Part 3 of Truth, Lies, and The Legend of 9/11: Truth Lies Legend
As we shall see, the various elements of the 9/11 Legend were assembled with the help of a number of international players. Through the Pakistani ISI (an organization, in fact, with close historical ties to the CIA and British intelligence), the Taliban were armed and installed as the resident overlords of Afghanistan. Under the watchful eye of German intelligence, lead hijacker Mohamed Atta would set up his Hamburg "cell" of conspirators, sharing a flat with senior al-Qaida operative Ramzi Binalshibh. Through French authorities, particularly with the assistance of Judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere (a friend of John O'Neill), Zacarias Moussaoui (arrested August 2001) and senior Al-Qaida leader Abu Zubaydah (the first "big fish" captured in March 2002) would work their way into the official 9/11 Legend. By way of Spanish Police Chief Juan Cotino (who was also a senior figure in Europol), other al-Qaida cells were discovered as further proof of bin Laden's global reach. In fact, as the 9/11 Legend would have it, Mohamed Atta had rendezvoused with Ramzi Binalshibh in Spain sometime in July 2001, where the two presumably made final preparations for September 11 (see Links below). Around the same time, the FBI's lead point man on al-Qaida, John O'Neill, was in Madrid to discuss counter-terror issues with Police Chief Cotino. Thereafter, O'Neill made his last public appearance (before his retirement the next month) at a counter-terror conference held at a three-star hotel in the Spanish resort town of Salou - coincidentally, only a few days before Mohammed Atta had checked into the very same hotel in his last international trip before September 11 (a curious fact reported in John Miller's book "The Cell"). Atta's previous trip to Madrid had been in January 2001, within days of the very first Europol Conference On Terrorism, also held in Madrid.
Finally, the United Kingdom served as a major transit point, educational center, and source of "evidence" pointing to the hijackers and various al-Qaida operatives - most notably, Omar Saeed, Zacarias Moussaoui, and Richard Reid, the so-called "shoe bomber." Thus, the very countries that were so prominent in furnishing the various elements of the 9/11 Legend - "burnishing" it with a globalized gloss - also happened to be the same countries that served as senior partners in the War On Terror.
The fact that France and Germany have since headed up opposition to the War In Iraq should not be taken as an irreconcilable contradiction in this regard. Rather, just the opposite. As we shall see, a strategy to cast doubt on the War In Iraq - fuelled by elements in the CIA and some of the more vociferous supporters of the War On Terror - has actually worked to strengthen the credibility of the overall 9/11 Legend. In counter-point to that strategy lies a fall-back option that "localizes" any potential conspiracy to a "rogue" clique of "hawks" holding President Bush in their ideological sway - the markedly Jewish and pro-Israeli neo-conservatives, an apparent CIA "cut-out" helmed by Richard Mellon Scaife (see Links below). during the Clinton years, then by Richard Cheney in the early months after 9/11 before he mostly disappeared from public view along with his defibrillator, and most famously now, by Richard Perle (a product of the RAND Corporation).
As I argued previously in The Propaganda Preparation For 9/11, the Saudis, Pakistanis, and Israelis were set up as the primary alternate foreign patsies to divert attention from the far more plausible (and obvious) involvement of the U.S./U.K./E.U., the very alliance which now spearheads the War On Terror even as it choreographs the Official 9/11 Legend. As we shall see, with the relatively recent prominence of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed as 9/11 mastermind, Iraq now takes its place as a plausible patsy (particularly since Colin Powell's introduction of a new al-Qaeda leader by the name of Abu Musab Zarqawi, a Baghdad-based Palestinian whose legend and motives will no doubt grow out of the recently completed War In Iraq). With regard to the Saudis, their actual involvement was more indirect - as they financed the various Pakistani madrassas (Muslim yeshivas) that served as a farming system for the hordes of wild-eyed Wahhabi idealists looking to set up camp in Afghanistan. Still, their domination of the Middle East media served to give an impression - to Western eyes - that bin Laden was more intimately known among the Arab/Muslim masses than he was by an insular clique in the Western security establishment.
Heading up that clique was Richard A. Clarke, who joined the National Security Council under the first President Bush, and stayed there under Clinton. As reported by Lawrence Wright in The New Yorker, "In the web of federal agencies concerned with terror, Clarke was the spider." Tim Weiner of the New York Times wrote of Clarke on February 1, 1999: "He has placed proteges in key diplomatic and intelligence positions, creating a network of loyalty and solidifying his power."
