clash with the Pakistani government. [8]

Still, in the same month, Pakistan officially agreed to allow a proposed Iranian pipeline to run over Pakistani territory on its way to India, thus enabling Iranian gas sale to India. The gas would come from Iran’s giant South Pars Field in the Persian Gulf and cross the South of Iran

from West to East through a pipeline still to be constructed. [34]

Meanwhile, in February 1996, Turkmenistan had showed it did not want to depend exclusively on the delayed Afghan pipeline project and had signed a contract with Turkey to supply Turkmen gas via a pipeline to be constructed along the North coast of Iran. If necessary, Turkey would be able to absorb all the Turkmen gas. [34]

Iranian-Libyan Sanctions act

With these two aforementioned Iranian pipelines, the Afghan pipelines would become more or less useless. To prevent the construction of the Iranian pipelines the US Congress passed the Iranian-Libyan Sanctions act, [35] threatening anyone who would help Iran to construct them, and forbid transactions with Iran of  $4 million or higher. That was on June 18, 1996.

Nevertheless on August 30, 1996 Turkey signed a 20-year deal to buy gas from Iran. [34] & [36] The Turkish President would be punished for his Islamic solidarity by a military coup forcing him to resign. That was on June 18, 1997. [37]

With the Iranian-Libyan Sanctions act in place, another U.S. company, Enron, expanded its activities in the region. In Uzbekistan, Enron had obtained a contract for 11 gas fields. In April 1997, George W. Bush himself had intervened to help Enron obtain Uzbeki contracts. [38] Enron counted on a U.S. controlled pipeline through Afghanistan to export a part of the Uzbek gas to its power plant in India. [39]

The U.S. threatened sanctions and blocked the completion of the Turkish pipeline connection to Iran, therefor the gas deliveries from Iran to Turkey were delayed several years. In August 2000, Iran and Turkey agreed the gas deliveries would start on July 30, 2001, which would be a few days before the expiration date of the Iranian-Libyan Sanctions act. [40]

Despite the Iranian-Libyan Sanctions act, the construction of the northern pipeline had started on the East side of Iran. With Iranian funding, Iran and Turkmenistan opened an international pipeline connection of 200 km by the end of 1997. [36]

Subsea shortcut avoiding Iran

To frustrate further development of the Iranian pipeline to Turkey, the U.S. came up with an idea for an alternative route from Turkmenistan, crossing the Caspian Sea to Azerbaijan and from there to Turkey. Enron did the study for this project. [39]

By that time it appeared as if the Afghan pipeline project would be abandoned. In June 1998, Enron withdrew from its Uzbek gas projects [41] and in December UNOCAL withdrew from its consortium for the Afghan pipeline. [8]

The U.S. threats did not prevent big companies like Shell and Total from signing deals with Iran for exploration of oil and gas. [42] Nevertheless, Shell withdrew from its pipeline project in Northern Iran. [43]

The undersea pipeline crossing the Caspian Sea now existed on the drawing table, but in the waters the five surrounding countries (Azerbaijan, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Iran) had not yet come to an agreement about each other’s borders, and thus about the ownership of oil fields. As long as this would last, according to an existing agreement of 1940, Russia and Iran would have to agree with the pipeline project first. And they did not. [44]

In 2000, the Turkmen president had blamed the U.S. for the delay in the trans-Caspian pipeline and had resumed gas deliveries to Russia. [45] That May, President Putin had even come to Turkmenistan to offer extended deals for several years. [9] Meanwhile, in Kazakhstan, the oil from the Tengiz field (world’s sixth largest oil field) was going to be pumped via Russia to the Black Sea. [46]

Wealthy actors and influences

George W. Bush sworn in

On January 20, 2001, George W. Bush was sworn in as President of the U.S. He is the son of Ex-President George H.W. Bush. The family is from Texas and has close ties with the oil and energy related companies there. These companies have contributed a lot to Bush’s election campaign.

Companies contributing to election campaigns is a common phenomenon in the U.S. The financial support for a candidate’s campaign determines how much marketing they can afford and, ultimately, their chances to win an election. Of course, when these companies invest a lot of money, they expect something in return when their candidate wins, such as nominations within the administration, influence for big business orders or favourable laws and amendments. [47]


Enron had been the biggest contributor of the Bush 2000 election campaign. [48] In fact, the company had generously contributed to both father and son’s election campaigns since 1985. Enron’s chairman, Kenneth Lay, had close personal contacts with the Bushes. He had even been a sleeping guest at the White House. [49] During these years, Enron had expanded from a regional energy supplier to a giant multinational company, and the seventh biggest in the U.S.

Although loaded with debts caused by its giant investments abroad, Enron always showed splendid results. How? In 1997 the Securities and Exchange Commission had exempted Enron from the Investment Company Act of 1940 that prohibits U.S. companies from leaving debt from overseas projects off the books. [47] At the same time Andy Fastow, Enron’s senior vice president of finance, had started his “creative” financing. [50]

To be continued…






































[37] res=F00C12FF3F5A0C7A8DDDAF0894DF494D81&n=Top%2fReference%2fTimes%20Topics%2fPeople%2fE%2fErbakan%2c%20Necmettin














Rudo de Ruijter
Independent researcher




Exponential growth in homeland security markets forecasted

Exponential growth in homeland security markets forecasted

In Homeland Security, not all market sectors are created equal. According to Homeland Security Research Corp. (HSRC)'s flagship research, 2007-2011 U.S. Homeland Security Government and Private Sectors Market Outlook released in Jan 07, the top 5 fastest growing Homeland Security market sectors are forecasted to average a 2007-2011 CAGR of 34.3%, while the top 5 largest sectors will accumulate to $140 billion between 2007-2011, equivalent to 75% of the total business generated by the top 10 sectors. Much of this forecasted growth and market size is supported by expected bipartisan support of most current and future HLS investments as well as technology cost-performance becoming the most important factor in HLS procurement decisions.

The research analyzes each of the fastest growing Homeland Security sectors and the largest sectors in terms of market potential, both horizontally and vertically. Finding where these intersect points to several sectors where both the size and potential growth imply a wealth of future business opportunities. The complex market dynamics of U.S. Homeland Security and the trends and business opportunities during the next five years are only but a few of the items described and analyzed in our new landmark market research:

2007-2011 U.S. Homeland Security (Government & Private) Market Outlook

In 675 pages and 599 graphs, tables and figures, Homeland Security Research Corp. provides the only detailed and reasoned roadmap of this complex market. This market research provides an exclusive insight into the vibrant HLS industry and its future. The research drills down in many areas and brings to light a plethora of new angles and business opportunities including:

Private Sector Markets – $28.5 Billion of HLS products and services are forecasted to be procured from the HLS industry during 2007-2011 by the private sector. These markets are analyzed and segmented by industry sector (e.g. banking & finance, chemical & HAZMAT, energy, water) and products/services category procured (e.g. perimeter protection systems, cyber terror security, biometric systems).

Top 10 Leading HLS Industry Sectors – Ten HLS industry sectors are forecasted to each total over $8.5 billion cumulative 5 year revenues. An in-depth market analysis and forecast of each of these top 10 leading sectors (e.g. Airport Security, Port & Maritime Security, Information Technology, Perimeter & Border Protection, Cyber-security) is provided.

Top 10 Fast Growth HLS Industry Sectors – Revenues of 10 HLS industry sectors are forecasted to grow by 60% to 400% during 2007-2011. Each of these fast growth sectors (e.g. RFID Systems, Nuclear Screening Portals, Communication Interoperability, Bio-Chem Agents Detection & Mitigation) is analyzed by procurement programs, technology and market outlook.

U.S. Government Markets – The cumulative $123 Billion U.S. government HLS five year forecasted procurement schedule is segmented by the 20 HLS leading agencies. Each agency HLS? activity, strategic missions and markets is analyzed.
This landmark research is a product of one of our most massive market research efforts to date. It is a result of hundreds of interviews, and in-depth analyses of numerous documents. We at Homeland Security Research Corp. are proud to bring to light this highly anticipated & long awaited market research. For Table of Contents, please click HERE

For related reports: Research Reports

To order click here, or call: (413) 253-0498

For a complete list of our Homeland Security publications, visit our website

Please do not hesitate to contact me directly with any questions that you may have.

Kind regards,
Homeland Security Research Corporation

601 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington D.C.20004

Exponential growth in homeland security markets forecasted

Exponential growth in homeland security markets forecasted

In Homeland Security, not all market sectors are created equal. According to Homeland Security Research Corp. (HSRC)'s flagship research, 2007-2011 U.S. Homeland Security Government and Private Sectors Market Outlook released in Jan 07, the top 5 fastest growing Homeland Security market sectors are forecasted to average a 2007-2011 CAGR of 34.3%, while the top 5 largest sectors will accumulate to $140 billion between 2007-2011, equivalent to 75% of the total business generated by the top 10 sectors. Much of this forecasted growth and market size is supported by expected bipartisan support of most current and future HLS investments as well as technology cost-performance becoming the most important factor in HLS procurement decisions.

The research analyzes each of the fastest growing Homeland Security sectors and the largest sectors in terms of market potential, both horizontally and vertically. Finding where these intersect points to several sectors where both the size and potential growth imply a wealth of future business opportunities. The complex market dynamics of U.S. Homeland Security and the trends and business opportunities during the next five years are only but a few of the items described and analyzed in our new landmark market research:

2007-2011 U.S. Homeland Security (Government & Private) Market Outlook

In 675 pages and 599 graphs, tables and figures, Homeland Security Research Corp. provides the only detailed and reasoned roadmap of this complex market. This market research provides an exclusive insight into the vibrant HLS industry and its future. The research drills down in many areas and brings to light a plethora of new angles and business opportunities including:

Private Sector Markets – $28.5 Billion of HLS products and services are forecasted to be procured from the HLS industry during 2007-2011 by the private sector. These markets are analyzed and segmented by industry sector (e.g. banking & finance, chemical & HAZMAT, energy, water) and products/services category procured (e.g. perimeter protection systems, cyber terror security, biometric systems).

Top 10 Leading HLS Industry Sectors – Ten HLS industry sectors are forecasted to each total over $8.5 billion cumulative 5 year revenues. An in-depth market analysis and forecast of each of these top 10 leading sectors (e.g. Airport Security, Port & Maritime Security, Information Technology, Perimeter & Border Protection, Cyber-security) is provided.

Top 10 Fast Growth HLS Industry Sectors – Revenues of 10 HLS industry sectors are forecasted to grow by 60% to 400% during 2007-2011. Each of these fast growth sectors (e.g. RFID Systems, Nuclear Screening Portals, Communication Interoperability, Bio-Chem Agents Detection & Mitigation) is analyzed by procurement programs, technology and market outlook.

U.S. Government Markets – The cumulative $123 Billion U.S. government HLS five year forecasted procurement schedule is segmented by the 20 HLS leading agencies. Each agency HLS? activity, strategic missions and markets is analyzed.
This landmark research is a product of one of our most massive market research efforts to date. It is a result of hundreds of interviews, and in-depth analyses of numerous documents. We at Homeland Security Research Corp. are proud to bring to light this highly anticipated & long awaited market research. For Table of Contents, please click HERE

For related reports: Research Reports

To order click here, or call: (413) 253-0498

For a complete list of our Homeland Security publications, visit our website

Please do not hesitate to contact me directly with any questions that you may have.

Kind regards,
Homeland Security Research Corporation

601 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington D.C.20004

Neocon Imperialism, 9/11, and the Attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq

Neocon Imperialism, 9/11, and the Attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq

By David Ray Griffin

My purpose in publishing this essay is to introduce a perspective, relevant to the debates about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney, that thus far has not been part of the public discussion.

One way to understand the effect of 9/11, in most general terms, is to see that it allowed the agenda developed in the 1990s by neoconservatives?-often called simply “neocons?—to be implemented. There is agreement on this point across the political spectrum. From the right, for example, Stefan Halper and Jonathan Clarke say that 9/11 allowed the “preexisting ideological agenda” of the neoconservatives to be “taken off the shelf . . . and relabeled as the response to terror.”1 Stephen Sniegoski, writing from the left, says that “it was only the traumatic effects of the 9/11 terrorism that enabled the agenda of the neocons to become the policy of the United States of America.”2

What was this agenda? It was, in essence, that the United States should use its military supremacy to establish an empire that includes the whole world–a global Pax Americana. Three major means to this end were suggested. One of these was to make U.S. military supremacy over other nations even greater, so that it would be completely beyond challenge. This goal was to be achieved by increasing the money devoted to military purposes, then using this money to complete the “revolution in military affairs? made possible by the emergence of the information age. The second major way to achieve a global Pax Americana was to announce and implement a doctrine of preventive-preemptive war, usually for the sake of bringing about “regime change? in countries regarded as hostile to U.S. interests and values. The third means toward the goal of universal empire was to use this new doctrine to gain control of the world’s oil, especially in the Middle East, most immediately Iraq.

In discussing these ideas, I will include recognitions by some commentators that without 9/11, the various dimensions of this agenda could not have been implemented. My purpose in publishing this essay is to introduce a perspective, relevant to the debates about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney, that thus far has not been part of the public discussion.

1. Neoconservatives and Global Empire

The “neo? in the term “neo-conservative? is a remnant of the fact that the first generation neoconservatives, such as Irving Kristol and Norman Podhoretz, had moved to the right after having been members of the left. Kristol, often called “the godfather of neoconservatism,” famously defined neoconservatives as liberals who had been “mugged by reality.” No such move, however, has characterized most of the second-generation neocons, who came to dominate the movement in the 1990s. As Gary Dorrien says in Imperial Designs: Neoconservatism and the New Pax Americana, “the new neocons had never been progressives of any kind.”3 The term “neoconservatism? is, in any case, used here to refer strictly to an ideology, not to any biographical facts about those who hold this ideology.

I mean “biographical facts? to include ethnicity. Although many of the prominent neoconservatives have been Jewish, leading some people to think that Jewishness is a necessary condition for being a neo-conservative, this is not so. As Dorrien points out, “a significant number of prominent neocons were not Jews.”4

This discussion has its primary importance in relation to Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. If neoconservatism is understood to be entirely a matter of ideology, not also partly a matter of biography, then there is no reason not to think of Cheney and Rumsfeld as neocons. As former neocon Michael Lind, says: ?[N]eoconservatism is an ideology, like paleoconservatism and libertarianism, and Rumsfeld and Dick . . . Cheney are full-fledged neocons, . . . even though they are not Jewish and were never liberals or leftists.”5

Neoconservatism in its early decades was a multi-faceted phenomenon, but the focus here is on its foreign policy. Neoconservative foreign policy was originally oriented around opposition to Communism. This fact meant that the end of the Cold War produced a crisis for neocons. In 1991, after the fall of the Berlin wall, Podhoretz said that he was not sure what “Americ purpose should be now that the threat of Communism . . . had been decisively eliminated.” Five years later, he even published a eulogy to the movement, declaring it dead.6


Other neocons, however, believed that they had a new cause to champion. Already in 1986, Irving Kristol argued that the United States needed to move toward a foreign policy of “global unilateralism.” But that would be difficult, he pointed out, as long as America is “an imperial power with no imperial self-definition.”7 The new cause was to shape this new self-definition, thereby getting Americans ready to accept a policy of global unilateralism.

