Being half-Latin from a family that has played a central role in dissolving the intrigues of power for many centuries, I have no trouble looking at the US as a distressed Latin Republic. Its only weakness is when the real Latins get organized and figure they don’t want this corrupt nation as the only bulwark against China, and march North, it will be eaten alive.
A lot of Latin leaders feel the US is world HQ for a new and perverse form of communistic fascism. And as JFK said, having been the point men in stopping Communism, they are in no mood to find it in new clothes as Big Sister from El Norte.
Latin problems are more visible, but thus discussed more openly, than US ones. Unlike the US, it did not exterminate the Indian population and many of its difficulties are due to the slow process of acculturation; the machinations of the Church in concert with various interests more obvious. But all democracies suffer from these ills, the Latins more clearly so. It is a mistake to not learn from their slow march to greater freedom and think that the dynamic they have in the streets does not happen elsewhere in the US. There are reasons why Jefferson recommended that all who would vote study the trials of the Republics of the Ancient World as a doctor gets familiar with the typical maladies of patients.
Was JFK assassinated by his own government? No doubt in my mind. Do US Generals connive phony wars? Some do, you bet. Is the US government the fount of laughable propaganda? Yup, just not very visible to the propagandized. Will elements of the US Government create incidents for their own ends? Remember the Maine, Pearl Harbor and the Gulf of Tonkin, all phony as three dollar billsand the scholars who revealed the lie hounded from academia.
Indeed, some scholars close to the Government boast of the analogy, saying 9-11 was a “new Pearl Harbor” and saying it was needed .
When Reagan was shot, he apparently assumed that his Vice President did it. How do I know this? From the fascinating information that my mother, who volunteered at the hospital where he was taken and was a friend of his from the old Hollywood days, shared with me. It seems that shortly after he woke up, he asked for a DC patrol officer, had this person find a US ship that had just reached the area, and soon sailors with sidearms guarded his bedside while he placed the whole hospital under his direct command and swore all to secrecy. They buffered him from the Secret Service and anyone else. He trusted no oneand perhaps, by protecting himself with unentangled sailors and officers fresh from sea, saved his own life, and the country from one more black mark of shame.
I thought this was all rather fun gossip until I heard on TV that the assassin's father had dinner with the Bush family the night before…and the story simply vanished from sight. No one denied it, it was just not spoken of. But everything good Reagan did do, Bush when he came to power tried to reverse.
Now perhaps there is more to it or my mother misunderstood something, but my mother didn’t think it remarkable except that for a US President, he showed some common sense, especially with Haig and his men boasting they were in control of the government. Indeed, I cannot offhand think of one Latin, no, any assassinated leader in the last century who was not done in by the malfeasance or with the non-feasence of their own guards as higher-ups were involved. That fact is invisible to us in the US, where we are always told it was a lone conspirator so secretive that even his landlord knew nothing except he paid the rent on time.
A Phone Call
The whole 9-11 business has had an added air of unreality in that Bin-Laden’s family were bigwig partners of, of all things, Bush family interests, while simultaneously the press seems quite uninterested in the whole history of US Support for Bin-Laden practically up to the day the horror occurred, his espionage involvements, and the fact that he was a has-been on death‘s door from a disease when suddenly he became the Most Wanted Man on Earth.
Indeed, people seem to forget that a year and more after he was fingered as the culpritwe still have not seen the evidence that Bin Laden did anything. The films of him confessing were immediately discredited, yet keep resurfacing like Dracula in growing tones that they are somehow self-evident proof and the matter is closed. On 9-11, my wife wisely kept printouts of e-news lines no longer obtainable. They show the surprising fact that barely 50 minutes after disaster was reported and well before a general alert was called, Bin-Laden was identified as the culprit. On that day I wondered if we were seeing a new Lee Harvey Oswald being created before our eyes while the real truth was being concealed, and I still wonder.
Many people have seen similar concerns, and there is growing discussion that to some extent 9-11 was a government plot, or one carried out by a rogue group with perhaps even Presidential awareness, though perhaps after the fact, to buffalo the nation into a serious leap towards destruction of its weakened freedomsand advance some convoluted commercial venture as we learn of secret deals on oil pipelines and the like.
Sophisticated Latins I talk to say, well, sure, of course that’s the first place you look, and roll off a train of similar outrages and cover-ups from their own countries’ histories. And beyond all this a question seems to have slid away from everyone’s attentionnamely, where was Bin-Laden when government officials were so confidently pointing the finger.
About one week after the attack, I received a disturbing call from a pro-Libertarian who is well-connected in Pakistan. As US reaction was unfolding, my contact revealed that he had learned from several sources that Bin-Laden was not that hard for the US to find. Like the others that the US has charged in 9-11, Bin-Laden was in at least indirect US Custody or Protection the whole time. In Pakistan.
The mind boggled: Where was Bin-Laden? Bush had him all along, like a poker player with an Ace in the Hole.
