Failure and Crime Are Not the Same:
9/11's Limited Hangouts
by Jamey Hecht, PhD
(Special to From The Wilderness)
© Copyright 2003, From The Wilderness Publications, www.copvcia.com. All Rights Reserved. May be reprinted, distributed or posted on an Internet web site for non-profit purposes only.
November 22, 2003 1500 PDT (FTW) -- Gerald Posner's new book is called Why America Slept: The Failure to Prevent 9/11. This is the Posner who won fame in 1993 when he became the foremost advocate of the official story of the Kennedy Assassination. Case Closed claimed to prove that the 35th President of the United States was murdered (for no particular reason) by a lone nut. The very methodology of that book - quite apart from its conclusions - has been discredited by the fact-checking research of scholar after scholar. His footnotes often lead nowhere, or direct the reader to sources whose pages say the opposite of what Posner attributes to them. But the book sold well. Like Senator Arlen Specter's recent memoir A Passion For Truth, it reassured people who were in the market for reassurance. With that success on his resume, Posner continues to practice his chosen vocation of making himself useful to those who drive the gravy train.
So before we take up this question of "why America slept," let's dwell for a moment on "failure," the mighty, little word that has done so much dutiful service in American newspapers. Just as it was ten years ago, it's the key word of Posner's explanatory paradigm. Oswald did the shooting; Oswald got lucky; Dallas was a failure of security. When Secret Service agents drank themselves into a stupor until 3 a.m. the night before the Dallas motorcade; when they let open windows go unwatched all over the Plaza; when they permitted the relatively safe motorcade route to be changed to an absolutely dangerous one; when Emory Roberts ordered agent Rybka off his post on the President's limousine at Love Field; when agent Kellerman turned around in the front seat and passively watched the President, already wounded in the throat and the back, sit upright until his head exploded; and when agent Greer slowed the limousine down to a stop until the fatal shot was over - in short, when the most highly-trained professional executive protection unit in the world suffered a total collapse of the standard operating procedures which they had followed to the letter on every previous stop along the Texas trip - all of that was a failure. It's a damn shame, you see. A sorry episode of darned incompetence; spilt milk.
Posner's title Why America Slept: The Failure to Prevent 9/11 is intended to echo a youthful work of John Kennedy who, with a great deal of help, wrote a short study of the British appeasement of Hitler in the Chamberlain period. That comparison would be offensive if it were original with Posner, but Gary Hart made it (in quite a different spirit) on December 13, 2001 in his keynote speech at the National Academies. Hart attributed the national security aspect of 9/11 to America's loss of focus in the wake of the Cold War's end:
Having gone through this experience predicting that some kind of terrorist attacks would occur, seeing them occur alive on television, and then being asked most often by the media that paid almost no attention to this what it felt like, I don't think my own personal feelings were any different from any of yours in terms of the gravity of the tragedy, perhaps needless, perhaps not. But it has caused me at least to spend a lot of time in the last three months reflecting on a theme that John Kennedy wrote about when he was a senior at Harvard. His senior thesis was Why England Slept. And I have thought a lot about why American slept, what were the factors that lulled us into not being prepared [my emphasis].
I think there were several factors. First obviously was the end of the cold war and the decade between, almost exactly a decade, between the collapse of the Soviet empire and these attacks. There was a loss of a central organizing principle, starting with George Kennan, 1946-1947, and the phrase containment of communism. That became the central organizing principle of our nation for over a half Century.
I remember... a well-known Soviet interlocutor named George A. Arbatov, who ran the U.S. Canada Institute in Russia, and he was interviewed by a Western journalist in the early Gorbachev years, I think 1987-1988, something like that. And the journalist said, 'Mr. Arbatov, what is this Gorbachev revolution all about?' And Arbatov said, 'we are about to do to you, the United States, the worst thing that could happen.' The journalist's head snapped back thinking nuclear attack. Arbatov said 'we are going to take away your enemy.' That is exactly what happened.
