IX

"ANGEL IS NEXT" –

THE INVISIBLE GOVERNMENT SPEAKS

Chapter Nine from "9/11 Synthetic Terror: Made in USA", Copyright 2005, 2006 by Webster Griffin Tarpley, published by Progressive Press.

From 10:00 a.m. to approximately 8:00 p.m. (on Sept. 11), US government officials were not thinking that this was the work of Arab terrorists, but rather that it was an expression of a military coup being carried out by US-based extremists who were capable of provoking a nuclear war. – Réseau Voltaire, Paris, September 27, 2001

Sheikh: They [the Americans] were terrified thinking there was a coup. – "Bin Laden" tape of December 2001 (Meyssan 2002 197)

The current tenant of the White House most probably was not familiar in advance with a detailed outline of the 9/11 plot. He was assisted in not knowing and not acting by his cognitive impairment, his contempt for detailed, accurate information, and his habitual mental lethargy. Whether or not he suspected that something was coming, whether or not he knew this or that detail, are all matters to be determined with the help of open archives and cross-examination of the subject. The guess here is that Bush knew far less than many of his most severe critics might surmise. Bush's crime was not the crime of knowing everything in advance; it was rather the crime of not knowing what he should have known, and of then compounding that by capitulating, by turning the US government and polity in the direction demanded by the terror plotters. Better than "Bush knew," as we will see, is "Bush surrendered." "Bush knew" makes a good political slogan, but it cannot be a guide to understanding the true scope of what actually happened. Students of 9/11 who build their work around the thesis that "Bush knew" are on treacherous ground.

As I pointed out in my 1992 study of Bush 41, the typical model of a Bush presidency is that of a weak and passive executive who comes into office with few ideas beyond the basic desire to rule and to appoint rich cronies to key posts, and who sits in the White House waiting for his networks to tell him what it is he must do. These impulses, naturally, are mediated through the handlers of the White House palace guard. But here lies the danger: when Bush was running for office, it was widely conceded by his supporters that their candidate was a moron, but a moron who would hire the best advisers available, who would guide him through the crises of his presidency. In this sense, both Bush presidencies were oligarchical presidencies, with the chief magistrate in fact functioning as the front man for a committee.

The events of 9/11 showed the grave danger of such an oligarchical presidency: what happened if the advisors turned out to be traitors, misfits, or absent, as they did on 9/11: the presidency itself was paralyzed and incapable of acting, as occurred during the dark eternity of horror the world experienced as Bush busied himself with reading "My Pet Goat."

If the forces favorable to a policy of open-ended clash-of-civilizations warfare had been in total control of the government, they might have been able to orchestrate the outbreak of war directly, through an incident involving a target country like Iraq – somewhat along the lines of the Gulf of Tonkin incident. This would have been enough to convince the mass media and the population. But the coup faction, the golpistas, felt that they needed to convince the state apparatus as well, to shake the state to its foundations, threaten the life of Bush in a number of ways, and run the risk of being caught in some highly treasonous activities, in order to get what they wanted. This can be shown through an analysis of Bush's conduct on 9/11.

As part of his "endless summer" approach to the presidency which had seen him on vacation for over 40% of his time in office up to 9/11, Bush was spending the evening of September 10 at the Colony Beach and Tennis Resort on Longboat Key, a narrow coral island in the Gulf of Mexico, off Sarasota, Florida. This resort, a favorite destination for plutocrats, was billed as "America's greatest tennis resort." Here Bush dined on the evening of September 10 with his brother Jeb, the governor of Florida, and a group of Republican politicians and rent seekers (e.g., lobbyists seeking favors from the public purse).

Bush awoke at 6 AM on the morning of September 11, 2001, and went for his habitual jog. But in the night of September 10 to 11, Bush's security detail received a warning that he was in imminent danger. The Sarasota ABC affiliate reported on 9/11: "The warning of imminent danger was delivered in the middle of the night to Secret Service agents guarding the President," said reporter Monica Yadov, "and it came exactly four hours and thirty-eight minutes before Mohammed Atta flew an airliner into the World Trade Center. (Hopsicker 2004 40)

ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT

On the evening of September 10, Zainlabdeen Omer, a Sudanese national who was a local resident, reported an assassination threat against Bush to the Secret Service. Omer said an acquaintance named Ghandi had made violent threats against Bush and was now in town, so Omer was worried about Bush's safety. The next day, 9/11, the Secret Service searched a Sarasota apartment in connection with this report. Three Sudanese men were questioned for about ten hours. The Secret Service also raided a Sarasota beauty supply store, whose owner, identified as "Hakim," told the agents that "Ghandi" was a member of the Sudanese People's Liberation Army, a group fighting against the Muslim government in Sudan. (Hopsicker, July 22, 2002) The SPLA, led by US agent John Garang, is an asset of the CIA and the Mossad . It is not possible to determine whether this story represents the danger about which the local ABC station said Bush was warned.

It was at Longboat Key that Bush was the target of a possible assassination attempt. As Bush was preparing for his morning run, a van carrying several Middle Eastern men pulled up to the security post at the Colony's entrance. The men claimed to be a television news crew with a scheduled poolside interview with the president. They asked for a certain Secret Service agent by name. The message was relayed to a Secret Service agent inside the resort, who hadn't heard of the agent mentioned or of plans for an interview. He told the men to contact the president's public relations office in Washington, DC, and had the van turned away. (Longboat Observer, September 26, 2001; Hopsicker 2004 39-48)

This technique may have been the same one used to eliminate General Ahmed Shah Massoud two days earlier. Here a television camera crew composed of suicide bombers had gained access to the legendary anti-Soviet fighter and leader of the Afghan Northern Alliance. After setting up their equipment, a bomb inside their camera had detonated, killing Massoud and others. The official version sees this event as a preparation for 9/11, through attempting to cripple the Northern Alliance which the CIA was sure to use against the Taliban regime.

But there is a more cogent view: Massoud was a proud nationalist who would not have taken orders from the CIA and UNOCAL, so it was urgent for the CIA to eliminate him. In the latter case, Bush may have come close to joining Massoud as the victim of the same rogue network of US intelligence which planned 9/11. In any case, the fact that a likely assassination attempt had been foiled would normally have been the basis for canceling the rest of Bush's schedule for the day and for quickly hurrying him back to Washington or some other secure destination. But on 9/11, the most minimal precautions were flaunted. Was it security stripping?

Bush's publicity event at the Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida, on September 11, 2001, had been in the planning phase since August, but was only announced publicly on the morning of September 7. (White House, September 7, 2001) Later that same day of September 7, alleged 9/11 hijackers Mohamed Atta and Marwan al Shehhi had traveled to Sarasota for drinks and dinner at a Holiday Inn located two miles down the beach from where Bush was scheduled to stay during his Sarasota visit. (Longboat Observer, November 21, 2001; Washington Post, January 27, 2002) Was this a coincidence, or did it have something to do with a possible assassination attempt on Bush?

On the surface, Bush's security arrangements at the Colony appeared elaborate. Surface-to-air missiles were placed on the roof of the resort (Sarasota Herald-Tribune, September 10, 2002), and an Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) plane circled high overhead. (Sammon 25)

At about 8:50 AM (when reports of the first World Trade Center crash were first broadcast), while standing on the Sarasota bay front waiting for the presidential motorcade to pass by, a passerby observed two Middle Eastern men in a dilapidated van "screaming out the windows 'Down with Bush' and raising their fists in the air." The FBI supposedly questioned the source of this report, but it is not clear if this was the same van that had appeared at the Colony security checkpoint. (Longboat Observer, September 26, 2001)

When did Bush learn that American Flight 11 had hit the North Tower? There are several reports that Bush was told of the first crash before he arrived at the Booker school. The initial flashes of American 11's crash into the World Trade Center began around 8:48 AM, two minutes after the crash happened. (New York Times, September 15, 2001) Nevertheless, at 9:03 AM, fifteen minutes after a grave emergency was obvious, Bush sat down with a classroom of second- graders and began a 20-minute photo opportunity?

Part of the answer to this may lie in Bush's mental inertia and weak hold on external reality. But it may also be that Bush was being subjected to some form of security stripping by the networks who were carrying out the 9/11 attacks. It should be recalled that the assassination of President Kennedy in Dallas was greatly facilitated by the absence of many of the redundant layers of security that usually envelop a traveling president. The many lapses in Bush's personal security on 9/11 suggest that the Secret Service was anything but immune to the rogue network operating behind the scenes.

An alert security detail would have taken Bush out of the Booker school at the first news that American 11 had hit the North Tower. A local reporter commented: "[Bush] could and arguably should have left Emma E. Booker Elementary School immediately, gotten onto Air Force One and left Sarasota without a moment's delay.... But he didn't." (Sarasota Herald-Tribune, September 12, 2001)

Months later, Bush offered his famous garbled and impossible account of how he learned of the first plane impacting the WTC. On December 4, 2001, Bush was asked: "How did you feel when you heard about the terrorist attack?" Bush answered, "I was sitting outside the classroom waiting to go in, and I saw an airplane hit the tower – the TV was obviously on. And I used to fly, myself, and I said, well, there's one terrible pilot. I said, it must have been a horrible accident. But I was whisked off there, I didn't have much time to think about it." (White House, 12/4/01)

Many commentators have noted that the only known film of American 11 hitting the North Tower, the Naudet video, was not broadcast until many hours later. Some have verged into real nonsense, imagining that a secret camera had filmed the first impact and transmitted the pictures to a special television screen set up in the school, all for the edification of Bush. This vastly overestimates the importance of Bush, who was after all just another puppet president. More likely, this garbled account is simply another index of Bush's well-known mental impairment.

The children were opening their books to read a story together when Bush's White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card entered the room and whispered to Bush: "A second plane hit the second tower. America is under attack." (San Francisco Chronicle, September 11, 2002) Bush did not respond. He did not ask questions. He wanted no further information. He gave no orders or directives. He tasked no bureaucracies. He did literally nothing. Bush had run for president with the admission that he was a person of limited mental ability, but one who would hire the best advisers available. This moment showed the fatal weakness of that formula, of the oligarchical presidency. Now there was no time for options to be prepared; quick action, crisp orders were required – orders to mobilize all air defenses, to evacuate key sites, to investigate what was happening. Bush had never been qualified for the presidency, and at this moment he proved it: he froze. As Dr. Franks has pointed out, Bush clings obsessively to his routine as a means of preventing the public disintegration of his personality. On 9/11, Bush clung to a routine with a vengeance, even as the world was crumbling around him. And when a head of state and a head of government fumbles, the goal line is wide open behind him.

This was the defining moment of the Bush 43 presidency: the raging infantile id paralyzed by fear and dread. And this was Bush's pattern: When an American EP-3E spy plane had been forced down on the coast of China in the spring of 2001, "neither Bush nor Rice seemed anxious about the situation's deteriorating into a hostage crisis….Bush went to bed around his usual time, before midnight.…In the White House, it was mostly business as usual. Bush came back from Camp David early on Sunday, not because of the crisis, but because bad weather interfered with his outdoor recreation." (Newsweek April 16, 2001)

"MY PET GOAT"

Bush's defense, as summarized by the 9/11 commission was that "the President felt he should project strength and calm until he could better understand what was happening." (9/11 commission report 38) This is exactly the ceremonial conception of the weak presidency, which sees the office as a symbol and object of popular emotional cathexis or focus, rather than as a policy-making post oriented toward action in the real world. It was left to the foreign press to ask the obvious question: whatever Bush's animadversions might have been, why was he not picked up and carried out? A Canadian reporter noted that "for some reason, Secret Service agents (did) not bustle him away." (Globe and Mail, September 12, 2001) There had in fact been one attempt. A member of Bush's entourage, variously identified as a Secret Service agent or as a Marine from the communications detail, had said, "We're out of here. Can you get everyone ready?" (Sarasota Herald-Tribune, September 10, 2002) But nothing happened. What strange process was at work behind the scenes to leave Bush as a sitting duck in a highly publicized location at a time of gravest danger? Was security stripping going on in the background? This lackadaisical response of Bush's Secret Service detail contrasts sharply with the aggressive manhandling of Cheney, who was lifted up by main force and carried toward the PEOC, the White House bunker, by Secret Service agents.