And he remained there as the Taliban government desperately tried to locate him and the US said this was not good enough and invaded. After two weeks he was moved with a Pakistani military escort with US officials to a local airport for “a better facility” in parts unknown, reputedly almost dead from his medical problems.
What is more, he said some of those anti-government demonstrations referred to on TV were by Pakistanis who had got wind something was up and wanted Bin-Laden released. These were suppressed by local police.
One thing was certain.
Rumor or truth, the Pakistani press was not picking up the story. It was bottled up in the country except for people who phoned abroad and sent e-mails abroad, soon to be monitored by the US government.
We had a good laugh over the story. It was so stupid it rang true. At the very least, we agreed, it was possible Bin-Laden was hiding under the US government’s nose and once someone investigated this in, oh say 2027, the orgy of official finger-pointing and prosecution of the whistleblowersor their discreet public humiliation among amid fashionable allegations from cheating on their taxes to being anti-(fill in the blank)would begin.
The Press Cover-up
I am not an investigative reporter nor given to circulating scandalous information for kicks. Due to my involvement in LIO and my own personal contacts and travels over the years I get some very interesting information on a regular basis, but generally it confirms only that those in government with one hand gesturing most nobly in calling the country to some cause have the other hand in the Treasury. So what else is new? My focus is on solutions, not being caught up in the symptoms of the deeper problem.
For example, I had no doubt my informant felt he had reliable information, but what misinformation might be mixed inwho knew? I was inclined to believe that if there was anything to it, it was just one more snafu in what I suspected would becomeand as we are increasingly seeing with various revelations of who knew whata long train of blunders. It was reportedly days, even as the US government said it would overthrow the Afghan Government for not handing him over immediately, as thousands of enraged US troops were on the move, dread warships steamed at full speed and deadly bombers filled the skies, before someone in the US government actually remembered to get some judge to issue an arrest warrant for Bin-Ladenand without an arrest warrant, some military bureaucrat would have ignored him in clear conscience, indeed, there was no legal reason to detain him.
Then again, the way this government is going, if Bin-Laden had been snoozing in the Lincoln Bedroom without anyone knowing, I would scarcely be surprised.
Indeed, safe in the clutches of the US bureaucracy might well prove the best place for Bin-Laden to cunningly hide. Raiders of the Lost Ark ends with the Covenant lost in the National Archives, Abbie Hoffman hid from the FBI’s international manhunt for years in plain sight through the simple expedient of getting himself appointed as a Federal High Commissioner next thing you know, maybe Bin-Laden is actually Alan Greenspan.
It was perfectly imaginable that he could be in either direct or indirect US surveillance or custody and not show up on the radar, and once he moved on the cover-up by embarrassed officials would begin. The nature of the cover-up, in this age where your privacy is in government view and what government is doing is utterly private, would be the most likely indicator of the truth.
At the very least we would see something interesting.
I was not disappointed. As the weeks progressed I was startled at the intransigent US government attitude to its erstwhile Taliban buddies, the smirking manner of the Defense Secretary and the Attorney General as they dismissed calls for evidence, and the increasing caution after a burst of pro-US support of the Spaniards, whose diplomatic information is the best in the world and know a thing or two after 1400 of engaging them about the Muslim world. So, coupled with the Spanish leave-all-options-open diplomatic tradition (e.g., Spain began negotiations to sell Florida by, properly, advising the US that it had no such authority and whatever treaty was concluded not Florida remained theirs…but was happy to take the moneyEmperor Hirohito surrendering by saying we will no longer prosecute the war at the present time has nothing on the Spanish), all combine so what they don’t do is far more informative than what they do.
What they aren’t doing is supporting the US. They won’t say as much, they are firm believers in talking nice, they just keep stalling around on the War on Terror and saying that aren’t extraditing anybody to a death penalty country, and so on.
Not that the Spanish are the only masters of Rococo language. What really began to clinch it in my mind were the weird statements on Bin-Laden’s whereabouts by the Pakistani government. They clearly wished to distance themselves from US enthusiasm, and the statements maintaining Bin-Laden was not in Afghanistan coupled with not quite saying he wasn’t in Pakistanthe most logical refugesoon became as ornate as Arabic script.
Then came, like the meeting of the Bush family with the family of the Reagan-attempted assassin, a brief flash of evidence. Now in government sabotage manuals, they always say get the true story out there somewhere on newspaper page Z-42 so if something gets discovered or you need to backtrack, you can say “See? No one was hiding anythingthe story was there all the time"and you can then spin it around as you wish, usually claiming bureaucratic foul-up or blaming some other group.
First, in one gossip magazine, I think the National Enquirer, was a brief mention on their site that Bin-Laden had been attacked in some sort of assassination attempt by the CIA (many people point to the heavy dose of ex-government and CIA officials running such magazines), followed by one at their site that he was dead from illness.