The Senator's phrase "perhaps needless [i.e., preventable], perhaps not" is intriguing. But the salient thing here is the Perestroika anecdote. If the loss of an enemy is the worst thing that could happen, well, we had better get some more enemies. It's true that the end of the Cold War meant the loss of a "central organizing principle." Maybe 9/11 went unprevented because, in the absence of a Soviet threat to keep us vigilant, "America slept." Perhaps it's also true that 9/11 was permitted to happen because, as per Mr. Arbatov's cynical wisdom, "America" needed a new enemy.  September 11th certainly put one on the world stage.
Who slept? The U.S. public was lulled into a fictitious "peace-dividend" dreamland when Yeltsin took over, but Arbatov's remark reminds us of what Brzezinski and the boys knew all too well. If you're going to keep the war-machine in good working order, you had better keep feeding it before it cools off. Just as Bell Helicopter, for instance, needs the 2 billion-dollar Indochina War if it is to get its 200 million-dollar piece of the Vietnam action, KB&R/Halliburton needs to fight a war in Kosovo in order to destroy the buildings it has already contracted to rebuild. If you have no enemy, the killing industry goes bust; worse yet, without a vigorously expanding permanent warfare state, there's no way to secure enough oil to meet America's energy "needs." That is, unless the American state was willing to obtain oil the way the suckers do: by paying for it with real wealth in exported goods and services, rather than by printing up more fiat petrodollars. So long as America can protect the resulting debt-balloon with a phalanx of Bradley Fighting vehicles, why pay?
The PNAC report was written in 2000; one of its major textual sources was Brzezinski's Grand Chessboard, which appeared in 1997. But back in 1986 when Orrin Hatch was insisting that the CIA grant Stinger missiles to the anti-Soviet Afghan Mujaheddin, Al Qaida had not yet been formed and the WTC had not yet been targeted. The Soviet enemy was being stung to death by Brzezinski's successful effort to trigger the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. The post-Soviet "loss of focus" was still a distant possibility then, and in my view, American clandestine planning elites can never have had a substantial role in creating the eventual disasters of 9/11 - nor even anticipated them -- much earlier than January 6, 1995, when Project Bojinka (the precursor to the 9/11 plot, which involved crashing ten airliners into the Pacific Ocean) was discovered by police in the Philippines.
The American side of 9/11 (the suppression of warnings, the sabotage of investigative action, the stand-down, the insider trading, the Patriot Act, the pre-planning of the Afghan and Gulf II wars, the cover-up) was surely not built years in advance as a coherent and integrated plot using Al Qaida as assets. It was not hatched in some CIA basement. No, it was built the old-fashioned way, out of the accumulated toxic waste generated from preceding American adventures. This time around, these included the Carter - Reagan Afghan War against the USSR that produced Al Qaida; the Bush crime family and their Mahfouz / bin Laden ties; the matrix of oil and financial interests that Cheney, Rice, and Bush Sr. represent; the Clinton administration's systematic and relentless protection of the Taliban and refusals to capture Osama bin Laden; the abortive pipeline negotiations with the Taliban (represented by Richard Helms' niece); and the hidden alliance with Pakistani Intelligence (ISI). In other words, what led up to 9/11 was the systemic and ongoing deep politics of guns, oil, drugs, and war.
Here in the "Homeland," what flowed from 9/11 is the newly expanded American infrastructure of fiscally disastrous militarism and unconstitutional domestic repression. Every major budgetary and policy consequence of the attacks seems like the fulfilled dream of one or another megalomaniac. For instance, I think of the Patriot Act as John Ashcroft's sweet slice of the post-9/11 pie. The Central Intelligence Agency got billions of dollars and the key to the statutory "shackles" of the Church Committee - and the Constitution - that had bound its hands. Rumsfeld's Defense Department and its arms merchants got an ocean of new money. Bush got some respect and a mandate. Cheney got his reconstruction contracts. In your mind's eye you can see them all, at some point in the late 1990's, sitting in a circle with a copy of Brzezinski open on the table. But some of this can't be proven yet, and almost none of it can be officially acknowledged. So Posner's country needs him again.
