9/11

Book Review: Disappearing War: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Cinema and Erasure in the Post-9/11 World edited by Christina Hellmich and Lisa Purse

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 08/11/2017 - 10:43pm in

In Disappearing War: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Cinema and Erasure in the Post-9/11 World, editors Christina Hellmich and Lisa Purse bring together contributors from across a range of disciplines to explore how depictions of contemporary warfare are frequently shaped by absence, erasure and a hierarchy of grievability. This is a theoretically robust, compelling and intriguing contribution to the ‘aesthetic turn’ within International Relations scholarship, writes Julian Schmid.

Disappearing War: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Cinema and Erasure in the Post-9/11 World. Christina Hellmich and Lisa Purse (eds). Edinburgh University Press. 2017.

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In recent years, International Relations and other disciplines exploring war and warfare within political research have experienced a widespread diversification of methodological, theoretical and epistemological tools and perspectives. In Disappearing War: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Cinema and Erasure in the Post-9/11 World, editors Christina Hellmich and Lisa Purse adopt a consciously cross-disciplinary approach in bringing together ten authors working across film, literature, theatre and media studies, political science and International Relations as well as film practitioners.

The underlying assumption of the authors is that war – detached and removed from the lives of most people in the West – can in many cases only be understood through mediatisation, which entails the creation of a narrative through cultural reproduction rather than through real-world experience. They furthermore identify film and cinema as the institutions that seem crucial for these mediated tropes as they allow for forms of narrative, immersion and eradication that are very powerful.

Across their individual contributions, the authors ask questions about omissions in the mediated experience of the ‘War on Terror’; what erasures of specific elements of war are representationally characteristic; and what consequences these absences bear for cultural understandings of warfare. Drawing on a broad body of literature, Hellmich and Purse formulate the premise of the book in the introductory chapter by suggesting that their focus on the presence or absence of civilian suffering as well as the hierarchy of grievability, ‘sedimented in the mediatisation of the war on terror in Western media, has material, realworld consequences’ (5).

The second chapter, by political scientist Cora Goldstein, presents a historical account of US film and Hollywood’s ties to the political realm. According to Goldstein, the war films of the 1940s and 1950s erased civilian casualties from their visual texts as they were designed by Hollywood in cooperation with political actors to give the impression of a clean, purified and victorious war and to create and distribute legitimacy. War films became more graphic in the second half of the twentieth century, while still omitting certain forms of destruction, such as the killings of civilians through bombings.

Post-9/11 films have depicted violence against civilians by focusing on the individual experience, one factor being that it is easier to display individual suffering than large-scale devastation. But while the reasons for violence are not discussed, the killing of combatants and non-combatants comes to seem rational and surgical. Goldstein’s chapter serves as the ideal basis, theoretically and historically, for the rest of the book. It addresses the maiming of the human body, the destruction of urban spaces and infrastructure and the erasures of suffering and killing, raising questions of morality and legitimacy that inform the other chapters.

Image Credit: 4th Infantry Division at National Training Center (US Army CC BY 2.0)

The contribution from Agnieszka Piotrowska, a documentary filmmaker, as well as those by political researchers Thomas Gregory, Jessica Auchter, Purse and Shohini Chaudhuri, tap into the theoretical spaces opened up in Chapters One and Two. Piotrowska’s essay addresses how operators of targeted killing are affected by their actions. Purse and Chaudhuri identify cinematic patterns and representational devices through which aspects of war and violence are made visible or rendered invisible within Hollywood blockbusters of recent years.

Political scientist Robert Burgoyne, as well as Gregory and Auchter, place focus on the corporeal experience of war and how bodies are displayed in film and media. Burgoyne illustrates how the dramaturgical focus lies in visualising the physical challenges experienced by US soldiers at the expense of non-American casualties. Gregory and Auchter address similar issues, arguing that violence in films such as Zero Dark Thirty (2012) or American Sniper (2014) is presented as being highly controlled, calculated and clean. The erasure of certain bodies and the maintenance of others create a hierarchy of suffering, as Gregory argues, while Auchter sees a political move behind the question of which bodies actually count as bodies and which don’t. All three chapters thereby tap into Judith Butler’s philosophical account about which lives are (made) grievable, Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence (2004).

Butler’s concept is directly discussed in a few of the chapters as her work addresses questions of erasure, visibility and subjectivity. Even more so, most contributions rely heavily on theoretical concepts taken from International Relations, philosophy and sociology, such as Jean Baudrillard’s Hyperreality, James Der Derian’s Virtuous War and Hannah Arendt’s work on ‘the banality of evil’.  Theoretical debates included in the book also move across different strands of Marxism, critical theory, post-structuralism, post-colonialism, constructivism and psychoanalysis.

Depending on the specific interests of the reader, the individual chapters might be of varying relevance; however, the contributors presume a relatively sufficient knowledge of the theoretical debates and theorists mentioned above. Without this, most chapters will be hard to understand. Furthermore, the essays tend to put a definite focus on a very specific sample of films, which again requires at least some basic familiarity with these texts. However, many of these are quite easily accessible online, including the fictionalised 30-minute documentary 5,000 Feet is the Best (2011), which is well analysed in Piotrowska’s captivating contribution about drones.

Disappearing War displays a theoretically robust and intriguing contribution to the debate around the ‘aesthetic turn’ in International Relations and its connections to narrative, visuality and popular culture. The analytical chapters of the book address both feature and documentary films from the different perspectives of IR and film scholars as well as filmmakers, all of whom share the assumption that cinematic representations of violence and the ‘War on Terror’ have wider implications for the world real humans live in. Overall, the theoretical and methodological diversity of the book makes it an exciting and inspiring read. Disappearing War is highly compelling and will be stimulating for a disciplinary debate that still has many unexplored spaces.

Julian Schmid is currently a PhD Researcher and Associate Tutor at the Department for Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick. His research project addresses the crisis of security concepts, heroism and the connections between popular culture and post-‘9/11’ security discourses. Julian’s research interests cover areas such as International Relations, security and surveillance studies, US foreign policy, war and militarism, critical geopolitics, popular culture, film studies, post-structuralism, aesthetics, visuality and narrative. As Associate Tutor, he is also teaching on undergraduate modules on Theories of International Relations and US Foreign Policy.

Note: This review gives the views of the author, and not the position of the LSE Review of Books blog, or of the London School of Economics. 


Fox News Drools over Mandatory Patriotism Class in College of the Ozarks

The use of patriotism as a disguise for right-wing indoctrination gets another boost in this small section of the American education system. In this clip from Secular Talk, host Kyle Kulinski talks about a piece on Fox News, where they discuss the introduction of a new, mandatory freshman class on patriotism and the military at the College of the Ozarks with the college’s president, Gerry Davis. Actually, discuss is probably not the right word. ‘Rave about’ and ‘fawn over’ are probably better descriptors.

Davis states that the course will including rifle shooting, map reading and tying knots, as well as respect for the flag, as these parts of the curriculum are modelled on basic training in the American military. He states that everyone in America owes a debt to their armed forces. As for sport, he states that the college football and other sports teams would not play another side, whose team members refused to stand for the flag. And he states that it’s disrespectful for a squaddie, who’s served in Afghanistan, to have to see some multi-millionaire kneeling. This is clearly a reference to Colin Kaepernick and the other American football players, who have knelt when the flag is raised before games to show their support for Black Lives Matter and protest the shooting of unarmed Blacks.

