Anti-War Author Don Paul: An Interview
U.S. Anti-War Movement writer Don Paul is the author of an anti-war book, 9/11: Facing Our Fascist State. Paul's 9/11 book hasn't been reviewed much by the U.S. academics that generally review books on recent historical events for the U.S. media. Yet Paul's 9/11 book provides anti-war readers with an alternative to the U.S. military-industrial-media-university-foundation complex's official version of what happened in Downtown Manhattan on September 11, 2001.
Besides being the author of the anti-war book 9/11, Paul also holds the New York Road Runners Club record for both running 50 kilometers and 50 miles in its Central Park events. In 1980 the 9/11 author finished the 50-mile run event in 5:09:58; and, in 1982, Paul finished the 50-kilometer run in 2:50:55. In 1971 he was the youngest winner of a Stegner Fellowship in Creative Writing at Stanford, after Ken Kesey and Tillie Olsen and before Ray Carver, and in the 1990s he produced albums by the jazz artists Glenn Spearman, Lisle Ellis, India and Paul Plimley.'
Anti-War Movement writer Paul lives in California's Bay Area and was recently interviewed via e-mail--bob f. (Bob Feldman)
September 11, 2003 will mark the second anniversary of the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings that killed thousands of New Yorkers. Like MIT Professor Noam Chomsky, you've written a book about what happened on 9/11. Would the New Yorkers who read MIT Professor Chomsky's book on 9/11 learn anything new about why 9/11 happened, by reading your book?
DON PAUL: My views as to the why of the 9/11 attacks differ radically from Noam Chomsky's. His view accords with the U.S. Government's line that "Arab terrorists" (i.e., al-Qaeda) committed those attacks. Chomsky's explanation as to why differs from George W. Bush's only in that he attributes the reason for the attacks to "blowback" from nefarious U.S. Government operations and policies in the Middle East and Afghanistan over the past several decades, while our current selected President attributes the attacks to envy at freedom and prosperity in the U.S. by fanatical followers of a fundamentalist kind of Islam.
Chomsky also limits his explanation to the confines of what's widely known as "structural analysis." That is, he and his followers reject the importance of individual perpetrators of crimes such as the 9/11 attacks and the ensuing invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq--just as they reject the importance of which Government politician ordered which crime in the more distant past--such as Suharto "in" East Timor, Kissinger and Nixon "in" Cambodia, Brzezinski "in" Afghanistan, Reagan and George H.W. Bush "in" Afghanistan, Nicaragua, El Salvador, et cetera. They say that structural realities, structural inequities, are really determinative, not the villains who come and go as heads of State.
So far as such analysis goes, I agree with it. The U.S. Presidency has passed from a Bush to a Clinton and back to a Bush with very little variance in the direction that material realities and an elite's drive for profits and power have compelled "U.S. foreign policy." Oil remains the U.S. elite's prime concern and opium from Afghanistan remains a main mover in the world's illegal and legal economies, just as both commodities were 15 years ago.
The failing of analysis such as Chomsky's, I think, is that it stays short of identifying and examining the structures that are really most powerful and determinative in the world. And so it stays short of naming those structures' most consequential criminals. So it doesn't name, of course, the institutions and Foundations that fund and promote the limits of "structural analysis:; I mean institutions funded by Rockefellers, Rothschilds, Pews, et cetera. George Soros and his Open Society Institutes and Human Rights Watch, particularly, maintains illusions of democracy and investigation that misleads millions of people.
I think these structures and forces and their operators are far above elected Governments. They far outstrip Governments in their reach and power. At the heart of their structure and operation is, I think, the international financial system--a cruel, abstract system that depends upon more and more exploitation of people and resources--a profoundly irrational system whose failings can only be disguised and whose operations that can only be sustained by the kind of "endless war" and Patriot Acts brought to the U.S. public after September 11, 2001.
In my view, a secret team within the U.S. Government primarily carried out the 9/11 attacks. The attacks could not have happened without the participation of such a team. In particular this team was responsible for the unprecedented failure to intercept hijacked airliners on the 9/11 morning--one hour and 28 minutes elapsed between 8:15 EDT, the time of the first off-course deviation by American Airlines Flight 11, the airliner that hit World Trade Center Building 1, the North Tower, at 8:48--and the crash into the Pentagon at 9:43.
