Revolutionary Worker #1153, June 2, 2002, posted at http://rwor.org
On August 6, the CIA delivered a briefing to Bush in the Oval Office about the al-Qaida organization. When that single fact was leaked into public view, it reverberated across the political landscape.
In New York City itself, the front page headline by the notorious New York Post screamed, "BUSH KNEW."
Everyone had been told that the September 11 attacks were a shot out of the blue--unprovoked, unexpected, impossible to prevent or predict. Now, millions of people can see there is more to the story. And people are demanding to know: "What exactly did Bush know? What else is hidden? And what does all this mean about the origins of the September 11 attack and the global war the U.S. has declared?"
The coverup continues.
Bush's top adviser, Condoleezza Rice insists that the August 6 briefing was only about possible al- Qaida attacks overseas , and never discussed the possibility of attacks within the U.S. This is a lie. Washington Post (May 18) quickly revealed that the five-page CIA briefing paper carried the headline, "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S."
The White House is snarled in self-contradiction: On one hand they insist this August 6 briefing was a "rehash" of old news, and could not have raised a warning about possible attack. On the other hand, President Bush himself insists this CIA paper must never be made public so that people can see for themselves--because, he says, it contains the "crown jewels" of U.S. secret intelligence work.
Meanwhile NBC revealed that Bush had a plan for attacking Afghanistan on his desk September 9 -- two days before the September 11 airliner attacks.
One White House source told Newsweek . "We should have piled up the sandbags and said, `None of your business, it's highly classified.' "
That soon became the official strategy: Vice President Cheney said questions about what Bush knew were "incendiary" and "totally unworthy of national leaders in time of war." Inside the White House, this approach is called "whacking the rats."
The White House insisted that if there are any investigations of these issues, they must be secret investigations--conducted behind closed doors by well-trusted servants of the empire-- preferably in secret sessions of the Congressional intelligence committees.
And, as if to back up their own ominous talk of wartime security, top government officials issued a blizzard of warnings about the dangers of new "terrorist attacks." One after another of Bush officials--Rumsfeld, Ridge, Cheney, Powell and Bush himself met the press to use the same word: new attacks are "inevitable," they all said.
Federal authorities followed this with a drumbeat of alarms about attacks that might involve railroads, subways, nuclear power plants, condos and rental apartments in New York, the Statue of Liberty, and scuba divers. People in New York City faced a campaign of roadblocks, tunnel closings and searches. (All of it was timed, for maximum public impact, for the Memorial Day holiday.)
The Associated Press barely held back its skepticism when it wrote: "The scuba warning, which the FBI said was based on uncorroborated and unsubstantiated information, cautioned that while `there is no evidence of operational planning to utilize scuba divers to carry out attacks within the United States, there is a body of information showing the desire to obtain such capability.'"
The highest circles of the U.S. government were clearly fanning public fears to aid their desperate damage control and justify a whole new wave of police-state measures--which can only turn the society into an even more hellish place to live.
A Question: Massive efforts are being unleashed to keep tight wraps on the pre- history of September 11--to make sure that the secrets of the empire are kept secret. What are they hiding?
Consider this: It is now clear that over the summer of 2001, the U.S. started preparing a war against Afghanistan's Taliban government.
As late as May 2001, the U.S. government sent $43 million in aid to the Taliban government. ( L.A. Times , May 22, 2001)
However, just four months later, on September 4, George W. Bush's senior security team met and, according to the L.A. Times (May 18, 2002), decided to fund a massive covert war in Afghanistan. The "Principals Committee," including Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, endorsed an operation to overthrow the Afghanistan government.
There are reports, in European newspapers like the French Figaro, the Irish Times,and the British Guardian , that the U.S. was engaged in negotiations with the Taliban, their backers in the Pakistani intelligence and perhaps with Osama bin Laden himself during the spring and summer of 2001.
Salon magazine (May 23, 2002) quotes intelligence sources in France saying that for much of 2001 the Bush administration was still trying to negotiate an oil pipeline deal with the Taliban and maintain good relations with Saudi Arabia.
The L.A. Times writes that the September 4 decision to prepare war on Afghanistan "reflected intense frustration among policymakers" with an "unsuccessful campaign to convince the Taliban ruling elite to surrender bin Laden and his top lieutenants."
The main elements of this war plan were put in operation by the U.S. government a month later, after September 11.It included $200 million in covert military support for the Northern Alliance guerrillas and global arm-twisting to "dry up" the financial networks of al-Qaida. It involved operations in dozens of countries to target Islamic fundamentalist forces. A government source described it to NBC News as a "game plan to remove al-Qaida from the face of the Earth."
By September 9, Bush had a draft National Security Directive on his desk authorizing this $200 million operation. ( L.A. Times , May 18, 2002)
Two days later, passenger airplanes crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The U.S. government insists the attacks were unprovoked and unexpected. It blames the Islamic al-Qaida network and launches a war that topples the Taliban government of Afghanistan.
In a recent speech, Jim Pavitt, head of the CIA clandestine service, said: "We knew who to approach on the ground, which operations, which warlord to support, what information to collect. Quite simply, we were there before the 11th of September." ( L.A. Times , May 18)
Question: What is the hidden history of the U.S. relationship with Afghanistan before September 11? What is the relationship between U.S. threats against Afghanistan and the September 11 attacks made within the U.S.?
The events of September 11 are tied by a thousand threads to a murkey underworld of intelligence networks, mercenaries, secret diplomacy, systematic deceit, double-dealing and "plausible deniability."
The people of the world may never know exactly who organized the September 11 attacks. However the leaks about the August 6 White House briefing and the documenting of a pre-existing U.S. move to attack Afghanistan have already put a huge crack in the official mythology of the U.S. War on Terrorism.
A question from a loyal media toady: In a prominent New York Times piece (May 19) the columnist R.W. Apple warns that "full-throated debate about such matters comes with costs: to national unity, to confidence in the electoral process and to respect for leaders in general... We shall soon discover, in all likelihood, what mistakes the White House made and how it sought to cover them up, as all White Houses do. The question is, will we feel at the end that the price in unity and, perhaps, dignity, was worth paying to find these things out in wartime?"
Some questions from a different place: How can people not demand to know these things? Why should people support "national unity" around unjust war? Why should anyone "respect leaders" who bully people around the world, declare open-ended war and intrigue to hide their motives and actions?
This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
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