9/11 IN CONTEXT: PLANS AND COUNTERPLANS
by Max Kolskegg
It is time to have a hard, clear-eyed look at our situation here in this post-September 11 "brave new world order", on the brink of a huge conflagration in the Middle East, with endless war beyond. The Global Fascist Terror State has arrived, the fruit of decades of planning, propaganda and provocation. September 11 was its coming-out party, and for us, the last wake-up call. So now let's face the facts. No more self-delusion, no more easy roads. The reality is plain as day, and so therefore is our task.
The rapidly-building worldwide anticapitalist movement (called the "antiglobalization movement" by its enemies both right and left) has forced the planners of capital's predations to abandon all caution and launch, through provocation, a new phase of the global class war. The worldwide revolt against capitalism and the state, increasing inexorably year by year over the last decade, and exemplified most visibly in Seattle, Prague and Genoa, added a final intolerable pressure to the already dismal condition of world capitalism. With profits collapsing, ever-worsening environmental destruction, and looming resource (especially oil) depletion, capital's prospects were poor in any case. Add in mounting autonomous resistance throughout the world, highly conscious of the underlying cause of the planet's many agonies and who is responsible, and suddenly the whole structure is on the brink of collapse.
Provocation and Fake Terror
Provocation and fake terror as the pretext for a new assault on capital's enemy, the working people of the world, is nothing new; most wars of the last hundred years have started this way. (Wars are, above all things, attacks on working people -- who fight them and die in battle, and are the vast bulk of the "collateral damage" as well. In the last analysis, all wars are class wars.) By "provocation" is meant the action of an agent provocateur, on any scale: against a cop, or against a country. The purpose is to provide an attack that legitimizes an aggressive response, an attack that otherwise would not occur. When a cop dressed up as a black blocker throws a stone or molotov cocktail at the police phalanx, he provides the pretext they wait for to rush and crush the crowd. "Fake terror" is a type of provocation which selects the innocent, defenseless public as the specific victim of the attack, to wreak maximum psychological damage on the population and render them as putty in the state's hands.
In some cases the provocation itself may be fake, a purely spurious creation of the propaganda apparatus of government and its corporate tool, the mass media. A good example was the Gulf of Tonkin "incident" which led to the immediate granting by Congress to President Johnson of vastly expanded war powers against the Vietnamese people. In other cases the provocation may only require facilitation of the schemes of a genuine enemy, creating the conditions that make an attack of some sort inevitable, at which point the pretext is provided for retaliation. Pearl Harbor would fall into this category. Similarly, the provocation constituted by the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990 was facilitated by the first Bush regime, providing the pretext for the invasion of the Persian Gulf so much desired by American imperial planners.
The attacks of September 11 seem to have been an especially complex mixture of modalities, in which the exact role of "the Arab hijackers" remains murky. Given the technological capability to crash Boeing 757s and 767s into buildings remotely, it is possible that no "Arab hijackers" were involved. Certainly no evidence has been presented of their actual boarding of the planes; no photos of them at the boarding gates have been released, and none of their names nor any Arabic names at all appear on the passenger lists from the flights. These facts are highly suggestive of a pure case of "fake terror". But even if "the 19 Arab hijackers" did just what the official story says they did, committing suicide for the glory of Allah and Osama, it does not for a moment prove that their actions were not intentionally facilitated by U.S. government operatives for purposes of provocation and domestic state terror. Indeed, the vast evidence still unfolding of the "incomprehensible" treatment afforded them for years prior to 9/11 by the FBI and CIA suggests nothing else.
Something like September 11 was to be expected and was even predicted by a few perceptive souls, given the return of the Bushmob to the White House and the rapidly deteriorating condition of the global control system. Nevertheless, it was a shock. The brutality of the destruction of the World Trade Center buildings (at least four of them) was unprecedented, exceeding even Pearl Harbor in loss of life. But we must come out of the paralyzing shock and squarely face the criminals who carried out the attack.
The first task is to think for yourself. The mainstream and to a very large degree the "alternative" media have been a major tool in the hands of the newly unveiled Global Fascist Terror State. Through relentless propaganda, control of information, suppression of the real facts and issues that we must face (and these crimes against working people have been perpetrated by so-called "progressive" media, including KPFA, Democracy Now and the rest of Pacifica Radio, Common Dreams, and Z Magazine, demonstrating a limitless capacity to bend over and accommodate power), the established media of "Left", "Right" and "Center" work overtime to maintain illusions of "democracy" and reform and put people back to sleep.