As for Bush, he was taking orders from his handlers, as usual. From the back of the room, Press Secretary Ari Fleischer held up a sheet of paper with the words "DON'T SAY ANYTHING YET" written on it in big block letters. (Washington Times, October 7, 2002) In the interval, Bush was listening to a pupil read the celebrated story of "My Pet Goat," while the crisis unfolded around him. This is the interval portrayed so graphically in Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 911; how long did Bush stay in the classroom after he was told of the second attack. The Tampa Tribune thought he had remained there "for eight or nine minutes" – until sometime between 9:13 and 9:16. (Tampa Tribune, September 1, 2002) At a certain point a reporter asked Bush, "Mr. President, are you aware of the reports of the plane crash in New York? Is there anything..." Bush, obedient to the instructions of Ari Fleischer to keep his mouth shut on this topic, responded, "I'll talk about it later." But even now the president did not depart. He tarried to shake hands with Ms. Daniels, the second grade teacher. It was evident that Bush felt no urgency to take any action in particular. "He was taking his good old time. ... Bush lingered until the press was gone." According to Bill Sammon, a Bush backer who wrote for the Moonie-controlled Washington Times, Bush here earned the title of "the dawdler in chief." (Sammon 90)

This singularly lethargic conduct by Bush attracted criticism very early on. 9/11 widow and activist Kristen Breitweiser said on the Phil Donahue show: "It was clear that we were under attack. Why didn't the Secret Service whisk [Bush] out of that school? ... (H)e is the commander-in-chief of the United States of America, our country was clearly under attack, it was after the second building was hit. I want to know why he sat there for 25 minutes." (Donahue, August 13, 2002) This critique is all the more justified because of the security warning of the previous night, and the attempted assassination attempt earlier that same morning.

One way to account for Bush's behavior in the classroom that morning, and perhaps the most likely one, is the notion that Bush simply froze in fear and insecurity about what to do. "We've seen Bush's sense of omnipotence threatened before – in the hours following the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon," wrote Dr. Frank. "All of us were understandably frightened, but Bush's fear at first appeared paralytic: he continued reading to the second grade class he was visiting for a full twenty minutes after he was told that the first tower had been hit. Then he fled for an entire day, serpentining across the country until the coast was clear and he could finally make it back to Washington." (Frank 99)

The 9/11 commission accepted without criticism and even without comment Bush's absurd decision to continue reading the story about the goat while the country was under attack, along with his explanation that this was motivated in his own mind by the desire to project an image of strength – an answer which suggests that he was more concerned about maintaining appearances in his own delusional world than he was about providing concrete measures of national defense in this world.

Bush went to a private room in the school and conferred with his advisors. Then, at 9:30, he read the following statement:

THE PRESIDENT: Ladies and gentlemen, this is a difficult moment for America. I, unfortunately, will be going back to Washington after my remarks. Secretary Rod Paige and the Lt. Governor will take the podium and discuss education. I do want to thank the folks here at Booker Elementary School for their hospitality.

Today we've had a national tragedy. Two airplanes have crashed into the World Trade Center in an apparent terrorist attack on our country. I have spoken to the Vice President, to the Governor of New York, to the Director of the FBI, and have ordered that the full resources of the federal government go to help the victims and their families, and to conduct a full-scale investigation to hunt down and to find those folks who committed this act.

Terrorism against our nation will not stand. And now if you would join me in a moment of silence. May God bless the victims, their families, and America. Thank you very much.

END 9:31 A.M. EDT

The operative term here is "apparent terrorist attack." Later that day Bush remarked, "The resolve of our great nation is being tested. But make no mistake: We will show the world that we will pass this test." As Meyssan argues, the general tone of Bush's remarks, including especially the term "test," might suggest a military conflict or internal insurrection just as easily as terrorism. (Meyssan 2002 47)

Soon after this, Bush left the Booker School for the nearby Sarasota Airport. But before he left, the Secret Service was to receive news of another threat to Bush: As the local paper reported a few days later: "Sarasota barely skirted its own disaster. As it turns out, terrorists targeted the president and Air Force One on Tuesday, maybe even while they were on the ground in Sarasota and certainly not long after. The Secret Service learned of the threat just minutes after Bush left Booker Elementary." (Sarasota Herald-Tribune, September 16, 2001)

Another account confirms that the Secret Service learned of a new threat to Bush and Air Force One "just minutes after Bush left Booker Elementary." Karl Rove, who was traveling with the president, commented: "They also made it clear they wanted to get us up quickly, and they wanted to get us to a high altitude, because there had been a specific threat made to Air Force One.... A declaration that Air Force One was a target, and said in a way that they called it credible." (New Yorker, October 1, 2001)

Air Force One took off from Sarasota between 9:55 and 9:57 AM, as many news reports confirm. The takeoff was a hurried one, followed by a steep climb to higher altitudes. Communications Director Dan Bartlett remembered, "It was like a rocket. For a good ten minutes, the plane was going almost straight up." (CBS, September 11, 2002) Air Force One began to roll down the Florida runway just as WTC 2 was about to collapse. "As the President sat down in his chair, [he] motioned to the chair across from his desk for me to sit down," recalled Karl Rove. "Before we could, both of us, sit down and put on our seat belts, they were rolling the plane. And they stood that 747 on its tail and got it about 45,000 feet as quick as I think you can get a big thing like that up in the air." (Bamford 2004 63)

However, despite the pattern of grave threat, Air Force One took off without any military fighter protection. This was about one hour after the impact on the South Tower. There was no lack of nearby air bases which should have been on continuous alert: Homestead Air Station was 185 miles from Sarasota, and Tyndall Air Station was 235 miles away. It should have been possible to improvise a small fighter escort in that interval. This poses the question: was fighter cover being denied to Bush by the rogue network, as part of the pattern of security stripping? This question is made more urgent by the fact that, according to most accounts, Air Force One did not get a fighter escort until well over one hour after it had made its emergency takeoff.

"AIR FORCE ONE IS NEXT"

Once in the airplane, Bush was in continuous contact with Cheney and others. Around this time, officials feared that as many as 11 airliners had been hijacked. (CBS, September 11, 2001) Some reports place Bush out of the loop because of communication difficulty, but "out of the loop" was his father's line from Iran- Contra.

Shortly after takeoff, Cheney apparently informed Bush of "a credible threat" to Air Force One. (AP, September 13, 2001) US Representative Adam Putnam said he "had barely settled into his seat on Air Force One ... when he got the news that terrorists apparently had set their sights on the plane." (Orlando Sentinel, September 14, 2001) The Secret Service had received an anonymous message saying: "Air Force One is next." The caller spoke in the code words relating to Air Force One procedures. Colonel Mark Tillman, who was piloting Air Force One, was informed of the threat, and an armed guard was stationed at his cockpit door. The Associated Press reported that the threat came "within the same hour" as the Pentagon crash –before 10:00 AM, and approximately when the plane took off. (AP, September 13, 2001) The threat contained in this message, "Air Force One is next," would appear to have been distinct from the earlier warning that came upon leaving Booker School, but this cannot be established with total certainty.

Bush wanted to go to Washington, but he was overruled by the White House palace guard. Card told Bush, "We've got to let the dust settle before we go back." (St. Petersburg Times, September 8, 2002) The plane apparently stayed over Sarasota until it was decided where Bush should go. Accounts conflict, but through about 10:35 AM (Washington Post, January 27, 2002), Air Force One "appeared to be going nowhere. The journalists on board – all of whom were barred from communicating with their offices – sensed that the plane was flying in big, slow circles." (London Daily Telegraph, December 16, 2001) What was being discussed on the secure phone during this time? Was Cheney communi- cating the demands of the coup faction to Bush? Was Cheney reporting these demands, or was he joining in urging Bush to accept them? At various points in the narrative, Cheney appears to be acting not just as relayer of information, but as a spokesman for the secret government network which was in action on 9/11. It is thus Cheney, far more than Bush, who must be considered a prime suspect in any serious investigation of 9/11.

"ANGEL IS NEXT"

According to Bob Woodward's canonical mainstream account: "At about 10:30 AM Cheney reached Bush again on Air Force One, which was still on its way toward Washington. The White House had received a threat saying, 'Angel is next.' Since Angel was the codeword for Air Force One, it could mean that terrorists had inside information." Allegedly because of this report, Cheney argued that Bush should not return to Washington. "There's still a threat," said Cheney. (Woodward 18) Within minutes, the plane changed course and flew to Louisiana instead. (Washington Post, January 27, 2002) Was this now a third threat, after the post-Booker threat and the "Air Force One is next" threat? Did the terrorist controllers now add the code word "Angel" to further document their insider status, and their possible access to nuclear codes? Or are we dealing with two versions of the same threat?

We will return to "Angel is next." This represents the single most important clue as to the sponsorship of 9/11, since it was at this point that the sponsors showed their hand. They were not located in a cave in Afghanistan, but were rather a network located high within the US government and military It was a moment of capital importance, the thread which, if properly pulled, will unravel the entire fabric of 9/11 deceit.

Around 10:55 AM, there was yet another threat to Air Force One. The pilot, Colonel Mark Tillman, said he was warned that a suspect airliner was approaching from dead ahead. "Coming out of Sarasota there was one call that said there was an airliner off our nose that they did not have contact with," Tillman related. Tillman took evasive action, pulling his plane even higher above normal traffic. (CBS, September 11, 2002) Reporters on board noticed the increased elevation. (Dallas Morning News, August 28, 2002; Salon, September 12, 2001) It has not been possible to establish exactly what the basis of this threat report was. Was the rogue network blackmailing Bush? Was this suspect airliner a military aircraft using participation in Vigilant Guardian/Vigilant Warrior as a cover story for assisting the plot?

Air Force One had some protection against heat-seeking missiles in the form of an infrared jammer code-named "Have Charcoal." There were also other electronic anti-missile countermeasures. The plane is shielded against the electro- magnetic pulse effect (EMP) which can be generated by nuclear explosions, and which causes damage even at a considerable distance. (Bamford 2004 84)

At the time of this incident, it is apparent that Air Force One still had no fighter escort. Why were the fighters being withheld, and by whom? It was later reported that, in Cheney's 10:32 phone call, he told Bush that another 40 to 90 minutes would be required to get protective fighters up to escort Air Force One. (Washington Post, 1/27/02) This would have left Bush without fighter cover until noon. What was the tone of this remark by Cheney? Was it a threat? Was it blackmail? Our only certainty is that at the time of the 10:55 AM evasive action, there was still no fighter escort. By 1:30 there were reportedly six fighters protecting Air Force One. (Sarasota Magazine, September 19, 2001) According to another version, when the Air Force sent an AWACS early warning radar aircraft plus two F-16s to escort Air Force One, the presidential party treated them on a need-to-know basis. "We were not told where Air Force One was going. We were just told to follow the President," said Major General Larry Arnold of NORAD (Bamford 2004 87) Was the Bush party suspicious of certain military elements?