Noam Chomsky disdains to consider such a conspiracy ("I think such speculations lead us away from issues of prime significance, not towards them...Personally, I don't think it's worth the effort."). But I find such a conspiracy from the inside of the U.S. Government far more likely than the absurd cartoon which is the official story--made up of physical impossibilities, incapable pilots, hard-drinking Muslims, indestructible passports, et cetera--a cartoon that both Corporate and supposedly "Left" media continue to parrot and thereby promote.
Why were the attacks carried out? Why was such mass murder and horror and suffering visited on New York City in particular? The superelites' exploitative, irrational economy needed a pretext to avoid the consequences of its failings--over 1.1 million jobs had been lost in the U.S. between January and August 2001--and needed a pretext to grab control of oil and gas reserves from Central Asia and to regain control of the opium potential in Afghanistan--the Taliban had cut the opium crop there from 4600 metric tons to 173 over the year before 9/11/01, removing $150-200 billion from the world's illegal economy in one year and an amount 20 times greater than $150-200 billion from Banks and Stock Markets and other legal institutions through laundering of profits from the narcotic. Economic vulnerability and the grab for reserves of oil and gas are also leading the U.S. to invasion and occupation of the Middle East--Iraq first--mass murder on top of mass murder--and all these invasions are based on the cartoon-like lies about 9/11 that Corporate and "Left" media refuse to examine and expose.
What actually caused the collapse of the Twin Towers in Manhattan on September 11, 2001?
DON PAUL: To tell the truth, I'm not sure. My book states: "Neither jet fuel's fire nor anything else that was in the Towers that morning burns hot enough (1022 degrees Fahrenheit)...to deform steel." And that: "to not topple sideways, but to instead fall straight-down within their foundations, the 110-story Towers had to be imploded by explosives set off against their load-bearing columns and beams."
I remain sure of those statements. I'm also sure that the Twin Tower's central columns must have been severed at their bases, 7 stories underground, by explosives comparable to nuclear devices. The largest seismic spikes that Columbia University's Laboratory record on the 9/11/01 morning, 2.3 and 2.1 on the Richter scale, came within the first five seconds of each Tower's fall, not at the moment of the collapses' impact with ground. Also, temperatures 7 stories underground of the Towers' sites remained above 2000 degrees F. three weeks after 9/11/01, suggesting that something very hot and independent of the need for oxygen must have continued to burn there. Recent analyses on the internet, however, suppose that the volume of dust in the Towers' in-air collapse--3 to 5 times each Tower's diameter--points to other, explosive causes in the Towers' collapse.
I can say for sure, too, that the U.S. Government's explanations for the collapse of both the Towers' and WTC Building 7 are grossly inadequate. In May of 2002 the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issued its "World Trade Center Building Performance Study." FEMA's group of professorial experts had a budget of only $600,000 to investigate the collapses that killed almost 3000--compared with the $40 million that was spent for investigation of Bill Clinton's activities with Monica Lewinsky in 1998-99. FEMA's Study states: "With the information and time available, the sequence of events leading to the collapse of each tower could not be definitively determined."
FEMA's Study is even more waffling in regard to WTC Building 7, the 47-story Building 7 that fell straight-down in classic controlled-demolition fashion at 5:25 on 9/11 afternoon. FEMA's Study states: "The specifics of the fires in WTC 7 and how they caused the building to collapse remain unknown at this time."
WTC 7 and the Twin Towers were owned and heavily insured by Silverstein Properties.
What actually caused the initial fires at the World Trade Center buildings to start on September 11, 2001?
DON PAUL: So far as I know, collisions by airliners started the first fires in the Twin Towers on 9/11. Regarding WTC-7, the origin of its internal fires appears more mysterious.
FEMA's Study says that fires burned in WTC 7 for 7 hours before its collapse. That puts their start in the same hour as the North Tower, WTC 1, which fell at 10:29.
There's no evidence I know, however, that debris from 1 ignited anything inside 7. Video and photographs show that 7 remains wholly upright and scarcely marred at mid-afternoon of 9/11, only small fires visible on the 7th and 12th floors. Its upper floors begin to fall straight-down from its base at 5:25.
