What do you know? Those two tall buildings in New York I never bothered to think about for more than 10 seconds in my life were all screwed up and there was black smoke everywhere. One of them was gone, and over breakfast, I got to see the second one collapse while some on-air rich guy was trying hard to deliver the appropriate measure of, "Calm and Informed Talking Head" mixed with "Stunned Americanism" mixed with "Holy Shit, this is one of THOSE moments, so I'd better stay cool and not sound like an idiot!"
He did a pretty good job, I guess.
Now, I admit that I actually felt my stomach turn. I don't even live in the U.S., and I felt the shockwave of fear rumble across the land from ground zero in New York and slam me in the gut where I stood with a bowl of oatmeal in the living room. Pop, it went. The silly daydream of happy Western consumerism just burst. Pop! Remember waaaay back when Clinton was in office and everybody was still innocent and merrily squabbling over who blew who? Gone. The bombs were falling and the end was nigh.
Okay. So I went for a quick walk. --The fear was palpable. I figured it was my job to talk to people and keep heads calm around town, so down to the post office I went. On the way I overheard a pair of men walking up the street, the guy speaking did so with firm karate chop gesticulations in time with his verbs. "We're going to find out who did this," he said, angrily. "We're going to find them, and then we're going to get them!"
It was clear that he was talking more to reassure himself than the fellow walking beside him. Funny part was, he wasn't even an American, so that 'We' stuff was bubbling up from somewhere deep indeed. Fear does funny things.
At the post office, a twenty-something woman was talking into her cell phone, looking high-school embarrassed. "Yes Mom, I know. I'm at the post office. Yes! I said I'm fine already. --No. No. . . No! I know this isn't a joke, Mom! I know it's serious. Mom. . ! Will you relax. I said I'm fine!"
So I talked with the people I knew. I went to the barber, and talked to Jimmy and the couple of guys there. Same at the grocery store. Everybody was rattled, and I repeated my pitch. Something about, "This is just an attempt to fill people with fear so that we'll be confused. It's just a couple of buildings. We have to keep cool, because the dangerous part is going to be in how we respond." I don't know if it helped or not. People were pretty dazed, and frankly, so was I, trying to reassure myself that I knew what was going on. I guess I wasn't really so different from karate chop guy. . .
A few hours later, Bin Laden was blamed. My friend who works for a local television news station said a year later, "Can you tell me something? I've asked people, but they just look at me like I'm from Pluto. All the people at the station are from pods. But tell me this: How did everybody know only a few hours after the event that Bin Laden was the culprit? His name was just pulled out of the air and everybody instantly took it up as fact. Where the hell did that come from? I work in news, and I can't even figure it out. Can you tell me?"
I couldn't. And I've to this day yet to hear a reasonable answer to his question.
Back to the 11th of September. . .
Sitting in a Sushi joint with a couple of friends. The television was on. "President Bush has deployed ships to Afghanistan."
"Hm. That quick," I noted, feeling surreal and queasy.
My friend nodded. "Oh yes. Americans don't waste any time when they go insane."
We ate our raw fish and pondered the end of the world.
It actually took about 4 weeks before the first bombs were dropped on Afghanistan. Five days before, however, the first anthrax attack came down the pike soon to be followed by a couple of others, notably at CBS. While scary, it turned out to be nothing really major, only about five people directly affected, but everybody went running around buying duct tape, sheets of plastic, buying up anti-anthrax pills regardless. --Some of the Anthrax spores turned out to have been made by the good old U.S. military, a detail which went largely un-dealt with. Nobody was arrested.
The Stone Age
In the days that followed, a particular email began making the rounds. The now almost universally remembered, Afghanistan Has Already Been Bombed Back To the Stone Age email circulated the web, was read and like an effective virus, was forwarded by millions to millions more. In the end, though, it didn't make any difference.
The U.S. and the world were seeing red; their heads still spinning, thus, despite the fact that neither Bin Laden nor the Taliban army, were ever shown to have any connection to the 9-11 attack, --and despite that there has still yet to be a proper investigation into the tragedy, (9-11 is perhaps the most under-investigated event in the history of Front Page American crime.), despite all of these things, on October 7th, 2001, American and British bombs fell on Afghanistan.