As soon as the Cold War ended, this cause was taken up by others. At the close of 1989, Charles Krauthammer, one of the best-known neocon columnists, published a piece entitled “Universal Dominion,” in which he argued that America should work for “a qualitatively new outcome–a unipolar world.”8 In 1990, he argued that unipolarity has already arrived and that the United States, being the “unchallenged superpower,” should act unilaterally. Saying that ?[t]he alternative to unipolarity is chaos,” Krauthammer explained what unipolarity requires of the United States: “unashamedly laying down the rules of world order and being prepared to enforce them.”9 The following year, in an argument for a “robust interventionism,” he said of this unipolar world: “We Americans should like it—and exploit it.”10

The 1992 Defense Planning Guidance

The first effort to turn such thinking into official policy came in 1992, which was the last year of the presidency of George H. W. Bush and hence also the end of Dick Chenex’s tenure as secretary of defense. Before leaving office, Cheney had Paul Wolfowitz, the undersecretary of defense for policy, prepare—with the help of his top assistant, Lewis “Scooter? Libby—a draft of the Pentagon’s “Defense Planning Guidance? (DPG).11 Stating that Americ “first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival,” this DPG draft was, in Andrew Bacevich’s appraisal, “in effect a blueprint for permanent American global hegemony.”12

This draft produced, after portions of a leaked copy were published in the New York Times and the Washington Post,13 an outpouring of criticism. The ideas did get some support, especially from neoconservative publications such as the Wall Street Journal, which praised the draft’s plan for a “Pax Americana.”14 But most of the reaction was critical. Senator Alan Cranston complained that the Bush administration was seeking to make the United States “the one, the only main honcho on the world block, the global Big Enchilada.”15 Senator Robert Byrd said that the document’s stance seemed to be: “We love being the sole remaining superpower in the world and we want so much to remain that way that we are willing to put at risk the basic health of our economy and well-being of our people to do so.”16

Seeking to calm the waters, especially because it was an election year, the administration of George H. W. Bush distanced itself from this draft, depicting it, in Bacevich’s words, “as the musings of an insignificant lower-tier appointee acting without official sanction.”17 Although Wolfowitz would refer to it as “my 1992 memorandum? many years later,18 he claimed at the time that he had not seen it.19 Cheney also claimed not to have seen it, even though one long section began by acknowledging “definitive guidance from the Secretary of Defense.” This latter fact has, incidentally, been pointed out by David Armstrong, who calls this draft an early version of Chenex’s “Plan . . . to rule the world.”20 Although this draft came to be known as “the Wolfowitz plan,” it is important to recognize that it was Cheney who, in Dorrien’s words, “hatched the original unipolarist blueprint in 1992.”21 Indeed, as Nicholas Lemann has reported in the New Yorker, the DPG draft resulted from a secret team that Cheney had set up in the Pentagon “to think about American foreign policy after the Cold War.”22

The recognition that this unipolarist blueprint was inspired by Cheney is important in light of the unprecedented power that he would exercise in the second Bush administration. As presidential historian Douglas Brinkley would say in 2002: “Cheney is unique in American history. . . . He is the vortex in the White House on foreign policymaking. Everything comes through him.”23

In any case, Cheney, under pressure from the White House, had the document significantly rewritten by Libby, in language more acceptable at the time. For example, whereas the first draft spoke of spurningstrengthening the U.N.24 Cheney put an end to this brief public debate about the wisdom of a unipolarist foreign policy by having this softer version, which was later published,25 leaked to the press.26 collective action through the United Nations, this new version spoke of

The 1990s and PNAC

This rewriting did not mean, however, that the ideas were dropped by Cheney and other neoconservatives. Indeed, after the election was over, Cheney, before leaving office, put out another revision, in which some of the neo-imperial language was restored.27 Then Zalmay Khalilzad, who had joined Chenex’s team in 1991, put out a book early in 1995 entitled From Containment to Global Leadership? America and the World after the Cold War, which expresses quite forthrightly the idea of preventing, by military force if necessary, the rise of any rival power.28 In 1996, Robert Kagan, “who emerged in the 1990s as perhaps the most influential neocon foreign policy analyst,”29 argued that the United States should use its military strength “actively to maintain a world order which both supports and rests upon American hegemony.”30 In 1998, Kagan and William Kristol, who in 1995 had founded the Weekly Standard (which quickly became the main organ of neocon thinking), wrote that unless America takes charge, we will have “world chaos, and a dangerous twenty-first century.”3132 In January of 2001, as the Bush-Cheney administration was ready to come to power, Kagan criticized “Clinton and his advisers? for “having the stomach only to be halfway imperialists.”

It is important to understand the development of this neoconservative ideology, given the fact that after 9/11, the neocon agenda became the agenda of the United States. As Halper and Clarke said in 2004, “if one wishes to understand the direction of American foreign policy today, one must read what neo-conservatives were writing ten years or more ago.”33

The most important development within the neocon movement in the 1990s was William Kristol’s founding, in 1997, of a unipolarist think tank called the Project for the New American Century (PNAC).34 Closely related to the American Enterprise Institute ideologically and even physically and financially, PNAC differed primarily in focusing entirely on foreign policy.35 In its “Statement of Principles,” PNAC called for “American global leadership,” asking whether the United States has “the resolve to shape a new century favorable to American principles and interests.”36

In September of 2000, just three months before the Bush-Cheney administration took office, PNAC published a 76-page document entitled Rebuilding Americ Defenses (RAD). Saying that ?[a]t present the United States faces no global rival,” RAD declared that “Americ grand strategy should aim to preserve and extend this advantageous position” and thereby “to preserve and enhance [the] “American peace.”? To “enhance? the “American peace? means, of course, to increase the size of the American empire. Explicitly referring back to the Cheney-Wolfowitz Defense Planning Guidance draft of 1992, RAD said that “the basic tenets of the DPG, in our judgment, remain sound.” The continuity between the two documents is no surprise, partly because Libby and Wolfowitz are listed as participants in the production of this 2000 document.37

What is said in the PNAC?s documents is highly important because many of PNAC?s early members, including Elliott Abrams, John Bolton, Eliot Cohen, Paula Dobriansky, Zalmay Khalilzad, Richard Perle, Peter W. Rodman, James Woolsey, and—most significantly—Cheney, Libby, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz, became central members of the new Bush administration. PNAC neocons thereby took key positions in the Vice President’s Office, the Pentagon, and the (only semi-independent) Defense Policy Board. They did so well primarily because of Cheney, who was put in charge of the transition team, and secondarily because of Rumsfeld, after Cheney chose him to head the Pentagon.38

9/11 and Empire Talk

With the new administration in place, neocon commentators such as Krauthammer became even more explicit and exuberant about the use of Americ power for imperial ends. Mocking Clinton for being concerned to be “a good international citizen” and praising Bush for understanding that “the U.S. can reshape, indeed remake, reality on its own,” Krauthammer said: “America is no mere international citizen. It is the dominant power in the world, more dominant than any since Rome. Accordingly, America is in a position to reshape norms . . . and create new realities. How? By unapologetic and implacable demonstrations of will.”39

However, it was not until after 9/11, and especially after the devastating assault on Afghanistan, that the neocon effort to get Americans to accept an imperial self-definition started showing widespread success. Early in 2002, Krauthammer, having noticed the difference, said: “People are coming out of the closet on the word “empire.”? Driving home his main message, Krauthammer added that Americans needed to face up to the responsibilities entailed by the fact that they are now “undisputed masters of the world.”40

A year later, this unilateralist idea was voiced in the Atlantic Monthly by neocon Robert Kaplan, who argued that America should use its power unilaterally to “manage an unruly world,” leaving behind “the so-called international community,” especially the United Nations, with its “antiquated power arrangement.”41

9/11 and the 9/11 wars—meaning those that have been justified by appeal to the attacks of 9/1142—resulted in empire talk beyond the circles of neocons. Early in 2002, after the American assault on Afghanistan, Paul Kennedy, who had 15 years earlier been predicting Americ decline as a great power,43 declared: “Nothing has ever existed like this disparity of power.” Describing Americ empire as the greatest of all time, he said: “Charlemagne’s empire was merely Western European in reach. The Roman empire stretched farther afield, but there was another great empire in Persia, and a larger one in China. There is, therefore, no comparison.”44

A very important development that same year was the publication of Andrew Bacevich’s American Empire, which closes by saying that the question before Americans is “not whether the United States has become an imperial power? but only “what sort of empire they intend theirs to be.”45 Bacevich himself, while a conservative, strongly distanced himself from the imperial agenda of the neocons.46

But it was their agenda, not Bacevich’s cautionary critique, that would determine the “sort of empire” that the United States would seek to become during the Bush-Cheney administration. And it was 9/11 that allowed this agenda to be implemented. As Claes Ryn said, the neoconservatives “have taken full advantage of the nation’s outrage over 9/11 to advance their already fully formed drive for empire.”47

2. Military Omnipotence

The tool for fulfilling this drive for empire, neocons have always held, is military power. To a great extent, in fact, the neoconservative movement began in reaction to the widespread view after the Vietnam war that American military power should never again be used for imperialistic purposes. In the early 1980s, rejecting the left’s conclusion that force had become “obsolete as an instrument of American political purposes,” Norman Podhoretz argued that military power constitutes “the indispensable foundation of U.S. foreign policy,” adding that “without it, nothing else we do will be effective.”48

The Cheney-Wolfowitz DPG of 1992, having said that ?[o]ur first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival,” added that “we must maintain the mechanisms for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a regional or global role.” These “mechanisms? referred, of course, to various kinds of military power.

Space and Full Spectrum Dominance

The U.S. military in the 1990s developed concepts to attain the kind of military superiority envisaged in this document. One of these concepts was “Full Spectrum Dominance,” which, says Bacevich, is the attempt “to achieve something approaching omnipotence.”49 He is here referring to a document entitled “Joint Vision 2010,” which was first published by the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1996. Defining “Full Spectrum Dominance? as “the capability to dominate an opponent across the range of military operations,” this document says that it “will be the key characteristic we seek for our Armed Forces in the 21st century.”50 Given the fact that the U.S. military was already dominant on the land and the water and in the air, the new component needed was dominance in space.

Space dominance was described in a 1997 document entitled “Vision for 2020,” published by the U.S. Space Command, a division of the Air Force. The unique mission of the Space Command is to “dominat[e] the space dimension of military operations.” By merging this “space superiority with land, sea, and air superiority,” the U.S. military will have Full Spectrum Dominance.51

This notion was further developed in the Pentagon’s “Joint Vision 2020,” which first appeared in 2000.52 It speaks of full spectrum dominance as involving not just four but five dimensions: “space, sea, land, air, and information.” In addition, this document says, “given the global nature of our interests and obligations, the United States must maintain its overseas presence forces and the ability to rapidly project power worldwide in order to achieve full spectrum dominance.” This statement gives support to Bacevich’s observation that after the end of the Cold War, “the Department of Defense completed its transformation into a Department of Power Projection.”53

PNAC?s Rebuilding Americ Defenses appeared in September of that same year. Written to influence the next administration, RAD?s main point was that “the next president of the United States . . . must increase military spending to preserve American geopolitical leadership.”54

Besides arguing for increased spending across the board, RAD argued in particular for increased funding for the U.S. Space Command. Saying that “the ability to have access to, operate in, and dominate the aerospace environment has become the key to military success in modern, high-technology warfare,” it advocated not only “missile defense? but also “placing . . . weapons in space.” The weapons, moreover, are not simply for defensive purposes, but also for “the ability to conduct strikes from space,” which will give the U.S. military a “global first-strike force.”55

The Revolution in Military Affairs

This development of space-based weapons was presented as simply one part, albeit probably the most important part, of a more general transformation of the military that exploits the “revolution in military affairs? (RMA), which has been made possible by information technologies.56 This RMA transformation of the military was said to be “sufficiently important to consider it a separate mission.”57

In spite of this importance, however, the authors of RAD, ever mindful of budgetary constraints and widespread commitment to more traditional ways, warned that the needed transformation would not occur quickly, at least if the present climate continued. In a statement that has been widely quoted in the 9/11 truth movement, they wrote that “the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event—like a new Pearl Harbor.”58

The emphasis in RAD on exploiting the RMA to transform the Pentagon’s approach is no surprise, since one of the participants in the project to produce this document was Wolfowitz, who had long before fallen under the spell of Albert Wohlstetter (one of the models for “Dr. Strangelove?59). Wohlstetter had been the main early proponent of the ideas that came to be dubbed the “revolution in military affairs? by Andrew Marshall, who later became the main proponent.60 Marshall, who at this writing was still serving as the RMA guru in the Pentagon, numbers Wolfowitz, Cheney, and Rumsfeld among his disciples.61

Rumsfeld, in fact, was at the same time heading up a special commission to make recommendations about the military use of space. This “Rumsfeld Commission,” endorsing the idea of military transformation, including the weaponization of space, said that the United States should ?[e]mploy space systems to help speed the transformation of the U.S. military into a modern force able to deter and defend against evolving threats directed at . . . [our] forward deployed forces.”62 (In other words, although the language of “defense” and “deterrence? is used, part of the purpose of the space weapons is to prevent attacks on Americ offensive operations.) This report, interestingly, also used the Pearl Harbor analogy. Warning against the tendency to consider an attack on U.S. space satellites as too improbable to worry about, the report of the Rumsfeld Commission said:

History is replete with instances in which warning signs were ignored and change resisted until an external, “improbable? event forced resistant bureaucracies to take action. The question is whether the U.S. will be wise enough to act responsibly and soon enough to reduce U.S. space vulnerability. Or whether, as in the past, a disabling attack against the country and its people?-a “Space Pearl Harbor”?-will be the only event able to galvanize the nation and cause the U.S. Government to act.63

9/11 as the New Pearl Harbor

The attacks of 9/11 were widely referred to as a new Pearl Harbor. President Bush reportedly wrote in his diary on the night of 9/11: “The Pearl Harbor of the 21st century took place today.”64 Immediately after the attacks, many people, from Robert Kagan to Henry Kissinger to a writer for Time magazine, said that America should respond to the attacks of 9/11 in the same way it had responded to the attack on Pearl Harbor.65

Moreover, just as the attack on Pearl Harbor gave the United States the opportunity to enter World War II, which in turn allowed it to replace Great Britain as the leading imperial power, the attacks of 9/11 were widely regarded as an opportunity. Donald Rumsfeld stated that 9/11 created “the kind of opportunities that World War II offered, to refashion the world.”66 Condoleezza Rice reportedly told senior members of the National Security Council to “think about “how do you capitalize on these opportunities? to fundamentally change American doctrine, and the shape of the world, in the wake of September 11th.”67 In a public address, she said that “if the collapse of the Soviet Union and 9/11 bookend a major shift in international politics, then this is a period not just of grave danger, but of enormous opportunity.”68 According to Bob Woodward, the president himself said that the attacks provided “a great opportunity.”69 Only two days after 9/11, in fact, Bush said in a telephone conversation with Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Governor George Pataki of New York: ?[T]hrough the tears of sadness I see an opportunity.” The next day, he reportedly used exactly the same words while talking to the press.70

Nicholas Lemann of the New Yorker, dealing with this response to 9/11 as an opportunity, reports that he was told by a senior official of the Bush administration (who insisted on anonymity) that, in Lemann’s paraphrase, “the reason September 11th appears to have been “a transformative moment? is not so much that it revealed the existence of a threat of which officials had previously been unaware as that it drastically reduced the American public's usual resistance to American military involvement overseas.”71 We did not, of course, hear that stated publicly by any member of the Bush-Cheney administration.

The attacks of 9/11 also reduced Congressional resistance to providing increased funding for Pentagon programs. On the evening of 9/11 itself, Rumsfeld held a news briefing on the Pentagon attack. At this briefing, Senator Carl Levin, the chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, was asked: “Senator Levin, you and other Democrats in Congress have voiced fear that you simply don’t have enough money for the large increase in defense that the Pentagon is seeking, especially for missile defense. . . . Does this sort of thing convince you that an emergency exists in this country to increase defense spending”?72 Congress immediately appropriated an additional $40 billion for the Pentagon and much more later, with few questions asked.

The attacks of 9/11, moreover, aided those who favored a transformation of the military along RMA lines. In the weeks before September 11, Bacevich reports, “military transformation appeared to be dead in the water,” because the military brass were “wedded to existing weapons systems, troop structure, and strategy.”73 But, Bacevich continues:

President Bush’s decision after September 11 to wage a global war against terror boosted the RMA?s stock. After 9/11, the Pentagon shifted from the business of theorizing about war to the business of actually waging it. This created an opening for RMA advocates to make their case. War plans . . . became the means for demonstrating once for all the efficacy of the ideas advanced by Wohlstetter and Marshall and now supported by . . . Rumsfeld and his deputy Paul Wolfowitz.74

After the removal of Saddam Hussein, Richard Perle, who had long shared Wolfowitz’s enthusiasm for Wohlstetter’s ideas, said: “This is the first war that’s been fought in a way that would recognize Albert’s vision of future wars.”75

These ideas for achieving military omnipotence became official policy with the publication, one year after 9/11, of the Bush-Cheney administration’s National Security Strategy of the United States of America (NSS 2002), which said: “We must build and maintain our defenses beyond challenge? so that we can “dissuade future military competition.”76

The conviction that 9/11 provided an opportunity was also reflected in NSS 2002, which said: “The events of September 11, 2001, . . . opened vast, new opportunities.”77 One of the things for which it most clearly provided an opportunity was the doctrine of preemptive-preventive war.