Kulinski is understandable bitterly critical about the double standards towards free speech shown by the college and its administrators, and by the Republicans towards peaceful protest. He states that if others were assembling a course on patriotism, a few of the things they might put in it could be the Civil Rights movement, perhaps the New Deal, and the Constitution. But none of those are included, because it doesn’t reflect the personal tastes of Davis himself. And any course on patriotism should include how great it is to live in a country, that will allow you to burn the flag in a peaceful protest. He points out that peaceful protest is one of the most American of institutions. But this move means that it is ruled out, and there is literally no way people can express their feelings about injustice as these are also angrily denounced or suppressed by the patriotic right. If they march in the street, they’re accused of making a mountain out of a molehill. They can’t riot without being denounced, obviously, and so, with simply kneeling for the flag also attacked, there is simply nothing they can do to raise awareness of the issue of the cops killing innocent Blacks. And this is the attitude of the American patriotic right.

Who claim they are the defenders of free speech, except when it challenges the flag and the military. ‘You f***ing hypocrites’, Kulinski describes them.

As for ending the cavalier judicial murder of Black Americans, Kulinski suggests this could be done by passing laws setting up community policing, making all police wear body cameras and ending the war on drugs.

He ends by saying that if these people were truly concerned with patriotism, they’d be willing to let people kneel for the flag, even if they didn’t agree with them. But instead the president of the US himself, has said that people should fired for doing so.

Kulinski’s right about all of this, and the issue of respecting the flag has been raised before. Back in the 1980s when Reagan was in the White House, there was a storm of outrage when a young member of the Communist party publicly burned the flag in protest at Reagan’s policies. The great American comedian, Bill Hicks, lampooned the Republican protests and loud denunciations which followed.

He said he didn’t want anyone to burn the flag. But the flag wasn’t freedom. You can’t burn freedom because freedom is freedom. And that includes the freedom to burn the flag. Or words to that effect. It’s a long time since I listened to the joke.

As for Americans owing something to the military, that’s true up to a point. This arguably begins and ends round about the Second World War and the attack on Pearl Harbour. The other wars America has fought across the globe have not been about protecting America or democracy, but preserving capitalism against the threat of Communism. This has meant the overthrow of even moderately liberal or reformist governments in order to protect and extend American corporate interests. 9/11 was an act of war against America, but the western armed forces that are now stationed in the country have long outstayed any residual welcome they may have had, and are now in fact actively counterproductive in that they are creating opposition to the West. And the subsequent invasions and military actions that have taken place under the guise of the War on Terror, such as the Iraq invasion, the bombing of Syria and the overthrow of Gaddafi, are simply more geopolitical imperialist adventures, in which the lives of brave squaddies are being spilt simply to boost the profits of big corporations.

Perhaps if America and the West genuinely wanted to respect our troops, we would just make sure they’d only be sent in when our security was directly threatened. And not as cannon-fodder for Raytheon and the other defence contractors to make another killing on the stock exchange.

Osama Bin Laden’s America 

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 03/11/2017 - 2:30am in

This post originally appeared at TomDispatch.

Honestly, if there’s an afterlife, then the soul of Osama bin Laden, whose body was consigned to the waves by the US Navy back in 2011, must be swimming happily with the dolphins and sharks. At the cost of the sort of spare change that Donald Trump recently offered aides and former campaign officials for their legal troubles in the Russia investigation (on which he’s unlikely to deliver) — a mere $400,000 to $500,000 — bin Laden managed to launch the American war on terror. He did so with little but a clever game plan, a few fanatical followers and a remarkably intuitive sense of how this country works.

He had those 19 mostly Saudi hijackers, a scattering of supporters elsewhere in the world, and the “training camps” in Afghanistan, but his was a ragged and understaffed movement.  And keep in mind that his sworn enemy was the country that then prided itself on being the last superpower, the final winner of the imperial sweepstakes that had gone on for five centuries until, in 1991, the Soviet Union imploded.


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President Donald Trump shakes hands with US Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, his new national security adviser, at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, on Feb. 20, 2017. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

The President Who Loved Generals

BY William D. Hartung | March 14, 2017

The question was: With such limited resources, what kind of self-destructive behavior could he goad a triumphalist Washington into? The key would be what might be called apocalyptic humiliation.

Looking back, 16 years later, it’s extraordinary how Sept. 11, 2001, would set the pattern for everything that followed. Each further goading act, from Afghanistan to Libya, San Bernardino to Orlando, Iraq to Niger, each further humiliation would trigger yet more of the same behavior in Washington. After all, so many people and institutions — above all, the US military and the rest of the national security state — came to have a vested interest in Osama bin Laden’s version of our world.

 
Apocalyptic Humiliation

Grim as the 9/11 attacks were, with nearly 3,000 dead civilians, they would be but the start of bin Laden’s “success,” which has, in truth, never ended. The phrase of that moment — that 9/11 had “changed everything” — proved far more devastatingly accurate than we Americans imagined at the time. Among other things, it transformed the country in essential ways.

The Donald, Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis, White House chief of staff John Kelly and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster were Osama bin Laden’s grim gift to the rest of us. Thanks to him, literally trillions of taxpayer dollars would go down the tubes in remarkably pointless wars and “reconstruction” scams abroad that now threaten to feed on each other to something like the end of (American) time.

After all, Osama bin Laden managed to involve the United States in 16 years of fruitless wars, most now “generational” conflicts with no end in sight, which would only encourage the creation and spread of terror groups, the disintegration of order across significant parts of the planet, and the displacement of whole populations in staggering numbers. At the same time, he helped turn 21st-century Washington into a war machine of the first order that ate the rest of the government for lunch. He gave the national security state the means — the excuse, if you will — to rise to a kind of power, prominence and funding that might otherwise have been inconceivable. In the process — undoubtedly fulfilling his wildest dreams — he helped speed up the decline of the very country that, since the Cold War ended, had been plugging itself as the greatest ever.

In other words, he may truly be the (malign) genius of our age. He created a terrorist version of call-and-response that still rules Donald Trump’s Washington in which the rubblized generals of America’s rubblized wars on an increasingly rubblized planet now reign supreme. In other words, The Donald, Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis, White House chief of staff John Kelly and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster were Osama bin Laden’s grim gift to the rest of us. Thanks to him, literally trillions of taxpayer dollars would go down the tubes in remarkably pointless wars and “reconstruction” scams abroad that now threaten to feed on each other to something like the end of (American) time.

Of course, he had a little luck in the process. As a start, no one, not even the 9/11 plotters themselves, could have imagined that those towers in Manhattan would collapse before the already omnipresent cameras of the age in a way that would create such classically apocalyptic imagery. As scholar Paul Boyer once argued, in the wake of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Americans never stopped dreaming of a nuclear attack on this country. Our pop culture was filled with such imagery, such nightmares. On that September day, many Americans suddenly felt as if something like it had finally happened. It wasn’t happenstance that, within 24 hours, the area of downtown Manhattan where the shards of those towers lay would be dubbed “Ground Zero,” a term previously reserved for the spot where a nuclear explosion had taken place, or that Tom Brokaw, anchoring NBC’s nonstop news coverage, would claim that it was “like a nuclear winter in lower Manhattan.”


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Members of a US color guard wait to greet Britain's secretary of defense, Michael Fallon, at the Pentagon on July 7, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

The American Military Uncontained

BY William J. Astore | September 13, 2017

The sense of being sneak-attacked on an apocalyptic scale — hence the “new Pearl Harbor” and “Day of Infamy” headlines — proved overwhelming as the scenes of those towers falling in a near mushroom cloud of smoke and ash were endlessly replayed. Of course, no such apocalyptic attack had occurred. The weapons at hand weren’t even bombs or missiles, but our own airplanes filled with passengers. And yes, it was a horror, but not the horror Americans generally took it for.  And yet, 16 years later, it’s still impossible to put 9/11 in any kind of reasonable context or perspective in this country, even after we’ve helped to rubblize major cities across the Middle East — most recently the Syrian city of Raqqa — and so aided in creating landscapes far more apocalyptic looking than 9/11 ever was.