BARKSDALE AND NIGHT WATCH

Aboard Air Force One on the way to Barksdale, passengers, including the numerous press corps, were told to turn off their cell phones. The Secret Service then came around and removed the batteries from each phone to prevent the emission of any kind of signal that might reveal the plane's location. These measures turned out to be of dubious value, since the Shreveport television stations had placed at least one camera crew near the main runway. "The strange part about it was, here we were turning off cell phones and taking precautions, and we could see ourselves landing at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana on the TV," recalled Eric Draper, Bush's personal photographer. (Bamford 2004 86)

Air Force One landed at Barksdale Air Force base near Shreveport, Louisiana at about 11:45 a.m. (CBS, September 11, 2002; Daily Telegraph, December 16, 2001) "According to intelligence sources, a key reason for deciding to land there was that Barksdale was home to the US Strategic [Air] Command's alternate underground command post, a bunker from which Bush could run a war if necessary. It was also a place where the President could rendezvous with 'Night Watch,' the 'Doomsday Plane.' Once a specially outfitted Boeing 707 known as the National Emergency Airborne Command Post, by 2001 it had become a heavily modified military version of the Boeing 747-200, similar to Air Force One. Renamed the National Airborne Operations Center (NAOC), the aircraft was designed to be used by the President to direct a war in case of nuclear attack. During the Cold War, one of the four Night Watch aircraft was always in the air, twenty-four hours a day. But in the 1990s, the decision was made to keep the alert aircraft on the ground with the ability to take off on fifteen minutes' notice." (Bamford 2004 84)

During the morning, Clarke had instituted Continuity of Government, the measures prescribed for emergency rule in the face of a catastrophic emergency. "Our coordinator for Continuity of Government (we will call him Fred here to protect his identity at the request of the government) joined us. 'How do I activate COG?' I asked him. In the exercises we had done, the person playing the President had always given that order. 'You tell me to do it,' Fred replied." After relaying messages to Bush and Cheney, Clarke added: "'Tell them I am instituting COG.' I turned back to Fred: 'Go.'" (Clarke 8) Clarke, we see again, was running the country, while Bush zig-zagged.

It was at Barksdale that Bush made a second statement for television broad- cast; it was taped and put on the air only after he had left the base. Bush said:

Freedom itself was attacked this morning by a faceless coward, and freedom will be defended. I want to assure the American people that the full resources of the federal government are working to assist local authorities to save lives and to help the victims of these attacks. Make no mistake: The United States will hunt down and punish those responsible for these cowardly acts. I've been in regular contact with the vice president, secretary of defense, the national security team and my Cabinet. We have taken all appropriate security precautions to protect the American people. Our military at home and around the world is on high-alert status and we have taken the necessary security precautions to continue the functions of your government. We have been in touch with the leaders of Congress and with world leaders to assure them that we will do whatever is necessary to protect America and Americans. I ask the American people to join me in saying thanks for all the folks who have been fighting hard to rescue our fellow citizens and to join me in saying a prayer for the victims and their families. The resolve of our great nation is being tested. But make no mistake: We will show the world that we will pass this test. God bless."

The crucial point here is that all reference to terrorism or terrorists had disappeared. Bush was now speaking under the impact of "Angel is next," which had given him the idea that his adversaries were not what the term "terrorists" would normally suggest.

While Bush was reading his 219-word statement, "'he looked nervous,' said The New York Times reporters David E. Sanger and Don Van Natta Jr. The Washington Post reporters Dan Balz and Bob Woodward agreed. 'When Bush finally appeared on television from the base conference room,' they wrote, 'it was not a reassuring picture. He spoke haltingly, mispronouncing several words as he looked down at his notes." Judy Keen of USA Today noted that 'Bush looked grim. His eyes were red-rimmed.' An administration official later admitted, 'It was not our best moment.'" (Bamford 2004 87)

While at Barksdale, Bush "spent the next hour and a half talking on the phone," still disputing with Cheney and others over where he should go next. (Sarasota Magazine, November 2001) There was probably much more at issue than Bush's itinerary. Were Bush and Cheney haggling about whether or how to accept the rogue group's demands, such as the war of civilizations? When Bush requested a return to Washington, Karl Rove answered: "Our people are saying it's unstable still." (Associated Press, September 13, 2001) Bush was told he should go to the US Strategic Command center in Offutt, Nebraska, and he agreed to go.

While still at Barksdale, Bush received word of yet another threat. Just after 1:00 PM, Bush reportedly "received an intelligence report from the base commander that a high-speed object was headed for his ranch in Crawford, Texas." It turned out to be a false alarm. (Sammon 117) By 12:16 PM, US airspace was supposedly empty, since all flights were thought to have landed. Was this another psychological warfare ploy by the rogue network in order to keep Bush off balance? (USA Today, August 12, 2002) Air Force One left Barksdale for Offutt Air Force Base around 1:30 PM. Perhaps better to mask the nature of Bush's predicament, most of the White House press corps were jettisoned at Barksdale. Bush's party was pared down to a few essential staffers such as Ari Fleischer, Andrew Card, Karl Rove, Dan Bartlett, and Gordon Johndroe (White House, September 11, 2001), plus a pool of about five reporters. (AP, September 12, 2001) Were these reporters intelligence community assets who could be relied on not to report potentially explosive details? On the way to Offutt, Bush remained in "continuous contact" with the White House Situation Room and Vice President Cheney.

"By then [as Bush was leaving Barksdale] many in the press were beginning to question why the President hadn't returned to Washington during the grave crisis. The question was put to presidential counselor Karen Hughes, then at FBI headquarters. 'Where's the President?' asked one reporter. 'Is he coming back to DC? asked another. Instead of answering, she simply turned on her heels and walked out of the room. NBC's Tim Russert, host of Meet the Press and the Washington bureau chief, also remarked about the nation needing the leadership of its president. Yet, rather than return to Washington, the decision was made to keep moving as quickly as possible in the opposite direction. It was a risky choice. 'If he stayed away,' reported London's Daily Telegraph, 'he could be accused of cowardice.'" (Bamford 2004 87)

OFFUTT, NEBRASKA: STRATCOM

Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha Nebraska was the principal headquarters of the US Strategic Command (STRATCOM), the successor organization to Curtis LeMay's Strategic Air Command of Cold War vintage. This base possessed the main military command bunker of the US for nuclear warfighting purposes. Bush arrived here on Air Force One at 2:50 Eastern Daylight Time. He went at once to the bunker, which was several stories underground, and protected by a series of blast doors and the like. The conference room was ABC-proof, that is, secure against atomic, biological and chemical weapons. As Bamford evokes the tableau:

It was like a scene from Dr. Strangelove, or Seven Days in May. Never before had all the pieces been in place for the instant launch of World War III. The military alert level was at its highest level in thirty years. The Vice President was in the White House bunker, senior administration officials were at Site R, congressional officials had been flown to Mount Weather, the Secretary of Defense and the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were in the Pentagon War Room, and the President of the United States was in the nuclear command bunker at STRATCOM. (Bamford 2004 89)

Was all of this because of terrorism, or was there some more serious threat of subversion to the state, perhaps complicated by the danger of a thermonuclear exchange? All of this behavior suggests at the very least that the White House thought that forces far more formidable than bin Laden and his Afghan troglodytes were involved.

Both movies cited by Bamford involve military madmen attempting either to precipitate general thermonuclear war, or else to stage a coup d'état in the US. A Straussian might see a hidden message here. The US military posture was now Defcon Delta, the highest state of alert short of all-out war. At Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana, there were 200 Minuteman III ICBM silos, each one ready to launch three warheads. At other bases there were MX ICBM silos, and here each missile carried even more warheads.

Bush convened the NSC as a teleconference call with Vice President Cheney, National Security Advisor Rice, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, CIA Director Tenet, Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, and others. Rice recalled that during the meeting, Tenet told Bush, "Sir, I believe it's al-Qaeda. We're doing the assessment but it looks like, it feels like, it smells like al-Qaeda." (CBS, September 11, 2002) Was Tenet articulating the program of the coup faction, and obliquely demanding that Bush declare that the clash of civilizations in the form of warfighting had commenced?

Omaha's resident plutocrat and world's richest man Warren Buffett was scheduled to appear at Offutt that day, hosting an unpublicized charity benefit inside the base at 8:00 AM. In attendance were business leaders and several executives from the World Trade Center, including Anne Tatlock of Fiduciary Trust Co. International, the source of this story, who likely would have died had it not been for the fortuitous meeting. (San Francisco Business Times, February 1, 2002)

Bamford notes that "…it was close to 4:30 on the East Coast, and except for the brief, two-minute taped comments made at Barksdale, no one had seen or heard from the President or even knew where he was. Republicans back in Washington were becoming worried. 'I am stunned that he has not come home,' said one Bush fundraiser. 'It looks like he is running. This looks bad.' William J. Bennett, a former education secretary and a drug czar under former President George Bush, said that it was important for Bush to return to the White House as soon as possible. 'This is not 1812,' he said. 'It cannot look as if the President has been run off, or it will look like we can't defend our most important institutions." (Bamford 2004 91)

Air Force One left Offutt around 4:30 PM and landed at Andrews Air Force Base at 6:34 PM, escorted by two F-15 fighters and one F-16. Bush then took the Marine One helicopter to the White House, arriving shortly before 7:00 PM. Bush gave a nationally televised speech at 8:30 PM, speaking for about five minutes.

This speech is too long to be included here, but it is readily available. Indeed, the White House commemorative edition leaves out the earlier two statements, and begins with this one. The change of tone is remarkable. Bush is now possessed of a Manichean certainty about the events of the day. He is back to the line that the perpetrators were terrorists. One important passage came at the beginning, where Bush stated: "Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts….Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror." (Bush 1) Later in this statement, Bush presented the kernel of what would later be termed the Bush doctrine, his declaration of war on the world: "We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them." (Bush 2)

What had changed for Bush during the course of the afternoon and early evening? It may have been only at this moment that Bush began to recover from the panic which had gripped him around 9 AM that morning. Clarke noted that "unlike in his three television appearances that day, Bush was confident, determined, forceful." (Clarke 23) As we will argue below, there is persuasive evidence that he had decided to capitulate to the demands of the sponsors of the terrorist attacks by launching the war of civilizations which this network had demanded. This surrender, carried out sometime in the afternoon or evening of September 11, constitutes Bush's great betrayal of the Constitution and his great crime against humanity. Everything Bush has done since, down to the very structure of his personality, has been determined by the moment in which he declined to fight the rogue network, but rather preferred to follow its orders, in violation of his oath of office. Never before had the United States surrendered to an enemy in this way.

After his 8:30 PM television address, Bush met with key officials in the Presidential Emergency Operations Center. According to Clarke, who was there, this was "a place he had never seen." (Clarke 23) This 9:00 PM meeting with Bush's full National Security Council was followed roughly half an hour later by a meeting with a smaller group of advisors. Bush and his advisors had already decided bin Laden was behind the attacks. CIA Director Tenet told Bush that al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan were essentially one and the same. When Bush insisted on sleeping in his own bed, he was warned that any threat would require that he go to the bunker. "And sure enough," said Mr. Bush. "We are in bed at about 11:30, and I can hear a guy breathing quite heavily. 'Mr. President, Mr. President! There's an unidentified aircraft heading towards the White House!'" It turned out to be a false alarm – or was it a good night kiss from the rogue network? (Daily Telegraph, December 16, 2001) Before going to sleep, Bush wrote in his diary, "The Pearl Harbor of the 21st century took place today.... We think it's Osama bin Laden." (Washington Post, January 27, 2002) There is no evidence that Bush, the man who never reads, writes enough to keep a diary. This reference to a diary would seem to be a vehicle to convey that depth of Bush's capitulation to the rogue network behind 9/11, a kind of intimate confession that he truly believed in the new party line he had embraced that afternoon or evening.

