The Middle East Counter-Revolution

June 2, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

To lead the counter-revolution in this region, Washington and Tel Aviv have relied on the Sudairi clan – the worlds richest political organization

By Thierry Meyssan

Within months, three pro-Western governments have fallen in the Arab World: parliament removed Saad Hariris Lebanese government, while popular movements drove out Zine el-Abbidine Ben Ali of Tunisia and Husni Mubarak in Egypt.

These changes have been followed by demonstrations against U.S. domination and Zionism. They politically benefit the Axis of Resistance, comprised of Iran and Syria at the state level and at the non-state level by Hezbollah and Hamas.

To lead the counter-revolution in this region, Washington and Tel Aviv have relied on their best support: the Sudairi clan, which embodies despotism at the service of imperialism unlike any other.

The Sudairi

You have probably never heard of them, but for decades the Sudairi have been the worlds richest political organization.

Among the fifty-three sons of King Ibn Saud, founder of Saudi Arabia, the Sudairi are the seven that he sired with Princess Sudairi. Their leader was King Fahd, who ruled from 1982 to 2005. Only six are still alive. The eldest is Prince Sultan, minister of defence since 1962, who is 85. At 71, the youngest is Prince Ahmed, deputy interior minister since 1975. Since the 60s, it was their clan that organized, structured, and funded the pro-Western puppet regimes of the Greater Middle East.

A look back is required here.

Saudi Arabia is a legal entity created by the British during the First World War to weaken the Ottoman Empire. Although Lawrence of Arabia had invented the concept of the Arab nation, he never managed to make a nation of this country, let alone a state. It was and still is the private property of the Al-Sauds. As the British inquiry on the Al-Yamamah Scandal brought to light, in the 21st century there are still no bank accounts or budget for the Kingdom. It is the accounts of the royal family that serve to administer the Kingdom, which is its private domain.

The area fell under U.S. control after the Second World War, when the United Kingdom could no longer maintain its empire. President Franklin D. Roosevelt made an agreement with King Ibn Saud: the family of Saud guaranteed oil supplies to the United States which in return guaranteed the military assistance necessary to keep the House of Saud in power. This alliance is known as the Quincy Agreement, negotiated on a ship by the same name. It is an agreement, not a treaty since it does not bind two states, but a state and a family.
The founding king, Ibn Saud, having had 32 wives and 53 sons, serious rivalries between potential successors were not slow to emerge. Thus it was decided that the crown would not be handed down from father to son, but from half-brother to half-brother.

Five of Ibn Sauds sons have already sat on the throne. The current king, Abdullah I, 87, is a rather open-minded person, although totally out of touch with todays realities. Aware that the current dynastic system is headed for ruin, he intends to reform the rules of succession. The crown would thus be appointed by the Council of the Kingdom this means selected by representatives of various branches of the royal family – and could potentially go to a younger generation.

This wise idea does not suit the Sudairi. Indeed, given the various abdications to the throne for health reasons or self-indulgence, the next three candidates belong to their clan: Prince Sultan, formerly appointed Interior Minister, 85; Prince Naif, Interior Minister, 78; and Prince Salman, the governor of Riyadh, 75. If it were to be applied, the new dynastic rule would work to their disadvantage.

One can easily understand that the Sudairi, who never cared much for their half-brother, King Abdullah, hate him at present. And, also, that they have decided to throw all their forces into the current struggle.

The Return of Bandar Bush

In the late 70s, the Sudairi clan was headed by Prince Fahd, who noticed the rare qualities of one of his brother Sultans children: Prince Bandar. He sent him to Washington to negotiate arms contracts and was impressed by the way he handled an agreement with President Carter.

When Fahd ascended to the throne in 1982, Prince Bandar was a trusted aid. He was appointed military attaché, then ambassador to Washington, a post he held until his abrupt dismissal by King Abdullah in 2005.

The son of Prince Sultan and a Libyan slave, Prince Bandar is a brilliant and ruthless character that has distinguished himself within the royal family despite the stigma attached to his maternal origin. He is now the working arm of the gerontocratic Sudairi clan.

During his long stay in Washington, Prince Bandar befriended the Bush family, in particular George H. Bush, with whom he was inseparable. The latter likes to portray him as the son that he would have liked to have, so much so that his nickname in the capital is Mr. Bandar Bush. What George H. former director of the CIA and U.S. president appreciated most about him is his taste for illegal actions.

Mr. Bandar Bush made a place for himself in U.S. high society. He is both a manager for life of the Aspen Institute and a member of the Bohemian Grove. The British public first found out about him during the Al-Yamamah Scandal: the biggest arms deal in history as well as the largest corruption scandal. Over two decades (1985-2006), British Aerospace, soon renamed BAE Systems, sold $80 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia while quietly dropping a portion of this windfall into the bank accounts of Saudi politicians and probably British politicians, with $2 billion going to Prince Bandar alone.

This is because His Highness has a lot of expenses. Prince Bandar has taken over responsibility for numerous Arab fighters trained by Pakistani and Saudi intelligence during the Cold War to fight the Red Army in Afghanistan at the request of the CIA and MI6. Of course, the best known figure in this milieu was none other than billionaire guru turned anti-communist jihadist, Osama bin Laden.

It is impossible to say precisely how many men Prince Bandar has at his disposal. Over time, we have seen his involvement in many conflicts and terrorist acts across the Muslim world from Morocco to Chinas Xinjiang. For example, one may recall the small army that he had planted, by the name of Fatah Al-Islam, in the Palestinian camp of Nahr el-Bared in Lebanon. The mission of these fighters was to incite the Palestinian refugees, mostly Sunnis, to proclaim an independent emirate and to fight Hezbollah. The affair turned sour when the salaries of the mercenaries were not paid on time. Ultimately, in 2007, Prince Bandars men entrenched themselves in the camp. 30,000 Palestinians were forced to flee, while the Lebanese army waged a two-month battle to gain control of the camp. This operation cost the lives of 50 mercenaries, 32 Palestinian civilians and 68 Lebanese soldiers.

In early 2010, Bandar staged a coup to overthrow King Abdullah and to place his father, Sultan, on the throne. The plot was discovered and Bandar left in disgrace without however losing his official titles. But in late 2010, the declining health of the king and his surgery gave the Sudairi the upper hand and they engineered Bandars comeback with the support of the Obama Administration.

It was after having visited the king, who was hospitalized in Washington, and having concluded too quickly that he was dying, that Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri rallied to the side of the Sudairi. Saad Hariri is a Saudi, born in Riyadh, but with dual nationality. He inherited his fortune from his father, who owed everything to Saud. He is therefore obligated to the king and became Prime Minister of Lebanon at his urging, while the U.S. State Department was concerned about his ability to fill the position.

