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Editor’s note: This is a partial transcript of a talk by John Judge at the University of Washington, Seattle in 2002. John was the co-founder of 911 Citizens Watch, a grassroots watchdog group demanding transparency and a thorough investigation by the National Commission on Terrorist Acts Upon the United States. John also co-founded the Committee for an Open Archives, the Coalition on Political Assassinations, and the Committee for High School Options and Information on Careers, Education and Self-Improvement (CHOICES), a group countering military recruitment in the schools and providing civilian alternatives. He died in 2014 due to complications from a stroke. His final project, established as a 501(c)(3) non-profit in 2012, was the Museum of Hidden History. With John’s passing, work involving the Museum has shifted to developing The Hidden History Center, now housed in York, PA. The vast and incisive legacy of his research and voice provides an inspiring beacon to engage all one’s wits and creative imagination to help the human project change course and stake out a different future than this current one based on the demands of capital and its accumulation. Exercising our intelligence in this manner, with clarity and coherence, is of the highest calling Life presents us with. In the near term the entire 1.5 hour presentation will be produced, complete with annotations. The transcript has been edited for readability.

John Judge:
September 11 Antidote – Exercising Our Imagination
September 11 Critical Analysis
Kane Hall, University of Washington, Seattle
16 February 2002
mp3 file (95+ MB) of complete film (1:33:51)

I also want to get back to the broader question of what is happening now because I do think that we’re at the equivalent of a crossroads in modern human history. I don’t think it happened as a result of September the 11th but I think September the 11th, for those that can take the message, ought to be the final wake-up call that you need in order to take your responsibility as a citizen in this country, in actually the last pocket of relative information flow and privilege in the world that has any chance of stopping this genocidal juggernaut.

But to go back a little bit further, because I used to work with an investigative researcher for about 20 years until the time of her death named Mae Brussell. Mae was an indefatigable. She clipped 15 to 20 daily newspapers, 150 periodicals a month. She read three to five hundred books a year. She broke down the news. She spent eight years cross-reference indexing the 26 Warren Commission Volumes. She broke the code. She figured out who knew who and she figured it out enough that she probably could have done better, she was to tell me, working as a psychic and everybody would have loved her for her predictions. But instead she was called a conspiracy nut when she told Rose Kennedy five days before Bobby was killed that the forces that had killed John were moving on her son in California, or called Mary Jo Kopechne’s parents three days before Chappaquiddick and told them that they were about to kill their daughter.

I used to say to Mae, at one point, because I used to clip the New York Times and the Washington Post daily. I don’t do that anymore because the content available in the papers is reduced to a point that it’s not worth the effort. There’s still a little bit—Jefferson used to say that given a choice between a government without a newspaper or a newspaper without a government he would always choose the latter. And I agree with him but he’d never read the New York Times or the Washington Post, or the current, what we call, media as a swarm of sort of disinformation-tainment that we have that passes for some kind of news.

But even then, I said to Mae, before we had gotten to the source of total disconnect point—because there is a little bit in the obituaries and sometimes in the social page that tell you something at last about the ruling class: who’s in it and who they know and what they do—I suggested back then while she was still alive that knowing what we did by then, about the characters involved in modern history, that we ought to go back to November 22nd 1963 and begin to clip backwards. Because they weren’t covering their fannies quite so well and we could find out a great deal more knowing the general picture and I still would suggest that that’s a useful exercise for those who want to do any research in the post literate world where reading is a subversive activity.

But I did the same in relation then to September the 11th. I thought it was worth clipping backwards a little bit....

Also in early September [2001] you may remember there were Cubans arrested and in a trial for spying on domestic Cuban terrorist groups that had been attacking Castro. Some Cubans from Cuba came into the United States and began to infiltrate those groups. Then they were charging them with spying here even though they weren’t spying on the US government, they were spying on these Cuban organizations. Death squad victims that were buried in mass graves were discovered in Guatemala at the sites of the Central Intelligence Agency camps there from terrorist activities that we had taken part on. Privatization deals at the Caspian Sea region for the oil in Azerbaijan caused some international flap that was reported in The Wall Street Journal and other places.

The United States and the CIA were busy funding 300 non-government organizations and creating a terror campaign, that was compared in its scope to the Contra war in Nicaragua, in Belarus, a country that had formerly been part of the Soviet Union and also was what’s considered white Russia historically and the site of a great deal of the early opposition to the Bolsheviks. It was being reported somewhat in the news at the beginning of September the US was carrying on a terrorist campaign to overthrow the government in Belarus and change an election that was going on there.

On the 5th of September it was reported that the CIA would get its own primetime show on CBS depicting the CIA in a good light and United States troops were reported that day to be staging what was called the world’s largest military maneuvers to date in Egypt.

On the 4th and 5th of September both the New York Times [“U.S. Germ Warfare Research Pushes Treaty Limits”] and the London Sunday Times revealed something called Operation Clear Vision run by the CIA and plans by the CIA and the Defense Intelligence to test anthrax. Operation Clear Vision caused a flap because it seemed to be in clear violation of treaties the US had signed and agreements it had made not to develop anything relating to chemical or biological weapons that wasn’t defensive.

In fact what they had been doing was creating a lab secretly from equipment that they could buy in general merchandising stores or order over the Internet. They built a lab from which they could create anthrax. They also developed an anthrax bomb and they did a test to see if they could smuggle a bomb into the United States. They claimed that it had no detonator and no anthrax in it. But whatever it was, it was an attempt—and they said they had to do this in relation to what they thought were some developments in anthrax in Russia.

It also was revealed there that Rumsfeld had ordered the US military to develop the next grade of anthrax, a weaponized anthrax that would be more distributable, that would be fluffier, able to get around easier, and also that would be genetically modified on a new level that would be resistant to the antibiotics known to stop anthrax’s lethality.

These things were reported on the 4th and 5th of September. On the 6th the DIA, following these articles, I guess felt embarrassed and held a press conference at the Pentagon and the Defense Intelligence Agency announced their plan to test a new variant of anthrax that they had developed [“DIA Hopes to Grow Anthrax Variant to Test Vaccine”]. It also mentioned in the news that day that the current ambassador to Belarus for the United States, was someone named Mike Kozak [“US Terrorism In Belarus,” by John Ashtead, PRAVDA.Ru] He had served under both Reagan and Bush in Panama, Nicaragua, and El Salvador so he had lots of experience for the job is being asked to do.

On the 8th of September representative Ike Skelton, in the Armed Services Committee, said that the United States needed to reposition its military troops in the future near the Caspian Sea. He said that would be the next hot spot. And in fact Zbigniew Brzezinski had said, in a book that he wrote back in the ’80s that in order to control the USSR after it fell it was would be necessary for the US to have a military presence in Uzbekistan [The Grand Chessboard - American Primacy And It’s Geostrategic Imperatives 1998, complete book in PDF)].