There was a brief phase of recrimination against Bush after 9/11, and it was based largely on his evasive retreats to Barksdale and Offutt. Human Events, the conservative magazine which had been favored by Reagan, noted that "some in the media were caustic in their description of the flight." The New York Times called it a "zigzag course." The New York Daily News charged, "A shocked and shaken President Bush – who was hopscotched around the country yesterday in an extraordinary effort to keep him safe...." Journalists were whispering about the president's absence. And even some friends are disturbed by the implications that the president or Washington may not have been safe. One former official with the first Bush administration said he was "deeply disappointed by his zigzagging across the country." "We had control of the skies by 10 o'clock," the source added. "I was hoping to see a Churchillian or Reaganesque sign of defiance. Bush was poorly served by his staff." (Human Events Online, 9/17/01)

There are several additional significant incidents which must be taken into account. These vanished early on from narratives of the event; they made the defenders of the official version uncomfortable. The first of these was a fire at the Old Executive Office Building or Eisenhower Building (OEOB), which is where the offices of the National Security Council are located. This is an integral part of the White House compound, and was the work place of such figures as Condoleezza Rice, Stephen Hadley, Elliott Abrams, and others. The ABC television network broadcast live pictures of a fire at the OEOB on 9/11 at 9:42 AM local time. (Meyssan 2002)

Another is the issue of a car bomb at the State Department: "Lisa slipped a note in front of me: 'CNN says car bomb at the State Department. Fire on the Mall near the Capitol." (Clarke 9) According to another account, "at 10:20 a report came in that a huge car bomb had gone off outside the State Department in Washington. It wasn't true, but it changed the picture once more." (Daily Telegraph, December 16, 2001) The fire on the Mall near the Capitol is yet another incident. Clarke also recounts receiving a report: "There has been an explosion in the Pentagon parking lot, maybe a car bomb." (Clarke 7)

If we put these events together with the possible early morning attempt to assassinate George Bush, we see that the scope of the 9/11 plot was altogether broader and more inclusive even than the acts of spectacular synthetic terrorism which the world observed that day.

SAFIRE: INSIDE THE BUNKER

An initial exposition of Bush's claim to have acted under threats on 9/11 came in a September 13 New York Times column entitled "Inside the Bunker" from William Safire, a hardened old neocon sinner from the Nixon White House. According to Safire, "A threatening message received by the Secret Service was relayed to the agents with the president that 'Air Force One is next.' According to the high official, American code words were used showing a knowledge of procedures that made the threat credible."

Safire identified his source as Karl Rove, Bush's political Svengali. According to Rove, when Bush stubbornly insisted that he was going back to Washington, "the Secret Service informed him that the threat contained language that was evidence that the terrorists had knowledge of his procedures and whereabouts. In light of the specific and credible threat, it was decided to get airborne with a fighter escort." Another Safire source, who was with Cheney in the White House bunker, related that it was Cheney who "suggested Air Force One go to Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, headquarters of the Strategic Air Command, with a communications facility where the president could convene the National Security Council."

Safire correctly pointed out that "The most worrisome aspect of these revelations has to do with the credibility of the 'Air Force One is next' message. It is described clearly as a threat, not a friendly warning – but if so, why would the terrorists send the message? More to the point, how did they get the code- word information and transponder know-how that established their mala fides? That knowledge of code words and presidential whereabouts and possession of secret procedures indicates that the terrorists may have a mole in the White House – that, or informants in the Secret Service, FBI, FAA or CIA. If so, the first thing our war on terror needs is an Angleton-type counterspy." (New York Times, September 13, 2001) Of course, it may well be that the dubious Angleton networks, given their penchant for fascism, are themselves among the suspects. But that is another story.

The essential details given by Safire were confirmed by an AP wire that same day, also inspired by the opportunistic Rove. Here Ron Fournier wrote:

Hopscotching across half the country while America was under attack, President Bush vented his frustration with Secret Service officials who told him of an anonymous call saying: "Air Force One is next." According to a senior government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, the caller knew the agency's code words relating to Air Force One procedures and whereabouts. (AP, September 13, 2001)

Foreign press organs, more critical than the controlled corporate media of the US, reported this story straight. The London Financial Times wrote that after Bush had taken off from Florida, "within an hour, an anonymous call reached the Secret Service. Using code words known only to the agency's staff, the caller issued a chilling warning: 'Air Force One is next.'" (Financial Times, September 14, 2001)

The principal clue leading us to the existence of the rogue network behind 9/11 is the "Angel is next" threat. Since hasty attempts to deny that this ever existed came soon after 9/11, we pause to document the evidence that this call really did take place.

In an interview with Tony Snow on Fox News Sunday, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice confirmed that the September 11 threat against President Bush's life included a secret code name.

SNOW: Sept. 11 there was a report that there was a coded message that said, "We're going to strike Air Force One" that was using specific coded language and made the threat credible. Is that true?

RICE: That is true.

SNOW: So we have a mole somewhere?

RICE: It's not clear how this coded name was gotten. We're a very open society and I don't think it's any surprise to anyone that leaks happen. So, I don't know – it's possible the code name leaked a long time ago and was just used.

SNOW: How on earth would that happen?

RICE: I don't know. I don't know. We're obviously looking very hard at the situation. But I will tell you that it was plenty of evidence from our point of view to have special measures taken at that moment to make sure the president was safe.

This exchange was reported by Carl Limbacher of NewsMax.com, who added that "US intelligence officials have not ruled out the possibility that a government mole may have given terrorists the top secret code language they used to deliver the threat 'Air Force One is next' as the World Trade Center and Pentagon were under attack." (NewsMax.com, September 23, 2001) Of course, the real imperative was to consider whether the rogue network behind the attacks extended into the ranks of holders of top secret security clearances.

The threat to Air Force One was repeated by others in the administration. In the September 12 White House briefing, Ari Fleischer told reporters, "We have specific and credible information that the White House and Air Force One were also intended targets of these attacks." The next day Fleischer was asked, "[It was] yesterday reported that some of the people in the Pentagon were a little bit skeptical about your comments yesterday that the White House and Air Force One were attacked – were targets of attack, given that the plane had come from the south. What do you –" Fleischer: "Who are these people?" Reporter: "Well, I don't know. They weren't my sources, so…" Fleischer: "No. There's – I wouldn't have said it if it wasn't true." Reporter: "Can you confirm the substance of that threat that was telephoned in...that Air Force One is next and using code words?" Fleischer: "Yes, I can. That's correct."(September 13)

On Meet the Press of September 16, Cheney began to back away from the story, telling Russert: "The president was on Air Force One. We received a threat to Air Force One – came through the Secret Service ..." Russert: "A credible threat to Air Force One. You're convinced of that." Cheney: "I'm convinced of that. Now, you know, it may have been phoned in by a crank, but in the midst of what was going on, there was no way to know that. I think it was a credible threat, enough for the Secret Service to bring it to me." (Meet the Press, September 16) Notice that the top-secret code words, the really sensitive point, have now disappeared. Still, the Bushmen were extremely sensitive to any impugning of their man's courage under fire. A journalist who said Bush was "flying around the country like a scared child, seeking refuge in his mother's bed after having a nightmare" and another who said Bush "skedaddled" were fired. (Washington Post, September 29, 2001)

In the short term, the Bushmen were eager to use the threat incidents to defend their leader from the charge of cowardice, and also to provide a cover for the reasons that had actually caused him to flee across the country. However, the "Angel is next" story contained an explosive potential for the longer term, since by pointing toward the existence of highly-placed moles within the administra- tion who had access to top secret code words and procedures, it threatened to explode the official myth of 9/11 which was then taking shape.

As Bush gathered momentum with his "war on terrorism" and Afghan invasion, the need to use the "Angel" story for political cover diminished, and the need to protect the coherence of the official myth became paramount. It was at this time that the threat story began to be denied, not by officials speaking on the record, but by mysterious, anonymous leakers. One of these leaks came two weeks after 9/11: "Finally, there is this postscript to the puzzle of how someone presumed to be a terrorist was able to call in a threat against Air Force One using a secret code name for the president's plane. Well, as it turns out, that simply never happened. Sources say White House staffers apparently misunderstood comments made by their security detail." (Jim Stewart, CBS Evening News, September 25, 2001) An AP wire of the same day, also based on an anonymous leak, read: "[Administration officials have] been unsuccessful in trying to track down whether there was such a call, though officials still maintain they were told of a telephone threat Sept. 11 and kept Bush away from Washington for hours because of it."(AP, September 25, 2001) But the "Angel" story was persistent. One full year after 9/11, CBS revived the story that terrorists had broken Air Force One's secret codes, even though it was CBS which had aired the leaked denial a year earlier. (CBS, September 11, 2002)

After these leaks, Fleischer also dropped the story. On September 26, a reporter asked about the September 11 warning. Fleischer replied: "I'm not going to comment on any particular threats coming toward the White House. . . it is not an uncommon occurrence for people to threaten the government of the United States, regardless of whether it's President Bush or any of his predecessors. And that's why there are security precautions taken at the White House as a matter of routine." (Washington Post, September 27, 2001)

Latent hatred and resentment of Bush made it easy for reporters to trivialize the threat story, and make it appear as a devious invention of the loathsome Karl Rove. In her column in the September 23 New York Times, the gossipy Maureen Dowd noted that Karl Rove had "called around town, trying to sell reporters the story – now widely discredited – that Mr. Bush didn't immediately return to Washington on Sept. 11 because the plane that was headed for the Pentagon may have really been targeting the White House, and that Air Force One was in jeopardy, too." Rove was indeed a scoundrel, but there was something much more important at stake.

Especially eager to dispense with the threat story and focus on the soap opera of Bush the skedaddler were the leftists. To illustrate these, we take the case of Joe Conason, who wrote indignantly that "The Bush administration told an outrageous lie that the president was a target of terrorists – and Americans deserve an explanation." Conason, already inclining to defend the most reactionary lie of all, the official version, was especially upset about the reference to "code-word confirmation" – since this was the point that threatened the al Qaeda myth. Conason was even more worried about the demand for an investigation to root out the mole network inside the US government:

Only when those assertions were shot down by CBS News and the Associated Press did the spinners back down, claiming that it had all been a "misunderstanding" by staffers, with little elaboration. How serious? In addition to undermining public confidence in the White House during a national emergency, this spinning of the president's flight from Washington led New York Times columnist William Safire, among others, to demand an internal investigation that would determine whether an administration "mole" had revealed top-secret information to America's enemies. That paranoid theme was immediately picked up in the foreign media, no doubt worrying allies and potential allies engaged in sensitive discussions with the United States. (Slate, October 5, 2001)

Conason's reference to foreign paranoids may have been meant for the Réseau Voltaire, which was already performing yeoman service in dismantling the official version. In the 9/11 commission hearings, it was Ben-Veniste who took care to assert that the story was spurious. As a leading public opponent of the Bush dynasty since the time of Bush 41, I yield to nobody in my determin- ation to put an end to the monstrous prominent role of this family in US public life. However, to think that the moron Bush could have organized 9/11 is absurd. As we have seen, part of the project was evidently to liquidate Bush and pass power to Cheney, whose credentials as a possibly witting plotter are infinitely stronger. By surviving the Colony interview hit, Bush lived to encounter 9/11 as a fait accompli, in which he was told at gunpoint to acquiesce, and he promptly did so. To reduce everything to "Bush knew" is a good slogan – far better than the official version – but it does not deal with the rogue network which antedates 9/11, and which remains in place today, posing a constant threat of new terrorist attacks, with or without Bush.

