T'S A LIVING… BUT IT'S NOT A LIFE #9.9
Part 6 - more additions 4
Parts 1, 2,
5, 6, 7,
Before I get into this one, I'd like to make a huge correction from the
last e-mail I sent out. I made a huge error in what Charles had told me.
I should have said that he was leaving Hoboken and saw a red truck with
"Kill All Arabs" written on the side. I wrote that a bit off
the cuff and that was a huge mistake especially considering all the fear
in the air these days. I'm sorry about that fuck up. All the other quotes
are directly from what I was sent directly.
Well, it's a strange old world. Who would have thought anything in the
world could get me singing the praises of Giuliani? If you asked me that
a month ago I would have laughed in your face. Shit, but he's is surprisingly
the voice of reason and compassion within the insanity that is the media
coverage and / or smokescreen. I find myself strangely encouraged whenever
I see him speaking. Okay, I know some of you now think I'm an asshole.
But he has graciously left his usual agenda off the table to get the real
important work of New York City going. I was starting to feel like a real
chump for feeling this way. Have I lost my mind in finding inspiration
in Giuliani? But if Michael Moore, Alexander Cockburn and even Edward
Said are singing his praises in his handling of this situation, who am
I to feel otherwise? I'm not the kind of person who ever feels pride for
my country or city or whatever. But New York City is pretty lucky to have
Giuliani at this point in time. There, I said it…
Speaking of smokescreen, I guess by now everyone knows that China was
officially admitted into the WTO yesterday. I often find myself defending
China from people attacking them because of their human rights violation.
But it's only because I think people doing the criticizing are ignoring
this countries human rights violations. If you're not prepared to challenge
what's happening where you live, you shouldn't go looking for fights elsewhere
to divert attention. It's easy to attack China. But attacking a country
miles away that has be dehumanized by anti-communist propaganda can also
be a subtle form of racism when done out of convenience. By convenience,
I mean that it's easier than criticizing your own country and way of life
not to mention people of your own "culture". Having said that,
the human rights violations are there and undeniable. But thinking about
the whole process now, what better place for a country with incredible
human rights violations than the WTO, the group trying to organize and
officiate further human rights violations? Globalism is just a pretty
way of saying imperialism.
I wonder what else is gonna happen while we're all diverted with the
still awesome tragedy of last Tuesday? The CIA are getting another billion
dollars. Bush will get his war, his second term (something already in
jeopardy so early in his Presidential career) and possibly his legacy.
Israel may finally complete their genocide of the Palestinians. China
is in the WTO. Who will be next to use this horrible situation to their
Here are a couple more statements well worth checking out. Again, I
apologize if you've already got these. One is new from Michael Moore and
the other is from Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair. Michael Moore
is always great and can get right to the heart of any matter without overcomplicating
it and Cockburn is the main reason that I keep reading the Nation. Incidentally,
along with Z magazine, it's worth keeping track of events through the
WAR ON WHOM?
By Michael Moore, AlterNet
September 14, 2001
I am on the road tonight, the only way to get out of L.A. and back home
to our daughter and our friends in New York City. Oddly enough, I have
never driven across this vast country. My wife and I have now stopped
in Flagstaff for a few hours sleep before moving on.
The sorrow and anger builds across America. Talk radio tonight was filled
with calls for carpet-bombing every Arab country. Many want revenge, blood.
But a surprising number of people have called for us to not add to the
killing of more innocent humans. The rest stops and the convenience stores
along the way were filled with quiet, solemn people, many of whom, like
us, can get home no other way than by this four-day trip.
Our daughter is fine, mostly frightened by my desire to fly home to
her rather than drive. Once again, I was outvoted 2 to 1. This is nothing
We have learned of more people we know who have lost their lives. Bill
Weems, who worked as a line producer for us this year, was on the flight
from Boston that crashed into the World Trade Center. He was such a sweet
and decent soul. Such senseless madness.
