9.25.2006

Wanted: Dead or Dead

Is he or isn't he? I watch with mirth the "controversy" over whether ObL is dead or alive. Although I can't find it, I read a story a month ago suggesting that he had been dead for awhile. Now, of course, the conjecture is that he died last month of typhus. Gimme a break.

Wayne Madsen, for one, doesn't believe it. Over the weekend, he wrote . . .

A report in the French newspaper L'est Republicain, which published a leaked French Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure (DGSE) intelligence dossier dated September 21stating that a single Saudi intelligence source claimed Osama Bin Laden died of typhoid fever in August may be an attempt to diffuse controversy about a Pakistani cease fire agreement with pro-Taliban tribal leaders in Waziristan on the Afghan-Pakistani border, according to U.S. intelligence sources with experience in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Earlier this month, ABC News reported on the comments of Pakistani Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan, Director General of Inter Services Public Relations, that Bin Laden and his deputy Dr. Ayman Zawahiri, would not be taken into custody if they agreed to become "peaceful citizens." The Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and the Pakistani embassy in Washington claimed that Gen. Sultan's comments were misunderstood, however, the fact remains that the Pakistani agreement with the pro-Taliban tribes, especially those in North Waziristan, leaves a number of Al Qaeda-affiliated fighters in place, including those from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Chechnya, Uzbekistan, Uighurstan, and other countries who now live under the protection of the Pakistan-recognized Islamic Emirate of Waziristan -- an entity that provides the Taliban and Al Qaeda with their first safe state after their loss of Afghanistan to a U.S.-backed government in Kabul.

The report of Bin Laden's death is likely a Saudi feint designed to relieve U.S. pressure on Pakistan's government and the pro-Taliban emirate of Waziristan. The furor surrounding former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage's alleged threat to bomb Pakistan into the "stone age" if it did not join the "war on terrorism" immediately following the 911 attacks is also a clever ploy to keep Pakistan in line with U.S. pipeline plans for the region, according to energy industry sources . . .

Frankly, I'd believe Madsen before I'd trust the CIA, DIA, or the French. Wouldn't you? The question, of course, is whether the Doubleduh-Cheney Gang politically needs him to be alive. My sense is that they don't need him to be breathing anymore. He was a valuable tool for the first three years post-9/11, but no longer. Anyway, he's vowed not to be taken alive. And I'm positive that if he were captured, he be executed by Western forces on the spot. I mean, c'mon . . . there's no way he'll be put on public trial.

Truth or consequences. I'm a strong believer in and supporter of the 9/11 Truth movement, if for no other reason than the USA government's long history of such plots. Even on the Left, however, there's a growing counter-movement. As the WW4 Report opines, in 9-11 AND THE NEW PEARL HARBOR . . .
After the 1898 explosion of the battleship Maine, the 1933 Reichstag Fire, the 1939 bogus Polish "invasion" of Germany, and the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident, it is irresponsible not to consider the possibility that elements of the CIA and/or Bush administration had a hand in the events of September 11, 2001. The inconvenient facts and unanswered questions surrounding the attacks are legion and deeply disturbing—making an examination of official complicity (or outright responsibility) all the more imperative.

However, it is equally irresponsible to accept official complicity in the attacks as a foregone conclusion, and twist every fact to fit it. The mini-industry which has sprung up around 9-11 "conspiracy theory"—as well as the activist campaign that serves as its unpaid advertising department—has merely replicated the dogmatism of the "official version." Worse, the endemic sloppiness of the self-styled "researchers" is delegitimizing the entire project of critiquing the "official version." The ostentatiously named "Truth movement" is not clearing the air, but muddying the water.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY

The approaching fifth anniversary of 9-11 will almost certainly be exploited by the White House to rekindle lagging war fever. Equally certainly, it will be exploited by the conspiracists for their own propaganda purposes. The evident glee with which these supposed antagonists greet the grim remembrance is almost equally unbecoming.

