A VIEW TO A DAVE:David Alexander is king of action adventure, master of intrigue. Read Threatcon Delta and Snake Handlers. His new global action thriller Chain Reaction called "a thrill-packed reading fest for spy, cop and thriller addicts" and "the best new thriller of 2011 and a must-read for action fans." Available from Amazon. See www.davidalexanderbooks.com for more info.911 LIES: SHAKEN, NOT STIRREDby David Alexander


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Caveat lector: I'm still angry because of 911, just like I still smell the smoke that came off the towers before they fell, stretching out across the Hudson in a moving finger out of Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet, that ominous finger that writes the fates of human beings amid the flame and smoke of carnage. Just like I can still recall the burnt money and melted bits of credit cards caught in the branches of trees as the incineration cloud settled down over the boro of Kings. These words, initial words of a contemplated book on 911, are also a personal aide-mémoire. Maybe too personal for me to pursue from start to finish, at least in such a form as this. I therefore reserve the right to trash it all, if I see fit, when and if I return to my senses.

It was bad enough that terrorists had staged a catastrophic assault on America. What made it worse was the way that all of us were pushed around after the fact. Officialdom’s response was based not merely on force alone, but on sledgehammer force applied where a scalpel might have served better ends and accomplished more.

Did you ever feel pushed around after 911? I did. Pushed around in the name of security, in the name of law and order, in the name of this or that, but pushed around nevertheless. So have many others. Those who don’t fit neatly into the two main categories of shrink-wrapped 911 remembrance -- the agony choir and the cheering section. To the media and to officialdom nothing else, and nothing in-between, can exist.

How about feeling left out? Do you feel like you've been left out of the drama, left out of the victims' benefits, left off the list of those who matter? Indeed, what might be justly called a vast "silent majority" of Americans who don’t seem to be part of the equation does most certainly exist. Look at it this way: of the one hundred ten businesses with offices in the two World Trade Center towers on the morning of September 11th, 2001, the vast majority were banking and brokerage firms, insurance companies and law firms, which included companies like Morgan Stanley and Fiduciary Trust. Morgan Stanley alone accounted for approximately thirty percent of the office space in both towers.

The people in the towers were, in short, primarily brokers and lawyers. They represented a wealthy elite that on the morning of September 11 saw at least a significant portion of those persons engaged in ripping other people off and enriching themselves and their wealthy clients, the business of many of these latter being real estate flips that were making housing unaffordable for millions of New Yorkers. Most of those persons lived in comfortable homes and had what they call "Cadillac" insurance plans that would pay survivors major benefits.

They were also well-connected to government and business interests. While it is despicable to regard their plight on 911 with anything except compassion for the attacks' victims and contempt for those who perpetrated the attacks, it must also be said that these victims' survivors would have been well cared for merely on the basis of their existing indemnification. Yet those same survivors sought -- and almost immediately got -- significant and long-term remuneration from government, corporate and private organizations. The grieving widows of first responders from city agencies were also taken care of financially. In a relatively short time, redevelopment of Ground Zero and surrounding neighborhoods, notably the trendy TriBeCa and Wall Street sections of Lower Manhattan, were the beneficiaries of billions of dollars in compensation which included deep tax breaks for real estate developers building high-rise condominiums in these same neighborhoods.

A large percentage of housing funded by post-911 money, therefore, created condos for the jet set and their progeny, providing a boom mostly for TriBeCa and the nearby Meat Packing District, the latter becoming a mecca in which rich drug-users partied the nights away and had plenty of toilet stalls in which to have sex. As to loft-dwellers in TriBeCa's converted factory buildings, they saw the beginnings of a transformation of a unique part of the city, prized and well-known for the emptiness and quiet of its streets after hours and on weekends, and also for its picturesque urban vistas from both street and rooftop level, into a termite mound of high-rises, as developers, flush with money and incentives in the wake of 911, commenced to invade.

As to the plight of the first responders themselves and their status as heroes, I say that all who acted with courage on that dark day are equally worthy of hero status. Furthermore, the risk of dying is part of a cop or a firefighter's job, just as it's part of a soldier's. Those first responders found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. But so did thousands of others whose own heroism in the face of catastrophe was never acknowledged. Nor were those latter paid to take those risks as were law enforcement and rescue workers.