The children of New York who are orphaned tonight ... what do we say
or do? I will do my part -- anything, something -- as soon as I get to
New York. But it will never be enough.
The firefighters of New York: they are on every other block, every day,
and they are your best neighbors. Sitting out on the sidewalks in front
of the fire stations, a good word and a kind smile to all who pass ...
now, 350+ of them gone, having risked their lives to save the victims
of a carnage they soon became part of.
A good friend from Flint is a clerical worker at the Pentagon. I have
heard no word about her condition. I have tried contacting her family
to no avail. Her son, Malcolm, worked on our show. I cannot find him.
I keep getting tears in my eyes. Once she gave me a tour of the Pentagon,
took me everywhere, and got such a kick out of taking me around this building
I used to march on. Will our mutual friends who know Barbara, and know
how she is, please write me? Please.
The man who occupies the White House cried today. Good. Keep crying,
Mr. Bush. The more you cry, the less you will go to that dark side in
all humans where anger rages to a point where we want to blindly kill.
Your dad's and Reagan's old cronies -- Eagleberger, Baker, Schultz --
are all calling for you to bomb first and ask questions later. You must
NOT do this. If only because you do not want to stoop to these mass murderers'
level. Yes, find out who did it. Yes, see that they NEVER do it again.
But GET A GRIP, man. "Declare war?" War against whom? One
guy in the desert whom we can never seem to find? Are our leaders telling
us that the most powerful country on earth cannot dispose of one sick
evil f---wad of a guy? Because if that is what you are telling us, then
we are truly screwed. If you are unable to take out this lone ZZ Top wannabe,
what on earth would you do for us if we were attacked by a nation of millions?
For chrissakes, call the Israelis and have them do that thing they do
when they want to get their man! We pay them enough billions each year,
I am SURE they would be happy to accommodate your request.
But I beg you, Mr. Bush, stay with the tears. Go today to comfort the
wounded of New York. Tell the mayor, a guy most of us have not liked,
that he is doing an incredible job, keeping the spirits of everyone up
as high as they can be at this moment. Being there for a city I believe
he loves, his own cancer still with him, he goes beyond the call of duty.
But do not declare war and massacre more innocents. After bin Laden's
previous act of terror, our last elected president went and bombed what
he said was "bin Laden's camp" in Afghanistan -- but instead
just killed civilians. Then he bombed a factory in the Sudan, saying it
was "making chemical weapons." It turned out to be making aspirin.
Innocent people murdered by our Air Force.
Back in May, you gave the Taliban in Afghanistan $48 million dollars
of our tax money. No free nation on earth would give them a cent, but
you gave them a gift of $48 million because they said they had "banned
Because your drug war was more important than the actual war the Taliban
had inflicted on its own people, you helped to fund the regime who had
given refuge to the very man you now say is responsible for killing my
friend on that plane and for killing the friends of families of thousands
and thousands of people. How dare you talk about more killing now! Shame!
Shame! Shame! Explain your actions in support of the Taliban! Tell us
why your father and his partner Mr. Reagan trained Mr. bin Laden in how
to be a terrorist!
Am I angry? You bet I am. I am an American citizen, and my leaders have
taken my money to fund mass murder. And now my friends have paid the price
with their lives.
Keep crying, Mr. Bush. Keep running to Omaha or wherever it is you go
while others die, just as you ran during Vietnam while claiming to be
"on duty" in the Air National Guard. Nine boys from my high
school died in that miserable war. And now you are asking for "unity"
so you can start another one? Do not insult me or my country like this!
Yes, I, too, will be in church at noon today, on this national day of
mourning. I will pray for you, and us, and the children of New York, and
the children of this sad and ugly world.
SENSE AND NONSENSE ABOUT SEPTEMBER 11
September 12, 2001
By Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St Clair
Did Osama bin-Laden outwit US intelligence agencies in a deadly game
of decoy or double bluff? CounterPunch has learned from two sources that
a) three weeks before the attack of September 11 security at the World
Trade Center was abruptly heightened and that b) six weeks before the
attack a US army base in New Jersey was placed on top security alert.
