By Prof Michel Chossudovsky
“The livelihood of millions of people throughout the World is at stake. It is my sincere hope that the truth will prevail and that the understanding provided in this detailed study will serve the cause of World peace. This objective, however, can only be reached by revealing the falsehoods behind America’s “War on Terrorism” and questioning the legitimacy of the main political and military actors responsible for extensive war crimes.” (Michel Chossudovsky, August 2005)
“America’s War on Terrorism” was launched at 9.30pm on September 11, 2001
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At eleven o’clock, on the morning of September 11, the Bush administration had already announced that Al Qaeda was responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center (WTC) and the Pentagon. This assertion was made prior to the conduct of an indepth police investigation.
That same evening at 9:30 pm, a “War Cabinet” was formed integrated by a select number of top intelligence and military advisors. And at 11:00 pm, at the end of that historic meeting at the White House, the “War on Terrorism” was officially launched.
The decision was announced to wage war against the Taliban and Al Qaeda in retribution for the 9/11 attacks. The following morning on September 12th, the news headlines indelibly pointed to “state sponsorship” of the 9/11 attacks. In chorus, the US media was calling for a military intervention against Afghanistan. Barely four weeks later, on the 7th of October, Afghanistan was bombed and invaded by US troops.Americans were led to believe that the decision to go to war had been taken on the spur of the moment, on the evening of September 11, in response to the attacks and their tragic consequences.
Little did the public realize that a large scale theater war is never planned and executed in a matter of weeks. The decision to launch a war and send troops to Afghanistan had been taken well in advance of 9/11. The “terrorist, massive, casualty-producing event” as it was later described by CentCom Commander General Tommy Franks, served to galvanize public opinion in support of a war agenda which was already in its final planning stage.
The tragic events of 9/11 provided the required justification to wage a war on “humanitarian grounds”, with the full support of World public opinion and the endorsement of the “international community”.
Several prominent “progressive” intellectuals made a case for “retaliation against terrorism”, on moral and ethical grounds. The “just cause” military doctrine (jus ad bellum) was accepted and upheld at face value as a legitimate response to 9/11,without examining the fact that Washington had not only supported the “Islamic terror network”, it was also instrumental in the installation of the Taliban government in 1996.
In the wake of 9/11, the antiwar movement was completely isolated. The trade unions and civil society organizations had swallowed the media lies and government propaganda. They had accepted a war of retribution against Afghanistan, an impoverished country of 30 million people.
I started writing on the evening of September 11, late into the night, going through piles of research notes, which I had previously collected on the history of Al Qaeda. My first text entitled “Who is Osama bin Laden?”, which was completed and first published on September the 12th. (See Chapter II.)
From the very outset, I questioned the official story, which described nineteen Al Qaeda sponsored hijackers involved in a highly sophisticated and organized operation. My first objective was to reveal the true nature of this illusive “enemy of America”, who was “threatening the Homeland”.
The myth of the “outside enemy” and the threat of “Islamic terrorists” was the cornerstone of the Bush administration’s military doctrine, used as a pretext to invade Afghanistan and Iraq, not to xii America’s “War on Terrorism” mention the repeal of civil liberties and constitutional government in America.
Without an “outside enemy”, there could be no “war on terrorism”. The entire national security agenda would collapse “like a deck of cards”. The war criminals in high office would have no leg to stand on.
It was consequently crucial for the development of a coherent antiwar and civil rights movement, to reveal the nature of Al Qaeda and its evolving relationship to successive US administrations.
Amply documented but rarely mentioned by the mainstream media, Al Qaeda was a creation of the CIA going back to the Soviet- Afghan war. This was a known fact, corroborated by numerous sources including official documents of the US Congress. The intelligence community had time and again acknowledged that they had indeed supported Osama bin Laden, but that in the wake of the Cold War: “he turned against us”.
After 9/11, the campaign of media disinformation served not only to drown the truth but also to kill much of the historical evidence on how this illusive “outside enemy” had been fabricated and transformed into “Enemy Number One”.
The Balkans Connection
My research on the Balkans conducted since the mid-1990s enabled me to document numerous ties and connections between Al Qaeda and the US Administration. The US military, the CIA and NATO had supported Al Qaeda in the Balkans. Washington’s objective was to trigger ethnic conflict and destabilize the Yugoslav federation, first in Bosnia, then in Kosovo.