And the West grunted with satisfaction even as it licked its wounds and cleared up the mess of iron and glass and plaster covering New York.
Still, I remember saying at the time, "What if this is really all about Oil and Opium. . ? There's this strategic bit of pipe-line land and an oil-rich Caspian sea, plus the Taliban for the last couple of years have been burning billions of dollars worth of heroin which, it has been long said, the CIA highly values as a political and economic lever to control and destabilize countries and regimes. Some even say that the CIA profits directly. Plus, all of that money moves through Wall Street at some point; more than just drug dealers get rich on narcotics, you know, and some of those people own banks and wield influence in dark, political places." I got scowled at for this. A lot. People were really messed up by 9-11 and they were not into listening to anything but war drums.
Guantanamo Bay and Camp X-Ray (soon to be replaced by Camp Delta) opened for business. Creepy stories about tractor trailers filled with asphyxiated Taliban soldiers being buried in the desert by American troops circulated on the fringes of the news. --A story which turned out to be true. Few cared.
USA Patriot Act
On October 26, 2001, the USA Patriot Act was signed into law. "Although the bill is 342 pages long and amends over 15 different statutes, it passed only 5 weeks after its introduction." --Though the part I thought was weird was that somebody had a 342 page bill prepared and ready to go mere days after 9-11. But America was too stunned to be thinking rationally about such points. --Fortunately, the act is also filled with sunset clauses all designed to self-destruct on the dawn of 2006. Two years and two and a half months to go. I wonder if we'll make it?
Oh, and there was also Enron, (and a dozen or so others). . .
[. . .]the nation's seventh largest company, goes bust amidst rumors of insider trading, document shredding, etc. Thousands of people suffer large financial losses. Calls for federal regulation of energy, business, securities, and the accounting industry, etc, increase. At mid-January Senate hearings, the outrage is palpable on "both sides of the aisle." By early February, it is common knowledge that the Federal Government had passed a law giving immunity to certain accountants and auditors for the sorts of actions that resulted in the Enron collapse[. . .]
And so time passed. . . The anniversary of 9-11 came and went, with nothing big to report until. . .
The Washington Area Sniper
Starting October 2, 2002, The Washington Area Sniper went into action, and for three weeks Washington was terrorized. 14 random victims were shot with a hunting rifle fired from inside a specially re-configured car. John Allen Muhammad, 41, an Army veteran of the Persian Gulf War who qualified as an expert marksman in the service, and 17-year-old John Lee Malvo, a Jamaican citizen were caught.
People were feeling entirely squirrelly and tense at this point. It had been been a tough year. The dollar dropping, the job market failing. A tough year indeed.
The Homeland Security Bill passed
On November 25, Bush signed into legal existence, the department of Homeland Security, a department with designs on keeping an eye on, well, everybody and everything.
Meanwhile, Bush and his people, who had started making noises about Iraq mere days after the twin towers went down, started getting louder. --"Iraq is a terrorist country! Iraq is part of the Axis of Evil, and they must be stopped!" --The story hadn't broken at this time that the plan to take Iraq had been drawn up well before 9-11. Didn't matter. The world was entirely capable of feeling uneasy all on its lonesome at this point. Its insanity had cooled off.
Roll out the Weapons Inspectors!
On November 27, 2002, Hans Blix became the man of the hour as the UN Weapons Inspection Team began playing the idiot game, Find the WMDs in earnest.
The ins and outs of this distracting game of table tennis was fascinating to watch. Depending largely on how easily fooled you were by slick politicians, you either saw Saddam as a cagey bastard who kept dancing tauntingly around the U.N., or you saw him as being harassed by an unfair bully which kept changing the rules of the game whenever Iraq conceded to the latest set of Bush's ultimatums. --Ultimatums which became ever more unrealistic each time they were met and the U.S. should have accordingly sent home its salivating war machine, (which had already been fired up, fail-safes unlocked and was steadily deploying itself throughout the Persian gulf and Middle East).