As regards the heightened security at the Trade Center, we are told
that according to a businessman working in World Trade Building number
7 (the 41-story structure that collapsed after having been evacuated)
"security was heightened three weeks ago, including the introduction
for the first time of sniffer dogs and the physical search of all trucks
prior to their being waved into the entrance from the street.
The US army base in New Jersey is the Arsenal at Picatinny. Our informant
says that at the start of July the Arsenal was placed at a very state
of alert, with some staff locked in their offices for a period. Set this
information against the fact that Osama bin Laden, now prime suspect,
said in an interview three weeks ago with Abdel-Bari Atwan, the editor
of the London-based al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper, that he planned "very,
very big attacks against American interests."
On the night of September 11 Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts told
CNN that CIA director George Tenet informed him before the attack that
the Agency had recently thwarted an attack by bin Laden's organization.
So, was there an attempted attack some time in August, or was it merely
a feint by the bin Laden units, to prompt an alert, then a relaxation
of US security procedures?
US intelligence agencies, stung with charges that they are responsible
for a failure of catastrophic proportions, are successfully pressing for
bigger funding, with the likelihood that the present $30 billion outlay
will soar upward.
The September 11th onslaughts on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon
are being likened to Pearl Harbor and the comparison is just. From the
point of view of the assailants the attacks were near miracles of logistical
calculation, timing, courage in execution and devastation inflicted upon
the targets. The Pearl Harbor base containing America's naval might was
thought to be invulnerable, yet in half an hour 2000 were dead, and the
cream of the fleet destroyed. This week, within an hour on the morning
of September 11, security at three different airports was successfully
breached, the crews of four large passenger jets efficiently overpowered,
the cockpits commandeered, navigation coordinates reset.
In three of the four missions the assailants attained successes probably
far beyond the expectations of the planners. As a feat of suicidal aviation
the Pentagon kamikaze assault was particularly audacious, with eyewitness
accounts describing the Boeing 767 skimming the Potomac before driving
right through the low lying Pentagon perimeter, in a sector housing Planning
The two Trade Center buildings were struck at what structural engineers
say were the points of maximum vulnerability. The strength of the buildings
derived entirely from the steel perimeter frame, designed - so its lead
architect said only last week - to withstand the impact of a Boeing 707.
These buildings were struck full force on the morning of September 11
by Boeings 767s, with fuel tanks fully loaded for the long flights to
the West Coast. Within an hour of the impacts both buildings collapsed.
By evening, a third 46-story Trade Center building had also crumbled.
Not in terms of destructive extent, but in terms of symbolic obliteration
the attack is virtually without historic parallel, a trauma at least as
great as the San Francisco earthquake or the Chicago fire.
Here is bin-Laden, probably the most notorious Islamic foe of America
on the planet, originally trained by the CIA, planner of other successful
attacks on US installations such as the embassies in East Africa, carrying
a $5 million FBI bounty on his head proclaiming the imminence of another
assault, and US intelligence was impotent, even though the attacks must
have taken months, if not years to plan, and even though CNN has reported
that bin-Laden and his coordinating group al-Qa'ida had been using an
airstrip in Afghanistan to train pilots to fly 767s.
Back in the 1960s and 1970s, when hijacking was a preoccupation, the
possibility of air assaults on buildings such as the Trade Center were
a major concern of US security and intelligence agencies. But since the
1980s and particularly during the Clinton-Gore years the focus shifted
to more modish fears, such as bio-chemical assault and nuclear weapons
launched by so-called rogue states. This latter threat had the allure
of justifying the $60 billion investment in Missile Defense aka Star Wars.
The national security budget is grotesquely tilted towards high tech,
costly items, and this is reflected in the procurement policies of the
intelligence agencies which have poured money into satellites, spy planes
and snooping technologies, (which are so incompetent they even failed
to detect India's nuclear detonations in June of 1998), all at the expense
of human intelligence.
