The XXI Century American Revolution- Part 1
From 9/11 to Obama's inauguration, political, economic and social events occurred in the country that can be considered among the most important in its history. These changes were of such magnitude that they modified the political situation in the United States, and impacted the world situation forever. We have heard the phrase that there are facts in which "reality surpasses fiction", but in relation to the United States, that phrase does not hold true, because in the United States fiction and reality have long been the same thing. Not even the most inspired Hollywood scriptwriter can imagine a science fiction script that surpasses the drama and genesis of US history.
Before an African-American president took office for the first time, the country was governed by the Bush administration, under the Neo-Conservative strategy called Project for a New American Century (PNAC). The PNAC imposed after 9/11 was a political and military offensive on Iraq and the Middle East, a threat to the entire world, and at the same time, an undemocratic political regime within the United States, based on the Patriot Act regime. The law was more than a legislative instrument, it was the backbone of a political regime that attempted to impose itself with the objective of advancing the social, political and economic achievements of the entire American people.
The test of the Bush-Cheney administration was of unprecedented severity, as dangerous as McCarthyism in the '50s or the Kennedy assassination in the '60s, the Nixon plan in the '70s, or Reagan's escalation in the '80s. But by simultaneously attacking the US and the world, the Bush regime unleashed, like sorcerers, forces that it later barely controlled. The response of the American and world mass movement to the PNAC led to the end of Bush and his attempt to impose an undemocratic regime, to the military defeat in Iraq and enormous changes in the political situation in the United States and the entire world.
To Agustina, Martin and Joaquín
To my love and partner Celina
To those millions of beings who,
fighting to save his family and his town
will save the world
From 9/11 to Obama's inauguration, political, economic and social events occurred in the country that can be considered among the most important in its history. These changes were of such magnitude that they modified the political situation in the United States, and impacted the world situation forever. We have heard the phrase that there are facts in which "reality surpasses fiction", but in relation to the United States, that phrase does not hold true, because in the United States fiction and reality have long been the same thing. Not even the most inspired Hollywood scriptwriter can imagine a science fiction script that surpasses the drama and genesis of US history.
Before an African-American president took office for the first time, the country was governed by the Bush administration, under the Neo-Conservative strategy called Project for a New American Century (PNAC). The PNAC imposed after 9/11 was a political and military offensive on Iraq and the Middle East, a threat to the entire world, and at the same time, an undemocratic political regime within the United States, based on the Patriot Act regime. The law was more than a legislative instrument, it was the backbone of a political regime that attempted to impose itself with the objective of advancing the social, political and economic achievements of the entire North American people.
The test of the Bush-Cheney administration was of unprecedented severity, as dangerous as McCarthyism in the '50s or the Kennedy assassination in the '60s, the Nixon plan in the '70s, or Reagan's escalation in the ' 80. But by simultaneously attacking the US and the world, the Bush regime unleashed, like sorcerers, forces that it later barely controlled. The response of the North American and world mass movement to the PNAC led to the end of Bush and his attempt to impose an undemocratic regime, to the military defeat in Iraq and enormous changes in the political situation in the United States and the entire world.
After the Bush-Cheney Administration, a new political era opened in the country. The changes that have occurred are immense. In the blink of an eye, the US went from easy credit and the real estate binge of the years 2003-2005, to the bankruptcy of the "American dream" and house auctions that cost millions. From the fight "Against the axis of evil " with the ultra-conservative Bush, to the demand for " Change" and the inauguration of Barak Obama, the first African-American president in history. From the virtual state of siege in which the population lived under the Patriot Act regime, to the occupation of squares in all the states of the country with the development of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
the new political and social phenomena that are emerging, and those
that will emerge, are an expression of changes produced in the first
decade of the 21st century. All political, economic and social events that will develop in the future will be children of the changes that occurred in the first decade of the 21st century. And these changes prepare new events, which will change the world forever.
Chapter I: 9/11
"Having organized an insurrection and a battle in heaven, in which none of the combatants could fall dead or wounded - they put Satan in the pit, let him out again, gave him triumph over all creation, condemned all humanity, for eating an apple..."
Thomas Paine. The age of reason. 1794
On September 11, 2001, the country and the entire world watched, in disbelief and amazement, as the emblematic Twin Towers of the World Trade Center (WTC) in New York were attacked. Two planes crashed into the Twin Towers, first American Airlines Flight 11, a Boeing 767 with 92 people on board, which had taken off from Boston and completely embedded itself in the North Tower of the WTC. And when television screens around the world began to broadcast the news, another plane appeared, United Airlines Flight 175 also from Boston, which with 65 people on board hit the South Tower of the WTC. News reports reported that a third plane had crashed into the Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia, and that a fourth plane had crashed into an open field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
From there, all the TV channels and media outlets around the world abruptly cut off their broadcasts and began broadcasting live images of an unprecedented event that was happening on US soil. The eyes of the world landed on New York. The Armed Forces, upon realizing the magnitude of the attacks, began to take the first measures; all takeoffs of planes heading or passing over New York were prohibited and all tunnels and bridges on the island of Manhattan were closed. . President Bush ordered all planes in flight to land immediately at the nearest airport, while Congress, the White House, and the UN building were evacuated.
The 27,000 commercial flights that crossed the American sky daily on that date were grounded. The world was already in the middle of a commotion, millions of eyes rested on the images that the world's TV networks were broadcasting, and held their breath while observing a Dantesque, apocalyptic, horrifying spectacle. Millions of people around the world watched the planes crash into the WTC Towers, the impact of which caused enormous fires in the buildings. At the same time, the magnitude of the fires put the people who were trapped in the Towers at risk of being burned to death. From inside the WTC buildings, many people began to jump into the void for fear of dying in the flames.
Relatives, neighbors, friends, co-workers, crowded nearby, were desperate witnesses of the events. Firefighters entered the towers, created a command center in the building's hall, and began climbing the stairs to rescue injured or trapped people. But while this was developing, an incredible, shocking event occurred: The towers began to collapse. To the world's astonishment, in a matter of seconds, the South Tower of the WTC collapsed, vertically. Minutes later, the North Tower fell. The fall of both towers left a dense cloud of debris that slowly invaded the streets, avenues and buildings throughout the area. Gradually, as the Towers fell, that area of southern Manhattan was transformed into a gigantic scene of smoking ruins and rubble. For those who witnessed the events, it was difficult to believe what they were seeing.
was impossible to believe, if not for the fact that the images were
shown simultaneously on all TV channels, crossing different time zones,
customs and languages. Whoever
witnessed it remembers perfectly what he was doing and where he was,
because he was observing a historical moment, only comparable to the
arrival of man on the Moon, the assassination of President Kennedy, or
the fall of the Berlin Wall. However,
it was impossible for any American citizen or any inhabitant of the
planet to understand at that time what was happening. It was impossible to understand what was happening, nor to draw conclusions of any kind. At that moment there was only one thing to do: observe that incredible, electrifying, historic spectacle. And
while it was only possible to observe a fact that could barely be given
credit, the vertical fall of the towers gave rise to the birth of
Ground Zero, the place where the proud WTC once stood, now converted
into a monstrous crater of dust and ruins.
That place became, from those dramatic moments, a site of permanent parade and pilgrimage of family members, curious people, journalists, friends, brothers, parents, husbands, wives looking for their children, their partners, their loved ones with photos. and belongings of those missing people. All of them paraded consulting the police, firefighters and authorities, there were hundreds of people who began to wander from one side to the other through the area of destruction that the WTC site had become, seeking to know something about their relatives, in the middle of the rubble and chaos, of widespread anguish and despair, and of a bleak overall outlook.
A climate of horror and uncertainty
The site where the WTC previously stood, now Ground Zero, was transformed from there into the great scar of modern American history. An open wound, in the midst of a general climate of horror and uncertainty in the country. The same climate was reproduced in all the cities and neighborhoods of the country, where residents began to seek answers after the initial shock, due to the horror produced by the magnitude of the attacks. The drama increased when the testimonies of the victims' relatives began to be known.
