Ambivalent anniversaries, IV and final

With a bit of luck, we might have some piece of unwanted furniture to toss up on top. I remember one year in particular. I think I was eleven. That November we dressed our Guy Fawkes in a Dunn-coloured tweed hunting suit that had belonged to the old Earl in his more hearty days, before asceticism, the Bis-mi’llah incident, madness and finally bankruptcy carved him down to a gaunt scarecrow in a cape. And we seated this robust and well-stuffed figure with his cardboard mask on a magnificent, but threadbare and tatty, horsehair sofa that mother had long ago inherited from Great Aunt Jacosta on the Pankhurst side.

Remember, remember …

The fire was glorious! Stoked largely from blackthorn cleared out of the rough end of the orchard, it crackled and roared as only a dry autumnal bonfire can. However, once our Guy finally caught alight and began to smoke along the seams, all limned about with incandescent tweed and seated upon the flaming pyre that was still, very recognizably a Queen Anne sofa, the effect was oddly surreal. For it did not seem as if we were burning a treasonous felon and dangerous heretic. Our Mr Fawkes looked every inch the jolly country squire, with his plus-fours and his pipe. He seemed to smile graciously, apologetically even, despite his grinning cardboard mask, as if embarrassed by all the attention.

Then he tilted gently sideways in a shower of sparks and would have slid off the sofa completely if he hadn’t been firmly tied on with bailer twine. Moments later he was twisting in pyrotechnic death throes, the tweed suit exploding with vents of fierce red and orange and I felt suddenly guilty and slightly queasy. I was mourning and did not even realize it; mourning for events that had passed some centuries before. I was regretting the burning of Guy Fawkes, the effigy, and the awful suffering of the duped original (who, by the way, was not actually burned); I was regretting the formerly noble, walnut-framed sofa, now glowing ash and writhing springs; regretting the persecution of Catholic England; regretting the many genuine victims of a plot which my father had only yesterday called: “A put-up job, if ever there was one!”

… The fifth of November …

That day I had been telling him, because I wanted to show him how grown up I’d become, that I used to think the gunpowder plot had happened in Great-Grandfather’s lifetime and that he, as a seated peer, could easily have been blown up by it. “Don’t worry, Din” he said (“Din” had been my first attempt at “Edwin” as a baby and somehow it had stuck), “Fawkes and his so-called co-conspirators couldn’t have blown up a whelk stand. Robert Cecil engineered the whole affair to force King James to finally make a move against Spain. None of those bewigged buffoons from Westminster stood in any real danger for a moment. Cecil saw a mint to be made out of British Empire-building at the expense of the Spanish. Trust me to know a false flag op when I see one. What do you think I was up to in Norway that even Winston wouldn’t talk about?”

He went on to prove it, fact by fact, point by point. Father was always very thorough once embarked on a course of historical navigation, so I probably drifted off beam somewhere. However, I do remember clearly getting the message that monarchs and their ministers, even ones with elected parliaments, were quite capable of sacrificing some of their own citizens and creating a lot of smoke when in need of an excuse to further secure their borders, coffers, personal power, alliances or succession.

I’m sanguine about all this. Times have changed, but not as much as we would like to think. Governments regularly lie to their people. Let’s even give them the benefit of the doubt: sometimes they don’t realize they are lying until much later, and sometimes they sincerely believe they are doing us a favour by being either parsimonious or a little too artistic with the truth. So, when it happens once again, why should we be surprised? The gunpowder plot, the sinking of the Maine, the Manchurian incident, the Reichstag fire, Pearl Harbour (yes, you read that correctly, too), the fortunately aborted “Operation Northwoods”, the Gulf of Tonkin … history is replete with examples. May history not repeat itself in our time? Have we done anything to prevent it?

… Gunpowder, treason and plot …

Adolf Hitler, a man who knew a thing or two about convincing false flag operations, having mounted some of the most memorable ones, while naturally not referring to himself in this context, nonetheless wrote the following in his bedside compendium, “Mein Kampf”: “daß in der Größe der Lüge immer ein gewisser Faktor des Geglaubtwerdens liegt”. This translates roughly as “In the size of the lie resides an increased factor of credibility”. It was Hitler’s belief that insofar as we all tell small lies, we can therefore easily see through them. But the great lie is so vast that any normally honest citizen would be ashamed to even think it could be untrue. This is psychology 101 and goes a long way to explaining the success of all mass-movement ideologies.

With regard to the last four weeks of my commentary on September 11th 2001, one might say I’ve been taken in by a prevailing atmosphere of myth-making that surrounds all things 9/11-ish. Indeed, that is a possibility. However, yes, I do believe there was an Al Qaeda plot. But no, I do not believe it was unknown to the higher echelons of power in Washington and New York, in fact I think it grew directly through their counter-intelligence machinations. Yes I do believe that the broad mass of stock traders and bankers in the world are honest. But no, I do not believe that no one other than the buildings’ owners profited either directly or indirectly from 9/11. In fact I am convinced from the trading record of airline stocks and insurance policy options, that massive defrauding took place in the days leading up to September 11th, enough to prove that many people had inside information to trade on.