Calls for Congressional investigations and campaigns to elect Greens to city councils are attempts to contain us in a state of passivity, so that those with a stake in this criminal order can hold onto their privileges and push us ever further down. The corruption on the (so-called) Left is so deep that its apparatchiks like Medea Benjamin, Amy Goodman, David Corn, Michael Albert, Larry Bensky, Dennis Bernstein and Norman Solomon, whether they know it or not, now act out a script conceived by their CIA sponsors. Their latest objection to war on Iraq is that it will "undermine the War on Terrorism"! In a campaign apparently choreographed from above, their assignment seems to be to float the next position to be publicly taken by fellow radicals in the Democratic Party, such as Al Gore the Corporate Whore. With "allies" like these we are truly surrounded by enemies. We must remain awake and actively defend ourselves!
The truth is we now face an unending war on dissent and resistance to capitalism, not on "terrorism". The White House and Congress collude to pass totalitarian legislation such as the USA PATRIOT Act to give the state unlimited powers to control our every breath and thought. Corporate criminality is so vile that it can no longer be hidden even by the media, illuminating the grotesque corruption at the heart of capitalism, to which all established institutions are dedicated. Government corruption and criminality know no bounds, naturally, as the government is completely controlled by capitalists. And now, as is revealed by the events of September 11, the unseen puppetmasters hitherto satisfied to remain unsuspected in clandestinity have sprung into full, open view as they launch a desperate and final war against us. In the face of this reality our only option is total refusal to cooperate, to play by the "rules". We must fight them tooth and nail, to the last breath. And don't worry, we will be given the opportunity, very soon.
Destination Clandestine Nation
Let's not beat around the Bush. It was not Osama bin Laden and his minions who masterminded 9/11, it was the U.S. Government. The attacks of that day required years of planning and preparation, beginning long before the Florida Coup installed the current puppet in the White House. It was a complex black operation carried out by secret elements of the U.S. and subordinate foreign governments, working in the interests, under the direction, and with the assistance of the highest levels of corporate power. There is ample evidence that the intelligence services of Israel, Pakistan and the UK were involved in supporting roles to the supervising CIA/FBI/ Pentagon team. Key members of the U.S. Congress were in on the planning as well, and have assisted with the subsequent coverup.
But the main players were "Special Operations" units run by the CIA and the Pentagon. There are many types of Special Operations; the term is usually used to denote highly localized military interventions. As elaborated by L. Fletcher Prouty in his two important books, The Secret Team and Understanding Special Operations, the term is properly applied to larger-scale operations as well, however, and can be synonymous with "Covert Operations", which historically have been directed at domestic U.S. as well as foreign targets (a good example is the assassination of President Kennedy).
The provocation on 9/11 was simply the biggest Special Operation of all time. It was the logical, even predictable, outcome of the development over more than half a century of a clandestine (or "deep") political system where the most powerful members of the capitalist ruling class vie for real power. Just as a wide range of familiar means of government and corporate control via coercion and propaganda directs the routinized, visible class war of capitalist society, a host of techniques are available to contenders within the clandestine political understructure: coups, assassinations, kidnappings, disappearances, tortures, slanders, libels, humiliations, disinformation campaigns, "psychological operations", mind control, death squads, "suicides", drug smuggling, gun-running, money laundering, insider trading, fraud, and most especially, provocations and fake "terrorism".
Clandestine politics are not chaos. The clandestine political arena has some rules, similar to the rules that strictly regulate the operations of the classical Sicilian Mafia. Indeed, the Mafia is one of the major contenders, along with the CIA and other U.S and foreign secret services and intelligence agencies (FBI, NSA, DIA, ONI, DEA, Mossad, MI6, FSB etc.), organized crime syndicates based all over the world (dealing in high-return enterprises like drugs, prostitution, slavery, child labor, weapons, gambling, money laundering), and the Vatican/Opus Dei. This is by no means an exhaustive list. These entities and others are able to count upon an unlimited supply of killers and torturers and operational agents of all types from the endless stock of brutalized psyches produced by capitalist society and its infliction of war and poverty worldwide.
In the case of September 11, special operational units at a very high level in the command hierarchy of the CIA and Pentagon were deployed to 1) hijack airliners, probably remotely, to use as missiles (the weapon selected for maximum spectacular effect); 2) deactivate the air defenses of the country, to guarantee a stand-down of fighters; 3) launch a cruise missile at a largely empty section of the Pentagon, to add to the spectacle (perhaps felt necessary due to uncertainty whether the attacks at the World Trade Center would be sufficiently horrific); and 4) coordinate the massive, instantaneous media propaganda campaign about Osama bin Laden and Islamic Fundamentalist Terrorists.
The very focussed special operations of September 11 required years of advanced planning and preparation. False identities for "the hijackers" had to be elaborately constructed and time was needed for them to make spectacles of themselves so they would be remembered to have been suspicious and crazed. The entire saga of Osama bin Laden was cobbled together over years, always suppressing his ongoing services to his controllers in the CIA. The Islamic Fundamentalist Terrorist is a joint creation of the CIA and the Mossad, who have been running such fake terror operations using Hamas and Islamic Jihad for many years.
