11 September 2001 - 2022 ... at the end of every road, there is a mirror
E LaMont Gregory MSc Oxon
Twin Towers of the World Trade Center
The question is why; why 1993 and, why 2001?
A week before the 11th of September 2001, according to an exclusive interview published in the Evening Standard of London on the 16th of September, the German Federal Police had in their custody an individual who shared an apartment in Hamburg with the Saudi pilot Atta, before he departed Germany on a rather torturous route into the United States, the city of Boston, Massachusetts, and finally Logan Airport.
And, he was telling the German Federal Police a fantastic story. He spoke of an event planned for the United States in which some of those who lived in the apartment with him would be involved, that in his words 'would change the world, as we know it.'
What happened over the course of the week leading up to the events of 9/11, should remind each and every one of us that communications between the United States and our allies are critical to our national security, and to theirs.
A lesson that fell upon deaf ears in the four years of a tumultuous Trump administration and presidency. It is difficult to convey just how shallow and desperate the Trump administration was, but it is necessary to tell it, nonetheless.
The German Federal police, as is customary, dutifully posted the information they gained from their interrogations on the network of international police services. And, in addition, made specific and direct communications with British and American intelligence services and then the wider network of European and select other regional capitols. Yet, and to the utter amazement of the German Federal Police, no one responded.
Desperation, is not a description that one can attribute easily, if at all, to the most least likely to moralize excessively German federal police, intelligence and security officials, but in this singularly unique circumstance, the German authorities undertook extraordinary measures to illicit a response from their counterparts in London, Washington, Paris, Ottawa and beyond, but to no avail.
Finally, towards the end of the week before the event that would 'change the world, as we know it', the German Federal Police made a direct call to the White House, to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
In the Hollywood thriller/drama movie, Air Force One, untoward circumstances on a flight compels the president to make a telephone call to the White House. The person who answers, when they are told that it is the president calling, treats that information with dismissive incredulity. Whereupon, the president, portrayed by Harrison Ford, tells the person on the other end of the phone at the White House to follow protocol and trace the call. They do, and the movie progresses with those in the White House now aware of the upheaval taking place on Air Force One.
One should realize that the telephone systems at the White House, at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, even in 2001 were then, and remain rather sophisticated. For example, most will be aware that any call made from a telephone at an airport is accompanied by audible beeps, which clearly identifies that the call originates from an airport. Well, the systems in the White House have enhanced capabilities to identify and distinguish incoming calls from officials domestic and foreign.
After the German Federal police had been on the phone trying to get someone to listen, the call was interrupted, dropped as it were, by the person who answered the call. The German Federal police continued their efforts to convey the seriousness of the information they had, right up to and until the planes began flying into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, the plane crash in rural Pennsylvania, and later the Pentagon.
When President Bush met with the German chancellor shortly after 9/11, and in a joint press conference Bush spoke about never letting - it - happen again, it was that specific telephone call that he and the chancellor were referring to. We will never let it happen again, Bush said.
During the trial of the 1993 Twin Towers bombers, a trial of the century in which the careers of prosecutors would be hoisted to the dizzying heights of instant stardom, several themes emerged in the prosecutorial effort. The most salient of which was the idea that the bombers, hell bent on the destruction of America as symbolized by their ability to destroy, that is, to bring down the iconic towers, glittering symbols of American power and prestige.
The prosecutors berated the accused with how little they knew about the country whose symbols of might they sought to destroy. First, there was their mistaken belief that the pillars they sought to destroy in the underground garage structure held up the buildings, they did not. The carnage and destruction the bombers caused showed just how little they knew about their intended targets. It was stressed that one of the features of the twin towers, their architectural significance, was that they were unique for such tall buildings, because the external walls of the buildings were the principal supports that held the towers aloft. So blowing up the pillars in the underground garages could not achieve their desired aim.
This was just one example of how little they knew about the country they were hell-bent on destroying. Not only was the carnage and damage useless, but if they knew anything about how things are done in America, they would have known that buildings in America, in modern America, have to have an approved plan in place as to how the building will be demolished, if it has to be due to some unforeseen problem, or at the end of the service life of the buildings or structures, especially tall buildings like the twin towers, before permission is granted to build them.
So, if the accused knew anything about America, and New York City, they would have known that the plan to demolish the twin towers, involved their being emptied, and a series of explosions would be triggered at the top of the towers, and they would crumble under their own weight, and cause, with proper preparation, little or no damage to surrounding buildings.
And, that in America, but the accused would not know that, one could visit the planning and building departments and inspect the plans in place to bring the buildings down. But the accused knew so little about America that they would kill and destroy needlessly. While, in liberty-loving America, the public has access to all that information, except that now there is a charge for photocopying.
Well, there was at least one person listening to the prosecutorial theatrics in that courtroom, a Pakistani, and he took a plan to one Bin Laden, who some FBI investigators believed had had something to do with the 1993 bombings. Unfortunately, the principal FBI agent that pursued that line of inquiry, had left the FBI and was the chief of building security for the Twin Towers, and died in the attacks on 9/11, while at work.
The Pakistani devised a plan that involved a series of five practice hijackings of planes with knives, most of which were diverted to Kandahar Airport, where Bin Laden personally greeted the returning warriors. These hijackings were mere preparation for the day that would change the world, when the explosions at the top of the Twin Towers would be triggered by planes flying into them. And, the towers crumbled under their own weight, according to the approved plan of record for their demolition.
The question that many Americans still ask to this day is why; why 1993 and, why 2001?
The answer is rather unsettling, and it is the same then and now, they just want to 'send a message to Americans that we are at war'.
It is difficult to convey just how desperate Trump is not to be remembered as the worst one-term president of the United States in American history. That reality, however, is already etched in stone. Only his most unthinking adherents ever believed his signature campaign promise to build a wall between Mexico and the United States that Mexico would pay for.
All Trump's other ventures have been equally unsuccessful, such as, the tax cuts to the ultra rich that against all economic reasoning either Keynesian, Austrian school or historically, would magically trickle down to consumers. When real wage increases are the only real known policy that will actually boost economic activity. Racial animus against those, who have over Trump's long and undistinguished career, have had sue him for violations of their constitutional rights, and to force him to pay his sub-contractors.
But notably, the very idea of dispatching Pompeo to conduct off-the-cuff negotiations with the Taliban on the eve of the Day of Remembrance of the slaughter of thousands of Americans and many others, begs rational discernment.
But alas, desperation knows no bounds of decency.
Trump is sort of a Lex Luthor type character (some children identify with Superman and Lois Lane, while others gravitate to the villainous Lex Luthor), but not a smart one. And whereas, Lex Luthor was portrayed as someone driven to be a master criminal, Lex did not exhibit Trump's sadistic nature. Taking on Superman was one thing, but to torture children is something else, altogether. Trump and his latter day Himmler, Stephen Miller, have set the American glowing star back to the days of genocidal savagery that accompanied slavery, manifest destiny, reconstruction and the Jim Crow eras in American history.
It is Trump's utter desperation to be seen as a leader, and not just another rabble rouser, who has a microphone that will only increase as he flails about in search of some honor or another, which he does not deserve and will never achieve. Lincoln's writing about the demagogue and the mob, depicts Trump and his obedient acolytes, with surgical precision.
The history of the Trump presidency, as horrible at it seems, ultimately will be written to reflect the fact that his administration, his congress, his security and intelligence establishment, was not equal to the task.
And, all apologies to those whose loss on the 11th of September 2001 bears heavy on their hearts, and to those who loss one of our brave daughters and sons who sought to right the wrongs inflicted upon us.
May Providence see us through rather challenging times.
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