In the last few days we have seen a new wave of talk of conspiracy, Jews, Zionists, and Israel. First the President of Iran publicly exhorts his followers, saying that Israel, “Must be wiped off the Map.” That same evening Iranian TV runs a special documentary on “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” claiming it reveals the true Zionist plot for world domination.
The next day in Washington, D.C. Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, Lewis “Scooter” Libby, is indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice in the CIA leak case. Shortly after, the web is full of new postings claiming Libby was the leader of the real “Elders of Zion,” the Jewish neo-con conspiracy that controls US foreign policy.
Wait a second, Scooter Libby – no he can’t be Jewish – a Scooter who went to Andover and Yale – impossible - he has all the hallmarks of WASP breeding – but they say he’s a Jew. I search the web and can find no detailed biography that will shed more light on his religious upbringing or faith. He certainly was at the center of the influential policy makers, where the Jewish neo-cons like Wolfowitz, Perle, Feith, and others joined with the Christian evangelicals like President Bush and Condi Rice. Cheney and Rumsfeld? – Well a few days earlier, Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s former chief of staff, described how foreign policy was “hijacked” by the Cheney-Rumsfeld “cabal.”
Don’t tell me Cheney or Rumsfeld are Jewish. Ok “cabal” does have roots in the word “Cabala” the Jewish mystic tradition but here you have one of the real insiders accusing these two of being the true masterminds conspiring to seize control of US foreign policy from the State Department, the CIA, and the US Congress.
Are they also members of Skull and Bones, Bohemian Grove, the Bilderberg Group, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission? Or even the more medieval secret societies like the Masons, the Illuminati, the Rosicrucian Order, the Knights Templar, Opus Dei?
I’m sure someone’s working on answering these questions and connecting all the dots. No one can deny that some Jewish neo-cons have long pushed for US military action to get rid of Saddam and set off a kind of democratic dominos in the Arab world. Some have accused them of putting Israel’s interests before the US’s and starting a so called “Jewish War.”
But what about the Bush-Baker-Saudi oil connection? Or the fact that Iraq has the second largest oil reserves in the world? And what happened to all the talk of the oil and gas pipeline through Afghanistan? What about the Cheney-Rumsfeld military industrial connection to Halliburton and the Carlyle Group? What about George Bush’s oedipal obsession to best his father, and finish the war his dad couldn’t? What about the Christian evangelical impulse to take on a new crusade against the Muslim jihadists? What about Karl Rove’s plan for Bush to run for re-election as a war president? And, of course, what about 9/11 and Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction? There are myriad factors that led America to war and without recognizing and integrating them into a cohesive whole, we’re struggling to see the big picture with blinders on.
Let’s all take a step back and take a deep breath together – oh no, it’s a conspiracy. To conspire means literally to breathe together. Inhale deeply and you begin to smell the plots percolating. Since 9/11, conspiracy theories have proliferated. Go to Google and you'll get links to thousands of sites with theories ranging from the WTC came down because of an inside demolition job, to the Pentagon was struck by a missile, to hijack leader Mohammed Atta is still alive, to it was a CIA Mossad operation.
“The Jews did it” has a familiar ring. For millennia it’s been the standby, go to, all-purpose, time proven, universal default - blame it on the Jews. Some claim it is the original conspiracy. The Jews did what? Whatever’s bad. They killed the living God, Christ the Messiah, so they were punished and persecuted for centuries. They also became the “usual suspects” for all sorts of lesser offenses, from plagues to wars.
After 9/11 many asked, “Who benefited?” and then answered “American global capitalists, and the Israelis.” Then they point to a few anecdotes that have reinforced speculation about an Israeli connection. The Israeli shipping company Zim Navigational allegedly moved out of the WTC right before 9/11. Reportedly two workers of the Israeli company Odigo received text messages warning of an attack on the WTC two hours before. In New Jersey, 5 Israelis were seen photographing and allegedly celebrating as the Twin Towers collapsed.