Paul Thompson, whose empirical work on the 9/11 timelines is a valuable resource for all researchers, unfortunately buys into the denials of the threat story. After marshalling the available evidence, Thompson, who prides himself on his empirical precision, concludes: "Was there a mole in the White House? No. It turned out the entire story was made up." (Citizine, May 9, 2003) But it is far too simple to let this entire complex of problems and the vast issues it raises be swept under the rug by mere anonymous leaks, no matter how many times they might have been repeated. At stake is the most important clue in the entire 9/11 case. The regime is hiding something crucial here, and they must not be allowed to abscond. "Had terrorists hacked their way into sensitive White House computers?" Thompson asks. But the issue is much larger. If the threat to Bush came encrusted with code words, this means that the terror attacks were organ- ized by high-level moles inside the US government – not that a hacker in an Afghan cave had cracked the Pentagon mainframes.

BUSH AND PUTIN ON 9/11

The potential for a thermonuclear confrontation or even of an all-out thermo- nuclear exchange growing out of 9/11 has generally been ignored by the US controlled media, but such a potential was clearly present. It was inherently present because of the tense relations among the US, Russia, and China in the wake of the bombing of Serbia and the Kursk incident. It was made explicit when a flying object, probably a cruise missile, hit the Pentagon. As the 9/11 commission report notes, one fighter pilot who saw the damage to the Pentagon immediately thought of Russia as the most likely adversary. This innate mental reaction must have been repeated thousands of times in the minds of non-witting military personnel on the day of 9/11. Clarke points out that the US proclamation of Defcon Delta, the level of readiness just below actual war, was inevitably immediately noticed by Russia, and came near causing immediate counter-measures of readiness on the Russian side. This was the first Defcon Delta since Henry Kissinger had ordered a world-wide alert to deter possible Soviet intervention in the Yom Kippur War in the Middle East in October 1973. Defcon Delta posed the danger of an escalation of mobilization between the two leading nuclear powers:

Frank Miller reported that DOD had gone on a global alert, DEFCON 3: "This hasn't happened since the '73 Arab-Israeli War."

"State, State, go." Armitage acknowledged the call. "Rich, DOD has gone to DEFCON 3 and you know what that means." Armitage knew; he had been an Assistant Secretary of Defense in the first Bush administration.

"It means I better go tell the Russkies before they shit a brick." Armitage activated the Nuclear Risk Reduction Center, down the hall from the State Department Operations Center. The NRRC was connected directly to the Russian Ministry of Defense just outside of the Kremlin. It was designed to exchange information in crisis to prevent misunderstanding and miscalculation.

Armitage reappeared. "Damn good thing I did that. Guess who was about to start an exercise of all their strategic nuclear forces?" He had persuaded his Russian counterpart to defer the operation. (Clarke 15-16)

Most US 9/11 commentators have virtually nothing to say about Bush's famous telephone conversation with Russian President Putin; Bamford, Thompson, and others exhibit elaborate disinterest in this matter. And yet, this is another one of the central moments of 9/11. In order to avoid a possible thermonuclear exchange, Putin needed to be reassured that the US Defcon Delta was not a cover for a thermonuclear sneak attack upon his country, something perfectly within the realm of possibility from the Russian view. Putin also needed to be told that thermonuclear launches from the US toward the Middle East or other areas were the work of a rogue network, not of the constituted government. Putin, in short, had to be asked for cooperation and restraint.

During the hours after the 9/11 attacks, Putin became the first world leader to place a call to Bush. Officially, this was done so that Putin could offer his condolences. But in the course of this conversation, Putin told Bush that he had ordered a stand down of Russian strategic forces, meaning that the maneuvers planned for the Arctic Region were cancelled. Putin also sent an official telegram to Washington DC conveying "anger and indignation" against the "series of barbaric terrorist acts directed against innocent people." (See "On Russian President Vladimir Putin's Telegram of Condolence to US President George Bush, 11 September 2001, Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website, www.In.mid.ru) For Putin's statements related to 9/11, see John O'Loughlin, Gearóid Ó Tuathail (Gerard Toal), and Vladimir Kolossov, "A 'Risky Westward Turn'? Putin's 9-11 Script and Ordinary Russians."

Bush later noted his appreciation for Putin's gesture and for Putin's strategic stand down of the Russian strategic rocket troops in deference to the US Defcon Delta. "It was a moment where it clearly said to me that he understands the Cold War is over." (Washington Post, October 4, 2004)

In a national television address later that day, Putin vehemently condemned the 9/11 attacks as "an unprecedented act of aggression on the part of international terrorism." These attacks, he claimed, were not a localized American issue but an event that "goes beyond national borders." Terrorism, Putin declared, is the "plague of the twenty-first century" and "Russia knows first hand what terrorism is. So, we understand as well as anyone the feelings of the American people." Putin described 9/11 as "a brazen challenge to the whole of humanity, at least to civilized humanity." Resonating with Bush, Putin set up his own Manichean dichotomy between terrorist barbarism and 'civilized humanity.' Putin assured Bush that "we entirely and fully share and experience your pain. We support you." ("Statement by President Putin of Russia on the Terrorist Acts in the US, Moscow, September 11, 2001," www.In.mid.ru) Putin later declared a national minute of silence in commemoration of the victims of the attacks.

Putin's actions on 9/11 can be seen as a successful attempt at war avoidance in extremis. Putin, as a KGB veteran, would have had no doubt that the official US version was hogwash, something a number of prominent Russian military officers expressed in the wake of 9/11. Putin could also see that the rogue network responsible for the bombing of Serbia and the sinking of the Kursk momentarily had the upper hand, and with them negotiation would be fruitless. Putin was determined not to play into the hands of the unhinged US rogue network behind 9/11. At a deeper level, his policy was therefore one of strategic deception or of maskirovka – to gain time in the wake of the catastrophe.

Putin must have seen that secret-government madmen ferociously hostile to Russia had now taken over the US regime to an unprecedented degree. He could also see that the neocons, with their obsession with Israel's strategic predicament, might well attack various countries in the Middle East before they got around to attempting to deal with Russia. Such Middle East tar-baby scenarios could only weaken, overextend, discredit, and isolate the United States, thus offering Russia some advantage. Putin was also busily working on the follow-on to the very formidable Topol missile, a weapons system that was probably superior to anything in the US arsenal, which would very likely allow Russia to defeat the US side's primitive off-the-shelf missile defense system. All these considerations suggested that Putin should camouflage himself for the time being as Bush's bosom buddy.

On September 24, 2001 Putin made a major television address, which grew out of a weekend of strategizing with his top advisors and a forty-minute phone call with President Bush. In this speech Putin accepted the establishment of US bases in the former Soviet republics of central Asia, which the US wanted to set up as staging areas for the imminent invasion of Afghanistan. On the surface this was capitulation, but underneath was still strategic deception. For a time, it appeared that a great US-Russian alliance was in the making, but this was more appearance than substance. Bush joined with Putin at a school in Crawford, Texas on November 15, 2001. The Bush-Putin honeymoon lasted into 2002. By the time Bush began seeking UN carte blanche for his war on Iraq, Russia had been attracted into the French-German continental bloc.

The existence of Russian strategic maneuvers on 9/11 involving bombers had been known to the Pentagon, since it was the explicit premise for the maneuver Northern Vigilance. In this case, it would have been known to the plotters as well. Therefore, the planners of 9/11 were well aware that their incendiary actions would take place against a dangerous backdrop of simultaneous US and Russian aircraft maneuvers.

BAMFORD: THE US INTELLIGENCE VERSION

Bamford compares Bush's actions on 9/11 with the behavior of President Lyndon B. Johnson on the day of the Kennedy assassination. Despite worries that the killing of the president might have been just the beginning of the strategic decapitation of the US under conditions of Cold War confrontation with the USSR, Johnson flew directly back to Washington and gave a short television address just after leaving his airplane. According to the usual procedure, Cheney should have gone to Site R on the Maryland-Pennsylvania border. But he refused to go. Why? "Bush could have easily ordered Vice President Cheney to a secure location outside Washington to preserve the continuity of government and then flown back to Andrews Air Force Base and given a defiant, Johnson-like speech. Then, with the public – and the rest of the world – feeling confident that despite the terrorist actions the US government remained stable and firm, he could have gone back either to the White House or to one of the other highly protected, secure locations. That would have been the courageous thing to do." (Bamford 2004 70)

"Instead, the decision was made to leave Vice President Cheney in the White House while President Bush hopscotched around the country. Though reporters were told of a supposed call to the White House threatening Air Force One – the reason for the President's odyssey – later it was concluded that no such call or threat ever took place. 'They've been unsuccessful in trying to track down whether there was such a call,' one administration official told the Associated Press. CBS News reported the call 'simply never happened,' and the Washington Post headlined its article on the subject: 'White House Drops Claim of Threat to Bush.' (Bamford 2004 70) Bamford thus avoids most of the really essential questions about 9/11.

THE ISRAELI INTELLIGENCE VIEW

One of the most detailed accounts of the high-level state secrets possessed by the 9/11 conspirators was provided by the Internet journal Debka, which often reflects the views of the Israeli Mossad . This Israeli analysis stresses the extent of the top-secret information controlled by the plotters, and the extensive network that would be necessary to have gathered such information. According to Debka, the message "Air Force One is next" was received by the US Secret Service at 9 AM. For Debka, Cheney was hustled into the bunker three minutes later. Debka suggests that the code name of Air Force One is changed daily, and that "the terrorists' message threatening Air Force One was transmitted in that day's top-secret White House code words." At the heart of Debka's account is the estimate that

the terrorists had obtained the White House code and a whole set of top-secret signals. This made it possible for a hostile force to pinpoint the exact position of Air Force One, its destination and its classified procedures. In fact, the hijackers were picking up and deciphering the presidential plane's incoming and outgoing transmissions. The discovery shocked everyone in the president's emergency operations center – Cheney, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta. Their first question was: How did the terrorists access top-secret White House codes and procedures? Is there a mole, or more than one enemy spy in the White House, the Secret Service, the FBI, the CIA or the Federal Aviation Administration?

Nor was this all; the reach of the conspirators was even greater: "In the week after the attacks in New York and Washington, more hair-raising facts emerged. The terrorists had also obtained the code groups of the National Security Agency and were able to penetrate the NSA's state-of-the-art electronic surveillance systems. Indeed, they seemed to have at their disposal an electronic capability that was more sophisticated than that of the NSA."

According to Debka's information, the US intelligence community also believed "that terrorists are in possession of all or part of the codes used by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the National Reconnaissance Office, Air Force Intelligence, Army Intelligence, Naval Intelligence, Marine Corps Intelligence and the intelligence offices of the State Department and Department of Energy."

According to Debka, the plotters had even mastered steganography, a technology which "enables users to bypass electronic monitoring by hiding messages randomly in seemingly innocent digital files, such as music files, those of the popular online marketplace eBay, pornographic files or even e-mail headers."