It was Clarke who, together with John O'Neill, "discovered" bin Laden as a global terrorist mastermind. Here, as reported by Lawrence Wright in The New Yorker, was Clarke's version of his discovery:
"We'd [O'Neill and I] see CIA reports that referred to 'financier Osama bin Laden' and we'd ask ourselves, 'Who the hell is he?' The more we drilled down, the more we realized he was not just a financier - he was the leader. John said, 'We've got to get this guy. He's building a network. Everything leads back to him.' Gradually the CIA came along with us."
Presumably, Clarke had help in marketing bin Laden - for bin Laden himself would soon enough make his high profile media debut as the declared enemy of American interests the world over, thereby giving the world's only superpower a plausibly sophisticated foe who would overshadow the efforts of one Muslim fanatic (Ramzi Yousef, World Trade Center '93) or one right-wing nutcase (Timothy Mc Veigh, Oklahoma '95). Meanwhile, the gregarious John O'Neill would make the global rounds, liaising with various counterparts as he shadowed the presumed activities of Osama bin Laden. In other words, if one were theoretically to posit the type of operatives who would be most suited to running a highly compartmentalized "op" to develop a global legend of Osama bin Laden, one could find no more conveniently placed men than Richard Clarke and John O'Neill. Where Clarke would manage the national security rank-and-file through his network of loyalists, O'Neill would be the globetrotter, coordinating the unfolding legend through his counterparts in various countries.
In short, Clarke and O'Neill would theoretically be conducting their activities in "plain sight." Under the cover of counter-terrorism, O'Neill would be building a terror legend fit for the New World Order - in the same manner that Oliver North in the '80s employed the cover of counter-terrorism to conduct, on behalf of Vice-President Bush, the illegal arms dealing operations popularly known as Iran-Contra (for which North took a decidedly light rap as the designated patsy). The main difference would be that where North would eventually be tagged as the moron of Iran-Contra, O'Neill would take his place as the martyr of 9/11.
In the few months leading up to September 11, O'Neill - for the first time in his 30-year career with the FBI - would make the headlines in two separate scandals. The first, reported in July 2001, concerned O'Neill's dispute with Ambassador Barbara Bodine in Yemen, where O'Neill was reportedly pursuing al-Qaida links to the U.S.S. Cole bombing. As the story had it, O'Neill was too much the cowboy for Bodine's tastes, and so she summarily banned him from returning to Yemen. The second scandal, reported in August 2001, concerned a briefcase of classified documents that O'Neill had misplaced during a convention in Tampa. Considering the resolution of the latter scandal - the documents were found, "untouched," a couple hours later - it seemed much ado about nothing. Yet in the light of O'Neill's subsequent death as head of security for the World Trade Center on September 11, the scandals began to take on a more suspicious tint. Was O'Neill digging too deep? A maverick who stepped on too many feet in his efforts to bulldog his way through the hierarchy? Put bluntly, had the maverick been taken down a notch by a bloated bureaucracy beholden to a "cover-your-ass" ethic? As Richard Clarke, Jerry Hauer, John Miller, Chris Isham, and O'Neill's friends/colleagues at Kroll Associates would spin it, O'Neill's was the lone voice shouting in the wilderness, warning all who would listen about the approaching bin Laden threat before falling himself, "ironically", at the hands of bin Laden.
It was an ingenious cover story - for if O'Neill was a crucial operative in assembling the al-Qaida elements that fed into the 9/11 Legend, then O'Neill's crystallized role as official 9/11 martyr would forever obscure the trail to September 11, and, by extension, leave his most intimate comrades and contacts out of the suspect category. In short, it would be like reconstructing the murder of Nicole Simpson without O.J. in the tale. With O'Neill cast as martyr, 9/11 critics would now be left with a mishmash of innuendos and bits and pieces of shadowy conspiracies: Israeli spy rings that trail off into the ether of Fox News; passenger lists with missing hijackers; and abandoned "put" options. If the shadowy conspiracy had a face, it was in the image of either Dick Cheney or Richard Perle. But then again, who marketed them as the latest powers behind the throne? Where were the folks who brought us BCCI, Iran-Contra, and the Warren Commission? Where were James Baker, Zbigniew Brzezinski, David Rockefeller, Kissinger?
Next: Assembling The 9/11 Counter-Legends (or, Stacking Your Patsies) Truth Lies Patsies
Also see... Truth Lies
Truth Lies Omar 911review
9-11 Review Wiki