I woke up that morning, 9/11, because someone called when the first plane went into the first tower. Another researcher called me. He works with Air Traffic Control there in DC area around the Dulles Airport. He sits on the local County committees. He called me because he was very concerned that something very seriously wrong was happening. He knew that there should not have been a commercial aircraft anywhere near that building. And he called expressing those concerns, feeling out what might be happening. As we were talking about his concerns the second plane hit. That was about 9:03, between 9:03 and 9:05.

Once the second plane hit both of us knew, and I’m sure anybody else that needed to know in the intelligence establishment—I mean they were claiming afterwards they needed more human intelligence at the CIA and the Pentagon and I couldn’t agree more. But those people had to know, at that point, that coincidence theory is out the window, accident theory is out the window and you’ve got planes attacking buildings.

Now this is not an entirely new method of operation nor is it even a new method of operation for the people that are eventually blamed for the attack on September the 11th. The groups around bin Laden, al Qaeda, and the groups that were out of Afghanistan, trained by the US, had in fact crashed planes into buildings in Russia. They had crashed planes in Paris and in Chechnya. So this method of operation was not unknown to the intelligence agencies.

But clearly by 9:05 you’ve got a problem that planes are being used as weapons and you’ve got other planes in the air. By 8:25 NORAD knew that at least four planes—and there were early reports of up to six planes—but at least four planes had been hijacked and were off course that morning in a short period of time in relation to each other.

Shortly after that there was a great deal of activity relating to this plane that had gone out of Dulles Airport toward Los Angeles, turned around in Ohio, and was headed back to Washington DC. It’s reported in the news that they knew about that plane very soon after the second plane hit. There’s one report in the news from William Safire that after the second plane hit, Secret Service grabbed Cheney and started to rush him down to the Situation Room in the White House. They record that as happening about 9:03 and they said, in the report, that on the way down to the Situation Room he was told that a plane was headed toward Washington DC.

I got off the phone with my friend and turned on the local television news. I watched CNN. I watched channel 8. And Channel 8 DC announced at least 25 minutes before the plane hit and I know when it hit because it shook my windows. I’m right across the river from the Pentagon.

So at least 25 minutes before it hit it was announced on local TV that a plane was coming toward DC. It was also announced that they were evacuating the Pentagon, the Capitol, and the White House.

I grew up around DC and I know that it’s the most restricted airspace in the country. They don’t let anything in and out of there that’s not supposed to be flying in there if it’s not military planes. It’s not an area where you can just fly around.

I have seen, growing up in DC, commercial aircraft or small aircraft go off course and stray into that space and I’ve seen things come up out of the surrounding military bases or even within DC itself: helicopters, other planes wag wings and push them back out of that restricted airspace. They have visual cover, they have radar cover over that airspace. So when something violates that airspace it means that something’s going wrong.

I tracked an earlier incident. You may remember this, that a small Piper Cub had flown into the front of the White House. It hit at about bedroom level in the Clinton White House. I woke up that morning and it said that a plane had flown in the front of the White House. They didn’t know where it was from or whose plane it was. They didn’t know who the pilot was. He was dead. They didn’t know if there were other people involved. But, not to worry, said the radio, the Clintons are safe. They weren’t at the White House. The White House is under construction and they’re over at the Blair House, which is another house in the area in near the White House.

I said, as I often said over the years researching these kinds of scenarios, I’m glad that there’s no real terrorists. Because you’ve just told us, You missed him over there boys. He’s at the Blair House.

When I say there’s no real terrorists, I did a talk in 1996 in Los Angeles about exactly this kind of scenario because this is all that I’ve been seeing from the intelligence agencies over the last 20 years: is planning for terrorists, or emergency scenarios like this, and then how do they develop a response and how the response goes all the way up to martial law and an end of civil liberties in the United States and how it becomes an excuse for militarization and other things.

So they have plans for all this that they’ve been working on. And security is a growth industry. I read one thing that when the Pope travels 2,000 people travel for security. That’s a growth industry. If Christ had that much security we wouldn’t have a religion.

So there’s money in it and there’s plans to be made about it and there’s things to be done. They have official plans and they have plans that shift things around when these things happen. I called the talk I gave in ’96 in Los Angeles, “Are You Scared Yet?” Are you scared yet, because I thought that the development of what they were doing and through these different instances, including Waco, and the Murrah building, and Move and these other things that they were setting up, things that would scare the American public. The rest of the talk’s title was, “Phony Terrorism, Counter-Terrorism and the Strategy of Tension. That’s what they call it in Europe where the intelligence agencies use terrorism as a way to manipulate political opinion and gain certain types of political control.

So [with the plane that went into the White House], then they said, later in the day, if you hadn’t gotten the message—because the Blair House is also significant historically as the place where the nationalist Puerto Ricans tried to assassinate, or at least attack, President Truman. So there’s already one signal there. But if that wasn’t enough, they said later in the day that the Clintons weren’t going to cancel their evening plans and that they were going to the Ford Theater. Just a coinkidink.

So I thought this is a message to Clinton but how did it get in there? And then they start having these official statements. First they said they couldn’t see the plane when it came in because it was flying below tree level. There’s modern radar: it was flying below tree level and they couldn’t see it. It must have been above tree level before it got into the tree level down there at the mall so why didn’t they see it then? The guy flying it turns out to be someone that lived on the VA grounds in the Baltimore area on a hundred percent psychiatric disability but his son was quoted in the local paper saying, My dad had keys to lots of planes. So I can’t put those two sentences together. Maybe you can.

In any case he took off in a plane not his at a Baltimore airport and there’s no alert. There goes another one Harry, who you think’s in it? No alert and he comes down into this restricted airspace and he flies around and then finally the official statement was, No, no he was on the radar. We did see him on the radar and it’s on the tapes. But that was between 3:00 and 4:00 in the morning and we don’t look at the radar during those hours. I said, again, It’s a good thing there’s no real terrorists.

So that was this first incident. But in response the Washington Post said that they built a surface-to-air missile port in the front lawn. You can see where they built it. It has little bushes around it to protect the White House from anything else that ever flies in there.

I know from the 1950s because my parents were both employees of the Pentagon and I used to go to lunch with them out in the courtyard. I know in the courtyard of the Pentagon back as far as the ’50s there were also surface-to-air missile ports there to defend that building.

And I know that that building was on alert from at least the mid ’90s because I held a demonstration there and organized demonstrates in the Pentagon where they told me they were in a Delta Alert in 1996 because of threats from Muslims and they had to put up all this security. They had aerial and radar security up in the sky around the building and everything else.

It was just unbelievable to me, given their mentality and what they have, that this plane then for almost 35 minutes is known by them to be coming toward DC. It comes all the way across Ohio and into that restricted airspace. It flies over the top of the White House. It flies over the Capitol. It loops around, it takes a 270 degree turn from 5,000 feet it flies so low it’s hitting the lamppost and it slams into the empty side of the Pentagons—the only side of the Pentagon that is 270 degrees out a way to get there that doesn’t have any people in it. More people died in the plane or outside the building than actual Pentagon employees because that area for years, even going back to ’96 when I did the demonstration, had been being worked on and reconstructed so it was mostly empty offices.

