WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2018
- Pearl Harbor. As pointed out by David Ray Griffin and others, this term was used in September 2000 in The Project for the New American Century’s (PNAC) report, “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” (p.51). Its neo-con authors argued that the U.S. wouldn’t be able to attack Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, etc. “absent some catastrophic event – like a new Pearl Harbor.” Then on January 11, 2001, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s “Space Commission” warned that the U.S. could face a “space Pearl Harbor” if it weren’t careful and didn’t increase space security. Rumsfeld urged support for the proposed U.S. national missile defense system opposed by Russia and China and massive funding for the increased weaponization of space. At the same time he went around handing out and recommending Pearl Harbor: Warning and Decision (1962) by Roberta Wohlstetter, who had spent almost two decades working for The Rand Corporation and who claimed that Pearl Harbor was a surprise attack that shocked U.S. leaders. Pearl Harbor, Pearl Harbor, Pearl Harbor – those words and images dominated public consciousness for many months before 11 September 2001, and of course after. The film Pearl Harbor, made with Pentagon assistance and a massive budget, was released on May 25, 2001 and was a box office hit. It was in the theatres throughout the summer. The thought of the attack on Pearl Harbor (not a surprise to the U.S. government, but presented as such) was in the news all summer despite the fact that the 60th anniversary of that attack was not until December 7, 2001, a more likely release date. So why was it released so early? Once the September 11 attacks occurred, the Pearl Harbor analogy was “plucked out” of the social atmosphere and used constantly, beginning immediately. Another “Day of Infamy,” another surprise attack blared the media and government officials. A New Pearl Harbor! George W. Bush was widely reported to have had the time that night, after a busy day of flying hither and yon to avoid the terrorists who for some reason had forgotten he was in a classroom in Florida, to allegedly use it in his diary, writing that “the Pearl Harbor of the twenty-first century took place today. We think it is Osama bin Laden.” Shortly after the 50th anniversary of Pearl Harbor on December 7th, Bush then formerly announced, referencing the attacks of September 11, that the U. S. would withdraw from the ABM Treaty. The examples of this Pearl Harbor/ September 11 analogy are manifold, but I am summarizing, so I will skip giving them. Any casual researcher can confirm this.
- Homeland. This strange un-American term, another WW II word associated with another enemy – Nazi Germany – was also used many times by the neo-con authors of “Rebuilding America’s Defenses.” I doubt any average American referred to this country by that term before. Of course it became the moniker for The Department of Homeland Security, marrying home with security to form a comforting name that simultaneously and unconsciously suggests a defense against Hitler-like evil coming from the outside. Not coincidentally, Hitler introduced it into the Nazi propaganda vernacular at the 1934 Nuremberg rally. Both usages conjured up images of a home besieged by alien forces intent on its destruction; thus preemptive action was in order. Now the Department of Homeland Security with its massive budget is lodged permanently in popular consciousness.
- Ground Zero. This is a third WWII (“the Good War”) term first used at 11:55 A.M. on September 11 by Mark Walsh (aka “the Harley Guy” because he was wearing a Harley-Davidson tee shirt) in an interview on the street by a Fox News reporter, Rick Leventhal. Identified as a Fox free-lancer, Walsh also explained the Twin Towers collapse in a precise, well-rehearsed manner that would be the same illogical and anti-scientific explanation later given by the government: “mostly due to structural failure because the fire was too intense.” Ground zero – a nuclear bomb term first used by U.S. scientists to refer to the spot where they exploded the first nuclear bomb in New Mexico in 1945 – became another meme adopted by the media that suggested a nuclear attack had occurred or might in the future if the U.S. didn’t act. The nuclear scare was raised again and again by George W. Bush and U.S. officials in the days and months following the attacks, although nuclear weapons were beside the point in terms of the 11 September attacks, but surely not as a scare tactic and as part of the plan to withdraw from the ABM treaty that would be announced in December. But the conjoining of “nuclear” with “ground zero” served to raise the fear factor dramatically. Ironically, the project to develop the nuclear bomb was called the Manhattan Project and was headquartered at 270 Broadway, NYC, a few short blocks north of the World Trade Center.
