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9/11: Ten years of lies, but the walls are coming down

| 11 September 2011


Pundits like to say the world changed on 11 September 2001. It didn’t really. The writing was on the wall in the 1990s if you were watching the rise of the neoconservative movement, the remnants of the Cold War warriors for whom victory over the Soviet Union was never going to be enough. Under the name of the Project for a New American Century — a moneymaking defence contracting scheme that got, in the end, too much attention, and so disappeared — this cabal of rightwing business and military marketeers set out to construct a New World Order centred around their private interests. All others be damned.

Meanwhile, it is hardly as if the supposed political alternative, which was in power for two terms under Clinton, was a whole lot better. As well as being starved, Iraq was being bombed systematically throughout the 1990s, and for any pretence, including to divert attention from sexual favors offered in the Oval Office, while the Palestinians were being slowly strangled by the detailed and monolithic fascism of right and left Zionism, backed in all instances by both houses of Congress. For Iraqis and Palestinians, 11 September just brought more of the same, if only with more intensity and greater breadth, and a tad more viciousness.

The biggest change on 9/11 happened not outside the United States but within it. Once a rearguard protected by the state, the logic reversed, though until now not a single mainstream news source will say it. War that was always conducted by the US government against others was now conducted at home against Americans. Indeed, what is wrapped up as an international event is in actual fact a domestic event with a cast — until recently all dead except Osama Bin Laden — of foreign supporting actors. Now, in the capitalist world order, there’s nowhere greener than anywhere else.

Seen with the right eyes, 11 September 2001 marks the most visible crisis in the history of the capitalist-consumer model of life, and the capitalist-military state that survives off it, and reduces human life to it. The crisis has been so deep, and it’s possible impact so wide, that the step was taken to break social conventions in the realm of state actions that are so integral to the grand masquerade as to be almost untouchable. Reversing both blatantly and brutally the primary source of legitimacy of the modern state, that it would protect and facilitate the life of the people, the United States, or whoever controls it, turned against the people. The only way it could happen is because no one would believe it.

I will just give you the headlines. First, no credible evidence exists to explain how commercial airliners carrying nothing but jetfuel could bring down two of the largest man-made structures on earth. Specifically, structures designed to withstand multiple aircraft strikes. I remember standing in front of those towers. I remember the sheer size of them, and the steel encasing them, and that ran down the centre of them. No fire, ever, could have brought them down. No engineer, to date, has credibly explained how thousands upon thousands of tons of steel industry-certified not to weaken at temperatures far exceeding the burn temperature of kerosine not only gave way but gave way at freefall speeds.

Second, no one has explained the multiple explosions survivors, including firefighters, heard as those buildings came crashing down. And no one has explained at all how Building 7, which wasn’t even hit, collapsed late in the afternoon of 11 September, supposedly from simple fire, that otherwise has never taken down any steel structured building in history. And with these two points we’re just scratching the surface. It is horrible, because nearly 3000 real people, with families, children, wives, brothers, sons, daughters, and mothers, died that day. But the reality is that these were controlled demolitions, and no foreign entity — and in my view not even a foreign state — could have pulled that off, with all the detailed planning, access and execution that it would necessarily entail.

One million or more Iraqis would die in the next nine years following that day, and as a direct consequence of that day, and the lies spun up around that day. One million Iraqis out of an entire country — including its leadership — that had nothing to do with the events of that day. But even a million dead, which is near impossible for the mind to imagine, is not even the limit of the mendacity visited upon the world on that day, including on all Americans: 250 million people sent into a zone of panic, fear, paranoia, and ideological indocrination unfolding on a scale, strictly speaking, never seen before. Imagine that in some parts of Afghanistan, when so swiftly the carpet bombing began, people had never heard of 9/11.