3. Preemptive-Preventive War

This hyphenated term is used here for clarity. The doctrine in question, which involves attacking another country even though it poses no immediate threat, is technically called “preventive war.” This doctrine, which violates international law as reflected in the charter of the United Nations, is to be distinguished from what is technically called “preemptive war,” which occurs when Country A attacks Country B after learning that an attack from Country B is imminent—too imminent to allow time for the U.N. to intervene. These technical terms, however, are problematic, because although preventive war, being illegal, is worse than preemptive war, to most ears “preemption? sounds worse than “prevention.” As a result, many people speak of “preemptive war? when they mean preventive war. The term “preemptive-preventive war,” while somewhat cumbersome, solves this problem.78

Historical Emergence of the Doctrine

This doctrine of preemptive-preventive war had been advocated by neocons long before 9/11. It was contained already in the Cheney-Wolfowitz Defense Planning Guidance of 1992, which said that the United States should use force to “preempt” and “preclude threats.”79

In 1996, Richard Perle and other neocons prepared a strategy paper entitled “A Clean Break? for Benjamin Netanyahu, who had recently been elected prime minister of Israel. This paper recommended that Israel, in making a clean break from previous strategies, establish “the principle of preemption.”80

In 1997, PNAC?s “Statement of Principles? argued that to exert “global leadership,” America needs to “challenge regimes hostile to our interests and values.”81

In 1998, a letter from PNAC, signed by Perle, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and 15 other members, urged President Clinton to “undertake military action? to eliminate “the possibility that Iraq will be able to use or threaten to use weapons of mass destruction.”82

The Doctrine of Preemptive-Preventive War after 9/11

Although these neocons were anxious to have their doctrine of preemptive-preventive war accepted as national policy, this did not occur during the Clinton presidency or even during the first eight months of the Bush-Cheney administration. After 9/11, however, it did. “The events of 9/11,” observes Bacevich, “provided the tailor-made opportunity to break free of the fetters restricting the exercise of American power.”83

The idea of preemptive-preventive war, which came to be known as the “Bush doctrine,” was first clearly expressed in the president’s address at West Point in June 2002 (when the administration started preparing the American people psychologically for the attack on Iraq). Having stated that, in relation to the “new threats,” deterrence “means nothing” and containment is “not possible,” Bush even took aim at the traditional understanding of preemption, saying: “If we wait for threats to fully materialize, we will have waited too long.” Then, using the language of preemption while really meaning preemptive-prevention, he said that Americ security “will require all Americans . . . to be ready for preemptive action.”84

NSS 2002

However, although the West Point speech provided a first statement of this new doctrine, it was in NSS 2002, published that September, that the new doctrine was laid out at some length. The covering letter, signed by the president, says that with regard to “our enemies? efforts to acquire dangerous technologies,” America will, in self-defense, “act against such emerging threats before they are fully formed.”85 The document itself, saying that “our best defense is a good offense,” also states:

Given the goals of rogue states and terrorists, the United States can no longer rely on a reactive posture as we have in the past. The inability to deter a potential attacker, the immediacy of today's threats, and the magnitude of potential harm that could be caused by our adversaries' choice of weapons, do not permit that option. We cannot let our enemies strike first.86

To justify this doctrine, NSS 2002 argues that the United States must “adapt? the traditional doctrine of preemption, long recognized as a right, to the new situation, thereby turning it into a right of anticipatory (preventive) preemption:

For centuries, international law recognized that nations need not suffer an attack before they can lawfully take action to defend themselves against forces that present an imminent danger of attack. . . . We must adapt the concept of imminent threat to the capabilities and objectives of todax’s adversaries. . . . The United States has long maintained the option of preemptive actions to counter a sufficient threat to our national security. The greater the threat, . . . the more compelling the case for taking anticipatory action to defend ourselves, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemx’s attack. To forestall or prevent such hostile acts by our adversaries, the United States will, if necessary, act preemptively.87

With this argument, the authors of NSS 2002 tried to suggest that, since this doctrine of anticipatory preemption simply involves adapting a traditionally recognized right to a new situation, it involves no great change. But it does. According to the traditional doctrine, one needed certain evidence that the other country was going to launch an immediate attack. According to the Bush Doctrine, by contrast, the United States can attack another country “even if uncertainty remains” and even, more flagrantly, if the United States knows that the threat from the other country is not yet “fully formed.”

The novelty here, to be sure, involves doctrine more than practice. The United States has in practice attacked several countries that presented no imminent military threat. But it always portrayed these attacks in such a way that they could appear to comport with international law. The attack on North Vietnam after the alleged incident in the Tonkin Gulf provides an example. But ?[n]ever before,” point out Halper and Clarke, “had any president set out a formal national strategy doctrine that included [preventive] preemption.”88 This is a step of great significance, because it involves an explicit statement by the United States that the basic principle of international law, as embodied in the United Nations, does not apply to its own behavior.

Zelikow as Primary Drafter of NSS 2002

Max Boot, a neocon who has become well known through his newspaper columns, has described NSS 2002 as a “quintessentially neo-conservative document.”89 Now that the basic ideas of this document have been laid out, we can see the accuracy of his observation.

We can also see the importance of a still little-known fact: that Philip Zelikow, who would later become the executive director of the 9/11 Commission, was chosen by Condoleezza Rice to be the primary drafter of NSS 2002.90

According to James Mann in The Rise of the Vulcans, after Rice saw the first draft of this document (which had been prepared by Richard Haass, the director of policy planning in Colin Powell’s State Department), she “ordered the document be completely rewritten. She thought the Bush administration needed something bolder. . . . Rice turned the writing over to her old colleague, . . . Philip Zelikow.”91 (Rice and Zelikow had worked together in the National Security Council in the administration of the first President Bush; when the Republicans were out of power during the Clinton presidency, they wrote a book together; and then when she was appointed National Security Advisor for the second President Bush, she brought on Zelikow to help with the transition to the new National Security Council.) Given the content and tone of the document, one might assume that Cheney, Rumsfeld, or Wolfowitz had been involved in the process of creating it. According to Mann, however, “the hawks in the Pentagon and in Vice President Chenex’s office hadn’t been closely involved, even though the document incorporated many of their key ideas. They had left the details and the drafting in the hands of Rice and Zelikow, along with Rice’s deputy, Stephen Hadley.”92

Some insight into Zelikow’s views before coming to this task might be garnered from an essay he co-authored in 1998 on “catastrophic terrorism.” In this essay, which suggests that he had been thinking about the World Trade Center and a new Pearl Harbor several years prior to 9/1, Zelikow and his co-authors say:

If the device that exploded in 1993 under the World Trade Center had been nuclear, or had effectively dispersed a deadly pathogen, the resulting horror and chaos would have exceeded our ability to describe it. Such an act of catastrophic terrorism would be a watershed event in American history. It could involve loss of life and property unprecedented in peacetime and undermine America's fundamental sense of security, as did the Soviet atomic bomb test in 1949. Like Pearl Harbor, this event would divide our past and future into a before and after. The United States might respond with draconian measures, scaling back civil liberties, allowing wider surveillance of citizens, detention of suspects, and use of deadly force.93

In any case, in light of Zelikow’s close relationship with the Bush administration and especially his authorship of NSS 2002, we cannot take seriously the claim of the 9/11 Commission that it sought to be “independent.”94 The 9/11 Commission Report.95 The Family Steering Committee, which represented families of victims of the 9/11 attacks, vigorously protested his appointment, calling for “Dr. Zelikow’s immediate resignation” and for the “Commission to apologize to the 9/11 families and America for this massive appearance of impropriety.”96 But these calls were dismissed. As executive director, he had tremendous power to shape the work of the Commission, deciding which issues it would investigate and which not, and he was primarily responsible for the final form of

Given Zelikow's close relationship with the Bush-Cheney administration and his own authorship of NSS 2002, it is certainly no surprise that, as I reported in The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions,97 there is no mention of imperial interests that might have served as motives for the Bush-Cheney administration to have orchestrated or at least permitted the attacks of 9/11. The Zelikow-led Commission did not, for example, mention that PNAC?s Rebuilding Americ Defenses had suggested that the transformation of the military, through which unipolarity could be enforced more effectively, could occur more quickly if there were to be “a new Pearl Harbor?; it did not mention that the administration had had plans, to be discussed below, to attack both Afghanistan and Iraq prior to 9/11; and it did not mention that 9/11 had been described as presenting “opportunities? by Bush, Rice, Rumsfeld, and, in fact, NSS 2002. Once we know of Zelikow’s authorship of that document, moreover, it is also no surprise to see that The 9/11 Commission Report contains a chapter—“What to Do? A Global Strategy?—that provides propaganda for the Bush-Cheney administration’s post-9/11 foreign policy.

I return now to the discussion of possible imperial motives for 9/11 within the Bush-Cheney administration.

4. The Attack on Afghanistan

Many times since the formal enunciation of the doctrine of preemptive-preventive warfare, the Bush-Cheney administration has defended it as necessitated by 9/11. In an address to the nation in 2004, for example, Bush said that the two lessons of 9/11 are that this country “must deal with gathering threats” and that it “must go on the offense and stay on the offense.”98 The first victim of this claimed right to “go on the offense? was Afghanistan.

Although the attacks of 9/11 were, according to the official story, planned and carried out by a non-state organization, al-Qaeda, rather than by some state, the Bush-Cheney administration used the attacks as a pretext to launch attacks on states—attacks that had been planned before 9/11. The justification for this switch was provided by Bush’s address to the nation on the evening of 9/11, in which he declared: ?We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.”99 The attack on Afghanistan was then justified on the grounds that the Taliban was “harboring? Osama bin Laden, the evil genius behind the 9/11 attacks, whom Bush on September 17 said he wanted “dead or alive? (after Cheney had said that he would willingly accept bin Laden’s “head on a platter?).100

But this was a pretext rather than the real reason for attacking Afghanistan—as illustrated by the fact that when the Bush administration had an opportunity to take bin Laden alive, it showed no interest. A week after 9/11, the Taliban said that it would hand OBL over—if the United States presented proof of his involvement in 9/11. But Bush refused to provide any such evidence, saying that there would be no negotiations or even discussion.101 Again, four weeks after the U.S. attack on Afghanistan began, a Taliban spokesman said: "We will negotiate. But . . . [w]e are not a province of the United States, to be issued orders to. We have asked for proof of Osama's involvement, but they have refused. Why?"102

There are probably two answers to this question. First, there is much evidence that the Bush administration did not want bin Laden, either dead or alive. One part of this evidence consists of several reports that the U.S. military in Afghanistan deliberately let bin Laden escape more than once.103 A second reason is that the Bush administration, besides knowing that bin Laden was not responsible for the 9/11 attacks, evidently decided that it could not even marshal convincing (albeit false) case that he was (as suggested by the fact that, after a White Paper presenting this proof was promised, it was never produced104). More recently, the FBI, in response to a query as to why does not list 9/11 as one of the crimes for which bin Laden is wanted, has said: “The reason why 9/11 is not mentioned on Usama Bin Laden’s Most Wanted page is because the FBI has no hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11?105(a rather astounding admission that, one might think, should have been reported on the nightly news and in The New York Times).

To understand the real reasons for the attack on Afghanistan, one needs to look at some developments prior to 9/11. One such development was the publication in 1997 of Zbigniew Brzezinski’s book The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives. As the subtitle shows, Brzezinski, while not a neoconservative, shared the neocons? concern to maintain and enhance U.S. “primacy.” Portraying Central Asia, with its vast oil reserves, as the key to world power, Brzezinski argued that America, to ensure its continued primacy, must get control of this region, which would mean establishing several military bases there.

However, Brzezinski added, American democracy posed an obstacle:

America is too democratic at home to be autocratic abroad. This limits the use of Americ power, especially its capacity for military intimidation. . . . The economic self-denial (that is, defense spending) and the human sacrifice (casualties even among professional soldiers) required in the effort are uncongenial to democratic instincts. Democracy is inimical to imperial mobilization.106

Brzezinski, however, then suggested a way in which this obstacle could be overcome. Having said that in the United States “the pursuit of power is not a goal that commands popular passion,” he then added: “except in conditions of a sudden threat or challenge to the public’s sense of domestic well being.”107 The American people would be willing to make the economic and human sacrifices needed for “imperial mobilization,” he suggested, if there were “a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat.”108 The kind of threat he had in mind was suggested by his statement, earlier in the book, that the public was willing to support “Americ engagement in World War II largely because of the shock effect of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.”109

It is possible that Brzezinski’s discussion here inspired the statement about a “new Pearl Harbor? in PNAC?s 2000 document, which can be read as a call for a false-flag operation that would provide a pretext for turning PNAC?s agenda into official policy. The plausibility of this reading was increased, moreover, by a statement made by Brzezinski’s during his warning, in testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on February 1, 2007, that a “head-on conflict with Iran and with much of the world of Islam at large? was the likely outcome of the US frustration in Iraq. ?A plausible scenario for a military collision with Iran,” Brzezinski suggested, involves “a terrorist act in the U.S. blamed on Iran; culminating in a “defensive? U.S. military action against Iran.” Adding that a “mythical historical narrative? for an expanded attack on Islamic countries “is already being articulated,” Brzezinski said that ?9/11 [is being presented] as the equivalent of the Pearl Harbor attack.”110

Be that as it may, a more specific motivation for the post-9/11 attack on Afghanistan was provided by the “pipeline war” that was going on.111 The Bush-Cheney administration supported–as had the Clinton-Gore administration until 1999–UNOCAL?s plan to build an oil-and-gas pipeline through Afghanistan, which was in competition with plans from oil companies based in other countries. What happened in 1999 was that UNOCAL, having become convinced that Afghanistan under the Taliban would never have the peace and stability needed for the pipeline project, decided to withdraw. Ahmed Rashid, finishing his book on the Taliban in mid-1999, wrote that the Clinton administration had shifted its support to the pipeline route from Azerbaijan through Georgia to Turkey, adding that “by now nobody wanted to touch Afghanistan and the Taliban.”112

When the Bush administration came to power, however, it decided to give the Taliban one last chance. This last chance occurred at a four-day meeting in Berlin in July 2001. Representatives of the Bush-Cheney administration, trying to persuade the Taliban to share power with US-friendly factions in a “unity government,” reportedly gave the Taliban an ultimatum: “Either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs.”113 When the Taliban refused, the Americans reportedly said that “military action against Afghanistan would go ahead . . . before the snows started falling in Afghanistan, by the middle of October at the latest.”114

Given the fact that the attacks on New York and Washington occurred on September 11, the U.S. military had time to get ready, logistically, to begin its war in Afghanistan on October 7. By October 10, the U.S. Department of State had informed the Pakistani Minister of Oil that “in view of recent geopolitical developments,” UNOCAL was ready to go ahead with the pipeline project.115

The contention that at least one of the purposes of the war was to support this project is suggested by the fact that the post-Taliban Prime Minister, Hamid Karzai, had previously been on UNOCAL?s payroll, as had been PNAC member Zalmay Khalilzad, who in 2001 was appointed Bush’s special envoy to Afghanistan and then in 2003 became the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan. As Chalmers Johnson said in 2004: “The continued collaboration of Khalilzad and Karzai in post-9/11 Afghanistan strongly suggests that the Bush administration was and remains . . . interested in oil.”116 (In March of 2005, Khalilzad would become the U.S. ambassador to Iraq.117)

Still more evidence is provided by the placement of the military bases in Afghanistan. As one Israeli writer put it: “If one looks at the map of the big American bases created, one is struck by the fact that they are completely identical to the route of the projected oil pipeline to the Indian Ocean.”118

The concern to enable an American oil company to build this pipeline should not, however, be considered the only or even the primary motivation. The larger concern, suggests Chalmers Johnson, was “to establish an American presence in Central Asia.” Evidence for this view is provided by the fact that the United States, besides establishing long-term bases in Afghanistan, had within a month after 9/11 arranged for long-term bases in Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan.119

The new Pearl Harbor that occurred on 9/11, therefore, allowed the United States to support UNOCAL?s pipeline project and, more generally, to fulfill the program, suggested by Brzezinski, of taking control of this region of the world.

The fact that 9/11 provided the necessary condition for the war in Afghanistan was stated by both Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld. In 2004, Wolfowitz told the 9/11 Commission that if the Department of Defense had asked Congress for permission to invade Afghanistan prior to 9/11, this request would not have been taken seriously. Rumsfeld, telling the Commission that “it can take a tragedy like September 11th to awaken the world to new threats and to the need for action,” said that prior to 9/11 the president could not have convinced Congress that the United States needed to “invade Afghanistan and overthrow the Taliban.”120

Afghanistan and the surrounding region was not, however, the primary target in the sights of the Bush-Cheney administration. That target was Iraq.

