|JULY 10, 2003 THU
Updated 4:00am CST
|PRISON PLANET.com Analysis|
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|They're Coming To Take Me Away (Ha Ha!)
Simon Aronowitz July 10 2003
Last week the British press made much of the invasion by a "comedy terrorist" of Prince Williams 21st birthday party. This, and subsequent events, have prompted me to write this column, my first foray into
|Despite the philosophical stranglehold of received wisdom, Simon Aronowitz
graduated from Leeds University with a degree in economics and politics in
July 2001. With no affiliation to any political party, Simon works as an
independent journalist in London, England. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
|Disclaimer: This column appears as would a syndicatecd column in a newspaper. It does not necessarily reflect the views of Alex Jones.|
|journalism. It is not simply that the antics of a man dressed up as Osama Bin Laden succeeded in pushing discussion of British intelligence dossiers on Iraq off the front pages, they have also lead to a subtle change in our prevailing mood and notion of security.
Aaron Barschak, the so-called comedy terrorist succeeded where many others have failed; he managed to gain publicity for his cause. In his case the cause was his show at the Edinburgh Festival this summer. The ultimate result from his actions in the UK was not however a discussion about comedy or alternative advertising, it was a little-reported increase in tensions over domestic security in the face of worldwide threats of terrorism. Responding to the Home Secretary's statement on Barschak's publicity coup and the failure of royal protection officers to establish adequate perimeter security, the Shadow Home Secretary, Oliver Letwin argued that this demonstrates the need for a minister to head up a department for homeland security. This statement passed without notice, with certain elements of the mainstream media reporting the Tories' call for such an entity in passing, but no discussion of what impact that would have on society.
Last Monday, 1st July, the Conservative Party had a re-shuffle. Many old faces remain in their posts, but a new position was created - that of Shadow Minister for Homeland Security. Yet the Labour government did not heed the Tories' call for establishing such a department and the Shadow Minister actually shadows nobody, and has no official department to challenge. So why am I making a fuss over what would seem to be a non-issue?
As a British citizen, I have watched the changing political mood in the USA since September 2001 with great alarm. The country that appointed itself as a beacon of freedom and democracy to the world started to shred its most dearly held principles, those of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. When I studied the formation of the United States of America at university, I learned that the drive of the revolution was to free the colonies from the control of the Crown, albeit primarily because of taxation revenue being passed back across the Atlantic. The motivation, in a more philosophical sense, was to allow the colonies the right to self-determination. The Bill of Rights was an addendum to make the Constitution acceptable to those who sought to ensure that the tyranny and control of government would henceforth be limited by clearly defined rules and rights.
My overall impression of my studies in early American history left me with an image, rather than the precise detail, that the United States constitution was a sacred document upon which the functioning of government was defined and the relationship between the three branches of Executive, Judiciary and Legislature would forever be regulated. The attacks of 11th September however seemed to usher in a mood of collective US national insecurity and the desire for government to take measures to prevent another attack. The American people were thus prepared to surrender their rights and their constitution in order to preserve their liberty. The USA PATRIOT ACT was passed in record time without a single elected representative even reading the legislation beforehand. Nearly two years on, I regularly see stories of how the freedom of speech is being restricted, that protestors against the war in Iraq are being threatened with jail-time and themselves being labelled "terrorists".
"Where are you going with this?" I may hear you ask. As someone who watches politics and current affairs with great interest, the recent events troubled me greatly. If they could effectively scrap the foundations upon which the United States was built, what could they do in the United Kingdom where we have no written constitution, barring the Magna Carta written some several centuries ago?
The police, and no doubt the security services too, are now drawing up a watch-list of "stalkers and individuals who seek publicity". It was this assertion from the powers that be that stirred me into action. For my own activities could now fall under their purview and I could end up on their watch-list. Some would simply call this paranoia, but my activities over the last 18 months and in the last few days have forced me to consider such an effort to have a possible impact on my own day-to-day activities.
On the day of September 11th I was working in the City of London for one of the big international firms of accountants. Until the World Wide Web gave up the ghost due to an overload of information requests, I was watching the events in New York play out live on my PC. For the next few days I was glued to the television, read several different newspapers and ensured that I watched all the American network news broadcasts from CBS, ABC and NBC which are available on satellite and cable television. Even though I am Jewish, my apparent faith in God had long diminished into cynicism. Yet I felt the need to go to Church of all places to try to make sense of what had happened. The service did nothing to restore my faith in God; the priest led the prayers but didn't even mention the events in New York, Washington DC or Pennsylvania, despite it being a special service laid on for precisely this reason. At the end of the service, the collection dish was passed round. I was no closer to any answers.