But there was nothing. Nothing went up. And it’s not that we lack anything. Anacostia Naval Station just south of me in DC, the Naval Air Station down there is a home of the Air National Guard. They have F-18s and F-16s and interceptor jets and that’s their responsibility, is that defense of that area. Andrews Air Force Base is just a little further to the south and they have plenty of planes and things that can take off from down there. At least in 35 minutes even if you’re not sitting out on the tarmac. Nothing, nothing went up. Nothing. Until, too late to get there, they sent some planes, finally out of Langley Air Force Base, 130 miles from DC to intercept these that arrived at the Pentagon five minutes after the plane had crashed into the building.

Now that’s stand down. That’s stand down. Whether it was put up or, not that’s stand down. Somebody let it come. And they let it come in there and do its business. And that was clear to me that day. What was also clear was that DC itself began to move into martial law. Not only the airlines shut down, the trains shut down, parts of the subways shut down. All the main roads in DC turned into outbound roads. They closed off sections of the interstate highway system which goes to military during emergencies. And the government announced that it was in Continuity of Government which means it’s run by a very few people in the Congress and certain cabinet members and top level officials out of these command and control centers. They have a War Room in the Pentagon and a Situation Room at the White House, and they have other places out at the Strategic Air Command bases, or underground mountain retreats where they can run the government from these command and control centers. And they went into that Continuity of Government. The Park Police who normally wear these little hats and take you around and show you the monuments, I could see them on local news standing at the corners with machine guns in their hands. And they’ve escalated it since.

So control over decisions in DC and in the country also, in a declared emergency, go into the hands of the Defense Department, the National Security Council, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. 150 different legal authorities change over when you go into a national emergency like that. And you’re in a situation where decisions are not being made except at the very highest levels of these concentrated bureaucratic powers and these intelligence agencies.

That’s how they were being made and have been made since, not just for DC but for most the country. It’s just a little more visible in DC because we’re a colony and we’re a federal district and a military district.

Then on the 12th James Baker said that we may have to accept giving up some of our civil liberties to protect the nation. Tom Brokaw said we may have to re-examine some of our personal freedoms. Then also on the 12th they began to reveal the beginnings of the evidence in the case. That evidence that I saw coming out in the case was to me false sponsorship.

This was a very sophisticated operation. You can’t go to a puddle jumper school and use a flight simulator to figure out how to change speeds, change altitudes, bank planes at tremendous speeds into buildings, curve around like that, unless you’re an experienced pilot.

When you have a sophisticated covert operation I also know that you spend more time and more people on the cover story for the operation than you expend on the operation itself, on the mechanics. So the cover story will be more important. You put more people to that, more energy, how you’re going to lie about it after it happens, and what benefit you’re going to get from it. So part of that cover story in most covert operations is false sponsorship and plausible deniability.

I saw that in the assassinations because you would have a patsy who was to take the blame for the assassination while the real people organizing the event were not visible. To give you two simple examples of that there was a double of Lee Harvey Oswald. It wasn’t Oswald that went to a shooting range two months before the assassination and shot at another guy’s target. The other guy said, Hey you’re shooting at my target. And he said, The hell with you. I’m Lee Harvey Oswald. Remember my name. Well he did. Then it established that Oswald was there practicing with his gun when they had no other evidence.

Also in Memphis, five minutes before Dr. King is shot, someone walks by Canipe Amusement, a little pinball store next to a rooming house there in Memphis, and drops a bundle out front. Then after the shooting the police find this bundle. The bundle is a blanket and inside of it there’s a rifle that’s been purchased they eventually find out by James Earl Ray. There’s a prison radio that belongs to Ray. There’s some clothes that don’t actually fit him. But there’s enough there to link the case back to Ray and make him the suspect and the gunman.

So what was the very first clue in this? I don’t know if any of you remember it. It was a fellow that called up the FBI who had gone to Logan Airport that morning for a different flight and had tried to park his car and had encountered four Arab men in another car who he said got out and had a road rage argument with him over the parking space. Then later he remembered these four hostile Arab men and he heard that one of the planes had come from Logan so he called the FBI.

I don’t know if the road rage argument took place. It could be that the guy who called the FBI is the shill. But I don’t think that you’d have a road rage argument on your way into that kind of an operation. You’re already profiled as an Arab. You want to be profiled as an angry Arab going into the airport? It didn’t sound too likely to me and then they’re led, basically by the nose, to the bundle, to the car there that’s parked. And what’s in it? There’s a Koran in it. A lot later they say they also found these instructions in it on how to kill yourself for Allah. But that wasn’t they’re in the first report.

But there was a Koran in the trunk and there was a flight manual for that type of plane written in Arabic in the trunk of the car. And I thought to myself, If you’re gonna bother getting a flight manual in Arabic you’re just gonna bone up on it till fifteen minutes before the flight and then leave it in the car? Why aren’t you going to take it on the plane? So it looked to me like planted evidence.

Then they named nineteen people. But within a short period of time it came out that seven of those people—five in Saudi Arabia, two in Egypt—were actually living people who said, That’s my picture. That’s my ID. I wasn’t in the plane. I wasn’t in the United States. I’m not part of the operation. So we know they were carrying false IDs.

We also know that these people went around making pretty much a spectacle of themselves. There were reports on them already. Some of them were on FBI alert lists. One guy went up to one of the air pilot trainers and told them he didn’t need to know how to take off and land. He just wanted to know how to fly the plane. That trainer called the FBI. There were two of them in a bar in Florida the night before, making a spectacle of themselves and leaving a Koran on the bar. There was another four that moved into a house in Langley out near me, which is the bedroom community of the people from CIA, and one of the wives there called the CIA and complained because they were making such a nuisance of themselves.

So these were not people laying low. They were people that were making themselves visible. All of that fits, to me, with false sponsorship. At first I couldn’t even determine if there were any Arabs on the plane. I listened very closely to all the cellphone reports and for the first three days they said, men with knives, men with box cutters, men with bombs. There wasn’t the word Arab mentioned. Having grown up white, here in America, I know that the word Arab would be mentioned. So I wondered who was on the plane.

There was also a flight attendant who called in the seat numbers from a cell phone to the tower on one of the planes but said that the seat numbers didn’t match the Arab people that had been on the flight manifests seats. So I wondered who had done it.

I got independent confirmation because one of my good friends and a fellow researcher is a flight attendant on Flight Number 77 out of Dulles, the one that hit the Pentagon. And thankfully—that’s a regular run—she wasn’t on the plane that day. But the crew died that she knew, who are working friends, and pilots that she knew. But there’s also ground crew. There’s people that take tickets. There’s people who go on the plane but don’t take off with the plane and those people saw some of the people pictured actually on the plane. So I know that some of these people are part of the operation.