But what followed was even more intriguing, and tended to confirm at least the outlines of what my informant had picked-up. Amid the US media silence was one more key story I heard on CBS in Pittsburgh where it was  briefly revealed that Bin-Laden was indeed on September 11th at a Pakistani Military hospital for treatment under official government supervision. This was consistent with previous reports by Afghan locals to the world press that that the dying man had been taken on September 10th to Pakistan for medical reasons. And if you have followed anything about what happens over there, or been there, you know that means US Military and CIA supervisionthe local US Generals have begun a trend in being first to boast they are “pro-consuls“ of the US government as in Rome‘s Empire, if that gives you any clues. The story was presented as semi-confirmed, but with a peculiar denial by the Pakistani government: specifically limited to one night.
The story must be understood in American Network doublespeak. We are intended to conclude it may have happened, but if it did, the US was not involved given those disorganized Pakistanis anyway.
The Houdini Press
Then the issue also vanished amid the uproar of ‘what Bush knew' about potential Taliban attacks. Talk about red herrings. I knewI wrote an article warning against the Taliban in the now defunct e-zine Ama-gi a week before the attack. Everybody with any brains, especially after that destruction of the Buddhist monuments, knew that the US playing footsie with the Taliban was asking for trouble. Still, this did not prove they attacked anything.
The story drifted to Limbo. If false, one would expect a complete denial at least from the Pakistanis, who look stupid if the story is true and have nothing to lose by denying it. If true, they might just sit on it, seeing it is impolitic to blame the Americans but useful to leave it in Limbo, especially amid bizarre-sounding reports by Indian intelligence that Pakistani intelligence, the ISI, had handled money to the 9-11 alleged hijackers . Reportedly, the ISI head, General Ahmad, was having breakfast with Sen. Graham in the Capitol as events unfolded, days after he supposedly had seen to the money transfer, before being whisked away with everyone else as fears mounted the Capitol itself might be attacked.
Surely as he spent the subsequent week in Washington, was there no opportunity to explore with him Bin-Laden’s whereabouts? Graham is a Florida senator, and this disturbing meeting was widely reported in Florida as a human interest curiosity, but to my knowledge received near zero coverage elsewhere. That’s how it’s getting in the US Houdini press latelystories get hermetically sealed in one Statecovered and visible locally but not picked up elsewhere and invisible nationally. They might as well be the weather in Burundi.
More interestingly, the US government, which these days seems ready to deny that the Sun is in the sky and the ground is where corn grows, is also utterly silent. If true, pragmatically the whole casus belli would collapsesuch as it iseven if Bin-Laden were indeed involved; if false, the government should jump at the chance to deny it, or at least blame the Pakistanis as it squeezes concessions from their tottering regime.
Hey, that may be just logic talking, but a reporter out there should be checking it out, no?
But no reporter is asking the question. So no one is answering it.
I know. For several months I have met personally and sent feelers to various reporters on the story. The word is that it is a hoax, or involves national security, or is old news, but whatever it is, don’t touch it.
This is again no surprise in Florida, where it was recently revealed that a local paper Herald had guidelines on what not to say about the current crisis that might put the government in a bad light…a story reported on TV with tittering by the newscastersand then also sunk into silence.
The CBS network won’t even confirm after several e-mails that what it had on the websitesince gone and then mysteriously re-postedexisted.
And that’s where it stands. Did the network misreport? Did people misunderstand? Is this just some goofy sideshow?
Or was Bin-Laden playing along with his US pals in return for promises and medical treatment…or simply not conscious as his kidneys ceased to function? …and deader than Julius Caesar a few days later?
Are Republican and Democratic US government elements deliberately playing a dangerous game of whipping up anti-US hatred to justify ritzy budgets and appointments for decades to come? Or are they all blundering about in a stupid opera of their own prejudices and don’t want to know lest they be blamedas when Kissinger incredibly agreed to head up an investigation and then, perhaps realizing he was about to step into something more Byzantine than even his mind was prepared to address, andperhaps remembering what happened to distinguished US elder statesmen who got wrapped up in the Bank of Credit and Commerce scandal and found themselves blamed for everything while the real culprits vanished more incredibly resigned?
Or if this is just some crazy rumor started by overwrought Pakistani hospital attendants, why is that not then said, and the whole thing discredited?
I don’t know.
But if I of all people must months after the event bring up the issue for the first time in a sort of scoop where more qualified people say nothing, the public is entitled to wonder.
It is entitled to wonder if like a Mafia murder in broad daylight where the whereabouts of everyone is less than clear and no one saw a thing, many people have simultaneously and independently decided that they don’t want to knowand if that you have any sense, you don’t want to know either.
Michael Gilson De Lemos ("MG") is on the National Committee of the US Libertarian Party, and also co-ordinates the Libertarian International Organization. Retired as a Fortune 100 management consultant, he is working on books on management and libertarian philosophy. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.