One of the biggest proponents of the bio-chemical threat was Al Gore's
security advisor, Leon Fuerth, who wailed plaintively amid the rubble
of the Pentagon that "In effect the country's at war but we don't
have the coordinates of the enemy."
In the aftermath of the attack, calls for retribution mounted rapidly,
few with more venom that the oration in Congress from the junior senator
from New York, who was positively blood curdling in contrast to Mayor
Rudy Giuliani's commendable performance as a leader and as a public voice
counseling against over-hasty identification of the attackers.
The phrases "faceless coward" and "faceless enemy"
have been bandied about. This phrase has a savage resonance to those who
recall its use in America's war in Vietnam. In 1965 CIA officer George
Carver wrote an infamous article in Foreign Affairs titled "The Faceless
Vietcong", which rationalized the US campaign of assassination and
torture of civilians in South Vietnam that came to be known as the Phoenix
The lust for retaliation traditionally outstrips precision in identifying
the actual assailant. By early evening, September 11, America's national
security establishment was calling for a removal of all impediments on
the assassination of foreign leaders. Led by President Bush, they were
endorsing the prospect of attacks not just on the perpetrators but on
those who might have harbored them. From the nuclear priesthood is coming
the demand that mini-nukes be deployed on a preemptive basis against the
enemies of America.
The targets abroad will be all the usual suspects: rogue states, (most
of which, like the Taleban or Saddam Hussein, started off as creatures
of US intelligence). The target at home will be the Bill of Rights. Less
than a week ago the FBI raided Infocom, the Texas-based web host for Muslim
groups such as the Council on Islamic Relations, the Islamic Society of
North America, the Islamic Association for Palestine, and the Holy Land
Declan McCullagh, political reporter for Wired, has described how within
hours of the blast FBI agents began showing up at internet service providers
demanding that they place "Carnivore system" traces to track
e-mail traffic on their systems. In some cases the FBI offered to underwrite
the costs of installing "Carnivore". McCullagh quotes one Microsoft
engineer as saying that Microsoft "officials have been receiving
calls from the San Francisco FBI office since mid-Tuesday morning and
are cooperating with their expedited request for information about a few
Most of the account names start with the word 'Allah' and contain messages
Palestinians have been denied visas, and those in this country can,
under the terms of the Counter-Terrorism Act of the Clinton years, be
held and expelled without due process. The explosions were not an hour
old before terror pundits like Anthony Cordesman, Wesley Clark, Robert
Gates and Lawrence Eagleburger were saying that these attacks had been
possible "because America is a democracy", adding that now some
democratic perquisites might have to be abandoned. What might this mean?
Increased domestic snooping by US law enforcement and intelligence agencies;
ethnic profiling; another drive for a national ID card system.
The aftermath of the attacks did not offer a flattering exhibition of
America's leaders. For most of the day the only Bush who looked composed
and in control was Laura, who happened to waiting to testify on Capitol
Hill. Her husband gave a timid and stilted initial reaction in Sarasota,
Florida, then disappeared for an hour before resurfacing Barksdale airbase
in Shreveport, Louisiana, where he gave another flaccid address with every
appearance of bring on tranquilizers. He was then flown to a bunker in
Nebraska, before someone finally had the wit to suggest that the best
place for an American president at time of national emergency is the Oval
Other members of the cabinet were equally elusive. Secretary of State
Colin Powell, who has managed to avoid almost every site of crisis or
debate was once again absent from the scene, in Latin America. Defense
Secretary Donald Runsfeld remained invisible most of the day, even though
it would have taken him only a few short steps to get to the Pentagon
pressroom and make some encouraging remarks. When he did finally appear
the substance of his remarks and his demeanor were even more banal and
unprepossessing than those of his commander in chief. At no point did
Vice President Cheney appear in public.
Some presidential contenders make haste to present themselves to the
press. John McCain curdled the air with threats against America's foes,
as did John Kerry, who immediately blamed bin-Laden and who stuck the
knife firmly into CIA director George Tenet, citing Tenet as having told
him not long ago that the CIA had neutralized an impending attack by bin-Laden.
