Open Letter to Alexander Cockburn
First let me say that I've been an ardent reader of CounterPunch.org
for many years. That said, I must take issue with a particular column, an attitude,
an editorial policy now in effect at your newsletter.
"The truly bad news is
the 9/11 nuts have relocated to Stolen Election. People who have spent
the last three years sending me screeds establishing to their own satisfaction
that George Bush personally ordered the attacks on the towers and that Dick
Cheney vectored the planes in are now pummeling me with data on the time people
spent on line waiting to vote in Cuyahoga county "
the Empire, The Poisoned Chalice
By ALEXANDER COCKBURN, 11-20-2004
As a "9/11 nut,"
I'm gong to have to take this one personally. Regardless that ample evidence
exists of vote fraud - which could have flipped the presidential outcome (a
matter of concern to most of the world) - I'm going to have to concentrate on
September 11th and your crass dismissal of valid lines of inquiry.
A pretty poor choice to mock the
possible guilt of Bush and Cheney. Your stance is indistinguishable from George
W. Bush's own pronouncement to the United Nations, shortly after 9/11:
us never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories concerning the attacks of September the 11th, malicious lies that attempt
to shift the blame away from the terrorists themselves, away from the guilty."
-Bush at the UN General Assembly,11-10-2001
Wow, if I knew we just had to shut
up and listen to our president, I wouldn't have gotten so angry with Britney
Spears way back when.
Seeing how you don't provide what
you think occurred on September 11th - your newsletter doesn't explore this
issue, never has, and hopefully this editorial policy will soon change - I'm
going to have to assume some level of ignorance on your part, as to what is
known and assumed to be true lacking conflicting evidence.
On your side, you offer a faith-based
"As usual, the conspiracy
nuts think that plans of inconceivable complexity worked at 100 per cent efficiency,
that Murphy's law was once again in suspense, and that 10,000 co-conspirators
are all going to keep their mouths shut."
On my side, I have several gigabytes
of news articles, half a dozen lawsuits by FBI insiders, and the following reading
the Rubicon, by Michael Ruppert
to Terrorland, by Daniel Hopsicker
Complete 9-11 Timeline, by Paul Thompson
War on Freedom: How and Why America was Attacked, September 11, 2001,
by Nafeez Ahmed
and Globalisation - The Truth Behind September 11, by Professor Michel
New Pearl Harbor:
Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11, by
David Ray Griffin
Now, the term "conspiracy nuts" will just not do. Am I to refer
to you, Alexander, as a "Bush Dittohead?" A conspiracy exists whenever
two or more parties collaborate to break the law. Conspiracies are as common
as the cold. In Bush's white house his administration has conspired to break
countless laws, from prohibitions against torture to launching illegal wars
of aggression, to the attacks on New York and the Pentagon building.
" plans of inconceivable
complexity worked at 100 per cent efficiency..."
Well not quite "100 per cent"
if you factor in the gigabytes of news articles, the lawsuits, and the six books/websites
As for "inconceivable complexity"
you are pushing some hyperbole here that needs to be challenged. Crashing three
planes into three buildings is obviously not inconceivable because it happened.
We're arguing about how it happened and who is responsible.
Where you see "10,000 co-conspirators,"
Bush and Cheney would no-doubt see 10,000 pawns. They aren't "co-conspirators"
if they don't know they are part of a much larger plan. It would be tough to
argue that plausible deniability isn't one of the Bush family values.
In your (ignorant) scenario, the
air defenses of the nation were asleep at the controls for some unnamed reason.
They just allowed airliners to fly all over the northeast unescorted, and in
the case of the Pentagon crash: for over 70 minutes. That's your story, and
I guess you're sticking to it.
Might I venture to guess that Condoleezza
and Rumsfeld were completely surprised that such a thing could ever happen?
Can we ignore the surfacing of Project Bojinka, from 1995, which laid out this
scenario in detail? Do we assume that the CIA and the FBI were as ignorant of
this plan as the Bush team insists they were? And do we ignore the numerous
warnings over the summer of 2001 from the intelligence services of more than
a dozen nations?
Well, since these are the "ravings"
of a "nut" why pull any punches? Alexander, I'm going to have to refer
you to former CIA Director William Colby, when he said:
"The Central Intelligence
Agency owns everyone of any major significance in the major media."