I still don’t believe that you can get 18 or 19 people involved in a long-term agreed suicide plot. Maybe they got three or four people somehow. But I don’t believe you can get eight because I studied mass suicides. I started with a whopper of one called Jonestown. And when you go to the actual forensic evidence in Jonestown there is not a single suicide in Jonestown. There’s not a single body that shows cyanide pathology. These people were all murdered and that’s what the Guyanese Grand Jury ruled based on Dr. Mootoo’s evidence from going on the site. But we were told it was a mass suicide.

I went back through history and forward into other so-called mass suicides and found that in all cases they were mass murders. It’s hard enough to get two people to agree just to kill themselves and go through with it. Usually the first one dies and the second one runs. So I don’t think that this is a case where you can get people—yeah, you can have a kamikaze pilot, but that pilot’s usually sitting in a one-seat plane and they wait for a point of advantage in the battle and when they can’t do anything else then they crash the plane. So you can get a soldier to kill themselves but 18 or 19 people together, you’ve got problems.

So I began to wonder about it. But I think ultimately, if all the people on the planes relate back to Al-Qaeda, and if all the people were connected to bin Laden, that still doesn’t tell us who is the ultimate sponsor of September the 11th. Because bin Laden and the al-Qaeda are a creature of finance buying created by Central Intelligence Agency money. They also have worked for Saudi Intelligence and the Saudi Royal Family. They also worked for Pakistani ISI Intelligence. They worked not only in Afghanistan but in Kosovo. They worked with the Kosovo Liberation Army which had CIA support and was also running opium out in that area. They worked in Paris. They worked in Chechnya. So there’ve been different operations on behalf of different people and you can’t just say, you know, this is some sort of Doctor NO Sama bin Laden in his cave with his evil thugs. This is somebody that has a historical background in this period.

Also there were calls right away, on the 12th and the days after, that said that the CIA had been shackled by the Church Committee in the 1970s and said that the FBI had been bollixed up by all of the revelations about COINTELPRO and that had to be reversed so the CIA could do whatever it wanted and so it could go back to foreign assassinations. The amusing thing to me, that week CNN went over and interviewed a top-level CIA analyst and the guy said, These people are misled. We don’t need that authority.

Well they don’t. Because they go ahead and do what they want anyway. In fact, if you go to a hitman and say, I’m going to make you legal, his response is gonna be, Shhhh. You’re gonna blow my cover. Because he’s better off saying it’s illegal for him, then he’s got a cover when he kills somebody. If you make it legal for him to kill somebody then everybody that gets killed blames him.

So they moved anyway with the Patriot Act, and other things, to reverse that. The COINTELPRO program, which had been responsible for destruction of much of the dissent against the civil rights movement and throughout the peace movement, the ’60s and ’70s, which had led to the assassinations of leaders both local and national, is now being called back into duty by General Ashcroft. He wants to renew spying on civil and religious groups. And you might have seen a little piece in The Seattle Times this week: a picture of some demonstrators in Portland with something called the Earth Liberation Front. The little journalism under the picture says the FBI’s top terror expert James Jarboe testified that the Earth Liberation Front is the nation’s largest and most active terrorist group.

I wish that it were true. But of course I know the largest and most active terrorist group resides in Langley and over at the Pentagon and has for a long time. But it’s a perfect cover or excuse for them to go into that.

Then there were denials about the stand down. The officials at the Pentagon said that no mechanism existed within the US government to notify the various departments and agencies under such circumstances. That means you paid thirteen trillion dollars since the end of World War Two for a building that can’t defend itself. There’s no mechanisms they said. They told CNN that President Bush had not given an authorization to the Defense Department to shoot down a passenger airline until after the Pentagon had been struck. But CNN on the same day, the 16th, said that Cheney and Bush discussed a shoot down and authorized it in the moments after it became clear that the United States was under attack meaning when the second tower was hit. So they had authorized a shoot down on top of that, not just an interference but an actual shoot down of the plane.

Going back a little bit there’s an interesting parallel if you want to look at it. In 1998, the New York Times reported on August the 21st of that year about Clinton sending 75 cruise missiles into Afghanistan and Sudan because those countries were harboring a terrorist named bin Laden. And, a professor of international law from the University of Michigan responded—in the letter section of the New York Times that day—that the real victim of the attack was a world in which rules matter and those responsible for acts of violence are brought to justice, not simply killed.

So they move forward on what they were doing. They also had this story that floated around for a little bit that Bush was under threat and that there had been a direct threat to Air Force One—that Air Force One is next—and that the threat had used a codeword for Air Force One that wasn’t supposed to be known outside of the White House and the Secret Service. And then there was speculation that there was a mole of the terrorists inside the White House. I would suggest again that rather than a mole for the terrorists, that we’re talking about some evidence of an inside job.

It was clear to me that they didn’t want Bush around that day and that they did things in order to keep him out of the city. Quite a few things actually. But he was moved first to Maxwell Air Force Base and then to another Strategic Air Command and Control Center off at an Air Force Base in Nebraska. In fact he kept complaining because he wanted to go back to DC and the way he finally got back to DC was that the Secret Service got him to sign a waiver releasing them from authority to protect his life. And then he was able to fly back to DC. But for a long time he was away and Cheney was urging him not to come back. Cheney meanwhile, Condoleezza Rice, and the head of the Secretary of Transportation, were down in the White House Situation Room actually calling the shots.

It came out shortly after, some people started to put together the funding levels of the Taliban and the history of how they came into power and that there were elements trying to stop the funding by surrounding countries. Iran had sent a delegation the United States to stop the funding. The Taliban had sent its own secret delegations to DC. And it was clear that the United States could have arrested or stopped bin Laden at different points had they wanted to. And that six billion dollars in US aid went into the creation of the Mujahideen and the Afghan war and that Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates had all assisted bin Laden in a variety of countries.

So right after 9/11 a new axis forms, I believe, of these neoliberal powers and on the 12th of September, China jumps into the World Trade Organization. The day after. On the 13th Russia sends a signal that they will comply with the proposed violation and end of the ABM Treaty by Bush. The new President is elected in Belarus on the 13th; not the one the US wanted so the European Union refuses to recognize the election. And General John Singlaub and Richard Armitage make a statement that day warning of an upcoming chemical chemical or biological warfare attack. Those two are important, they’re part of Oliver North’s team for the Contragate stuff. One of the people that was the main funder for US funds to bin Laden was [Lt. General Mahmoud Ahmad,] the head of Pakistani Intelligence and he was fired afterwards. He was dumped in late September out of Pakistani Intelligence because he had been too close to bin Laden and because they said that he had passed $100,000 in August to Mohamed Atta who was named as one of the masterminds and one of the pilots in the September 11 attack.

So he’s dumped. Nobody else in the command structure is but he’s dumped out of there because of, I think image purposes. Similarly, a Saudi head of Intelligence they said was too close to bin Laden, and they took him out slightly before the attack.

But this guy that was taken out of Pakistani intelligence had been the main conduit of funds for the CIA through to bin Laden. On September the 4th he was not in Pakistan he was here in the United States. He was meeting at Langley with the Central Intelligence Agency and he was meeting at the State Department with Richard Armitage, this former operative of Bush’s operation.