In 1997, the Republican Party Committee (RPC) of the US Senate released a detailed report which accused President Clinton of collaborating with the “Islamic Militant Network” in Bosnia and working hand in glove with an organization linked to Osama bin Laden. (See Chapter III.) The report, however,was not widely publicized. Instead, the Republicans chose to discredit Clinton for his liaison with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
The Clinton Administration had also been providing covert support to the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), a paramilitary group supported by Al Qaeda, which was involved in numerous terrorist attacks. The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, more commonly known as MI6, together with former members of Britain’s 22nd Special Air Services Regiment (SAS) were providing training to the KLA, despite its extensive links to organized crime and the drug trade. Meanwhile, known and documented, several Al Qaeda operatives had integrated the ranks of the KLA. (See Chapter III).
In the months leading up to 9/11, I was actively involved in research on the terror attacks in Macedonia, waged by the self-proclaimed National Liberation Army (NLA) of Macedonia, a paramilitary army integrated by KLA commanders. Al Qaeda Mujahideen had integrated the NLA. Meanwhile, senior US military officers from a private mercenary company on contract to the Pentagon were advising the terrorists.
Barely a couple of months prior to 9/11, US military advisers were seen mingling with Al Qaeda operatives within the same paramilitary army. In late June 2001, seventeen US “instructors” were identified among the withdrawing rebels. To avoid the diplomatic humiliation and media embarrassment of senior US military personnel captured together with “Islamic terrorists” by the Macedonian Armed Forces, the US and NATO pressured the Macedonian government to allow the NLA terrorists and their US military advisers to be evacuated.
The evidence, including statements by the Macedonian Prime Minister and press reports out of Macedonia, pointed unequivocally to continued US covert support to the “Islamic brigades” in the former Yugoslavia. This was not happening in the bygone era of the Cold War, but in June 2001, barely a couple of months prior to 9/11. These developments, which I was following on a daily basis, immediately cast doubt in my mind on the official 9/11 narrative which presented Al Qaeda as the mastermind behind the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. (Chapter IV.)
The Mysterious Pakistani General
On the 12th of September, a mysterious Lieutenant General, head of Pakistan’s Military Intelligence (ISI), who according to the US press reports “happened to be in Washington at the time of the attacks”, was called into the office of Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitrage.
The “War on Terrorism” had been officially launched late in the night of September 11, and Dick Armitage was asking General Mahmoud Ahmad to help America “in going after the terrorists”. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf was on the phone with Secretary of State Colin Powell and the following morning, on the 13th of September, a comprehensive agreement, was reached between the two governments.
While the press reports confirmed that Pakistan would support the Bush administration in the “war on terror”, what they failed to mention was the fact that Pakistan`s military intelligence (ISI) headed by General Ahmad had a longstanding relationship to the Islamic terror network. Documented by numerous sources, the ISI was known to have supported a number of Islamic organizations including Al Qaeda and the Taliban. (See Chapter IV.)
My first reaction in reading news headlines on the 13th of September was to ask: if the Bush administration were really committed to weeding out the terrorists, why would it call upon Pakistan`s ISI, which is known to have supported and financed these terrorist organizations?
Two weeks later, an FBI report, which was briefly mentioned on ABC News, pointed to a “Pakistani connection” in the financing of the alleged 9/11 terrorists. The ABC report referred to a Pakistani “moneyman” and “mastermind” behind the 9/11 hijackers.
Subsequent reports indeed suggested that the head of Pakistan’s military intelligence, General Mahmoud Ahmad, who had met Colin Powell on the 13th of September 2001, had allegedly ordered the transfer of 100,000 dollars to the 9/11 ringleader Mohammed Atta. What these reports suggested was that the head of Pakistan’s military intelligence was not only in close contact with senior officials of the US Government, he was also in liaison with the alleged hijackers.
My writings on the Balkans and Pakistani connections, published in early October 2001 were later incorporated into the first edition of this book. In subsequent research, I turned my attention to the broader US strategic and economic agenda in Central Asia and the Middle East.
There is an intricate relationship between War and Globalization. The “War on Terror” has been used as a pretext to conquer new economic frontiers and ultimately establish corporate control over Iraq’s extensive oil reserves.
The Disinformation Campaign
In the months leading up to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, the disinformation campaign went into full gear.
Known and documented prior to the invasion, Britain and the US made extensive use of fake intelligence to justify the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Al Qaeda was presented as an ally of the Baghdad regime. “Osama bin Laden” and “Weapons of Mass Destruction” statements circulated profusely in the news chain. (Chapter XI.)
Meanwhile, a new terrorist mastermind had emerged: Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi. In Colin Powell’s historic address to the United Nations Security Council, detailed “documentation” on a sinister relationship between Saddam Hussein and Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi was presented, focussing on his ability to produce deadly chemical, biological and radiological weapons, with the full support and endorsement of the secular Baathist regime.
A Code Orange terror alert followed within two days of Powell’s speech at the United Nations Security Council, where he had been politely rebuffed by UN Weapons Inspector Dr. Hans Blix.