The truth of the matter? Well, to quote Hans Blix himself: "All inspections were performed without notice, and access was almost always provided promptly." -quote And did the UN team find anything? No. They did not.
Heck, even after a whole seven months of US occupation, the US itself grudgingly admitted that it wasn't able to turn up a single WMD either.
But I'm skipping ahead. . .
"Saddam is responsible for 9-11!"
Well, actually, he wasn't. Indeed, that war cry became quickly hard to digest as not a single shred of evidence has to this day appeared linking Iraq to 9-11. Though, miraculously, this hasn't prevented Americans from believing the opposite to be true. --According to a poll taken by USA Today, 70 Percent of Americans belive in a 9-11/Saddam link. How does one account for this? Well, according to a study by the University of Maryland, the more FoxNews you watch, the more likely you are to have stupid misconceptions about the Middle East.
But again, I'm getting off track. Where was I. . ?
Right. "Saddam is Responsible for 9-11!" --Except he wasn't, so the cry quickly changed to, "Saddam has WMDs! Let's get him!" Except this cry also became a hollow one as the world realized through the UN inspections that it simply wasn't so. --Maybe ten years ago it was true, but all those chemical weapons, George Bull Super Guns, and nuclear programs were dismantled and thoroughly destroyed by the UN inspections teams and the coalition forces after the first Gulf War, after which economic sanctions kept Iraq from building new ones. (As well as starving much of its populace in the process.) Indeed, ten years later, in 2002, there were no WMDs evident anywhere, and so the world refused to play along.
This, however, did not present any obstacle to the Bush gang.
"Okay, okay. . ," They cried. "Saddam is a really bad guy then! A REALLY bad guy!"
Sigh. Whatever. Bush was going to have his war whatever the cost, so the excuse was just dressing. Thus, even as the rest of the world screamed and demonstrated and begged the U.S. and the U.K. to come to their senses, the U.S. instead "Came with a mighty force to liberate" the Iraqi people.
And the world watched with shock and awe.
The spectacular American army did what it did best; it played Command & Conquer to the very best of its abilities. The Abram tanks rolled in, Jessica Lynch was a Hollywood hero, a few hundred Iraqis showed up to cheer as Saddam's statue was pulled down, journalists were in bed with the invading army, and America thought very highly of itself. For about a month. And then things began to go sour under that wilting Arabian sun. . .
I remember screaming and yelling like a ripe asshole on day one of the invasion. "What arrogant morons! Don't they realize. . ? Doesn't anybody see what's going to happen here? The Pentagon ordered 77,000 body bags before setting sail, for crying out loud!"
"Fears that Iraq will inflict heavy casualties on British and American troops intensified yesterday when it emerged the Pentagon had ordered almost five times the number of body bags it requested before the last Gulf War. Within weeks it will have more than 77,000 bags at the ready, compared with 16,000 in 1991.In the last conflict, 148 US soldiers were killed in combat, including 35 by "friendly fire", while Iraqi forces suffered some 30,000 casualties. The increased order will reinforce concern that Saddam might be preparing to use chemical or biological weapons. It will also fuel speculation that planners are expecting to suffer high casualties in street fighting as the troops try to take major cities such as Basra and Baghdad."
To make an omelette, you have to. . .
-News.com.au (Had to clip this from my own snapshot-of-news-page archives. This item, once all over the place, is now posted on exactly zero respected news sites on the web.)
Since March, misery, chaos and brutality have reigned in Iraq. Nobody is happy. Nobody is healthy. Depleted Uranium dust fills the air, making both Iraqi and American sick. There is no electricity, no running water, no communications system, no jobs, no safety, no stability. Nothing but fear, murder and confusion, and perhaps a bit of corruption tossed in for good measure. American troops are being sent home dead or wounded every day. The true numbers of casualties are not posted by the main media outlets, which should give some indication as to just how high they are. I could post links, but frankly, if you aren't able to see the state Iraq is currently in, then it probably means you don't want to see it, in which case you might as well stop reading this because it isn't going to get any better.