… I see no reason …

Yes, I do believe those planes were hijacked. But no, I do not believe the hijackers actually flew them to their intended targets. The guidance of the planes had already been taken out of their hands long before they even “took control” of them. Neither speed nor altitude nor flight paths are consistent with the skills-levels of the persons accused. Yes, I believe the World Trade Center Twin Towers were genuinely hit. But no, I do not believe (and neither does the head of the New York fire department) that they collapsed either due to an impact they had been engineered to withstand fivefold, nor as a result of a fire that, at least in the opinion of the last officer-graded firefighter on the scene, was already well under control and diminishing fast. Yes, I do believe that some of the “suspects” perished in the inferno. But no, I do not believe that their identity papers miraculously survived that same blaze to incriminate them. And as for the fortuitous free-fall collapse of World Trade Center Tower 7 due to a few burning carpets … sure, I also believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and that Elvis is alive and well and living in Kentucky.

Yes, I’ve read all the rebuffs and visited all the myth-buster sites, too, but I’m not convinced. They seem to have to try so very hard to champion positions that are barely tenable. They say, for example, that all the US Air Force fighter planes had just returned from cross border exercises and needed to be rearmed with real ammo, real rockets and other refits and that this takes time. The crews also needed to be briefed on a changing situation, etc. But what these defenders of the official line do not ask is why those exercises were so large scale in the first place as to leave the White House and Pentagon almost undefended? And this was at a time when intelligence sources had already raised several red flags and given several terrorist threat warnings (later categorically denied by the President).

… Why gunpowder treason …

And, above all, why did those exercises so closely mimic the real situation unfolding (big planes into important buildings) that at least one air-traffic controller is on record as asking “Hey, is this real world or exercise?” And yet President Bush said later: “Nobody in our government could envisage flying airplanes into buildings” and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice claimed no-one “could have predicted that they would try to use an airplane as a missile”. One Air Force general, who could not fail to be aware of the script for the “Vigilant Guardian” exercises, even called the attack “something we had never seen before, something we had never even thought of.” And soon after the attacks, FBI Director Robert Mueller, despite having definitely received twelve separate intelligence reports on this very subject since September 1999 (as confirmed by the Joint Inquiry panel of 2002) would announce that “there were no warning signs” he was aware of that would indicate “this type of operation in the country”.

There are those who say that such talk merely undermines the little faith we have left in our institutions at a critical time when they need our support. I agree with them. Our institutions do need our support in these critical times. But support is like respect and has to be earned. If so many people all over the world doubt the official version, it is evidence of significant disaffection with a political system whose main offices are almost literally for sale to the highest bidder, and thus under the thumb of weighty financial interests whose scruples melt at a temperature far below that of steel. Remember, remember, what is at stake here is exactly the same as in 1606: borders, coffers, personal power, alliances and succession. Don’t be shocked. Get past the lives lost. For the kind of activities we’re describing here, and the kind of 10-figure sums involved, a few human lives are meagre collateral.

… Should ever be forgot!

Short of reinventing the American political model, which is not going to happen in any of our lifetimes, invoking a truly neutral and professional commission of enquiry, one that is in no way beholden to party politics nor the forces of the market place, would go a long way to regaining some of the respect that the world no longer automatically grants the USA as part of its birthright. Such a body would have to weigh all the diverse objections to the official report: technical, logistical, political, intelligence, financial, questions of negligence, of lack of foresight, of dereliction of duty, of incompetence, but also of conspiracy to mislead, of advance knowledge wilfully ignored and of knowingly exacting commercial profit from an attack on US targets … and if any were found to be justified, then it would have to recommend that legal proceedings be initiated.

The proceedings would themselves have to be the object of an ad hoc tribunal especially convened by the Supreme Court, as no other authority could be expected to meet the demands of the case or its international implications. At least in theory, the War Crimes Tribunal and the International Court of Justice at The Hague would be interested in the adjudications of the American court, as it would affect their own deliberations with regard to possible prosecution. After all the dust had died down, most of the 9/11 “truthers” could go back to their crops and their farms, their factories and their fire-houses, their beer and their baseball, or drag their asbestos-wrecked lungs back to hospital … all except those ornery critters who wear aluminium foil on their heads and keep a year’s supply of corned beef in the cellar. They just love conspiracies!

And meanwhile, if any Saudi billionaires were to feel so embarrassed by the veil of suspicion that hangs over their nation’s involvement (at least through some of its less creditable citizens) in the 9/11 case, as to want to make some restitution, they might just care to invest in recreating, deep in the desert, an exact replica of the World Trade Center towers … after which I’m sure they could find a second-hand Boeing or two to fly into them at the right height, angle, speed and payload. That way we could finally have an answer to the big question: What really happens when the unthinkable occurs? Was it as normal as National Geographic likes to think, that these three steel-frame buildings all collapsed in a few hours, while similar ones in other cities of the world have stayed standing for days, despite far greater fire damage? We would all know then, wouldn’t we? We could get it all on film. The entire operation would cost notably less than the Lewinsky investigation and would certainly be money well spent.

Edwin Drood

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