As I wrote long ago, 9/11 “was not a nuclear attack. It was not apocalyptic. The cloud of smoke where the towers stood was no mushroom cloud. It was not potentially civilization ending. It did not endanger the existence of our country — or even of New York City. Spectacular as it looked and staggering as the casualty figures were, the operation was hardly more technologically advanced than the failed attack on a single tower of the World Trade Center in 1993 by Islamists using a rented Ryder truck packed with explosives.”

On the other hand, imagine where we’d be if Osama bin Laden had had just a little more luck that day; imagine if the fourth hijacked plane, the one that crashed in a field in Pennsylvania, had actually reached its target in Washington and wiped out, say, the Capitol or the White House.

Bin Laden certainly chose his symbols of American power well — financial (the World Trade Center), military (the Pentagon) and political (some target in Washington) — in order to make the government and people of the self-proclaimed most exceptional nation on Earth feel the deepest possible sense of humiliation.

Short of wiping out the White House, bin Laden could hardly have hit a more American nerve or created a stronger sense that the country which felt it had everything was now left with nothing at all.

Short of wiping out the White House, bin Laden could hardly have hit a more American nerve or created a stronger sense that the country which felt it had everything was now left with nothing at all. That it wasn’t true — not faintly — didn’t matter.

That it wasn’t true — not faintly — didn’t matter. And add in one more bit of bin Laden good luck. The administration in the White House at that moment had its own overblown dreams of how our world should work. As they emerged from the shock of those attacks, which sent Vice President Dick Cheney into a Cold-War-era underground nuclear bunker and President George W. Bush onto Air Force One — he was reading a children’s bookMy Pet Goat, to school kids in Florida as the attacks occurred — and in flight away from Washington to Barksdale Air Base in Louisiana, they began to dream of their global moment. Like Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in the partially destroyed Pentagon, they instantly started thinking about taking out Iraq’s autocratic ruler Saddam Hussein and launching a project to create a Middle East and then a planet over which the United States alone would have dominion forever and ever.

As befitted those Pearl Harbor headlines, on the night of Sept. 11, the president was already speaking of “the war against terrorism.” Within a day, he had called it “the first war of the twenty-first century” and soon, because al-Qaida was such a pathetically inadequate target, had added, “Our war on terror begins with al-Qaida, but it does not end there.”

It couldn’t have been stranger. The United States was “at war,” but not with a great power or even one of the regional “rogue states” that had been the focus of American military thinking in the 1990s. We were at war with a phenomenon — “terrorism” — on a global scale. As Rumsfeld would say only five days after 9/11, the new war on terror would be “a large multiheaded effort that probably spans 60 countries, including the United States.” In the phrase of the moment, they were going to “drain the swamp” globally.


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President Donald Trump addresses a joint session of the US Congress on February 28, 2017 in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Donald Trump Goes All In for the Military-Industrial Complex

BY John Nichols | March 1, 2017

Even setting aside that terrorism then had no real armies, no real territory, essentially nothing, this couldn’t have been more wildly out of proportion to what had actually happened or to the outfit that had caused it to happen. But anyone who suggested as much (or something as simple and unimpressive as a “police action” against bin Laden and crew) was promptly laughed out of the room or abused into silence. And so a call-and-response pattern that fit bin Laden’s wildest dreams would be established in which, whatever they did, the United States would always respond by militarily upping the ante.

In this way, Washington promptly found itself plunged into a Global War on Terror, or GWOT, that was essentially a figment of its own imagination. The Bush administration, not Osama bin Laden, then proceeded to turn it into a reality, starting with the invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq. Meanwhile, from the passage of the Patriot Act to the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security, a newly national-securitized Washington would be built up on a previously unheard-of scale.

In other words, we were already entering Osama bin Laden’s America.

 
The War Lovers

In this way, long before Donald Trump and Rex Tillerson began downsizing the State Department, George W. Bush and his top officials (who, except for Colin Powell, had never been to war) committed themselves to the US military as the option of choice for what had previously been called “foreign policy.” Fortunately for bin Laden, they would prove to be the ultimate fundamentalists when it came to that military. They had little doubt that they possessed a force beyond compare with the kind of power and technological resources guaranteed to sweep away everything before it.  That military was, as the president boasted, “the greatest force for human liberation the world has ever known.” What, then, could possibly stop it from spearheading the establishment of a Pax Americana in the Greater Middle East and elsewhere that would leave the Roman and British empires in the shade? (As it happened, they had absorbed nothing of the 20th-century history of insurrection, rebellion and resistance in the former colonial world. If they had, none of what followed would have surprised them in the least.)

And so the wars would spread, states would begin to crumble, terror movements would multiply, and each little shiver of fear, each set of American deaths, whether by such movements or “lone wolves” in the US and Europe, would call up just one response: more of the same.


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President-elect Donald Trump shakes hands with retired US Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis after their meeting at Trump International Golf Club on Nov. 19, 2016 in Bedminster Township, New Jersey. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Trump’s Generals Have Failed Up

BY Tom Engelhardt | September 6, 2017

Think of this as Osama bin Laden’s dream world, which we would create for him and his fellow jihadists.

I’ve been writing about this at TomDispatch year after year for a decade and a half now and nothing ever changes. Not really. It’s all so sadly predictable as, years after bin Laden was consigned to his watery grave, Washington continues to essentially do his bidding in a remarkably brainless fashion.

Think of it as a kind of feedback loop in which the interests of a domestic security and surveillance state, built to monumental proportions on a relatively minor fear (of terrorism), and a military eternally funded to the heavens on a remarkably bipartisan basis for its never-ending war on terror ensure that nothing ever truly changes. In 21st-century Washington, failure is the new success and repetition is the rule of the day, week, month and year.

Take, for example, the recent events in Niger. Consider the pattern of call-and-response there. Almost no Americans (and it turned out, next to no senators) even knew that the US had something like 900 troops deployed permanently to that West African country and two drone bases there (though it was no secret). Then, on Oct. 4, the first reports of the deaths of four American soldiers and the wounding of two others in a Green Beret unit on a “routine training mission” in the lawless Niger-Mali border area came out. The ambush, it seemed, had been set by an ISIS affiliate.

Think of this as Osama bin Laden’s dream world, which we would create for him and his fellow jihadists.

It was, in fact, such an obscure and distant event that, for almost two weeks, there was little reaction in Congress or media uproar of any sort. That ended, however, when President Trump, in response to questions about those dead soldiers, attacked Barack Obama and George W. Bush for not calling the parents of the American fallen (they had) and then got into a dispute with the widow of one of the Niger dead (as well as a Democratic congresswoman) over his condolence call to her. The head of the Joint Chiefs was soon forced to hold a news conference; former four-star Marine Gen. and White House chief of staff John Kelly, whose son had died in Afghanistan, felt called upon to go to the mat for his boss, falsely accuse that congresswoman and essentially claim that the military was now an elite caste in this country. This certainly reflected the new highly militarized sense of power and worth that lay at the heart of bin Laden’s Washington.

It was only then that the event in distant Niger became another terrorist humiliation of the first order. Senators were suddenly outraged. Sen. John McCain (one of the more warlike members of that body, famous in 2007 for jokingly singing, to the tune of an old Beach Boys song, “Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran”) threatened to subpoena the administration for more Niger information. Meanwhile his friend Sen. Lindsey Graham, another war hawk of the first order, issued a classic warning of this era: “We don’t want the next 9/11 to come from Niger!”

