portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reporting united states

9.11 investigation

Symbolic Politics and the 9/11 Commission

The dust has settled. All the tiny scraps of paper and debris and human remains that fluttered down through the crisp warmth of autumn nearly 3 years ago has been swept away. And we will never, ever, really know what happened.
In spite of all the stonewalling on the part of the Bush administration, the 9/11 commission finally released its report last week. Some people are expecting the report to provide answers to their questions and lingering doubts. Others are looking for an elusive and illusory thing they call "closure." Still others are ravenously clinging to a belief that an even more elusive quality, Justice, will finally be served. But most of us know that nothing has really changed, because the 9/11 commission had nothing to do with any of those things.

Just like all the reports and commissions dealing with police state violence here in Portland, the 9/11 commission has been about symbolic gesture, not substance. It was endowed with neither the ability nor the will to really tell us anything new. If you would like to read the report for yourself, you can find it here  http://www.npr.org/documents/2004/9-11/911Report.pdf. If you would prefer to spare yourself the tedious task of reading through all 585 pages of this report, you can rest assured: You already know what it says. It says Islamic extremists are "the enemy," it says the United States did not do enough to stop these Islamic extremists, and it says we best be more careful with them from now on. It implies that one of the major failures leading up to 9/11 was an over-emphasis in the Clinton and Bush administrations on diplomacy, rather than military action, to deal with the growing Islamic threat. In short, it repeats all the platitudes and lies that the corporate media has been telling us about 9/11 for the past three years.

Although the commission's findings make it appear that the writing of this report was little more than an exercise in futility, I suggest that it's been much more than that. In fact, this otherwise substanceless tome has a great deal of usefulness to those who would preside over this nation. Like all symbolic gestures, it's real meaning is in its power to influence The Story. Flawed or not, honest or not, readable or not, it's absorbed like a poison into our collective mind, into the stories we tell about ourselves as a people. It is these stories upon which we base our actions in the world. And it is this collection of stories that the 9/11 commission was convened to influence.

It's action upon our consciousness began long before the first word was set down on paper. It began when we learned that a commission was forming to study the "events of September the 11th." It began when we (some of us, anyway) believed that someone was doing something about it. The Story began to vibrate with murmurings about finding the truth, finally knowing what really happened, finally getting some justice. Each new paragraph gave us the sense that we could wait. Wait and see, maybe we will learn the truth. And so, we did not act. We just waited. Waited until all the passion we had to learn the truth, to solve the bizarre inconsistencies, to punish the offenders, evaporated. Yes, until our passion evaporated...or was expended upon the innocent civilians of Iraq.

Now that the report is out, it's long and tedious and filled with pompous pedantry. Most of us won't even bother to read it. But The Story has been altered just the same. The 9/11 commission has put an official stamp of approval and authority on the lies we have been told about the destruction of the WTC. Even if they never read it, many Americans have been placated by it, comforted by it, pacified by it. They see it as the end of the chapter. Nothing to worry about, the authorities have taken care of it all.

Although the nation is still not safe, according to the report, we know who was behind it and we can deal with them via our increasing military might. We need not face the really uncomfortable questions now, the precarious "what if's" that might otherwise have broken down our society. (What if Bush knew, and let it happen anyway? What if bushCo planned and executed the whole thing, just to give him the power and authority to invade Afghanistan and Iraq, and to silence the growing dissent in this nation and elsewhere? What if the PATRIOT act was really about dealing with the increasingly effective and growing environmental and anti-capitalist movements that are threatening the power structure in the US? What if unimaginable greed, and corruption, and unthinkable callousness led bushCo to murder all those people for personal gain? After all, what has been the result? They got their oil pipeline through Afghanistan, they got their Iraqi oil and spoils, they got their crackdowns here at home. They've made millions and sacrificed nothing except other people's children and American credibility in the world....) Ah, but we need not ask these questions now. The story has grown more comfortable. The Authorities have written a new chapter. A bedtime story.
Yeah, and what about the insider trading that occured 29.Jul.2004 14:41

bill

The question I have is how all those investors knew that 911 was going to occur and yet the bush admin had absolutely no idea it was going to happen. I wondered who did the trading. I know Mike Ruppert thinks it's all a CIA job.I dunno if that's the case. Even if the investors were Saudi's which is a distinct possibility- how come we haven't heard anything about it. I mean the SEC should have investigated the trading and passed what they learned to the FBI. Then we as a nation, should have heard about who did it. About 4,000 shares of airline stock from the two airlines involved in the crash was, for all intensive purposes, sold right before the attack. Plus the stock of some of the companies in the WTC, and insurance stock was sold. My whole point is that SOMEBODY knew. So how the hell is it that this administration is acting so dumbfounded about the attack. I mean, shit, I saw the thing in the newspaper about the inside trading with my own eyes!!! Maybe Martha Stewart did it!! She was secretly knitting cozys for Al-Quaeda machine guns. Anyway, here are some articles about this:  http://www.angelfire.com/oh5/hazen/HTML2.html

Read the fine print 29.Jul.2004 16:15

laszlo

Some people made money on the basis of stock and options trades before 9/11, but there wasn't any evidence that the traders knew that the attacks were going to occur. Flip to p. 499 of the Commission report---footnote 130 to chapter 5 summarizes the investigation of the stock trades. All the good stuff in this report is in the footnotes.

Sure, Laszlo 29.Jul.2004 17:15

interpreting the fine print

Sure. The 9/11 report says there is no evidence, so of course there is no evidence. Suuuure.

At least one person bought the story....