Oh, and desperate drug use is also running rampant in Baghdad. Just to cheer you up.
But what of Israel?
When Baghdad was taken by U.S. forces, Israel launched a conveniently timed campaign of its own. It sent massive offensives against all things Palestinian. Walls went up, and houses went down. Brutal armored strikes against civilian targets, including women and children, foreign aid workers and journalists, to the point where even 27 members of the Israeli air force, sickened by the inhuman demands placed upon them signed a letter of complaint and formally refused to fly any more missions against civilian targets. Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon promised swift retribution for the pilots.
All in retaliation to the endless Palestinian suicide bombings, (which, if truth be known, have been quietly questioned by a few as to just how 'Palestinian' some of them really are. 50 years of mind-programming experiments, you know. . . But this is fodder for another essay entirely!). In any case, a sticky, stinking situation.
Indeed, the attacks by Israel deeply upset many Jews, and there have been many protests both in Israel and abroad. A couple of days ago, this ad was placed in the Washington Post by Jews opposed to the Zionist agenda.
And what agenda might that be? What can be determined from an Israeli bombing attack on Syrian territory? --Like I said; another essay entirely. And I'm getting off track again. . .
Thus, In Only Two Years. . .
The two year anniversary of 9-11 has come and gone, and a ton of things have happened. Nobody knows what the heck really went down on 9-11 because there has yet to be a proper investigation. Bush has virtually bankrupted the US, has provided all the tools for a seriously fascist America to do whatever a seriously fascist America wants, the Nazi-sympathizing Terminator, (self-proclaimed friend of WWII Nazi atrocities participant, Kurt Waldheim), is now in politics, and Corrupt Diebold is there just in case people threaten to vote the wrong way.
Now, I've left out a ton of details, including everything from French Fries and Homeland Spooks in your local library to Cheney and Halliburton, North Korean nukes, India v.s. Pakistan, RFID chips, increasing internet security troubles, Wellstone's plane crash, and all the way to the Space Shuttle getting blown out of the sky. Among many other things. --All of which brings us to today.
One a hell of a ride from that surreal morning in my living room two years back. --With a bowl of cooling oatmeal in my hand and my jaw hanging slack as the early release trailer for Sam Raimi's Spider Man went from being simply dumb to being tasteless in the five seconds it took for the South tower to vanish in a cloud of powder.
So that's that. And what is my take on it all? Where does a humble conspiracy nut see this all going? If you will pardon my indulgence. . .
1. I think it is reasonable to assume that Iraq isn't going to be the last chip to fall. Nor do I think that Syria or Iran will be the last chips either.
In short, I think we are right smack dab in the middle of the most interesting times we will ever see, and that we should be damned pleased to be here to see them. If one can stay open to this stuff and keep on watching without getting scared and without lying to themselves, then one can also take the necessary steps to avoid the various land mines which are going off all around us. --Try to think of it as a game where you get to be the main character. --A smart main character might try to get out of the line of fire, (as well as the line to the draft office.), but then I don't live in the U.S. or the Middle East, so it's easy for me to talk.
2. I think there will be a draft in America, and I think it will happen shortly after whoever manages to be 'president' becomes president. --It may well be Bush again, but it hardly matters at this point as the game is so entirely rigged. Nothing short of a miracle or an armed coup, I think, will change the course of the freight train now.
3. I think there is a good chance that America is going to find herself at war with Europe before this decade is out.
4. I think we are going to see the Semites, (both Jew and Arab), having a hard, hard time over the next decade. Like, WWII hard. This worries me more than anything else.
5. I think that before things really go to hell, the world is going to be distracted by a lot of rocks falling out of the sky.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go make another bowl of oatmeal. Think I'll use dried cranberries today. (Not from an envelope.)
And today, like yesterday, I won't turn on the news over breakfast. I don't need to lick my finger and stick it anywhere to test for little old men behind curtains. Either the curtains have gotten thinner, or the little guys have simply taken to running around out in the open more often. In either case, thank goodness for the internet.
I wonder for how long. . ?