FOR ALLOWING 9/11?
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
- 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).
- Ahmed, 55.
- 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,"
- 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.
- Rashid, Taliban, as quoted in Ted Rail, "It’s All about Oil," San Francisco Chronicle, November 2, 2001.
- Telegraph, October 11, 1996, quoted in Timeline," September 27, 1996.
- P. Stobdan, The Afghan Conflict and Regional Security," Strategic Analysis 23/5 (August 1999): 719-47, cited in Ahmed, 50.
- "Timeline," August 9, 1998, quoting New York Times, December 8, 2001.
- "Timeline," quoting Telegraph, August 13, 1998.
- Ahmed, 50-51.
- Julio Godoy, "US Taliban Policy Influenced by Oil," Inter Press Service, November 16, 2001, quoted in Ahmed, 58-59.
- Jonathan Steele, et al, "Threat of US Strikes Passed to Taliban Weeks Before NY Attack," Guardian, September 22, 2001, quoted in Brisard and Dasqui