As night fell in New York and the rest of the country, the situation was one of desolation and paralysis. There was almost no traffic on the streets, which were deserted. People had long ago left their jobs, schools were closed, offices were empty. The majority of the population took refuge in their homes, watching TV. On the screens, images of the horrendous attack followed and repeated over and over again. Meanwhile, during those hours, everyone spoke on the phone with their relatives, friends and loved ones to find out how they were, and to learn about what was happening to them. International calls to the US collapsed. People from all over the world wanted to communicate with their acquaintances and family in North American territory. It is from these telephone calls that the first exchanges of impressions were generated in the population, a first evaluation of what happened, and at the same time, enormous chains of solidarity were formed.
Expressing global sentiment, the French newspaper Le Monde ran the headline: "Sommes tous Américains" (French for "We Are All Americans"). A wave of repudiation and horror at the massacre of thousands of innocent victims invaded the world. The United Nations Security Council described the attacks as "horrendous terrorist attacks" , and all governments, institutions, human rights organizations, political parties, parliamentarians, media, personalities, artists, etc., spoke out repudiating them. The global wave of rejection spread as data arrived about the magnitude of the disaster, tension accumulated throughout the country.
Within 72 hours, the perpetrators of the attacks were known. The FBI and the Department of Justice identified 19 deceased hijackers, the only passengers of Arab origin on the flights, their photos were published, along with all the information about their history, their biography, and a first explanation began to emerge about how The events had happened that made one of the largest and most spectacular attacks in history possible. The official report was that 19 Islamic terrorists, 15 Saudis and 4 Egyptians, had hijacked the 4 commercial flights, armed with knives and other sharp objects, subdued the crew which allowed them to usurp control of them and, according to the report Officially, they piloted the planes to lose track of their flights, evading the US air security system for more than 2 hours.
The same report stated that once they had taken possession of the planes, the hijackers crashed two of them into the Twin Towers, a third into the Pentagon, while the fourth fell in Pennsylvania. The official report stated that on the plane shot down in Pennsylvania there was a fight between the passengers, who mutinied against the hijackers, as a result of which the crew lost control of the flight and the plane ended up crashing on the ground. The official report also indicated that the fires caused in the Twin Towers by the impact of the planes loaded with fuel, and the high temperatures accumulated inside the buildings were what caused the towers to collapse a few hours later.
The US government, in the voice of its President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, reported that the attacks were the result of a conspiracy by Osama Bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda organization. The Twin Towers, located in the heart of the WTC complex, and built to resist the impact of commercial airplanes, had been acquired in August by businessman Larry Silverstein, a month before the attack. But now they had been pulverized, by a maneuver planned by the fundamentalist organization, according to the Bush Administration.
reports indicated that the attacks also included the fall of Tower 7 of
the WTC, which occurred at 5:30 p.m. on the afternoon of 9/11 without
it being hit by any plane, as a result of the shock wave of the impact. The
Government's investigations determined that Al-Qaeda and Osama Bin
Laden were responsible for the attacks, a conclusion identical to that
reached by the studies commissioned by the British government, which
agreed to point to the organization headed by Osama as responsible for
the attacks. Bin Laden and Khaled al-Harbi, his collaborator. Government reports put a spotlight on Arab citizens or citizens of Muslim origin. Cases
began to be reported to the police as alleged acts of retaliation for
the attacks, in one of them, Balbir Singh Sodhi, an American owner of
the gas station in Mesa, Arizona who wore a beard and turban in
accordance with his fej, was mistaken for an Arab Muslim and murdered by
Frank Silva Roque, 42, an aircraft mechanic.
The perpetrators of the attacks
The preliminaries showed that those who carried out the attacks managed to circumvent the security system of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) made up of a sophisticated control center with 21 radar centers, all connected to each other, which exchange information live. In turn, the FAA security system is interconnected with NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command), a military defense structure that has its own independent control system.
NORAD was founded in 1958 to confront the possible threat of war with the USSR, and although in peacetime, it is the FAA that is responsible for the control and surveillance of North American airspace, it is NORAD that ultimately has competition over civil or military aircraft to indicate the destination to which they must travel. This defense structure is in charge of US and Canadian airspace, and had acted successfully in dozens of previous cases. But now, and according to all official reports, she had been mocked by those who carried out the attack. The security agencies began an investigation process to detect the reasons why the notable failures in the protection system had occurred, and initiated a research process to find out how the kidnappers could have violated it, and how it worked in the hours before the attacks.
These explanations were of great importance, because it was necessary to know how the failures in the security of the most trafficked, most controlled, and most protected airspace in the entire world had occurred. It was about knowing how Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda had managed to circumvent this insurmountable device, which they were able to circumvent. However, in an interview published in the Pakistani newspaper of Karachi Unmat on September 28, 2001, Osama Bin Laden stated that he had no responsibility for the attacks: "I have already said that I am not involved in the September 11 attacks in the United States." United. As a Muslim, I do my best to avoid telling a lie. I had no knowledge of these attacks, and I consider the killing of innocent women, children and other human beings as a despicable act."
In response to these statements by Osama Bin Laden, the US Armed Forces announced in November that they had found a home videotape of a destroyed house in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, where Osama Bin Laden was seen speaking with his collaborator Khaled al -Harbi, and in that dialogue, according to the Armed Forces, in several sections of the tape, Bin Laden acknowledged having planned the attacks. At the same time, the Armed Forces announced that the same video tape revealed the responsibility of Khaled Sheikh Mohammed as the intellectual author of the attacks.
On September 11 itself and the following days, all kinds of unconfirmed and contradictory reports and news were published, which explained in different ways what happened in the attacks. That same day, a rumor circulated that a car bomb had exploded at the State Department, false news that was published by several newspapers. Many false information circulated simultaneously, and a climate of insecurity, paranoia and fear began to spread, dominating the situation. A week after 9/11, a series of confusing contamination episodes began with anthrax, a deadly bacteria, which for several weeks was mailed in letters to journalists, politicians and civil servants in New York, New Jersey, Washington DC, and Florida. A total of 22 people were contaminated with anthrax, of which 5 died in attacks whose perpetrators could never be identified.
During the 4 days following the attack, the New York Stock Exchange remained closed and the day it opened caused a drop of more than 7% in the Dow Jones. Fear and chaos took over financial markets around the world. On the day of the attacks, the stock markets did not open and neither did they open the next day; Several financial companies operated in the World Trade Center, and some of them lost numerous employees. The most affected was Cantor Fitzgerald , which had its offices on the highest floors of the north tower, with the death of 658 of the company's approximately 1,000 employees, that is, all those who had gone to work that day. The European stock markets remained open and had declines of more than 6%, given that in the first moments after learning of the initial attack, investors became convinced that stock markets around the world were preparing to experience a catastrophe, and sought to get rid of their shares. At whatever price.
On the New York Stock Exchange, both the Dow Jones and the Nasdaq were directly affected by the attacks, and in Europe, the Milan Stock Exchange closed with a strong loss of 7.42%. The Paris stock market fell 7.39%, the Frankfurt stock market in Germany fell 8.49%, the London stock market fell 5.72%, and the Madrid stock market lost 4.64%. %. In all of them, the panic was great, the economy received the shock of another blow that added to those it had already been suffering given that a year before, a recession had begun after the bursting of the dot.com bubble. This crisis had been preceded by the bankruptcies of Enron, and Long Term Capital Management (LTCM), a huge investment fund that went bankrupt and threatened to drag down all of Wall Street. The instability of the stock markets and the episodes of Anthrax attacks accentuated the climate of insecurity and terror produced by the attacks. The existence of other possible attacks were announced at every moment, reports appeared of packages suspected of having bombs or explosives at airports, whose flights were suspended.
The paranoia and psychosis moved to the bus and train terminals, posters and speakers were placed in each means of transport repeating the slogan " If you see something, say something." The
population constantly received images of horror on television, of
people throwing themselves from the burning towers, surrounded by fire,
choosing to commit suicide rather than die, prey to the flames.