Meanwhile consider the impact on the whole world of the attack of the US government, parts of it, or some linked to it, on the American people. Billions of lives if not dashed then limited. Not a place on the planet where you could walk with real freedom because of it. Governments worldwide falling in line with the Orwellian language and practice of a war that Dick Cheney promised would never end. Pause on that. A global war that would never end. For most people, globally, it was the candour of the announcement that was different: they were already living it. But for the American people, they became the wager in this: the support mechanism and the guarantee of it. Imagine that. Not only did the US government kill nearly 3000 Americans directly on 11 September 2001, it also made all Americans complicit in the genocides that would follow based in the self-serving and utterly false notion that the elite had an interest in protecting the American people.

So why did the US government attack its own people? It’s simple and it’s profound at the same time. Practically, it needed to send a message to all oil producers that no one could tamper with either the supply of oil to the United States, or the currency with which oil sales globally would be transacted. And so Iraq was always the target, but so too all the Arab world. But the next level down is where the real answers lie. What is energy policy ultimately about?

It is about that obscure matrix of control — political, economic, ideological, technological, material — that keeps nations on the wheel, and that constitutes a complex mechanism of protection in an era of mass society for a narrow class that actually owns the world, including all its people, having made from private property a system of global slavery. Yes. The capitalist class in America, probably in full knowledge of the capitalist class globally, bit off a chunk of its own people, to keep the system going as a whole, and to protect their own position. Because if and when the oil runs out, if there are no other distractions, they’re finished.

This is all context that fills in but the barest outlines of our shared lives in the last 10 years of world history. In a few paragraphs here, I can barely reveal the real substance or the real depth. It’s like me saying, “Think of an elephant.” You think of an elephant, and you see it. But if I led you into a room with an actual elephant, it’s something different. The actual reality is that there is an elephant, and we’ve been living in the shadow of it for 10 years.

If we imagine, however, alternatively that this elephant is stood at the centre of a labyrinth made of walls, sheilding us from the truth of its existence, it is also true that these walls have started to fall down. Last night, Egyptians literally tore apart one such wall with hammers and their bare hands. This is the wall in the Arab Republic of Egypt that Mubarak had constructed around the strategic standing of Egypt vis-a-vis Israel and its occupation of Palestinian and Arab lands. Elsewhere, across the Arab world, the uprisings of the people against US-sponsored dictators are disassembling scores of other walls, far greater than that outside the Israeli Embassy in Giza. The persistence of the Syrian people, and the Yemeni people, is now testiment to an unstoppable wave. No false regime will withstand the force of the Arab Spring.

And globally, Tahrir will be everywhere. The Arab uprising is a calling to the entire global South. It cannot not be heeded. The calling for something better than global slavery is a matter of situation for millions, if not billions, of people. Meanwhile, it is time for the left to actually give thought to the American people. From these people, it is true, have come armies. And from these people, it is true, have come economic predators. And from these people, it is true, have come advisers in cleaner methods of torture. And from these people, it is true, have come ideologies that have destroyed indigenous cultures. But it is a fact, too, that barely any people on earth were more betrayed than the American people. And most Americans are not even yet aware of the level of this betrayal. Who that has experienced it really envies Americans the catastrophic commercialisation of their common life?

We know now that the Reichstaag was burned by the Nazis. We know now many things in history that were not known to the people who lived through the events. One day, and it may be soon, the truth about 11 September 2001 will start to appear. Cracks have already opened. We are coming into a time of truth. The trickle becomes a stream, and the stream a river. The flood is around the next corner, and it will come from all of us. On that day, I hope, a real global solidarity can be born. Because the final truth is that, so far, we are all victims of the global capitalist class machine. But, we are billions, and the real conspiracies are tied to the few. Ten years on, they want to keep pretending that the world is full of threats. It isn’t. It is full of injustice that we can remedy. The world didn’t really change on 11 September 2001, but it can change now. There is a new air. It is all of ours to breathe. Theirs is unhealthy. Spit it out.

Seif Abdul Shahid is a Cairo-based political analyst.

This article was first published by BikyaMasr.com.
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We negate and we must negate because something in us wants to live and affirm — Friedrich Nietzsche