It was whilst I was in between jobs in early 2002 that I had some time on my hands and an internet connection begging to be used. It was out of sheer curiosity that I wanted to know more of what had actually happened that day. By that point there were very few people around the world who had not heard the tale of the 19 hijackers seizing control of those airliners and in three instances crashing them into the most visible symbols of American power. As an ever-inquisitive person I wanted to know how such a catastrophe managed to take place. What had actually happened that day? Not knowing where to start, I simply typed "9/11" into Google and of course found pages across the globe, from individual's personal websites to mainstream news organisations all attempting to explain what happened on that fateful day. Amongst the search results however were what I thought was complete craziness. Some websites were accusing the United States or Israel governments of having a hand in the attacks themselves. "What utter nonsense!" I declared. Who were these crazy people who thought that the US would destroy its own buildings and kill its own people? What sick individual would accuse the Israelis of attacking their number one ally? Surely they didn't understand the way the world worked. At least that's what I thought back at the beginning of 2002.
Having done my own research over nearly eighteen months, my view of the world from politics and economics to the media and education has been completely turned on its head. To most people, my views today are entirely at odds with the reality that is propagated by the mainstream media and the environment around us.
In trying to piece together the events surrounding the preparation for the attacks on New York and Washington DC, through the events of that day and on into the subsequent investigations, I found it impossible to reconcile even the main tenets of the "official story". When I discovered that the head of Pakistani intelligence (ISI), General Mahmood Ahmed had ordered a wire transfer of $100,000 to the lead hijacker Mohammed Atta, and that the same General was meeting with heads of the Senate and House Intelligence committees while the attacks were taking place, I knew there had to be more to the story than we were being told. I could take up pages with a dissection of the official accounts of what took place but instead I will merely suggest that for those who are unaware of such details, that they seek out the numerous websites which dissect the entire legend of the 9/11 attacks. After having my mind opened to the possibility that there was a different, more troubling explanation, I found confirmation in numerous places. Journalists have covered these difficult issues in many countries, including the United States. Various books have been written and many campaigners have been spurred into action to spread the suppressed details of the attacks. Namely that it was an inside job and that the war in Afghanistan had been planned for several years.
At this point I may have lost some of you who are probably yelling that the author of this piece must be crazy. That is of course your right to think so, but before coming to this conclusion I advise all truth-seekers to do some basic research on the issue for themselves. On this issue I will be arrogant enough to say that people who have swallowed the official explanation for the 9/11 attacks are either naive or simply are not in possession of all the facts.
The last 18 months have been a huge learning curve for me as I unlearned much of what I had been taught. Even though I had studied economics and politics at university I was unprepared for the sudden shock of the way the world really worked. I was catapulted into an understanding of the control of the media and government by corporate interests and how this had played out with regard to 9/11.
The media coverage of the events of 11th September was, with hindsight, simply an unquestioning repetition of Government press releases. On reflection I could not think of a single media organisation that had challenged the legend of 9/11 or even sought answers to tough questions like "Why didn't any fighter jets scramble in quick time, according to standard operating procedure?" There was simply no explanation provided for many awkward details, and false information to cover up for other failures.
The BBC Newsnight report by American journalist Greg Palast, Has someone been sitting on the FBI was at the time of broadcast just one more awkward fact that didn't quite sit right. When I began to actively seek the truth, Palast's report helped to paint a clear picture of an administration that would allow, perhaps even orchestrate a Pearl Harbor type event to galvanise the American people into supporting a war of conquest. The BBC, amongst other sources, informs us that in July 2001 the USA had already declared its intention to invade Afghanistan in October. The only thing missing in July was the justification for such action. On 11th September the justification was presented live on television worldwide.
My understanding that the US government was itself complicit in the attacks made my position a direct challenge to the received wisdom of much of the television-watching world. I was labelled a conspiracy theorist. If I raised my head above the parapet I was promptly shot down with "Hey, idiot, don't you watch TV? It was Osama who did it!" It was then that I realised the extent of the power of the system. Those brave individuals who attempted to publicly challenge US policy or its explanation of the hijackings were smeared and discredited, with the myth of the necessity of homeland security being reinforced at the same time.
Suddenly I could see that Americans were asleep while their own government participated in the most treasonous and dishonest activities. Americans were oblivious to the fact that the founding principles of the Republic were being eviscerated. If that could happen in the beacon of freedom and democracy, what could happen in the UK?
I have recently ratcheted up my activities. Rather than merely observing the events and lamenting the demise of intellectual thought and the notion of government being for the people, I decided it was time to actually do something. I had previously been involved in efforts to prevent the partial privatisation of the London Underground. When I saw that Londoners couldn't care less about the corporate takeover of London's underground arteries, I gave up. If London's commuters weren't even prepared to take a flier explaining the dilemma whilst passing through their Underground stations, they certainly wouldn't protest the government's actions.
With the issues of 9/11 and its aftermath though, things were different. It was no longer a fight to stop the government going too far on a specific issue; it became one of the need for fundamental honesty in daily life. If the world at large could be deceived over the true culpability for the attacks on the USA, then there was a great deal more that the governing elite could get away with.
