#74 LYNNE STEWART, 1993, & THE DRY-RUN FOR 9-11: RALPH SCHOENMAN
CONSPIRACIES & CONSPIRACY THEORIES
(Part 4 of a 4-part series interview with Ralph Schoenman, conducted May 27, 2004, Toronto. Schoenman was a speaker at the International Citizens? Inquiry into 9-11 (phase 2). Transcription of the video interview).
President George Bush: [Picture and sound insert] Let us not tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories concerning the attacks of September the eleventh.
Ralph Schoenman (VOICE OVER INTRO/TITLE/CREDITS) History is not driven by conspiracy. It’s structured, it’s institutional, it’s systemic and it’s systematic ? but our rulers conduct their affairs in a conspiratorial manner.
Schoenman: It’s part of the propaganda barrage that’s directed against any examination of the historical facts and the realities of our present that we’re accused of conjuring up conspiracies. It’s somewhat paradoxical, as I like to point out, in that the most frequently deployed juridical category at every level of US jurisdiction of municipal, county, state or federal level is that of conspiracy: conspiracy to defraud, conspiracy to do this, conspiracy to do that. There’s the RICO Act. Most prosecutorial adventures by the authorities have to do with what they call conspiracy. By definition, it’s two people agreeing in consort to undertake a [purportedly criminal] action in common. And most prosecutors impute conspiracy to those that they charge with events that they consider to be violative of what they call law. The only conspiracy in which they have vanishingly little interest is that of our rulers.
[PICTURE INSERT: OUR RULERS]: George Bush and Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney. Voice over:
Bush [VOICE OVER]: Let us not tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories concerning the attacks of September the eleventh.
Schoenman: And while it is true as I again like to point out, that history is not driven by conspiracies. It’s structured, it’s institutional, it’s systemic and it’s systematic ? but our rulers conduct their affairs in a conspiratorial manner precisely because they are not answerable to our people because their power is concealed. It’s not registered through formal representative institutions that are empty of content. Power is not exercised through those means.
As I like to cite Robert Townsend who was the president of Avis and American Express. He did a book called Up the Organization [in which] he calculates that 5,000 control what he calls the commanding heights of the US economy. And Townsend tells us that they regard this country as their own whore house and they treat each president as their private towel boy.
Well, I don’t think that’s rhetoric. I think that’s an accurate sociological description. And that’s been part of the investigative work of historians and literary figures such as Mark Twain to Charles Beard to C.Wright Mills in his book The Power Elite to the work of William Domhoff, The Rich and the Superrich and Who Rules America? to Ferdinand Lundberg’s Sixty Families. Every examination of the structure of power in our society arrives at the same information. It’s part of the furniture of our lives. The established media are replete with it, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. It’s nothing arcane. It’s nothing “mysterious.” It’s precise, it’s evidentiary; it’s scientific, it’s real. It’s not a matter of pejorative rhetoric; it’s a matter of sociology about how power operates in a capitalist order in todax’s world.
Our society is controlled by a kleptocracy, by a gang of people who are reflective of power that does not proceed through formal institutions. And that is the inherent conflict and contradiction, if you like, between the forms of representative government and the actual workings of power outside the formal reach of those institutions. It isn’t just that the formal political process is bought and paid for, which we well understand. It’s that the institutions themselves are theater. It’s public relations. It has nothing to do with where decisions are taken and how they are made. That is done through clandestine institutions that have been established by those in power and they are the Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations and the National Security Council and the plethora of 14 to 15 intelligence agencies with their black budgets and their secret operations.
That’s the furniture of control, the operational means through which the rulers conduct their affairs. So there is a conspiratorial character to the way in which they rule, because they cannot say to the American people, [e.g.] “We want to obtain the resources of Indochina. We want to displace the French colonial control of Indochina. And in order to accomplish that, we’re going to generate events that are of our own making such as the Gulf of Tonkin.” When we were told, were we not”, that the North Vietnamese had fired on an American ship. They would have had every right to do so. These were US destroyers, a naval armada, in territorial waters of Vietnam. Oh, fie! They fired on these intruding forces ? but in fact, it never happened. Nobody is in dispute any more about the fact that this was an invention. And that’s the pretext and that’s the rationale, that’s the justification for visiting a devastating war on this suffering people, that transformed their country into the landscape of the moon, that killed between three and four million people, that entailed intelligence operations of our special forces that are now unfolding in Iraq before our eyes but which in Vietnam, in such things as the Phoenix Program, required the systematic murder of 60,000 people on the ground: village leaders, students, trade unionists, people who were of those oppressed people in Vietnam, physically liquidated. Talk about state terror. So that is the nature of rule in an economic and political order that is essentially the domain of pirates whose proper flag is a skull and crossbones. —————- Conclusion 4-part series (filmmakers? notebook # 74), published July 2004 Buffalo Indymedia.