- The Unthinkable. This is another nuclear term whose usage as linguistic mind control and propaganda is brilliantly analyzed by Graeme MacQueen in the penultimate chapter of his very important book, . He notes the patterned use of this term before and after September 11, while saying “the pattern may not signify a grand plan …. It deserves investigation and contemplation.” He then presents a convincing case that the use of this term couldn’t be accidental. He notes how George W. Bush, in a major foreign policy speech on May 1, 2001, “gave informal public notice that the United States intended to withdraw unilaterally from the ABM Treaty”; Bush said the U.S. must be willing to “rethink the unthinkable.” This was necessary because of terrorism and rogue states with “weapons of mass destruction.” PNAC also argued that the U.S. should withdraw from the treaty. A signatory to the treaty could only withdraw after giving six months notice and because of “extraordinary events” that “jeopardized its supreme interests.” Once the September 11 attacks occurred, Bush rethought the unthinkable and officially gave formal notice on December 13 to withdraw the U.S. from the ABM Treaty, as previously noted. MacQueen specifies the many times different media used the term “unthinkable” in October 2001 in reference to the anthrax attacks. He explicates its usage in one of the anthrax letters – “The Unthinkabel” [sic]. He explains how the media that used the term so often were at the time unaware of its usage in the anthrax letter since that letter’s content had not yet been revealed, and how the letter writer had mailed the letter before the media started using the word. He makes a rock solid case showing the U.S. government’s complicity in the anthrax attacks and therefore in the Sept 11 attacks. While calling the use of the term “unthinkable” in all its iterations “problematic,” he writes, “The truth is that the employment of ‘the unthinkable’ in this letter, when weight is given both to the meaning of this term in U.S. strategic circles and to the other relevant uses of the term in 2001, points us in the direction of the U.S. military and intelligence communities.” I am reminded of Orwell’s point in 1984: “a heretical thought – that is, a thought diverging from the principles of Ingsoc – should be literally unthinkable, at least as far as thought is dependent on words.” Thus the government and media’s use of “unthinkable” becomes a classic case of “doublethink.” The unthinkable is unthinkable.
- 9/11. This is the key usage that has reverberated down the years around which the others revolve. It is an anomalous numerical designation applied to an historical event, and obviously also the emergency telephone number. Try to think of another numerical appellation for an important event in American history. It’s impossible. But if you have a good historical sense, you will remember that the cornerstone for the Pentagon was lain on September 11, 1941, three months before the attack on Pearl Harbor, and that the CIA engineered a coup against the Allende government in Chile on Sept 11, 1973. Just strange coincidences? The future editor of The New York Times and Iraq war promoter, Bill Keller, introduced the emergency phone connection on the morning of September 12th in a NY Times op-ed piece, “America’s Emergency Line: 911.” The linkage of the attacks to a permanent national emergency was thus subliminally introduced, as Keller mentioned Israel nine times and seven times compared the U.S. situation to that of Israel as a target for terrorists. His first sentence reads: “An Israeli response to America’s aptly dated wake-up call might well be, ‘Now you know.’” By referring to September 11 as 9/11, an endless national emergency fear became wedded to an endless war on terror aimed at preventing Hitler-like terrorists from obliterating us with nuclear weapons that could create another ground zero or holocaust. Mentioning Israel (“America is proud to be Israel’s closest ally and best friend in the world,” George W. Bush would tell the Israeli Knesset) so many times, Keller was not very subtly performing an act of legerdemain with multiple meanings. By comparing the victims of the 11 September attacks to Israeli “victims,” he was implying, among other things, that the Israelis are innocent victims who are not involved in terrorism, but are terrorized by Palestinians, as Americans are terrorized by fanatical Muslims. Palestinians/Al-Qaeda. Israel/U.S. Explicit and implicit parallels of the guilty and the innocent. Keller tells us who the real killers are. His use of the term 9/11 is a term that pushes all the right buttons, evoking unending social fear and anxiety. It is language as sorcery. It is propaganda at its best. Even well-respected critics of the U.S. government’s explanation use the term that has become a fixture of public consciousness through endless repetition. As George W. Bush would later put it, as he connected Saddam Hussein to “9/11” and pushed for the Iraq war, “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.” All the ingredients for a linguistic mind-control smoothie had been blended.