9/11 and American Empire: Muslims, Christians, and Jews Speak Out (Volume II) builds upon Volume I-- 9/11 and American Empire: Intellectuals Speak Out-- expanding upon the evidence that 9/11 is a lie, that the foundational myth clouding the facts was constructed in service to the global American empire building project. |
While there are obvious differences in the three religions represented in Volume II, they share a common thread, origins, prophets, and a belief in one supreme deity. Reading each chapter, and hearing each distinct voice, one can see beyond the differences and appreciate the ideas, the concern, that they hold in common. At the same time, each faith is confronted by different challenges in the face of 9/11, the obvious propaganda point of 9/11 being to create a division and a clash of civilizations, to demonize the "other" and elevate the goodness, nobility and righteousness of the "Christian response."
Norman Finkelstein spoke at Stanford University recently, and clearly, calmly, articulated the history of the Israel/Palestine conflict, the human rights violations against Israeli and Palestinian children, international law regarding the situation, and the consensus among historians and human rights organizations on the record. The conflict seems readily solvable given the facts and international law, but a solution doesn't appear to be "realistic" according to the media. Finkelstein argued that it should be possible to have a just, lasting peace and a resolution to the conflict, on the basis of truth and justice. This is the hope of most people in the world, but the obstacle continues to be "the proliferation of distortion masquerading as history," the veil of contrived controversy, a "media campaign alleging a global outbreak of anti-Semitism." Finkelstein received a standing ovation from the packed auditorium. His analysis, his belief in the power of truth, reality, international law and justice to overcome falsehoods and propaganda, and to resolve conflict, could also be applied to the issue of 9/11.
David Ray Griffin has taken on the task of meticulously examining the official 9/11 Commission Report and chronicling 115 of its most glaring omissions and distortions, dubbing the entire work a "571-page lie." In 9/11 and American Empire, Volume I, his position is buttressed by reputable scientists and professors, who substantiate his analysis with basic facts that have not been well reported in the mainstream press. The latest film on David Ray Griffin, 9/11: The Myth and the Reality, which carefully explains what myths are, how they are used, and why the official story is "myth" rather than a "true and complete account of the events of 9/11," prompted The Ashland Daily Tidings, the first American newspaper to pen an editorial on Veteran's Day with an eloquent demand for 9/11 Truth:
Social movements historically have played an important role in raising issues, pointing out the disparity between "official myths and reality," and pressuring for institutional change in laws and power-holders to stop injustices from continuing and to protect people and planet from further injustices. All movements have had to pass through a crucible that truths threatening the official order have had to face-- first they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win. Sometimes, like the abolition of slavery in the British Empire, it is a long struggle that may last for decades.
"We call on our colleagues to join us in asking questions.
"Every single American daily newspaper must demand of our congressional leaders and those in the executive branch that an independent council be formed to completely and thoroughly investigate the deaths of nearly 3,000 American citizens in the attack of 9/11 an attack that took place on American soil...
"This historic tragedy ranks among the worst days in American history. We owe it to every American but especially those who do battle on our behalf at the behest of our leaders to spare no expense and allow no party loyalty to dissuade us. The government works for us. If it failed us, either in malfeasance or incompetence, then we must know that. If our current actions around the world are shaped by misinformation, we must know that too. Finally, if what we now believe to be true is only further proven, we would do well to hear the evidence that confirms it. If the government's version of the events of that day are absolutely true, then scrutiny will amplify that truth and lay to rest the skepticism that remains to this day.
"If, however, the questions that remain serve to shed light on new information, that too serves the public. And it is the responsibility of this trusted media industry to dig, probe, investigate and uncover the truth behind government events and decisions that impact the public. On this Veterans Day, we can do no less on behalf of the brave men and women who have been sent to the Middle East based upon rationale that stems directly from the events of 9/11. While we pay homage to all veterans of the Armed Forces today, we are reminded of our duty to watch closely those leaders in the White House and Congress who make the decisions to send our troops to war.
"We invite every single American daily newspaper to join us in our demand for an independent council to completely and thoroughly investigate the deaths of nearly 3,000 American citizens in the attacks of 9/11.
"America will be better informed, and this is our job."
Kevin Barrett, the inspiration for, and editor of, Volume II writes in his introduction:
At the heart of the Abrahamic religions, as well as Hinduism, Buddhism, and paganism, is a challenge to all "rulers" who believe themselves to be "God's equal" and exercise divine rule over their subjects. The radical suggestion to "love one's neighbor and one's enemies," to recognize the divine spirit in all human beings and all of creation, directly challenges the notion that any particular person is inherently superior to another and capable of deciding whether another person should live or die. While I would argue with Sun Tzu's classic-- The Art of War-- there is no doubt that his thoughts have been foundational to the military mindsets that have dominated the planet for thousands of years.