Yet at the same time scores of thousands -- perhaps even millions -- of New York City residents who in cases such as my own happened to be in the vicinity of Ground Zero on September 11, 2001, and who, though they had survived, were nonetheless in many instances severely impacted by the consequences of the attacks, were given absolutely nothing. I myself -- mainly to see what would happen -- applied by the end of November, 2001, at virtually all of the organizations mandated to disburse financial, medical and other forms of aid to victims of 911 .

What did I get? Zero. Not a cent. Not even an aspirin. Unfortunately my experience is far from unique. In fact it's typical. The majority of New Yorkers, many of whom bear psychological scars and suffer medical problems to this day, were given practically nothing except orders in public by authoritarian figures that cropped up like weeds for months after the event -- many of whom were hastily recruited from elsewhere in New York State and whose burgeoning ranks included state troopers who'd never before even set foot in the boros, as well as English-as-a-third-or-fourth-language speakers hastily fitted into uniforms at federal buildings -- and endless media catharsis at home, which for sheer power of numbing repetition amounted to something disturbingly Orwellian.

Largely absent from public discourse is the indisputable fact that 911 had a considerable ripple effect on many levels of society that is nothing like the programmatic version of reality we've been endlessly spoon-fed. Yet 911’s ripple effect is profound and pervasive. It's had serious consequences nationally and globally, in diverse spheres of government, politics, economics, ethics and culture, that are with us to this very day, now, ten years later, as we mourn those who died in the catastrophe. In the immediate aftermath of 911 the haves got the lion's share and the have-nots got what they usually get. The towers fell and the Pentagon caved in, but the status-quo ante and the double-standards it encompasses never tottered for a minute. These remain with us, effecting our lives and altering our futures, well into the coming decades of the emerging 21st century.

Though we're told not to see it, pressured and bullied to pretend it's not there, this ripple effect has rocked the country with seismic impact, just as the rippling waves from the hit on JFK continue doing. But those who struck down President Kennedy killed a single person. I believe that 911 can be viewed as an assassination attempt on America itself, an event that placed the entire republic under the gun.

Many, like myself, have personal 911 mysteries that will probably always remain unexplained. Just like some of the larger question marks connected with post-911 events, such as the downing of a fourth jet, American Airlines Flight 587, over Rockaway, Queens, on November 12th, 2001, that was never explained satisfactorily, and the wave of anthrax attacks that began on or about September 17, 2001, yet appeared to have been preceded by advance warnings in several notable cases. In addition to these and other large-scale mysteries, there were numerous and smaller-scale events that raised questions, yet were never adequately explained -- things like people who conveniently got out of harm's way as if warned in advance, like other people who suddenly came into money, and like yet other people who found themselves under strange and shadowy forms of apparent scrutiny or harassment. As in the aftermath of the John F. Kennedy assassination of November 22, 1963, unpleasant things began to happen to some.

There are eerie comparisons between 911 and that fateful day in Dallas and its immediate and long-term consequences. Interesting to contemplate amid a list of cross-connections is what is stated by some to have been a covert program, promulgated in the 1960s, code-named Skill Set, which was ostensibly developed to destabilize target societies. Skill Set mandated the infliction of a major catastrophic event that instantly disrupts the target society and renders it vulnerable to a follow-up program of control. The disruption is fueled and increased by subsequent covert actions, but the initial impact itself, like the right set of pressures on a ball of fissionable uranium, sets off a self-sustaining chain reaction once a critical mass is reached.

Unlike the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination, however, ten years down the line from September 11, 2001, the nation shows little of the grit and determination to probe beneath the surface of events that America showed in the post-Kennedy era.

But as Republican Senator Richard Schweiker remarked about the JFK assassination during the Church Committee hearings of 1976, "During the last few years we came very close to having Big Brother take over ... We're only learning now how close, and it was frighteningly close."

Why this tunnel vision now? Why is there so little apparent interest in explaining even a few of the central discrepancies and enigmas of 911 whose existence seem, even on brief reflection, so obvious? For instance, the often-discussed "look on Bush's face" as he was caught, seemingly without warning, in front of an audience of schoolchildren at Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida, far from the site of the White House, a main contender for the potential target of American Airlines Flight 77, the third plane, the one that went down in a field in Pennsylvania’s Somerset County, and never struck its mark in the nation’s capital.