The flap copy on Why America Slept begins this way: "After an eighteen-month investigation that uncovered explosive new evidence through interviews and in classified documents, Gerald Posner reveals much previously undisclosed information." There follows a list of eight bulleted points that qualify as "explosive new evidence." Here are two:
â¢ the identity of two countries that might have had foreknowledge that a terrorist attack was scheduled for September 11 on U.S. soil
â¢ the devastating consequences of the crippling rivalry between the CIA and FBI as the United States moved unwittingly toward 9/11
As for the "identity" of Posner's "two countries," consider the following matters of public record. The German newspaper Die Zeit published a story arguing that "a few weeks before the attacks, Israeli intelligence gave US authorities a list with names of suspects who were staying in the US for the purpose of preparing attacks." Pakistani intelligence had to have known, since its chief was the man who wired $100,000 US dollars to Mohammad Atta the day before the attacks. Mike Ruppert's From the Wilderness article of April 22, 2002 inventoried these crucial foreknowledge stories:
· As reported in the respected German daily Frankfurter Algemeine Zeitung (FAZ) on Sept. 13, the German intelligence service, the BND, warned both the CIA and Israel in June of 2001 that Middle Eastern terrorists were planning to hijack commercial aircraft to use as weapons to attack important symbols of American and Israeli culture. The story specifically referred to an electronic eavesdropping system known as Echelon, wherein a number of countries tap cell phone and electronic communications in partner countries and then pool the information. The BND warnings were also passed to the United Kingdom.
· No known denial by the BND of the accuracy of this story exists, and the FAZ story indicates that the information was received directly from BND sources.
· According to a Sept. 14 report in the Internet newswire online.ie, German police, monitoring the phone calls of a jailed Iranian man, learned the man was telephoning USG intelligence agencies last summer to warn of an imminent attack on the WTC in the week of Sept. 9. German officials confirmed the calls to the USG for the story but refused to discuss additional details.
· In August 2000 French intelligence sources confirmed a man recently arrested in Boston by the FBI was an Islamic militant and a key member of Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda network. The FBI knew the man had been taking flying lessons at the time of his arrest and was in possession of technical information on Boeing aircraft and flight manuals, as reported by Reuters on Sept. 13.
· According to a story in Izveztia on Sept. 12, Russian intelligence warned the USG that as many as 25 pilots were training for missions involving the crashing of airliners into important targets.
· In an MSNBC interview on Sept. 15, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated he had ordered Russian intelligence to warn the USG "in the strongest possible terms" of imminent assaults on airports and government buildings before the attacks on Sept. 11.
As Kyle Hence of 9/11 Citizen's Watch and Unanswered Questions points out,
Fox News, March 5, 2002: "US law enforcement authorities knew as early as 1995 that Middle Eastern men were training at American flight schools and had discussed crashing planes into federal buildings, according to documents and interviews with American and Filipino authorities." [T]his information came out during questioning of Ramsey Yousef by Filipino authorities in 1995 and during his trial for the 1993 WTC bombing. 
Posner frames the 9/11 question to include just two countries instead of any larger number (I've cited six, but there are more). Then he calls his information "new" and "explosive," when it is in fact old and well established. The lesson is this: no matter what you hear about 9/11, don't get too upset, because any information that claims to make an unpleasantly big difference will rapidly fizzle into the incompetence theory. Now let's examine his claim that the "crippling rivalry between the CIA and FBI" was the problem.
Mark Riebling's 1994 book, Wedge: From Pearl Harbor to 9/11: How the Secret War Between the CIA and FBI Has Endangered National Security, presents itself as a scathing indictment of U.S. intelligence agencies' disastrous failure to share information with one another. He frequently claims that domestic disasters like 11/22 and 9/11 slip through because the CIA's charter prevents it from spying inside the United States: "By statute, the CIA tracks terrorists overseas, while the FBI hunts them at home. Because terrorists cross borders, this arrangement has never been workable. Former CIA Director Richard Helms has compared it to 'cutting a man down the middle.'" The next step in the argument - so ubiquitous in the months following 9/11 that a complete citation list would take months to compile - is that American intelligence agencies failed to stop 9/11 because they were "hobbled by the Church Committee," that most effective of all Congressional efforts to reign in those agencies after their abusive violations of U.S. citizens' civil rights. But the briefest glance at the 1976 report of that Committee shows that it assessed a vast backlog of illegal cooperation between FBI and CIA. Senator Frank Church and his colleagues faced tremendous opposition in their effort to legislate new rules that might prevent future outrages. Every elected official is relatively defenseless against reprisals from unaccountable and anonymous agency and bureau personnel - recall the fate of John Kerry's investigation of BCCI and the Iran-Contra affair, and of Gary Hart's work on the Schweiker-Hart Report. There were reprisals from, well, various quarters of the establishment.
