[R-G] Two Loud Words
david.mcr at earthlink.net
Mon Jan 5 21:25:46 MST 2004
Goes to a misc. left list.
> Two Loud Words
> William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times best-selling author of two books,
> War On Iraq (Context Books) and The Greatest Sedition is Silence (Pluto
> Press). His book Our Flag, Too: The Paradox of Patriotism will be
> in August from Context Books.
> There have always been 'third-rail' issues in American politicssubjects
> that, if touched upon, will lead to certain political death. For a long
> while, and until very recently, Social Security was one of these issues.
> A new one, surrounding the attacks of 9/11, has been born in this
> season. If 9/11 is discussed, the only allowable sub-topic to be broached
> whether the Bush administration is capable of keeping us safe from another
> The Jan. 2 edition of The Boston Globe had a case in point on the front
> page. An article titled "For Bush, Readiness is Key Issue" stated that,
> speech after speech, President Bush has emphasized his administration's
> pledge never to forget the lessons of Sept. 11. He says the top goal of
> administration is to prevent another attack." The Globe article contained,
> in the next paragraph, the standardized rejoinder: "And while Democratic
> opponents of the administration are unanimous in their hope that that
> vulnerability is not exposed with deadly results, they have also argued
> Bush has done far too little to protect the country from another attack.
> has refused to adequately reimburse state and local officials for homeland
> security costs, they argue, and has ignored dangerous gaps in air cargo
> port security."
> Thus, the "preparedness-gap" becomes the whittled-down talking point du
> jour. This is a whiff of colossal proportions, the implications of which
> will echo down the halls of history unless someone develops enough spine
> speak the truth into a large microphone. The talking point is not
> to manage. It was splashed in gaudy multi-point font across the front page
> of the New York Post in May of 2002.
> Two words: 'Bush Knew.'
> It is, frankly, amazing that this has fallen down the memory hole. Recall
> two headlines from that period. The first, from the UK Guardian on May 19,
> 2002, was titled "Bush Knew of Terrorist Plot to Hijack US Planes." The
> first three paragraphs of this story read:
> "George Bush received specific warnings in the weeks before 11 September
> that an attack inside the United States was being planned by Osama bin
> Laden's al-Qaeda network, US government sources said yesterday. In a
> top-secret intelligence memo headlined 'Bin Laden determined to strike in
> the US', the President was told on 6 August that the Saudi-born terrorist
> hoped to 'bring the fight to America' in retaliation for missile strikes
> al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan in 1998. Bush and his aides, who are facing
> withering criticism for failing to act on a series of warnings, have
> previously said intelligence experts had not advised them domestic targets
> were considered at risk. However, they have admitted they were
> told that hijacks were being planned."
> Another story on the topic came from The New York Times on May 15, 2002,
> was titled "Bush Was Warned bin Laden Wanted to Hijack Planes."
> Unlike the Guardian piece, the Times chose to lead the article with the
> administration's cover story, one the administration has stuck with to
> "The White House said tonight that President Bush had been warned by
> American intelligence agencies in early August that Osama bin Laden was
> seeking to hijack aircraft but that the warnings did not contemplate the
> possibility that the hijackers would turn the planes into guided missiles
> for a terrorist attack. 'It is widely known that we had information that
> Laden wanted to attack the United States or United States interests
> Ari Fleischer, the president's press secretary, said this evening. 'The
> president was also provided information about bin Laden wanting to engage
> hijacking in the traditional pre-9/11 sense, not for the use of suicide
> ing, not for the use of an airplane as a missile.'"
> Yes, we were warned, said the Bush administration, but who could have
> conceived of terrorists using airplanes for suicide bombings?
> A lot of people, actually.
> According to a Time magazine story that appeared on Jan. 2, 2004, National
> Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice is balking at requests to testify before
> Thomas Kean's 9/11 commission under oath. She also wants her testimony to
> taken behind closed doors, and not in public. The crux of her hesitation
> would appear on the surface to be her comments of May 16 2002, in which
> used the above-referenced excuse that no one "could have predicted that
> would try to use a hijacked airplane as a missile." If that excuse is
> reflective of reality, why does she fear to testify under oath?