5. The Attack on Iraq

Several neocons, including some who became central members of the Bush-Cheney administration, had been wanting to bring about regime change in Iraq ever since Saddam Hussein’s occupation of Kuwait in 1990. Leading voices for this policy included Cheney and Wolfowitz, who were then secretary and under-secretary of defense, respectively, and also Richard Perle, who chaired a committee set up by neocons called Committee for Peace and Security in the Gulf. But this idea was opposed by President Bush along with General Colin Powell, then chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and General Norman Schwarzkopf, the field commander, so it was not carried out.121

In 1992, Albert Wohlstetter, who had inspired Perle and Wolfowitz and other neocons, expressed exasperation that nothing had been done about “a dictatorship sitting on the world’s second largest pool of low-cost oil and ambitious to dominate the Gulf.”122 (Wohlstetter’s statement reflected his conviction, expressed back in 1981, that America needs to establish forces, bases, and infrastructure so as to enjoy unquestioned primacy in the region.123)

In 1996, the “Clean Break? paper, written for Israel by Perle and other neocons, proposed that Israel remove from power all of its enemies in the region, beginning with Saddam Hussein. This 1996 document, in the opinion of Arnaud de Borchgrave, president of United Press International, “provided the strategic underpinnings for Operation Iraqi Freedom seven years later.”124

In 1997, Wolfowitz and Khalilzad published a statement arguing that “Saddam Must Go.”125

In 1998, Kristol and Kagan, in a New York Times op-ed entitled “Bombing Iraq Isn’t Enough,” called for “finishing the job left undone in 1991.”126 Wolfowitz told the House National Security Committee that it had been a mistake in 1991 to leave Saddam in power. Also, writing in the New Republic, he said: “Toppling Saddam is the only outcome that can satisfy the vital U.S. interest in a stable and secure Gulf region.”127 And the afore-mentioned letter to President Clinton from PNAC—signed by Cheney, Kristol, Perle, and Wolfowitz, among others—urged him to “take the necessary steps, including military steps,” to “remov[e] Saddam’s regime from power.” Then, getting no agreement from Clinton, PNAC wrote a similar letter to Newt Gingrich and Trent Lott, then the leaders of the House and the Senate, respectively.128

In 2000, PNAC?s Rebuilding Americ Defenses, pointing out that “the United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security,” added: “While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.”129

Given the fact that Cheney, Libby, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and other neocons were given central positions in the new Bush administration, it is not surprising to learn, from two former members of this administration, that it came into office intent on attacking Iraq. Paul O’Neill, who was secretary of the treasury and hence a member of the National Security Council, has said that within days of the inauguration, the main topic was going after Saddam, with the question being not “Why Saddam”? or “Why Now”? but merely “finding a way to do it.”130 Richard Clarke, who had been the National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism, confirmed O’Neill’s charge, saying: “The administration of the second George Bush did begin with Iraq on its agenda.”131

Until the attacks of 9/11, however, no one had found “a way to do it.” As neocon Kenneth Adelman has said: “At the beginning of the administration people were talking about Iraq but it wasn’t doable. . . . That changed with September 11.”132 Bob Woodward makes the same observation in Bush at War, saying: “The terrorist attacks of September 11 gave the U.S. a new window to go after Hussein.”133

However, even 9/11, by itself, was not a sufficient basis for getting the American people’s support for an attack on Iraq. Not for lack of effort by Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz. On the afternoon of 9/11 itself, Rumsfeld said in a note to General Richard Myers?-the acting head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff–that he wanted the "best info fast. Judge whether good enough hit S.H. [Saddam Hussein] at same time. Not only UBL [Usama bin Laden]."134 In the following days, both Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz argued that Saddam's Iraq should be, in Woodward’s paraphrase, “a principal target of the first round in the war on terrorism.”135

Colin Powell, however, argued that both the American people and other countries would at that time support an attack on Afghanistan, to do something about al-Qaeda, but not an attack on Iraq, since there was no evidence that it had anything to do with 9/11. He added, however, that after a successful campaign in Afghanistan, a war on Iraq would become more feasible. Bush accepted this argument.136 In doing so, he was not rejecting the proposal to use 9/11 to justify an attack on Iraq, merely postponing its implementation: A plan for going to war in Afghanistan that Bush signed on September 17 also directed the Pentagon to begin planning military options for an invasion of Iraq.137

Stephen Sniegoski, explaining why the attack on Iraq could not be launched immediately, says: ?[A]lthough the 9/11 atrocities psychologically prepared the American people for the war on Iraq, those horrific events were not sufficient by themselves to thrust America immediately into an attack on Iraq.” A “lengthy propaganda offensive? would also be needed.138

This propaganda offensive involved convincing a majority of the American people of the truth of two false claims: that Saddam Hussein had been behind 9/11 and that he possessed, or soon would possess, weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, with which he could attack America. This part of the story is too well known to need much rehearsal. The point to emphasize here is that although this later propaganda was necessary, its success depended on 9/11. Halper and Clarke say that “it was 9/11 that provided the political context in which the thinking of neo-conservatives could be turned into operational policy.”139 Sniegoski, spelling out the point more fully, says:

The 9/11 attacks made the American people angry and fearful. Ordinary Americans wanted to strike back at the terrorist enemy, even though they weren’t exactly sure who that enemy was. . . . Moreover, they were fearful of more attacks and were susceptible to the administration’s propaganda that the United States had to strike Iraq before Iraq somehow struck the United States. . . . It wasn’t that difficult to channel American fear and anger into war against Iraq.140

Much of this channeling was done by the Bush-Cheney administration, especially Bush and Cheney themselves. In August of 2002, for example, Cheney declared that “there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction . . . [and] is amassing them to use . . . against us.”141 In October, Bush said that, having “experienced the horror of September the 11th, . . . America must not ignore the threat gathering against us. Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof–the smoking gun–that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.”142

The administration was greatly aided in this propaganda offensive by neoconservatives outside the government, who “linked their preexisting agenda (an attack on Iraq) to a separate event (9/11).”143 Through their incessant propaganda—most widely spread in Lawrence Kaplan and William Kristol’s The War over Iraq: Saddam’s Tyranny and Americ Mission—“Al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein were morphed into the same enemy” and “the war on terror and war in Iraq were joined at the hip.”144

This propaganda campaign was enormously successful. Shortly before the war on Iraq was launched, the two key ideas in the campaign—that Saddam Hussein had played a direct role in the attacks of 9/11 and that he was a threat because he had weapons of mass destruction—were accepted by 70 percent of the American people.145 As a result, point out Halper and Clarke, the Bush-Cheney administration was “able to build the environment surrounding the terrorist attacks of September 2001 into a wide moral platform from which to launch a preemptive strike.”146

That this propaganda campaign would be successful would have been predictable. As Hermann G

9/11 a chance for the President to establish ‘new world order’

The 9/11 attacks is a chance for the President of the United States to carry out a "new world order."

 "On the other hand, a careful reading of this report will find a remarkable thing. We didn’t … unlike what we’ve said today … we didn’t just emphasize the negative, the dangers. We emphasized the opportunities. And Americans are brilliant at many things, not least of which is turning lemons into lemonade. There is a chance for the President of the United States to use this disaster to carry out what his father … a phrase his father used I think only once, and it hasn’t been used since … and that is a new world order." Senator Gary Hart (video shows that he said this, not Warren Rudman)

National Security in the 21st Century: Findings of the Hart-Rudman Commission
14 September 2001 
See: CFR911.pdf

Enron played key role in events presaging war

Enron played key role in events presaging war
by Martin Yant, The Free Press Journal, Spring 2002
April 10, 2002

If you want power ? be it political or electrical ? you need connec tions. No one knew that better than the super-slick executives of Enron, who in the past year desperately tried to stave off the largest bankruptcy in history.

And when it came to connections, Enron had the best money could buy in George W. Bush, whose most generous campaign supporter to date has been longtime Enron head Kenneth Lay.

According to a recent report in The Nation, Bush’s connections with Enron go back to 1986, when the future president went from a struggling oilman to a millionaire through a series of deals and partnerships, one of which was with Enron and its new chairman, Lay.

The Nation had previously reported that, in late 1988, the then-president-elect’s son allegedly called Argentine cabinet minister Rodolfo Terragno to urge him to award a contract worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Enron. Bush angrily denied the accusation when it was published in 1994, but Terragno recently stood by his claim in a commentary published in an Argentine daily newspaper.

“It looked bad and it surprised me,” Terragno said. “There was this political endorsement, apparently from the White House. I don’t know if George Bush the father was aware of it, or if it was only a business contact by his son, who hoped that his family name would have some influence.”

So, it should come as no surprise that Enron’s name has now surfaced as a major potential beneficiary of the proposed Afghanistan oil-and-gas pipeline the Bush administration purportedly pushed for during secret negotiations with the Taliban that started shortly after Bush took office and continued through August.

French intelligence analysts Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquie claim in their book, Bin Laden, La Verite Interdite (Bin Laden, the Forbidden Truth), that the administration’s main objective in the talks was to buy off the Taliban with promises of aid and international recognition in return for a pipeline to transport the oil and gas reserves in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Until now, the book says, “The oil and gas reserves of Central Asia have been controlled by Russia. The Bush government wanted to change all that.”

A secondary American goal was to get the Taliban to turn over bin Laden, who had moved his terror network to Afghanistan in 1996. When the talks began last February, the Taliban regime reportedly indicated it might be willing to hand over bin Laden. But by June, Brisard and Dasqui

Cui Bono 9/11?

Cui Bono 9/11?

"When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."
The Declaration of Independence

UnAnswered Question #1: Cui Bono?

A spirited and global citizens’ media was birthed by our hunger to learn the truth that lay inside the graves of those who gave their lives on 9/11. This citizens’ media brought forward the questions that people throughout the world raised and wanted answered.

These are the UnAnswered Questions of 9/11. These UnAnswered Questions are powerful. The persistence of the citizens’ media in raising them and demanding answers has illuminated the failure of those responsible to explain what happened or why. These UnAnswered Questions have been supplied to the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States — by the families of those who died that day, by 9/11 CitizensWatch and many others. To date, the Commission has declined to seriously investigate or address them. Those who have attended Commission hearings anticipate a report that justifies more 9/11 and war profiteering ? more otherwise unjustified public budgets and private profits for large banks, defense contractors and other large corporations.

My vote for the most important UnAnswered Question of 9/11 is "Cui Bono”," or "Who Benefits?" It’s where any serious criminal investigation would begin. That said, why has the Commission made no attempt to look at who benefited from the crimes of 9/11? To understand why, let’s step back and look at the issues related to holding government to basic standards of transparency and accountability — and let’s do it in a simple and basic way.

Standards of Transparency and Accountability

If you bought a car and it did not work, what would you do? Let’s say the car dealer told you that to get the car to work, you would have to pay him more money? Would you pay him more money to fix a car that had not worked in the first place? And after you paid to have it fixed, what if it still did not work? Would you pay an increased amount to get it to work then? Of course not.

As a result of 9/11, what did we do? We rewarded failure. Military, intelligence and enforcement appropriations and contracts increased dramatically along with tax benefits, regulatory relief and financing benefits for insiders. The stocks of the defense contractors we pay to run our air and satellite defense and for military, intelligence and enforcement accounting and information systems and operations skyrocketed. Why? Why are government officials, contractors and depositories who fail to deliver value different from a car dealer? Indeed, on fundamental issues of transparency and accountability, there is no difference.

The proper response to 9/11 is significant firings, serious investigations, a reinvention of federal budgets and credit to lawful performance standards and a return of stolen monies.

The proper response to 9/11 is significant firings, serious investigations, a reinvention of federal budgets and credit to lawful performance standards and a return of stolen monies.

The Top 20 Areas of 9/11 Profiteering

In a recent article on 9/11 Profiteering, I listed 20 areas of unacceptable, if not criminal, profiteering. Such profiteering is a breach of fiduciary obligations by government officials with the help of the Congress, media, judiciary and the private members of the military-banking cartels that control the US governmental apparatus:


  1. Over $3.3 trillion missing and unaccounted for from the US Treasury and no efforts by the US Treasury to find the money or get it back.
  2. Failure by the US Department of Justice to enforce securities and money laundering laws regarding the pump and dump of the US stock market and no effort to find money fraudulently laundered and to get it back.
  3. Arbitrage in the Federal Credit System designed to generate profits for the benefit of private financial interests in combination with relaxed monetary policies.
  4. Global deployment of US military and policing.
  5. Military presence and/or occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan and other Eurasian oil and gas interests.
  6. Special legislation favoring the insurance industry.
  7. Special legislation favoring the airline and other industries.
  8. Significant increases in military, intelligence and enforcement powers and appropriations.
  9. Special legislation favoring commodities and financial markets.
  10. Fundraising for trusts and endowments purporting to help 9/11 victims.
  11. Privatization and taxpayer funded redevelopment and financing of the WTC and New York real estate.
  12. Significant increases in airport and building security contracts to private companies, much of it government funded.
  13. Suppression of the media-sponsored Florida ballot recount and institution of “black box? voting machines – voting systems that do not have a verifiable paper trail.
  14. Adoption of the US Patriot Act to, among other things, consolidate the banking and money laundering market share.
  15. Cutbacks in retirement benefits and raiding/bankruptcy of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, Social Security and the Federal retirement systems.
  16. Emergence of corporate media as primarily propaganda.
  17. Explosion in expenditures for invisible weaponry – including HAARP, ocean, space and satellite weaponry with no citizenry understanding of the potentially frightening impact on human and other planetary quality of life and survival.
  18. Significant opportunities for large law firms resulting from the continuing centralization of the economy through the US governmental apparatus.
  19. Failure by the US Department of Justice to successful prosecute those responsible for Enron or to identify missing money and get it back.
  20. Promotions for numerous military and government officials who had failed to protect the national security during the events of 9/11.

Look at the sources of income and financing of those who served in the Clinton Administration or the first Bush Administration, including Iran-Contra, or who serve in the second Bush Administration. Look at the campaign funding sources of those who sit in Congress. Look at the board memberships and other sources of compensation and investment profits of those who serve on the National Commission. Look at the rising power of the companies who make money from war as opposed to companies that make money from healthy and happy citizens.

"For those who profit from the centralization of economic and political power, 9/11 was great for business."

Ultimately you must conclude that for those who profit from the centralization of economic and political power, 9/11 was great for business. Indeed from their point of view, 9/11 can be said to be a significant national security success. 9/11 profitering generated what is easily estimated as thehighest return on investment to campaign donors in the history of Presidential politics. The Bush war chest for 2004 speaks for itself. The piracy of 9/11 has more than replaced the loss of Enron, the largest donor for the 2000 campaign.

Getting off the Financial Titanic and on to Solari Arks

Chris Sanders, a money manager in London and founder of Sanders Research Associates, is a member of the financial leadership who has spoken out with integrity and courage against US Treasury black budget accounting and manipulation of the gold and financial markets. In a recent report on the global economy, "The Ghost of Adam Smith," Sanders had this to say about the economics of 9/11:

The truth of the matter is that ‘globalization’ has brought us to a point where almost any event could initiate a cascade of consequences beyond the control of even the legendary Greenspan and the Exchange Stabilization Fund. 9/11 may well have been that event. Economically, it wrecked the attempts that were underway at the time to investigate and control the rampant fraud and abuse that had resulted in the collapse of the government’s accounting and financial control systems and it has resulted in a runaway spending spree and balance of payments catastrophe. Politically, it wrecked any serious attempt to negotiate a viable compromise in the Middle East. Militarily it has exposed grave weakness at the heart of the American war machine. Morally, its consequences have revealed the absence of any ethical foundation to the so-called New World Order and the absence of a framework of law to order it. About the only thing that doesn’t seem widely exposed is exactly who was responsible for 911 itself. But the answer to that question is hiding in plain sight. When a few more people see it, we expect the cascade to begin in earnest. Revolutions have started from much less."

While the time has indeed come for the revolution that Sanders, Thomas Jefferson and the signers of our Declaration of Independence called for, it will not be a revolution in the military or physical sense. It will be a revolution of the kind that John Adams described when he said, ‘The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people."

Global citizens will use our prayers, our meditations and our transactions – our "votes in the marketplace"– to withdraw our support from the members of the leadership who centralize financial and political power by dictating the policies that banks, media and multinational corporations use to manipulate governmental and central banking apparatus outside the rule of law.

Reread the passage from the Declaration of Independence quoted at the top of this commentary and change the word "Political" to "Economic and Financial." Private global interests have used the US governmental apparatus response to 9/11 to declare economic war and physical war on US and global citizens alike. Want to stop an army? Shut off its gas. This army’s gas is fraudulent financing through the US Treasury and the federal budget, contracts and credit. It is time for citizens’ media to turn the transparency lights on around the centralization of the financial system and the money. It is time for citizens to withdraw their money from those who would use it in criminal ways and shift it to those who would rebuild and restore according to traditional principles of stewardship.

If you look back in history you will see many successful examples when the power of our prayers and meditations aligned with the power of our pocketbook to transform events. Revisit the story of the Boston Tea Party or Gandhi’s salt march to the sea. Study the international economic and investment boycott of South Africa that helped to end apartheid and release Nelson Mandela from prison and return him to leadership. As citizens’ media has proved since 9/11, the seeds of a new citizen covenant are being birthed amidst the accelerating failure of sovereign governments and central banks to respect and affirm the old covenants. All that is needed is for this movement to transform the political landscape is for us to integrate our growing spiritual and intellectual force with the untapped power of our consumer financial muscle.

Do you have a Citibank account? How about a JP Morgan Chase credit card? Who do you think were the banks that moved the $3.3 trillion "missing" from the US Treasury? Who escaped serious accountability on pump and dump stock market fraud and gold market manipulation? Do you subscribe to the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal? Who do you think are the media organizations that have failed to ask or try to answer the UnAnswered Questions of 9-11? Why are you "voting" for these companies with your money and your attention? Why are you sending them the signal that despite their abrogation of their obligations to you and your family, you will continue to support them with your hard earned resources? If some of your neighbors are earning 2% on their bank certificates of deposits, while other neighbors are paying 18% or more to the IRS or multinational financial companies, why do we not realize that this is both a political and profit making opportunity to cut out a parasitic financial middleman?

For many years, I have prototyped a way to transform our financial system. It is a model based on transparency, sound currency and equity to replace obfuscation, fiat currency and the debt model that is destroying us. It’s called Solari and you can learn all about it at my website at . I developed the Solari model in the hopes that the day would come when a small but critical gathering of global citizens would understand the power of what would happen if even 1% of 1% of the global citizenry shifted our market votes and attention away from the large banks, corporations and media. In such a highly leveraged financial system, very small shifts of consumers and market share can bring about dramatic and politically powerful change. This is especially true when the shift in transactions spread virally by word of mouth in self organizing ways outside the control of centralized authorities. There is safety in numbers. Best of all, the power of the Solari model is not just that we can withdraw our resources from the financial titanic and those who engage in criminal activites? we can make money building arks and so can those who shift their investments from the financial titanic to invest with us.