Reality was thus turned upside down. The US was no longer viewed as preparing to wage war on Iraq. Iraq was preparing to attack America with the support of “Islamic terrorists”. Terrorist mastermind Al-Zarqawi was identified as the number one suspect. Official statements pointed to the dangers of a dirty radioactive bomb attack in the US.
The main thrust of the disinformation campaign continued in the wake of the March 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq. It consisted in presenting the Iraqi resistance movement as “terrorists”. The image of “terrorists opposed to democracy” fighting US “peacekeepers” appeared on television screens and news tabloids across the globe.
Meanwhile, the Code Orange terror alerts were being used by the Bush administration to create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation across America. (See Chapter XX.) The terror alerts also served to distract public opinion from the countless atrocities committed by US forces in the Afghan and Iraqi war theaters, not to mention the routine torture of so-called “enemy combatants”.
Following the invasion of Afghanistan, the torture of prisoners of war and the setting up of concentration camps became an integral part of the Bush administration’s post 9/11 agenda.
The entire legal framework had been turned upside down. According to the US Department of Justice, torture was now permitted under certain circumstances. Torture directed against “terrorists” was upheld as a justifiable means to preserving human rights and democracy. (See chapters XIV and XV.) In an utterly twisted logic, the Commander in Chief can now quite legitimately authorize the use of torture, because the victims of torture in this case are so-called “terrorists”, who are said to routinely apply the same methods against Americans.
The orders to torture prisoners of war at the Guantanamo concentration camp and in Iraq in the wake of the 2003 invasion emanated from the highest levels of the US Government. Prison guards, interrogators in the US military and the CIA were responding to precise guidelines.
An inquisitorial system had been installed. In the US and Britain the “war on the terrorism” is upheld as being in the public interest. Anybody who questions its practices—which now include arbitrary arrest and detention, torture of men, women and children, political assassinations and concentration camps—is liable to be arrested under the antiterrorist legislation.
The London 7/7 Bomb Attack
A new threshold in the “war on terrorism”was reached in July 2005, with the bomb attacks on London’s underground, which resulted tragically in 56 deaths and several hundred wounded.
On both sides of the Atlantic, the London 7//7 attacks were used to usher in far-reaching police state measures. The US House of Representatives renewed the USA PATRIOT Act “to make permanent the government’s unprecedented powers to investigate suspected terrorists”. Republicans claimed that the London attacks showed “how urgent and important it was to renew the law.”
Barely a week prior to the London attacks, Washington had announced the formation of a “domestic spy service” under the auspices of the FBI. The new department—meaning essentially a Big Brother “Secret State Police”—was given a mandate to “spy on people in America suspected of terrorism or having critical intelligence information, even if they are not suspected of committing a crime.” Significantly, this new FBI service is not accountable to the Department of Justice. It is controlled by the Directorate of National Intelligence headed by John Negroponte, who has the authority of ordering the arrest of “terror suspects”.
Meanwhile, in the wake of the 7/7 London attacks, Britain’s Home Office, was calling for a system of ID cards, as an “answer to terrorism”. Each and every British citizen and resident will be obliged to register personal information, which will go into a giant national database, along with their personal biometrics: “iris pattern of the eye”, fingerprints and “digitally recognizable facial features”. Similar procedures were being carried out in the European Union.
War Criminals in High Office
The anti-terrorist legislation and the establishment of a Police State largely serve the interests of those who have committed extensive war crimes and who would otherwise have been indicted under national and international law.
In the wake of the London 7/7 attacks, war criminals continue to legitimately occupy positions of authority,which enable them to redefine the contours of the judicial system and the process of law enforcement. This process has provided them with a mandate to decide “who are the criminals”, when in fact they are the criminals. (Chapter XVI).
From New York and Washington on September 11 to Madrid in March 2004 and to London in July 2005, the terror attacks have been used as a pretext to suspend the writ of habeas corpus. People can be arbitrarily arrested under the antiterrorist legislation and detained for an indefinite period.More generally, throughout the Western World, citizens are being tagged and labeled, their emails, telephone conversations and faxes are monitored and archived. Thousands of closed circuit TV cameras, deployed in urban areas, are overseeing their movements. Detailed personal data is entered into giant Big Brother data banks. Once this cataloging has been completed, people will be locked into watertight compartments.
The witch-hunt is not only directed against presumed “terrorists” through ethnic profiling, the various human rights, affirmative action and antiwar cohorts are also the object of the antiterrorist legislation.
The National Security Doctrine
In 2005, the Pentagon released a major document entitled The National Defense Strategy of the United States of America (NDS), which broadly sketches Washington’s agenda for global military domination. While the NDS follows in the footsteps of the Administration’s “preemptive” war doctrine as outlined in the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), it goes much further in setting the contours of Washington’s global military agenda. (See Chapter XIX.)