Last September 11, a gaggle of conspiracists attempted to crash the official commemoration ceremony at Ground Zero—doing more to alienate them from the very people they purportedly seek to reach out to than if they'd planned it that way. A larger group of some 200 protesters, organized by NY 9-11 Truth, gathered outside the offices of the New York Times to condemn the failure of the media to examine their claims. But their favored chant was: "Figure it out, It's not hard, 9-11 was an inside job!" Apart from not rhyming, the slogan sums up exactly why it is so easy for the mainstream press to dismiss them: it asserts a dogma and dismisses dissenters as idiots. It replicates what it ostensibly opposes.

The literature being distributed at the demo was even more revealing. One cluster of activists sold a book entitled 9-11, the Great Illusion: Endgame of the Illuminati. The organizers can't be held responsible for all the lit given out at their event. But this was a small protest, and such titles give the New York Times a damn good excuse no to take them seriously.

This year, NY 9-11 Truth is distributing a four-page flyer in anticipation of the anniversary, grandiosely entitled "The Essential Truth About 9-11." The rhetoric builds on the "Truth" movement's demand that their agenda be placed front and center in the anti-war movement. It reads: "If you're ready to get to the root causes of war and injustice rather than forever dealing with the symptoms, understanding the reality of 9-11 will expose the forces that have hijacked our country and our lives." Again, it does not call for vigorous inquiry, but acceptance of a particular version of "reality"—and dismisses those who don't buy it as unserious.

This would be appalling enough even if the "Truth" movement (never trust that word when it is rendered with a capital T) were not pretending to know more than it does or can. But, as is usually the case, arrogant condescension is linked to intellectual hubris.

FORENSICS, SCHMORENSICS

The collapse of the Twin Towers was a source of controversy from the beginning, and it is not surprising that it has been seized upon as an anomaly. An editorial in the January 2002 edition of Fire Engineering, a respected fire-fighting trade magazine with ties to the FDNY, called the investigation of the World Trade Center collapse "a half-baked farce" and called for a "full-throttle, fully resourced" effort. The piece by Bill Manning, editor of the 125-year-old monthly, especially protested that steel from the site was not preserved for study. The editorial also stated that a growing number of fire engineers were theorizing that "the structural damage from the planes and the explosive ignition of jet fuel in themselves were not hot enough to bring down the towers."

Manning's claim is cited in several conspiracist tracts, including the most prominent, The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9-11 by David Ray Griffin. The explanation proffered is that the collapse was a "controlled demolition" affected through pre-planted explosives . . .

WATCH OUT... YOU MIGHT GET WHAT YOU'RE AFTER

The most sinister thing about the conspiracists is how they abet the consolidation of the very police state they claim to oppose. Arguing that Bush and his spies should have been omniscient enough to stop the attacks, they decry how the attacks are being used to expand the government's powers—blissfully unaware of how they give their own adversaries propaganda on a silver platter. With their implicit demands for an omniscient government, they (presumably unwittingly) play into the hands of those who seek a perfectly "secure" world in which privacy and personal liberty have been perfectly eliminated.

Another anomaly seized upon as vindication by the conspiracists was the August 2005 revelation that a secret Pentagon intelligence unit known as Able Danger had identified Mohammed Atta and three other future hijackers as likely members of an al-Qaeda cell more than a year before 9-11. According to media reports, the Able Danger team had prepared a chart that included visa photographs of the four men and recommended to the Pentagon's Special Operations Command that the data be shared with the FBI. This recommendation was rejected—apparently because Atta and the others were in the US on valid entry visas, and were therefore protected from surveillance as a matter of policy.

Now, true freedom-lovers should be comforted by the fact that the Pentagon did not turn the information over to the FBI. The conspiracists claim the failure to do so as evidence of the government's "LIHOP" (let it happen on purpose) strategy. But the concrete result of this relentless recrimination and retrospectivity will only be more visa-holders coming under Big Brother's scrutiny.