During the period when he had to obey King Abdullah, Saad Hariri began to reconcile with President Bashar al-Assad. He withdrew the accusations he had made against him about the assassination of his father, Rafik Al-Hariri, and apologized for having been manipulated to artificially create tension between Lebanon and Syria. In endorsing the Sudairi, Saad has made a political volte-face. Overnight, he renounced King Abdullahs policy of conciliation towards Syria and Hezbollah and launched an offensive against the regime of Bashar Al-Assad, for the disarmament of Hezbollah, and for a compromise with Israel.

However, King Abdullah came out of his semi-comatose state and didnt wait long to demand accountability. Deprived of this essential support, Saad Hariri and his government were overthrown by the Lebanese Parliament in favor of Najib Mikati, another bi-national, but less adventurous, billionaire. As punishment, King Abdullah ordered a tax investigation into Hariris largest Saudi society and had several of his associates arrested for fraud.

The Saudiri legions

The Sudairi have decided to launch the counter-revolution in all directions.

In Egypt, where they financed Mubarak on one hand and the Muslim Brotherhood on the other hand, they have now imposed an alliance between the Brotherhood and pro-U.S. army officers.

This new coalition has shared power by excluding the leaders of the revolution in Tahrir Square. It refused to convene a National Assembly and contended itself with amending the constitution marginally.

First, they declared Islam the state religion to the detriment of the Coptic Christian minority (about 10%) who were oppressed by Husni Mubarak and who mobilized en masse against him. In addition, Dr. Mahmoud Izzat, the number two of the Brotherhood, called for the rapid introduction of Sharia law and the restoration of Sharia punishment.

Young Wael Ghoneim, who had played a leading role in the overthrow of the tyrant, was barred from the podium during the victory celebrations, February 18, which rallied nearly 2 million people. Conversely, the star preacher of the Brotherhood, Youssef Al-Qardawi, returning after 30 years of exile in Qatar, was allowed to speak at length. He, who had been stripped of his citizenship by Gamal Abdel Nasser, projected himself as the incarnation of the new era: that of Sharia law and peaceful coexistence with the Zionist regime in Tel Aviv.

Nobel Peace Prize Muhammad Al-Baradei, whom the Muslim Brotherhood opted as a spokesman during the revolution to give themselves a more liberal image, was physically assaulted by the same Brothers during the constitutional referendum and was ejected from the political scene.

The Muslim Brothers made their formal entry into politics through the creation of a new party, Freedom and Justice, with the support of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and by imitating the profile of the Turkish AKP (The same strategy was chosen in Tunisia with the Renaissance Party).

In this context, violent attacks were perpetrated against religious minorities. Thus two Coptic churches were burned. Far from punishing the aggressors, the Prime Minister offered them a guarantee: he dismissed the governor that he had appointed in the province of Qenna, the respected General Imad Mikhael, because he is a Coptic Christian and not a Sunni Muslim.

In Libya, the Sudairi transferred armed fighters into Cyrenaica pending the green light from France and Britain to start the insurrection against the government of Tripoli. They are the ones who distributed weapons and the red-black-green star and crescent flags, symbols of the Senoussi monarchy. Their goal is to get rid of troublemaker Gaddafi and restore Prince Mohammed on the throne of what was once the United Kingdom of Libya.

It was the Gulf Cooperation Council that was the first to call for military intervention against the government of Tripoli. At the Security Council, it was the Saudi delegation which led the diplomatic manoeuvres for the Arab League to endorse the attacks by Western armies.

Colonel Qaddafi for his part declared in several speeches that there was no revolution in Cyrenaica, but that his country was facing an Al-Qaeda destabilization operation; claims that wrongly elicited smiles and which were personally confirmed to his great embarrassment by General Carter F. Ham, U.S. AfriCom commander. In charge of the initial U.S. military operations before being supplanted by NATO, General Ham was surprised at having to choose his targets based on information from spies on the ground who were known to have fought against the Coalition forces in Afghanistan in short, bin Ladens men.

Bahrain, meanwhile, presents itself as an independent kingdom since 1971. In reality, it is still a territory dominated by the British. During their rule they had chosen a Khalifa as prime minister and the position has been maintained for 40 years continuously, from the fiction of independence up until today. This is a continuum which is not displeasing to the Sudairi.

King Hamad has granted an important concession to the United States, which established its Central Command and the Fifth Fleet naval headquarters in the port of Juffair. In these circumstances, the popular demand for constitutional monarchy would imply access to real independence, the end of British rule, and the departure of U.S. forces. Such a development would certainly have a domino effect in Saudi Arabia and threaten the foundations of the system.

The Sudairi convinced the king of Bahrain to bloodily crush the hopes of the population.

On 13 March, U.S. Secretary of Defence Robert Gates arrived in Manama to initiate the coordination of operations, which began with the entry of Saudi special forces, known as Nayef Eagles, under the command of Prince Nayef. Within days, all the symbols of protest were destroyed, including the public monument erected in Pearl Square. Hundreds of people died or went missing. Torture, which had been abandoned for almost a decade, was again widespread. Doctors and nurses who treated injured protesters were arrested in their hospitals, detained incommunicado, and brought before military tribunals.

But, the most important element in this terrible repression is the determination to transform a classic class struggle, between an entire population and a privileged class tied to foreign imperialism, into a sectarian conflict. The majority of Bahrainis are Shiites while the ruling family is Sunni. The Shias are seen as the vehicle of the revolutionary ideal of Ruhollah Khomeini, who was designated as a target. In one month, the “Nayef Eagles” razed 25 Shiite mosques and damaged 253 others.

21 of the main political protest leaders will soon be tried by a special court. They face the death penalty. More so than the Shiites, the monarchy is going after Ibrahim Sharif, the party chairman of the Waad (a secular leftist party), whom they accuse of not playing by the rules because he is a Sunni Muslim.

Having failed to destabilize Iran, the Sudairi have concentrated their attacks against Syria.

The Destabilization of Syria

In early February, when the country had yet to experience any demonstration, a page titled The Syrian Revolution 2011 was created on Facebook. It called for a “Day of Wrath on Friday 4; the call was relayed by Al Jazeera, but did not resonate anywhere. Al Jazeera deplored the lack of reaction and stigmatized Syria as the kingdom of silence (sic).