Here were the sure-fire premises for an incontrovertible argument that the 9/11 attacks were the work of a rogue network of dissident moles inside the US government and military. But after having made precisely this case, Debka attempted to lead its audience back to the myth of al Qaeda, this time presented as possessing scientific and technological capabilities superior to those of the US government! As one of the parties guilty of having given al Qaeda the codes, Debka fingered World Space Communication, described as "one of the known bin Laden assets" which the US counter-terrorism agencies, including the NSA, had supposedly been tracking. Debka also alleged that "Bin Laden also has the NSA beat on the employment front," since the wily Saudi had supposedly hired "the best computer experts on the market. One such is Nabil Khan Kani, a Syrian who lived in Barcelona with his Spanish wife, Jenna Florine, in the late 1980s and early 1990s."

Through one salto mortale (fatal leap of logic) after another, Debka clawed its way to the astounding conclusion that the only agency which could have secured access to all those code words was – Iraq!! Debka wrote:

The nagging question of a mole in the highest reaches of the US government and intelligence community – with direct or indirect links with bin Laden – remains. Since no single individual has access to every top-level code at any given time – a single mole would not answer the case; it would have to be a large, widely spread number. US experts do not believe bin Laden was capable of infiltrating double agents into the heart of the US administration on a large scale. They are looking elsewhere, instead, at a country with a very well-oiled intelligence apparatus– Iraq. (Debka, "Digital moles in White House? Terrorists had top-secret presidential codes." WorldNetDaily.com, September 22, 2001)

While this conclusion was absurd in the extreme, Debka had provided a valuable estimate of how high up in the US command structure the rogue network reached.

This is comparable to the "infiltration of police by the Red Brigades" or the story that the "Saudi-financed" Ptech software firm's penetration of FAA, NORAD and other sensitive databases was the key to the wargames and the attacks of 9/11 – a sleeper story that has been dusted off after the 2004 elections, perhaps signifying a new phase of blackmailing of the Saudis in Bush's second term. An early seed was planted in the report, "Bin Laden's Magic Carpet – Secret U.S. PROMIS Software" by Michael Ruppert (FTW, Oct. 26, 2001): "Bin Laden's reported possession of Promis may also explain the alleged threatening messages that were received by President Bush while aboard Air Force One on September 11th... the likelihood than [sic] bin Laden may have compromised the systems the U.S. government and its allies use to track him is high." And Bin Laden supposedly obtained the software not direct from his sponsors in the CIA, but from his "Russian handlers" [sic] – perhaps during a lull in the Soviet-Afghan war? Other commentators, less solicitous of the CIA or the bin Laden myth, describe Promis as a trojan horse, spyware that reports back to its masters on the recipients' doings – perhaps the perfect gift for a patsy like bin Laden. As for Ptech, is it reasonable to imagine that the deep and long-entrenched US resident rogue network needed an outsider like CIA cut-out and drug dealer Yasin Kadi in order to surveille their own government? Or rather that the Saudi-sheepdipped Ptech was created by these very networks as a false lead, as part of the hoax? "Ptech" is the incompetence theory, which like "LIHOP" we must reject as a subspecies of the official lie that tells of autonomous terrorists capable of spectacular attacks, and thus worthy of a war of vengeance.

A CRITICAL FRENCH ACCOUNT

During the weeks after 9/11, the Réseau Voltaire of Paris represented one of the strongest voices calling the official version into question. Réseau Voltaire's most prominent writer was Thierry Meyssan, the well-known civil rights activist. His book on 9/11, L'effroyable imposture, was primarily a demonstration that the official thesis of a large commercial airliner striking the Pentagon was absurd and impossible. But Meyssan also focused on the central political-institutional questions posed by 9/11, and especially the "Angel" question. For Meyssan, the plotters' use of top-secret code words suggested that they had access to other codes, including the US nuclear missile launch codes.

At the heart of 9/11 was therefore a blackmail threat to the Bush regime that, if he refused to launch the war of civilizations, the plotters were in a position to do it on their own in a much more sweeping manner, by launching a US nuclear strike against a series of Arab and Islamic capitals. Whatever the Russian and Chinese attitude to such a launch might have been was not specified. Meyssan's thesis was that "from 10:00 AM to approximately 8:00 PM [on Sept. 11], US government officials were not thinking that this was the work of Arab terrorists, but rather that it was an expression of a military coup being carried out by US- based extremists who were capable of provoking a nuclear war." (www.reseauvoltaire.net, September 27, 2001)

On his website, and in his later books The Big Lie and Pentagate, Meyssan offered a detailed analysis of the events of the day, with special stress on the insurrectionary behavior of the US rogue network. He narrates that

About 10:05, the Secret Service, in charge of protecting top personalities, reportedly received an encoded telephone call from the assailants. They thus would have had at their disposal transmission and authentication codes for the White House and Air Force One. In other words, the security of the top American leaders is no longer guaranteed and the enemies of America are able to usurp the identity of President Bush, including to order a nuclear launch. According to Brian L. Stafford, director of the Secret Service, it is not a matter of the United States' facing terrorist actions, but facing a situation of war. He orders the implementation of the COG (Continuity of Government) plan. This ultra-secret procedure is orchestrated by FEMA...which has already been supervising the rescue operations and working in coordination with the FBI. From this moment, FEMA steps ahead of the FBI and becomes the highest civilian authority of the administration. This agency, which cultivates opacity, is directed by Joe M. Allbaugh, a former campaign treasurer for the Bush family. (www.reseauvoltaire.net)

The keystone of this aspect of Meyssan's analysis is the "Angel" call:

According to sources close to George W. Bush, the Secret Service received during the course of the morning a telephone call from the authors of the attacks, probably to make demands. In order to accredit their call, the assailants revealed presidential transmission and authentication codes. Only a few trusted persons at the apex of the state apparatus could have access to these codes. It therefore follows that at least one of the authors of the September 11 attacks is one of the civilian or military leaders of the United States of America. (www.reseauvoltaire.net)

For Meyssan, the "Angel" call definitely came from the "sponsors of the terror attacks in New York and Washington." He argues that "from 10 AM to 8 PM approximately, American officials did not think that those strikes were the result of Middle Eastern terrorists, but that they manifested an attempted military coup by American extremists capable of provoking nuclear war." The content of the call had been not so much to claim responsibility for the attacks, but to "pose an ultimatum, to force the hand of the President of the United States."

The trump card of the plotters was their possible possession of nuclear launch codes, and to counteract that, "during some 10 hours, President Bush was forced to run away from Washington and to go personally to the US Strategic Command (Offutt, Nebraska) both to take direct control of the armed forces; and especially so that no one could usurp his identity and unleash nuclear war." In Meyssan's view, in the wake of the "Angel" call, "No member of the National Security Council thinks any longer about terrorist attacks, all think about a military putsch which is ongoing. Calm will only be restored at 8:30 PM." (Réseau Voltaire, Information Note 235-236, September 27, 2001)

The call was followed by the descent of Cheney and Rice into the White House bunker. Meyssan sees the defense preparations around the White House as directed against a possible attack by insurrectionary US troops:

Simultaneously, the Secret Service has the Presidential areas evacuated, and deploys special agents and sharpshooters armed with machine guns and rocket-launchers in the surrounding area. It prepares to repel a possible assault by airborne troops. The Secret Service also informs President Bush of the situation; he is on board Air Force One, en route to Washington.

Within this context, Meyssan sees the pattern of threats to Bush and to Air Force One:

The US Strategic Air Command indicates to the President that it has detected a signal, moving towards Air Force One. Considering the velocity, it is probably a missile. To protect the President, the military demand that Air Force One, despite its profile, continue its flight at tree-top level and follow an evasive course, while the F-15 and F-16 join it and escort it. But the military do not shut off its weather apparatus on board the Presidential plane, such that it continues to emit a signal allowing the international meteorological network to know its position continuously....Over a scrambled phone line, Bush consults the Vice President. He decides to go to Offutt Air Force Base (Nebraska), headquarters of the US Strategic Air Command. If his identity can be usurped by the perpetrators, the only possibility to prevent them from giving orders to the US Army in his place, is for him to be physically where all the weapons of mass destruction are controlled, including nuclear bombs. But Air Force One consumes too much fuel flying at low altitude, and its refueling in flight is impossible for safety reasons. A stop is therefore planned for the military base at Barksdale. (www.reseauvoltaire.net)

Meyssan reported that his research team attempted to determine what network might have been behind the 9/11 attacks. His prime suspect was a group he called the "special forces underground," a terrorist network associated with US- controlled stay-behind networks of the Gladio type which in his opinion main- tained close ties to bin Laden among others. (Réseau Voltaire, Information Note 235-236, September 27, 2001)

Meyssan sums up the world-historical significance of 9/11 in these terms: "The attacks were thus not ordered by a fanatic who believed he was delivering divine punishment, but by a group present within the American state apparatus, which succeeded in dictating policy to President Bush. Rather than a coup d'état aimed at overthrowing existing institutions, might it not involve instead the seizure of power by a particular group hidden within those institutions?" (Meyssan 202 48) This means that the September criminals are still at large, still in power, and capable of striking again.

THE RUSSIAN INTELLIGENCE VIEW: NAMAKON

The Russian opposition weekly newspaper Zaftra, edited by the maverick Russophile Aleksandr Prokhanov, published on July 16, 2002 excerpts from a German-language EIR news agency report on the background of the attempted internal US coup of 9/11. EIR's thesis was that "the New York and Washington attacks could not have occurred without the witting complicity of high-level rogue elements within the US military intelligence command structures." Together with this material, Zaftra included some comments on the 9/11 issue from "Namakon" – the pen-name used by a group of top-level former Soviet intelligence officers. Namakon agreed that the events of September 11 could not have occurred without high-level complicity by a network or faction within the US military. Namakon also emphasized that the decision by President Bush, urged on by Tony Blair and others, on the evening of September 11 to endorse and embrace the bin Laden cover story "meant a de facto capitulation of the US Presidency to the real organizers of the attack, and the adoption of their policy of confrontation with the Islamic world, according to Huntington's formula for a 'Clash of Civilizations.'"

Namakon also called attention to the much-neglected fact that the attempted orchestration of an escalating nuclear alert between the US and Russia was a crucial part of the 9/11 coup plot. Namakon explicitly linked this potential for thermonuclear confrontation with the August 2000 sinking of the Russian nuclear submarine Kursk, the full story of which has yet to be told. Namakon wrote that this "hypothesis leads us to ask whether the Kursk catastrophe might not also have been an included facet of the operations of the US putsch group, since an attack of such dimensions would necessarily lead to a large-scale reaction by the Russian military and population, creating an atmosphere favorable to provoking nuclear escalation."

The escalation of the Kursk incident, which high-ranking Russian military officials repeatedly blamed on the presence of NATO submarines near the site of the sinking in the Barents Sea, came perilously close to succeeding. A serious confrontation was avoided only by a direct hot line consultation between Russian President Putin and then-US President Clinton. This telephone call was followed within 48 hours by a highly unusual visit to Moscow by CIA Director George Tenet. (Zaftra, July 16, 2002; EIR, July 22, 2004) In the case of 9/11, the immediate parallel was the telephone conversation between Bush and Putin, which, strangely enough, is never mentioned by an otherwise well-informed author like Bamford.