The TV broadcast these images all the time, along with heartbreaking testimonies from survivors, family members and friends of the victims. This is the social, political, economic framework that millions of people were living in at that historical moment in the United States. What surrounded any common citizen, the workers, and the people in general, was a sum of events that combined a general psychological framework, of terror, uncertainty, panic, a paralyzing situation that the masses of the country were experiencing, moved , shocked, struck by the horror suffered, and seeing the future and prospects with restlessness and fear.
The Global War on Terrorism (GWOT)
It is important to specify what political processes were unleashed after 9/11, because the attacks changed the political landscape in the country completely. Before 9/11, the situation of the Bush government was difficult, the North American economy was facing recession, and popular support for the government was poor given that Bush had come to power through very controversial elections, the results of which were decided in school. election of the state of Florida. In the state where the victory was decided, the governor was Jed Bush, brother of the Republican candidate George Bush. There, through a controversial vote count, the Electoral College determined that George Bush had won the presidency by obtaining fewer votes than his Democratic rival Al Gore.
The Bush Administration had emerged with a weak supremacy over the Democratic Party, through a close and contested election, but after 9/11 that situation had completely changed. Now the population massively supported the government in its anti-terrorist work. President George Bush's approval rating soared to 86%, while New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who had made the fight against insecurity the centerpiece of his politics, was acclaimed both in New York and around the world. the country, for its reaction to the attacks. The firefighters, police crews, and the various security forces deployed in the disaster area gained popularity for having put their own lives at risk in the fight to rescue the victims of the attacks.
On September 12, the Bush administration managed to urgently convene the UN Security Council (SC) to obtain immediate international support and legitimacy, which was reflected in resolution 1368, which recognized "the right of individual or collective self-defense" to Washington and urged all States to collaborate to bring to justice the instigators and perpetrators of the terrorist attacks. The Bush Administration considered the constitution of this alliance or international front essential, in the face of what they proposed as the most probable perspective, that of a long war against terrorism. Its main defender was the Secretary of State, Colin Powell, who on September 14 stated: "It has not only been an attack against the United States, but against civilization and democracy...We are committing ourselves to the world. We want this be a very durable coalition" (1) The Bush Administration demanded action from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), invoking Article 51 of the founding treaty, by which a member country that suffers an act of war can claim solidarity military action of the remaining members of the Atlantic Alliance.
Nine days after the attack, George Bush spoke before the nation and the joint session of Congress explaining the events, his administration's actions, and his response plans. The White House made it known that in this war, neutralism would not be tolerated . "All nations, in all regions must now make a decision: either they are with us, or they are with the terrorists" (2) The White House received the support of all governments and officials around the world, from the UN, the presidents of the group of 8 and the rest of the developing countries. Support extended to global diplomacy, political parties, all institutions, organizations, politicians and officials responded to the call of the Bush Administration by promoting the global fight against terrorism.
The policy of the governments and officials of the world had a strong social base and support in the global repudiation that extended to vast sectors of the population as a result of the attacks. The campaign and slogan of the "Global War on Terror" (GWOT) began to dominate the headlines of the world's newspapers. All the media, political proclamations, programs, platforms, statements repeated that slogan, which gave the political framework at the beginning of the GWOT's military actions. The first action of the GWOT began on October 7, 2001, just 16 days after the attacks, with the invasion of Afghanistan, called "Operation Enduring Freedom" by the US army and " Operation Herrick" by British troops. They invaded and occupied the Asian country with the aim of overthrowing the Taliban regime with the argument that the Armed Forces were seeking to find Osama Bin Laden, arrest the leaders of Al Qaeda and put them on trial.
Thus, on October 7, 2001, air attacks began in the capital Kabul through the collaboration of an international coalition, in which the Pakistani government participated, offering important support by giving it bases for the war. The bombings were preceded by the measures of numerous governments that approved anti-terrorist laws or toughened existing ones, and they were gradually voted on in parliaments. Great Britain, India, Australia, France, Germany, Indonesia, China, Canada, Russia, Pakistan, Jordan, Mauritius, Uganda and Zimbabwe. These were the first nations to take such measures. Bank accounts associated with Al-Qaeda were also frozen in many of those nations.
In the Afghanistan theater of military operations, the JOSC, Joint Special Operations Command, (in English, Joint Special Operations Command, JSOC) played a central role. These forces are made up of the CIA Special Activities Division Teams, made up of 47,000 men recruited from the SEAL team, Navy soldiers, the 75th Ranger regiment, Delta Force, Administration Forces Civil and Psychological Operations, and the 160th Airborne Regiment of the Air Force, led many of the most complex and risky actions. JSOC was decisive in the conquest of Afghanistan, serving the execution of war tasks and services that the Secretary of Defense and Head of the Pentagon Donald Rumsfeld called the use of "Non-Conventional Capabilities."
The JOSC had its own budget and directly purchased its equipment and materials, having coverage of 4.9 billion dollars in 2002, which should rise to ten or eleven billion in 2004. The Pentagon had a capacity of intervention that it did not have before, given that the JOSC acted promptly and even implemented the same orders that were previously resisted by the army. This special command carried out a series of detention, capture and assassination operations, which paved the way for NATO in Afghanistan, and concretized the concept of "Non-Conventional Capabilities", which allowed Rumsfeld to carry out operations that, even in their secret nature, they had to be monitored by the CIA, transmitted to the President and approved by Parliament.
But since 9/11, the operations carried out in Afghanistan by the JOSC were directly directed by the Pentagon without previously having to be transmitted to the President, nor to the Intelligence Committees, nor to Parliament. In this way, the intervention was rapid, and paved the way for the attack against the Taliban lines that were bombed. By November 2, the Taliban lines were already devastated, and the attack deepened with the intervention of Great Britain, Canada and Australia, which also deployed forces in Afghanistan. With the support and support of several countries that provided establishment, access and overflight, both George Bush and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Tony Blair reported that the attacks were continuing successfully.
On November 9, the battle for the city of Mazar-e Sarif began, which was taken from the Taliban, who had controlled it since 1998. On November 12, the Taliban withdrew from Kabul, and within 24 hours, all Afghan provinces along the border with Iran, including the key city of Herat, had fallen. The Taliban's last attempt at resistance was at the Tora Bora cave complex on the border with Pakistan 50 kilometers south of Jalalabad, but the cave complex fell next to Kunduz, and they surrendered between November 25 and 26. .
At the end of November, Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban movement, was the Islamic group's last remaining stronghold. This bastion was surrounded by nearly 1,000 Marines, who closed the circle on Mullah Omar, the Taliban leader, who remained defiant, because he was deeply weakened because his movement only controlled 4 of the 30 Afghan provinces. Between the end of November and the first days of December, the Taliban forces fell definitively.
Thus, 3 months after the fall of the Twin Towers, the NATO armies, with broad international consensus, had pulverized the Taliban. NATO had completely controlled Afghanistan, something they had not been able to achieve for 11 years. After the Taliban abandoned Kabul in November 2001, and lost their stronghold in the southern city of Kandahar in December 2001, the United Nations held the Bonn Conference where the so-called "Bonn Agreement" for Afghanistan was sealed . , through which the Afghan Interim Authority (AIA) was created, which outlined the so-called "Petesberg Process".
Through this political process we moved towards a new constitution and the election of a new Afghan government, chaired by Hamid Karzai and controlled by Washington. The impact of the 9/11 attacks allowed the Armed Forces and NATO to achieve in Afghanistan in 3 months what they had not been able to achieve in more than a decade. Now NATO had complete control of Afghanistan and, having established its own government, which responded to the Bush Administration, it consolidated its power with its own military force, called the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
The ISAF was established in Afghanistan, with which the Bush Administration now had the government and control of the Afghan Armed Forces in their hands. By possessing the power and armed control of that country, the Bush Administration began to have control of the geographical key to access to the Middle East, and the management of an immense nation, with borders with the most important countries with oil reserves in the area, a base to establish themselves from there, to be able to continue with the GWOT.
