Stephen J. Sniegoski on the anomalies of September 11 -- part four

September 11 and the origins of the "War on Terrorism":
A revisionist account

by Stephen J. Sniegoski, concluded.

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Part four



Despite her preparations for war, the United States couldn't just launch an attack on Afghanistan; U.S. officials required a compelling pretext in order to mobilize the American public into supporting a war in that faraway, and, to most people, unknown land. As Brzezinski had acknowledged, American military expansion into Central Asia could not be undertaken "except in the circumstance of a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat." [83] Even more importantly, an irresistible provocation was needed to prevent strong opposition to such a war in Iran and Pakistan. Support — or, in the case of Iran, acquiescence — was seen as necessary to allow for the successful conduct of such a war.

Was September 11 just a fortuitous event that meshed perfectly with U.S. strategic designs for foreign oil resources and with actual U.S. military planning? Such serendipity does occasionally occur. However, even if the 9/11 attacks were such a case, they would still deserve to be placed in historical and political context, since they allowed the United States to capitalize upon them by implementing a preexisting military agenda. Hitler may not have started the Reichstag fire, but he certainly intended to become dictator and was able to exploit the fire to achieve his goal; and that would be worth putting in context. But the official media portrayal of the "war on terrorism" as simply an effort to remove the evil people who attacked America is contextless. The aims of the war are quite different. If the terrible tragedy of September 11 had not served as a pretext for America's war policy, something else probably would have, though undoubtedly less effectively.

But given the evidence presented in this article, it is also conceivable that high U.S. officials had advance knowledge of a terrorist attack and decided to let it proceed, perhaps without envisioning the magnitude of the destruction, in order to provide a catalyst for their already planned war in Afghanistan. (We can probably exclude from that knowing circle President Dodo, who doesn't seem to have a clue as to what's going on beyond believing that we are good and they are bad.)


Israel's involvement

As important as the interest of Big Oil is, the success of America's foreign policy requires the backing of the supporters of Israel, who hold a dominant place in the official media. Israel's supporters in America, unsurprisingly, constitute the vanguard of those who are working to enlarge the war into one against Israel's enemies. But Israel is more than simply a beneficiary of the 9/11 attack. Considerable evidence exists that Israel had some connection to the attack, at least to the extent that her intelligence agents possessed prior knowledge of it.

For years stories have circulated that Israeli agents — especially those of Israel's foreign intelligence agency, the Mossad — have infiltrated Arab terrorist networks and have sometimes actually involved themselves in deceptive terroristic activities designed to appear as the work of Arabs. For example, it has been claimed — by Victor Ostrovsky, for one — that the Mossad had foreknowledge of the attack on the U.S. Marine Barracks in Lebanon in 1983. [84] Other observers allege that the Mossad thoroughly infiltrated the nefarious terrorist group Abu Nidal and even turned some of its terrorist activities to Israel's benefit. [85]

Anent the notorious Lavon Affair, even mainstream writers — and, to some extent, the Israeli government itself — have acknowledged Israel's deceptive terrorism. In July 1954, Egypt was plagued by a series of bomb outrages directed mainly against American and British property in Cairo and Alexandria. The bombings, generally assumed to be the work of Arab nationalists, had the effect of heightening tensions at a time when Egypt was negotiating with Britain over the evacuation of Britain's military bases in the Suez Canal Zone. Ultimately, the bombings contributed to the attack on Egypt by the British and French (and Israel) in the Suez crisis of 1956. The terrorist bombings were actually carried out by Egyptian Jews in the service of Israel. [86]

The belief that Israel might engage in such deceptive terrorism against the United States is expressed in a recent study by the Army's School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS). A reference to this study appeared, poignantly, in a front-page article in the Washington Times on September 10, 2001 — one day before the horrific attacks. According to the article, "Of the Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service, the SAMS officers say: 'Wildcard. Ruthless and cunning. Has capability to target U.S. forces and make it look like a Palestinian/Arab act.'" [87]