The name The Syrian Revolution 2011 is puzzling: it is in English and has the characteristic of an advertising slogan. But what genuine revolutionary would think that if he fails to realize his objectives in 2011, he would simply go back home?

Even stranger, on the day of its creation this Facebook page registered more than 80,000 friends. Such enthusiasm in a few hours, followed by nothing, suggests manipulation carried out with computer software that creates multiple accounts. Especially considering that the Syrians have a moderate level of internet use and have only had access to ADSL since January 1st.

The troubles began a month later in Deraa, a rural town located at the Jordanian border and a few miles from Israel. Vandals paid adolescents to tag anti-government graffiti on the walls of the city. Local police arrested the students and treated them as criminals to the annoyance of their families. Local notables who intended to settle the dispute were turned away by the governor. The young men were beaten. Furious, the families attacked the police station to set them free. The police responded with even more brutality, killing protesters.

President Bashar Al-Assad then intervened to punish the police and the governor a cousin whom the President had appointed to Deraa, far from the capital, to keep him out of sight. An investigation was opened to shed light on the police killings. The officials responsible for the violence have been indicted and put under bail. Ministers have apologized and offered condolences to the victims families on behalf of the government, gestures which have been publicly accepted.

Everything should have returned to normal, but suddenly masked snipers stationed on rooftops fired on both the crowd and at police, plunging the city into chaos.

Taking advantage of the confusion, the gunmen went outside the city to attack a government building that houses the intelligence services responsible for the observation of the Syrian Golan Heights territory occupied by Israel. The security services fired back to defend the building and its archives. There were deaths on both sides.

This type of confrontation has recurred. People sought protection from the army responding to the attackers who stormed the city. Three thousand men and tanks were deployed to protect the inhabitants. Ultimately, a battle has pitted the infiltrated fighters against the Syrian army in a scenario similar to the Lebanese army siege on Nahr Al-Bared. Except this time, the international media has distorted the facts and accused the Syrian army of attacking the people of Deraa.

Meanwhile, clashes erupted in Lattakia, a port which has long been the home of criminal organizations that specialize in maritime smuggling. These individuals received arms and money from Lebanon. They vandalized the downtown. The police intervened. On presidential order, the police were armed only with batons. The gangsters then unleashed war weapons, killing dozens of unarmed policemen.

The same scenario was repeated in the neighboring town of Banias, a town of less importance, but which is much more strategic because it is home to the main oil refinery in the country. This time the police used their arms and the confrontation turned into a pitched battle.

Finally, individuals in Homs, a major city, came to participate at a mosque and called their fundamentalist followers to demonstrate against the regime that is killing our brothers in Latakia.

Reacting to the unrest, the Syrian population descended en masse to affirm its support for the Republic. Huge demonstrations, unprecedented in the history of the country, drew hundreds of thousands of people in Damascus, Aleppo, and Latakia to the cry of God, Syria, Bashar!.

While the clashes were intensifying in the localities concerned, the police managed to stop the fighters. According to their televised confessions, they were recruited, armed, and funded by a pro-Hariri MP in Lebanon, Jamal Jarrah, which he denies.

Jamal Jarrah is a friend of Prince Bandar. His name had been cited in the case of Fatah Al-Islam in Nahr Al-Bared. He is the cousin of Ziad Jarrah, a jihadist accused by the FBI of being responsible for the hijacking of Flight 93 that crashed in Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001. He is also the cousin of the Ali and Yousef Jarrah brothers, who were arrested by the Lebanese army in November 2008 for spying for Israel.

Jamal Jarrah is a secret member of the Muslim Brotherhood, which he also denies. In 1982, the Brotherhood tried to seize power in Syria. They failed and became victims of a terrible repression. Since the amnesty proclaimed by President Bashar Al-Assad it was believed that these painful memories had been forgotten. On the contrary, this branch of the Brothers is now funded by the Sudairi. The role of the Banias Brotherhood in the clashes has now been acknowledged by all.

Allegedly, Jamal Jarrah also used Lebanese Hizb ut-Tahrir militants, an Islamist organization based in London and especially active in Central Asia. Hizb ut-Tahrir, which advocates non-violence, is accused of masterminding many attacks in the Ferghana Valley. It was with the intention of curbing this group that China began its rapprochement with Russia within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Despite much debate in the House of Commons about the group, its representatives in London have never been inconvenienced and they all occupy positions as high-level executives in Anglo-American multinationals.

Last year, Hizb ut-Tahrir opened a branch in Lebanon. On that occasion, it organized a conference to which foreign dignitaries were invited, including a Russian intellectual of international repute. During discussions, the organizers called for the establishment of an Islamic state, stating that Lebanese Shiites, Druze, and even some Sunnis are not real Muslims and should be expelled like the Christians. Flabbergasted by such outrageous remarks, the Russian guest promptly gave television interviews to disassociate himself from these fanatics.

At first, Syrian security forces appeared to be overwhelmed by events. Trained in the U.S.S.R., senior officers used force without worrying about the consequences on the population. But the situation was gradually reversed. President Bashar Al-Assad took control of the situation. He changed the government. He repealed the state of emergency and dissolved the State Security Court. He granted citizenship to thousands of Syrian Kurds who were historically denied citizenship because of a disputed census. In addition, he took a number of other measures, such as repealing the fines for late payment of public utilities (electricity, etc.). In doing so, he satisfied the main demands of the population and mitigated opposition. On the Day of Rage (Friday, May 6) the overall number of protesters in the country did not reach 50,000 people out of a population of 22 million.

Specifically, Mohammed Al-Shaar, the new interior minister, called for anyone who was involed in the riots to report voluntarily to the police and be granted amnesty in exchange for complete cooperation. Over 1,100 people responded. Within days, the principal conduits were dismantled and many weapons caches seized. After five weeks of violence, calm slowly returned to almost all the troubled cities.

Among the ringleaders identified and arrested, several were Israeli or Lebanese officers and one was a politician with close ties to Saad Hariri. This attempt at destabilization has a sequel.

An open conspiracy

What was originally a plot to overthrow the Syrian regime turned into open blackmail through destabilization. Realizing that the revolt was not picking up steam, the anti-Syrian Arab press shamelessly echoed the negotiations that were in progress.

They reported the visits of negotiators going to Damascus to present the requirements of the Sudairi. If we are to believe the newspapers, the violence will not stop until Bashar Al-Assad bends to two requirements: break with Iran; and stop supporting the resistance in Palestine, Lebanon, and Iraq.

International Propaganda

The Sudairi want a Western military intervention to end the Syrian resistance, along similar lines as the aggression which is unfolding in Libya. To do this, they mobilized propaganda specialists.