The Armed Forces at the center of the scene
The actions in Afghanistan were not only a change in the military field, but also a political change that was unleashed after 9/11. This change was expressed in a series of processes that modified the political regime of the country and began to place the Armed Forces at the center of the political scene together with the Executive Branch. In this way, after 9/11, the Bush Administration and the top military commanders became the central institutions of the country, a change that was expressed not only in foreign policy, but also in domestic policy. These changes were promoted by the Bush Administration under a new legal framework that it established after the attacks. Since the US Constitution does not allow the Executive Branch to start a war because only Parliament can declare it, the invasion of Afghanistan required a series of laws and measures that gave legitimacy to the actions.
On September 18, 7 days after 9/11, Congress enacted the Law called AUMF; and on October 26, 2001, 1 month and 8 days after 9/11, the Patriot Act was approved. HR 198 approved the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), which allowed the Executive Branch to act militarily within the United States, concentrating all the powers of the State in the Executive Branch. In this way, the political conditions established under the impact of the attacks in the country allowed the Bush Administration to carry out changes that confronted the Non-Delegation Doctrine, according to which , A state power should not delegate its power and authority to another power.
The doctrine of "Non-Delegation" was adopted in the first years of the formation of the republican political regime at the time of the emergence of the United States, and states that each power of the state must exercise the function that it is constitutionally authorized to exercise, without advancing on the power of another power. This principle is explicit or implicit in the Constitution, and all state constitutional writings, being the basis of the strict principle of separation of powers that applies in any case of controversy between any of the 3 powers of the State, or with private entities. But now, with the new political scenario opened as a result of 9/11, the conditions had been opened for an institutional reform, which began to question the principle of Non-Delegation, to the extent that the responsibilities were conferred on the Executive Branch. that were the responsibility of the legislature.
To the extent that the Patriot Act was passed with the objective of coordinating the capacity of the different security agencies and providing them with greater surveillance powers, the Executive Branch intertwined its responsibilities with the Armed Forces. In this way, both the sanction of the AUMF and the Patriot Law were a profound change in the country's political regime, with implications for the democratic rights and guarantees of the population. By promoting these measures, the Bush Administration began to deploy troops in the interior of the country, and soon, all states, cities, towns and counties were affected by the military deployment of the Armed Forces. These political changes not only modified the principle of Non-Delegation, but also the Constitution and the political regime, which were not only expressed in the sanction of new laws, but also in the location of the Armed Forces. After 9/11, the location of the Armed Forces changed completely, and now while deploying its forces in Afghanistan, the Pentagon was simultaneously deploying military troops to the interior of the country.
On October 1, 2002, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Vice Minister of Defense Paul Wolfowitz established the United States Northern Command or USNORTHCOM (United States Northern Command), a new Armed Forces Command whose constitution is It was based on the objective of planning, organizing and executing national defense, establishing the forces necessary to execute these missions, under the orders of the President and the Secretary of Defense. NORTHCOM's area of responsibility came to include the air, land and sea access routes of the continental United States, and Alaska, but also came to dominate geographical and spatial territory of Canada, Mexico and waters up to approximately 500 nautical miles. , which also include the Gulf of Mexico and the Straits of Florida.
The Bush Administration's measures included a profound reorganization of the Armed Forces. The impetus for the emergence of NORTHCOM absorbed the United States Space Command (USSPACECOM), created in 1985 and in charge of satellite communications, intelligence, navigation, missile detection and weather systems in war zones and conflicts. SPACECOM had acted since the '90s in the Balkans, Southwest Asia and Afghanistan providing information, and its Commander in Chief was also commander of NORAD, but now, this important military structure was absorbed by the new structure created.
By absorbing SPACECOM, NORTHCOM absorbed the airspace of the US and Canada. The new military structure established the SPACECOM base in Petersen, Colorado, as headquarters, and General Ralph E. Eberhart, who was responsible for NORAD, became head of NORTHCOM, on October 22, 2002. Ebehart, coming from the Air Force, had with an important career, which included participation in support activities during the Vietnam War, and Operation Desert Shield in Iraq. But curiously, Ebehart's career also included having been in charge of NORAD, the aerospace command that had seriously failed in the 9/11 attacks. In turn, the Bush Administration promoted the creation of the Joint Task Force - North ( JTF-N), located at Biggs Army Airfield, in Fort Biss, Texas, which was established as an organization in charge of supporting federal law enforcement agencies against terrorism, attacking drug trafficking, illegal smuggling, and weapons of mass destruction. , that threaten national security.
The JTF-N was integrated into NORTHCOM, as part of the growth of the deployment of the Armed Forces to the interior of the country. On the other hand, the Bush Administration established the United States Fleet Forces Command (USFF), whose headquarters were located in Norfolk, Virginia, with the mission of providing maritime forces for the fight against terrorism. On December 19, 2002, the Canadian government made public a defense agreement with the United States, under which the two countries would now possess a common defense system, established under the coordination of NORTHCOM.
Around March 2002, the Bush Administration and the government of Mexico announced the "Smart Borders" agreement aimed at increasing the flow of goods and legal travelers on the world's busiest border and increasing security. "On the one hand, we want legal commerce, where people who come and go every day... can do so in an easy and efficient way," Bush said. "On the other hand, we want to use our technology to make sure that we kick out those we don't want in our country, the terrorists, the coyotes (who transport undocumented immigrants to the United States) and smugglers" (3) The agreement, designed to exercising military control of the 3,122 km border between both countries, left Mexico militarily under the aegis of NORTHCOM.
Thus, under the influence of the 9/11 attacks, the constitution of NORTHCOM implied the growth and deployment of the Armed Forces within the country, but also the control of Mexico and Canada, thus through the establishment of NORTHCOM the North American countries completely ceded their sovereignty to the United States Armed Forces, as denounced by former Canadian Foreign Minister Llod Axworthy. Axworthy stated that the constitution of NORTHCOM and subsequent treaties marked the end of Canada's sovereignty. As part of the military device that the Bush Administration promoted within the country, the deployment of the United States National Guard began in all states.
The National Guard is a Reserve Force made up of volunteers that has around 470,000 members, and is a state militia that each State of the country has as its own force, given which the Governor of each State is the Commander in Chief of the Guard National in each state. However, in times of war or other serious national crisis the President of the United States may place part or all of the states' national guards under his control. This was precisely what the Bush Administration promoted, the White House federalized units in all states, which temporarily became battalions, brigades of the Army and the Air Force as a result of the fact that there are no Navy units in the National Guard.
This militarization process included the arming and equipment of the national guards, similar to the equipment of the Army and Air Force with tanks, cannons, airplanes, fighter-bombers and uniforms. The Bush Administration also imposed the deployment of detachments of national guards from different states that went to fight in Afghanistan, and later in Iraq. Members of the National Guard only serve on weekends and an entire week every so often, allowing them to lead a normal civilian life, and even combine service with other jobs in the private sector. But when they are called to active duty by the Governor of the State or by the President of the United States, they must work as soldiers every day, full time until the call-up ends.
This was what happened with the National Guard troops as a result of the measures adopted by the Bush Administration after 9/11. These modifications affected the functions of the National Guard in all states, and even in countries like Puerto Rico, where the National Guard fulfills protocol or symbolic functions as if it were the Armed Forces of a totally independent country. In Puerto Rico, the National Guard is in charge of rendering the required honors to foreign heads of state or government who visit the island, but now the National Guard has begun to be part of the anti-terrorist fight in Puerto Rico.
The constitution of NORTHCOM equipped with sophisticated defense weapons and nuclear warheads, added to the establishment of the JTF-N as a subordinate anti-terrorist unit, the USFF incorporating the maritime forces, and the National Guard partially integrated into the army, meant the beginning of the growth and deployment of the Armed Forces to the interior of the country. In turn, the military treaties that ceded NORTHCOM's military control over the territory of North America meant the end of the sovereignty of countries such as Mexico and Canada.
The Bush Administration took advantage of 9/11 to deploy the Armed Forces throughout the national territory, liquidate with a stroke the sovereignty of Mexico, Canada, and Puerto Rico, and establish a device to achieve the predominance of the Armed Forces in the balance of reigning forces in the structure of the political regime. Thus, the Armed Forces took on increasing preponderance with the established laws, and their deployment within the country, in parallel with the deployment of troops in Afghanistan.