Many features of the analysis developed here with the help of Israeli, French, and Russian sources in particular have become current among well-informed European circles. On August 23, 2002, at a moment when the neocon drive for war with Iraq appeared stalled, an influential British political figure made the following comments to the late investigative journalist Mark Burdman of EIR:

I have been noticing, as you have, the growing opposition, in Britain, in the United States, to this Iraq war. Last night, something occurred to me that I think is very relevant. I think the crowd that wants this Iraq war may well do something drastic in the coming days to regain the momentum. Some very big terrorism, perhaps. It is all very well that there are these challenges to the Iraq war. But we should not lose sight of the fact that there are powerful people in Washington, who pulled off this September 11 last year. They have their Plan A, which is now in trouble. But they also have their Plan B, Plan C, Plan D. They may well have been thinking until very recently that their coup that began on September 11 was going very well. But suddenly, they have to re-think. And I think they are desperate, and capable of a lot. (EIR, August 23, 2002)

In other words, the rogue network was still in place, and it might resort to a new round of terrorism.

SEPTEMBER 11, 2001 – WHAT A REAL PRESIDENT WOULD HAVE SAID

We now leave the terrain of what actually happened, and move to a hypothetical sphere in which we can best try to shed further light on the events of 9/11. At this point a detailed account and timelines of what really happened behind the scenes on 9/11 cannot be attempted. However, we can speculate as to what an honest and courageous president might have done. Such a president might not have immediately understood the full scope of the 9/11 plot, but he would have insisted upon political accountability for appointed officials and on an immediate and thorough investigation. Some guidance might have come from an examination of the Ed Meese press conference of November 1986 which blew the lid off the Iran-Contra scandal, and which was accompanied by the firing of Oliver North and John Poindexter, then the NSC director. The speech on the evening of 9/11 might have sounded something like this:

My fellow citizens:

Today our country and our political system have been targeted by large-scale acts of terrorism. These are monstrous crimes against humanity, and they will not go unpunished. We send our solidarity to the brave firemen, policemen, military people, and office workers who have borne the brunt of this assault. We promise an equitable and equal compensation for the human losses of this day. Insistent and irresponsible voices have been raised in my own White House and in the intelligence agencies, and have inspired media reports attributing these attacks to Arab or Islamic terrorists of the al Qaeda Bin Laden organization. But this is no time for snap decisions or a rush to judgment when we are dealing with the present and future peace of the world. It is true that we have bitter enemies around the world, but the capabilities displayed today appear to go far beyond the technical and physical means available to al Qaeda. We must also recall that, under the reckless and irresponsible policies of my predecessors, the CIA had been one of the main sponsors of Bin Laden and al Qaeda. If we think back to the attack on the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995, we remember that media voices attempted in the first hours to attribute that tragedy to the Arab world. Although I am convinced that we still do not know the full story of Oklahoma City, it is clear that the Arab world was not involved.

There are too many unanswered questions at this point. How were the terrorists who seem to have been involved allowed to enter the United States and operate freely in this country? Why was there no air defense over a period of one hour and fifteen minutes? I have ordered an immediate inquiry into this question, and in the meantime I have accepted the resignations of Gen. Myers of the Air Force, the deputy chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and of Gen. Bernhard of NORAD, whose agency failed the people today. There is also evident reason to believe that the CIA, the FBI, the NSA, and the Immigration and Naturalization Service have not performed satisfactorily, based on the fragmentary accounts available so far. I have therefore accepted the resignations of the leaders of those agencies, and of their principal deputies. I have furthermore accepted the resignation of the Secretary of Defense and his deputy, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Transportation, and of my National Security Adviser, since it is evident to me that they could not continue to serve the nation effectively because of the immense tragedy which has occurred on their watch. We rightly demand accountability from teachers, from railroad engineers, and from physicians. We therefore have all the more reason to demand accountability and responsibility from those who have been entrusted with the management of the executive departments, several of which have not served us well today.

Another question involves the collapse of the World Trade Center towers many minutes after they had been impacted by the airplanes. These events, as you know, represent an absolute anomaly in the history of skyscrapers. In particular, there is no explanation whatsoever for the collapse of building seven at five o'clock in the afternoon. Accordingly, and consistent with our urgent measures to save any victims remaining in the rubble, I am ordering the Seventh Mountain Division of Fort Drum, New York, to seize control of the site of the World Trade Center, cordoning it off as a crime scene and taking immediate measures for preserving the evidence we must have to determine what really happened. Not one scrap of metal will be removed before a full forensic survey has been carried out. Contrary to media accounts, we have not been able to identify the flying object which apparently hit the Pentagon, although it seems likely that it was not a Boeing 757, and thus could hardly have been United Flight 77. As for the tragedy over Shanksville, we are investigating whether this aircraft was shot down by our own forces, and why. All crash sites are being secured by military units, acting under my direct orders, whose loyalty to the Constitution is beyond question.

The overriding question is whether the criminals who acted today enjoyed support or collaboration from within our own country and even within our own government. I have created a special unit of federal investigators which will act under my direct orders and which will report to me and to me alone. The first task of that unit will be to determine why there was no air defense, in violation of the standard operating procedures of NORAD and the FAA. Another task will be to examine the entire roster of FBI and CIA double agents presently infiltrating terrorist groups and how they are managed, with a view to identifying possible factors of collusion. Another task will be to determine why our watch list procedures and other forms of vigilance were not effective in screening the criminals out.

As far as the FBI is concerned, I urge the Congress to join me in breaking up this tragically dysfunctional agency. After Ruby Ridge, Waco, the FBI crime lab, Wen Ho Lee, the Atlanta Olympics and Richard Jewel, the withheld documents in the McVeigh case, we now have September 11, 2001. The FBI has never recovered from the corruption and mismanagement instilled during the fifty-year reign of J. Edgar Hoover, a man whom we know today to have been unfit for public office. The FBI has many dedicated public servants, but they are trapped today in a structure of incompetence, corruption, and worse. Accordingly, I am placing the FBI into receivership by executive order with immediate effect; this agency will operate for the time being under the direction of my special assistant for internal security.

In determining the full scope of what happened today, I need the help of all our citizens. If you know something important about what happened today, I want to hear it. Call the White House and talk with one of my staff, who are mobilized to take your calls. If you see anyone, including especially federal agents, attempting to tamper with evidence, or if a federal agent attempts to intimidate you into saying you saw or heard something you did not see, I want to know about that, too.

I am also determined to find out if foreign intelligence agencies or foreign citizens were involved in today's events. I am appointing myself as temporary Director of the CIA, and in that capacity I will undertake a comprehensive review of foreign operations on American soil. No foreign agency will be exempted, and I promise you a full initial progress report.

In addition to the immediate investigations I have mentioned so far, I am also empanelling a board of inquiry to study today's events and offer a second opinion on what may have gone wrong. I am asking Senator Byrd to be the chairman of this body, and Lawrence Walsh, a Republican, the former Iran- Contra prosecutor, to be the vice chairman. I have invited former Secretary of the Treasury O'Neill, former President Carter, General Zinni, former Governor Ryan of Illinois to serve. I am also actively soliciting participation by outsiders and academics who have been critics of our government policies of recent years. I am inviting Susan Sontag, Eric Foner, Noam Chomsky, Chalmers Johnson, Howard Zinn, and Seymour Hersh to become members of the board of inquiry. Let them play the devil's advocates, if they will, so long as we obtain truth and justice. They will all receive the necessary security clearances directly from me personally, if necessary. I will personally supervise the rapid declassification of documents as recommended by the board of inquiry in order to educate the public about the board's findings. We all remember the failure of the Warren Commission; that failure will not be repeated during my presidency.

I recall the words of President Eisenhower in the wake of the Kennedy assassination: the American people, he commented will not be stampeded. I ask you to support your government and its constitutional institutions, and not to give way to the voices of hatred, fear, aggression, and paranoia. I promise that swift justice will be rendered for those who have struck us today, no matter who they turn out to be.

These dastardly attacks will not force this great nation off course; they will not force us to become something we are not. We will remain ourselves. We will go forward in the great American tradition of the Monroe Doctrine, the Good Neighbor Policy, the Bretton Woods system, the Marshall Plan, and the Four Freedoms of the Atlantic Charter, starting with the freedom from fear.

Further attacks cannot be ruled out in the coming days and weeks. Because of the office I hold, and because of the constitutional responsibilities I must meet, I ask for your support – no matter what may happen during the coming days and weeks.

Good night.

SEPTEMBER 25, 2001 – WHAT A REAL PRESIDENT WOULD HAVE SAID

A real president would have glanced at Cicero's orations against Catiline in the Roman Senate to stop the impending coup d'état of the bankrupt aristocrat Lucius Sergius Catilina in 63 BC, who had planned to seize power through a massacre of Roman political leaders. He would have been mindful of General de Gaulle's 1962 speech in which he expressed his determination to defeat the coup attempt of four fascist generals in Algiers.

My fellow citizens:

Tonight I would like to present, as promised, a progress report on the investigations into the events of September 11, investigations which have been the main task of your government over the past weeks. The tidings I bring you this evening are very grave, and they are related to the tempestuous events of the last few days which are known to you in whole or in part.

As many of you may know, during the morning of 9/11 the White House received a telephone call saying, "Angel is next." "Angel" was the top-secret code word designating my official aircraft, Air Force One, so this was a threat to shoot down Air Force One. It was also something more: as I realized immedi- ately, it was quite possible that this telephone call had indeed come from the authors of the 9/11 terror attacks. If that was so, there existed the definite possibility that this group, whoever they were, also had access to other top-secret code words used by our government. This meant that there was imminent danger that the terrorist group might possess the code words and related signals that could be used to target thermonuclear ballistic missiles on targets in foreign countries – or even here at home. A duplicate of the briefcase known as "the football," which follows me everywhere, might be in the hands of the plotters. I decided at once to proceed as quickly as possible to the headquarters of the Strategic Air Command in Nebraska with a small force of bodyguards for the purpose of countermanding, by the immediate physical presence of the commander in chief, any and all illegal attack orders that might be issued by the rogue terrorist network which had so plainly declared war on our country. My intent was to assume direct personal control over the nuclear deterrent forces of this country, wherever they might be located.

During my flight to Nebraska, I received a phone call which presented this threat in the most concrete form. The call came from a man who identified himself as the spokesman for a secret organization of clandestine operatives and special forces – clearly a subversive and insurrectionary group acting as a tool for a coterie of very powerful, wealthy, and ruthless persons. This spokesman told me that his organization had orchestrated the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon as a means of reversing the inexorable decline of American power in the world – a process which I and my elected predecessors had been wholly negligent in allowing, he asserted. He also demanded that I immediately make a televised public statement identifying al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, Afghanistan, and Iraq as those responsible for the terror attacks, and announcing our government's plans to invade and occupy these two countries. Iran, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia, he added, might have to come later. If I failed to accept this ultimatum, the conspirators were determined to use the nuclear launch code words in their possession to destroy Cairo, Baghdad, Teheran, Rabat, Tunis, Karachi, Jakarta, Damascus, Pyongyang, Riyadh, Havana, and possibly other cities. That would start 100 years of war of civilizations, they told me, and once it had started, nothing could stop it. I told this spokesman that he and his group, in addition to being guilty of high treason, were courting suicide. The Russian Federation might interpret the missile firings as the beginning of a US first strike against Russian targets, and might respond by initiating procedures for launch under attack, in an attempt to use their nuclear assets against us before they were destroyed on the ground. The People's Republic of China might respond in the same way. These countries might also conclude that our government had been taken over by madmen, and that their only hope of safety might lie in the use of military means against us. The spokesman for the group of plotters replied that those dangers were real, but that it was up to me to avoid this danger by granting the demands of the terrorist controllers, which came down to US attacks on Afghanistan, and Iraq, with the overthrow of the government of Saudi Arabia likely along the way. The terror group, he boasted, welcomed the bloody global conflict that I seemed to fear, and even regarded the prospect of world war engulfing this planet as preferable to the relative decline of the United States for which he said I and those like me were responsible.