It also came out that Mohamed Atta, the guy that he gave $100,000 to, a Sarasota Florida paper printed the fact that one of the small group of about four of the people involved in September 11 including Mohammed Atta, had spent some time living in a house in Florida with one of the Iran-Contra pilots. So there there may be a connection with the old North Network that hasn’t been fully fleshed out. And then we get Singlaub and Armitage warning of a coming attack.

On the 17th, reserves are activated for several years, for a 10-year war up to half a million reserves authorized—not that many have been called up yet. Brian Williams on NBC asked, What did we get for the tens of billions of dollars we paid into intelligence to defend this country? Orrin Hatch, on the other hand, was asked on the 13th would he support funding the Taliban into power again and he said it was worth it. Brzezinski said the same thing in an interview that he did in 1998. Colman McCarthy, a local peace activist in DC who writes for the Post, pointed out in the past 20 years the United States has bombed Libya, Grenada, Panama, Somalia, Haiti, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yugoslavia, Sudan, those are the ones we know about, and that the Pentagon spends about nine thousand dollars a second with the current budget. That’s, of course, gone up since then.

They also quoted the pilot on the 13th of September who trained the people at Huffman Aviation in Florida—Rudi Dekkers had trained a number of these people—in the operation and he revealed there that the changing speed and the altitude and the maneuvers were too sophisticated for anybody who was trained on a simulator. He also revealed that the simulator they were trained on were not for the kind of planes that were used in the attack. Anatoly Kornukov, the Russian Air Force Commander-In-Chief, was quoted as saying the attack would have been impossible in Russia. He said if it happened here, I’m reported to and right away we’d be all up.

On the 14th of September it was also reported in the Moscow Times that Russia asked for a seven hundred and seventy five million dollar bank loan from the United States. So these are the people moving into line. For the first time in history—not even at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis did this happen—NATO invoked Article 5 for support of the United States and whatever was to happen after that.

The Financial Times and others reported that bin Laden, shortly after the incident, was under house arrest. You may remember there were some offers by the Taliban to turn bin Laden over, which would have been the procedure for international law on a crime. We didn’t want a crime, we wanted a war and so we said we wouldn’t negotiate with terrorists and that was that. I don’t think we really wanted bin Laden either. And still don’t. He’s worth more as a will-of-the-wisp that can move from country to country than he is as somebody dead on a slab.

Then they began to admit that there were some problems with the evidence. Colin Powell said the evidence ought to be made public. Bush’s people said it ought to be kept secret. They went and showed it to the British because other people can see evidence that we can’t, here in America. It’s secret to us but not to the rest of the world. It’s like Ollie North admitted that the Contras in Nicaragua and the Nicaraguan people knew about the war, and the Russians knew about the war, and the other countries knew about the war, but it had to be kept secret from the American people because we’re the ones that are responsible for it.

So they showed it to the Brits and the Brits said, Well it won’t stand up in court but it’s good enough to go to war. Of course we’re talking about a logic, from that point on, out of the mouth of the President and these officials, that has nothing to do with international law or even common jurisprudence. That’s Posse Justice: wanted dead or alive. We’ll bring them to justice or we’ll bring justice to them. The justice and military retaliation or death are then merged into one thing. We don’t need international tribunals. We can have secret military tribunals that we’ll run. We began to break down the separation between military and judicial function. Senator Warner calling openly for an end to Posse Comitatus. That’s a bright line that was made again into law at the time the Civil War. It’s one of the constitutional principles. We knew what it was like living in the United States when the British had their police and military functions combined. When they combined them in Nazi Germany it was called the Gestapo. We know there’s a reason, civil liberties and otherwise, for those not to be the same. But now they want to take that away and so they’re creating a situation where we’re going to be the accuser, the prosecutor, the evidence collector, the judge, the jury, and the executioner. And let’s just skip all that stuff in the middle; let’s just accuse and execute. That’s good enough for us and that’s justice.

So that’s all being mixed together so you can’t separate out what is retaliation and what is justice even to the point that they’ve gone against all Geneva Conventions and other other established international procedures in relation to these people that they captured, claiming that they’re not really POWs but they’re not criminals either and that there’s something called “unlawful combatants” or “illegal combatants.” So they’re both at once. But you don’t have to treat them as a POW because they’re illegal and you don’t have to treat them as a criminal because they’re combatants in a war that isn’t really a declared war. So then they fall down the crack and all they have to do is treat them humanely and they don’t have either basic legal rights or the rights of a prisoner of war. But this kind of confusion is just going on without hardly anybody responding to it.

Back in February of ’98 the importance of this region and the real reason that we went into Afghanistan was partially revealed to Congress in testimony before the House Committee on International Relations. When the Vice President of Unocal, one of the firms that wanted to build a pipeline, their vice president for international relations, John Maresca, testified that the Taliban government is an obstacle to the pipeline. When they originally made the plans in ’96 both the Taliban and the Northern Alliance agreed to the pipeline but then the Taliban balked in ’98. So he was testifying to let them know that the Taliban was in the way.

Then they actually did feasibility studies for yet another pipeline to go to the West instead and that was run by Enron. They did the feasibility study. In May of ’98 the CIA “set up a secret task force to monitor the region’s politics and gauge its wealth.” [“The Rush for Caspian Oil - Clinton started late, but the U.S. is gaining in the Great Game in central Asia,” Bruce W. Nelan, Time, May 4, 1998] That’s what we do with the whole world: we monitor the politics and we gauge its wealth because its wealth is what the people at the top want. Not for all of us but for the profit of a few. Madeline Albright said that she was excited about the idea of molding the area’s future [Ibid].

By 2050 it’s projected that the bulk of our oil reserves and Europe’s oil reserves will be exhausted. About a hundred and sixty billion gallons between the two will be exhausted in 25 years. So if you want to maintain an oil dependent economy, then you need more oil and that 80% of the oil is going to be up in the region of the Caspian Sea which has about 800 billion barrels of oil. So 80% of the oil reserve will be up in that area and that’s part of what they’re going after. Cheney used to sit on the oil advisory board of Kazakhstan and his wife sat on the board of Lockheed Martin. The vice president of Lockheed Martin was the finance chair of the Bush campaign. And Lockheed Martin got the largest defense contract in history recently. Enron financed the opposition to the recount in Florida and after Bush father did the Gulf War the corporate profits in Kuwait doubled.

On the 18th of September the BBC confirmed that there were other pre-planning meetings with officials in the region and US officials about the war in Afghanistan coming up in October that had taken place back in July [“US ‘planned attack on Taleban’,” George Arney, BBC, Sep 18. 2001]. On February the 6th Russian military intelligence announced—that’s this year—February 6th, Russian military intelligence announced that the United States war in Iraq will be launched in September and that Turkey and the Kurds will be recruited.