The "Axis of Evil" , "GWOT" and "Weapons of Mass Destruction" concepts
Four months after 9/11, on January 29, 2002, George W. Bush gave his State of the Union address, the annual event where the President reports on the state of the country, since George Washington first did so. in 1790. But this speech had a special character, it was a political speech of great importance for 2 reasons: Because it was the first after the 9/11 attacks, and also because in this speech Bush used new definitions and political concepts for the first time. that from there became part of popular language and became universal.
In that speech the expressions "Axis of Evil" (in English "Evil Axis"), "Global War on Terrorism" (in English, GWOT) and "Weapons of Mass Destruction" (WMD) appeared combined , concepts that the Bush Administration developed and spread permanently. The countries that Bush mentioned in his speech as components of the "Axis of Evil" were Iraq, Iran, and North Korea, to which Libya, Syria, and Cuba were later added.
Some of the most important concepts in said speech were the following: "Our
goal is to prevent terror-supporting regimes from threatening the
United States or our friends and allies with weapons of mass
destruction. Some of these regimes have been quite quiet since 9/11. But
we know their true nature. North Korea is a regime that is arming
itself with missiles and weapons of mass destruction while starving its
citizens ... Iran
is aggressively pursuing these weapons and exporting terror...Iraq
continues to flaunt its hostility toward the United States and support
terror. The Iraqi regime has conspired to develop anthrax, nerve gas and
nuclear weapons for more than a decade...This is a regime that has
something to hide from the civilized world. States like these, and their
terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil that is armed to threaten
the peace of the world." (4)
The concept of the "Axis of Evil" was created by advisers Michael Gerson and David Frum, who wrote speeches for Bush. It derived from a mix between 2 expressions: On the one hand the concept of "Axis Forces", as the armies of Germany, Italy and Japan were called in the Second World War, and on the other hand, the designation as "Empire of the "Evil" of the Soviet Union made by President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. The combination of both expressions made by Gerson and Frum gave rise to the concept of "Axis of Evil."
With the concept of the "Axis of Evil," President Bush gave the invisible enemy represented by international terrorism a face. Now, a series of countries, precisely defined and identified, were the components of a bloc from which the terrorist groups that devastated the world emerged. This new concept was combined with a second concept designed by the advisors, that of "Global War on Terror" , (in English, GWOT) a war that had to be unleashed immediately throughout the world, without borders or defined limits.
The third concept designed by officials of the Bush Administration and the Pentagon was that of "Non-Conventional Capabilities" , that is, the use of firepower and attack capacity with forces different from those commonly used for that type of operations. . This concept implied the legitimization of the emergence of new military forces that would act in an "unconventional" manner in order to make actions and attacks against potential enemy or terrorist forces more effective.
The introduction of these new political concepts were the ideological framework that supported the Bush Administration's program, a series of political proposals and postulates linked to the economy, civil rights, domestic and foreign policy, which were intended to modify by complete the world political situation. At the same time, they sought to change the Constitution and the political regime of the United States, with an ideological basis based on the need to combat terrorism, considered the most important scourge facing humanity.
From then on, the fundamental objective of the Bush Administration was, in its own words, to achieve a world without terrorism, for which it established its fight as of national and global interest. The military fight against the "Axis of Evil" became the most important political problem, and its weapons of mass destruction, the central problem facing humanity. All world politics became dominated by the concepts and definitions proposed by the Bush Administration. The UN, the presidents of the G7, the rest of the countries of the world, the entire spectrum of world diplomacy, institutions, organizations, media, analysts and journalists spoke about the GWOT, the "Axis of Evil", and WMD . These definitions had complete supremacy in international politics, a product of the fact that, as the days and hours passed, the social and political conditions in the United States and the world were shaped around the tremendous impact that 9/11 had caused.
The shock due to the horror of the attacks was global, not to mention what was happening inside the country. For this reason, the Bush Administration's speech, concepts such as "GWOT", the "Axis of Evil", and "WMD", had the support, or approval, of important sectors of the masses, inside and outside the United States. But where did the concepts of " GWOT", "Axis of Evil" or "WMD" come from? These definitions were authored by a constellation of organizations and groups that operated within the Bush Administration, but they had been working on their strategy for many years before.
The rise of Neocon in the country's politics
The concepts, definitions, and ideas prevailing in the Bush Administration since the 9/11 attacks were the product of the work of a constellation of organizations and groups that operated within the Bush Administration, and formulated its ideology. These groups were the architects of the thought structure that consolidated its fundamental postulates after the 9/11 attacks, but they had been working on their strategy for many years before.
This group of organizations were the so-called "Neo-Conservative" groups , and known in political jargon as the "Neocon", a sector of political leaders and organizations whose postulates after the 9/11 attacks gained strength and became dominant. in the political situation of the country and the world. This arc of organizations evolved over decades and consolidated right-wing and conservative positions throughout the 20th century, through the preparation of documents and papers in which they explained their strategy, principles, and purposes.
Neocon groups and organizations dedicated their fundamental activity to lobbying in favor of Multinational Corporations, their relationship with the Armed Forces and the permanent search for the placement of contracts, businesses and their people in influential government positions. They act as a support system for the Neocon ideology, advise Neocon movement projects, edit political documents, raise money and act on both the mass media and political organizations.
The activity of these organizations began at the beginning of the 20th century, but it was after the Second World War that they grew within the framework of the flourishing of organizations or think tanks that in jargon were called "think tanks", "brain boxes " , or "idea tanks." The memberships of these Neocon organizations are ultimately coordinated by individuals who form a network of interlocking memberships. As Neocon journalist and writer Jacob Heilbrunn explained: "Neoconservatism was turned into a real movement by Irving Kristol and Norma Podhoretz. Even today, the Neocon movement is best described as an extended family based largely on social media. informal ideas patiently forged by these two patriarchs." (5)
This is the case with organizations such as the RAND Corporation, to take an example, founded in 1946, an organization to which several important members of the Bush Administration, such as Secretary of State Condoleezza, were linked at the time of the 9/11 attacks. Rice, or Secretary of Defense and Head of the Pentagon Donald Rumsfeld. Its name comes from the English term Research And Development, and it was originally linked to the Douglas Aircraft company promoted by a group of industrialists gathered around the jurist H. Rowan Gaither Jr, who prevented the dismantling of the research and development service of the Ministry of War after the Second World War, and they carried out a privatization of this entire industrial and research complex that was renamed the Rand Corporation.
RAND has influenced the strategy of many governments over the past 60 years, with numerous Nobel Prize winners linked to its activity. It has an impact on the military strategy of the Armed Forces, on the development of the space program, on computing, on artificial intelligence, and on several of the principles that were used to build the Internet.
Today RAND has more than 1,600 employees distributed in California, Washington DC, Virginia, Pennsylvania within the United States, as well as headquarters in Europe such as Leiden in the Netherlands, Berlin in Germany and Cambridge in the United Kingdom. Linked to the RAND Corporation are personalities such as Richard J. Danzig, Francis Fukuyama, Paul O'Neill, Carlos Slim Helú, Harold Brown, Frank C. Carlucci, Walter Mondale, Newton Minow, Brent Scowcroft, and Timothy Geithner, among others. RAND was the first of several Neocon organizations that were established in the country over the decades, but it is important to know how many more of these existing organizations were builders of the ideological framework of the Bush Administration.
For example, other important Bush Administration officials such as I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Douglas J. Feith and Richard Perle were linked to the Hudson Institute, a Neocon think tank that emerged from the very bowels of RAND, around of Herman Kahn and a group of his colleagues who founded it in 1961. There are numerous and renowned leaders linked to the Hudson Institute, among them are former Vice President Dan Quayle, former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, Daniel Bell, and Pierre S. du Pont IV, among others.