For that matter, why didn't this third plane actually hit the White House, where the president was thankfully absent, a thousand miles away, on that fateful day? Well, one reason was that the third plane happened to be the last of the three to have been hijacked and turned around on the morning of Tuesday, September 11th, 2001, and was being tracked by military air traffic controllers who handle national airspace traffic, and could have initiated a chain of events resulting in its being shot it down before it ever reached the White House or the Capital, a second potential target.

Another conundrum concerns precisely who these people were, those who planned and carried out the strikes? Specifically, who was goat-face bin Laden, really? Who was ghoul-puss Mohammed Atta, really? Now, before going on let me make this clear -- all of them, every single one of those motherfuckers, was a terrorist piece of shit, and I am in no way, shape or form, even remotely insinuating that they were "pawns" or had any redeeming qualities of any sort whatever. Far from it -- fuck ‘em all in hell, I say. Indeed I hope the last atoms of the murderous and cowardly scumbags who hijacked the planes and crashed them into the WTC and Pentagon rot in hell till the end of time.

What I do wonder is whether there was any hidden manipulation behind their actions. In the shadow world of covert operations, it is an article of faith that double agents will frequently turn on their handlers and adopt the program of the target organizations which they've penetrated in earnest, often rising to leadership positions. In bin Laden's particular case, the terror chieftain -- and the bin Laden family -- had long-standing and intricate ties to various international political and commercial entities.

Osama bin Laden was himself once a surrogate of the West, acting against the Soviets in the war in Afghanistan during the Reagan years. The Afghan leaders, called "freedom fighters" by the White House and dubbed by then President Ronald Reagan as "the moral equivalent of America’s founding fathers," were then lauded as heroes. Given that bin Laden was then a young Saudi Arabian fighter who rose to prominence amid the ranks of the Afghan mujahideen after the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Reagan’s comparison would have included him amid the roster of those it so highly esteemed. Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, whom the Reagan administration supported in its long war with Iran which began in September, 1980, was deemed yet another important US ally in the Mideast at one time.

Dracula-face terrorist Mohammed Atta, leader of the 911 terrorists, also showed a history of moving like a chess pawn across the checkered game board of covert operations for years prior to his entry into the United States. He boasted shadowy clandestine associations on his terrorist's resume. Atta's several known ties to intelligence agencies of different countries is well known and well documented, even in the face of what little else is known about him.

Now, like both major and minor players in the JFK assassination drama, all of the principle actors, save one or two on the periphery, are dead, and have died in manners which have precluded their being brought before the world where they could be bluntly questioned concerning their motives, funding and overall plans. Also like the case of the JFK assassination, events seem to bear the telltale signs of modification after the fact.

We were at first told that bin Laden had been shot and killed after he had grabbed his trusty Kalashnikov and tried to fire a burst. On its face it seemed plausible -- after all, we’d seen the terrorist chieftain posing with his trusty rifle in numerous news hour sound bites. Yet a few days later, the story was changed, and has changed again. Yes, there are the captured "tapes." But making him face the music might have just resulted in the sort of insane drivel from a senile idiot wearing a graying beard and ratty turban that would have thoroughly discredited the terrorist and his heinous cause.

We need to penetrate the easy explanations because it all could happen again, and next time there might be no coming back from the abyss. There could be a future assassination of America that could dwarf even the tragedy of 911. To quote Churchill's inspiring words in a sinister light Churchill never intended, 911 might not be the "beginning of the end," but merely the "end of the beginning."

How close did the nation come to a Big Brother takeover in the wake of 911, to quote the words that Senator Schweiker uttered in 1976? I can't say, and I seriously doubt that anybody will be able to say, at least for the time being. But it may be that we've come close. Perilously close, perhaps. Thankfully 911 wasn't a full assassination of America. But if it was anything at all, then it may have been the commencement of a waking nightmare that America should not and cannot permit itself to relive -- ever again.

And you know what else? Catharsis has its place, but it only takes you so far. We have our memorial and we've had our emotional purgatives and heart-stirring closures.

Now I for one want some answers.

Image: An elementary school child's paper and crayon construction of a plane hitting the World Trade Center towers superimposed over an actual image of Flight 93 striking the south tower on September 11, 2001. It can be read as the myth juxtaposed against the reality.


This is an uncorrected draft of an introductory section of a book in progress, including cover.

Copyright (C) 2012 David Alexander. All rights reserved.