An Invitation to Transformation

To Chairman Kean, Vice Chairman Hamilton and the members and staff of the Commission, I say that it is never too late for creativity. It is never too late to find a new way. Time is of the essence and the time is now. A shift using the Solari model can generate the powerful capital gains that members of the Commission appreciate are essential to building the working domestic and global political coalitions and investment networks which can successfully address the challenges before us. I pose the question, "How can we who intuitively understand the truths of 9-11 help you to profitably invent a broad based political coalition for transparency, accountability, justice and a positive spiritual and economic outcome?" Indeed, there is a way.

If we choose to profitably transform our financial system to sound currency and equity and our culture to one of collaboration and peace – as is more than possible — and then some day years from now ask the question, "Cui Bono?" —"Who benefited from the hard lessons that we learned from the truths of 9-11?"– my prayer is that the answer will be "We all did."

May it be so.


"Cui Bono 9/11" was prepared at the request of and with special thanks to Michael Kane for "SCAMMING AMERICA: The Official 9/11 Cover-Up Guide – Part II" to be published by New York 9/11 Truth ( for distribution at the last hearing of the National Commissionon Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. For Part I, see


Catherine Austin Fitts is the President of Solari, Inc, an investment advisor (in formation) created to invest in equity managed by a Solari, a community investment databank and investment advisor, and to promote Solari Circles and Solari Investor Clubs, community clubs focused on local investment. Ms. Fitts is a former Assistant Secretary of Housing-Federal Housing Commissioner in the first Bush Administration, a former managing director and member of the board of Dillon, Read & Co, Inc. and President of The Hamilton Securities Group, Inc. She serves on the Advisory Board of Sanders Research Associates in London, writes "The Real Deal – ( )" column for Scoop Media New Zealand and is a founding member of and a member of Website: E-mail:

The attacks of 9/11 provided unique opportunities to the U.S. government

The 9/11 attacks provided unique opportunities to the U.S. government

 Elias Davidsson
(based partly on David Ray Griffin’s analysis of motives, in The New Pearl Harbor, p.130)

The attacks of 9/11 were described as “opportunities” by U.S. leaders.  Bob Woodward (Bush at War, p. 32) reports that at the meeting of the National Security Council on the night of 9/11, President Bush said that the attacks provided “a great opportunity”.  Donald Rumsfeld used this term in an interview with the New York Times of 12 October 2001 saying that these attacks created “the kind of opportunities that World War II offered, to refashion the world” According to an interview with The New Yorker Magazine, published on April 1, 2002, Condolezza Rice told senior members of the National Security Council to “think about ‘how to capitalize on these opportunities'” to fundamentally change American doctrine, and the shape of the world, in the wake of September 11th.  And in The National Security Strategy of the United States of America, issued by the U.S. government in September 2002, one discovers that “the events of September 11, 2001, opened vast, new opportunities” for the U.S.The designation of 9/11 as an “opportunity” was not limited to U.S. leaders. In a story published by the right-wing US News and World Report, we read: “Then came 9/11. Worldwide revulsion and the shared sense of threat handed Washington a once-in-a generation chance to shake up international politics. Ten days after the attacks, State Department experts catalogued for [Colin] Powell a dozen ‘silver linings'”
Senator Richard G. Lugar addressed on March 4, 2002 the Council for Foreign Relations (CFR) with a lecture entitled “NATO After 9/11: Crisis or Opportunity.” [Link]. He said:
If there is a single message I would like to leave with you this evening, it is the following: amidst all the current signs of crisis, we must not lose sight of the enormous opportunity that we have to build a new trans-Atlantic relationship (…)
The fact that leading members of the U.S. administration designated 9/11 as a unique “opportunity” in terms of foreign policies, demonstrates that such policies had been just waiting for the right opportunity to be put in practice. This, by itself, does not prove that this “opportunity” was created by the U.S. administration. However, it demonstrates that U.S. leaders had a motive to commit the crime.

Post-9/11 Economic Windfalls for Arms Manufacturers

Post-9/11 Economic Windfalls for Arms Manufacturers

Volume 7, Number 10
September 2002

By Michelle Ciarrocca, Arms Trade Resource Center


10ifarms.pdf [printer-friendly version]
Editors: Tom Barry (IRC) and Martha Honey (IPS)
Issue Editor: John Feffer

Key Points

  • In the wake of September 11, President Bush requested the largest increase in defense spending in two decades.
  • The potential for an open-ended war poses great opportunities for weapons makers and great challenges for those who seek to curb wasteful military spending.
  • Major defense contractors are figuring out new ways to tap into the homeland defense market.

President Bush’s military budget increase and the war time “unity” that Capitol Hill have created an environment in which weapons makers can enjoy the best of both worlds?continuing to make money on the weapons systems of the cold war while reaping the benefits of a war time bonanza of new defense contracts.

In order to replace weapons used in Afghanistan and in preparation for possible military action in Iraq, many U.S. weapons makers have increased production. Boeing added a second shift of workers to boost production of its Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs)?the most widely used smart bomb in the Afghan war. Raytheon, best known for its Tomahawk missile, added a third shift and announced that production for its laser-guided bomb has been accelerated by five months “to support the warfighter in the war on terrorism.” Alliant Techsystems, the largest supplier of ammunition to the U.S. military, was awarded a $92 million contract to make 265 million rounds of small-caliber ammunition for the Army.

Additionally, with the new influx of money for homeland defense ($38 billion for FY 2003), virtually all of the big defense contractors”Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon – have adapted their marketing strategies and are repackaging their products for use in domestic security. Boeing is looking into how its sensors designed to track enemy missiles could be used to locate and identify hijacked planes. Lockheed is trying to adapt military simulators to train local emergency response teams. And Raytheon is pitching its hand-held thermal-imaging devices, designed for the military, as useful for fire fighters searching through collapsed buildings.

But it’s not just the traditional military contractors who are fighting for a piece of the Pentagon pie. Smaller companies, too, are “dusting off old domestic security proposals and developing new ones in an attempt to cash in on what they hope will ultimately be hundreds of billions of dollars in new spending on homeland security,” according to The Wall Street Journal. Air Structures is introducing fortified vinyl domes for quarantining infected communities in the aftermath of a potential bioterror attack, Visionics is looking into designing facial recognition technology, and PointSource Technologies is developing a sensor to detect biological agents in the air or water.

In July, the world’s top defense contractors gathered in the United Kingdom for the Farnborough International Air Show, which convenes CEOs, generals, and heads of state every two years. At the last show $52 billion in orders were announced. Although contractors didn’t anticipate that much this time around, they were keen to show off the latest developments in antiterror weapons and homeland defense.

Raytheon showcased its role in missile defense and precision strike munitions. Boeing exhibited its tried-and-true 767 tanker transport, its C-17 Globemaster, and its JDAM?all of which have been on display in Afghanistan. TRW, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, and Boeing all focused on new approaches to developing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), another star weapon of the Afghan war.

The big boost in the defense budget is good news for major Pentagon contractors, who were among the few companies to show increases in their stock prices when the market reopened after the September 11 attacks. Among the top gainers for the week of September 17-21, 2001, were military and space contractors like Raytheon (+37%), L-3 Communications (+35.8%), Alliant Techsystems (+23.5%), and Northrop Grumman (+21.2%).

As of May 1, 2002, Aviation Week?s Aerospace 25 stock index had climbed past the level at which it was trading in May 2001 and compared favorably to the 5.4% decline for Standard & Poor’s 500. Northrop, Boeing, and General Dynamics all reported better-than-anticipated earnings for the second quarter of 2002, due to increases in weapons spending and homeland security. And with expected annual increases in defense spending of 10% or more, most analysts are banking on a gradual, long-term boost for the defense industry. As Loren Thompson, a defense analyst with the Lexington Institute remarked: “The whole mind set of military spending changed on Sept. 11. The most fundamental thing about defense spending is that threats drive defense spending. It’s now going to be easier to fund almost anything.”


Problems with Current U.S. Policy

Key Problems

  • The increases in defense spending due to September 11 have allowed the Pentagon to avoid reform and transformation.
  • More than one-third of the Pentagon’s $68 billion weapons procurement budget for this year will go to big-ticket, cold war-era weapons systems.
  • The failure of policymakers and defense officials to cancel unnecessary weapons programs is, in large part, due to the undue influence exerted by the top defense contractors.

Despite a slowing economy and Bush’s $1.35 trillion tax cut, notions of fiscal conservatism have been brushed aside to fund the fight against terrorism. Boeing Vice Chairman Harry Stonecipher got to the heart of the matter when he told The Wall Street Journal that “the purse is now open,” so the Pentagon will no longer have to make “hard choices? among competing weapons projects. Unfortunately, no hard choices were being made in the first place.

The highly anticipated Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), an assessment of the nation’s defense needs mandated by Congress, was released September 30, 2001. But as Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) quickly noted, the QDR “seems to me to be full of decisions deferred.” None of the weapons systems mentioned as a candidate for elimination during the Bush campaign was canceled. Instead, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld set the stage for major increases in military spending, arguing that “the loss of life and damage to our economy from the attack of September 11, 2001, should give us a new perspective on the question of what this country can afford for its defense.”

Defense spending for FY 2002 totaled $343.2 billion, a $32.6 billion increase above 2001 levels. Congress just recently finished the FY 2003 defense bill and sent it to President Bush for his signature. When all defense related bills are added up, this year’s military budget will reach almost $400 billion. Long-term plans envision the national defense budget increasing to $469 billion in FY 2007, 11% higher than the cold war average.

The most widely used items in Afghanistan to date have been Raytheon’s Tomahawks, Boeing’s JDAMs, and Northrop Grumman’s UAVs. But only about $3.2 billion in the president’s budget request will go for more of these systems. Much of the new Pentagon funding will be used to bankroll longstanding pet projects of the military-industrial lobby. In fact, more than one-third of the Pentagon’s FY 2003 $68 billion procurement budget will be allocated to big-ticket, cold war-era systems that have little or nothing to do with the war on terrorism.

Although many analysts had assumed that defending against long-range ballistic missiles might take a back seat to other more urgent defense priorities in the wake of September 11, the Bush administration has moved full speed ahead with missile defense. Spending on missile defense increased by 43% in FY 2002, and the Bush administration plans to spend at least $32.7 billion on the missile defense program between now and 2005. Total costs for the deployment and maintenance of a multitiered system could top $200 billion over the next two decades.

Despite campaign promises by President Bush to “skip a generation? in weapons procurement, all three of the Pentagon’s advanced fighter plane programs are moving forward. This year alone, close to $12 billion will be allocated to the Air Force’s F-22 Raptor, the Joint Strike Fighter/F-35, and the Navx’s F-18E/F fighter plane. The F-22 has been described as a costly cold war relic designed for an enemy that no longer exists. The Super Hornet, as the F-18E/F is known, has not been able to meet key performance goals that were used to justify its development. The JSF (also called the F-35) was viewed as a likely program to be cut or scaled back, but within weeks of September 11 Lockheed Martin was awarded a $19 billion development contract, and international partners signed on.

The debate over the Crusader artillery system indicates just how difficult it is to cancel a weapons system. Both President Bush and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld criticized the $11 billion Crusader program for being outmoded, because it was designed to fight a land war with the Soviet Union. However, the Army?and members of Congress from Oklahoma, Minnesota, and a dozen other states where parts of the Crusader would be built, put up a tough fight. And for the moment, they seem to have won. Although the Pentagon did officially terminate the program in May, there’s still $475 million in the 2003 budget for the Crusader system. As Congress puts the finishing touches on the defense bill, it is expected that the money will go to the Army to develop alternative artillery systems.

The failure of policymakers and defense officials to cancel unnecessary weapons programs is, in large part, due to the undue influence exerted by the top defense contractors. More than any administration in history, the Bush team has relied on the expertise of former weapons contractors to outline U.S. defense needs. Thirty-two major Bush appointees are former executives, consultants, or major shareholders of top weapons contractors. Seventeen administration appointees had ties to major defense contractors Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, or Raytheon prior to joining the Bush team. These include former Lockheed Chief Operating Officer Peter B. Teets, now undersecretary of the Air Force and director of the National Reconnaissance Office; Secretary of the Air Force James Roche, a former Northrop Grumman vice president; and Secretary of the Navy Gordon England, a former General Dynamics vice president. The theory behind Rumsfeld’s reliance on former corporate executives is that they would be more willing to cut costs and try new approaches than the average Pentagon bureaucrat. However, that clearly has not been the case.

The geopolitical reach of the defense megafirms is reinforced by millions of dollars in campaign cash. In 2000 the top six military companies spent over $6.5 million in contributions to candidates and political parties. In addition to these hefty campaign donations, defense contractors spent an astonishing $60 million on lobbying in 2000, the most recent year for which full statistics are available.


Toward a New Foreign Policy

Key Recommendations

  • Efforts to reform the military should not be abandoned because of 9/11.
  • The Pentagon and Congress must set real defense priorities, not just throw money around under the guise of fighting terrorism.
  • Washington’s policies must promote, rather than undermine, human rights and democratic institutions abroad.

Instead of seizing the historic moment to establish new defense priorities after September 11, the Bush administration appears to be doing exactly what candidate Bush promised not to do?funding two military strategies at once, one for the cold war and one for the future. A recent Defense News article noted: “Unfortunately, the Pentagon is still dominated by cold warriors, obsessed with big, expensive weapons programs. Congress is still addicted to the jobs and political contributions that can only come from defense contractors with massive hardware programs … At the Pentagon, specific personnel changes are required, in particular closing the revolving door that rewards senior military leaders with the promise of future civilian employment if they “play the game.”?

The potential for conflicts of interest involving former weapons industry executives and their former companies has been substantially increased as a result of Defense Secretary Rumsfeld’s corporate management style, which one Pentagon insider has described as “Department of Defense, Inc.” These links between the Bush administration and arms manufacturers raises a critical question: If the majority of top policymakers have longstanding ties to the companies that will benefit from increases in military spending, who will represent the public interest? At a time when corporate scandals are making headlines, the administration’s reliance on individuals with ties to the arms industry deserves far greater scrutiny than it has received to date.

Another logical approach to retooling the Pentagon would be to set some real priorities. Canceling systems like the costly F-22 fighter plane, the bulky Crusader artillery system, and the administration’s fantastic missile defense program – all of which seem largely irrelevant to dealing with low-tech threats like the September 11 attacks?would be a good place to start. To do so means challenging not only Pentagon planners but also members of Congress who are wedded to their states? military projects. One senator who’s been willing to do just that is Republican John McCain of Arizona. Year after year, McCain points out the billions of dollars of pork barrel projects tagged on to the defense bill. This year alone, the Defense Appropriations Bill includes $5.2 billion for 581 programs not requested by the president and unrelated to the war on terrorism. This vicious circle of pork barrel politics and special interest money has been a regular feature of defense budget politics for decades, resulting in higher levels of Pentagon spending than might be justified by an objective assessment of the security threats facing the United States. Unfortunately, few members of Congress have been willing to challenge the status quo like McCain.

Beyond the issue of whether it funds too many obsolete systems, the Bush administration’s war budget raises a more fundamental question: Is the use of military force likely to solve the problem of terrorist violence? There needs to be a much more vigorous national debate about how best to protect Americans and prevent violence against civilians, both in the U.S. and around the world.

Washington’s policies must promote, rather than undermine, human rights and democratic institutions abroad. The narrow, military focus of the Bush administration can be seen most vividly when comparing the FY 2003 military budget request of $396 billion to the $25 billion requested for international aid. The administration’s unwillingness to increase spending on diplomacy or foreign economic aid underscores the extent to which it is treating the war on terrorism as primarily a military enterprise, in which the U.S. rounds up a series of ad hoc “posses? to go after the enemy of the moment. This go-it-alone attitude is at least as dangerous as the military buildup that is being justified in the name of fighting terrorism.

As former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright noted recently, foreign aid should be thought of not as a gift that the rich give to the poor but as something that enriches poor and rich nations alike. Foreign aid, she continued, should be retermed “national security support,” recognizing how successful it could be at dismantling the real “axis of evil”?poverty, desperation, and disease – that is often a root cause of terrorism.

Michelle Ciarrocca <> is an analyst with the Arms Trade Resource Center who writes for Foreign Policy In Focus (online at


Sources for More Information


Arms Trade Resource Center
66 Fifth Ave., Rm. 900
New York, NY 10011
Voice: (212) 229-5808
Fax: (212) 229-5579
Contact: William D. Hartung

Center for Defense Information
1779 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20036
Voice: (202) 332-0600
Fax: (202) 462-4559
Contact: Chris Hellman

Council for a Livable World
110 Maryland Ave. NE
Washington, DC 20002
Voice: (202) 543-4100
Contact: John Isaacs


Department of Defense, “Quadrennial Defense Review Report,” September 30, 2001, available at:

David Isenberg and Ivan Eland, “Empty Promises: Why the Bush Administration’s Half-Hearted Attempts at Defense Reform Have Failed,”
available at:

Press release from Senator John McCain (R-AZ), “McCain Targets $5.2 Billion of Pork Barrel Projects in Defense Spending Bill,”


Federation of American Scientists

Project on Defense Alternatives

Project on Government Oversight

Did US officials have reasons for allowing 9/11?