Hudson is also currently involved in large companies such as Eli Lilly and Company, Monsanto, DuPont, Dow Elanco, Sandoz, Ciba-Geigy, ConAgra, Cargill, and Procter & Gamble. Douglas Feith, who was Undersecretary of Defense in the Bush Administration, was Director of the Center for National Security Strategies at the Hudson Institute. In turn, Feith had collaborated with the Reagan Administration in the National Security Council and in the Pentagon, and was part of a team of Washington lawyers that represented defense companies such as Lockheed Martin or Northrop Grumman.
One of Douglas Feith's antecedents was having signed an open letter to President Bill Clinton in the 1990s along with several officials and leaders asking to overthrow Saddam Hussein. After the events of 9/11, he promoted the creation of the Office of Strategic Influence to support the war against terrorism, seeking to influence policymakers. Feith later played an important role in the preparation for the Iraq War, providing oversight from the Office of Special Plans alongside a group of analysts.
To illustrate how Neocon organizations like the Hudson Institute place their staff in different administrations to influence politically, let's look at how Feith's approach to the Bush Administration came about. This arrival of Faith was facilitated by the connections she had with Richard Perle who is First Assistant Secretary of Defense for Global Strategic Affairs. Perle had served on the Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee of the Reagan Administration, and was always involved in various Neocon think-tanks.
Like the other Neocon leaders, Perle was linked to large companies such as Hollinger Inc., Trireme Partners, and Autonomy Corporation. In fact, both Richard Perle and Douglas Feith, along with Paul Wolfowitz, are an important core of the Neocon movement; the three have been related to each other for decades through positions in government, think tanks, business corporations, and ties. relatives. Wolfowitz, who held the position of Undersecretary of the Pentagon, was also linked to the think tank Neocon Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at John Hopkins University. Paul Wolfowitz's career included spending three years in Indonesia as US ambassador, where he received criticism for his support of the Suharto dictatorship during Ronald Reagan's term.
Another important Bush Administration leader linked to the Neocon movement is Richard Bruce "Dick" Cheney, who is Vice President in the Bush Administration and also a member of the board of advisors of the Neocon think tank Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). Cheney's wife is a speaker, writer and a researcher at another Neocon think tank, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).
The AEI was founded in 1943, and it was from its political studies department directed by Danielle Pletka that the line of denouncing Iraq, China, North Korea, Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Russia, as well as the groups, gained momentum. like Al Qaeda and Hezbollah. AEI also had ties with the former president of the House of Representatives, Republican Newt Gingrich, and also with Irving Kristol, considered the father of the Neocon movement.
The IEM Legal Center of AEI has distinguished personalities such as George Bush, Colin Powell, Ronald W. Reagan, Condoleezza Rice, and Margaret Thatcher, among others, in Law and Public Policy. Since 1989, AEI established the "Bradley Foundation", where the so-called "Bradley Chair" operates , whose speakers have included Irving Kristol, Lynne Cheney, Francis Fukuyama, and Samuel P. Huntington, among others. Both Francis Fukuyama and Samuel Huntington are two influential intellectuals, members of the Neocon think tank, and authors of some of the most resonant and commented books in recent decades.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Fukuyama became world famous with a book that appeared in 1992 in which he had presented the controversial thesis of the definitive triumph of capitalist ideologies over socialist ones. That book was called " The End of History and the Last Man " . Samuel Phillips Huntington was the author of the "Clash of Civilizations " theory, which gained popularity after 9/11, which stated that the attacks were part of a struggle between civilizations, the Western one and the Muslim world.
Huntington was also Director of the John M. Olin Institute for Strategic Studies at Harvard University, another Neocon center, and in his career as an official he was a member of the presidential Commission for International Development, appointed by Henry Kissinger in the years 1969-70, in addition to having been an advisor with Zbigniew Brzezinski of the Trilateral Commission.
Fellowship, also known as The Family, is a Washington-based religious
and political organization founded in 1935. It is one of the
best-connected and most politically influential Neocon organizations in
governments. Its leader, the late Douglas Coe, explains the organization's goals by citing biblical warnings. The
Family holds a regular public event each year, the National Prayer
Breakfast on the first Thursday of February each year since 1953 held in
Washington, D.C. This National Prayer Breakfast has been presided over
by every President of the United States in office, since Dwight D.
Neocon organizations and the Bush Administration
The entire Neocon conglomerate of organizations achieved key positions in the Bush Administration. Several members of the cabinet are militants and leaders such as Vice President Dick Cheney, and Secretary of Defense and Head of the Pentagon Donald H. Rumsfeld, since both received distinctions from the Center for Security Policy (CSP) founded in 1988 by Frank Gaffney, Jr. The CSP also awarded other members of the Bush cabinet such as Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle, in addition to developing publications, documents, papers, and ongoing training.
The CSP awards not only went to members of the Bush cabinet, but also to other Neocon leaders such as former CIA director Robert James Woolsey, former Speaker of the House of Representatives and conservative leader Newt Gingrich, Ronald Reagan, to Malcom Forbes Jr, editor of Forbes magazine, to former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, to conservative leader Jeane Kirkpatrick, and to former Conservative Prime Minister of Great Britain Margaret Thatcher, among others. Robert Bruce Zoellick, Trade Representative of the Bush Administration, is also a man linked to another important Neocon think tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
A banker and managing director of Goldman Sachs, Zoellick had served in various positions in the Reagan and Bush Sr. administrations, and was key in the negotiation process to bring China and Taiwan into the World Trade Organization (WTO). Several of these leaders are linked to the Neocon organizations, and provide ideological and political structure to the Bush Administration.
One organization that provided key legal advisors to the Bush Administration to support it on legal issues was the Federalist Society, a professional association of lawyers and judges with Neocon among its members. senior leaders to John Yoo, legal counsel for the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel under Attorney General John Ashcroft.
The Federalist Society actively worked on causes such as confronting the antisegregationist gains of the 1950s and 1960s, defending Exxon against the campaign to reduce global warming, defending Philip Morris against tobacco taxes, and of Microsoft against antitrust laws, among others. This Neocon law firm received financial support from conservative billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife, and worked extensively on drafting the anti-terrorism laws passed after 9/11.
If the various Neocon think - thank gave ideological and political support to the Bush Administration, the Federalist Society was the Neocon center that gave it legal support. Among some of its main leaders and theorists is the advisor to the presidency of the Bush Administration Alberto Gonzáles, who wrote the presidential decree that created the military commissions, organs of the executive branch for the war against terrorism. He was also a member of the Federalist Society Michael Chertoff, appointed by George Bush to head the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice, and assistant to Attorney General John Ashcroft.
The Federalist Society was vital in designing a legal architecture that supported the GWOT and provided a legal framework for the entire Bush Administration strategy. Precisely in relation to the legal and legal framework, an area of enormous importance was established around the Secretary of Justice, a nerve center when carrying out the investigation of the events of 9/11.
Attorney General John Ashcroft was a representative of right-wing and fundamentalist religious organizations, a life member of the National Gun Association (NRA), who had a career as governor of Missouri between 1985 and 1993, serving since which had developed an intense repressive policy. But Ashcroft was not the only Bush Administration official linked to Christian fundamentalism.
Who delivered the main prayer at George Bush's inauguration was Pastor Billy Graham (h), head of the Christian organization " The Samaritan's Purse. " Son of Franklin Graham, who influenced Nixon at the time of the Vietnam War, Franklin Graham headed the organization that had been founded in 1970 by his father with headquarters in Boone, North Carolina, which has an approximate budget of 200 million U$S, and subsidiaries in Canada, Australia, England, Holland, and Kenya.
"The Samaritan Bag" had an assistance program to more than 100 countries in the world, and declared million-dollar income in 2002, the year after the 9/11 attacks. These right-wing Christian religious organizations are politically and ideologically linked to the Neocon, for example, was at an AEI event where Senator Jesse Helms proposed a strategy for all these religious organizations, consisting of replacing the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) with a new International Development Foundation , with the mission of making block donations for the poor. Those who proposed forming these "armies of compassion " were Christian leaders like Graham, and like the Reverend Jerry Vines, a former leader of the Southern Baptist Convention, who blamed Islam for 9/11.