Riebling must be partly right about the fragmentary nature of the intelligence establishment. But he's wrong to argue that the estrangement-and-incompetence defense always applies, so that every catastrophe is to be understood as a failure. It would indeed be a mistake to think of the entire U.S. power structure as a monolithic entity with coherent desires and a single agenda. Fortunately for this planet, major centers of money and influence are at each other's throats. The fault lines of those conflicts give hope to the rest of us when we can discern them; that's one reason someone like Peter Dale Scott is so exciting to read. For example, the Pentagon has chosen their favorite convicted felon, Ahmed Chalabi, as their man for Iraq; but the CIA despises Chalabi as a kind of Rasputin who tells the Pentagon what it wants to hear. That's a genuine split between one branch of American power and another. But the prelude to September 11 is something else: a split between honest (usually low-ranking) personnel who want to do their jobs, and more powerful appointees whose interests and loyalties lie with the people in the executive branch who preferred that the towers come down.
David Corn, Gerald Posner, and their ilk are making a relatively bold gesture of authentic journalism when they deplore "intelligence failure," so long as we recall that a popsicle is relatively hot compared to the planet Neptune. If that sounds far out, remember the amazingly hubristic testimony of DCI George J. Tenet before the Senate Select Intelligence Committee Hearing on National Security Threats to the United States on February 6, 2002:
Whatever shortcomings we may have, we owe it to the country to look at ourselves honestly and programmatically. But when people use the word "failure"-"failure" means no focus, no attention, no discipline-and those were not present in what either we or the FBI did here and around the world. And we will continue to work at it. But when the information or the secret isn't available, you need to make sure your backside is protected. You need to make sure there is a security regime in place that gives you the prospect of succeeding-and that's what we all need to work on together.
See? No failure. So it's relatively bold, intrepid journalism to insist that there was one.
Although it's happening far too slowly, more and more members of the military and the intelligence services are emerging as critics of the Bush administration. In a June 3, 2002 entry on Miami Herald.com, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern wrote:
According to The Wall Street Journal, the FBI did not tell the White House about Moussaoui until after Sept. 11.
But it is a safe bet that the CIA's Tenet did. Even before learning about Moussaoui, Tenet's President's Daily Brief of Aug. 6 bore the title 'Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.' When analysts working in Tenet's Counterterrorist Center were warned about Moussaoui a few weeks before Sept. 11, it is inconceivable that they would not have told Tenet. He is, by law, 'the principal advisor to the president for intelligence matters related to national security,' and is entitled to 'all intelligence related to the national security, which is collected by any department, agency or other entity of the United States.'
Tenet's people learned about Moussaoui in a back-door message from the FBI Field Office in Minneapolis enlisting the CIA's help in obtaining information on Moussaoui from French intelligence. The French promptly pointed out Moussaoui's affiliations with radical fundamentalist groups and Osama bin Laden. (The French service had been keeping close tabs on the likes of Moussaoui, having foiled a plan by Algerian terrorists to crash an airplane into the Eiffel Tower in 1994.)
This was not news to anybody who had read the Rowley Memo, but it really was newsworthy, because it came from someone closely associated with the Agency. And McGovern has been generous with his political capital on more recent occasions; he spoke at the 9/11/03 second anniversary events in New York, and though he concentrated his fire on the Neocons' Iraq fiasco, the event at which he spoke (the panel, the agenda, the literature in the lobby, the subjects of the other talks, even the date of the event) was entirely focused on 9/11. Even if Mr. McGovern had adjusted his tie and quietly recited the alphabet, there would still be heavy symbolism in the sight of an ex-CIA analyst seated on a dias with Mike Ruppert, John Judge, Kyle Hence, and Cynthia McKinney. The sight of McGovern on the stage was more significant than anything he was at liberty to say.