Back in December of last year Pakistan gave an exclusive oil contract for oil exploration to Halliburton. Cheney had been in Halliburton. Rice had had been at Chevron. The Secretary of Commerce and the Secretary of Energy were both big officials with Tom Brown Oil. It’s a fairly oily administration. But the other reason that they’re in Afghanistan is that 80% of the world opium is coming out of Afghanistan, a tremendous amount of profits and also the fuel for covert operations. One of the reasons I’ve always said that the CIA will not make its budget public is that it won’t cover its operations. It’s too small and so then they’d have to explain where they’re getting the of the money.

There’s this international trade of guns for drugs and the covert operations that surround that trade and so having control of all that opium there—the people that are being brought into this new moderate democratic government in Afghanistan, the Northern Alliance, which have a pretty brutal record in relation to women and in relation to the fight that went on prior to the time of the Taliban coming into power, the top moderate leaders out of those circles are the people who were named five or six years ago in The London Sunday Times as the top opium dealers in Afghanistan.

Mr. Karzai, who heads up the country, and is the new appointed leader, was a long-term employee of Unocal Oil who now I’m sure wants to renew the pipeline now that Enron’s down and the deal can be recut. So you get something in the news and you have Bush and his wife jumping up and down about the liberation of women in Afghanistan when in fact they were responsible for putting the women in the fix in the first place.

Aeschylus, the Greek, said that the first casualty of war is the truth. You’re not going to get the truth from the people that want to fight the war about what the war is for or whose interest it’s in or what it has to do with because they don’t want to tell you that.

There’s a book that’s now translated in English from two French journalists called Bin Laden: The Forbidden Truth and it talks about a guy named John O’Neill. He was an expert in the FBI on terrorism, counterterrorism. He had been one of the main investigators in the 1993 bombing of the Twin Towers by these same elements, allegedly. But he found that the Bush administration was blocking his investigation in the current period on behalf of the oil companies. So he quit the FBI. He became the security director of the Twin Towers and he died in the building that day. He had made statements before his death about the the government interfering in his own attempts to actually investigate what was going on. And there were reports in the French press, and in this book, that about seven weeks prior to the 9/11 attack the CIA station chief at Dubai had had a meeting with bin Laden in the hospital.

A lot of the progressive press that deals with this at all talks about blowback. I don’t relate to this as blowback. Blowback is unintended consequences of an intelligence operation, a kind of Frankenstein thesis that you create this monster and then you’re surprised when it turns on you. I’ve seen too many of these instances where the bomb goes off at the Embassy, or at the Marine compound and then it’s a group that you’ve never heard of before and you never hear of since taking credit and then two weeks later an article comes out saying the CIA trained and armed that group but they never thought they’d do anything like that and then they disappear into the news. I don’t think this is blowback I think there’s ongoing control and interrelations with these operations.

Then Singlaub’s and Armitage’s prediction came true and it came true in the form of some envelopes with a very lethal kind of anthrax. The first envelope went to the headquarters of the tabloids. I found that interesting. At first I didn’t even know it was a real story or just a tabloid story. A lot of the ownership of the tabloids is organized crime and there’s also involvement with the intelligence agencies because the tabloids are read by a great deal more of the American public than the New York Times or the Washington Post combined. They have readerships in tens of millions not just a million or two million. In foreign countries we know that the CIA will create and fund tabloid papers to put out the disinformation stories that they want to use to manipulate the population. So at first when it came out that this next scare was reported as an envelope sent to a tabloid employee I was suspicious of it. I did do some background research on the guy. He’s a photo editor and he was the first photo editor in the country to reveal pictures of Bush’s daughters being arrested on the alcohol charges.

He’s the one that died there and then they went after what’s left what they like to call the liberal media—somebody like Dan Rather or Tom Brokaw are liberal now. They’re only liberal because the paradigm and the scope and the domain of discussion that we’re allowed to hear, the debate that we’re allowed to hear, is framed so far to the right in the last twenty years that it’s between an open fascist and a moderate conservative. That’s the debate. Which means that what a liberal was, before, is now what a commie was in the 50s and it’s a dirty word. Worse yet, anybody to the left of a liberal is a terrorist. So that’s the framework and these were the guys that get the envelopes.

Then, lo and behold, the envelopes arrive at Congress with the anthrax. Do they go to the party that’s carrying on the war, that’s running the White House? No, they go to Leahy and Daschle’s office who are the two main Democratic opponents of the Bush domestic agenda in the period coming up and still complaining. So, what have you got here? Keystone Terrorists – they don’t even know what political party is in charge and they send it to Bush’s opponents? Or have you got something else going on?

Then they tried to say they thought maybe it came from the same terrorists or maybe it came from Iraq and then maybe it came from Russia and they were going around in circles. They finally had to admit when they did the scientific work and the genetic work on the situation that it came from a strain developed here in the United States. Anthrax happens naturally but it has a genetic strain called the Ames Strain. It’s called Ames because the University of Iowa at Ames did a lot of study on this strain and they collected it and they had vials of it. For 70 years, in the 1930s till now they kept an archive of all the genetic modifications of this particular strain of anthrax.

There was a story in the news on the 9th of November and this isn’t too far into the investigation. These envelopes had arrived in October and they were starting the investigation. It was reported on the 9th of November that a call went from the FBI to the University of Iowa in Ames and they agreed to destroy the archive [“Anthrax Probe Hampered by FBI Blunders Agents Unprepared For Complexities Of Case,” William Broad, David Johnston, Judith Miller, and Paul Zielbauer, The New York Times, November 9, 2001]. So the whole archive of 70 years of the vials of anthrax strain that this attack relates to are now destroyed which means that the primary evidence can never be traced back to its actual batch of origin.

However they did enough science to find out that there wasn’t any aluminum deposit in it which means it wasn’t weaponized by Iraq. That it wasn’t the type of weaponization that the Soviet Union was capable of or did. So the final destination for where this stuff had to come from was in fact, Fort Detrick, Maryland, which is the head of chemical and biological weapon research here in the United States. The last publicly stated suspect from the FBI was the CIA. When the FBI is gonna blame the CIA and say that that’s the main suspect you got something going on in the class. Something’s amiss here.

That’s as far as we got with that one but it it went around and they really don’t know quite what to do with it because the science took them someplace they didn’t expect or they’re trying to spill the beans on each other and fighting each other with it.

Bush announced recently that he wants Daschle to limit the investigation of September the 11th. I’ll bet he does. He wants to limit it to Where did the federal agencies fall down that allowed the situation to happen? How was it allowed to happen?, he says and he doesn’t want to take the efforts away from the war on terrorism when they do this investigation. There’s 26 intelligence agencies in the United States. They have an annual budget that’s very high, like 30 billion dollars over a period of time in a particular year. But we’re told that they were unable to know that this was coming even though they had warnings from other intelligence agencies.

Now I have a quote from 1987—as I say, always clip backwards—this is January 28, 1987: “On the surface selling arms to a country that sponsors terrorism of course clearly you’d have to argue is wrong. But it’s the exception sometimes proves the rule.” George W Bush, talking about the US funding of the forces in Afghanistan.

