September 06, 2003

The 9/11 attacks gave the US an ideal pretext to use force to secure its global domination

It is an extraordinary moment. Sxi months before the
aborted election of 2000, I said, "This election could
be the last one we ever have in the US." My friend
wrote the statement down and dated it (because I am
often right in what is less than obvious). Many people
woke up to reality after the coup that placed the
_resident in the White House. In the summer of 2001,
even the political establishment itself was sharpening
its knives and preparing to cut bait on the Bush
cabal. After 9/11, some more eyes were opened, but
many eyes shut out of fear and confusion. The country,
particularly the "US mainstream news media" and the
Democratic leadership (with the exception of Sen. Bob
Graham (D-Fraudida) and some members of the
Congressional Black Caucus...In the ramp up to the
foolish military adventure in Iraq, again more eyes
open, but also again other eyes shut because they did
not want to be on the wrong side if there was an easy
victory. But now that more UD soldiers have died in
Iraq after the _resident stood there on that aircraft
carrier in front of a banner that said "Mission
Accomplished" than during the actual invasion...It is
here...The extraordinary moment...What Cynthia
McKinneey (D-GA) was rebuked and run out of town for
saying is on the lips of many, many more...It has
begun...

http://politics.guardian.co.uk/iraq/comment/0,12956,1036687,00.html

This war on terrorism is bogus

The 9/11 attacks gave the US an ideal pretext to use force to secure its global domination

Michael Meacher
Saturday September 6, 2003
The Guardian

Massive attention has now been given - and rightly so
- to the reasons why Britain went to war against Iraq.
But far too little attention has focused on why the US
went to war, and that throws light on British motives
too. The conventional explanation is that after the
Twin Towers were hit, retaliation against al-Qaida
bases in Afghanistan was a natural first step in
launching a global war against terrorism. Then,
because Saddam Hussein was alleged by the US and UK
governments to retain weapons of mass destruction, the
war could be extended to Iraq as well. However this
theory does not fit all the facts. The truth may be a
great deal murkier.
We now know that a blueprint for the creation of a
global Pax Americana was drawn up for Dick Cheney (now
vice-president), Donald Rumsfeld (defence secretary),
Paul Wolfowitz (Rumsfeld's deputy), Jeb Bush (George
Bush's younger brother) and Lewis Libby (Cheney's
chief of staff). The document, entitled Rebuilding
America's Defences, was written in September 2000 by
the neoconservative think tank, Project for the New
American Century (PNAC).

The plan shows Bush's cabinet intended to take
military control of the Gulf region whether or not
Saddam Hussein was in power. It says "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."

The PNAC blueprint supports an earlier document
attributed to Wolfowitz and Libby which said the US
must "discourage advanced industrial nations from
challenging our leadership or even aspiring to a
larger regional or global role". It refers to key
allies such as the UK as "the most effective and
efficient means of exercising American global
leadership". It describes peacekeeping missions as
"demanding American political leadership rather than
that of the UN". It says "even should Saddam pass from
the scene", US bases in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait will
remain permanently... as "Iran may well prove as large
a threat to US interests as Iraq has". It spotlights
China for "regime change", saying "it is time to
increase the presence of American forces in SE Asia".

The document also calls for the creation of "US space
forces" to dominate space, and the total control of
cyberspace to prevent "enemies" using the internet
against the US. It also hints that the US may consider
developing biological weapons "that can target
specific genotypes [and] may transform biological
warfare from the realm of terror to a politically
useful tool".

Finally - written a year before 9/11 - it pinpoints
North Korea, Syria and Iran as dangerous regimes, and
says their existence justifies the creation of a
"worldwide command and control system". This is a
blueprint for US world domination. But before it is
dismissed as an agenda for rightwing fantasists, it is
clear it provides a much better explanation of what
actually happened before, during and after 9/11 than
the global war on terrorism thesis. This can be seen
in several ways.

First, it is clear the US authorities did little or
nothing to pre-empt the events of 9/11. It is known
that at least 11 countries provided advance warning to
the US of the 9/11 attacks. Two senior Mossad experts
were sent to Washington in August 2001 to alert the
CIA and FBI to a cell of 200 terrorists said to be
preparing a big operation (Daily Telegraph, September
16 2001). The list they provided included the names of
four of the 9/11 hijackers, none of whom was arrested.