Secretary of State Colin Powell, Vice President Dick Cheney and President Bush himself have been speakers at the Heritage Foundation evenings, a Neocon center that emerged in 1977 and from then on became a fundamental instrument of Ronald Reagan's campaign. . David Spears Addington, legal advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney, is also an official at Heritage, a Neocon center capable of sending documentation to congressmen, assistants, advisors, and journalists on each topic and its argument in less than 24 hours.
These Neocon organizations were becoming increasingly important and relevant as the hours and days passed after 9/11. But without a doubt, the most important and influential group was the Project for a New American Century (PNAC). , Project for the New American Century). Founded in Washington in 1997, the organization aimed to promote "America's global leadership," and its Executive Director Gary J. Schmitt had been an advisor to the Ronald Reagan administration in 1984.
Officials and leaders of all the Neocon organizations came together with Schmitt. The PNAC is a kind of selection together with Scmitt, bringing together officials and leaders from all the Neocon organizations. The PNAC is a sort of Neocon Dream Team with members from all organizations including William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard and son of Irvin Kristol, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Jeb Bush, Richard Perle, and Dick Cheney. , among others. All of them, or almost all, were linked in some way to the Bush Sr. Administration and the Reagan Administration.
The name PNAC comes from the expression "The New American Century", a name that is based on the fundamental idea that the 20th century has been "The American Century" , and that this situation should continue during the 21st century. Its programmatic proposal is the supreme domination, military and economic, of the Earth, space, and cyberspace by the United States. This entire conglomerate gathered in the PNAC took over the positions of the Bush Administration, and its officials were located in the main resources of the government and the state.
From these positions and locations, they built alliances and permanent lobbying in favor of the interests of the Multinational Corporations, especially the large arms Corporations linked to the Military-Industrial Complex. Before 9/11 they were officials of a weak and unstable government, but now the impact of 9/11 had changed their location in the administration. Not only did they dominate government positions, but they imposed their program and ideology on the state and the government.
The attacks had changed the pendulum movement of politics in the country. Before the attacks, politics was crossed by events such as the "dot.com" crisis, or the emergence of the anti-globalization movement that had emerged in Seattle at the G-8 Summit in 1999. In this global political context , the crisis dominated the Republicans and the Bush Administration. But after 9/11, conditions had completely changed. Now the Bush Administration enjoyed enormous strength.
And this strengthening of the Bush Administration occurred not only within the country, but also in the international arena. All the governments of the world were disciplined to their strategy, which was none other than the PNAC strategy, thus, at the beginning of the 21st century, an abrupt and complete change in the reality of the Neocons was taking place. The magnitude of the political and social events unleashed after 9/11 catapulted the group to the top of the world from their positions in the Bush Administration, the governments of the world, including those of the other capitalist powers, endorsed the strategy and general orientation and they were subordinated to their politics.
Since September 2001, the PNAC became the most important political group globally, and it was this conglomerate of Neocon leaders organized in the PNAC, who directly and decisively influenced the decisions of almost all governments, rising to the top of the order. capitalist world. In this way, by politically capitalizing on its results, they became the most important beneficiaries of 9/11.
The strategy of the "New American Century", patiently and meticulously designed with careful goldsmithing techniques in the PNAC workshops, developed by teams, ideologues and leaders of the right-wing sectors of the country, was now a palpable and concrete reality. Although amassed over several decades in the 20th century, the PNAC strategy now became a real fact in the early years of the first decade of the new century, and its development impacted all citizens of the country and the world. At the dawn of the 21st century, the Neocon came to dominate world politics.
9/11 had acted as a big bang that opened a new political stage, allowing Neocon to project a political, ideological and military offensive that was going to have a global impact on the political situation. Such was the magnitude of the impact of 9/11, which allowed the PNAC plans to go from the papers, sketches and drafts drawn for decades, to dominate the political reality and the world situation.
The investigation into what happened on 9/11
The investigation into how and what happened on 9/11 has national and international importance and relevance due to the multiple political changes that it operated internationally in all directions. No country or region was left out of its impact. Because it affected the future of populations as far away as New York, Baghdad, Kabul or New Jersey, and the legislation of countries, the lives and circumstances of millions of people, it is of great importance to know the entire truth about 9/11.
But from the beginning, the 9/11 investigation was plagued by disputes, contradictions and problems of all kinds. The Bush Administration had 2 options to investigate 9/11: Assign the task to an existing entity, or create an independent "ad hoc" commission , which historically was the way to go. Major events in American history have been investigated by independent commissions appointed by the President, but independent of the Executive Branch.
These types of Commissions have historically been called "Blue Ribbon Panel", or sometimes " Blue Ribbon Commission" , a term generally used to describe a group of exceptional people appointed to investigate or study or analyze a certain issue. The term "Blue Ribbon" has a connotation of a degree of excellence and recognized impeccable capacity of those who make up the panel or the Commission, as well as independence from the political influence of the powers or authorities.
A Blue Ribbon Panel can be made up of independent scientific experts or academics with no direct ties to the government to study a particular topic or issue. Or it may be composed of citizens well known for their intelligence, experience, and ability to draw conclusions using their experience, which can then be used by decision-makers to act. The independent nature of the parties gives them the "Blue Ribbon" aspect which presents the panel as the "best and brightest" for the task.
This type of " Blue Ribbon Panels" were used for very important events in the country's history, such as the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, for which the Warren Commission or the Commission that investigated the attack on Pearl Harbor was established. . The formation of these commissions has never been immune to controversy, for example in the case of the Warren Commission, chaired by Earl Warren, head of the Supreme Court, it has received countless questions for its actions, and over the years it continues to accumulate objections. ranging from the clarification of the Kennedy assassination to the procedure used to carry out the investigation.
Even so, what should be noted here is that these types of Commissions are already part of the country's political tradition, their role is to issue an opinion from a panel or working group that does not have the authority to accuse or legislate, but does have the mission investigate and issue a report on the facts.
In the case of events as important as 9/11, an entire sector of public opinion believed that a commission of this type should be promoted. And also because it was an event that had caused such a change in political and social conditions, the investigation had to begin immediately. But in the case of 9/11, things were not like that, something that seemed as logical and natural as the fact of establishing a Blue Ribbon Commission for 9/11, became almost impossible, and a frustration for the relatives of the victims.
This aspiration of the relatives was also the aspiration of an important sector of the mass movement that wanted an objective, impartial, crystal-clear investigation, free of doubts. But those aspirations were going to come face to face with reality, and the entire process that led to defining who and how should investigate 9/11 began to follow a very different and complex path. The Bush Administration made it clear from the first moment that it was not willing to create a commission independent of the Executive Branch to investigate 9/11.
The White House promoted the constitution of an Interparliamentary Commission, made up of the heads of the representatives of the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the Intelligence Committees of both chambers under the control of the Bush Administration. This White House policy unleashed an intense debate about the way the investigation was carried out, because the quest of the relatives and public opinion was for it to be a credible, clear and impeccable investigation.
In this way, the discussion about which Commission should investigate went through the country's institutions, the government, the political parties, officials and public opinion. The positions on the way in which the investigations should be carried out were divided, on the one hand there were those who wanted an independent investigation, and therefore an Independent Commission of the Executive branch. And on the other hand, the White House advocated for a Bicameral Commission, whose investigation would be under its control.
The victims' families and public opinion strongly pressured the formation of an independent commission. This was done, for example, by the group called the "Jersey Girls", a group of victims' families led by Kristen Breitweiser, Patty Casazza, Lorie Van Auken, and Mindy Kleinberg. These women, residents of New Jersey, had lost their husbands in the attacks, and promoted a movement together with other family organizations of victims to pressure the government to establish an Independent Commission.
The tug-of-war, the pressure and the negotiations continued, and a long process of struggle, of bidding, comings and goings, began between the authorities, the Bush Administration, congressmen, family members, public opinion, the press, and officials. When this whole process of struggles and debates broke out about how to carry out the 9/11 investigation, more than 2 months had already passed after the attacks had occurred, and there was no Commission or organization in the country that could officially be said to be who was investigating what happened.