At this moment, our country faced the greatest danger in our entire history. To accept the ultimatum of the plotters and to wage war against their target list of Arab and Islamic states would have cast the United States adrift on an ocean of blackmail, lies, and adventures. Blackmailers always escalate their demands, and the addiction to terrorism of the victorious criminal network might have poisoned our national life for decades, or even for centuries. If I had capitulated, I would have been a puppet of the plotters for as long as I remained in office, indeed for the rest of my life. On the other side, the danger of world war was immediate. I decided that the only honorable course coherent with my oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution was to defy the terrorists. At this point we had reached the SAC headquarters in Nebraska. I terminated my conversation with the spokesman for the plotters.

At this point, I activated several units of the Secret Service and Army intelligence under hand-picked officers whose constitutional loyalty I knew I could trust. I briefed them on what I knew so far, and gave them the task of finding the rogue terror network and rooting it out. These fine patriotic men and women went to work at once, and within 72 hours the main outlines of the plot were evident. Let me sum up what we have learned so far.

A group of al Qaeda operatives, manipulated by a cabal of rogue CIA case officers, had chosen September 11 to hijack several aircraft, force them to land, and use the passengers as hostages to extort the liberation of certain prisoners being held in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Among these al Qaeda operatives were several double agents, also under the control of rogue elements in our own intelligence community. These were dissolute and evil persons, who had been trained using the infrastructure left over from the Iran-Contra affair.

Air defense that day was completely absent, in part because of four air exercises which were taking place at the same time in various parts of North America. A number of officers in critical positions at NORAD, its regional office in Rome, New York, and in the FAA appear to have been party to the plot. By a kind of collective inertia, they ignored the well-known and long-established standard operating procedures which govern the cooperation of FAA and NORAD, and were able to misdirect our few remaining fighter interceptors, out over the Atlantic Ocean in one case. More arrests are imminent as a result of ongoing investigations in this area.

What the al Qaeda operatives apparently did not know was that the aircraft they had chosen to hijack had been equipped with a new technology making it possible to seize control of these aircraft and operate them by remote control from a command center on the ground. It was this new technology, and not the dubious skills of the hijackers, which allowed the planes to hit their targets with such precision.

But even direct hits by the two planes could not have been enough to bring down the towers. According to the information we have developed, the collapse of World Trade Center buildings one, two, and seven was the direct result of controlled demolition – the result of explosive charges which had been placed in these buildings over the previous days and weeks by the terror network, who infiltrated the buildings in the guise of cleaning and security personnel. We have not yet been able to solve all the problems posed by the collapse of the twin towers, since energy sources appear to have been at work which go beyond the realm of today's conventional technology. I will have more to report on this later. In the meantime, I regret to report that I have had to order the arrest of the Mayor of New York, who repeatedly attempted to bring about the destruction of evidence at the crime scene.

As for the Pentagon, it was struck by a US Air Force cruise missile fired from an aircraft above West Virginia, and not by one of the hijacked airliners. We have not yet been able to determine what happened to American Flight 77, and we call on citizens to come to our aid in this matter. The launch of the cruise missile was the work of an entire Air Force unit in Ohio, and these traitors have all been taken into custody.

The airplane that crashed in Shanksville was cynically shot down through the actions of a rebel mole placed in a highly sensitive position at NORAD. This mole was aware that the passengers had retaken control of the aircraft from the lightly armed hijackers, and realized that the interrogation of the hijackers on board would have revealed critical dimensions of the real plot in which the hijackers, although certainly acting with criminal intent, were ultimately mere expendable pawns. The NORAD mole also feared that an examination of the aircraft might reveal the presence of the remote control technology, which had for some reason failed to function. Accordingly, the mole cynically directed jet interceptors to destroy this airplane, even though it was far away from any target of interest to the hijackers.

Several FBI officials and agents have been indicted for obstruction of justice; they have been accused of destroying security camera tapes at the Pentagon, and intimidating witnesses at the Pentagon and in Shanksville. Members of the FBI crime lab and the NTSB team have been discovered attempting to sabotage the cockpit voice recorders of the planes in question; the recordings we have heard are consistent with the account of the 9/11 events I have just described.

Sadly, I must address the three mysterious suicides from the highest ranks of our own government which have caused so much speculation over the past several days. The vice president was found dead in his bunker at Site R last Thursday; the coroner has ruled this a suicide, and has established that the cause of death was a potassium cyanide pill. The same finding has been delivered in the case of the former deputy secretary of defense some hours later on that same day. The death of the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff by a gunshot wound to the head in the Pentagon at around that same time has also been ruled a suicide. I can only confirm that arrest warrants for all three had been issued by a federal grand jury empanelled to investigate the tragic events of September 11.

The mutiny of the Delta Force battalion based near Fort Bragg, North Carolina, has been quelled by loyal troops and planes. The appeal of the rebel commander for a military rebellion against the legal government and for a military coup has been ignored.

As you may also know, a top former anti-terror official and several other high officials of the CIA and FBI have been missing for over two weeks, and are presumed to have fled abroad. I can confirm that arrest warrants have been issued for these persons. A number of journalists have also disappeared, and this may also be related to the recent upheaval. I can assure you that our constitutional procedures are just as vigorous as they have ever been, that habeas corpus remains alive, well, and in full force. We have no secret prisons and no secret prisoners, and I will tolerate none. Our open courts continue to function, and they will continue to do so.

We have uncovered complicity between the rogue network in this country and a number of foreign intelligence agencies. One of these is the British MI-6. After the raid by Scotland Yard on the headquarters of MI-6 in Oxford Circus, and after the resignation of Mr. Blair, I look forward to working with the new Labour Party prime minister to eradicate any remaining insurrectionary elements. We continue to observe the situation in several other countries we believe may have been involved in the 9/11 plot. I regret that General Sharon has refused to cooperate, and I invite the Congress to consider what response may be required.

I would like to thank President Putin of the Russian Federation and the leadership of the People's Republic of China for their wisdom and restraint, especially during the morning of 9/11, when the rebel network engaged in visible preparations for a nuclear launch. I am certain that the great powers, having weathered this storm, will be able to return to the path of confidence-building measures at our summit next week.

More details will be announced as soon as practicable. In conclusion, let me say a few words about the state of the world.

I do not assert that terrorism is a spontaneous outgrowth of poverty and misery. In fact, I assert the opposite: terrorism is usually organized by an outside agency, often by a government or a network operating inside a government. But it is certainly true that poverty and misery provide the indispensable environment in which terrorist groups can recruit, or be created by intelligence agencies. In today's world, there are about 2 billion people who are attempting to get by on less than $1 per day. There are some 600 million homeless – that is equal to about the entire population of Europe. About one and one half billion people do not have clean water to drink. With about one billion people unemployed, the unemployment rate in our world is about 33%, or about one third. When that happened in our own country during the 1930s, we called that a great depression, and we must therefore acknowledge the existence of a world economic depression of unprecedented severity today.

Two thirds of the people in the world – 65% – have never made a phone call. About 40% do not have access to electricity for household use; I would call that a clear need for rural and urban electrification. Every day in this world of ours, some 40,000 human beings perish from malnutrition and from easily treated diseases like diarrhea. Another 40,000 lose their lives each month as the result of warfare, all of which is absolutely futile and which has often been cynically fomented by foreign economic interests; I am thinking here of the crisis in Africa most specifically. In Africa, the standard of living of the average family has declined by 20% over the last twenty years.

Eighty-nine countries are now worse off than they were at the beginning of the 1990s. 175 million people leave their home countries every year in the desperate search for jobs and food – about 3% of humanity. The price of a human slave on the slave markets of southern Europe at this very moment is about 4,000 euros. In the midst of all this, the 258 richest persons in the world own more in the way of assets and other property than the poorest three billion persons. When 258 own more than half the human population of the world, I hope you will agree with me that such a world cannot be stable. Yet, this is the world that lies before us. I plan to use my powers as president to ameliorate this situation with every means at my disposal, and I call upon the Congress and upon all citizens to support these steps for a new world economic order that will be more just, more equitable, more prosperous, and more dynamic.

We have now been tested in the crucible of a brutal crisis. From this experience we must take renewed devotion to our best values. The decade of globalization has been revealed as a colossal failure, for ourselves as well as for others. We must find a better, more humane, more equitable way of organizing the affairs of this planet. To do this, we must work closely with almost 200 sovereign states, and work out the details with them, since every country has an inherent right to economic development, science, technology, and dignity. The old imperialism denied these, and the old imperialism is now on the junk-heap of history. In the days to come, my two lodestars will be peace and economic development, seen as the two sides of the same coin. Our world has turned over several times in the past month, but I am more certain than ever that I can count on the support of the American people in getting the world back on the right track. I ask you once again to remember the victims of the recent tragedy in your prayers. Good night.

CONCLUSIONS

So far we have come to the following conclusions:

1. The government's assertion that the so-called hijackers operated without being detected by official surveillance is untenable, and evidence is strong that the alleged hijackers acted in coordination with a faction within the government itself. The hijackers were therefore in all probability expendable double agents or, more bluntly, patsies.

2. The government's assertion that the four supposedly hijacked airliners were taken over and piloted by the four accused hijackers identified by the FBI is at or beyond the limits of physical and technical reality. The planes were in all probability guided to their targets by some form of remote access or remote control.

3. The government's assertion that the failures of air defense were caused by the fog of war is lame and absurd. Air defense was in all probability sabotaged by moles operating inside the government.

4. The government's assertion that a Boeing 757-200 hit the Pentagon is physically impossible. Some other type of flying object, possibly a cruise missile, must therefore be considered.

5. The government's assertion that the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center collapsed as a result of the impact of aircraft and of the subsequent fire is physically impossible. The fall of the towers cannot be explained without the hypothesis of controlled demolition of some form, possibly including unconventional methods employing new physical principles.

6. The government's assertion that World Trade Center 7 collapsed at 5:20 PM EDT on September 11 purely as a result of fire is physically impossible. The collapse of WTC 7 is coherent with controlled demolition of the conventional type.

7. The government's assertion that United Flight 93 crashed because of actions by the hijackers or because of a struggle in the cockpit is physically impossible, given the pattern in which the wreckage was distributed. All evidence points towards the hypothesis that United 93 was shot down by US military aircraft.

8. The government's refusal to investigate insider trading in American Airlines and United Airlines put options, the wholesale seizure and destruction of evidence, the systematic intimidation of witnesses by the FBI, and a series of other incidents point unmistakably to an attempted cover-up on the part of the entire US government and establishment.

BUSH IN HELL

At the bottom of Dante's Inferno, in that third part of the traitors' ninth circle which is called Tolomea, Dante and Vergil encounter a certain Frate Alberigo of Faenza. Tolomea is devoted to that species of traitors who have betrayed their own guests. The peculiarity of Frate Alberigo is that he is apparently alive on earth, even while his soul is being tormented in the depths of Hell. Frate Alberigo explains that in cases of particularly heinous betrayal, the damned soul departs from the body and descends directly into Hell. The body remains alive, but it is operated by a demon during the rest of its natural life span. Something similar happened to Bush when he betrayed his oath of office by turning the US government over to the rogue network on 9/11. The demon has been in control ever since.