And suddenly US Africa Command was highlighting its desire for more money from Congress; the military was moving to arm its Reaper drones in Niger with Hellfire missiles for future counterterrorism operations; and Secretary of Defense Mattis was assuring senators privately that the military would “expand” its “counterterrorism focus” in Africa. The military began to prepare to deploy Hellfire Missile-armed Reaper drones to Niger. “The war is morphing,” Graham insisted. “You’re going to see more actions in Africa, not less; you’re going to see more aggression by the United States toward our enemies, not less; you’re going to have decisions being made not in the White House but out in the field.”

Rumors were soon floating around that, as The Washington Post reported, the administration might “loosen restrictions on the US military’s ability to use lethal force in Niger” (as it already had done in the Trump era in places like Syria and Yemen). And so it expectably went, as events in Niger proceeded from utter obscurity to the near-apocalyptic, while — despite the strangeness of the Trumpian moment — the responses came in exactly as anyone reviewing the last 16 years might have imagined they would.

All of this will predictably make things in central Africa worse, not better, leading to… well, more than a decade and a half after 9/11, you know just as well as I do where it’s leading. And there are remarkably few brakes on the situation, especially with three generals of our losing wars ruling the roost in Washington and Donald Trump now lashed to the mast of his chief of staff.

Welcome to Osama bin Laden’s America.

The post Osama Bin Laden’s America  appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

Families of 9/11 victims to sue the Saudi government

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 26/10/2017 - 12:55am in

Declassified
evidence about the 9/11
attacks
point to Saudi Arabia. But will justice be served?

An aerial view shows a small portion of Ground Zero, where the World Trade Center collapsed following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Picture by Eric J. Tilford/Zuma Press/PA Images. All rights reserved. The
28-page famous Congressional report has ended in a bill known as
JASTA (Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act). Part of the 2002
investigation report was classified by then US president George W.
Bush. However,
last
year, the Obama administration declassified them. The document showed
that some of the hijackers were in contact with, and received support
or assistance from individuals who were connected to the Saudi
government.

There
is an abundance of evidence that leads to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia
financing al-Qaeda, financing Osama bin Laden, and financing the
charities that also supported Osama bin Laden and the attacks of
9/11. So, they are not entitled
to immunity for a terrorist attack on American soil. Moreover, 15 of
the 19 hijackers were Saudi nationals. Why should these pieces of
evidence not
be
debated in court?

The 28 pages show a direct link of money being transferred through the Saudi embassy in Washington DC to two hijackers

The
declassified pages offer previously unknown
information about the actions of a powerful figure in the Saudi royal
family
. The
document shows further ties between the Saudi government, al-Qaeda,
and the
hijackers.
The 28 pages show a direct link of money being transferred through
the Saudi embassy in Washington DC to two hijackers.

JASTA
has raised tensions with Saudi Arabia.
 Over
the past several years, Saudis have tried to stop the bill by
lobbying, bribery, and threatening US officials. When the bill was
introduced, the
Saudi
government "threatened"
 to
sell up to $750 billion in United States Treasury securities and
other U.S. assets if the bill is passed.

Adel
al-Jubeir tried to persuade US legislators to reject JASTA by
lobbying US official.
 Jubeir
said at a joint press conference with visiting US Secretary of State
John Kerr that “we believe JASTA is a grave danger to the
international system and surely to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

An
official at Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs told
 the
state-run Saudi Press Agency on September 29 that the U.S. Congress
must correct the 9/11 bill to avoid “serious unintended
consequences,” adding that
the
law is of “great concern” to the Kingdom.

Tracing the flow of money is one crucial way of getting to the truth

Over
the past year, I made
extensive research in
order
to
find
those Saudi companies based in the US attempting to foil JASTA. I
found 27 companies and organizations located in the
US
which spent billions of dollars to lobby Congress and federal
agencies, FBI and CIA officials, and many influential figures seeking
to end US lawsuit against the
Saudi
government over 9/11 attacks. This
list can be found at the bottom of this article.

The
Obama
administration as
well as the
Trump administration made
$480
billion deals with the Saudi government. These
deals
are the most powerful Saudi means to block JASTA.

Though
the
Saudi
government tried to persuade US official and influential figures to
block the lawsuit, JASTA paves
the way for families of 9/11 victims to sue the
Saudi
government for its
alleged
role in the attacks.

It
is true that Saudi Arabia needs US support for its national and
regional security, however, the Saudi petrodollars paid to
consecutive US administrations should not result in ignoring the
rights of American citizens.

We
do not know everything surrounding
the 9/11 attacks,
so why do US officials keep blocking the facts? Why does
Saudi Arabia spend millions and millions of dollars trying to block
this law suit? If the kingdom of Saudi Arabia has nothing to hide,
they should welcome an opportunity to tell their side of
the story in
a courtroom. That is what American citizens
are
asking
for.

It
is extremely important for
the families of
the victims of 9/11 to
have accountability and justice for the murder of their loved ones
but it is also
extremely
important for
US national security going forward to
know the facts.

The
United
States
cannot protect itself if it cannot face who the real enemy is, who
finances al-Qaeda, and
who
financed
these terrorist attacks. Tracing
the flow of money is
one crucial way of getting to the truth, so let’s get it out to the
courtroom.

Bellow
is
the list
of
the 27 companies and
organizations:

Aramco Service Company (AASC)

Contract date: 2016/11/14

Contractor: Saudi Government

Type of service: communications and public relations

Nazar Group

Contract date: 2016/11/09

Contractor: Saudi embassy

Type of service: Political advisor to the Embassy of Saudi Arabia

Hill+Noltown Group

Contract date: 2017/05/18

Contractor: Saudi government

Type of service: Political counseling

International Trade Institute

Contract date: 2011/04/14

Contractor: Saudi Commercial Board

Type of service: Economics and Investment Consulting

Burke, Martha, Ann

Contract Date: 2017/06/06

Contractor: Saudi Foreign Ministry

Type of service: Expanding War in Yemen

Subcontracting with Brownstein Group

Glover Park Group

Contract date: 2016/09/20

Contractor: Saudi government

Type of service: Supporting Saudi Arabia against JASTA

Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck

Contract date: 2016/09/22

Contractor: Saudi Foreign Ministry

Type of service: The company provided two reports in 60 pages and described to US officials the prospect of Saudi action to return the Yemeni ruler.

Daniel Edelman Inc.

Contract date: 2017/05/05

Contractor: General Investment Council

Type of service: Edelman Inc. is an Employment Attorney in Washington, New York and the United Nations which works for the benefit of Saudi Arabia. The company received $ 190,000 for a promotional work including a logo, a booklet and a video clip.

Saudi Refining Company

Contract date: 1989/05/12

Contractor: Oil Company (Aramco)

Type of service: Public relations and investment support

Hogan Lovells

Contract date: 2007/9/24

Contractor: Saudi Embassy

Type of service: Receiving $ 125,000 per month in return for providing advice on legal, judicial, and organizational activities and general policies - Focusing on Iran

Burson-Marsteller

Contract date: 2017/01/27

Contractor: The Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition

Type of service: The contract was signed by Saudi Defense Minister Mohamed bin Salman to promote the "Military Counter Terrorism Coalition." From the terms of the agreement, Burson-Marsteller has been planning the recruitment of senior American and British officers to launch a military coalition.

DLA Piper

Contract date: 2016/05/31

Contractor: Saudi Foreign Ministry

Type of service: The purpose of this contract is to block JASTA, with a monthly payment of $ 5,000.

Harper Group, Inc.