With "between 70,000 and
100,000 individuals visit(ing) the CounterPunch site every day" that
description could just fit you too. And it's not just the quantity but the demographic
here that matters. These are the opposition thinkers who read CounterPunch,
those that actually dare to challenge the status quo imperial wisdom.
I know for a fact that CIA people
have appeared in the pages of CounterPunch. In particular, members of the Veteran
Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) had a cozy little relationship
there for quite a while. Other anonymous insider sources appear regularly.
Could it be that you acquiesced to
The Company so cheaply? You had your belly rubbed by some alleged ex-CIA types?
Have they spoon fed you so daintily you didn't realize what you were eating?
After all, who better than the spooks
for "sanity" to put one at odds with all the "nuts" out
there? Of course, it's just a theory. The undue influence of sources is a topic
for another day.
Lest you or anyone else out there
think that the 9-11 Commission answered all the outstanding issues of the attacks,
I'd like to talk to you about something relevant to your theory (the official
story about the air defenses, which you have not challenged).
On the morning of September 11th,
Michael Ruppert has learned that simultaneous NORAD and National Reconnaissance
Office drills were taking place. Five known"exercises"
were carried out at the - coincidence - exact moment that "hijackers"
were turning off transponders and redirecting large aircraft. These operations
include "Vigilant Guardian," "Vigilant Warrior," "Northern
Vigilance," "Northern Guardian," and another one:
"The National Reconnaissance
Office, a joint creation of the CIA and the Air Force, that operates US spy
satellites, was also running an exercise on September 11th. This one happened
to involve a plane crashing into the headquarters of the ultra secret agency
in the Washington DC suburb of Chantilly Virgina, just outside Dulles Inernational
Airport, the origin of Flight 77."
- Crossing the Rubicon, pg. 340
There goes Condoleezza and Rumsfeld's
stories out the window!
We also learn this:
"Vigilant Guardian was
a hijacking drill, not a cold war exercise. There were a number of direct
quotes from participants in Vigilant Guardian indicating that the drill involved
hijacked airliners rather than Russian bombers."
-Rubicon, pg. 341
"The first thing that went
through my mind [after receiving the hijacking alert for Flight 11]
was, is this part of the exercise? Is this some kind of a screw up?"
-NORAD'S second in command, Lt. General Larry Arnold, Rubicon pg. 341
The cumulative effect of those exercises
was to shut down the air defenses, because there weren't enough fighter jets
available on the east coast to intercept all the bogies, up to 21 of them appearing
on NORAD's radar. 
Does this sound like something that
those alleged "investigations" should have looked into? And does it
not bear directly upon the events of September 11th?
Dick Cheney was the man in charge
of the nation's preparedness exercises having been appointed there by Bush in
May of 2001:
"President Bush May 8 directed
Vice President Dick Cheney to coordinate development of U.S. government initiatives
to combat terrorist attacks on the United States." 
"I have asked Vice President
Cheney to oversee the development of a coordinated national effort so that
we may do the very best possible job of protecting our people from catastrophic
Talk about catastrophic harm!
"Although the announcement
focused on weapons of mass destruction, the central issue and rationale for
Cheney's management role was 'seamless' communication and coordination of
responses. The departments of Defense and Health and Human Services were specifically
included in the mandate and placed under Cheney's control." 
Alexander Cockburn mocks us for suggesting
that "Dick Cheney vectored the planes in," but what exactly
was the vice president doing in the hour preceding the World Trade Center crashes?
Rather than blindly defending a man
who has been proved a serial liar and a war criminal, perhaps the energies of
the CounterPunch editorial staff would be better directed at sorting through
the thousands of unanswered questions about who attacked the United States on
September 11th, and how it's being covered up.
John Doraemi publishes the Crimes
of the State blog at:
1 -- Crossing the Rubicon,
Michael C. Ruppert, pp. 338-40
2 -- Rubicon, pg. 348
3 -- Cheney
to Oversee Domestic Counterterrorism Efforts, State Dept. Web Site, Wednesday
16 May 2001
-- White House Press Release, Domestic
preparedness against weapons of mass destruction, May 8, 2001
5 -- Rubicon, pg. 414