Testing, testing. . .
The ambitious scheme carried out on September 11 required years of testing of technical modalities and "dry runs". The bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 was an FBI provocation, which would not have happened without crucial FBI facilitation and encouragement. It served to start the process of domestic terrorization, and to prepare the public mind to see the WTC as uniquely vulnerable to attack by crazed Arabs. The Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 was a major step forward in the construction of the Terror State. The evidence that Timothy McVeigh was a patsy who took the rap for the real perpetrators, the U.S. special operations crowd, is abundant. The long series of bombings abroad blamed on al-Qaeda, in Saudi Arabia, Kenya, Yemen and elsewhere, built up the reputation of Osama bin Laden and created the illusion that he had become the deadly enemy of his former masters, the U.S. government (while in fact he was still spending most of his time training and delivering fighters for the various local war operations run by the CIA and Pentagon, in Chechnya, Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia).
The terrorists at the heart of the U.S state/corporate monstrosity recognize that they can learn lessons now and again from lesser gangs. They learned much from the series of apartment building bombings in Russia carried out by the FSB, the Russian secret service. Hundreds died, rather than thousands, but the numbers were sufficient. The Russian government (cravenly supported by the media) immediately pronounced the perpetrators to be Islamic Fundamentalist Terrorists, and launched an invasion of Chechnya. Russia proceeded to further refine techniques of population control in occupied Chechnya, including helicopter-launched missile attacks on residential buildings and summary executions of males, lessons of great importance for Israel in determining what it could get away with in its treatment of the Palestinians. The Russians, in their response to U.S. covert operations in Chechnya, really put it all together, and the provocateurs controlling the U.S. government took copious notes, as September 11 has proven. Are you still hoping to see a principled Russia stand up to the U.S. and Israel over the coming war on Iraq/Iran/Saudi Arabia/Syria/Lebanon? They're all playing the same game.
Let's bring in another set of important preparatory "trial runs". The brutality of the fascist Carabinieri in Genoa in July, 2001, less than two months before the attacks in New York and Washington, had its exemplary value as well. (Spectacularly, the city was widely proclaimed to be protected by ground- and ship-to-air missile batteries to defend against the possibility that Islamic Fundamentalist Terrorists might try to crash a hijacked plane into the Ducal palace where the head criminals of the "G-8" were partying. This promotional excess caused some embarrassment later because it made highly implausible the claim by the FBI and CIA that they simply hadn't expected such an attack in the U.S. before September 11.) The Carabinieri had been the recipients of advanced training from the Los Angeles Police Department in the runup to the G8 meetings. How did they use their new training? They shot Carlo Giuliani in the head, planted fake evidence in the Diaz school and then brutally attacked sleeping protestors, crushing their skulls with truncheons as they lay in their sleeping bags before hauling them off to dungeons for weeks of torture.
Was this a shocking departure for civilized Italian society? Well, not exactly. There were some prior incidents, for example the long series of fake terror attacks, from 1969 into the mid-1980s, overseen and directed by the CIA and run through the Italian secret services, which killed hundreds of innocent people. At the time the attacks were pinned on the anticapitalist movement. The Red Brigades, early on a pathetic Leninist distortion of this movement, was quickly taken over by the Italian secret services and then run by them to escalate the strategy of tension", the CIA scheme of "stabilization through destabilization". (The "strategy of tension" is an especially hideous euphemism for "strategy of mass terror through mass murder"; for some reason it appealed to the Italian press and intellectuals. The "in-house" CIA term "stabilization through destabilization" is shorthand for "vast increases in state control over the population through fake terror".) This initiative in Italy was undertaken before the Islamic Fundamentalist Terrorist units had been developed, that is, before the utility of a fake enemy had been fully recognized.
At this early, relatively unsophisticated period, the real enemy, anticapitalists, were blamed directly for crimes of the state. This caused no end of difficulties in court, where long legal battles tended to end in acquittal or obvious frameups, and sometimes even resulted in trials of the secret service operatives responsible for the bombings. The whole story, including the CIA's direction of the entire operation, and the established Left's corrupt silence (so strikingly similar to today in the U.S.) can be read in exquisite detail in two books, Puppetmasters by Philip Willan, and On Terrorism and the State by Gianfranco Sanguinetti.