On October 28, 2003, Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark sharpened his attack on the Bush Administration's unilateralist adventurism: "Our military should to be used to back international law, not to replace it." The next day, Katharine Q. Seelye covered Clark's speech for the NY Times:
URHAM, N.H., Oct. 28 - In a blistering review of President Bush's national security policy, Gen. Wesley K. Clark said on Tuesday that the administration could not "walk away from its responsibilities for 9/11."
"You can't blame something like this on lower-level intelligence officers, however badly they communicated in memos with each other," said the retired general, the latest entrant in the Democratic presidential field. "It goes back to what our great president Harry Truman said with the sign on his desk: `The buck stops here.' And it sure is clear to me that when it comes to our nation's national security, the buck rests with the commander in chief, right on George W. Bush's desk."
Zbigniew Brzezinski spoke at the same conference. Here are a few excerpts from his address:
Since the tragedy of 9/11 which understandably shook and outraged everyone in this country, we have increasingly embraced at the highest official level what I think fairly can be called a paranoiac view of the world.... that skewed view of the world is intensified by a fear that periodically verges on panic that is in itself blind.
We have actually experienced in recent months a dramatic demonstration of an unprecedented intelligence failure, perhaps the most significant intelligence failure in the history of the United States. That failure was contributed to and was compensated for by extremist demagogy which emphasizes the worst case scenarios which stimulate fear, which induces a very simple dichotomic [sic] view of world reality.
I think it is important to ask ourselves as citizens, not as Democrats attacking the administration, but as citizens, whether a world power can really provide global leadership on the basis of fear and anxiety?
This is the man who, in 1997, wrote the jaw-dropping words - brought to light by FTW -- that have become all-too-familiar, but which remain so revealing that they can't be quoted enough:
The attitude of the American public toward the external projection of American power as been much more ambivalent. The public supported America's engagement in World War II largely because of the shock effect of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. (pp 24-5)
Moreover, as America becomes an increasingly multi-cultural society, it may find it more difficult to fashion a consensus on foreign policy issues, except in the circumstance of a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat. (p. 211)
Somehow "fear and anxiety" are no longer acceptable policy tools for Zbig. The fear about which he's concerned is the kind aroused by WMD's and brash unilateralism, not the kind that comes from box cutters and civilian aircraft and a NORAD stand-down. What he calls "perhaps the most significant intelligence failure in the history of the United States" is not the murder of three thousand U.S. citizens, it's the administration's error about Saddam Hussein's arsenal.
Brzezinski is absolutely and precisely clear about that - (http://www.prospect.org/webfeatures/2003/10/brzezinski-z-10-31.html) - as if nobody in the room could remember that the WMD intelligence was fabricated, not misinterpreted; that it was "invented in Crawford, Texas," as Ted Kennedy said; that Scott Ritter explained all this in relentless detail before the invasion started; that David Kelly lost his life for essentially telling the BBC that portions of Blair's story were bogus; that Joe Wilson's wife was exposed by somebody, call him John "Karl Rove" Doe, in retaliation for Wilson's honest refutation of the Niger-Uranium story at the heart of the WMD hoax. It doesn't matter. The important thing about Zbig's speech is that a major architect of the Trilateral Commission is telling the room that Bush and the boys are going about it all wrong.
It's nice to hear Wesley Clark tell the same room that the September 11th disaster can't be blamed on low-level intelligence officials and that the President is, in some abstract, Trumanesque way, ultimately responsible. It's nice to hear a NY Times reporter refer to that remark as "blistering." It would be nicer still if somebody of Clark's stature were to ask why Bush and Cheney instructed Tom Daschle not to request an investigation in the first place, and why so much of Congress' report is redacted, and all the other www.unansweredquestions.org. But in a post-press age, in a country Peter Dale Scott suggested might best be called "Post-America," any question is better than no question, and a bad question can pave the way for a better one.