Before 9/11, no buildings of structural steel had ever collapsed due to fire. In February of 1991 a fire burned for 19 hours in the 38-story building at One Meridian Plaza in Philadelphia, spreading to 8 floors and causing the death of three firefighters. But this building stood.
WTC 7 contained offices of the FBI and CIA and then-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's Command Center. Many people speculate that WTC 7 served as the base for executing operations that took down the Twin Towers. It offers a wide, open view to both Buildings 1 and 2. Evidence of the operations would be largely destroyed with Building 7's demolition.
We're not likely to know for sure what happened to the three collapsed WTC Buildings and their thousands of victims, however, till courageous witnesses offer testimony. Evidence from the Buildings' sites--where more people lost their lives than at Pearl Harbor--was removed and destroyed with unprecedented speed.in the weeks after 9/11.
The company responsible for this removal, Controlled Demolition of Maryland, also took care of the wreckage left after bombing of the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City killed 168 people (none of them the personnel of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms who were the attack's supposed target) on April 19, 1995, prompting passage of the federal Anti-Terrorism Act.
Was there any connection between what happened at the World Trace Center on 9/11/01 and a previous 1990s alleged "terrorist" attempt to destroy the World Trade Center?
DON PAUL: Again, you'll have to draw your own conclusions.
For one fact, bolstering supposition that a secret team within the U.S. Government primarily carried out the 9/11 attacks, the FBI is directly connected to the bombing of the World Trade Center Twin Towers on February 26, 1993, a blast that killed 6 people and injured more than 1000. Israel's counterpart to the CIA, the Mossad, is also connected to this bombing.
The FBI is on record that an Egyptian, Emid Ali Salem, was its informant within this admitted conspiracy. According to a New York Times piece of October 28, 1993, Emid Ali Salem secretly recorded talks between himself and his FBI supervisor, John Anticev. Salem's tapes reveal that the FBI's Anticev stopped a plan to substitute harmless powder for the nitrate that eventually exploded the huge bomb under the Twin Towers.
Remember that 6 people were killed and more than 1000 were injured by this bomb. Salem's statement is that he built the bomb and received $1,000,000 from the FBI for his work. We also know that the rental agreement for the truck that carried the 1993 WTC bomb gives the phone number and address of a Mossad agent, Josie Hadas.
There are parallels with the official story for 9/11. The supposed "spiritual leader" of 1993's group of "Arab Terrorists" and "Muslim extremists," their name the Gamaa Al-Islamya, was Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman. Sheikh Abdel-Rahman resembles both "al-Qaeda mastermind" Osama bin Laden and 9/11's supposed "terrorist ringleader" Mohamed Atta in his history.
Like Osama bin Laden, Sheikh Abdel-Rahman was a CIA asset in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Like Mohamed Atta, Sheikh Abdel-Rahman recieved U.S. Government assistance in entering this nation. In 1996 Sheikh Omar was sentenced to life-imprisonment for his part in planning the first World Trade Center attack.
Attorney Ron Kuby represented one of the 1993 defendants. In response to the New York Times article of October 28, 1993, Ron Kuby said in the Atlantic Monthly: "The article on the FBI being involved in the World Trade Center bombing actually understated the evidence, believe it or not. The informer, Emid Salem, is actually on tape saying that he built the bomb that ultimately blew up the World Trade Center...The mastermind is the government of the United States. It was a phony, government-engineered conspiracy to begin with. It would never have amounted to anything had the government not planned it."
To what degree was the U.S. Government responsible for the deaths of so many New Yorkers on September 11, 2001?
DON PAUL: In my view, 100% responsible, whether by neglect or participation.
Do you see any similarities between what happened on September 11, 2001 in New York City and what happened on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas?
DON PAUL: I see a skein of conspiracies that have benefited a tiny superelite within the U.S. over at least the past 40 years--from "Dallas" to "9/11" and beyond. They've caused numberless atrocities--assassinations, wars started with false pretexts, invasions, massacres, entire countries and generations devastated by imported violence, oppression and addictions. These conspiracies' endgame, I believe, is a "New World Order" that will rob everyday people of their rights and powers to resist the superelites' accelerating degradation of once natural environments. By degradation I mean, in part, the plagues and disasters that are arising now.
The conspiracies follow a pattern. Lee Harvey Oswald called himself "a patsy" before he was somehow shot by Mafia nightclub-owner Jack Ruby in the basement of police headquarters.