A thread of Willan's amazingly complex and convincing story has special significance for us today, and suggests actual linkages between the "strategy of tension" in Italy and currently ongoing special operations. Willan turned up numerous indications that the famed Toni Negri was indeed involved with the Red Brigades, but most likely as an operative of the Italian secret services, run by the FBI (not the CIA; apparently there was a bit of a turf war going on between the two agencies. Just as the lie that the CIA does not operate within the U.S. has been exposed, so too has the notion that the FBI does not operate abroad). Although now considered a "martyr" by the Left, a victim of a frame-up by the Italian judicial system, the more likely fact is that Negri is still working for the integrated U.S./NATO/Italian secret services, as an informer and a "disinformation" agent. Isn't it amazing that Harvard University Press has published his "bestseller" Empire (co-authored with Michael Hardt) - Harvard publishes books by convicted terrorists? Well, yes, maybe, if the publication is part of a special operation to undermine the anticapitalist movement. The book has been ably dissected and exposed for the objectively reactionary obfuscation that it is. Among the crimes we know Negri is guilty of is successfully infecting Marxian critique with postmodernism. It is probably no coincidence that "autonomous Marxists" refuse to see the real significance of September 11, and the coming globalization of the "strategy of mass terror through mass murder".
The New and Improved Strategy of Terror
Essentially the "strategy of tension" has gone global. As before, the perceived threat to which it is a response is a growing "crisis of democracy", with working people increasingly demanding a full say in the ordering of their lives and their societies, and rejecting the exploitation and domination of capitalism. In Italy, the worldwide events of 1968 set in motion a long period of radical questioning and contestation by large sectors of the society, which profoundly undermined the post-war regime installed by the U.S. Fear of where the radicalism would lead and the complete inability to put a stop to it in any other way led to the selection of a campaign of fake terrorist bombings to provide the pretext for a massive crackdown on dissent. For the purposes of the U.S. and the Italian elite, direct naming of the enemy, communism, was sufficient.
Now, however, in a similar, but global, situation, the planners of world capitalism have come up with a more sophisticated and flexible approach. The core elements are the same, fake terror as the pretext for draconian measures, but the stakes and stage are vastly expanded. Now the real enemy is not named, but a fake enemy is substituted to cause maximal confusion and open up a global theater of military operations. "Terrorists" are everywhere; they must be eliminated everywhere. The first phase in the "War on Terrorism" is to go after the Islamic Fundamentalist Terrorists (that is, to go for the world's oil resources); later, the assault on other kinds of terrorists, like anticapitalists, can get seriously underway. The mass murders of September 11, the "war" in Afghanistan, and the coming U.S./Israeli attack on Iraq/Iran/Saudi Arabia/Syria/Lebanon demonstrate that there are simply no limits now on what measures our rulers are prepared to take to crush our aspirations and actions for a world worth living in for all, not just a few.
Planning Their Future, Not Ours
Capital's planners are "realists". Modern slash-and-burn capitalism is often criticized by liberals and leftists for its short-term view, its fixation on near-term returns to the exclusion of concern for the long-term sustainability of "healthy profits". As usual the liberals and leftists don't understand what they presume to speak about. Capitalists know, if they know anything at all, that the primary directive of capital is maximized profit at every moment, by any means fair or foul. Failure in this is failure. But they also have shown themselves well aware of the need for the long view, and have for well over a century devoted considerable money and energy to the task of careful planning. There are both visible and unseen bodies tasked with planning and implementing capital's long-term strategies. The visible planning bodies include the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, the Bilderberg Group, and innumerable thinktanks. Visible implementation agencies include the World Trade Organization, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the European Union, the G-8, the World Economic Forum, the North American Free Trade Agreement/Free Trade Agreement of the Americas, and on and on.
All these organizations meet in secret session and conspire against the working people of the world. But they conspire openly; they claim and are granted the right to conspire. "Establishment" Leftists criticize these agencies of capitalist planning for their exclusivity and plead for the right to join them in their conspiracy, pretending to themselves and others that their own presence at the planning meetings as full conspiring members would mean long-term "healthy profits". They believe they know better how to manage the crises and contradictions of capitalism, and they promise to guarantee greater social stability through their claim to represent the interests of society as a whole. They can't understand why they are invariably excluded from the real centers of capitalist strategy formulation. And because they remain wannabe managers of capital despite their rejection, because they are committed to capital heart and soul, they consider it of the first importance to prevent an understanding of the real facts and dimensions of capitalist conspiracy against working people. Spurned as co-conspiritors, they deny that conspiracy occurs. Evidently they believe that if they successfully control all popular discussion and shut down inquiry through censorship, character assassination and dishonesty, they will prove themselves worthy of admittance into the secret chambers where capital plans its next attacks.
A Nest of Vipers
Alongside and underneath these visible structures is a veritable menagerie of secret planning cabals and "operational units" that try to put the contending strategies of different power centers of capital into effect. This is, broadly speaking, the principal charge of the CIA, the biggest snake in the pit. The "Agency" is precisely that; it is the active force that puts the plans and schemes of the most powerful Wall Street, armaments and oil interests into operation. Within the CIA the lines between the state and private, corporate power are totally blurred, in fact have melded into one.