To everyones surprise, the satellite TV station Al Jazeera abruptly changed its editorial line. It is no secret that the station was created by David and Jean Frydman, the French billionaire brothers who were counsellors to Ytzakh Rabin and Ehud Barak. They wanted to create a medium that allowed a debate between Israelis and Arabs, since such a debate was forbidden by law in each of the countries concerned.

To set up the network, they called on the Emir of Qatar who initially acted as a cover. The drafting team was recruited among the BBCs Arabic Service, so that from the beginning the majority of journalists were leading British MI6 agents.

However, the Emir took political control of the network, which became the working arm of his monarchy. For years, Al Jazeera has indeed played a role of appeasement by promoting dialogue and understanding in the region. But the network has also contributed to trivializing the Israeli system of apartheid, as if the violent methods emplyed by IDF were merely unfortunate blunders on the part of a basically acceptable regime, whereas they constitute the essence of the regime itself.

Al Jazeera, whose coverage of the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt was outstanding, abruptly changed its editorial line with the Libyan case to become the mouthpiece of the Sudairi.

This about-face deserves an explanation. The attack on Libya was originally a Franco-British plan conceived in November 2010, i.e. well before the Arab Spring, in which the U.S. has been involved. Paris and London intended to settle scores with Tripoli and defend their colonial interests. Indeed, in 2005-2006, the Libya National Oil Company (NOC) had launched three international tenders for exploration and exploitation of its reserves, the largest in Africa. Colonel Gaddafi had imposed his own game rules on Western companies, forcing them to accept agreements that were hardly advantageous in their eyes. They even represented the less favourable contracts to multinationals worldwide. In addition, there were several disputes related to the cancellation of lucrative contracts for equipment and armament.

From the earliest days of the alleged Benghazi uprising, Paris and London set up the Transition National Council that France officially acknowledged as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people. This Council has created a new oil company, the LOC, which was recognized by the international community at the London summit as the holder of the rights to the countrys hydrocarbons. During the gathering, it was decided that the marketing of oil stolen by the LOC would be done by … Qatar, and that the contact group of allied states would henceforth meet in Doha.

On cue, tele-evangelist Youssef Al-Qardawi started howling for the overthrow of President Bashar Al-Assad on a daily basis. Sheikh Al-Qardawi is president of the International Union of Scholars and also of the European Council for Fatwa and Research. He is the icon of the Muslim Brotherhood and preaches for an original brand of Islam, a mix of U.S. market democracy and Saudi obscurantism: he recognizes the principle of elected officials provided they undertake to enforce the Sharia in its most limited interpretation.

Youssef Al-Qardawi was joined by Saudi cleric Saleh Al-Luhaidan who urged: kill a third of Syrians so the other two-thirds may live (sic). Kill one-third of the Syrian population? That would imply slaying the Christians, Jews, Shiites, Druze and Alawite. So that two-thirds may live? That would amount to establishing a Sunni state before it cleanses its own kind.

To date, only the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, appears to resist the seductive power of the Sudairi petro-dollars. Its leader, Khaled Meshaal, not without a moments hesitation, confirmed he would remain in exile in Damascus vowing his support for President Al-Assad. With the latters help, he preempted imperialist and Zionist plans by negotiating an agreement with Fatahs Mahmoud Abbas.

Since March, Al-Jazeera, BBC Arabic, and Arabic France24 have turned into massive propaganda organs. By multiplying false testimonies and and manipulated images, they spin events to make the Syrian Republic look like the Tunisian regime of Ben Ali.

They have attempted to portray the Syrian army as a force of repression similar to the Tunisian police, one which does not hesitate to fire on peaceful citizens fighting for their freedom. These networks have even announced the death of a young soldier who refused to fire on his fellow citizens and was allegedly tortured to death by his superiors. In fact, the Syrian army is a conscript army, and the young soldier whose vital statistics had been published was actually on leave. In an interview with Syrian television, he affirmed his willingness to defend his country against foreign mercenaries.

Furthermore, these satellite channels have tried to portray several Syrian personalities as profiteers, just like Ben-Alis in-laws. They have focused their criticism on Rami Makhlouf, the richest man in the country, who is a cousin of President Al-Assad. They claimed that like the Tunisian model he demanded shares in all foreign companies wishing to do business in the country. This is absolutely unfounded and unimaginable in the Syrian context. In reality, Rami Makhlouf has enjoyed the confidence of President Al-Assad due to his role in establishing a cell phone network. Like anyone who has obtained such concessions in the world, he became a billionaire. The real question is whether or not they used their positions to enrich themselves at the expense of consumers. The answer is no: Syriatel offers the cheapest cellular phone rates in the world!

At any rate, the prize for lying goes to Al Jazeera. The network went so far as to present images of a demonstration of 40,000 people in Moscow calling for the end of Russias support for Syria. It was actually footage shot during the annual May 1 celebrations, in which the network had planted actors to make fake statements.

The Reorganization of Prince Bandar’s networks and the Obama Administration

The counter-revolution device used by the Sudairi is up against one difficulty. Until now Prince Bandars mercenaries had fought under the banner of Osama bin Laden, whether in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya or elsewhere. Initially considered an anti-communist, Bin Laden had gradually become anti-Western. His shift was influenced by the ideology of the Clash of Civilizations that was expounded by Bernard Lewis and popularized by his student Samuel Huntington. It experienced its era of glory with the terrorist attacks of September 11 and the War on Terrorism: Bandars men fomented disorder wherever the United States wanted to intervene.

In the current period, the image of the jihadists needs to be changed. They are now expected to fight alongside NATO, as they once fought alongside the CIA in Afghanistan against the Red Army. It is therefore advisable to revert to the pro-Western discourse of the past and to find a substitute for anti-communism. This will be the ideological task of Sheikh Youssef al-Qardawi.

To facilitate this makeover, Washington has announced the official death of Osama bin Laden. With their father figure gone, the mercenaries of Prince Bandar can be mobilized under a new banner.
This redistribution of roles is accompanied by a game of musical chairs in Washington.

General David Petraeus, who as commander of CENTCOM was to deal with the men of Bandar in the Middle East, became the director of the CIA. We must therefore expect an accelerated withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan and greater involvement of Bandars people in the secret operations of the CIA.

Leon Panetta, the outgoing director of the CIA, became the secretary of defence. According to the internal agreement of the U.S. ruling class, this post should be reserved for a member of the Baker-Hamilton Commission. Panetta, like Gates, was a member. In the case of new wars, he would limit ground deployment, except for Special Forces.