Contract date: 2017/06/06

Contractor: Saudi Embassy

Saudi International Petrochemical Company (SIPCHEM)

Contract date: 1999/07/21

Contractor: Oil Company (Aramco)

Aramco Service Company (AASC)

Contract date: 2016/11/14

Contractor: Oil Company (Aramco)

Konig & Spalding

Contract date: 2016/09/26

Contractor: Ministry of Commerce and Investment

HOV Health International Group

Contract date: 2016/10/26

Contractor: Saudi Government

PGR Public Service Group

Contract date: 2016/03/15

Contractor: Center for Research and Media of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Type of service: Promotion of Public Relations and Media Management Services for a monthly fee of $ 500,000

The contract was signed by Ed Rogers, a member of the Foreign Relations Commission and former government officials of Ronald Reagan.

MSL Group

Contract date: 2002/03/06

Contractor: Saudi Embassy

Type of service: This is the main group that has been tasked with pushing for Saudi Arabia's interests by the beginning of 2017. According to reports, this group received $ 7 million for its activities in April-September 2015.

"Just Counseling" Group

Contract date: 2012/10/09

Contractor: Islamic Cooperation Organization

Type of service: Public relations

Rousseau Dominic

Contract date: 2016/10/20

Contractor: General Investment Council

Type of service: Public relations and investment support

Capital Media Group

Contract date: 2017/01/31

Contractor: Saudi Embassy

Sonoran Policy Group Inc.

Contract date: 2017/05/15

Contractor: Ministry of Interior

Type of service: Providing advice to the Saudi Ministry of Interior on business and government affairs for $5.4 million

The group is managed by former Donald Trump advisers to US President Donald Trump.

Macon Group

Contract date: 2016/11/16

Contractor: Saudi Government

Type of service: to support Saudi Arabia; political counseling and putting pressure on JASTA.

Squire Patton Boggs

Contract date: 2016/09/20

Contractor: Center for Research and Media of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Type of service: legal and strategic consulting in the field of foreign policy with a monthly payment of $100,000

Senator John Breaux and Senator Trent Lott are two of the influential senators involved in this contract

CGCN Group

Contract date: 2016/11/30

Contractor: Saudi Embassy

Subcontracting through the Glover Park Group

PODiSTA

Contract date: 2015/09/07

Contractor: Center for Research and Media of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Sideboxes
Related stories: 

Race to the sea: Qatar and the balance of power in the Middle East

A Corbyn-led government should start by scrapping the Prevent Strategy

Behind The Saudi-Qatari spat and the fragmentation of the GCC

What obsessing about you-know-who causes us to miss

Saudi foreign policy under Salman: same goal, different threat perceptions

Kingdom of arbitrary detention: how Saudi Arabia shuts down its most vocal critics

Country or region: 

Saudi Arabia

Topics: 

International politics

Rights: 

CC by NC 4.0

Families of 9/11 victims to sue the Saudi government

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 26/10/2017 - 12:55am in

Declassified
evidence about the 9/11
attacks
point to Saudi Arabia. But will justice be served?

An aerial view shows a small portion of Ground Zero, where the World Trade Center collapsed following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Picture by Eric J. Tilford/Zuma Press/PA Images. All rights reserved. The
28-page famous Congressional report has ended in a bill known as
JASTA (Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act). Part of the 2002
investigation report was classified by then US president George W.
Bush. However,
last
year, the Obama administration declassified them. The document showed
that some of the hijackers were in contact with, and received support
or assistance from individuals who were connected to the Saudi
government.

There
is an abundance of evidence that leads to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia
financing al-Qaeda, financing Osama bin Laden, and financing the
charities that also supported Osama bin Laden and the attacks of
9/11. So, they are not entitled
to immunity for a terrorist attack on American soil. Moreover, 15 of
the 19 hijackers were Saudi nationals. Why should these pieces of
evidence not
be
debated in court?

The 28 pages show a direct link of money being transferred through the Saudi embassy in Washington DC to two hijackers

The
declassified pages offer previously unknown
information about the actions of a powerful figure in the Saudi royal
family
. The
document shows further ties between the Saudi government, al-Qaeda,
and the
hijackers.
The 28 pages show a direct link of money being transferred through
the Saudi embassy in Washington DC to two hijackers.

JASTA
has raised tensions with Saudi Arabia.
 Over
the past several years, Saudis have tried to stop the bill by
lobbying, bribery, and threatening US officials. When the bill was
introduced, the
Saudi
government "threatened"
 to
sell up to $750 billion in United States Treasury securities and
other U.S. assets if the bill is passed.

Adel
al-Jubeir tried to persuade US legislators to reject JASTA by
lobbying US official.
 Jubeir
said at a joint press conference with visiting US Secretary of State
John Kerr that “we believe JASTA is a grave danger to the
international system and surely to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

An
official at Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs told
 the
state-run Saudi Press Agency on September 29 that the U.S. Congress
must correct the 9/11 bill to avoid “serious unintended
consequences,” adding that
the
law is of “great concern” to the Kingdom.

Tracing the flow of money is one crucial way of getting to the truth

Over
the past year, I made
extensive research in
order
to
find
those Saudi companies based in the US attempting to foil JASTA. I
found 27 companies and organizations located in the
US
which spent billions of dollars to lobby Congress and federal
agencies, FBI and CIA officials, and many influential figures seeking
to end US lawsuit against the
Saudi
government over 9/11 attacks. This
list can be found at the bottom of this article.

The
Obama
administration as
well as the
Trump administration made
$480
billion deals with the Saudi government. These
deals
are the most powerful Saudi means to block JASTA.

Though
the
Saudi
government tried to persuade US official and influential figures to
block the lawsuit, JASTA paves
the way for families of 9/11 victims to sue the
Saudi
government for its
alleged
role in the attacks.

It
is true that Saudi Arabia needs US support for its national and
regional security, however, the Saudi petrodollars paid to
consecutive US administrations should not result in ignoring the
rights of American citizens.

We
do not know everything surrounding
the 9/11 attacks,
so why do US officials keep blocking the facts? Why does
Saudi Arabia spend millions and millions of dollars trying to block
this law suit? If the kingdom of Saudi Arabia has nothing to hide,
they should welcome an opportunity to tell their side of
the story in
a courtroom. That is what American citizens
are
asking
for.

It
is extremely important for
the families of
the victims of 9/11 to
have accountability and justice for the murder of their loved ones
but it is also
extremely
important for
US national security going forward to
know the facts.

The
United
States
cannot protect itself if it cannot face who the real enemy is, who
finances al-Qaeda, and
who
financed
these terrorist attacks. Tracing
the flow of money is
one crucial way of getting to the truth, so let’s get it out to the
courtroom.

Bellow
is
the list
of
the 27 companies and
organizations:

Aramco Service Company (AASC)

Contract date: 2016/11/14

Contractor: Saudi Government

Type of service: communications and public relations

Nazar Group

Contract date: 2016/11/09

Contractor: Saudi embassy

Type of service: Political advisor to the Embassy of Saudi Arabia

Hill+Noltown Group

Contract date: 2017/05/18

Contractor: Saudi government

Type of service: Political counseling

International Trade Institute

Contract date: 2011/04/14

Contractor: Saudi Commercial Board

Type of service: Economics and Investment Consulting

Burke, Martha, Ann

Contract Date: 2017/06/06

Contractor: Saudi Foreign Ministry

Type of service: Expanding War in Yemen

Subcontracting with Brownstein Group

Glover Park Group

Contract date: 2016/09/20

Contractor: Saudi government

Type of service: Supporting Saudi Arabia against JASTA

Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck

Contract date: 2016/09/22

Contractor: Saudi Foreign Ministry

Type of service: The company provided two reports in 60 pages and described to US officials the prospect of Saudi action to return the Yemeni ruler.