Orrin Hatch told CNN, "This looks like the signature of Osama bin-Laden.
We're going to find out who did this and we're going after the bastards.
Yes, this is the same Hatch who was a senior Republican on the senate
intelligence committee when the CIA was arming bin-Laden and the Afghan
rebels. In 1998 Hatch told MSNBC that he would support the fundamentalist
Afghan rebels again even if he knew that it would create another bin Laden.
"It was worth it", Hatch said.
Absent national political leadership, the burden of rallying the nation
fell as usual upon the TV anchors, all of whom seem to have resolved early
on to lower the emotional temper, though Tom Brokaw did lisp a declaration
of War against Terror. One of the more ironic sights was Dan Rather talking
about retaliation against bin Laden. It was of course Rather, wrapped
in a turban, who voyaged to the Hindu Kush in the early 1980s to send
back paeans to the Mujahiddeen (trained and supplied by the CIA in its
largest ever operation), which ushered onto the world stage such well
trained cadres as those now deployed against America.
The eyewitness reports of the collapse of the two Trade Center buildings
were not inspired, at least for those who have heard the famous eyewitness
radio reportage of the crash of the Hindenberg zeppelin in Lakehurst,
New Jersey in 1937 with the anguished cry of the reporter, "Oh the
humanity, the humanity". Radio and TV reporters these days seem incapable
of narrating an ongoing event with any sense of vivid language or dramatic
The commentators were similarly incapable of explaining with any depth
the likely context of the attacks. It was possible to watch the cream
of the nation's political analysts and commentating classes, hour after
hour, without ever hearing the word "Israel", unless in the
context of a salutary teacher in how to deal with Muslims. One could watch
hour after hour without hearing any intimation that these attacks might
be the consequence of the recent Israeli rampages in the Occupied Territories
that have included assassinations of Palestinian leaders and the slaughter
of Palestinian civilians with the use of American aircraft; that these
attacks might also stem from the sanctions against Iraq that have seen
upward of a million children die; that these attacks might in part be
a response to US cruise missile attacks on the Sudanese factories that
had been loosely fingered by US intelligence as connected to bin-Laden.
In fact September 11 was the anniversary of George W. Bush's speech
to Congress in 1990, heralding war against Iraq. It was also the anniversary
of the Camp David accords, which signaled the US buy-out of Egypt as any
countervailing force for Palestinian rights in the Middle East. One certain
beneficiary of the attacks is Israel. Polls had been showing popular dislike
here for Israel's recent tactics, which may have been the motivation for
Colin Powell's few bleats of reproof to Israel. We will be hearing no
such bleats in the weeks to come. The attackers probably bet on that too,
as a way of making the US's support for Israeli intransigence even more
explicit, finishing off Arafat in the process.
"Freedom," said George Bush in Sarasota in the first sentence
of his first reaction, "was attacked this morning by a faceless coward."
That properly represents the stupidity and blindness of almost all of
the mainstream political commentary. By contrast, the commentary on economic
consequences was more informative, even though the possibility of a deep
plunge in the world economy was barely dealt with. Yet before the attacks
the situation was extremely precarious, with the possibility of catastrophic
deflation as the 1990s bubble bursts, and the stresses of world over-capacity
and lack of purchasing power take an ever-greater toll.
Worst hit, and therefore most likely precipitate of a wider crash, is
the insurance industry, whose predicament is now desperate, with an exposure
that is, in the words of a spokesman for Swiss Re, the world's second
largest reinsurer, "completely inestimable" . Likely outfall
in the short-term: hiked energy prices, a further drop in global stock
George Bush will have no trouble in raiding the famous lock-box, using
Social Security Trust Funds to give more money to the Defense Department.
That about sums it up. Three planes are successfully steered into three
of America's most conspicuous buildings and America's response will be
to put more money in missile defense as a way of bolstering the economy.
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