Another fun example comes from Associated Press reporter Sharon Theimer, writing in the San Jose Mercury News on May 26, 2002: "Lawmaker to Probe Moussaoui Warrant." As you recall from Agent Rowley's Memo, FBIHQ changed the wording of her request for a FISA warrant, thereby preventing Minneapolis from searching Moussaoui's computer for details of the 9/11 plot and its operational details. These days, a journalist who prefers not to starve cannot ask whether the FBIHQ (Dave Frasca and company) quashed the investigation just when it was about to become effective. But she can make what's called a "limited hang-out," one that describes an identical gesture from an equally cautious elected official:
WASHINGTON - A top congressman said Sunday he will examine whether concern the FBI would appear to be using "racial profiling" led it to remove key details from a search warrant request whose rejection kept the FBI from learning more about a terrorism suspect before Sept. 11.
Racial profiling! If only the FBI had been more concerned about racial profiling when Dr. King was speaking from the balcony in Memphis that night! Whose perceptions of racial profiling are of concern here? Does anybody outside the FBI (in the public or the press or any where else) have the kind of access to Bureau paperwork you would need if you wanted to sit in judgment on the social values implied in the wording of an agent's affidavit written to a FISA judge? But this is the way limited hangouts work.
In a recent (August 13, 2003) posting on his Internet blog, Gary Hart poignantly wondered aloud once more:
Since most of the Democratic Congressional candidates for president voted for the Iraq war, I guess no one will ask the obvious question: How many of our fellow Americans could we have helped with the $200 to $400 billion Iraq will cost us? How much better a country could we have been? Most importantly, what is it about the Iraqi people that makes them so much more deserving of help than poor Americans? Why are conservatives eager to rebuild Iraq and not to rebuild America? This is not an isolationist point of view. This is not a "liberal" point of view. This is a common sense point of view. I sure would like to hear Robert Kennedy on this issue.
The title of the posting was "Where's Bobby?" It's one of those agonizing rhetorical questions, like "Where was the Air Force?"; you know the answer (he's under the hill at Arlington; it was on stand-down in the hangars), but it brings up other more terrible questions which, like the Gorgons of Ancient Greek poetry, can supposedly turn anyone to stone who looks directly at them. Can't they?
- Jamey Hecht, Ph.D., a resident of New York City, received his doctorate from Brandeis University in English and American literature. He is the author of two books and numerous articles. He has previously contributed to Counterpunch and been an open critic of 9/11 reporting by The Nation.
 For example, http://www.assassinationscience.com/wrone.html David R. Wrone, "Review of Gerald Posner, Case Closed," Journal of Southern History 6 (February 1995), pp. 186-188; http://www.assassinationscience.com/aguilar.html
Gary Aguilar, M.D, Letter to the Editor, Federal Bar News & Journal, v.41 (June 1994), p.388; http://www.assassinationscience.com/costello.html
George Costello, "Kennedy Assassination: Case Still Open." A Review of Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK, by Gerald Posner, Random House, 1993. 607 pages, $25. The Last Investigation, by Gaeton Fonzi, Thunder's Mouth Press, 1993. 448 pages, $24.95. March/April 1994 issue of Federal Bar News & Journal, vol. 41, no. 3; http://www.assassinationweb.com/judge1.htm
John Judge, "Two Big Lies: Files are Open, Case is Closed." Newsletter of the Committee for an Open Archives Vol. 1, #4, November, 1993; http://www.assassinationweb.com/ecc.htm
David Starks, "The Posner Report: A Study In Propaganda: One Hundred Errors in Gerald Posner's Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK, Electronic Assassinations Newsletter.
Donald E. Wilkes, Jr., "New JFK Book "Continued Coverup" Claims University Law Professor." The Athens Observer, p. 16A (November 24-December 1, 1993).