The CIA was conceived and created by Wall Street lawyers ("Wild Bill" Donovan, the Dulles brothers, Frank Wisner, etc. [see The Old Boys: the American Elite and the Origins of the CIA by Burton Hersh]) in the immediate post-World War II period, and has been controlled by the same financial powers throughout its existence. A primary reason for the CIA's creation was to set up the system of illegal laundering of profits from drug smuggling, gun running, and other global criminal operations. The CIA controls much of this activity over the world, and funnels the money into Wall Street banks. Another principal purpose of the Agency from the beginning has been to provide the U.S capital/state with the ability to control foreign governments, through whatever means are found necessary -- coups, assassinations, illegal funding of political parties and individuals, subversion by "freedom fighters", or campaigns of terror.
Many people still labor under the delusion that the CIA is a governmental "intelligence agency", controlled by the President and the National Security Council. In fact this is not true, or is only sporadically and partially true. Because much (by no means all) of the operational budget of the CIA comes from tax revenues, there is a parallel, visible governmental control structure that has some input into its operations. But the CIA is actually controlled by a "secret team", to use Prouty's term, of corporate powers who have placed CIA agents in all the branches and departments of the federal government, as well as in state governments, police departments, universities, foundations and media corporations. These agents pursue the interests and carry out the commands of the real control group, now widened somewhat from its Wall Street origins, in the finance-, banking-, oil- and armaments- sector-led Secret Team.
When the President is trusted by the team, is essentially one of the "old boys", all works seamlessly. When the President is not trusted, or actually makes decisions they disapprove of, the CIA stops working for him and may in fact "neutralize" him. Kennedy was "neutralized" by assassination after proving lukewarm towards the CIA's pet Bay of Pigs fantasy; Nixon, by exposure as a criminal after trying to wrest control of the drug trade from the CIA; and Carter, by the October Surprise, in revenge for having "cleaned house" at the CIA when he came into office (he fired George Bush as Director and hundreds of his loyal operatives) and to take the White House back. Clinton's humiliation may not have been a CIA operation; it's hard to figure why the controllers would have been unhappy with him (the best guess would be that he was too "multilateral" in his approach). Gore was neutralized by the Florida Coup so that the real old boys in the Bush family could return to their rightful place. (A chilling insider's view of how the CIA "neutralizes" its political opponents is presented in The Tatum Chronicles by Chip Tatum, a CIA agent who specialized in this line during George H. W. Bush's term in office, and took orders directly from Bush.)
The CIA is an extremely complex entity, with many different operational units, some of which may at times work at cross purposes because directed by different controllers. L. Fletcher Prouty's two books, mentioned above, go into considerable detail in laying out these complexities. Prouty was for several years in the late '50s and '60s the Air Force officer charged with facilitating Pentagon support for covert CIA operations requiring Air Force equipment or personnel. He describes the slow penetration of CIA agents throughout the Pentagon and other departments of the federal government, who after a few years in place are well-positioned to advance Secret Team objectives without the knowledge of their transient appointed political superiors. The Secret Team, not the President and NSC, is in charge.
It is important to emphasize two points again: The real CIA permeates all branches and departments of the federal government, and is far larger than the agency described "on the books", and furthermore it is not exclusively a government agency at all, but is at least equally a tool of private, unseen powers. These facts mean that all agencies of the federal government conduct illegal covert operations, and often contract with non-governmental criminal organizations to carry out their schemes, under the direction of their controllers in the CIA.
But the situation is actually even more complex than this emphasis on the CIA has suggested. The Agency has rivals, within as well as outside the U.S. government. Other "intelligence agencies", in the Pentagon (e.g., Defense Intelligence Agency, Office of Naval Intelligence, National Security Agency), in the Justice Department (e.g., FBI, Secret Service, Drug Enforcement Administration), and in numerous other departments, run their own special operations, often without coordination with the CIA and in rivalry to it, and at other times as "joint ventures" between "partners". Finally, the special operations units spread throughout the government never hesitate to contract for services from private criminal and corporate cabals and structures, such as the numerous mafias, cartels, terrorist cells, offshore banks and shell companies, death squads, assassins, etc. A major activity usually farmed out to private contractors is the elimination of operatives or investigators who "know too much", usually by murder made to look (or simply officially pronounced to be) accidents or suicides. Excellent overviews of the breadth of these "governmental" activities are provided by Rodney Stich in Defrauding America and by Daniel Hopsicker in Barry and the Boys.