Intimations of a possible Israeli connection emerged immediately after the September 11 tragedy (and, naturally, were publicized by Islamic sources). Initial reports from Israel said that 4,000 Israelis worked in the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon, or in their vicinity. However, it turned out that only one Israeli (or at most a very few Israelis) died. The Islamic media inferred from this that Israelis in the target areas had received prior warning. Jewish groups and the Establishment media have labeled that inference "anti-Semitic." It is undeniable that the Islamic media did embellish the story; they have offered no evidence that Israel actually provided a warning. On the other hand, unless the initial figure of 4,000 Israelis has been credibly recanted or refuted, the minute death ratio would seem to seriously challenge the laws of probability. [88]


Mysterious Israeli "movers"

Law enforcement officials took at least three different groups of Israelis into custody after eyewitnesses reported seeing them celebrating in several locations in New Jersey, across the river from lower Manhattan, as the September 11 attacks occurred. In two cases, men were reported to have videotaped the initial attack on the World Trade Center. Witnesses say it appeared that they knew what would happen before it happened.

It is also alleged that some of the men arrested were carrying maps linking them to the blasts. All the detained Israelis were connected to Israeli-owned moving companies operating out of New York and New Jersey. [89] A clear implication is that the moving companies were fronts for an Israeli spy network.


Fox story on Israeli spies in the U.S.

On December 12, Fox News with Brit Hume, featuring reporter Carl Cameron, broke an eye-opening story that federal law enforcement officials had detained approximately 60 Israeli citizens, including some described as active Israeli military or intelligence operatives, in the course of the post-September 11 roundup of potential terrorists. U.S. officials suspected that the Israelis were part of an extensive Israeli intelligence network active in America, which probably had obtained advance information of the September 11 attacks.

Regarding the September 11 connection, Cameron reported: "There is no indication that the Israelis were involved in the 9/11 attacks, but investigators suspect that the Israelis may have gathered intelligence about the attacks in advance and not shared it. A highly placed investigator said there are 'tie-ins.' But when asked for details, he flatly refused to describe them, saying, 'Evidence linking these Israelis to 9/11 is classified. I cannot tell you about evidence that has been gathered. It's classified information.'" [90]

Muddying these already murky waters are claims that Israel did pass on warnings to the U.S. government that agents of Osama Bin Laden were preparing a major assault on the United States. [91] However, the alleged warnings do not seem to have been as specific as the information Fox News implies Israel possessed. In short, the alleged Israeli warnings did not offer the United States any more information than the many other warnings that were flowing in.

Conceivably, the apparently vague warnings could simply represent an effort on the part of Israeli intelligence to protect itself from the charge that it was withholding vital information from the United States. The U.S. government seems to tolerate, unofficially, a high level of Israeli spying in the United States, but surely Washington expects to derive some benefit in return.


The question of state terrorism

A considerable number of intelligence experts have contended that the whole September 11 event was too complicated to have been successfully conducted by al Qaeda and that it required state sponsorship. Some have pointed to Iraq, a few to Iran; however, no evidence inculpating either of those states has turned up. Intelligence specialists committed to the mainstream have refrained, of course, from pointing any accusatory fingers at Israel or the United States.

In a January 3 interview in the German daily Tagesspiegel, intelligence expert Andreas von Bülow maintains that "the planning of the attacks was technically and organizationally a master achievement. To hijack four huge airplanes within a few minutes and within one hour, to drive them into their targets, with complicated flight maneuvers! This is unthinkable, without years-long support from secret apparatuses of the state and industry.... I have real difficulties, however, to imagine that all this sprang out of the mind of an evil man in his cave." [92]

Even if we assume that Bin Laden is an evil genius capable of directing a complex attack from halfway around the globe, fundamental problems with the official story persist. For in the official view, Bin Laden somehow orchestrated the attack without relying on electronic communications. And not only that: intelligence agencies had already identified, as his associates, the men who allegedly received his instructions. How could Bin Laden have directed a complicated scheme, executed by people known to be his associates, without the authorities detecting anything? That the September 11 event took place in the way that the official story claims it did is highly unlikely.