In Riyadh and Washington they have already drafted the death certificate of the Arab Spring. The Sudairi can say about the Middle East what Il Gattopardo (the Leopard) used to say about Italy: everything must change so that everything can stay the same and we can remain masters.

Voltaire Network

13-23

Threatening Iran

July 23, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

By Paul Craig Roberts, Countercurrents.org

When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Japan did not spend years preparing her public case and demonstrating her deployment of forces for the attack. Japan did not make a world issue out of her view that the US was denying Japan her role in the Pacific by hindering Japan’s access to raw materials and energy.

Similarly, when Hitler attacked Russia, he did not preface his invasion with endless threats and a public case that blamed the war on England.

These events happened before the PSYOPS (Psychological Operations) era. Today, America and Israel’s wars of aggression are preceded by years of propaganda and international meetings, so that by the time the attack comes it is an expected event, not a monstrous surprise attack with its connotation of naked aggression.

The US, which has been threatening Iran with attack for years, has passed the job to Israel. During the third week of July, the American vice president and secretary of state gave Israel the go-ahead. Israel has made great public disclosure of its warships passing through the Suez Canal on their way to Iran. “Muslim” Egypt is complicit, offering no objection to Israel’s naval forces on their way to a war crime under the Nuremberg standard that the US imposed on the world.

By the time the attack occurs, it will be old hat, an expected event, and, moreover, an event justified by years of propaganda asserting Iran’s perfidy.

Israel intends to dominate the Middle East. Israel’s goal is to incorporate all of Palestine and southern Lebanon into “Greater Israel.” The US intends to dominate the entire world, deciding who rules which countries and controlling resource flows.

The US and Israel are likely to succeed, because they have effective PSYOPS. For the most part, the world media follows the US media, which follows the US and Israeli governments’ lines. Indeed, the American media is part of the PSYOPS of both countries.

According to Thierry Meyssan in the Swiss newspaper Zeit-Fragen, the CIA used SMS or text messaging and Twitter to spread disinformation about the Iranian election, including the false report that the Guardian Council had informed Mousavi that he had won the election. When the real results were announced, Ahmadinejad’s reelection appeared to be fraudulent.

Iran’s fate awaits it. A reasonable hypothesis to be entertained and examined is whether Iran’s Rafsanjani and Mousavi are in league with Washington to gain power in Iran. Both have lost out in the competition for government power in Iran. Yet, both are egotistical and ambitious. The Iranian Revolution of 1979 probably means nothing to them except an opportunity for personal power. The way the West has always controlled the Middle East is by purchasing the politicians who are out of power and backing them in overthrowing the independent government. We see this today in Sudan as well.

In the case of Iran, there is an additional factor that might align Rafsanjani with Washington. President Ahmadienijad attacked former President Rafsanjani, one of Iran’s most wealthy persons, as corrupt. If Rafsanjani feels threatened by this attack, he has little choice but to try to overthrow the existing government. This makes him the perfect person for Washington.

Perhaps there is a better explanation why Rafsanjani and Mousavi, two highly placed members of the Iranian elite, chose to persist in allegations of election fraud that have played into Washington’s hands by calling into question the legitimacy of the Iranian government. It cannot be that the office of president is worth such costs as the Iranian presidency is not endowed with decisive powers.

Without Rafsanjani and Mousavi, the US media could not have orchestrated the Iranian elections as “stolen,” a n orchestration that the US government used to further isolate and discredit the Iranian government, making it easier for Iran to be attacked. Normally, well placed members of an elite do not help foreign enemies set their country up for attack.

An Israeli attack on Iran is likely to produce retaliation, which Washington will use to enter the conflict. Have the personal ambitions of Rafsanjani and Mousavi, and the naive youthful upper class Iranian protesters, set Iran up for destruction?

Consult a map and you will see that Iran is surrounded by a dozen countries that host US military bases. Why does anyone in Iran doubt that Iran is on her way to becoming another Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, in the end to be ruled by oil companies and an American puppet?

The Russians and Chinese are off balance because of successful American interventions in their spheres of influence, uncertain of the threat and the response. Russia could have prevented the coming attack on Iran, but, pressured by Washington, Russia has not delivered the missile systems that Iran purchased. China suffers from her own hubris as a rising economic power, and is about to lose her energy investments in Iran to US/Israeli aggression. China is funding America’s wars of aggression with loans, and Russia is even helping the US to set up a puppet state in Afghanistan, thus opening up former Soviet central Asia t o US hegemony.

The world is so impotent that even the bankrupt US can launch a new war of aggression and have it accepted as a glorious act of liberation in behalf of women’s rights, peace, and democracy.

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts@yahoo.com

11-31

The Truth Is Out There

June 26, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

By Peter Barber

When Cynthia McKinney speaks the words of Martin Luther King Jr, they resound through the church with some of King’s cadence. “A time comes,” declares the former US congresswoman from Georgia, “when silence is betrayal.” The congregation answers with whoops and calls of “That’s right!” King was talking about America’s war in Vietnam. More than 40 years later, before the packed pews of the Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles, McKinney is speaking of the American government’s war on its own people. The shock and awe phase of this conflict, we had been told earlier, began on September 11 2001, when the Bush administration launched attacks on New York and Washington, or at least waved them through.

According to a show of hands that February afternoon, several hundred people in the immaculate church believe this to be true. Some came in T-shirts bearing the words “9/11 was an inside job”. One wore a badge demanding that you “Examine your assumptions”. Quite a few bought the DVDs on sale in the foyer, most of which bore photographs of the Twin Towers spewing smoke. They had all come to hear the message of Architects, Engineers & Scientists for 9/11 Truth, one of the dozens of groups across the US which campaign to persuade us that everything we think we know about 9/11 is wrong.

Last winter, “Investigate 9/11” banners seemed to be popping up all over the place. Bill Clinton was heckled by “truthers” in Denver while campaigning for his wife. Truthers picketed the Academy Awards in LA – despite this year’s winner of the best actress Oscar, Marion Cotillard, reportedly being one of them. But then, she’s French. Literature lovers in that country pushed Thierry Meyssan’s L’Effroyable imposture (The Appalling Fraud) – which asserts that 9/11 was a government plot to justify invading Iraq and Afghanistan and increase military spending – to the top of the bestseller list in 2002.