This system of clandestine political control has determined the course of post-World War II U.S. history to a very substantial degree, and is more important to understand than the pendulum swings of "liberal" and "conservative" politics (which now, largely due to this unexamined clandestine control, have been reduced to the indistinguishable poles of "neo-liberal" and "neo-conservative" in any case). It has brought us the Vietnam War; the Bay of Pigs fiasco; the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., Robert Kennedy, and Fred Hampton (and probably Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, John Lennon, Abbie Hoffman and Judi Bari as well); Watergate and the fall of Nixon; the coup in Chile and assassination of Allende; Operation Condor, the CIA-run continental sweep, torture and execution campaign against the Left in South America; the assassination of Orlando Letelier and Ronnie Moffitt in Washington D.C., not far from CIA Director George H.W. Bush's office; the October Surprise in 1980; the Contra War; Iran-Contra; the stripping of the Savings and Loans; the BCCI scandal; the invasions of Grenada, Panama, the Persian Gulf, Yugoslavia and Afghanistan; the domestic terror operations at the WTC in 1993 and Oklahoma City in 1995; and the attacks of September 11, 2001, the "coming out party" of the Secret Team.
In 1967 Jim Garrison concluded that "In a very real and terrifying sense, our Government is the CIA and the Pentagon, with Congress reduced to a debating society". He, more than anyone else, saw that the assassination of John F. Kennedy was a critical threshold for U.S. society, the first "wake-up call"; all but a few rolled over and went back to sleep. The ability of JFK's killers, a complex joint operation organized by the Secret Team through the CIA, to prevent a genuine investigation into their crime through their control of the all three branches of the federal government as well as the press, simply opened the door wide to their subsequent domination of the country's horrific course.
The U.S. government, now run in its entirety by the clandestine power brokers, is nothing other than an organized criminal syndicate, the biggest and bloodiest in the world. The real politics of our day are hidden, and have been reduced to secret deals or turf wars between rival criminal gangs. The visible political system, called "Democracy" or "the two-party system", is a show for the zeks who are too stupid to know the score, a spectacular, fake political process that suits the purposes of all the hierarchical institutions of capitalist society, across the spectrum from Right to Left.
The Global Fascist Terror State
The resurgence of the anticapitalist movement in the 1990s was largely a response to major initiatives taken by the ruling class in powerful states, against the wishes of their populations, led by the U.S., Europe, and Japan, and the biggest multinational corporations, to create a "New World Order" based not on the sovereignty of the nation state, but on one global corporate-dominated "superstate". Several rounds of "trade talks" resulted in formation of the World Trade Organization, a closed, undemocratic mechanism designed to eliminate all national sovereign powers over the terms of trade and investment, allowing completely unconstrained penetration and movement of capital and commodities as dictated by "market forces".
The arrival of the WTO on the scene symbolizes entry into the final phase of the "real subsumption" of society by capitalism. As the strongest vestigial precapitalist social form, the nation state is the last to be completely transformed in the image of pure, unfettered capitalist social relations. Other forms (the family, the "professions", the individual human psyche) have long been recast by capitalism. Now, finally, the roles of states and corporations are to be reversed, with corporations setting the rules by which nations will be regulated. States are to be reduced to little more than population control units, essentially nothing but domestic police agencies. With the right mix of propaganda, soporifics, toys, and the threat of hunger, the wage slaves of this new order will be kept in line. As the starry-eyed planners of capital view it, a worldwide "level playing field" will come into being, "harmonizing" the conditions of production and profit-making, to the benefit of the capitalist system and class as a whole. This is the "egalitarian capitalist" utopia long envisioned by planning bodies such as the Trilateral Commission, with members from Japan and Europe as well as the U.S. The World Trade Organization is their "hopeful monster". Perhaps the proper analytical term to describe it is Bertram Gross' "friendly fascism".
There is just one problem, as the events of September 11 demonstrated. The U.S. Secret Team and its lesser allied satellite groups, the state/corporate criminal gang now in complete command of the U.S. government after the seizure of power in 2000, have different plans. They are well along in the realization of an alternative vision of the capitalist future: the Global Fascist Terror State, a "Fourth Reich" with the U.S. as its "capital". This will indeed be the "unfriendly" version of fascism, akin to that of the Nazis, but updated and vastly expanded in its reach and power over the whole planet. Hitler was a schoolyard bully compared to the mob now in power.
The Bush family has been deeply involved with the rise of fascism since its early years. Herbert Walker and Prescott Bush, great-grandfather and grandfather respectively of the current occupier of the White House, were bankers for and business partners with the German Nazi Party. The CIA milieu in which George H. W. Bush, with his fine pedigree, first throve as an agent and rose to prominence through the '50s and '60s, and then became Director in 1976, was steeped in Nazis of all kinds, brought to the U.S. through the CIA's Operation Paperclip. Indeed, strong arguments have been put forward that the CIA owes its origins as much to the efforts of Reinhard Gehlen, the Nazi overseer of Eastern European intelligence and special operations, as it does to his Wall Street partners. The Germans lost World War II, but the Nazis didn't. They just went "underground", until their services were wanted by the capitalists again, and on a much larger stage, the world.