Daniel Edelman Inc.

Contract date: 2017/05/05

Contractor: General Investment Council

Type of service: Edelman Inc. is an Employment Attorney in Washington, New York and the United Nations which works for the benefit of Saudi Arabia. The company received $ 190,000 for a promotional work including a logo, a booklet and a video clip.

Saudi Refining Company

Contract date: 1989/05/12

Contractor: Oil Company (Aramco)

Type of service: Public relations and investment support

Hogan Lovells

Contract date: 2007/9/24

Contractor: Saudi Embassy

Type of service: Receiving $ 125,000 per month in return for providing advice on legal, judicial, and organizational activities and general policies - Focusing on Iran

Burson-Marsteller

Contract date: 2017/01/27

Contractor: The Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition

Type of service: The contract was signed by Saudi Defense Minister Mohamed bin Salman to promote the "Military Counter Terrorism Coalition." From the terms of the agreement, Burson-Marsteller has been planning the recruitment of senior American and British officers to launch a military coalition.

DLA Piper

Contract date: 2016/05/31

Contractor: Saudi Foreign Ministry

Type of service: The purpose of this contract is to block JASTA, with a monthly payment of $ 5,000.

Harper Group, Inc.

Contract date: 2017/06/06

Contractor: Saudi Embassy

Saudi International Petrochemical Company (SIPCHEM)

Contract date: 1999/07/21

Contractor: Oil Company (Aramco)

Aramco Service Company (AASC)

Contract date: 2016/11/14

Contractor: Oil Company (Aramco)

Konig & Spalding

Contract date: 2016/09/26

Contractor: Ministry of Commerce and Investment

HOV Health International Group

Contract date: 2016/10/26

Contractor: Saudi Government

PGR Public Service Group

Contract date: 2016/03/15

Contractor: Center for Research and Media of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Type of service: Promotion of Public Relations and Media Management Services for a monthly fee of $ 500,000

The contract was signed by Ed Rogers, a member of the Foreign Relations Commission and former government officials of Ronald Reagan.

MSL Group

Contract date: 2002/03/06

Contractor: Saudi Embassy

Type of service: This is the main group that has been tasked with pushing for Saudi Arabia's interests by the beginning of 2017. According to reports, this group received $ 7 million for its activities in April-September 2015.

"Just Counseling" Group

Contract date: 2012/10/09

Contractor: Islamic Cooperation Organization

Type of service: Public relations

Rousseau Dominic

Contract date: 2016/10/20

Contractor: General Investment Council

Type of service: Public relations and investment support

Capital Media Group

Contract date: 2017/01/31

Contractor: Saudi Embassy

Sonoran Policy Group Inc.

Contract date: 2017/05/15

Contractor: Ministry of Interior

Type of service: Providing advice to the Saudi Ministry of Interior on business and government affairs for $5.4 million

The group is managed by former Donald Trump advisers to US President Donald Trump.

Macon Group

Contract date: 2016/11/16

Contractor: Saudi Government

Type of service: to support Saudi Arabia; political counseling and putting pressure on JASTA.

Squire Patton Boggs

Contract date: 2016/09/20

Contractor: Center for Research and Media of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Type of service: legal and strategic consulting in the field of foreign policy with a monthly payment of $100,000

Senator John Breaux and Senator Trent Lott are two of the influential senators involved in this contract

CGCN Group

Contract date: 2016/11/30

Contractor: Saudi Embassy

Subcontracting through the Glover Park Group

PODiSTA

Contract date: 2015/09/07

Contractor: Center for Research and Media of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Sideboxes
Related stories: 

Race to the sea: Qatar and the balance of power in the Middle East

A Corbyn-led government should start by scrapping the Prevent Strategy

Behind The Saudi-Qatari spat and the fragmentation of the GCC

What obsessing about you-know-who causes us to miss

Saudi foreign policy under Salman: same goal, different threat perceptions

Kingdom of arbitrary detention: how Saudi Arabia shuts down its most vocal critics

Country or region: 

Saudi Arabia

Topics: 

International politics

Rights: 

CC by NC 4.0

From RT: McDonnell States We Will Not Sell Arms to States Abusing Human Rights

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 30/09/2017 - 3:06am in

In this short clip from RT, presenter Afshin Rattansi asks John McDonnell about the party’s policy regarding arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Both he (McDonnell) and Jeremy Corbyn have both said that arms sales to Saudi Arabia should be suspended because of their use against civilians in the war in Yemen. Rattansi then asks him if he doesn’t find it odd walking past posters for BAE Systems. McDonnell replies that their stance is that Britain has an arms trade, but we must stop selling arms to human rights abusers, like Saudi Arabia. And this has to stop immediately, because people are dying.

I find it grossly immoral that the Labour party has accepted sponsorship from BAE, which has for decades sold arms to every dictator and butcher on the planet, as well as desperately poor states, who don’t need them, can’t maintain them, and whose purchase diverts money that could be better used on welfare or development programmes for their people. They are also responsible for making weapons that are illegal under international law, such as electric shields and batons.

Unfortunately, big business has wormed its way into the sponsorship of the Labour party, and Tony Blair was as fully supportive of the merchants of death as the Tories were. McDonnell’s statement that he and Corbyn won’t sell arms to the Saudis and the other repressive regimes around the globe sound like a restatement of the late Robin Cook’s ‘ethical foreign policy’, which became a dead letter almost as soon as Labour got into power.

Cook was, in many people’s eyes, the man who should have been head of the Labour party instead of Blair. Speaking at the Cheltenham Festival of Literature nearly two decades or so ago, Giles Brandreth said that when he was a minister in Major’s cabinet, Cook was the man they were most afraid would lead Labour because of his ‘forensic intelligence’. He was genuinely further left, and Private Eye opined that Blair included him in the cabinet because ‘it was better to have him in the tent p*ssing out, than outside p*ssing in.’

The Tories, Lib Dems, the Beeb, the rest of the media, and big business are terrified of Corbyn and McDonnell. This strongly suggests to me that they are afraid that Corbyn, unlike Blair, means what he says. And McDonnell is right: the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia needs to be stopped now. The war hasn’t just killed the people hit by the bullets and bombs. It’s also created a famine that may kill 7 million people.

The Saudis have butchered innocent civilians in factories, mosques and schools, simply because they’re Shi’a. They were also responsible for the 9/11 attack that plunged us into the War on Terror and which was falsely blamed on Iraq. They have also funded and supplied other aid to ISIS in its trail of murder and chaos across the Middle East. I’m aware that the Saudis have turned against ISIS after they released a video trying to encourage the people there to rise up against their rulers. Even so, my guess is that support for the jihadis is nevertheless very strong. Any guns and other ‘wonderful kit’ – in the words of David Cameron – we sell to the Saudis therefore has a strong chance of being passed on to the fanatics to be used against our troops.

There are thus very strong humanitarian and selfish reasons for not selling any further weapons to the Saudis.