 See Steve Coll, Washington Post Foreign Service, July 19, 1992; page a1: CIA IN AFGHANISTAN: "Beginning in 1985, the CIA supplied mujaheddin rebels with extensive satellite reconnaissance data of Soviet targets on the Afghan battlefield, plans for military operations based on the satellite intelligence, intercepts of Soviet communications, secret communications networks for the rebels, delayed timing devices for tons of C-4 plastic explosives for urban sabotage and sophisticated guerrilla attacks, long-range sniper rifles, a targeting device for mortars that was linked to a U.S. Navy satellite, wire-guided anti-tank missiles, and other equipment." http://krigskronikan.com/arkiv/WP_afghanCasey92.html
 In 1998, Brzezinski gave a famous interview in which he discussed his role in the Afghan adventure. For substantial quotations from (and excellent analysis of) that interview see:
Here is an excerpt:
"In January 1980, Carter sent his national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, for consultations with Pakistani leaders who were already supporting the Afghan resistance. On a side trip from Islamabad, Brzezinski traveled the length of the Khyber Pass to the outpost at Michni Point, where he was photographed squinting along the sights of a Soviet AK-47 assault rifle, its muzzle elevated and pointing into Afghanistan. In that moment, the president's national security adviser became the symbol of the impending U.S. phase of involvement in Afghanistan's endless martial history."
Having had the benefit of nearly two decades of hindsight, Zbig gave an uncharacteristically exuberant interview to Le Nouvel Observateur in 1998. This widely reported exchange will be concisely related here. Not only did Zbig cop to presiding over the start of American collaboration with the evildoers, he further "wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention...we didn't push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would." The interview concluded thus:
Q: When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan, people didn't believe them. However, there was a basis of truth. You don't regret anything today?
Zbig: Regret what? That the secret operation was an excellent idea? It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam War. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.
Q: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic having given arms and advice to future terrorists?
Zbig: What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?
Q: Some stirred-up Moslems? But it has been said and repeated: Islamic fundamentalism represents a world menace today.
 Just as the weapons industry has to be kept in constant motion, the human tools of the trade have to keep rolling off their various assembly lines. The Kennedy murder, for example, was constructed by military and intelligence officials out of the personnel assets they had on hand at the time - volatile elements of blowback, the dangerous residues of their previous projects - including right-wing Cuban exiles, USMC fake defectors, organized crime figures protected by Hoover, FBI informants, contacts in the incredibly lucrative heroin trade, and the pliable Mexican DFS intelligence service. When you trace all the episodes of sheep-dipping and babysitting by Oswald's handlers, it seems as if the assassination and LHO's patsy-role were planned for him while he was still in the womb. But it doesn't work that way: you cook up the ingredients first, and then you decide what meal to make and whom to serve it to.
 I refer, of course, to this notorious passage from The Grand Chessboard: "Moreover, as America becomes an increasingly multicultural society, it may find it more difficult to fashion a consensus on foreign policy issues, except in the circumstance of a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat." This is properly cited in the same places as an equally infamous sentence form the 2000 PNAC document: "The process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event -- like a new Pearl Harbor."
 In fairness, I should state that the two points I quote here are the most blatant of Posner's eight points.
 A few of the sources for this amply evidenced claim are:
(b) FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence website
September 26, 2002 http://intelligence.senate.gov/0209hrg/020926/witness.htm
(c) Malcolm Beith, "The Investigation: The Mystery Money Men," Newsweek, December 2, 2001, in the December 10, 2001 issue;
(d) Victoria Griffith, Peter Spiegel and Hugh Williamson, "The Hijackers' Tale: How The Men Of September 11 Went Unnoticed," The Financial Times, November 30, 2001
 Riebling's pages about the JFK assassination are a mixture of truisms and disinformation. This performance in Wedge is not some momentary lapse of either reason or integrity; in his revised edition of the book and in his recent articles (e.g., http://www.markriebling.com/ames.html) Riebling follows the same procedure. He takes it for granted that Oswald killed the President, but then gives an account of the Kostikov story.
If you're not familiar with this crucial element of the 11-22-63 picture, see the excellent analyses by:
John Newman at http://www.jfklancer.com/backes/newman/newman_1.html.;
Rex Bradford at http://history-matters.com/siteguide/siteguide_essayindex.htm; and by
Peter Dale Scott at http://www.assassinationweb.com/scottc.htm.