Country music star Willie Nelson is assuredly not French, but a week or so before the Oscars he described as naive the notion that the “implosion” of the Twin Towers was caused by crashing jets. Meanwhile the European Parliament screened the Italian documentary Zero, in which Gore Vidal, Italian playwright Dario Fo, and Italian MEP Giulietto Chiesa blame the US government, not al-Qaeda, for 9/11. The following month, Japanese MP Yukihisa Fujita raised his own doubts about the official story at a seminar in Sydney. A busy season for the “9/11 Truth” movement.

The events of 9/11 were recorded in many thousands of images, from crisp agency photographs to amateur camcorder footage. Every recorded trail of smoke, every spray of sparks is pored over by an army of sceptics, collectively described as the 9/11 Truth movement. They believe that the key to the mystery is hidden somewhere within the pictures, just as some people think that clues are contained in the Zapruder film which captured the moment of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Allied against them is a smaller group of rival bloggers who have taken it upon themselves to debunk what they claim are dangerous conspiracy theories.

Gore Vidal, writer
“If there ever was great cause for impeachment, it would be over 9/11”

There is some evidence that the truthers are swaying the rest of us. A New York Times/CBS News poll in 2006 revealed that only 16 per cent of Americans polled believed the Bush administration was telling the truth about 9/11. More than half thought it was “hiding something”. This is not the same as believing the government actually launched the attacks, but a Scripps Howard/Ohio University poll the same year found that more than a third of those questioned suspected that federal officials assisted in the attacks or took no action to stop them so that the US could go to war.

The truthers certainly believe that they are on a roll. The crowd in the Immanuel Presbyterian Church seemed electrified. As the donated sound system pumped out angry rap, a giant video screen showed images of protesters demanding a new investigation into 9/11. The symbols and the language were borrowed from the civil rights struggle, but the truthers are an eclectic group, including anti-Bush, anti-war liberals and anti-government libertarians. A young man in a “Vote Ron Paul” T-shirt scuttled through the hall, filming us as we took our seats on wooden pews.

First up was Richard Gage, a San Francisco architect who founded Architects, Engineers & Scientists for 9/11 Truth, which now claims to have 379 professional members. Gage told us that the collapse of the Twin Towers could not have been due merely to gravity, the impact of the airliners and the resulting jet fuel fires – which would not have been hot enough to weaken the steel sufficiently. Behind him on the video screen was the south tower of the World Trade Center. Smoke poured from its upper floors. A respectful silence fell over the audience, followed by gasps as the building appeared to dissolve before our eyes.
What happened to building 7?

To the truthers, the third building in the World Trade Center complex to collapse on September 11 is evidence that the mainstream media is in on the plot
While I have seen this footage countless times, it seems that I had clearly never understood what I was seeing. The destruction of the Twin Towers, along with the collapse of the nearby 47-storey World Trade Center 7 building, had all the hallmarks of controlled demolition, according to Gage. They all came straight down, almost at the speed of a free-falling object, right into their own footprints. Steel-framed buildings had never collapsed because of fires before. On this day three did, one of which, “Building 7”, was not even hit by an aircraft.

Gage, who had worked himself into a fever, exhorted the audience to stand up and be counted: “A country is at stake.” Then he welcomed on to the stage the star of the evening, Steven Jones. A softly spoken physicist, Jones is the movement’s designated martyr and seems to promise what the truthers so desperately need: scientific credibility.

Jones entered into truther lore in 2006 when he was put into early retirement by BYU in Utah after giving public lectures on his paper “Why indeed did the WTC buildings collapse?”, which he published on the website of the university’s physics department. Jones contended that the towers were demolished by cutter charges which had been placed throughout the buildings, probably involving an incendiary called thermite. BYU’s College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences and the structural engineering faculty, followed by the university administration, disowned him.

Still, Jones is no fool. He has published more than 50 scholarly papers, including pieces on cold nuclear fusion in journals such as Scientific American and Nature. He invented a cooker which uses solar power and has donated models to poor families in the developing world. Jones tells us he believes laboratory testing of dust from Ground Zero will reveal residue from a thermite reaction.

As soon as the seminar is over, Jones is mobbed by people asking him to pose for photos and offering their own views on the 9/11 plot, as well as others, some extremely outlandish. This is the world Jones now inhabits–it seems a long way from a Utah physics department. I ask him later by phone if he has any regrets about publishing that fateful paper: “No regrets. I’ve thought of Galileo a few times. He got a little worse than I did, I suppose.”

Jones is typical of many 9/11 researchers in that the subject has taken over his professional life. Down the coast in Santa Barbara is another of the movement’s luminaries. On the beach at Isla Vista, one of the most expensive real-estate spots in the US, lives David Ray Griffin, a former theology professor. As his dogs scratch excitedly on the sliding door, Griffin explains that America’s primary faith is not Christianity, but nationalism. “Other countries do really terrible things. Our leaders never would. And that [belief] has been the biggest impediment to getting people to look at the evidence, because they just know a priori that that is ridiculous.”

Michael Meacher, UK politician
“It is clear the US authorities did little or nothing to pre-empt the events of 9/11”

Griffin now thinks the evidence to the contrary is incontrovertible. Until 2002, he had busied himself far from the rancour of public controversy writing rather obscure philosophical books and teaching philosophy of religion at the Claremont School of Theology. But the course of his research changed abruptly when he heard a visiting British theologian question the official account of 9/11. Two years later, Griffin’s The New Pearl Harbor, with a foreword by British MP Michael Meacher, became a touchstone in the 9/11 Truth movement. He has since written others, including one detailing the “omissions and distortions” of the 9/11 Commission, the report of which fits the definition of “conspiracy theory” neatly, he says. “They started with the conclusion that al-Qaeda did it and didn’t even consider the alternative that it was an inside job.”

Griffin was a script consultant on Loose Change Final Cut, part of the internet phenomenon that set off the current explosion of low-budget 9/11 DVDs. The previous version was viewed more than 10 million times on Google Video, according to Vanity Fair. In 2002, armed only with a laptop and off-the-shelf video production software, Dylan Avery, an 18-year-old resident of Oneonta, New York, set about making a fictional film about discovering, with his friends, that 9/11 was orchestrated by the US government. At some point in his research, Avery had a “Dude, this shit is real!” moment and Loose Change entered the realm of agit-prop documentary. Final Cut makes a bold new allegation: the Twin Towers were packed with deadly asbestos, which would have cost billions to clean up. “If you bring down the buildings,” says Griffin, “not only do you not have to pay … to clean them up, somebody is going to make billions of dollars on the insurance.”

September 11 as insurance job? This seems to expand the circle of conspirators somewhat. Griffin ventures another possible explanation: the psychological impact. “You had these massive explosions, which rather looked like a nuclear blast,” he says. “That’s always been the deep fear of America. In the run-up to the Iraq war, that’s what they were talking about – we cannot wait until we have a nuclear cloud.”