The Biggest LIES of 9/11

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 28/09/2017 - 11:30pm in

Tags 

9/11, Terrorism, USA

by Greg Bacon Before I explain why the ‘official’ 9/11 story is one, huge LIE, need to give you some background as to why I can make that statement. For nearly 23 years of my life, worked as a firefighter/EMT, first for a volunteer outfit, then got hired by a medium-size US city fire department as a career firefighter. I fought fire in a variety of structures, from one bedroom homes to apartment complexes, to huge, warehouse like stores, to various industrial concerns and even in high-rises. I’ve fought the ‘Red Devil’ as a firefighter, a step-up engineer–the one responsible for keeping the fire engine pumping water to the hose lines–as an acting Lieutenant, a Lieutenant and a couple of times, as Incident Commander, managing the emergency scene from the outside by coordinating all units on the scene towards one goal: Extinguishing the fire with minimum structure damage and hopefully, no loss of life. In addition to that experience, there was also the monthly department mandated training, either at the Training Academy or in-house. Plus, …

Sixteen More Reasons to Question 9/11

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 23/09/2017 - 11:30pm in

by Kevin Ryan It has been 16 years since the crimes of September 11th, 2001. In that time, facts have been revealed that led more than a third of Americans to believe that the U.S government was involved in the attacks. This blog noted 14 such incredible facts on the 14th anniversary of the crimes. Here are 16 more. 1. In the nine years before 9/11, the FBI failed miserably at preventing terrorism. There are many examples of how FBI leadership under director Louis Freeh facilitated and covered-up acts of terrorism during this time. After 9/11, the FBI took extraordinary measures to hide evidence related to the attacks. 2. CIA director George Tenet led an agency that also failed in its duties related to counterterrorism and those failures appear to have been intentional. Like Freeh, Tenet had developed secret paths of communication with Saudi authorities. The facts suggest that Tenet facilitated the crimes of 9/11. 3. The FBI and CIA have made a mockery of the U.S. justice system as it relates to 9/11. While …

Fresh audio product

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 16/09/2017 - 11:18am in

Just added to my radio archive (click on date for link):

September 15, 2017 Andrew Cockburn, author of this article, on the Saudi involvement in 9/11 • Asad Haider, author of this article, on identity, Mark Lilla, and Ta-Nehisi Coates

Blood and Glory

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 12/09/2017 - 6:45am in

image by imp kerr

If money comes into the world with a congenital blood-stain on one cheek, capital comes dripping from head to toe, from every pore, with blood and dirt.

—Karl Marx, Capital, Volume 1

“We have still not had a death,” he said. “A person does not belong to a place until there is someone dead under the ground.”

—Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

We can tell the story in an easy calculus. The South Tower of the World Trade Center once stood 1,362 feet tall. At 9:03 a.m. on the morning of September 11 2001 it was struck by a Boeing 767 flying at 590 miles an hour and burning 9,100 gallons of jet fuel. The quarter-mile long tower burned at 1,800°F until 9:59 a.m., when it collapsed, sending 500,000 tons of material to the ground at 120 miles per hour and instantly killing 600 people. The North Tower, roughly its equal in size and weight, collapsed 29 minutes later, killing some 1,400 people. Before “Ground Zero” was ever invoked as an election-season rhetorical salvo, before it was ever emblazoned on a special-edition enamel plate anywhere near an eagle, and before it inspired George W. Bush to call it, in his diary, the 21st century’s Pearl Harbor, it constituted 16 acres of a “working fire” that burned 50 meters deep, a designation that gave immediate jurisdiction of the site to the FDNY. The firemen first brought in blueprints and floor plans, rushing to locations where they believed elevators and stairwells would have collapsed with the people they carried. Next, they introduced a map that used global positioning technology to plot patterns among locations where bodies, or parts of bodies, were being found. There were few survivors in the rubble—only 11, in fact —and it soon became clear that the mapping technology would instead be used to locate the dead.

The fire was mean and hard to extinguish. It burned long and deep, flaring when exposed to oxygen and fueled by tons of highly conductive paper and furniture soaked in jet fuel. On September 16, NASA sent an airplane over Ground Zero to gather infrared data that the U.S. Geological Survey made into a thermal heat map, one that showed patches of rubble burning at temperatures above 1,292°F, hotter than the burning point of aluminum. The New Scientist dubbed it “the longest-burning structural fire in history.” Heavy rains fell all day on the 14th and on the night of the 20th, into the dawn of the 21st. A total of four million gallons of water soaked through the debris and pooled at the World Trade Center’s “bathtub,” the 60-foot deep rectangular foundation on which the towers stood. Officials worried the foundation’s weak walls could give way, causing water from the Hudson River to seep into the PATH and subway tunnels, effectively flooding the city’s underground.

The fires burned for 100 days; alternatively, the fires were allowed to burn for 100 days. Officials had not stopped calling Ground Zero a “rescue operation” and they wanted to communicate that it was still possible to find survivors, something they could not do while simultaneously submerging all 16 acres with water and flame retardants. After the 100th day, the last flame was extinguished. It took Rudy Giuliani to stoke it back. At a New York City gala, he reminded listeners of the three firemen who raised the American flag atop the rubble in the now-famous photograph: “They were standing on top of a cauldron. They were standing on top of fires 2,000 degrees that raged for a hundred days. And they put their lives at risk raising that flag. They put the flag up to say, You can’t beat us, because we’re Americans. And we don’t say this with arrogance or in a militaristic way, but in a spiritual way: Our ideas are better than yours.” American exceptionalism was thus reified with the possibility of burnt citizen flesh.

Rescue workers called the 16 acres of debris on Ground Zero “the Pile.” The powdered debris in the Pile contained more than 150 compounds and elements including plaster, talc, synthetic foam, glass, paint chips, charred wood, slag wool, 200,000 pounds of lead from 50,000 computers, gold and mercury from 500,000 fluorescent lights, 2,000 tons of asbestos, and 91,000 liters of jet fuel. The nearly 3,000 human beings who died made up such a miniscule part of the debris that the odds of finding identifiable remains among this city of dust was less than 1 in a quadrillion. Before any tests could be conducted on human remains, however, scientists worried about getting institutional board approval for use of human samples in a scientific investigation.

On September 26, 15 days after the attack, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences sent researchers an email issuing a strict definition of “human subject.” According to the board, a human subject is someone for whom “private information must be individually identifiable” and “individuals whose remains ‘could’ be in the dust did not qualify as human subjects.” While the NIEHS framed its response as permission to use the bodily remains in scientific inquiry, their words carry a grave discursive weight. Defining personhood according to a human being’s ability to be personally identified implies that naming is a category of political recognition based on documentation given that parts of the corporal palimpsest must match information about the body in the state’s archive—paper matched with paper. Individuals who leave bodily traces but who do not officially “exist” in state archives because their livelihoods depend upon clandestine existence may not make matching individually identifiable private information easy. According to the NIEHS’s language, these persons would be excluded from the category of “human subject.”

 • • •

Fresh Kills, once the largest landfill in the world, is 10 miles south of Manhattan. A makeshift forensic laboratory city was set up on the landfill for nearly a year to sort through 1.6 million tons of debris. At the project’s peak, workers went through 7,000 tons of it in a single day. Recovery workers did find whole bodies but they found many more parts. Although skin fragments and hair abounded, these were poor materials with which to identify victims because 2,000-foot towers that welcomed visitors and employees for over four decades accumulated so much human hair and dead skin cells in rugs, chairs, elevators, bathrooms, lobbies, and every hard surface that researchers would have been confronted with a seemingly infinite number of false-positive identifications. Inside refrigerated trailers, cadavers were stored in body bags and tissue and bones were kept in red bins. Workers divided the bones amongst themselves. After washing the bones, they used small blenders called mills to grind them into a coarse powder that one worker remembers smelling like burnt steak. After they were done, they washed the mills with bleach and alcohol, a long and difficult process abrasive to the workers’ hands.