In summary: immediately after the assassination, good-faith efforts by honest officials in FBI, CIA, and other agencies might well have discovered the plotters and prosecuted them. This was prevented by the planting of a false evidentiary trail linking the accused assassin to the KGB (specifically, to Valery Kostikov of the KGB's 13th chapter, which specializes in assassinations and sabotage). In the days after the President's murder, Johnson used the LHO-KGB story to force reluctant officials (e.g., Earl Warren, on 11-29-63) onto the Warren Commission, in Oval Office phone calls that are now in the public domain and available for download at http://history-matters.com/. But White House telephone transcripts show that within 24 hours of the assassination, Johnson and Hoover had already discussed the fact that the man who called himself Oswald and contacted Kostikov was not Oswald at all.
Although Riebling quotes the cable description of the Mexico City mystery man as "35, heavy-set, and balding," Wedge never acknowledges that this was (obviously) not the young, trim, black-haired young Lee Harvey Oswald. Today we have Hoover's conversation with LBJ in which the Director admits that the intercept is not Oswald's voice, and the surveillance photos "do not correspond to Oswald's appearance." So with Riebling's Wedge, the CIA-dominated publishing industry has moved the public from one cover-up to the other. Rather than continue to rely on the discredited LHO Lone Nut cover story, the current propaganda technique is to explain that "Oswald" contacted the KGB-13th in Mexico City, and that this implied Soviet involvement was a potential trigger for nuclear war, for the prevention of which LBJ assembled the Warren Commission in order to cover up this Soviet involvement. By admitting all this while withholding the central fact that this was not Oswald, the book adapts to the post-ARRB environment: now that anyone interested can learn about the Kostikov story, Agency-driven work can neutralize the releases by absorbing them into its own, profoundly misleading public account of 11-22. This is the political environment in which critics attempt to prevent unaccountable authoritarians from controlling the past, the present, and the future.
 Mark Riebling, The Real Intelligence Failure: Congress's Role," National Review Online, May 28, 2002.
 Regarding the responses to the Kerry Report, see Robert Parry's work, for instance
"The contra-drug story -- and others we had written about Oliver North's secret contra supply operation -- did, however, attract the attention of a young U.S. senator, John Kerry, D-Mass., who instructed his staff to investigate. A federal prosecutor, Jeffrey Feldman, also was sniffing around in Miami and Costa Rica. He had uncovered allegations of gun-running and some hints of drug-trafficking by the contras.
"But Feldman's probe drew a watchful eye from senior Justice Department officials in Washington. On a trip to Miami, Attorney General Edwin Meese III talked about the investigation with Feldman's boss, U.S. Attorney Leon Kellner. On April 4, 1986, another Miami prosecutor David Leiwant said he overheard Kellner saying that Washington had ordered him to "go slow" on the contra probe, a claim Kellner later denied.
"At AP, Barger and I got wind of the federal investigation, too, and published a story disclosing that the U.S. Attorney's office in Miami was examining allegations of contra gun-running and drug-trafficking. The AP article prompted a front-page attack on our work by The Washington Times, a right-wing newspaper financed by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church."
 A highlight of that event came from the speech of Cynthia McKinney, "A Message to the People of New York," WBAI September 11 Events at Riverside Church, New York City, September 12, 2003: "How dare George W. Bush quote John F. Kennedy today at Fort Stewart, Georgia in an effort to justify his global militarism. John Kennedy specifically rejected pre-emptive war; JFK rejected war against a smaller, weaker, poorer country; he rejected Pax Americana imposed by American weapons of war, and spoke instead of constructing a peace, not for our time, but for all time."
 Katharine Q. Seelye, "Clark Lays Responsibility for 9/11 at Bush's Feet," NY Times, October 29, 2003.
"THE GLOBALIZATION of POVERTY
and the NEW WORLD ORDER"
In this new and expanded edition of Chossudovsky’s international best-seller, the author outlines the contours of a New World Order which feeds on human poverty and the destruction of the environment, generates social apartheid, encourages racism and ethnic strife and undermines the rights of women. The result as his detailed examples from all parts of the world show so convincingly, is a globalization of poverty.
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