It had been known as early as 1996 that there were
plans to hit Washington targets with aeroplanes. Then
in 1999 a US national intelligence council report
noted that "al-Qaida suicide bombers could crash-land
an aircraft packed with high explosives into the
Pentagon, the headquarters of the CIA, or the White
House".

Fifteen of the 9/11 hijackers obtained their visas in
Saudi Arabia. Michael Springman, the former head of
the American visa bureau in Jeddah, has stated that
since 1987 the CIA had been illicitly issuing visas to
unqualified applicants from the Middle East and
bringing them to the US for training in terrorism for
the Afghan war in collaboration with Bin Laden (BBC,
November 6 2001). It seems this operation continued
after the Afghan war for other purposes. It is also
reported that five of the hijackers received training
at secure US military installations in the 1990s
(Newsweek, September 15 2001).

Instructive leads prior to 9/11 were not followed up.
French Moroccan flight student Zacarias Moussaoui (now
thought to be the 20th hijacker) was arrested in
August 2001 after an instructor reported he showed a
suspicious interest in learning how to steer large
airliners. When US agents learned from French
intelligence he had radical Islamist ties, they sought
a warrant to search his computer, which contained
clues to the September 11 mission (Times, November 3
2001). But they were turned down by the FBI. One agent
wrote, a month before 9/11, that Moussaoui might be
planning to crash into the Twin Towers (Newsweek, May
20 2002).

All of this makes it all the more astonishing - on the
war on terrorism perspective - that there was such
slow reaction on September 11 itself. The first
hijacking was suspected at not later than 8.20am, and
the last hijacked aircraft crashed in Pennsylvania at
10.06am. Not a single fighter plane was scrambled to
investigate from the US Andrews airforce base, just 10
miles from Washington DC, until after the third plane
had hit the Pentagon at 9.38 am. Why not? There were
standard FAA intercept procedures for hijacked
aircraft before 9/11. Between September 2000 and June
2001 the US military launched fighter aircraft on 67
occasions to chase suspicious aircraft (AP, August 13
2002). It is a US legal requirement that once an
aircraft has moved significantly off its flight plan,
fighter planes are sent up to investigate.

Was this inaction simply the result of key people
disregarding, or being ignorant of, the evidence? Or
could US air security operations have been
deliberately stood down on September 11? If so, why,
and on whose authority? The former US federal crimes
prosecutor, John Loftus, has said: "The information
provided by European intelligence services prior to
9/11 was so extensive that it is no longer possible
for either the CIA or FBI to assert a defence of
incompetence."

Nor is the US response after 9/11 any better. No
serious attempt has ever been made to catch Bin Laden.
In late September and early October 2001, leaders of
Pakistan's two Islamist parties negotiated Bin Laden's
extradition to Pakistan to stand trial for 9/11.
However, a US official said, significantly, that
"casting our objectives too narrowly" risked "a
premature collapse of the international effort if by
some lucky chance Mr Bin Laden was captured". The US
chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, General Myers,
went so far as to say that "the goal has never been to
get Bin Laden" (AP, April 5 2002). The whistleblowing
FBI agent Robert Wright told ABC News (December 19
2002) that FBI headquarters wanted no arrests. And in
November 2001 the US airforce complained it had had
al-Qaida and Taliban leaders in its sights as many as
10 times over the previous six weeks, but had been
unable to attack because they did not receive
permission quickly enough (Time Magazine, May 13
2002). None of this assembled evidence, all of which
comes from sources already in the public domain, is
compatible with the idea of a real, determined war on
terrorism.

The catalogue of evidence does, however, fall into
place when set against the PNAC blueprint. From this
it seems that the so-called "war on terrorism" is
being used largely as bogus cover for achieving wider
US strategic geopolitical objectives. Indeed Tony
Blair himself hinted at this when he said to the
Commons liaison committee: "To be truthful about it,
there was no way we could have got the public consent
to have suddenly launched a campaign on Afghanistan
but for what happened on September 11" (Times, July 17
2002). Similarly Rumsfeld was so determined to obtain
a rationale for an attack on Iraq that on 10 separate
occasions he asked the CIA to find evidence linking
Iraq to 9/11; the CIA repeatedly came back
empty-handed (Time Magazine, May 13 2002).

