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May 29, 2002

Cui Bono on 9/11?


Settler Lobby, The War Party, Armageddon Lobby, Neo-cons

by Jon Basil Utley

Cui Bono was the Latin legal term in old Rome for investigating a crime.  Who benefited from 9/11 is the question?

No one would accuse Bush of the strategy used by Roosevelt at Pearl Harbor to get America into the Second World War.  But for others in Washington the question of Who Benefited may be the way to find out Who Knew?

Many Washington interests have thrived since 9/11. They all had an interest in keeping quiet or suppressing any information which might have thwarted the attack. This by no means implies that such groups as a whole were involved, but rather that certain individuals could have had an interest in obfuscating information about a pending attack.

Remember the Neo-conservatives, urging for two years that the military budget be increased by $100 Billion, and that America become the military hegemon of the world.   Typically an editorial in the Weekly Standard urged that instead of tax cuts, new revenues should go to the military.  The attack brought them exactly what they wanted. They always argue against negotiations and want war and empire.  Their advice (and plan we might call it) was to go on killing Iraqis, maintaining U.S. bases in Saudi Arabia, knowing how we insulted and threatened fundamentalist Muslims, and loudly telling Bush to avoid trying to mediate the Palestinian conflict. It's not rocket science to argue that they wanted enraged Muslims to attack America. Earlier they had an agenda to agitate China. For them any war will do to grow the empire. 

Then there is the War Party itself: all the vested interests in Washington which thrive from war. Look now at the Military-Industrial-Congressional-Pork complex, we've just seen how it works with efforts to stop funding that howitzer from Oklahoma.  Now it's getting new equipment, an enemy to actually fight with, air bases in Central Asia, budget increases beyond their dreams. There's no more talk of closing military bases or cutting waste, it's just spend, spend, spend. (Every soldier now costs $98,000 per year – New York Times 4/19). 

Then there is the Armageddon Lobby . "Worse is better," to quote Leon Trotsky from another era's plan for paradise on earth. Anything that promotes chaos and war in the Middle East is what a powerful offshoot of Christian Fundamentalism foretells and what many of them strive to bring about and hunger for. They argue that Israel is doing God's work to bring about the return of Christ and paradise on earth (after most human beings are killed). They now have a very major voice in Republican congressional leadership.

And of course, there is the Israeli Lobby, better now called the Sharon-Settler Lobby. Most Jews would trade land for peace, but the lobby has been taken over by its most militant minorities. The attack on America gave them cover to re-invade and again destroy the Palestinian economy. Here we have been some astounding reports. One of the first, strangely enough, was on Fox News, about prior Israeli knowledge. Then it was removed mysteriously for weeks from its website, but later put back. The question of Israeli agents who were tracking al Qaeda terrorists and may have known of plans for attack has exposed their operations like nothing since the Pollard Case. To ask intelligence agents about possible Israeli spying brings knowing facial expressions and furtive glances around to see if anyone else has heard the question. One said to me, "We are told that Israel is an ally, that we are not to be concerned with their actions." It's off the table, career ending, not to be talked about, is what they will say in confidence. Most will only give non-committal answers but one can often sense their bitterness about it.

Indeed the reason the intelligence community is so adamant against releasing imprisoned Israeli spy Pollard is that he's the only one they've convicted. They want him kept in prison as an example for others; equally the reason the Israelis keep trying to get him a pardon. An aside to all this is that secrets sent to Israel may then be stolen by or sold to Russia and China (some of the Pollard stuff went to Russia); one reporter's source argued that this was a reason Russia no longer needed its communications surveillance base in Cuba. His story was about an earlier spy case involving intercepts of west coast police wiretaps by the Russian mafia in Israel, which stole them from the Israeli company doing the taps, and then sold the information to drug dealers. See U.S. Police and Intelligence Hit by Spy Network.   

Then visit Israeli Spies Exposed. It is an investigative update of what is known so far about 9/11. Following is an excerpt. Fox News reported Dec. 13th "Investigators within the DEA, INS and FBI have all told Fox News that to pursue or even suggest Israeli spying ... is considered career suicide.

"Cameron told me in similar language that's what journalists also can face. And, what's clear is that Fox quickly removed the story from its web site. It was reposted this month by Fox after other media began showing interest in the story. These kinds of stories occasionally slip past the Neo-conservative curtain by young reporters who don't know the rules.  

After Cameron's initial reports, the story pretty much evaporated in the United States before Christmas. Then, all hell broke loose in the last few weeks. Intelligence Online in France obtained the same 60-page June 2001 federal report. The French web site reported that 120 Israelis had by now been detained or deported by U.S. authorities."

Next see the Israeli Spy Scandal Overview on Antiwar.com.  It includes reports from Salon, Ha'aretz, AP, Le Monde, Newsmax and the detailed studies by Justin Raimondo with links to varied sources.

A Congressional investigation would naturally try to avoid bringing up any question on Israeli spying. But it might be difficult to avoid, so we think that both parties will finally agree to severely limit the parameters of any investigation.  Still, one never knows. Investigations, like war, once started, carry their own momentum with unforeseen consequences.  There is tremendous resentment in both Congress and the intelligence agencies at the brute Israeli political power dominating them, so leaks may get out.

Jon Basil Utley is the Robert A. Taft Fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute. A former correspondent for Knight/Ridder in South America, Utley has written for the Harvard Business Review on foreign nationalism and Insight Magazine on preparation for terrorist threats.

Previous articles by Jon Basil Utley on Antiwar.com

'Anti-Terror' Bill Splits Conservatives
11/27/01

Alternative to Unending War
11/9/01

Answering the 'Wolfowitz Doctrine' on American Empire
8/24/01

American Interventionism and The Terrorist Threat
8/16/02

The Seven Big Lies About Iraq
3/9/01


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  • Jon Basil Utley is associate publisher of The American Conservative and Robert A. Taft Fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute. A former correspondent for Knight Ridder in South America, Utley has written for the Harvard Business Review on foreign nationalism and was for 17 years a commentator on the Voice of America. He is director of Americans Against World Empire.

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