I talked to witnesses who saw the 5 Israelis and the NJ police officer who stopped their van. They were taken into custody, questioned and held for 10 weeks. They were eventually cleared by the FBI of any involvement in 9/11 and deported back to Israeli on immigration violations. On Israeli TV, they claimed they were merely taking pictures of a historic event. I included this sequence in the movie because I wanted to show how a real incident that raised legitimate questions could quickly mutate into so called “evidence” that the Israelis were behind the attack and not Al Qaeda. There were even some claiming the 5 Israelis were controlling the planes by remote control from New Jersey.
I believe the 9/11 attack was a terrorist conspiracy planned by Osama Bin Laden, as he bragged on video tape, and carried out by his Al Qaeda operatives. I believe the evidence is overwhelming. But I’m willing to acknowledge that there are many unanswered questions surrounding 9/11 and that like the JFK assassination, we will be discussing and debating what really happened for years to come.
So I encourage independent investigators to uncover and expose. But beware. Getting lost in all the misinformation and disinformation and arguing this theory versus that can end up being a diversion in itself. It’s easy to get lost in the ever spiraling vortex of facts which can atomize and fracture into factoids leading deeper and deeper down a tunnel with no light at the end – this is the proverbial conspiracy black hole.
Tracking the contours of hidden power can be intoxicating and addictive – it provides an exciting narrative to string many disparate ideas and incidents and characters together - it can be used to buttress one’s beliefs and challenge others and, like religion, it can be preached with conviction and self righteousness. We all want explanations we can understand. But when we embrace certitude and lose the mystery we are in danger of losing a lot more.
I prefer approaching the world of conspiracy more like an investigative art form. Check out the drawings of the artist Mark Lombardi.
They look like sea charts or constellations, or even the sub atomic chain reactions in a nuclear bubble chamber. They chart the overlapping and competing flow of influence and money through convoluted political and corporate connections creating a kind of architecture of covert knowledge. Maybe this is what conspiracies really look like. They are maps of the unseen nexus between the political, corporate, and criminal powers.
But it’s not a picture of the umbrella man on the grassy knoll or the cartoon-like general from the Pentagon calling someone at the CIA who calls the cops in Dallas. Or the Protocols with 12 Elders of Zion in a graveyard or cave somewhere deliberating, “Monday we start the bank run, Tuesday the depression, Wednesday the assassination, Thursday the coup and Friday the war ...”
Conspiracy freaks endow the ruling elite with superhuman powers – like comic superheroes – when the truth is these folks screw up and spend much of their time and energy covering up their mistakes. The “Wizard of Oz” is much closer to the truth. Pull back the curtain and you see a fumbling charlatan grabbing levers, pushing buttons and scrambling to avoid detection. It’s like the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 or Baghdad today. The operation is so ill conceived and mishandled that it crashes and everyone has to cover up how it happened in the first place. The cover up is the conspiracy.
You want to tell me the US government planned 9/11 to justify its war on terror and the invasion of Iraq? I hear you and say “NO!” Even if they wanted to, they are incapable. They might have exploited this tragedy for their own political ends, but there’s no way they pulled off such a premeditated plot. There’s ample evidence of intelligence failures and incompetence. If there’s a conspiracy it’s more likely to be to cover up any warnings they ignored or miscalculations they made that could have prevented the attack.
On a historical level you could say, yes, there are US fingerprints on the 9/11 tragedy, in the sense that we helped create the Afghan Mujahadeen and gave them the money, arms and training they needed to fight the Soviets, never figuring they’d turn all that expertise in killing and terrorizing against us. Yes, at one time Osama, the Taliban and Saddam all worked with us. Blowback is the unintended consequences of covert ops, it’s the payback. In that sense one could argue that 9/11 was blowback.
And if there is a grand universal conspiracy, it is simply the conspiracy of all elites to cover up the truth. That is the constant through history and the very nature of power. In that sense all who doubt and question the official story are right on. Don’t believe the government or the mainstream media. Don’t believe the hype. But as you search for the truth don’t go back to the recycled garbage of the middle ages or the propaganda of the Czar or the Nazis.
So let’s all breathe together and envision something bold and empowering. Don’t close your eyes. Open them. The truth should not set us back, it should set us free.
Keep it open.