In the assassinations of JFK, MLK and RFK a patsy was used, I believe, to distract attention from the real killers. With Oswald, an elaborate history was developed over years, connecting him with Communism and especially with sympathy for the Cuban Revolution. With Atta, in particular, of those blamed for 9/11, a similarly elaborate history is shown. But with Atta the fiction is much cruder. Mohamed Atta goes from being an abstinent recluse in Hamburg, averse to touching women, to a coke-snorting habitué of strip-clubs in Florida.
The whole story of the 19 "hijackers" seems to me a crude fiction. At least 5 of the 19 who were indicted in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in December of 2001, these 19 named by an FBI attachment in the case against Zacarias Moussaoui, had vigorously declared themselves alive, after all, in Saudi Arabia or Morocco, in the few weeks immediately following 9/11.
The killing of JFK and the attacks on 9/11 both served objectives that the superelites deemed urgent. JFK was threatening to pull troops out of Vietnam and to dismantle the Federal Reserve Bank and to further arms-reduction treaties with the Soviet Union. He'd already yanked former Wall Street attorney Allen Dulles as Director of the CIA. He threatened financial and militarist superlites' profits and plans. So they took him out.
9/11 is more complicated. 9/11 was planned for many years, as pages in Brzezinski's 1997 The Grand Chessboard and the 2000 Project for a New American Century study (Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Perle and Zalmay Khalizad among its authors) suggest when they imagine that "a new Pearl Harbor" might be necessary to arouse public support for more military spending and U.S. wars in Central Asia and the Middle East.
The colossal, crude crime of 9/11 is also a far more desperate move than the murder of JFK. By August of 2001 the U.S. economy was foundering even for superelites. 9/11 and its subsequent transfusions of Federal capital gave several months of respite. By July of 2002, however, material vulnerabilities threatened to sink even the biggest capitalists. Through their holdings in "derivatives", the JP Morgan Chase Bank, Citigroup, and the Bank of America are at risk for a combined amount of over $40 trillion--an amount of liability many, many times greater than their combined amount of assets. On July 23, 2002--on a single day of trading--JP Morgan Chase lost 18.1% of its total value. July of 2002 was also when Government and media drums began to beat for U.S. military action in Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
What I see more comprehensively is a skein of conspiracies and pretexts by which the U.S. superelites have ruthlessly killed people and launched wars and grabbed territories and multiplied their profits since the late 19th century. The sinking of the Maine, the sinking of the Lusitania, the attack on Pearl Harbor, the fraudulent "Gulf of Tonkin incident" are a few of the conspiracies and pretexts we know. Why Noam Chomsky and other ostensibly moral critics don't call out these conspiracies is a question they'll have to answer. It may be that examination of these conspiracies would reveal the real structures and criminals behind them.
All that said, let me end with hope. Only one force on Earth can directly confront and defeat the U.S. Corporate State and its criminal Government. That force is us, the overwhelming majority of the people in this country. Despite the horrors of 9/11, the overwhelming majority in New York City are with that same majority around the world, I think, in opposing any American Empire.
Have the mainstream or alternative radio show producers in New York City been eager to invite you onto their shows to discuss before a New York City audience the issues you raise in your book on the 9/11 events?
DON PAUL: I've gotten no contact from either mainstream or alternative radio producers in New York City about the book. Although it lacks a distributor and exposure of it has not been widespread, it has been up on the www.onlinejournal.com and www.questionsquestions.net sites and orders for it are coming from across the country and around the world. I should also add: Neither has anyone from KPFA or any Pacifica station contacted me about the book, though I gave it last December to Dennis Bernstein and Davey D and others with whom I was allied in "the fight for Free Speech Radio" four years ago. There's an interview with the warm and wonderful Sue Supriano up at www.suesupriano.com and I understand that more stuff through other outlets is upcoming.
How can readers in New York City go about obtaining a copy of your book?
DON PAUL: The easiest way online to access purchase of it is through the www.onlinejournal.com site. Front cover of book can be clicked at the top of books and tapes in the right-hand column at www.onlinejournal.com There is a direct url to the book's page on my www.wireonfire.com/donpaul/911.html site. But going through www.onlinejournal.com will get people to some good pieces posted there.