by Michel Chossudovsky
At eleven o’clock, on the morning of September 11, the Bush administration had already announced that Al Qaeda was responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center (WTC) and the Pentagon. This assertion was made prior to the conduct of an indepth police investigation.
That same evening at 9.30 pm, a "War Cabinet" was formed integrated by a select number of top intelligence and military advisors. And at 11.00 pm, at the end of that historic meeting at the White House, the "War on Terrorism" was officially launched.
The decision was announced to wage war against the Taliban and Al Qaeda in retribution for the 9/11 attacks. The following morning on September 12th, the news headlines indelibly pointed to "state sponsorship" of the 9/11 attacks. In chorus, the US media was calling for a military intervention against Afghanistan.
Barely four weeks later, on the 7th of October, Afghanistan was bombed and invaded by US troops. Americans were led to believe that the decison to go to war had been taken on the spur of the moment, on the evening of September 11, in response to the attacks and their tragic consequences.
Little did the public realize that a large scale theater war is never planned and executed in a matter of weeks. The decision to launch a war and send troops to Afghanistan had been taken well in advance of 9/11. The "terrorist, massive, casualty-producing event" as it was later described by CentCom Commander General Tommy Franks, served to galvanize public opinion in support of a war agenda which was already in its final planning stage.
The tragic events of 9/11 provided the required justification to wage a war on "humanitarian grounds", with the full support of World public opinion and the endorsement of the "international community".
Several prominent "progressive" intellectuals made a case for "retaliation against terrorism", on moral and ethical grounds. The "just cause" military doctrine (jus ad bellum) was accepted and upheld at face value as a legitimate response to 9/11, without examining the fact that Washington had not only supported the "Islamic terror network", it was also instrumental in the installation of the Taliban government in 1996.
In the wake of 9/11, the antiwar movement was completely isolated. The trade unions and civil society organizations had swallowed the media lies and government propaganda. They had accepted a war of retribution against Afghanistan, an impoverished country of 30 million people.
I started writing on the evening of September 11, late into the night, going through piles of research notes, which I had previously collected on the history of Al Qaeda. My first text entitled "Who is Osama bin Laden?" was completed and first published on September the 12th. (See full text of 9/12 article below).
From the very outset, I questioned the official story, which described nineteen Al Qaeda sponsored hijackers involved in a highly sophisticated and organized operation. My first objective was to reveal the true nature of this illusive "enemy of America", who was "threatening the Homeland".
The myth of the "outside enemy" and the threat of "Islamic terrorists" was the cornerstone of the Bush adminstration’s military doctrine, used as a pretext to invade Afghanistan and Iraq, not to mention the repeal of civil liberties and constitutional government in America.
Without an "outside enemy", there could be no "war on terrorism". The entire national security agenda would collapse "like a deck of cards". The war criminals in high office would have no leg to stand on.
It was consequently crucial for the development of a coherent antiwar and civil rights movement, to reveal the nature of Al Qaeda and its evolving relationship to successive US adminstrations. Amply documented but rarely mentioned by the mainstream media, Al Qaeda was a creation of the CIA going back to the Soviet-Afghan war. This was a known fact, corroborated by numerous sources including official documents of the US Congress. The intelligence community had time and again acknowledged that they had indeed supported Osama bin Laden, but that in the wake of the Cold War: "he turned against us".
After 9/11, the campaign of media disinformation served not only to drown the truth but also to kill much of the historical evidence on how this illusive "outside enemy" had been fabricated and transformed into "Enemy Number One".