"The tendency of 9/11 to create enmity among the Abrahamic traditions increases the urgency for Christians, Jews, and Muslims to take the lead in speaking out about 9/11. We must, as David Ray Griffin argues, return to the basic moral values of our faith traditions. We must work together if our struggle is to succeed.
"It is not just that our faith traditions teach us to seek truth and abhor injustice, lies, murder, and plunder. The main function of 9/11 has been to justify American imperialist claims and actions, whereas our traditions are profoundly anti-imperialist... "
"Our three great faith traditions implore us to take the side of truth-tellers against liars, of persecuted people against their persecutors, and of justice-seekers against power-mongers. All three traditions embrace the prophetic voice that calls for a critique of power and injustice."
The inherent assumption in "The Art of War" and in the increasingly complex psychological operations being directed against Americans, and other countries, is that a "superior being, a ruler," has the right, and perhaps obligation, to sacrifice lives, to deceive, and to wage war for the benefit of those that he rules, and himself. While Sun Tzu states "All warfare is based on deception," he overlooks the self-deception of rulers who believe in their divine authority and moral superiority over others.
Psychological warfare, including terrorist attacks against innocent civilians, is being used to extend and maintain the power who command intelligence agencies and military forces. 9/11 was not unique, nor the most recent in a long historical list of state-sponsored terrorist acts, deliberately engineered to frighten and infantilize the public. The fear is used to generate support for the "protective" functions of the state and to demonize opponents, or in the case of "false flag operations," to justify military action against another country. General Smedley D. Butler famously proclaimed that "War is a racket." When directed against one's own country or citizens and used to direct greater resources towards a police state it becomes a "protection racket." Mobsters might break a window or two to frighten business owners into paying them "protection money" to ensure that their windows aren't broken, again, and their buildings aren't burned to the ground. "The war on terrorism" is a facade of the real "war of terrorism" being waged against people by governments.
Deception and lies are used to create fear, divisions and justify wars. Governments, however, are comprised of people. Profound respect, love, and truth are the tools spiritual traditions offer us to heal, to further justice, to alleviate suffering, to enlighten ourselves and others on the path towards inner peace and world peace. Violence is the tool of the unenlightened, the frightened, those who do not know how to communicate in healthy ways. There is a powerful scene in the film "Beyond Rangoon" of a group of people, fleeing persecution in Burma, at the edge of a river beyond which is the safety of Thailand. A soldier stops them with a machine gun. The Buddhist priest smiles, opens his hand and says "Join us." The soldier drops his gun and joins them.
With love and respect we can dialogue, connect, and bring out the humanity of others, rather than demonize, frighten, alienate, and further polarize those who threaten us. Bill Moyer, author of Doing Democracy, taught that those who commit violence, whether physical, verbal, or psychological, generally do so out of fear, when their view of themselves or their view of the world is threatened. 9/11 can be understood as an act of fear on the part of those who wished to maintain and extend their power.
Martin Buber The very idea of the Age of Enlightenment was for individuals to reason and think for themselves, moving from "dependence upon a supreme authority or government" to becoming "responsible for themselves and their actions." The idea of self-governance and democracy continues to be embraced by greater numbers of people, even while its shortcomings and flawssuch as stolen elections, corruption, and collusion with corporations seeking to privatize state assets at the public expense--are exposed.
With the revolution of information technologies-- from the printing press to radios, films, television, and the Internet-- it becomes harder to contain or limit people's access to ideas and information. At the same time, there has never been greater disparity between the rich and the poor. Despite the institutionalized ban on slavery, it continues to exist, along with the barbarous exploitation of children as soldiers, sex objects, and laborers. The struggle throughout history has been between those wielding power and those who are subject to their actions and policies.
The power of social movements comes from deconstructing the social "myths" that provide false legitimacy to rulers and from the exposure of secrets that expose policies that generally do the opposite of the "publicly acclaimed myths." This struggle takes place within corporations, government, the media, social movements, the home, religious institutions, and the schools-- wherever people are. The grand strategy of all social movements is to win the hearts, minds, and support of the majority of people, and to get them to exercise the people power that resides within themselves.
An enormous amount of research into the human mind has been used to control entire populations by censoring critical information, fabricating, staging or spinning events to gain support for policy decisions and legislation that furthers entrenched interests and harms the public and the environment. The most powerful organized religions often serve the interests of the powerful. "Liberation theology" and the most radical progressive Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and Pagans--who challenge the status quo and champion the poor, the oppressed, and the voiceless-- have a Herculean task ahead of them in a noisy, consumer-driven, resource-depleting, morally challenged society.