Griffin offers one further speculation, this time on a question which is controversial even among 9/11 sceptics: what hit the Pentagon? Thierry Meyssan was the first to claim that it was not Flight 77 – an American Airlines 757 carrying 64 passengers – but a cruise missile that hit the west wall of the Pentagon at 9.37am on September 11. Websites have followed suit, pointing to the apparent lack of plane debris on the Pentagon lawn and the fact that the hole left in the outer ring of the building looks too small to accommodate the wingspan of a 757. Retired US Air Force captain Russ Wittenberg from Pilots for 9/11 Truth asserted that no inexperienced pilot could have performed the manoeuvre the 9/11 Commission concluded that al-Qaeda conspirator Hani Hanjour pulled off that morning: a 330° turn, 2,200ft descent, a full-throttle dive and then a 530 miles per hour plunge at ground level into the Pentagon. Call it “the magic plane theory”: doubters believe that, just as the bullet that killed Kennedy appeared to defy the laws of physics, so the plane that struck the Pentagon was like no other in existence.

And just as Nasa was forced to counter claims the moon landings were faked, these and other claims have forced the US State Department into the debunking business. Its Identifying Misinformation website states that debris from Flight 77 was indeed recovered, as were the remains of passengers and crew. Many witnesses saw the plane come in, and a number of passengers made phone calls to their loved ones telling them their flight had been hijacked.
There is also another obvious problem: if a missile hit the Pentagon, what happened to Flight 77? “There was a rumour that an airliner had gone down on the Ohio/Kentucky border and that was taken very seriously early on by the Federal Aviation Authority,” says Griffin. It later rejected the story. But Griffin claims the only evidence that Flight 77 was aloft after that was an alleged phone call from Barbara Olsen to Ted Olsen, the solicitor-general of the United States.
So how does he explain that phone call? Ted Olsen is a Bush administration insider, he says. Another possible answer, though, is “voice-morphing technology”.

This would also explain the flurry of phone calls from United Airlines Flight 93, which, as the official story has it, crashed in a Pennsylvania field after passengers revolted against their hijackers.

Glossary of doubt:

No-planers
People who claim that it wasn’t an aircraft, but a missile, that hit the Pentagon on September 11 2001. Some have taken it a step further and argued that no aircraft hit the twin towers, either. What the world saw that day, these sceptics argue, was either video trickery or cruise missiles disguised through image technology as aircraft.

Mihops
Truthers who believe the US government “Made it happen on purpose”, “it” being the destruction of September 11.

Lihops
A more moderate strain of truther who believe the government “Let it happen on purpose”.

Scholars for 9/11 Truth
Started by James Fetzer, the group advocates looking at all possible explanations of what happened on September 11, no matter how improbable.

Scholars for 9/11 Truth and Justice

The more moderate splinter group of Scholars for 9/11 Truth, led by Steven Jones. Endorses an “evidence-based approach” to questioning the 9/11 story.

It’s not just supporters of the official story who roll their eyes at these claims. They put Griffin in the camp of the “no-planers”, at least as far as the attack on the Pentagon is concerned. The no-planers enrage the rest of the truthers, who accuse them of sabotaging the credibility of the movement. The claim that no plane hit the Pentagon is a Trojan horse, they say – disinformation that serves the conspirators. Some – such as former MI5 whistleblower David Shayler – have even asserted that no planes, but missiles disguised by “cloaking technology”, hit the Twin Towers. Shayler, incidentally, proclaimed himself the Messiah last year.

If the 9/11 truth movement is fighting a kind of asymmetric war against official sources of knowledge, it is also battling itself. As the movement morphs into an international activist group, it recognises that if it is to convince middle Americans, it must distance itself from its exotic fringe. Once, it was the Mihops versus the Lihops. These factions, who sound like warring species from an H.G. Wells story, are those who believe the government Made It Happen On Purpose and those who think it Let It Happen On Purpose. The Mihops are in the ascendancy.

The genesis of all this can be traced back to a schism that followed the first real attempt to bring scholarly credibility to the 9/11 sceptics. In 2005, Steven Jones was invited to form a group called Scholars for 9/11 Truth by James Fetzer, a professor in the philosophy department at the University of Minnesota and the author of some 20 books on the philosophy of science and artificial intelligence. Fetzer teaches critical thinking, and is nothing if not critical. He has been campaigning for more than a decade to prove that the Zapruder film is a hoax perpetuated by the same government intelligence agencies that orchestrated JFK’s assassination.

But within a year, Jones had written to all members of Scholars announcing that he and others no longer wanted to be associated with Fetzer, who was, in the rebels’ opinion, holding them up to ridicule. Fetzer had backed a theory by Judy Wood, a former assistant professor in mechanical engineering at Clemson University, proposing that the Twin Towers were brought down by a “directed energy” weapon developed as part of the US government’s Star Wars programme. It prompted a stampede to a new group, Scholars for 9/11 Truth & Justice, headed by Jones. Confusing the two groups would be like mistaking Monty Python’s Judean People’s Front for the People’s Front of Judea: this was a major doctrinal split.

Fetzer’s view is that any serious inquiry into what happened on 9/11 should look at all possibilities. Supporters of the directed energy hypothesis keep popping up at 9/11 Truth lectures to heckle what Python fans might call the “splittist” thermite theorists. Among the advocates of the Star Wars theory is Morgan Reynolds, perhaps the first prominent US government official to claim that 9/11 was an inside job. At the time of the attacks, Reynolds was chief economist at the US Department of Labor.

Some Star Wars supporters, in turn, accuse proponents of the thermite hypothesis of being government shills. One, on CheckTheEvidence.com, alleges that Jones’s public denunciation of Star Wars theories is actually a Trojan horse; he notes that Jones once worked at Los Alamos, where directed energy weapons are researched. This line of conjecture also entangles Norman Mineta, US transportation secretary on September 11 2001. Mineta was the man who grounded all civilian aircraft on that morning. But he was also once vice-president of Lockheed Martin, a founding member of the Directed Energy Professional Society … In this outer reach of the blogosphere, no one is ever more than six degrees of separation from the heart of the conspiracy.

Jones did, in fact, do post-doctoral research at the Los Alamos Meson Physics Facility for the University of Wyoming, but he says it was peaceful and non-weapons-related. He says the more out-there theories, including those of the no-planers, are harming the movement. “First, they discourage others who are trying to do serious work, and they tend to be quite vocal about their heckling,” he says. “More serious is that when we’re really trying to look at an evidence-based approach, we get lumped in with these people and then dismissed as a whole.”