To then go back somewhat to the broader question. I think it’s important to understand that this is not a war. It’s not a declared war. It’s not an act of war. It’s a crime against humanity. It’s a mass murder. But if you begin to replicate the crime and kill more innocent civilians as we’ve already done in Afghanistan, if you respond to this sort of a thing with a cycle of violence and war, then you’re just going to perpetuate it.

We don’t need frontier justice that we’re asked to have. There already exists international justice, international tribunals and procedures to handle these kinds of things. Instead of resisting them they could have been used and could have been used in a way that would have gotten to the truth about the situation—or still could.

Pentagon War Planning
—They Know Where There’re Going
Instead we’re being asked to go into an endless war, a war that was predicted to last ten years. I know the war will last at least ten years. I know that because my mother was the highest-paid Pentagon employee for more than almost all of her thirty years career in the Pentagon. But for many, many years, the highest paid employee under the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Directly under the Deputy Chief Staff for Personnel, my mother’s job was to project the draft call. She had to project for the Joint Chiefs how many do they have to draft in order to keep the force level at where the Joint Chiefs wanted it to be. They would give her statistical tables based on their experience: How many would retire? How many would die of natural causes? How many would reenlist? How many would discharge under each category? How many would enlist anew? And therefore to have whatever force level they wanted up or down, how many did you have to draft? She had to project that annually and nationally and those calls got upwards of 50,000 a year. She had to project it annually and nationally right and accurately enough to be within a hundred people either way on the call. And I remember her sweating them coming in. Those projections had to be made that accurately five years in advance. Five years in advance.

They projected it, and whatever number my mother said they needed they multiplied it by five, she told me, and sent it to the Select Service System as its quota. Why? Because fifty to fifty-five percent would flunk a physical; ten to fifteen percent would fall under a deferment or exemption; another ten to fifteen percent would no show or refuse. And then they were back to the twenty percent they needed in the first place. They planned it.

So I asked my mother after she retired, When did they tell you they would escalate the war in Vietnam? Because she had to be among the first to know. She told me that in April of 1963, for the first time in her career at the Pentagon, she was told to reverse her projections, to change her projections. She’d never been asked to do that before. She said it was on orders from the White House, which meant it was on orders from John F. Kennedy. She was told to change the projections to reflect a full withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam by the end of 1964. She put those figures into the projections.

I said, When did they tell you they would escalate? She said the last week in November. I said, Late November, last week—I said—Kennedy’s killed Friday the 22nd of November in 1963. She said, The Monday following the assassination. He’s barely in the grave and she’s given figures and my mother couldn’t believe the figures. My mother told me she took the figures back up to the Joint Chiefs and she said, These can’t be right. And they told her to use them. I used to tease her that that was the first civilian protest of the war in Vietnam.

The figures she was given on November 25th ’63 was that the United States was entering into a ten-year war in Vietnam with 57,000 American dead. Exactly on target. Till ’73: fifty seven thousand five hundred names on the wall. They know where they’re going. They plan ahead. So when they tell you they’re going into a ten-year war you better listen.

Now Cheney says it may be a war that won’t end in our lifetime. Maybe they plan the next ten years for all I know and certainly for all you know. They’ve got a million excuses for it. They said they would get it under the UN Charter for Article 51 which allows self-defense. But that’s only in extremis until the Security Council can meet and come up with some kind of an alternative. They didn’t wait for an alternative.

They’ve destabilized the region around the area. They’ve changed the negotiations and diplomacy with other people. But it’s not just a matter of, What are we going to do? or Should we be in Afghanistan? or How we handle that operation? It’s a matter of a global realignment and a global war. A war that, as they’ll tell you, may go into 60 countries. A war that’s going to involve the coming generations.

I worked from 1964 on with the hope that future generations wouldn’t have to face the kind of choices my generation faced in Vietnam. And these are worse choices the coming generation has to face. And they face all of us. Because all of what was done secretly that got us to September the 11th, from 1945 onward, was done in our name. And everything that’s being done now in these countries around the world is done in our name. And we have to live with the consequences. We are in exactly the same position as the German people in September of 1939: Hitler has invaded Poland and lied about it to the populous, World War II and the holocaust and genocide are looming, and we have to decide whether we’re going to do this [gestures with Nazi salute] or this [raised fist with back of palm facing out]. That’s our choice.

It’s done in our name and it belongs to us. It’s our country. It’s our foreign policy. It’s our military. It’s our intelligence agencies. If we want them or we don’t want them, what they’re to do. But those decisions aren’t made by asking any of us. They’re made in secret behind closed doors by a few people and we live with whatever decision they make because we don’t live in a democracy. This is not a democracy in this country. A democracy would be a situation where all the people affected by a decision would make that decision. We may as well live on the moon for how far we are from that.

We have a representative democracy that dates back to the technology of the 1700s when all you had for communication and travel was a horse or a wagon. You had to have a representative to go 200 miles to Philadelphia or New York and listen to what happened and bring you back a report and represent your point of view. You probably picked the person you liked the least to have around. Got them out of the community for a month or two. And that was your representative.

But as soon as you have mass communication and instantaneous travel you don’t need representatives. In fact there’s too many people, the issues are too complex, the country is too big, and the situation is too important to allow 500 representatives to be making decisions for 240 million people on a global scale. Those decisions don’t even belong to the so-called representatives. The representatives can easily be bribed, or bullied, or blackmailed, or bulleted, if they don’t go along with the money that puts them into office.

The problem is not only that we don’t understand what’s happening around us, that we aren’t allowed to know what’s happening around us. That’s a piece of the problem. Martin Schotz, in a book about the Kennedy assassination called History Will Not Absolve Us opens with a quote from one of his letters to one of the other critics and he says the political paralysis in America rests in the fact that we are allowed to believe anything but we are allowed to know nothing. When you cannot know you cannot act. So you can believe it’s gray aliens from the Pleiades, the Illuminati, or you can believe that it’s the Pentagon, but until you can know something you don’t have a way to make decisions. But even when we can know—and it’s not impossible to know, and I know that from doing my own research. It’s not impossible, usually. It wouldn’t have been impossible for a German to find out about what was being done in their name either. It might take a little work.

But when you know and when you disagree, there are no mechanisms extant to have popular will become actual policy in this country. There isn’t any way to express that will. We have a bumper sticker in DC, because we don’t even have a voting representative in Congress, that says Taxation Without Representation. But I would argue even with a voting representative you don’t have taxation with representation. Maybe if you directly allocated your taxes when you paid them that would be taxation with representation. And you don’t have any way to make a decision about a policy or to make decisions about what the world is going to look like around you.

On the other hand, you have so much power, that the system goes to these lengths of lying to you and manipulating you and controlling your press and doing whatever they can to steal the space between your ears (as Orwell says) because they’re afraid of you. They’re afraid of you because you are the last power on earth that stands between them and the genocidal plans of the wealthy few at the top of this heap. You are what’s left. There aren’t any other little countries that are going to stand up to the military machinery that’s been built up to a level that makes the Nazi Hohenzollern machine look like a rubber band affair.