The conspiracy milieu suffers from an ambivalent Oedipus complex, torn between rage against the Big Daddy Government which is the source of all evil and a quasi-fascistic longing for a benevolent father figure that will protect us. For instance, if the Air Force really had intercepted and shot down the hijacked planes on September 11, this would have been—appropriately—protested as government murder of its own citizens in the name of preventative action, like the 1993 Waco affair. But this is exactly what the conspiracy theorists are now insisting should have happened. They do not seem aware, much less disturbed, by this basic contradiction in their moral universe.

The spring of 2002 saw a brief media frenzy over official foreknowledge of 9-11. A senior FBI agent in Minneapolis claimed that headquarters repeatedly roadblocked Twin Cities-based agents who sought to investigate "20th hijacker" Zacarias Moussaoui aggressively in the days before 9-11. The agent, Coleen Rowley, said bureaucrats at headquarters had also bungled a warning from an agent in Phoenix who had written that al-Qaeda militants could be using domestic aviation schools to train for terror attacks. It was revealed that in June 2001 then-CIA Director George Tenet had written an intelligence summary for National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice warning: "It is highly likely that a significant al-Qaeda attack is in the near future, within several weeks." In a public address following the revelations, then-Assistant Attorney General Michael Chertoff cited nearly a decade's worth of hints that foreign terrorists were targeting the US. "As of Sept. 10, each of us knew everything we needed to know to tell us there was a possibility of what happened on Sept. 11," Chertoff said

The conspiracists were beside themselves with ecstasy, of course, taking the revelations as further evidence of the LIHOP thesis, or its more ambitious alternative, "MIHOP" (make it happen on purpose).

But here's a real alternative conspiracy theory: Were the Justice Department, FBI and CIA leaking or even inventing their own blunders in an effort to intentionally make themselves look incompetent and timid so that their budgets and powers would be increased, their apparatus expanded, and restraints on domestic snooping lifted? Were the conspiracy theorists themselves, who relentlessly touted the revelations, serving as pawns of the government conspiracy?

Maybe, or maybe not. But in any case, that fall the Homeland Security Act passed. The current head of the Homeland Security Department is Michael Chertoff.
Whatever!

Idiot winds. Kee-RIST, what chutzpah. Every spook farm in the government, as well as most people with an IQ over 6, realizes that the war on terra is increasing, rather than diminishing, the risk of "terrorist attacks". But the Doubleduh-Cheney Gang just won't give in. Their stance is pretty stupid, especially from their own perspective. Wouldn't it more to their advantage to agree with their spies and generals, then use that to advocate an increase in resources and a further restriction of civil rights? I admit I don't get it - everyone knows that this fiasco is a blowback-generating cluster fuck.

In a WaPo story, however, even überspook Negroponte was forced to gingerly equivocate . . .
Negroponte Highlights U.S. Successes
Intelligence View That War Is Increasing Terror Is 'Fraction of Judgments,' He Says

From News Services
Monday, September 25, 2006; A04

The conclusion of U.S. intelligence analysts that the Iraq war has increased the threat from terrorism is only "a fraction of judgments" in a newly disclosed National Intelligence Estimate, Director of National Intelligence John D. Negroponte said yesterday.

The NIE, completed in April, reflects the consensus view of 16 government intelligence services, including the CIA. The Washington Post, New York Times and Los Angeles Times reported yesterday that the classified document concludes that the invasion and occupation of Iraq has fueled Islamic extremism and contributed to the spread of terrorist cells.

"What we have said, time and again, is that while there is much that remains to be done in the war on terror, we have achieved some notable successes against the global jihadist threat," Negroponte said in a statement. "The conclusions of the intelligence community are designed to be comprehensive, and viewing them through the narrow prism of a fraction of judgments distorts the broad framework they create." . . .
Negroponte would do well as a contestant on Dancing with the Stars, doncha think?

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