Legal scholars have called DNA an “alternative source of corporeality” whose personally identifying potential can be used in the courts of law as a facilitator of the Western jurisprudential philosophy of habeas corpus meaning “you have the body [to show].” When a DNA sample leads to the naming of a full human being—first name, last name, ethnicity, Social Security number—it means a body has been begotten “through translations, disassembly and reassembly, and conversion between states, properties and machines.” This follows Elizabeth Grosz’ definition of a body as a “concrete, material, animate organization of flesh, nerves, muscles, and skeletal structure which are given unity, cohesiveness, and organization only through their physical and social inscription as the surface and raw materials of an integrated and cohesive totality.” Whole parts like tissue and sinew and limb or microscopic parts like chromosome links become a “body” through translation and inscription—writerly motions.

Paul Lioy, an expert on toxin exposure who has studied the WTC dust, has observed that the debris “contained materials that were used to make the things that represent the raw material and by-products that defined our civilization.” This doesn’t just mean company letterhead and swivel chairs but also poisons. Asbestos and lead have long been part of the inner city’s ecological landscape, cheaply lining walls, tubes, and ceilings while leaving trace deposits of their dry powders in the blood and urine of inner city children. The EPA did not want to test for those particular substances in the blood of sick New Yorkers in the years following 9/11 because doing so would “lead down an endless rabbit hole costing billions and lasting years” meaning they would have had to find a way to “distinguish trade center material from common urban dust.”   Normalizing the bestiary of noxious powders implied in “common urban dust” ignores the many generations of inner city children—disproportionately African-American and Latino/a—who learn to prime asthma inhalers before they learn to sign their names. The pervasive expectation that some lungs and bloodstreams could be born or made impervious to poisonous dusts is evident in a study of WTC search-and-rescue dogs. The dogs, described as “canine equivalents of canaries in a coal mine” because they could show signs of asbestosis and mesothelioma a lot faster than human organisms could, had their chests x-rayed. The x-rays came back normal, but the study was criticized for excluding “many of the rescue dogs that were brought to New York from other parts of the country” meaning that New York dogs must have been so accustomed to quietly menacing substances in the air that their organisms weren’t trustworthy.

The federally funded New York City cleanup program lasted two years and cost $37.9 million dollars, $30.4 million of which went to contractors and subcontractors. Rosa Bramble Weed, a social worker and psychologist who has met with undocumented cleanup workers exhibiting signs of post-traumatic stress, explains that undocumented workers received calls from “a very underground kind of network of people who are undocumented and need work. They called at night. They said, tomorrow there is work, come work.” Port Authority management contacted major contracting firms who sent the projects to subcontractors; by the time the jobs trickled down to cleanup workers, their contractors worked with hundred thousand dollar contracts while the immigrants were routinely paid $60 for 12-plus hour days. Vans drove up and down Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights, Long Island, Nassau County, and Suffolk County, looking for day laborers to bring to Ground Zero. The Polish and Latino construction workers—all men—arrived first, but the women were the last to leave. Undocumented women had cleaned Lower Manhattan residential spaces and offices for years and knew people who would call them up when there was work. And there was work.

Jaime—whose surname I have omitted from this essay—is a Colombian immigrant who used to work as a nighttime security guard near the World Trade Center and helped with cleanup efforts from day one. When he first arrived to the site, “it looked like a Western, like a desert,” he told me. “Everything was dust-water and there was no light.” Jaime walked into building basements flooded by water and chemicals. He had no protective gear so he tied plastic bags around his ankles and waded through the waters. “The city was great at picking up the garbage,” he remembers. He was instructed to discard any debris in black trash bags and throw paper in clear bags—the black bags were for waste. The dust was the hardest to clean because it blinded him and stuck to his clothing, especially when he got wet. The wind took care of loose paper. Police arrived on the scene early and guarded the site fiercely. People were asked to show ID cards to enter the scene but cleanup workers just needed to prove they were there to clean. At first, tourists applauded and took pictures of them. Then, people started yelling, “Leave! Leave!” The women from Rosa’s group that I spoke to all know other women hired by subcontracting firms who were paid checks that bounced back. They are sick. They are also broke, uninsured, and, when I spoke to them, they were all hoping they would somehow qualify for “la Zadroga,” a federal bill that would help cover their healthcare costs. What they really want, though, is a green card. Jaime penned an open letter to President Barack Obama on behalf of the group asking him to grant documentation to immigrants who could prove they had worked at Ground Zero.

The man in charge of evaluating applications for The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund was Kenneth R. Feinberg, a lawyer who had successfully settled the Agent Orange lawsuits and “was given the broadest prerogative to decide, in essence, how much each life was worth.” The Fund had unlimited funds but a clear end date. In 2003, it stopped accepting applications, and some individuals were only beginning to exhibit symptoms. Workers who did not make the deadline fell back on unsubsidized treatment in city hospitals or workers compensation payments. Treatment options were slim for undocumented immigrants. Dr. Charles Hirsch, New York City’s Chief Medical Examiner became “the gatekeeper to the official list” of WTC victims.  He looked at each death and decided whether to legally consider it a murder. The final list contained 2,749 names of deaths that had been ruled homicides. 2,749 names would be inscribed on the memorial.

 • • •

On September 11, 2002, New York State Governor George Pataki recited the Gettysburg Address. In Rudy Giuliani’s last speech as Mayor, he also quoted from the speech. The space of Ground Zero was almost immediately narrativized as a battleground with those who died on that day discussed as heroes, “the fallen.” Ground Zero tells the story of blood and Fresh Kills tells the story of bone. The dust materialized this narrative through coloring—it was just beginning to settle. The World Trade Center dust had, as Anthony DePalma has written, “an odd pinkish tint, a blush that was as curious as it was repulsive because it suggested blood and human remains. It was probably caused by some chemical reaction, and it did not last long. Eventually, the dust took on the more neutral color of dry bone.”

Blood and bone have a longstanding symbolism in national narratives of kinship and trauma. Think, for instance, of the Civil War. During the only war fought on American soil, Confederate soldiers disinterred buried Union soldiers to steal their skulls and use the skeletal remains as trophies. Union soldiers often mimicked these acts in retaliation. The 19th century saw the emergence of a black market in cadavers; because bodies could be sold to medical schools and amateur dissectors. Affluent Americans began burying their dead in well-secured tombs. The poor, chief among them immigrants and African Americans, were obviously just as ferocious in the desire to protect their dead, but lacked the resources to do so. They were thus relegated to, as Simon Harrison has explained, “burying their dead under a layer of straw to deter digging, or posting armed guards in the cemetery for several nights after a funeral.” Bone stealing arose during the Civil War because there was a great political value in “representing Southerners and Northerners as two different peoples.” Among American soldiers, spilt blood over the same land was less of a catastrophic blow to imagined notions of kinship than was the theft itself.

The wars that broke out on Fresh Kills over the fate of the pulverized bones whose extracted DNA identified individual victims were divisive and individual—it was about private grief, and families’ rights to mourn over their own dead. The mass burial of thousands of people’s bones under equalizing and anonymizing layers of dirt was obscene, and the co-existence of victim bone with terrorist bone was unfathomably disrespectful. Blood, however, had the opposite effect. It was used to collectivize trauma to an exaggerated, though politically advantageous, degree. When researchers began to monitor the health effects of New Yorkers who worked on Ground Zero and New Yorkers who had not, they first tested firefighters because of their proximity to the toxic dust and debris. The control group used to compare the level of toxins in the blood of potentially sick firefighters was made up of firefighters who did not work at Ground Zero. The blood of the firefighters who had not been at Ground Zero was also the control group used when testing the blood of other New Yorkers, i.e. non-firefighters. The blood of venerated heroes was the gold standard for all residents of a city in the throes of collective post-trauma. When the last traces of debris were removed from Ground Zero, the bedrock foundation lay naked and bare like bone without sinew.

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