In fact, 9/11 offered an extremely convenient pretext
to put the PNAC plan into action. The evidence again
is quite clear that plans for military action against
Afghanistan and Iraq were in hand well before 9/11. A
report prepared for the US government from the Baker
Institute of Public Policy stated in April 2001 that
"the US remains a prisoner of its energy dilemma. Iraq
remains a destabilising influence to... the flow of
oil to international markets from the Middle East".
Submitted to Vice-President Cheney's energy task
group, the report recommended that because this was an
unacceptable risk to the US, "military intervention"
was necessary (Sunday Herald, October 6 2002).

Similar evidence exists in regard to Afghanistan. The
BBC reported (September 18 2001) that Niaz Niak, a
former Pakistan foreign secretary, was told by senior
American officials at a meeting in Berlin in mid-July
2001 that "military action against Afghanistan would
go ahead by the middle of October". Until July 2001
the US government saw the Taliban regime as a source
of stability in Central Asia that would enable the
construction of hydrocarbon pipelines from the oil and
gas fields in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan,
through Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the Indian Ocean.
But, confronted with the Taliban's refusal to accept
US conditions, the US representatives told them
"either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or
we bury you under a carpet of bombs" (Inter Press
Service, November 15 2001).

Given this background, it is not surprising that some
have seen the US failure to avert the 9/11 attacks as
creating an invaluable pretext for attacking
Afghanistan in a war that had clearly already been
well planned in advance. There is a possible precedent
for this. The US national archives reveal that
President Roosevelt used exactly this approach in
relation to Pearl Harbor on December 7 1941. Some
advance warning of the attacks was received, but the
information never reached the US fleet. The ensuing
national outrage persuaded a reluctant US public to
join the second world war. Similarly the PNAC
blueprint of September 2000 states that the process of
transforming the US into "tomorrow's dominant force"
is likely to be a long one in the absence of "some
catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl
Harbor". The 9/11 attacks allowed the US to press the
"go" button for a strategy in accordance with the PNAC
agenda which it would otherwise have been politically
impossible to implement.

The overriding motivation for this political
smokescreen is that the US and the UK are beginning to
run out of secure hydrocarbon energy supplies. By 2010
the Muslim world will control as much as 60% of the
world's oil production and, even more importantly, 95%
of remaining global oil export capacity. As demand is
increasing, so supply is decreasing, continually since
the 1960s.

This is leading to increasing dependence on foreign
oil supplies for both the US and the UK. The US, which
in 1990 produced domestically 57% of its total energy
demand, is predicted to produce only 39% of its needs
by 2010. A DTI minister has admitted that the UK could
be facing "severe" gas shortages by 2005. The UK
government has confirmed that 70% of our electricity
will come from gas by 2020, and 90% of that will be
imported. In that context it should be noted that Iraq
has 110 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves in
addition to its oil.

A report from the commission on America's national
interests in July 2000 noted that the most promising
new source of world supplies was the Caspian region,
and this would relieve US dependence on Saudi Arabia.
To diversify supply routes from the Caspian, one
pipeline would run westward via Azerbaijan and Georgia
to the Turkish port of Ceyhan. Another would extend
eastwards through Afghanistan and Pakistan and
terminate near the Indian border. This would rescue
Enron's beleaguered power plant at Dabhol on India's
west coast, in which Enron had sunk $3bn investment
and whose economic survival was dependent on access to
cheap gas.

Nor has the UK been disinterested in this scramble for
the remaining world supplies of hydrocarbons, and this
may partly explain British participation in US
military actions. Lord Browne, chief executive of BP,
warned Washington not to carve up Iraq for its own oil
companies in the aftermath of war (Guardian, October
30 2002). And when a British foreign minister met
Gadaffi in his desert tent in August 2002, it was said
that "the UK does not want to lose out to other
European nations already jostling for advantage when
it comes to potentially lucrative oil contracts" with
Libya (BBC Online, August 10 2002).

The conclusion of all this analysis must surely be
that the "global war on terrorism" has the hallmarks
of a political myth propagated to pave the way for a
wholly different agenda - the US goal of world
hegemony, built around securing by force command over
the oil supplies required to drive the whole project.
Is collusion in this myth and junior participation in
this project really a proper aspiration for British
foreign policy? If there was ever need to justify a
more objective British stance, driven by our own
independent goals, this whole depressing saga surely
provides all the evidence needed for a radical change
of course.

Michael Meacher MP was environment minister from May
1997 to June 2003

meacherm@parliament.uk

Posted by richard at September 6, 2003 01:36 PM