> Perhaps Ms. Rice fears testifying because too many facts are now in hand,
> thanks in no small part to the work of 9/11 widows like Kristen
> which fly in the face of the administration's demurrals. For example, in
> 1993, a $150,000 study was commissioned by the Pentagon to investigate the
> possibility of an airplane being used to bomb national landmarks. A draft
> document of this was circulated throughout the Pentagon, the Justice
> Department and to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. In 1994, a
> disgruntled Federal Express employee broke into the cockpit of a DC-10
> plans to crash it into a company building in Memphis.
> That same year, a lone pilot crashed a small plane into a tree on the
> House grounds, narrowly missing the residence. An Air France flight was
> hijacked by members of the Armed Islamic Group, which intended to crash
> plane into the Eiffel Tower. In September 1999, a report titled "The
> Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism" was prepared for U.S. intelligence
> the Federal Research Division, an arm of the Library of Congress. It
> "Suicide bombers belonging to Al Qaeda's Martyrdom Battalion could
> crash-land an aircraft packed with high explosives (C-4 and Semtex) into
> Pentagon, the headquarters of the CIA, or the White House."
> Throughout the spring and early summer of 2001, intelligence agencies
> flooded the government with warnings of possible terrorist attacks against
> American targets, including commercial aircraft, by Al Qaeda and other
> groups. A July 5, 2001 White House gathering of the FAA, the Coast Guard,
> the FBI, Secret Service and INS had a top counter-terrorism official,
> Richard Clarke, state that "Something really spectacular is going to
> here, and it's going to happen soon." Donald Kerrick, who is a three-star
> general, was a deputy National Security Advisor in the late Clinton
> administration. He stayed on into the Bush administration. When the Bush
> administration came in, he wrote a memo about terrorism, Al Qaeda and
> bin Laden. The memo said, "We will be struck again." As a result of
> that memo, he was not invited to any more meetings.
> In a late November truthout interview, former Clinton advisor Sidney
> Blumenthal said:
> "Richard Clarke was Director of Counter-Terrorism in the National Security
> Council. He has since left. Clark urgently tried to draw the attention of
> the Bush administration to the threat of al Qaeda. Right at the present,
> Bush administration is trying to withhold documents from the 9/11
> commission. I believe one of the things that they do not want to be known
> what happened on August 6, 2001. It was on that day that George W. Bush
> received his last, and one of the few, briefings on terrorism. I believe
> told Richard Clarke that he didn't want to be briefed on this again, even
> though Clarke was panicked about the alarms he was hearing regarding
> potential attacks. Bush was blithe, indifferent, ultimately
> "The public has a right to know what happened on August 6," continued
> Blumenthal, "what Bush did, what Condi Rice did, what all the rest of them
> did, and what Richard Clarke's memos and statements were. Then the public
> will be able to judge exactly what this presidency has done."
> George W. Bush is going to run in 2004 on the idea that his administration
> is the only one capable of protecting us from another attack like the ones
> which took place on 9/11. Yet the record to date is clear. Not only did
> fail in spectacular fashion to deal with those first threats, not only has
> their reaction caused us to be less safe, not only have they failed to
> sufficiently bolster our defenses, but they used the aftermath of the
> attacks to ram through policies they couldn't have dreamed of achieving on
> September 10. It is one of the most remarkable turnabouts in American
> political history: Never before has an administration used so grisly a
> personal failure to such excellent effect.
> Never mind the final insult: They received all these warnings and went on
> vacation for a month down in Texas. The August 6 briefing might as well
> happened in a vacuum. September 11 could have and should have been
> prevented. Why? Because Bush knew.
> This administration must not be allowed to ride their criminal negligence
> into a second term. Someone needs to say those two words. Loudly. After
> Bush has proven with Social Security and with 9/11 that third rails can be
> danced across. All it takes is a little boldness.
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