As I stated at the beginning, I hold a moderate revisionist view of America's current war on terrorism. We may divide 9/11 revisionism into four different categories, from mild to hard-line. The mildest form would be that of Kinsley and Matthews, in which the purpose of the war has been illicitly broadened from its original intent: punishing the perpetrators of the September 11 crime. A somewhat harder version holds that the broader war was intended from the very outset and that the September 11 atrocities simply provided a pretext to put the war plan into action. More hard-line is the view that the U.S. government was aware of the attack before it occurred and allowed it to proceed in order to achieve a pretext for war. And the hardest line of all would have it that the beneficiaries of the war actually facilitated the atrocities. Among the claims of this version are that U.S. warplanes intentionally allowed the hijackers to reach their targets; that the U.S. government placed bombs in the World Trade Center to make sure it would collapse; and that Osama Bin Laden had nothing to do with the attack but was simply a convenient scapegoat.

It seems obvious that the events of September 11 did provide a pretext to achieve, by military action, already-existing foreign policy goals. To believe that American military action was aimed simply at bringing to justice the perpetrators of the act — Matthews's "firefighters' war" — is sheer naiveté. It not only ignores significant information but also fails to reflect any understanding of how policymakers work.

Similarly, the extreme revisionist version whereby the U.S. government actually perpetrated the horrific events of September 11 represents a move into conspiratorial la-la-land. Such loopy ideas actually serve Establishment interests by discrediting any more-sober attempt to revise the official account. (As I have implied, one might want to be a little slower to ridicule the hypothesis of Israeli sponsorship.)

As for the evidence that points to prior knowledge by the United States and Israel, this writer is just not sure. But such a scenario must not be written off as an absurd impossibility, as the Establishment media and academia customarily do with "conspiracy theories" that are in some way "anti-Establishment" (while simultaneously promoting a host of other conspiracy theories that comport better with their own world-view). Obviously, the whole affair cries out for a rigorous investigation — in fact the qualifier rigorous should be deleted because the only evidence so far has come from the news media. Apparently, no official investigation whatsoever of the "foreknowledge scenario" has occurred, and, of course, no government documents have been subjected to public perusal; most interesting among the latter would be information from the intelligence agencies, such as intercepts and surveillance tapes.

However, having studied the background of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, [93] I am struck by the amount of information already available that runs counter to the official line. It took years to reach a comparable stage in the analysis of Pearl Harbor, and it required numerous investigations. Granted, the Pearl Harbor investigations were largely government whitewashes; but, willy-nilly, those probes dragged numerous anomalies into the light. In fact, they eventually forced the Establishment to retreat from its original "bolt-from-the-blue while a totally unsuspecting America was listening to Jack Benny on the radio" fable.

Unfortunately, in the case of the September 11 catastrophe, the anomalous information that was released, incautiously or unavoidably, right after the event seems to have been thrown down the memory hole and officially forgotten. The leads simply have not been investigated — which is understandable in a world always short of heroes, because pulling on those threads would probably not be a career-enhancing activity. Who is to say? — it might not even be life-enhancing.

I have one final observation about the overall Establishment position, an observation which is so obvious it is often overlooked. "Defensive" wars are intended to stop some action from continuing or from taking place — such wars are aimed, classically, at "driving the invader from our country." Now, many commentators justify the "war on terrorism" as a defense of the United States. But the fact of the matter is that government officials make little effort to demonstrate how their "war on terrorism" will eliminate, or even lessen, the terrorist threat to the United States. As their critics have pointed out, it is none other than U.S. military interventionism that provokes terrorists to target the United States for attacks. [94] Thus, as the United States expands and intensifies her war against terrorism around the globe, she actually increases the likelihood of terrorist strikes against the American homeland.

If the war has not reduced the terrorist threat to America, what has it done? — what might it do? It has been partly successful, at best, in bringing to justice the perpetrators of 9/11. It has disrupted the al Qaeda network, though Osama Bin Laden and many of his leading associates remain at large. But at the same time, the war has achieved the establishment of an American military presence in energy-rich Central Asia and a pliable government in Afghanistan. Moreover, the war has given a green light to Israel to smash the Palestinians; and it has smoothed the path for a U.S. assault against Israel's major enemies, starting with Iraq.

When a war advances the long-sought aims of a power and its chief ally, may we not infer the purpose of the war from those results? But perhaps that kind of logic is too old-fashioned.

March 22, 2002

To Dr. Sniegoski's
update and afterward of April 12.

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