The search for truth, however, is perennial. Common wisdom can prevail over the obvious self-serving interests of snake-oil salesmen. As the mainstream press has been exposed for selling snake oil and "war," and for cooking facts, more and more people find it less and less reliable and are going through the process of seeking enlightenment- thinking and reasoning for themselves, finding new sources of information, and becoming responsible for their own actions. It isn't happening overnight, but is a gradual process. The growing media-reform movement, global-justice movement, electoral-reform movement, and impeachment movementall the myriad interlinked movements that have faced the challenge of pushing their issues through the truth crucible-- are testimony to an unstoppable movement on the spiral of human evolution towards greater truths, greater justice, for all.
In Memphis, Tennessee, at the National Conference on Media Reform, someone gave us a bag of buttons with a very simple phrase upon them: "Peace Takes Courage." It takes courage to challenge lies, to seek truth, to promote peace and justice, to listen to those who do not share your view of the world, to respect everyone's right to life and to their own opinions.
The most disturbing information that I gleaned from Volume II was that current legislation (H.R. 1-- To provide for the implementation of the recommendations of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States) has a substantial amount of money specifically earmarked towards undermining Islam by promoting a very small minority of "Muslims" who embrace the worldview that America's interests are synonymous with the deeper interests of all the people of the world. In reality, I think more Americans are feeling threatened by their government than ever before, and feel that US policies endanger the country. Even major power-holders are beginning to challenge the White House actions and policies.
The most damning statements regarding official complicity in 9/11 come from official sources. These terrifying/affirming statements came from Zbigniew Brzezinski, the proud instigator of the largest CIA operation in US history, who bragged of luring the Soviets into Afghanistan to ruin them during the Cold War. While testifying before the Senate foreign relations committee, he said, "If the United States continues to be bogged down in a protracted bloody involvement in Iraq, and I emphasize what I am about to say, the final destination on this downhill track is likely to be a head-on conflict with Iran and with much of the world of Islam at large."
He set out the following as a plausible scenario for military collision: Iraq failing to meet benchmarks set by the administration, followed by accusations that Iran is responsible for the failure, then a terrorist act or some provocation blamed on Iran, culminating in so-called defensive U.S. military action against Iran.
That, Brzezinski said, would plunge the United States into a spreading quagmire eventually ranging across Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. (According to Reuters- War a Calamity, Ex-Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski Tells US Congress, Jim Young, Feb. 1, 2007).
Perhaps Brzezinski has discovered his own humanity and seeks to prevent the expansion of war, which could diminish the chances of survival for many of Earth's species, including us.
He also said "the administration is developing a mythical, historical narrative to justify the case for a protracted and potential expanding war."
Initially based on false claims that Iraq had secret arsenals of weapons of mass destruction, Brzezinski said "the war is now being redefined as the decisive ideological struggle of our time, reminiscent of the earlier collisions with Nazism and Stalinism." (Ibid., Jim Young)
Perhaps the last superpower is global opinion, informed by direct witnesses, experience, and by the Internet--a diversity of voices and concerns, increasingly sensitive to the stresses and threats of climate change, to entire ecosystems dying, the accelerated rate of species extinctions, growing deserts, diminishing flows of fresh water, and dwindling discoveries and reservoirs of oil. Wherever the super-rich and powerful travel, they are confronted by protesters challenging their rules and their roles in the drama of everyday life, where government and corporate decisions mean financial ruin, war, disaster, or death to increasing numbers of people. At the G8 summit in Italy, one sign said "You G8--We 6 Billion."
If there is hope for the planet, Kevin Barrett has strengthened it by calling on all of us--Christians, Jews, Muslims, or whatever our faith--to seek the truth of 9/11. May those of all faiths recognize that we human beings are part of the fabric of creation and that individually or collectively we do not have the right to judge and execute our fellow human beings or to desecrate the Earth which makes life possible. We need to respect, love, listen to one another for mutual enlightenment, and to seek truth, peace and justice. If the truth about 9/11 is spoken in a timely fashion, it could prevent war, deter state-sponsored terrorism, and generate public support for just laws that serve and protect all people, rather than protecting those who abuse, subvert and violate laws for power and profit.
Carol Brouillet and Kevin Barrett will both be speaking at the upcoming 9/11 Accountability- Strategies and Solutions Conference February 23-25, 2007 in Chandler, Arizona.