Chapter 7 of The New Pearl Harbor by Prof. David Ray Griffin

The wars waged by the US government in Afghanistan and Iraq have been portrayed as part of its "war on terrorism." These wars have been, in other words, justified as responses to the terrorist attacks of 9/11. However, say critics of the official account, these wars were actually on the agenda of the Bush administration long before the attacks. Furthermore, they claim, these wars were part of an even larger agenda.

Pre-9/11 Plans to Attack Afghanistan

With regard to Afghanistan, Ahmed, drawing on various sources,>1 calls it a matter of public record that "corresponding with the growing shift in US policy against the Taliban, a military invasion of Afghanistan was planned long before 11th September.">2 Ahmed and Thompson both suggest that at least one of the fundamental purposes behind this plan was to facilitate a huge project of a consortium of oil companies known as CentGas (Central Asia Gas Pipeline). This consortium, which includes Delta Oil of Saudi Arabia, was formed by Unocal, one of the oil giants of the United States, to build pipelines through Afghanistan and Pakistan for transporting oil and gas from Turkmenistan to the Indian Ocean. In September of 2000, a year before 9/11, an Energy Information Fact Sheet, published by the US government, said:

    Afghanistan’s significance from an energy standpoint stems from its geographic position as a potential transit route for oil and natural gas exports from Central Asia to the Arabian Sea. This potential includes proposed multibillion dollar oil and gas export pipelines through Afghanistan.>3

At one time, Unocal and Washington had hoped that thcTaliban would provide sufficient stability for their project to move forward, but they had lost this hope.

Providing some background, Ahmed and Thompson explain that the Taliban was originally created by the CIA, working in conjunction with Pakistan’s ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence), with additional financial support from Saudi Arabia.>4 According to Ahmed Rashid’s well-known book Taliban, the pipeline project was central to this support:

    Impressed by the ruthlessness and willingness of the then-emerging Taliban to cut a pipeline deal, the State Department and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency agreed to funnel arms and funding to the Taliban.>5

When the Taliban, with this financial support from Saudi Arabia and the CIA funneled through the ISI, conquered Kabul in 1996, Unocal was hopeful that it would provide enough stability to allow its pipelines to be built and protected. Indeed, it was reported, "preliminary agreement [on the pipeline project] was reached between the [Taliban and Unocal] long before the fall of Kabul.">6 Unocal even reportedly provided some of the financial support for the Taliban.>7 The fact that the Taliban continued to serve the purposes of the ISI is illustrated, Thompson points out, by the fact that when Taliban troops were about to conquer the major city in northern Afghanistan in 1998, an ISI officer sent a message saying: "My boys and I are riding into Mazar-i- Sharif.">8 In any case, after the Taliban conquered this city, it had control of most of Afghanistan, including the entire pipeline route. CentGas then announced that it was "ready to proceed.">9

Later that year, however, Unocal, having become dubious about the Talibans ability to provide sufficient stability, pulled out of CentGas. From then on, says Ahmed, "the US grew progressively more hostile toward the Taliban, and began exploring other possibilities to secure its regional supremacy, while maintaining basic ties with the regime, to negotiate a non-military solution.">10

The final attempt to find a non-military solution reportedly occurred at a four-day meeting in Berlin in July of 2001. The Bush administration tried to get the Taliban to share power, thereby creating a joint government of "national unity." According to the Pakistani representative at the meeting, Niaz Naik, one of the Americans said "either the Taliban behave as they ought to…or we will use another option..a military operation" Another American reportedly told the Taliban: "Either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of boobs.">11 Although one of the Americans later denied that such a threat was made, one of them confirmed it, saying: "I think there was some discussion of the fact that the United States was so disgusted with the Taliban that they might be considering some military action.">12

According to a BBC report, furthermore, Naik said that he was told by senior American officials that "military- action against Afghanistan would go ahead by the middle of October"?that it would take place "before the snows started falling in Afghanistan, by the middle of October at the latest.">13 Thompson, noting that the United States started bombing Afghanistan on October 7, asks: "Is it coincidence that the attacks begin exactly when the US said they would, months before 9/11?">14 The supposition that it was not simply a coincidence is supported by an account from a former member of the South Carolina National Guard, who later declared:

    My unit reported for drill in July 2001 and we were suddenly and unexpectedly informed that all activities planned for the next two months would be suspended in order to prepare for a mobilization exercise to be held on Sept. 14, 2001. We worked diligently for two weekends and even came in on an unscheduled day in August to prepare for the exercise. By the end of August all we needed was a phone call, which we were to expect, and we could hop into a fully prepared convoy with our bags and equipment packed.>15

If this report is true, it suggests that it was known in July that the attacks would occur shortly before September 14. In any case, Niaz Naik also did not think that mere coincidence was involved. The BBC report quoted him as saying that he "was in no doubt that after the World Trade Center bombings, this pre-existing US plan had been built upon and would be implemented within two or three weeks."

Naik also said it was doubtful that Washington would drop its plan even if bin Laden were to be surrendered immediately by the Taliban, because "the wider objective was to topple the Taleban [sic] regime and install a transitional government.">16 Ahmed and Thompson find this assessment of the wider objective, along with the view that included facilitating the pipeline project, to be confirmed by subsequent events, such as the fact commented upon in the following statement by a writer in an Israeli newspaper:

    If one looks at the map of the big American bases created, one is struck by the fact that they are completely identical to the route of the projected oil pipeline to the Indian Ocean…. If I were a believer in conspiracy theory, I would think that bin Laden is an American agent.>17

Thompson and Ahmed also point out that both the new Afghani prime minister, Hamid Karzai, and President Bush’s special envoy to Afghanistan, Zalamy Khalilzad, were previously on Unocals payroll. These appointments, Ahmed adds, "illustrate the fundamental interests behind US military intervention in Afghanistan.">18 As early as October 10, Ahmed further notes, the US Department of State had informed the Pakistani Minister of Oil that "in view of recent geopolitical developments," Unocal was ready to go ahead with the pipeline project.>19 In light of this background, Ahmed concludes that 9/11 was more the "trigger" than the reason for the US war in Afghanistan.>20

Pre-9/11 Plans to Attack Iraq

In a statement in early March of 2002, President Bush, after saying that he was not very concerned about Osama bin Laden, added: "I am deeply concerned about Iraq.">21 Thompson and Ahmed believe that this was not a recent concern, that the war against Iraq, like the war against Afghanistan, had already been planned by US officials prior to 9/11.

Part of the evidence for this claim is found in the document Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces, and Resources for a New Century, which I briefly mentioned in the Introduction. This document was published in September of 2000 by the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), a neo-conservative think tank that was formed by many people who went on to become insiders in the Bush admnistration, including Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz (Rumsfeld’s deputy at the Defense Department), and Lewis "Scooter" Libby (Cheney’s Chief of Staff) >22 With regard to the question of whether the 2003 war against Iraq was really motivated by the perceived need to eliminate Saddam, as these men would then claim, the following passage in Rebuilding America’s Defenses (quoted by Thomspon) is relevant:

    The United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.>23

The main thing, in other words, was getting a "substantial American force presence in the Gulf," with Saddam providing the "immediate justification." Edward Herman also points to the importance of this document for assessing the sincerity of the public rationale given for the war: "Key members of the Bush administration," points out Herman, "had announced an aim of ‘toppling Saddam Hussein back in 2000 in the publication of the Project for the New American Century.">24

This group made an even earlier statement of this aim in a letter to President Clinton in January of 1998, urging him to adopt a strategy aimed at "the removal of Saddam Hussein’s regime from power." This letter, signed by Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, and Richard Perle, among others, urged Clinton "to take the necessary steps, including military steps, to protect our vital interests in the Gulf," adding that "American policy cannot continue to be crippled by a misguided insistence on unanimity in the UN Security Council.">25

In supporting the contention that 9/11 was more a pretext than a reason for the attack on Iraq, Thompson quotes a report that Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, only a few hours after the Pentagon had been struck, wrote a memo saying that he wanted the "best info fast. Judge whether good enough hit S.H. [Saddam Hussein] at same time. Not only UBL [Usama bin Laden]. Go massive. Sweep it all up. Things related and not.">26 Thompsons contention is given additional support by John Pilger, who cites Bob Woodwards report that the next day at the meeting of the National Security Council, Rumsfeld said that Saddams Iraq should be targeted in the first round of the war on terrorism.>27

Critics can, furthermore, point to both actions and statements during and after the war that support their contention that the war had much more to do with oil and regional control than it did with the announced purposes for the war. Whereas the Bush and Blair administrations claimed that the war was to remove weapons of mass destruction, through which Saddam Hussein posed a threat to his neighbors and even the United Kingdom and the United States, the intelligence behind this assessment has been widely reported to have been distorted, even invented. Sir Jonathan Porritt, head of the Sustainable Development Commission, which advises Blair’s government on ecological issues, publicly stated that the prospect of winning access to Iraqi oil was "a very large factor" in the allies’ decision to attack Iraq in March, adding: "I don’t think the war would have happened if Iraq didn’t have the second-largest oil reserves in the world." Paul O’Neill, Bush’s former Treasury Secretary, has said that the Bush administration had from the outset planned to attack Iraq, in large part for its oil.>28

The fact that oil was of preeminent importance was demonstrated Stephen Gowans says, by the fact that the top item on the Pentagon’s agenda, once it gave the order for jackboots to begin marching on Baghdad, was to secure the oil fields in southern Iraq. And when chaos broke out in Baghdad, US forces let gangs of looters and arsonists run riot through "the Ministry of Planning, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Irrigation, the Ministry of Trade, the Ministry of Industry, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Information." …But at the Ministry of Oil, where archives and files related to all the oil wealth Washington has been itching to get its hands on, all was calm, for ringing the Ministry was a phalanx of tanks and armoured personnel carriers.>29

The suspicion that Iraq was not attacked primarily for the publicly stated reasons is also suggested by the evidence that the Bush administration planned to use its post-9/11 "war on terrorism" as a pretext for attacks on still other countries. A report in Newsweek for example, said that prior to the attack on Iraq, some of Bush’s advisors advocated also attacking Saudi Arabia, Iran, North Korea, Syria, and Egypt. One senior British official was quoted as saving: "Everyone wants to go to Baghdad. Real men want to go to Tehran.">30

One of those "real men" was Richard Perle, a founding member of PNAC, who has been quoted as describing America’s "war on terrorism" in these words:

    This is total war. We are fighting a variety of enemies. There are lots of them out there. All this talk about first we are going to do Afghanistan, then we will do Iraq…. [T]his is entirely the wrong way to go about it. If we just let our vision of the world go forth, and….just wage a total war…our children will sing great songs about us years from now.>31

This kind of vision could give fanaticism a bad name.

It is now increasingly recognized that insofar as the United States is waging a war on terrorism, "terrorism" is being defined in a very selective, self-serving way. "For Bush," Meyssan says, "terrorism seems to be defined as any form of violent opposition to American leadership.">32 Richard Falk likewise saw that it soon became clear that the "war on terrorism was being waged against all non-state revolutionary forces perceived as hostile to American global interests." What is really going on, in other words, is "an empire-building project undertaken behind the smokescreen of the war on global terror.">33 Phyllis Bennis agrees, saying that "the war [on terrorism] was never about bringing anyone to justice; it was about conquest and the mushrooming of US global power, all in the name of righteous vengeance.">34 Chossudovsky, Mahajan, and countless other critics have made the same point.

In any case, it is now widely agreed that the Bush administration (as well as Blair’s government) lied about the reasons for attacking Iraq. Is it not time to expand this question to whether it also lied about the event itself, 9/11, that was used as the primary justification for the wars against Afghanistan and Iraq and the even larger agenda of the Bush administration?

A New Pearl Harbor Would Help

With regard to this larger agenda, both Ahmed and Thompson refer to the 1997 book by former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives. Besides portraying the Eurasian landmass as the key to world power, Brzezinski portrayed Central Asia, with its vast oil reserves, as the key to the domination of Eurasia. Having summarized this argument, Ahmed and Thompson point to Brzezinskis statement that ensuring continued "American primacy" by getting control of this region will require "a consensus on foreign policy issues" within the American public Getting such consensus, however, will be difficult, because "America is too democratic at home to be autocratic abroad," a fact that "limits the use of America’s power, especially its capacity for military intimidation." Continuing his analysis of the defects in the American character, Brzezinski explained that "the pursuit of power is not a goal that commands popular passion, except in conditions of a sudden threat or challenge to the public’s sense of domestic well being.">35 Therefore, he counseled, the needed consensus on foreign policy issues will be difficult to obtain "except in the circumstance of a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat.">36 Ahmed connects this passage to an earlier one, in which Brzezinski said that the American public, which is ambivalent about "the external projection of American power," had "supported America’s engagement in World War II largely because of the shock effect of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.">37

Ahmed’s point is that if those two passages are read together, the kind of "widely perceived direct external threat" said to be needed would be Pearl Harbor type of event. Brzezinski’s book, authored by a former national security advisor, cannot be considered simply one book among hundreds offering advice to the government. Although Brzezinski advised a Democratic president (Jimmy Carter), he is a hard liner who has reportedly been highly regarded by the Bush administration.

It is perhaps not merely coincidental, therefore, that three years after Brzezinskis apparent wish for a Pearl-Harbor-type event was published, the aforementioned publication of the Project for the New American Century would contain a similar passage. Although this passage has previously been cited, it is important to emphasize that it comes in the context of a call for the completion of the "revolution in military affairs," through which a Pax Americana, or "American Peace," can be more efficiently established. Unfortunately, according to this document’s authors, the needed transformation would probably come about slowly "absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event?like a new Pearl Harbor.">38 If a new Pearl Harbor were to occur, in other words, this completion of the revolution in military affairs could be brought about more quickly, because the massive funding needed could be obtained. It was in response to this prediction that John Pilger made the assertion, quoted in the Introduction, that "[t]he attacks of 11 September 2001 provided the ‘new Pearl Harbor.’">39 What kind of changes did these advocates of American dominance outline, and has the New Pearl Harbor helped bring them about?

Missile Defense and a Space Pearl Harbor

It is important to realize that the centerpiece of the "revolution in military affairs" is a program to weaponize and hence dominate space. This program will require much of the massive increase in funding for "defense" for which Brzezinski and the Project for the New American Century have called. The purpose of this program is spelled out quite explicitly in a document called "Vision for 2020," which begins with this mission statement: "US Space Command – dominating the space dimension of military operations to protect US interests and investment.">40 Its primary purpose, in other words, is not to protect the American homeland, but to protect American investments abroad. It makes this point even more explicit by comparing the importance of the Space Command today with the fact that in previous times "nations built navies to protect and enhance their commercial interests." It is to dominate space to protect the commercial interests of America’s elite class that, according to current projections, over $1 trillion will be required from American taxpayers.>41

The "Vision for 2020" document engages in no sentimental propaganda about the need for the United States to dominate space for the sake of promoting democracy or otherwise serving humanity. Rather, it says candidly, if indiscreetly: "The globalization of the world economy…will continue with a widening between ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots.’" In other words, as America’s domination of the world economy increases, the poor will get still poorer while the rich get still richer, and this will make the "have-nots" hate America all the more, so we need to be able to keep them in line. We can do this through what the advocates of this program originally called "Global Battlespace Dominance." Because some people found this term too explicit, the preferred term today is "Full Spectrum Dominance" (which provided the tide for a previously quoted book by Rahul Mahajan). This term means not only being dominant on land, on the sea, and in the air, as the US military is already, but also having control of space. Discussing this "American project of global domination associated with the weaponization of space," Richard Falk says: "The empire-building quest for such awesome power is an unprecedented exhibition of geopolitical greed at its worst, and needs to be exposed and abandoned before it is too late.">42

The only part of this program that has received much public discussion is the defensive aspect of it, which in the Reagan Administration was called the Strategic Defensive Initiative and is today called the Missile Defense Shield. Although these names suggest that America’s goal in space is purely defensive, this so-called shield is only one part of a three-part program. One of the other parts is putting surveillance technology in space, with the goal of being able to zero on any part of the planet with such precision that every enemy of US forces can be identified. This part is already well on the way to realization.>43 The third part of the prograrn – which shows that the informal name for this program, "Star Wars," is more accurate than its technical name – is putting actual weapons in space, including laser cannons. These lasercannons have the offensive potential, as one writer put it, to "make a cruise missile look like a firecracker.">44 With lazer weapons on our satellites, the United States will be able to destroy the military satellites any adversarial country would try to send up, and this is, indeed, part of the announced intention: "to deny others the use of space." The US Space Command could thereby maintain total and permanent dominance. The aggressive purpose of the US Space Command’s program is announced in the logo of one of its divisions: "In Your Face from Outer Space.">45

It is not only in this document that such aggressive aims are frankly stated. As Mahajan points out, the Project for the New American Century’s document makes the following "remarkable admission":

    In the post-Cold-War era, America and its allies…have become the primary objects of deterrence and it is states like Iraq, Iran and North Korea who most wish to develop deterrent capabilities. Projecting conventional military forces?will be far more complex and constrained when the American homeland…is subject to attack by otherwise weak rogue regimes capable of cobbling together a minuscule ballistic missile force. Building an effective…system of missile defenses is a prerequisite for maintaining American preeminence.>46

In other words, although the name "missile defense shield" suggests that the system is designed to shield America from attacks, its real purpose is to prevent other nations from deterring America from attacking them. This statement further suggests that Iran, Iraq, and North Korea were later determined by President Bush to deserve the title "axis of evil" because of their perverse wish to develop the capacity to deter the United States from projecting military force against them. The Project’s description of the US military’s role in these offensive terms is fully in accord with the Bush administrations National Security Strategy, published in 2002, which, besides embodying most of the recommendations of Rebuilding America’s Defenses, says that "our best defense is a good offense.">47 The most important new component of this offense is to be the "full spectrum dominance" afforded by complementing America’s land, air, and sea forces with a full-fledged Space Force.