Analysts of fascism frequently make the mistake of viewing it as bound to the "stage" of "late monopoly capitalism", in which the concentration of ownership and wealth within narrow sectors of the capitalist class has become so great that the trappings of "democracy" must be dispensed with and totalitarian methods employed to maintain social control. In fact this analysis is false. Fascism is just one pole of capitalist political possibility, available for selection by the ruling class for specific purposes at specific times. The conditions in Germany, Italy, and Japan in the '20s, '30s and '40s did not meet the conditions described by the term "late monopoly capitalism"; compared to today, there was nothing "late" about them.
In fact fascism, a merging of the state with the dominant corporate sectors ? banks, finance, arms, energy ? is just one variety of a more broadly dominant form of capitalism during the twentieth century, state capitalism, which existed in the Soviet Union as well at the time (the similarities between Soviet and fascist societies are not accidental!), and was experimented with to a lesser degree even in the U.S., during the New Deal. It is an option available to the ruling class to deal with a set of issues that repeatedly become intractable as the crisis-ridden history of capitalism stumbles on. Capitalism's crises ? wars, depressions, stripping of ecosystems ? cause death, disease, poverty and unemployment, homelessness and degradation, among the working people of the world, and they are forced to fight back. When the capitalist class gets especially frightened (and they are usually frightened in any case, because of their ineradicable guilt, which cannot be fully repressed) of where resistance to their rule may lead, when they see no other way to support their tyranny, they choose fascism: the police state, concentration camps, wars of aggression, and elimination of the shows of "democracy".
Working people can't prevent this choice on the part of the ruling class; we have no way to prevent it. It is a pole of political organization always available to the modern capitalist class, which they are free to choose. Because of this fact, the fight against fascism is like the fight against Republicans. Putting Democrats in charge just makes things look better, but there is really no difference. Getting rid of fascism to restore fake democracy is the same dilemma. The only solution to the problem is the fight against capitalism itself.
September 11 announced the advent of the newly globalized "strategy of tension", i.e., the strategy of mass terror through mass murder. All limits on provocation, fake terror, war, propaganda and population control have been removed. The imperial war juggernauts have already said "Let's roll!" (surely you heard them), and started to completely redraw the world map. Soon it will be all one color, a dark blood red. The level playing field doesn't interest them; they like the set-up as it is, with all the advantage on their side. Forced to the sidelines during the long Clinton/Gore period of fraternizing with foreign rivals, the cabal grouped around George H. W. Bush has returned with a vengeance.
This is the reality behind the "shocking unilateralism" of the Bushmob. There is only room for one top dog. The rest of the world can go ahead and figure out how it plans to appease him. Do you snarl and circle around for a few seconds before he pounces for your throat, or do you lie down on your back and make your surrender really clear? These may seem like pressing questions for a short while, but the outcome is certain either way. The weaker corporate/military gangs in weaker countries will choose appeasement, by and large. Look at the poodle Blair in "Great" Britain; the "resistance" put up by Schroeder, Chirac and Putin is pure show for the home audience. Those unfortunate countries with resources of direct and immediate interest to the now unleashed U.S. imperial pitbulls will be slated for attack. The dogs of war have the smell of oil in their snouts, and it drives them mad with bloodlust. Let the killing resume; as Blair put it recently, let the "bloodprice" be paid.
So the war will first unfold in Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia. The map of the Middle East will be redrawn. The deal struck by Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Ibn Saud in 1945, protection for oil, is over. Now it is your oil or your life. Israel will circle sneakily around the carnage and try to grab all the scraps it can, say the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, maybe even Syria. As the new situation congeals in a new "stability", the imperial hounds will circle and turn their attention to Colombia and Venezuela. No doubt numerous other regions will be considered and perhaps attacked.
As the imperial planners figure it, should the U.S. population begin to weary of perennial war, one of the many special operations units (or several of them in combination) will produce a provocation or fake terror attack to whip them back into a frenzy of fear and war hysteria. The concentration camps of Operation Garden Plot will fill with those who resist. The U.S. "Left" leadership, funded by the CIA through the major foundations, as always, will continue to shill for the "voices of moderation" in the Democratic Party, who will have as much effect on the course of events as the senators had in imperial Rome. Their disagreements will be over methods, not goals; they are all in favor of the Fourth Reich, although they may try to hide the fact from you. If you don't agree with them that this is our inevitable future, it's up to you to prove it to them.
Counter-Planning: Our Future, Not Theirs
Our future is in our hands. We vastly outnumber our totalitarian capitalist masters, and can put a stop to their plans. But to do so we will have to construct entirely new forms of organization and action. The old methods won't work anymore. The old ideas, held onto past their expiration date, will only confuse us as new conditions unfold. We have to dare to think and act in new ways.