Genocide that we’re capable of, and have been carrying out in the military of this country, has no parallel in human history. The amount of money we’re spending on defense far outweighs the next 10 or 15 countries that have any kind of military might added together.
There’s nothing out there in those terms to stand in their way. The only thing standing in their way is the consciousness and the will of the U.S. American people who are, because of the theft, and the relative privilege of those people—4% of the world population consuming 65% of the oil and the resources—and one of the great ironies about the 65% of oil that we consume is that it was projected by this time, 2001, that 85% of the oil we consume is for military use. That means that you’re going to fight wars to protect oil to have enough oil to fight the war.

Schwarzkopf admitted in a ten-year celebration of the victory in the Gulf War that they had used 3.5 billion gallons of oil to fight the Gulf War. How much oil do you think they could get out of a year in Kuwait? But that relative concentration of the wealth puts you at the top of a pyramid. It puts you at the top of a communications system. You have resources here that no other people in the world have. And we are in a period now, objectively, in human history, of post-scarcity, of surplus, of a technological development and knowledge that makes it possible with less labor to feed and clothe and house and communicate to and transport and set up reasonable infrastructures for all the people on earth. Overpopulation is not the problem on the planet and also to preserve the planet itself if that technology was used, not to concentrate wealth in the hands of a few, but used for human needs and human values.

We haven’t always had that capability in human history but we do now. That’s why the first article I wrote about the war back at the end of September was called A New War, which is what they were promoting, or a New World. Whether we want to make the choice to build a new world and to build that world based on a democracy that could involve all of us. I think in order to do that we have to not all join one main organization or one main party. We have to decentralize that effort down to the neighborhood, to the workplace, to the family, to the community hall, to the church, to whatever you’re part of, to start a democratic discussion and debate about what’s being done in the name of all of us in those institutions in those little gatherings and to build democracy up from the bottom.

Eventually we’re going to have to take back some of the common wealth that belongs to us called electronic media. It isn’t owned by a corporation in the same way a mine is owned, with a deed. It’s only licensed out so the time that the corporation’s control could be bought back. But it’s possible for us now to do what each generation is responsible for doing which is to envision our liberation and envision the liberation of the rest of the people of the planet.

It’s just that we have a capability. We’re at a crossroads, I believe, and we have some choices in front of us. But we can build up from the bottom and we can make this into the democracy that it needs to be because we basically rely on this system in many ways that we should not. But without opening up information flow we can’t go forward.

Jefferson said that there is ultimately no safe depository of the powers of a society except among the people themselves and he said that if you think them unable to exercise their discretion in a wholesome fashion—which means you don’t trust them or you think they’re too stupid—he said the solution is not to take the power from them. It is to inform their discretion. Jefferson said, There are those who say that men are not capable of governing themselves. His response to that was, Are they then capable of governing others?

We need to do the same thing that Jefferson did. Jefferson said that he would not even have his children wear a threadbare coat that he enjoyed. He wouldn’t expect his children, if he built a structure around them for security purposes, to stay in that structure once the external threat had left. (Ben Franklin said those who would trade their liberty for security deserve neither.) And Jefferson said that because he felt that in order to stop the power from accruing again, back into the hands of a few, there would have to be a revolution every 20 years. Well it’s been over 200 folks and nobody has been re-envisioning that liberation, re-envisioning what their democracy is, what kind of world they live in. And now we have the technology to actually create a world that takes human value into account and gives people back the thing at the bottom that’s stolen from them and that really, I think, it’s the source of all the violence in the world: which is the whole idea of social privilege however it plays itself out, along race, along gender, along caste, or on class.

Privilege is the first and most basic violence asserted in a society. It kills the human spirit. It creates the rage that leads to all the other violence, historically. So if you end that privilege, if you restore justice, then you restore hope. And you know that from a family argument. I don’t have to go to an international argument with you. You don’t resolve it by fighting back, you don’t get even with somebody. All that does is create a feud and it makes the violence cycle into yet another generation. The Paris attack bombings were done in part by young kids whose parents had been murdered by the French and the Algerian freedom fighting wars from 20 years before.

If you get a veteran honest enough to talk about their war experience they will tell you the dirty secret is that they take the dead with them. I learned that from the Vietnam vets. Violence is no resolution to an issue. It may seem clean on a TV movie but in real life violence has cost to you as well as the person you’re violent against, even if you’re defending yourself and much more so if you’re in some sort of an abstract battle with that person, you don’t know what you’re doing there and they don’t have any connection to you.

It’s possible to get beyond that and get down to the bottom of it but we have to be able to have some kind of a vision to do that and have to have some kind of mechanisms to do that. We have the technology for it. We could open up a full debate on issues. We could decide not on candidates but on policy. Because Jefferson and George Washington and the early people that, even in their vision, saw parties, political parties, as opposed to democracy.

Jefferson said in any political society there can only be two parties no matter how they name themselves. The parties who want to take power out of the hands of the people as a whole and put it into the hands of the few and those are the aristocrats. Then they’re those who want to take power from the hands of the few and put it into the hands of the people and those are Democrats. But Jefferson said once you have a constitution in a Democratic Society you don’t need a Democratic Party. Washington said in his final speech, as he was going out of office, that policies should be decided by the people as a whole and he said that therefore parties would put that decision back in the hands of a few.

So even in their vision we’re not as close to democracy as they were, or were trying to be. And we’re certainly far from what democracy could be given what’s opened to us and far from the kind of human community we could be part of, a global community we could be part of, that would include real safety and real security because that would come out of how we treat other people and it would come out of what role we play in the world. If we’re being attacked because we’re a large prosperous, pluralistic democratic nation, why isn’t somebody bombing Canada? Think about Canada’s history of relations and think about ours. Maybe it would inform you in something.

If violent response to terrorism, which is as they say asymmetrical warfare—it means a smaller weaker group, a certain party of people that use violence and then they’re backed by other people who feel a long string of abuses—if you respond violently to that—Israel and Palestine is a pretty good example that that’s not the way to resolve the matter or Israel would be one of the safest countries in the world.

It’s obvious to anybody that thinks about it that you have to go the other direction. That the way you end what you’re calling terrorism is to restore justice, is to restore hope and then the sanction and the support for violence in those communities diminishes and it goes away. Because instead you have the sort of natural, civil and community structure that all of us would have were it not for the fact that we live under the demands of capital and its accumulation. We live under a situation that mis-educates and under-educates us. A situation where it’s hard for us to find out what the truth is about our society or our world. And a situation that values us the same way that miners in the 1930s were told that when the mine begins to collapse you push the mules out first because it costs money to replace a mule.

That’s the position we’re in in relation to the people that hold the wealth in this world. We are expendable and they’re going to escalate that expendability. The choice and the power is there. But the choice to recognize that power, and take responsibility for it, and make this into a world where all of us can live, sits right here.

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