Shortly before becoming Secretary of Defense in January of 2001, Ronald Rumsfeld completed his work as chairman of the Commission to Assess US National Security Space Management and Organization. This "Rumsfeld Commission," as it was informally known, published its report in the second week of January.>48 The aim of its proposals, it said, was to "increase the asymmetry between US forces and those of other military powers." Besides advocating the termination of the 1972 ABM Treaty (which the Bush administration acted on promptly), this report recommended substantial changes, including the subordination of all the other armed forces and the intelligence agencies to the Space Force. Recognizing that such a drastic reorganization of the armed forces and intelligence agencies would normally evoke great resistance, the report added:

    History is replete with instances in which warning signs were ignored and change resisted until an external, "improbable" event forced resistant bureaucracies to take action. The question is whether the US will be wise enough to act responsibly and soon enough to reduce US space vulnerability. Or whether, as in the past, a disabling attack against the country and its people – a "Space Pearl Harbor"?will be the only event able to galvanize the nation and cause the US Government to act.>49

We have, accordingly, yet another suggestion by a central figure in the Bush administration that another "Pearl Harbor" may be necessary to "galvanize the nation."

This report was released on January 11, 2001, exactly nine months before the US suffered attacks from the air that our defenses appeared to be helpless to prevent. And the primary response evoked by these attacks was a sense of America’s vulnerability. The chairman of the commission that issued the above report was, furthermore, well placed to take advantage of those attacks and the resulting sense of "US space vulnerability." As Meyssan points out, at a press conference that began at 6:42 PM on 9/11 itself, Rurnsfeld, now Secretary of Defense, used the attacks to browbeat Democratic Senator Carl Levin, who was then chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee (during the brief period of the Bush administration during which Democrats had control of the Senate). Before live camera, Rumsfeld said:

    Senator Levin, you and other Democrats in Congress, have voicedfear that you simply don’t have enough money for the large increase in defense that the Pentagon is seeking, especially for missile defense, and you fear that you’ll have to dip into the Social Security funds to pay for it. Does this sort of thing convince you that an emergency exists in this country to increase defense spending, to dip into Social Security, if necessary, to pay for defense spending –increase defense spending?>50

It does appear that the attacks of 9/11 provided Rumsfeld with what he thought could pass for "a Space Pearl Harbor," and he seemed remarkably prepared to take advantage of it.

Furthermore, if US officials were involved in facilitating the attacks of 9/11 Rumsfeld was not the only one with great interest in the Space Command. Its other primary advocate was its current commander, General Ralph E. Eberhart, who in his role as commander of NORAD was in charge of air traffic control on 9/11." Also, General Richard Myers, who was in the process of becoming the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and was the Acting Chairman on 9/11, had previously been head of the US Space Command. Known by some as "General Starwars," he was in charge during the writing of "Vision for 2020," with its quite explicit expression of the intent to get absolute control of space so that the Pentagon can protect American commercial interests while they are increasing the gap between the "haves" and the "have-nots" of the world. Accordingly, the three men who have been most identified with advocacy of the US Space Force are also the three figures who would have been most directly involved in promulgating and overseeing a "stand down" order on 9/11, if such was given.


The evidence summarized in this chapter shows that officials of the Pentagon and the Bush administration would have had many reasons? from their plans for Afghanistan and Iraq to their desire for massive funding to weaponize space – for allowing, if not planning, the attacks of 911.Some of this evidence points to the truth of at least the seventh possible view?that the White House had specific knowledge of the attacks in advance, knowing that they would occur, for example in time to launch a war against Afghanistan before the winter snows started. Some of the evidence even suggests the eighth view, according to which the White House was involved in the planning. It is possible of course, that although central figures of the Bush administration evidently desired "a new Pearl Harbor," they did not plan the attacks but simply learned that they had been planned by others, so that all they had to do was to make sure that the attacks were not prevented.

Yet with all that was apparently riding on the occurrence of a new Pearl Harbor, reasonable people could conclude that the White House would not have left this occurrence to chance.

A Precedent: Operation Northwoods

All the information summarized so far arguably presents strong evidence pointing to US complicity in the attacks of 9/11 involving US intelligence agencies, the Pentagon, and the White House. But regardless of how strong this evidence may be considered, many and perhaps most Americans will resist the idea that this "attack on America" could have been an inside job, staged by America’s own leaders. The primary responsibility of the president and vice president, their cabinet, US intelligence agencies, and US military leaders is to protect America and its citizens. Even if the official account of 9/11 leaves dozens of unanswered questions, the true account cannot, many Americans will assume, be that American political and military leaders colluded to allow, much less stage, the attacks of 9/11- Regardless of the benefits that may have been foreseen if a "new Pearl Harbor" were to occur; our military and political leaders would not have participated in a plan to bring about such an event. We feel that we know a priori that all conspiracy theories of this type are false, because American military and political leaders simply would not do such a thing.

In 1962, however, a plan was formulated that provides a partial precedent, a plan about which we now know because of recently declassified documents. The background to this plan was President Eisenhower’s request to the CIA, near the end of his administration, to come up with a pretext to invade Cuba. The CIA formulated "A Program of Covert Operations Against the Castro Regime," the goal of which was "the replacement of the Castro regime with one more devoted to the true interests of the Cuban people and more acceptable to the US, in such a manner to avoid any appearance of US intervention.">52 Eisenhower had approved this plan. But after the next president, John Kennedy, accepted a CIA plan that led to the Bay of Pigs fiasco, he had responsibility for Cuba taken away from the CIA and assigned it to the Department of Defense Early in 1962, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Lyman Lemnitzer brought Kennedy a plan called Operation Northwoods.>53

According to the covering "Memorandum for the Secretary of Defense," signed by all the Joint Chiefs, this plan, marked Top Secret described "pretexts which would provide justification for US military intervention in Cuba.">54 According to the "Memorandum for Chief of Operations, Cuba Project," a decision to intervene "will result from a period of heightened US-Cuban tensions which place the United States in the position of suffering justifiable grievances." It was important, the memorandum said, "to camouflage the ultimate objective." Part of the idea was to influence world opinion in general and the United Nations in particular "by developing the image of the Cuban government as rash and irresponsible, and as an alarming and unpredictable threat to the peace of the Western Hemisphere.">55

The plan then listed a series of possible actions to create this image. For example: "We could develop a Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington…We could sink a boatload of Cubans enroute to Florida (real or simulated).">56 Particularly interesting, in light of some of the proposed scenarios as to "what really happened" on 9/11 (see Ch. 1, n. 32), is the following idea:

    It is possible to create an incident which will demonstrate convincingly that a Cuban aircraft has attacked and shot down a chartered civil airliner…. The destination would be chosen only to cause the flight plan route to cross Cuba. The passengers could be a group of college students off on a holiday….

    a. An aircraft at Eglin AFB would be painted and numbered as an exact duplication for a civil registered aircraft belonging to a CIA proprietary organization in the Miami area. At a designated time the duplication would be substituted for the actual civil aircraft and would be loaded with the selected passengers, all boarded under carefully prepared aliases. The actual registered aircraft would be converted to a drone.

    b. Take off times of the drone aircraft and the actual aircraft will be scheduled to allow a rendezvous south of Florida. From the rendezvous point the passenger-carrying aircraft will descend to minimum altitude and go directly into an auxiliary field at Eglin AFB where arrangements will have been made to evacuate the passengers and return the aircraft to its original status. The drone aircraft meanwhile will continue to fly the filed flight plan. When over Cuba the drone will being [sic] transmitting on the international distress frequency a "MAY DAY" message stating he is under attack by Cuban MIG aircraft. The transmission will be interrupted by destruction of the aircraft which will be triggered by radio signal.>57

In this and some of the other plans, although casualty lists would be placed in US newspapers to "cause a wave of national indignation,">58 the subterfuge would not actually result in the loss of life. But this was not true of all of the plans, such as the plan to "sink a boatload of Cubans." At least one plan, furthermore, would have taken the lives of Americans. According to this idea, called a "Remember the Maine" incident: "We could blow up a US ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba.">59

Kennedy rejected this plan, even though it was endorsed by all the joint chiefs. Those who say that, although military leaders might formulate such plans, an American president would never agree to such a despicable plan can point to this rejection as evidence. However, different presidents, in different circumstances, make different decisions. For example, in the early 1890s, a plan to annex Hawaii was rejected by President Grover Cleveland, whose secretary of state considered the plan "a selfish and dishonourable scheme of a lot of adventurers." But this scheme was accepted by the next president, William McKinley >60 (who was also the one who used the Maine incident to justify entering the war against Spain in order to take control of Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines). Accordingly, the fact that Kennedy turned down that particular plan at that particular time’shortly after the Bay of Pigs embarrassment?does not necessarily mean that all American presidents in all circumstances would turn down plans to achieve geopolitical goals through "incidents" involving the taking of innocent lives, even innocent American lives.>61


The evidence in this chapter, in any case, provides further support for the conclusion of Michel Chossudovsky, only partially quoted earlier, that the post-9/11 American war "is not a campaign against international terrorism. It is a war of conquest… [a] nd the American people have been consciously and deliberately deceived by their government.">62 The next chapter will provide one more kind of evidence presented by the critics for this conclusion.

FOOTNOTES chapter 7

  1. These sources include Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquie, Forbidden Truth: US”Taliban Secret Oil Diplomacy and the Failed Hunt for Bin Laden (New York: Thunder’s Mouth Press/Nation Books, 2002), and .Ahmed Rashid, Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000).
  2. Ahmed, 55.
  3. Quoted in Phyllis Bennis, Before and After US Foreign Policy and the September llth Crisis (Northampton, Mass.: Olive Branch Press, 2003), 129. This quotation occurs in a section of her book headed "Oil, Oil Everywhere,"
  4. Ahmed, 46-48, and Thompson, "Timeline," 1994 (B), citing Times of India, March 7, 2001, Asia Times, November 15, 2001, and CNN, October 5, 1996, and February 27, 2002.
  5. Rashid, Taliban, as quoted in Ted Rail, "It’s All about Oil," San Francisco Chronicle, November 2, 2001.
  6. Telegraph, October 11, 1996, quoted in Timeline," September 27, 1996.
  7. P. Stobdan, The Afghan Conflict and Regional Security," Strategic Analysis 23/5 (August 1999): 719-47, cited in Ahmed, 50.
  8. "Timeline," August 9, 1998, quoting New York Times, December 8, 2001.
  9. "Timeline," quoting Telegraph, August 13, 1998.
  10. Ahmed, 50-51.
  11. Julio Godoy, "US Taliban Policy Influenced by Oil," Inter Press Service, November 16, 2001, quoted in Ahmed, 58-59.
  12. Jonathan Steele, et al, "Threat of US Strikes Passed to Taliban Weeks Before NY Attack," Guardian, September 22, 2001, quoted in Brisard and Dasqui

US success in creating global solidarity

Patterns of Global Terrorism 2001

Released by the Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism

May 21, 2002
East Asia Overview

In the wake of the September 11 events, East Asian nations were universal in their condemnation of the attacks, with most providing substantial direct support to the war on terrorism and making significant progress in building indigenous counterterrorism capabilities. Shutting down and apprehending al-Qaida-linked terrorists cells were achievements that drew headlines, but perhaps just as importantly, several states and independent law-enforcement jurisdictions (Hong Kong, for example) strengthened their financial regulatory and legal frameworks to cut off terrorist groups from their resource base and further restrict the activities of terrorists still at large.

The Government of Japan fully committed itself to the global Coalition against terrorism including providing support for the campaign in Afghanistan. Japan was also active in the G-8 Counterterrorism Experts’ Group, participating in developing an international counterterrorism strategy to address such concerns as terrorist financing, the drug trade, and mutual legal assistance.

For the first time in history, Australia invoked the ANZUS treaty to provide general military support to the United States. Australia was quick to sign the UN Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Financing, less than seven weeks after September 11. Australia prepared new counterterrorism legislation, implemented UN resolutions against terrorism, and took steps to freeze assets listed in US Executive Order 13224. It has contributed $11.5 million to Afghan relief and has committed troops and equipment to fight in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF).

New Zealand sent troops to Afghanistan in support of OEF and fully supports UN resolutions and the US executive order on terrorist financing. New Zealand has new regulations and legislation to implement those resolutions and deployed a C-130 aircraft to Afghanistan for humanitarian relief operations.

The Philippines, under President Macapagal-Arroyo’s leadership, has emerged as one of our staunchest Asian allies in the war on terrorism. Macapagal-Arroyo was the first ASEAN leader to voice support for the United States in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks. She immediately offered the US broad overflight clearances; use of military bases, including Clark and Subic, for transit, staging, and maintenance of US assets used in Operation Enduring Freedom; enhanced intelligence cooperation; logistics support, including medical personnel, medical supplies, and medicines; and Philippine troops for an international operation, dependent on Philippine congressional approval. Macapagal-Arroyo also spearheaded efforts to forge an ASEAN regional counterterrorism approach.

South Korea has given unconditional support to the US war on terrorism and pledged “all necessary cooperation and assistance as a close US ally in the spirit of the Republic of Korea-United States Mutual Defense Treaty.” To that end, South Korea contributed air and sea transport craft and a medical unit in support of the military action in Afghanistan. It also has provided humanitarian relief and reconstruction funds to help rebuild that country. South Korea also has strengthened its domestic legislation and institutions to combat financial support for terrorism, including the creation of a financial intelligence unit. It also has made an important diplomatic contribution as President of the United Nations General Assembly during this critical period.

China, which also has been a victim of terrorism, provided valuable diplomatic support to our efforts against terrorism, both at the United Nations and in the South and Central Asian regions, including financial and material support for the Afghan Interim Authority. Beijing has agreed to all our requests for assistance, and we have established a counterterrorism dialogue at both senior and operational levels.

At year’s end, however, much remained to be done. Trafficking in drugs, persons, and weapons, as well as organized crime and official corruption, remain as serious problems and potential avenues of operation for terrorists to exploit.
Southeast Asian terrorist organizations with cells linked to al-Qaida were uncovered late in the year by Singapore and Malaysia. The groups’ activities, movements, and connections crossed the region, and plans to conduct major attacks were discovered. Singapore detained 13 Jemaah Islamiah members in December, disrupting a plot to bomb the US and other Embassies, and other targets in Singapore (see case study). Malaysia arrested dozens of terrorist suspects in 2001, and investigations, broadening across the region at the end of the year, revealed the outline of a large international terrorist network. The multinational nature of the Jemaah Islamiah network illustrated for most countries in East Asia the crucial need for effective regional counterterrorism mechanisms. In a move that bodes well for the region’s efforts, the ASEAN Regional Forum undertook an extensive counterterrorism agenda.

Several East Asian nations suffered terrorist violence in 2001, mostly related to domestic political disputes. The Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in the Philippines repeated the type of kidnappings endemic to the Philippines in 2000. On 27 May, the ASG kidnapped three US citizens and 17 others from a resort in the southern Philippines. Among many others, one US citizen was brutally murdered, and two US citizens and one Filipino remained hostages at year’s end. Indonesia, China, and Thailand also suffered a number of bombings throughout the year, many believed by authorities to be the work of Islamic extremists in those countries; few arrests have been made, however.

North Korea, one of the seven state sponsors of terrorism, is discussed in the state sponsorship section of this report.


Burma issued a letter to the United Nations on 30 November outlining its commitment to counterterrorism. The Government stated its opposition to terrorism and declared government officials would not allow the country to be used as a safehaven or a location for the planning and execution of terrorist acts. The letter also indicated the country had signed the UN Convention for the Suppression of Financing of Terrorism on 12 November, and the Government provided banks and financial institutions with the names of all terrorists and terrorist organizations listed under UN Security Council Resolution 1333. The letter declared that the Government of Burma would cooperate in criminal investigations of terrorism and bring terrorists to justice “in accordance with the laws of the land.” Burma had signed six of the 12 counter-terrorism conventions and was considering signing the other six. Drug trafficking and related organized crime are additional challenges in Burma that present terrorists with opportunities to exploit.


Chinese officials strongly condemned the September 11 attacks and announced China would strengthen cooperation with the international community in fighting terrorism on the basis of the UN Charter and international law. China voted in support of both UN Security Council resolutions after the attack. It’s vote for Resolution 1368 marked the first time it has voted in favor of authorizing the international use of force. China also has taken a constructive approach to terrorism problems in South and Central Asia, publicly supporting the Coalition campaign in Afghanistan and using its influence with Pakistan to urge support for multinational efforts against the Taliban and al-Qaida. China and the United States began a counterterrorism dialogue in late-September, which was followed by further discussions during Ambassador Taylor’s trip in December to Beijing. The September 11 attacks added urgency to discussions held in Washington, DC, Beijing, and Hong Kong. The results have been encouraging and concrete; the Government of China has approved establishment of an FBI Legal Attache in Beijing and agreed to create US-China counterterrorism working groups on financing and law enforcement.