The last few days have seen me very busy over precisely this issue. 9/11 is just history for some, Iraq being the order of the day. Shifting to the Iraq issue then, I became increasingly incensed at the manipulation of evidence in order to provide a justification to invade that sovereign country. I am not, and never have been an apologist for Saddam Hussein yet before my eyes I could see history being re-written in true Orwellian fashion. Many politicians in the UK who disagreed with Prime Minister Tony Blair nonetheless respected his stance on the understanding that Blair himself believed his argument to be true. After all, he keeps telling he's an "honest guy".
The forged documents alleging that Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger was the straw on the camel's back. During hearings of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, a lack of hard questioning of Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and the Prime Minister's Head of Communications, Alastair Campbell, indicated to me that yet another whitewash was underway.
In a fit of citizen activism I attempted to contact the office of every attending member of the committee, as well as my own Member of Parliament. I urged the members to seek the truth and to ask some hard questions of our officials. I made it clear that I felt we had been lied to and that responsibility for that lying should be clearly established. Only one member of the committee gave a positive response to my contact and I was glad to see that at least Sir John Stanley (Conservative) asked Mr Straw some awkward questions, though Straw failed to provide any solid, satisfactory answers. It looked like they were letting him off the hook.
My own MP held his constituency surgery last weekend and so I decided to use it as an opportunity to challenge the policy of the Government. From the very beginning my efforts were unwanted; Barry Gardiner (Labour), my elected representative to the House of Commons, did not want to talk politics since his surgery is usually used as a forum for constituents to raise immigration and benefit problems for special attention. I was not deterred though and made my case. Gardiner tried to blind me with his own experience, telling me that he had studied US foreign policy twenty years ago because of his concerns over El-Salvador. I came back fighting. Not wanting to let him off the hook with his apparent credentials I told him that I was well aware of the issues in South America since I had studied Noam Chomsky's work whilst at university. The upshot of the meeting was that my MP remained unconvinced, though perhaps open to the possibility that there was more afoot than he was currently aware of.
Not to be defeated by what I felt was an unsatisfactory conclusion to the meeting, I escalated my activity further. I met this week with a very senior member of Parliament, an independent-minded MP who is well respected and has challenged the Government over the war in Iraq. This MP was more than willing to take a dossier that I compiled, containing just a small number of well sourced stories which poke an enormous hole in the assertion that the attacks of 11th September were the result of 19 hijackers, plotted in a cave in Afghanistan. Adding to the potential controversy, I also provided a copy of an article by Chicago lawyer, journalist and court reformer Sherman Skolnick. Skolnick's story accused the Bush family of bribing Tony Blair to the tune of several billion dollars through the Carlyle Group, as inducement to go to war in Iraq. The Carlyle Group, by the way, is one of the largest defence contractors on the planet and is heavily invested in by the Bush family. The Bin Laden family were also investors, selling their stock after September 11th 2001. Having spoken to Skolnick personally, I received assurance that his story was 100% genuine and sourced; those who had much to lose if it were published in the mainstream were quite simply sitting on it. (http://www.skolnicksreport.com/ootar28.html)
Frustrated by the bogus discussions in the House of Commons and especially in the media, I resolved to deliver this information to the BBC. With this too, I was successful. Now, though, I face a particular problem.
The information that I have tried to convey to politicians, journalists and members of the public is so at odds with the view held by the majority that some may consider me to be mentally ill for thinking the things I do. That would not be problematic were it not for the government's declaration that security needs to be improved and the apparent necessity of drawing up watch lists of individuals who seek publicity. It is not that I personally seek publicity for publicity's sake, what worries me is that if I were to try and pull a publicity stunt to impart the suppressed information, or even to continue to contact members of Parliament, I may be added to the list. At no time have I conducted illegal activity in the pursuit of the truth, yet the systems are in place to allow for my web-surfing to be watched, my emails to be intercepted and my phone-calls listened to by my government.
I used to think that such activity was not a problem, because they would surely only target security risks. Having learned that the US government should shoulder responsibility for the attacks, and noting that Blair would have been fully cognizant of the true sequence of events, such power of surveillance could easily be used against those who attempt to shine a light on high crimes and government corruption. By their definition, I could be considered a security risk.
Finally, last night, an associate advised me during a phone-call that they thought that my phone was being tapped. Of course one cannot determine whether this is true or not, but it was the first time that someone had made the assertion that I might actually be the target of such activities. I know I've done nothing illegal, but I've no doubt that those whose positions of control would be seriously threatened if such revelations were made truly public, would do anything in their power to prevent it from happening.
Not that I would let this deter me from seeking the truth and conveying that information to others. I'm told that we still have free speech in this country, so I should be safe for the moment.
Hang on a second - there's someone at the door. I think they've come to take me away.