Our greatest strength is each other. We simply need to be honest with and trust one another. Only two things are necessary to unveil this honesty and develop this trust: we need to talk together about our situation, and we need to treat each other as equals. We must stop passively allowing a few people to become our leaders, to do our thinking, talking and acting for us. We have to save ourselves; no one will save us. If history teaches one thing, it is that power always corrupts. Give a person power over others, and that person will betray them for his or her personal advantage. This proclivity may simply be a part of human nature, but it is not our whole nature. We are social beings and can socialize in infinitely various ways; an infinitely large subset of these ways can be entirely benign for ourselves, other species and the glorious living planet we share.
Our task is to develop, as quickly as we can and under the spur of stark necessity, ways to come together to discuss the reality we face and organize our fight back. Given our conditioning ? our inculcated passivity (which empowers "leaders" to betray us time and time again) and narcissism (which denies to others their full human significance as our equals) -- and our powerful adversaries (from Right to Left), we face the greatest challenge ever presented to any society. But our only hope lies in opening ourselves to the difficulties and complexities of genuine deep dialogue and successfully undertaking the "counterplanning" of our truly collectively envisioned future of a healthy, peaceful world of equals.
It should be perfectly evident now that "electoral politics" will not avail us. Congress is fully committed to the fascist agenda; the only debates there relate to appearances and methods. It is a fool's game to waste our precious and limited strength on begging "representatives" to "look into the matter". As the course of U.S. history over the last forty years has shown (and the Florida Coup most clearly), "representative democracy" is a farce, and one that the controllers are now dispensing with themselves. As they shift into rule by naked force, they make our real situation brutally obvious. The necessity to take back control of our own lives is now starkly plain to see. And again, the fight must not be reduced to a fight against fascism. It must be a fight against capitalism itself, and all of its institutions.
This movement to counterplan our future against the plans of the dominators amongst and over us has already begun inside and outside the U.S. Millions of people around the world have undertaken this long process in full recognition of the stakes. The Argentines ? now meeting face to face in general assemblies and taking over the management of their daily lives from the corrupt powers of the state, political parties and corporations which have so desperately impoverished them ? are showing us the way forward. So too are the Mayan Indians in Chiapas who have created and collectively directed the EZLN (the Zapatista Army of National Liberation) to defend themselves against the predations of the Mexican state and capital since New Year's Day, 1994.
People worldwide, faced with the crisis of poverty, wage slavery and ecocide which has been created by capitalism, are realizing the necessity to organize as equals, keep their power in their own hands, and act autonomously. All the hierarchical institutions of capitalist society are set up to control and exploit us; this is as true of leftist parties and other "progressive" rackets as it is of states and corporations. To save ourselves from the future the hierarchs are planning for us, we must create new ways of coming together and collectively deciding our own future, leaving the "leaders" behind.
In the U.S. we can organize, using the tool we still have at our disposal, the internet, to begin the process of counterplanning. Sites like the local indymedias allow us to communicate and set up face to face meetings. We can come together in local groups and collectively sort out all the facts and issues required for us to plan our own future. We can decide what actions to take to bring this about. We will need to start from scratch, because the structures of capitalist society must be replaced wholesale. We see where they have led: the brink of oblivion.
Needless to say this counterplanning process will not be allowed to proceed unhindered. The establishment "Left" will try to co-opt it as soon as it gets off the ground, and the police state will try to disrupt or repress it. Infiltrators will spy on us and report our every word and plan, and lies and disinformation will be spread about us. This means we will have to defend ourselves ? surprise! But that is precisely the key action we need to take in any case. We are now where we are because we have failed to defend ourselves. Our counterplanning will be above all things a defense of ourselves and our world. We have no more time to lose in denial or indecision.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the Dante of the Gulag, had a long time to lament the passivity with which he and his fellow political prisoners had allowed themselves to be seized in the middle of the night by Stalin's secret police. He realized and wrote that if every time the feared knock was heard the people inside had taken up their axes or pokers or sticks and defended themselves to the death, soon it would have been very hard to find police willing to spend their nights rounding people up. This is a metaphor of the stark reality we face. We need to be ready to fight back, perhaps physically, perhaps tonight. If we do, we can put an end to the deadly future being planned against us.
Our strongest defense lies in our potential numbers. If we can initiate a process of reaching out and connecting with ever larger numbers of people, and can inspire this process with the truth of our understanding and the beauty of our vision, we will be unstoppable. Our enemies' ascendancy over us is due to the fact that they are organized and we are not. But organized as full equals, with our power in our own hands, we can do whatever needs to be done to create a human society living responsibly with the rest of ongoing creation.
8 October 2002
This is the third in a related series of essays by Max Kolskegg. See also After Genoa: Reform or Revolution? and 9/11: A Desperate Provocation By U.S. Capitalism