Whereas the preemptive war doctrine envisages military action as a means of “self defense” against countries categorized as “hostile” to the US, the 2005 NDS goes one step further. It envisages the possibility of military intervention against “unstable countries” or “failed nations”, which do not visibly constitute a threat to the security of the US.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon had unleashed a major propaganda and public relations campaign with a view to upholding the use of nuclear weapons for the “Defense of the American Homeland” against terrorists and rogue enemies. The fact that the nuclear bomb is categorized by the Pentagon as “safe for civilians” to be used in major counter-terrorist activities borders on the absurd.
In 2005, US Strategic Command (STRATCOM) drew up “a contingency plan to be used in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack”. The plan includes air raids on Iran using both conventional as well as tactical nuclear weapons.
America’s “War on Terrorism”
The first ten chapters,with some changes and updates, correspond to the first edition of the book published in 2002 under the title War and Globalization: The Truth behind September 11. The present expanded edition contains twelve new chapters, which are the result of research undertaken both prior as well as in the wake of the invasion of Iraq. (Parts III and IV.) The sequencing of the material in Parts III and IV corresponds to the historical evolution of the post 9/11 US military and national security agendas. My main objective has been to refute the official narrative and reveal—using detailed evidence and documentation—the true nature of America’s “war on terrorism”.
Part I includes four chapters on September 11, focusing on the history of Al Qaeda and its ties to the US intelligence apparatus. These chapters document how successive administrations have supported and sustained terrorist organizations with a view to destabilizing national societies and creating political instability.
Part II entitled War and Globalization centers on the strategic and economic interests underlying the “war on terrorism”.
Part III contains a detailed analysis of War Propaganda and the Disinformation Campaign, both prior and in the wake of the invasion of Iraq.
Part IV entitled The New World Order includes a review of the Bush administration’s preemptive war doctrine (Chapter XIX), a detailed analysis of the post-Taliban narcotics trade protected by US intelligence, and a review of the 9/11 Commission Report focusing specifically on “What Happened on the Planes on the Morning of 9/11”.
Chapter XX focuses on the system of terror alerts and their implications. Chapter XXI follows with an examination of the emergency procedures that could be used to usher in Martial Law leading to the suspension of Constitutional government. In this regard, the US Congress has already adopted procedures, which allow the Military to intervene directly in civilian police and judicial functions. In the case of a national emergency—e.g., in response to an alleged terror attack—there are clearly defined provisions, which could lead to the formation of a military government in America.
Finally, Chapter XXII focuses on the broad implications of the 7/7 London Bombs Attacks, which were followed by the adoption of sweeping Police State measures in Britain, the European Union and North America.
Writing this book has not been an easy undertaking. The material is highly sensitive. The results of this analysis, which digs beneath the gilded surface of US foreign policy, are both troublesome and disturbing. The conclusions are difficult to accept because they point to the criminalization of the upper echelons of the State. They also confirm the complicity of the corporate media in upholding the legitimacy of the Administration’s war agenda and camouflaging US sponsored war crimes.
The World is at an important historical crossroads. The US has embarked on a military adventure which threatens the future of humanity. As we go to press, the Bush Administration has hinted in no uncertain terms that Iran is the next target of the “war on terrorism”.
Military action against Iran would directly involve Israel’s participation, which in turn is likely to trigger a broader war throughout the Middle East, not to mention an implosion in the Palestinian occupied territories.
I have attempted to the best of my abilities to provide evidence and detailed documentation of an extremely complex political process.
The livelihood of millions of people throughout the World is at stake. It is my sincere hope that the truth will prevail and that the understanding provided in this detailed study will serve the cause of World peace. This objective, however, can only be reached by revealing the falsehoods behind America’s “War on Terrorism” and questioning the legitimacy of the main political and military actors responsible for extensive war crimes.
I am indebted to many people, who in the course of my work have supported my endeavors and have provided useful research insights. The readers of the Global Research website at www.globalresearch.ca have been a source of continuous inspiration and encouragement.
Michel Chossudovsky, August 2005
Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, Professor of Economics (emeritus) at the University of Ottawa, Founder and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Montreal, Editor of Global Research. He is the author of eleven books including The Globalization of Poverty and The New World Order (2003), America’s “War on Terrorism” (2005), The Global Economic Crisis, The Great Depression of the Twenty-first Century (2009) (Editor), Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War (2011), The Globalization of War, America’s Long War against Humanity (2015). He is a contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica. His writings have been published in more than twenty languages. In 2014, he was awarded the Gold Medal for Merit of the Republic of Serbia for his writings on NATO’s war of aggression against Yugoslavia.