Two days before Jones’s lecture in LA, his erstwhile colleague was taking his own campaign on the road on the other side of the country. After addressing Student Scholars for 9/11 Truth in New Hampshire, Fetzer was off to that seat of academic respectability, Yale University. To prepare for our meeting, I watched a DVD of a 9/11 symposium he held in his new hometown of Madison, Wisconsin last year. The star of this show was Alfred Lambremont Webre, a judge on former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad’s alternative international War Crimes Tribunal in Kuala Lumpur and co-author of the Space Preservation Treaty. He delivers what might be the most momentous opening line in the history of town hall seminars. “Fellow Citizens… 9/11 was a false flag operation by an international war crimes racketeering organisation to provide a pretext to engage in a genocidal and ecocidal depleted uranium bombing of central Asia, Afghanistan and Iraq in order to secure vast oil and uranium reserves; to roll out a terror-based national security state system worldwide and … to implement the final stages of a world depopulation policy.” There are two more “false flag” operations in the pipeline, he says. The first is the war against asteroids, the second the “war against the evil aliens”.

Hearing this, you either experience the thrill of revelation or the sinking feeling that the person you are listening to is having some kind of breakdown. Within 30 minutes, Webre has folded into the 9/11 plot the Skull & Bones society at Yale University – or the “Brotherhood of Death”, as he calls it – neocon think-thank the Council on Foreign Relations, the Rothschilds, the Queen and the City of London. I wondered how all these conspiracies could be maintained without the whole conceit unravelling.

The answer, of course, is that there is only one conspiracy. Pearl Harbour, the moon landing, JFK, 9/11, the Illuminati, the Black Helicopters, Skull & Bones, chemtrails: all faces of the same demon. The plot goes all the way to the top, and all the way back in time. You could come to believe that it involves everyone except yourself – at which point it’s all over for you. And as I listened, I just waited for him to say the Word. And, inevitably, Webre brought it all back to the “international neo-Zionist organisation”.

I asked Fetzer about this as we sat in a cafe across from Yale, home of the Brotherhood of Death: how did he keep his scholars on message? “It’s obvious to me that you have to consider all the possible alternatives,” he says. “You can’t exclude any, lest, as you proceed in your investigation and eliminate hypotheses, you eliminate the true hypothesis because you’ve never allowed it to be considered.”

Fetzer’s talk later that night does not go well. A Yale student had promoted the lecture on Facebook Events, but fellow students had apparently been unwilling to add their names, which anyone can see, perhaps for fear of ridicule. Only six show up. When it becomes clear that Fetzer is implicating some kind of Star Wars weapon, the two next to me begin scrolling distractedly through their mobile phone messages. Within 10 minutes, they have left.

Lewis Lapham, journalist
“Americans are very good at dreaming up these scenarios”

The conclusion of the 9/11 Commission – the official story – is that the 2001 attacks got through because those charged with protecting America had not truly conceived of the threat: in its author’s evocative phrase, they had suffered a “failure of imagination”. After trawling the internet in search of 9/11 Truth, it seems to me the American imagination is strong. “Americans are very good at dreaming up these scenarios,” says Lewis Lapham, the former Harper’s magazine editor and a prominent critic of the Bush administration post-September 11. “We are open to all kinds of magical theories,” he says, citing the continuing fascination with the assassination of JFK. “We are also good at creating religions.” Lapham thinks the theory that 9/11 was an inside job follows in this long tradition, but also reflects cynicism among Americans towards their government. He does not accept that the Bush administration planned 9/11 or even allowed it to happen. Nonetheless, he thinks a new investigation is warranted. In 2004, Harper’s ran a trenchant piece describing the 9/11 Commission as a “whitewash” and a “cheat and a fraud” for downplaying evidence that warnings of the al-Qaeda threat were ignored. Such flaws allowed space for alternative theories to develop, Lapham says.

 

In this, there are shades of the Warren Commission into the assassination of President Kennedy, which served merely to deepen popular distrust. But if we have seen the likes of the 9/11 Truth movement before, it also represents something new. “With the Kennedy assassination, pretty soon after the events themselves there were fairly significant questions being raised by people of all types and stripes about what actually happened,” says Mark Fenster, a University of Florida law professor and author of Conspiracy Theories: Secrecy and Power in American Culture. “But whereas then it was a generalised, amorphous kind of response, the amount of organisation – politically and through alternative media – is far more striking now than it was back then.”

Fenster thinks that the 9/11 Truth movement is in some ways a typical American response to a surprising and traumatic event. But it also represents a step change in its use of telecommunications technology. “One of the interesting things, particularly in the beginning of this movement, was the extent to which there were a lot of local groups in different cities organising protests … and they could co-ordinate and create a national and international movement,” he says. “Whether that translates into more people actually believing in the conspiracy theory is a completely different question.”

Fenster believes the few published polls on the subject, rather than showing any real depth of suspicion about 9/11, demonstrate declining trust in the Bush administration generally. The author of one of the most rigorous of the websites that aim to debunk the conspiracy theories, Debunking911.com, notes that the most recent Zogby poll on attitudes towards 9/11 found only 4.6 per cent of Americans believe the Bush administration blew up the Twin Towers. “If you follow the website hits, you’ll find that since Debunking911 came into existence, conspiracy sites have been losing readership,” he says via e-mail. “I think all they needed was someone to fill in the parts conspiracy theorists left out of the conspiracy story and their numbers begin to shrink.”

Perhaps the 9/11 Truth movement is what one would expect in the dying days of an unpopular administration, and with no end in sight to a costly war. Whether it can maintain momentum when that government leaves office next year is anyone’s guess. In the meantime, some on the left accuse it of letting the leaders they so vehemently distrust off the hook. “They make a mockery of [civil rights] causes by associating their nonsense with genuinely important issues, and by diverting a large number of people who should know better into a unicorn hunt,” says British writer and activist George Monbiot. Monbiot is regularly heckled by 9/11 truthers at public events after accusing them in The Guardian of undermining genuine political opposition. His first column on the truthers prompted a near-record number of postings on the paper’s Comment Is Free website – 777 – many accusing him of being part of the conspiracy.

“It’s very interesting to see,” he says, “particularly in the United States, how the anti-war movement has been largely co-opted in many places by the 9/11 Truth movement. And we desperately need an active anti-war movement, because there is a lot of reckoning to be done.”

Peter Barber is the FT’s deputy comment editor