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The CIA and 9/11

One of the most fascinating snippets on the latest Nixon Watergate-era tape to be released to the public, the same tape that contains an 18-minute erasure and anti-Semitic remarks, was a brief, unexplained comment by Nixon on what a fraud the Warren Commission had been.

I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but as part of a lifelong interest in history, I’ve read most of the worthwhile books analyzing Kennedy’s assassination, and I am left only with the certainty that we’ve never been told the whole truth.

I’ve always believed it to be a ridiculous idea that the CIA had a direct role in killing President Kennedy. No more ridiculous, mind you, than the story that gets floated every few years about Castro having been involved, a story that has the distinct odor of disinformation, and where disinformation exists, so do motives for generating it.

And of course, Bertrand Russell’s famous question has never been answered. It remains as a powerful indictment of the secrecy that yet surrounds the case. Lord Russell asked, “If, as we are told, Oswald was the lone assassin, where is the issue of national security?” In other words, on the Warren Commission’s own premise, the assassination reduces to an ordinary murder, and the facts of a murder case are supposed to be a matter of public record.

For those who bother plowing through the literature, the conclusion that the CIA knows far more than it ever has revealed is inescapable. There are too many suggestive trails and tantalizing bits of evidence. Too many stories put out. Too few questions answered. Too many important documents missing.

One of the most potentially explosive is the CIA’s photograph of whoever it was that went to the Cuban Embassy in Mexico City shortly before the assassination claiming to be Oswald – of course, every person entering or leaving that embassy was routinely photographed. The photograph the CIA did submit was obviously incorrect since the person in it could never be confused with Oswald by anyone. And then there are the recordings of phone calls supposedly made by Oswald at that time. Again, these phone calls, since they involved the Soviet embassy, certainly would have been recorded, but the CIA claimed the tapes had been destroyed.

I’ve always believed that some CIA operation, likely involving one of the many unsavory groups it financed in those days trying to topple Castro, went very sour right under its nose. What other likely explanation is there for claims of national security over the years? Had something like this been revealed in the 1960s, the CIA might well have been destroyed in the middle of the Cold War. It already had been badly hurt owing to its gross negligence in the Bay of Pigs. Here indeed was a reason important enough for some very important people to lie.

Anyway, it is beginning to look like events around September 11 may well offer this generation of Americans a repeat performance. Recent discoveries concerning those events bring that same sure but murky sense of the CIA’s presence leading up to the attack. Perhaps another operation gone very sour.

First, there is the former American diplomat’s story about the issuing of visas almost without question to many very questionable people.

Then, there is the strong suspicion that the flight school in Florida where one of the terrorists, Mr. Mohamed Atta, trained likely had connections to the CIA.

And then, there is the Saudi connection. As is well known, the Saudis were important financial contributors to Al Qaida. The use of a country like Saudi Arabia, that would be credited by others as having its own motives for contributing, represents the kind of arrangement the CIA likes to use in channeling financial support abroad. And even were the CIA not involved in this activity, it is almost impossible that it would have been unaware of it.

As is also well known, the Saudis have received almost no seriously hostile attention over this connection. This at a time when the junior partners of Bush, Ashcroft, von Rumsfeld & Co. stay up late into the night looking to prosecute the most inconsequential people involved in sending any money to the Middle East.

And, of course, many of the nineteen who died in the attacks were from Saudi Arabia, including Mr. Atta. There is even some indication that Mr. Atta may have been related to the royal family.

We also have the recent arrest and expulsion, although this is officially denied in Washington, of a large Israeli spy ring, many of whose members worked out of Florida, the same state as Mr. Atta’s flight school.

Spy rings as large as this one simply do not operate in a place like the United States without the CIA being aware of them. Apparently, there is a serious question whether Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service, told the U.S. what it knew before September 11. At any rate, we know the aftermath of the attack certainly has tipped the balance to favor Mr. Sharon’s bloody-minded way of seeing the world.

All in all, there are some very suggestive footprints in the settled dust of the World Trade Center, and they tend to point towards Langely, Virginia. Americans, for a second time, may have been the unintended victims of their own agency’s dirty work.

John Chuckman, a columnist for YellowTimes, lives in Ontario. He encourages your comments: jchuckman@YellowTimes.org

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John Chuckman lives in Canada.

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