In the wake of the attacks, Chinese authorities undertook a number of measures to improve China’s counterterrorism posture and domestic security. These included increasing its vigilance in Xinjiang, western China, where Uighur separatist groups have conducted violent attacks in recent years, to include increasing the readiness levels of its military and police units in the region. China also bolstered Chinese regular army units near the borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan to block terrorists fleeing from Afghanistan and strengthening overall domestic preparedness. At the request of the United States, China conducted a search within Chinese banks for evidence to attack terrorist financing mechanisms.

A number of bombing attacks – some of which were probably separatist-related – occurred in China in 2001. Bomb attacks are among the most common violent crimes in China due to the scarcity of firearms and the wide availability of explosives for construction projects.

China has expressed concern that Islamic extremists operating in and around the Xinjiang-Uighur Autonomous Region who are opposed to Chinese rule received training, equipment, and inspiration from al-Qaida, the Taliban, and other extremists in Afghanistan and elsewhere. Several press reports claimed that Uighurs trained and fought with Islamic groups in the former Soviet Union, including Chechnya.

Two groups in particular are cause for concern: the East Turkestan Islamic Party (ETIP) and the East Turkestan Liberation Organization (or Sharki Turkestan Azatlik Tashkilati, known by the acronym SHAT). ETIP was founded in the early 1980s with the goal of establishing an independent state of Eastern Turkestan and advocates armed struggle. SHAT’s members have reportedly been involved in various bomb plots and shootouts.

Uighurs were found fighting with al-Qaida in Afghanistan. We are aware of credible reports that some Uighurs who were trained by al-Qaida have returned to China.

Previous Chinese crackdowns on ethnic Uighurs and others in Xinjiang raised concerns about possible human-rights abuses. The United States has made clear that a counterterrorism campaign cannot serve as a substitute for addressing legitimate social and economic aspirations.


Immediately after the September 11th attacks, President Megawati expressed public support for a global war on terrorism and promised to implement UN counterterrorism resolutions. The Indonesian Government, however, said it opposed unilateral US military action in Afghanistan. The Government has since taken limited action in support of international antiterrorist efforts. It made some effort to bring its legal and regulatory counterterrorism regime up to international standards. Although often slow to acknowledge terrorism problems at home, Indonesia also has taken some steps against terrorist operations within its borders. Police interviewed Abu Bakar Baasyir, leader of the Majelis Mujahadeen Indonesia, about his possible connections to Jemaah Islamiah or Kumpulan Mujahidin Malaysia (KMM). Police arrested a Malaysian in August when he was wounded in an attempt to detonate a bomb at a Jakarta shopping mall. Two Malaysians were arrested in Indonesia thus far in conjunction with the bombing of the Atrium shopping mall. In addition, Indonesia has issued blocking orders on some of the terrorists as required under UN Security Council Resolution 1333, and bank compliance with freezing and reporting requirements is pending. At the end of the year the United States remained concerned that terrorists related to al-Qaida, Jemaah Islamiyah, and KMM were operating in Indonesia.

Radical Indonesian Islamic groups threatened to attack the US Embassy and violently expel US citizens and foreigners from the country in response to the US-led campaign in Afghanistan. A strong Indonesian police presence prevented militant demonstrators from attacking the compound in October. One of the most vocal of the Indonesian groups, Front Pembela Islam (Islamic Defenders Front), had previously threatened US citizens in the country.

Press accounts reported over 30 major bombing incidents throughout the archipelago, including blasts in June and December at the US-owned ExxonMobil facility in Aceh Region. Unidentified gunmen also kidnapped and assassinated several prominent Indonesians during the year, including a Papuan independence activist and a leading Acehnese academic. Officials made little progress in apprehending and prosecuting those responsible for the bombings in 2001, having arrested only five persons. Laskar Jihad, Indonesia’s largest radical group, remained a concern at year’s end as a continuing source of domestic instability.

Communal violence between Christians and Muslims in the Provinces of Maluku and Central Sulawesi continued in 2001. Several villages were razed in Sulawesi in November and December, leading to a major security response from the Indonesian military.

(Indonesia and Australia signed an Memorandum of Understanding on counterterrorism cooperation in early 2002, preparing the way for concrete actions against the spread of terrorism in Southeast Asia.)


Japan acted with unprecedented speed in responding to the September terrorist attacks in the United States. Prime Minister Koizumi led an aggressive campaign that resulted in new legislation allowing Japan’s Self Defense Forces to provide substantial rear area support for the campaign in Afghanistan. The Government has frozen suspected terrorist assets and maintains a watch list that contains nearly 300 groups and individuals. The Government has signed all 12 terrorism-related international conventions and is moving quickly with legislation to approve the sole treaty Japan has not ratified, the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism.


The Laotian Government has stated it condemns all forms of terrorism and supports the global war on terrorism. The Bank of Laos has issued orders to freeze terrorist assets and instructed banks to locate and seize such assets. Laos, however, has been slow to ratify international conventions against terrorism. Public and Government commentary on the US – led war on terrorism has been overwhelmingly supportive.


Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir condemned the September 11 attacks as unjustified and made a first-ever visit to the US Embassy to sign the condolence book and express solidarity with the United States in the fight against international terrorism. The Malaysian Government cooperated with international law-enforcement and intelligence efforts, made strides in implementing financial counterterrorism measures, aggressively pursued domestic counterterrorism before and after September 11, and increased security surrounding the US Embassy and diplomatic residences. The Government in October expressed strong reservations about US military action in Afghanistan.

Malaysia suffered no incidents of international terrorism in 2001, although Malaysian police authorities made a series of arrests of persons associated with regional Islamic extremist groups with al-Qaida links. Between May and December close to 30 members of the domestic Kumpulan Mujahidin Malaysia (KMM) group and an extremist wing of KMM were arrested for activities deemed threatening to Malaysia’s national security. KMM detainees were being held on a wide range of charges, to include planning to wage a jihad, possessing weaponry, carrying out bombings and robberies, murdering a former state assemblyman, and planning attacks on foreigners, including US citizens. Several of the arrested militants reportedly underwent military training in Afghanistan, and several key leaders of the KMM are also deeply involved in Jemaah Islamiah. Jemaah Islamiah is alleged to have ties not only to the KMM, but to Islamic extremist organizations in Indonesia, Singapore, and the Philippines; Malaysian police also have been investigating whether Jemaah Islamiah has connections to September 11 terrorist suspect Zacharias Moussaoui.

Nineteen members of the Malaysian Islamist sect al-Ma’unah, who were detained in July 2000 following the group’s raid on two military armories in northern Malaysia, were found guilty of treason in their bid to overthrow the Government and establish an Islamic state. Sixteen members received life sentences while the remaining three were sentenced to death. Ten other members had pleaded guilty earlier to a reduced charge of preparing to wage war against the king and were sentenced to 10 years in prison, although the sentences of two were reduced to seven years on appeal. An additional 15 al-Ma’unah members remained in detention under the Internal Security Act.


Philippine President Macapagal-Arroyo has been Southeast Asia’s staunchest supporter of the international counterterrorism effort, offering medical assistance for Coalition forces, blanket overflight clearance, and landing rights for US aircraft involved in Operation Enduring Freedom. After marathon sessions, the Philippine Congress passed the Anti-Money-laundering Act of 2001 on 29 September. This legislation overcame vocal opposition and passed quickly as the Philippine Congress took steps to support the international effort to freeze terrorist assets throughout the world. In addition, the Philippine military, with US training and assistance, in October intensified its offensive against the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) – which has been involved in high-profile kidnappings for many years.

Small radical groups in the Philippines continued attacks against foreign and domestic targets in 2001. The ASG, designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the US Government in 1997 and redesignated in 1999 and 2001, kidnapped three US citizens and 17 Filipinos in May from a resort on Palawan Island in the southern Philippines. Of the original 20 hostages kidnapped, 15 escaped or were ransomed; three hostages (including Guillermo Sobero, a US citizen) were murdered; and two US citizens remained captive at year’s end. The “Pentagon Gang” kidnap-for-ransom group, which is responsible for the kidnap and/or murder of Chinese, Italian, and Filipino nationals in 2001, was added to the US Terrorism Exclusion List (TEL) in December.

Peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army (CPP/NPA) began in April but broke down in June after the NPA, the military wing of the CPP, claimed responsibility for the assassination on 12 June of a Philippine congressman from Cagayan. The Alex Boncayao Brigade (ABB) “a breakaway CPP/NPA faction” engaged in intermittent fighting with Philippine security forces during the year.

Distinguishing between political and criminal motivation for many of the terrorist-related activities in the Philippines continued to be problematic, most notably in the numerous cases of kidnapping for ransom in the southern Philippines. Both Islamist separatists and Communist insurgents sought to extort funds from businesses in their operating areas, occasionally conducting reprisal operations if money was not paid.


Singapore Prime Minister Goh strongly condemned the September 11 attacks on New York City and Washington, unequivocally affirming support for US antiterrorism efforts. Singapore was supportive of war efforts in Afghanistan and contributed funds and material to Afghanistan for humanitarian relief. More broadly, the Government quickly passed omnibus legislation intended to enable it to comply with mandatory UN Security Council Resolutions and was instrumental in uncovering and disrupting international terrorists operating in Southeast Asia.

Singapore did not experience any incidents of domestic or international terrorism in 2001, but police officials in December disrupted an al-Qaida-linked extremist organization called Jemaah Islamiyah whose members were plotting to attack US, British, Australian, and Israeli interests in Singapore. Thirteen individuals were detained, and investigations were continuing at the end of 2001 (for a detailed account of the Jemaah Islamiyah arrests, see case study).

As a regional transportation, shipping, and financial hub, Singapore plays a crucial role in international efforts against terrorism. Efforts were continuing at year’s end to make improvements to security in all of these areas, including, in particular, the collection of detailed data on all cargoes passing through Singapore’s port.

Singapore: A Terrorist Plot Thwarted

The plots were complex; the means well contrived. The US Embassy, the US Navy, and other facilities were the targets of planned terrorist attacks that were discovered “and quickly thwarted” by Singapore authorities.

An island of 4 million inhabitants, including 17,000 US citizens, Singapore is known as a nation of laws. “Singapore is so small, no matter how small you are in size, eventually people do talk about it, and we get information,” said Home Minister Wong Kan Seng. “So it happened that we got specific information last year.”

Following the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the Singapore Government began to investigate a possible terrorist cell within its borders. In December, Singapore authorities detained 15 suspects “two were subsequently released” all members of the clandestine Jemaah Islamiyah or “Islamic Group.” The suspects are being held in custody under the Internal Security Act, which allows for a two-year detention without trial. Decisions on a trial will be made when the investigation is complete.

The terrorists had photographed the Embassy several times. Procurement had begun on 21 tons of explosive material, enough to make a series of devastating truck bombs. Four tons of bombmaking chemicals to be used in the plot remained at large at the time this was written. (Two tons had been used to vicious effect in the Oklahoma City bombings; the terrorists wanted enough to level several buildings in Singapore.) The main target was to be the US Embassy. Surveillance was also conducted against allied embassies and US companies.

The US Embassy in Singapore played a key role in the disruption of the terrorist network. The Singapore Government contacted the US Embassy on 14 December to warn that the Embassy was the target of a planned terrorist attack, enabling Embassy personnel to take preventative measures. US Ambassador to Singapore Frank Lavin explained, “For 10 days, the US Embassy task force knew we were the target of a massive terrorist attack, but no one took unscheduled leave or even missed a day.” The operational security of the Embassy was maintained, despite the knowledge that the terrorists were monitoring the Embassy. The subsequent arrests of the terrorist suspects can be partially attributed to the dedication of the US Embassy personnel who conducted themselves with the utmost professionalism, and who maintained confidentiality, despite knowing they were being targeted by terrorists.

While the Singapore authorities were tracking and arresting the terrorist plotters, an important discovery was made thousands of miles away that shed light on how the attacks were to be planned and staged. Incriminating videotape was found in the rubble of an al-Qaida leader’ s home in Afghanistan that showed surveillance footage of the specific targets, including the subway station used by US military personnel in Singapore. Handwritten notes in Arabic accompanied the tape and provided further details of what was to have been a cold-blooded terrorist strike; Singaporeans watching the tape on television were shocked to hear a locally accented voice calmly commenting on how the bombs might be best planted to do maximum damage to passers-by.

According to the Singapore Government, the Jemaah Islamiyah had cells in Malaysia and Indonesia and was led by Malaysian permanent resident Hambali Nurjaman Riduan, an Indonesian national and successor to the group’s former leader, who had been arrested by Malaysian authorities in June 2001.

Malaysia also arrested more than two dozen suspected terrorists in late 2001 and early 2002. Indonesian authorities questioned Abu Bakar Ba’asyir, a suspected leader of terrorist cells in Malaysia who admitted to an association with Fathur Rohman al-Ghozi, who was arrested in the Philippines in January 2002. The Singapore surveillance videotape with handwritten notes found in Afghanistan indicated a clear link between the suspected terrorists in custody and al-Qaida.

“The new finding shows a very direct link between the Jemaah Islamiyah group detained here and the al-Qaida leaders in Afghanistan,” said Mr. Wong Kan Seng, the Minister for Home Affairs.

Furthermore, according to the Singapore Government, eight of the 13 arrested individuals trained in al-Qaida camps in Afghanistan. The camps provided instruction specifically on the use of AK-47s and mortars, along with military tactics. There is also evidence that the terrorists began exploring targets in Singapore in 1997.

Singaporean security officials remain on alert, as their terrorism investigation continues. According to US Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, the Singapore Government “acted with dispatch” and dealt with the terrorist plot in an extremely effective manner.

As a result of the arrests in Singapore, the Philippines Government discovered and prevented an additional terrorist plot in that country which resulted in the arrest of several suspected terrorists with links to those detained in Singapore. Philippines officials also seized more than a ton of TNT and explosive boosters from al-Ghozi, who was arrested shortly before he was to fly to Bangkok, Thailand. The TNT was believed to be part of the group’s arsenal of bombing materials.
The discovery of the terrorist plot against US and other foreign interests in Singapore and the arrest of suspects with ties to other countries underscores the need for global cooperation in the war against terror. It demonstrates the value of timely and accurate intelligence and shows how the discovery of a terrorist plot in one country can lead authorities to an entire matrix of terrorist cells in another when their governments work together. Further cooperation between governments is crucial in apprehending terrorists who are still at large.

Singapore’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations spoke of the global coalition against terrorism when he addressed the General Assembly in October:

“We realize that it will be a long and uphill struggle to make the world safer from terrorism. This is a deep-rooted problem that will not go away easily. The terrorists have built up a sophisticated and complex global network, and other societies too are at risk. Countering terrorism must therefore be a global endeavor.”


Taiwan President Chen committed publicly on several occasions, including soon after the September 11 attacks, that Taiwan would “fully support the spirit and determination of the antiterrorist campaign, as well as any effective, substantive measures that may be adopted.” Taiwan announced that it would fully abide by the 12 UN counterterrorism conventions, even though it is not a member of the United Nations. Taiwan strengthened laws on money laundering and criminal-case-procedure law in the aftermath of September 11.


Prime Minister Thaksin condemned the September 11 terrorist attacks and said his country would stand by the United States in the international Coalition to combat terrorism. The Government pledged cooperation on counterterrorism between US and Thai agencies, committed to signing all the UN counterterrorism conventions, and offered to participate in the reconstruction of Afghanistan. Thailand took several concrete actions in support of the war on terrorism. Thai financial authorities began investigating financial transactions covered under UN resolutions to freeze al-Qaida and Taliban assets. In an effort to prevent terrorism and crime, immigration officials in December announced initiatives to expand the list of countries whose citizens are required to obtain visas before they arrive in Thailand. Thailand also offered to dispatch one construction battalion and five medical teams to serve in UN-mandated operations in Afghanistan. In Thailand, police stepped up security around US and Western-owned buildings immediately following the September 11 attacks.

Thai authorities suspect Muslim organized crime groups from the predominately Muslim provinces in southern Thailand were responsible for several small-scale attacks in 2001, including three bombings in early April that killed a child and wounded dozens of persons, an unexploded truck bomb that was found next to a hotel in southern Thailand in November, and, in December, a series of coordinated attacks on police checkpoints in southern Thailand that killed five police officers and a defense volunteer.

On 19 June, authorities averted an attempted bombing at the Vietnamese Embassy in Bangkok when they found and disarmed two explosive devices that had failed to detonate. Three ethnic Vietnamese males were taken into custody. One was charged with illegal possession of explosives and conspiracy to cause an explosion in connection with the incident. The others were released after police determined there was insufficient evidence to link them to the crime.

In central Bangkok in early December, a rocket-propelled grenade was fired at a multistory building housing a ticketing office of the Israeli airline El Al, although police doubted the Israeli carrier was the intended target. There were no casualties.Patterns of Global Terrorism   -2001
Released by the Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism
May 21, 2002