The survivors and relatives of the victims continued their demand for the convening of an independent commission to investigate 9/11, framed in pain for the loss of their loved ones. But their claims and aspirations conflicted with the policy of the Bush Administration. The rejection they received of their claims from the authorities led them to have to organize and form several groups of family members who began to work together on different aspects of defending their rights and interests.
This is how the various groups of family members formed the so-called "9/11 Families Movement" with the aim of pressuring for an exhaustive and credible investigation to be carried out through an Independent Commission. While these events were developing, essential hours, times, and days were passing to discover the truth about the attacks, and that time that passed without there being an official Investigative Commission went against an investigation and clarification of 9/11.
It is not necessary to be an expert or a dedicated scientist to know that with every hour that passed since 9/11, the possibilities of an accurate investigation weakened, because the first hours and days after the attack were vital. At Ground Zero, the area of Manhattan where the attacks had occurred, the remains of the WTC were removed, and the evidence was transferred. Materials, data, evidence were crowded into warehouses and warehouses, subjected to inclement weather, liable to deterioration or loss as the hours and days passed.
The material evidence of 9/11
On the other hand, the material and intellectual culprits of the attacks had precious time to hide, evade, clean up their actions and consecrate their impunity. The passage of time played in favor of those who perpetrated the attack, and against the aspirations of the family members. At the same time, the absence of an organized and functioning Independent Investigative Commission endangered the manipulation of the rubble and remains that was carried out at Ground Zero, Pennsylvania and the Pentagon.
These vital and necessary data for the investigation were being collected by different federal agencies such as FEMA, NIST or the FBI, or local organizations such as the New York City Authorities, among others. But each agency sometimes acted in the service of the plans established by the other agencies that intervened, or sometimes in contradiction with them. The delay in the constitution of an investigative commission acted against the investigation process that officials and scientists from each sector were carrying out. The accumulation of evidence, data, films, and this entire process of partial collection that each agency carried out, did not have a recipient to centralize, supervise and unify the investigation.
This absence of an official body that united the work of the various agencies in the days and hours after the attack had a negative impact on the investigation process. The entire development of the investigation was dispersed and divided, without the evidence being able to be brought together as a whole within a Commission that investigated.
At the same time, the absence of an Official Commission formed to investigate was not only vital in the following days due to the passage of time that went against certainty in the investigation. It was also vital because in those momentous days and hours most of the manipulation of remains, data and evidence that were scattered throughout several states of the country, such as Washington, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Massachusetts, or New York, was carried out. And precisely this gave rise to many controversies that arose about the manipulation of these materials.
The FBI intervened at Ground Zero, as part of Operation PENTTBOMB (in English, "Pentagon Twin Towers Investigation Bombing" ). The objective of this operation was to carry out an analysis, searching for traces and evidence in the investigation, among the steel, beams, remains of buildings, and human remains to find missing or dead victims. 4,000 special agents and 3,000 professional employees participated in PENTTBOM, a total of 7,000 agents involved, which constitutes the largest and most complex operation in the history of the FBI.
In their testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, FBI officials detailed the scope of that agency's overall operation. They stated that through the operation to investigate at Ground Zero they were able to identify the 19 kidnappers in a matter of days; They found names on the flight lists, credit cards, 3 identical handwritten letters in Arabic, in whose translations an alarming willingness to die on the part of the kidnappers was expressed.
In addition, several of his passports, including those of Ziad Jarrah, Saeed al Ghamdi, Satam al Suqami, and Abdul Aziz al Omari, were found on different flights. Satam al-Suqami's passport was found a few blocks from the World Trade Center, and according to the 9/11 Commission, the passports of 2 of the hijackers of Flight 93 were also found in the wreckage of the aircraft. Al Omari's passport was found next to Mohamed Atta's luggage, in which, according to the FBI, important clues about the kidnappers and their plans were found.
Their luggage contained documents that revealed the identity of the 19 kidnappers, and provided information about their plans. The FBI stated that the documentation made it possible to determine details such as dates of birth, acquaintances, possible residences, visa status, and the specific identity of the suspected pilots, which made it possible to link the 19 men of the terrorist organization Al-Qaeda, through access to his intelligence agency files. On September 27, 2001, the FBI released photos of the 19 kidnappers along with information on nationalities and aliases.
Operation PENTTBOM collected more than 7,500 pieces of evidence that were presented for analysis. The authorities and organizations of the city of New York helped process more than 1.8 million tons of remains to carry out the investigation and identification of victims, more than 45,000 photographs were taken of the scene at the WTC, in a location that covered more than 700,000 square meters, and in which 24 local, state or federal organizations participated with more than 1,000 workers daily.
There were almost 17,000 tons of material processed per day, 55 evidence processing teams, plus FBI doctors. Security agents and other specialists began working in October 2001 to identify and collect WTC structural steel from various recycling centers, an operation in which the FBI worked together with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (in English , FEMA) created by decree of President Carter in 1979, an agency that responds to hurricanes, earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters.
Also working alongside these 2 Federal agencies were the Building Performance Verification Team (BPAT), the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the members of the New York Association of Structural Engineers (in English, SEAoNY) and Professor A. Astaneh-Asl of the University of California, Berkeley, with support from the National Science Foundation. Independent specialists advised FEMA on the pieces that were relevant to the investigation.
Once the steel was extracted and separated from other waste, it was bundled and loaded onto trucks that transported it a few blocks north, to an area near the Hudson River. Using cranes, the steel from the trucks was transferred to ships that were sent to the Fresh Kills landfill, on Staten Island, where the FBI and FEMA worked together with the contractor Phillips and Jordan, Inc. (P&J), which was called by the Corps. Army engineers to manage the site and help with debris removal and recycling tasks. At the Staten Island landfill, P&J also carried out forensic work, through which all metal, human remains, glass, concrete, etc., was subjected to investigation. They recycled the metal which was later sold. According to authorities, 200,000 tons of steel were processed, separating everything that could constitute evidence or proof susceptible to criminal investigation before recycling. Through this procedure, 55,000 pieces of evidence were identified, and 4,217 parts of human bodies were recovered, allowing the identification of 209 victims.
Yanuzzi Demolition was the company that handled the unloading of the barges and the storage of the steel. Once this chain of transporting the remains was completed, the steel was sent and sold to China. The removal of debris took a total of 8 months, and firefighters and other rescue services found their work limited and, in some cases, impeded by the presence of the impressive pile of debris that even put their own safety at risk. The work of the workers, firefighters, and workers was in difficult conditions, putting their lives at risk, subjected to terrible working conditions, pollution, contracting lung diseases, and all kinds of conditions.
A significant number of immigrant workers were hired and carried out the tasks of collecting remains in an environment of extreme danger, together with the relatives of victims crowding the remains of the disaster that were removed and the evidence transferred. A great controversy then arose around the handling of the remains of 9/11. Numerous complaints were against the removal of a significant amount of steel and debris removed from Ground Zero, cut into smaller sections, melted down and shipped. to China.
Complaints also indicated that the protocol for disaster cleanup and investigations was not followed, while there were contradictions and friction between FEMA and the New York City authorities. In turn, several portions of remains from the attack on the Pentagon and the destruction of the plane in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, were examined at the military morgue in Dover, in the state of Delaware. But several years later, the report prepared by an independent commission that was tasked with examining practices at the Dover military morgue revealed terrible management. According to the investigation carried out by the independent Commission, several portions of remains of victims of the attack on the Pentagon and from the plane in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, were cremated, and their ashes scattered in a landfill.
The independent commission that investigated the handling of remains at the Dover morgue was headed by Gen. John P. Abizaid, former commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East. According to the commission, the partial remains were cremated and later handed over to a contractor for biomedical waste removal. This contractor placed the remains in containers and incinerated them, the residual matter was taken to a landfill, and it was not clear from the remains of how many victims they were, but they were those of people from the plane that hit the Pentagon.
In the article published by the journalist Elisabeth Bumiller in the New York Times on February 28, 2012, the statements of General Abizaid in the Pentagon were published: "I have to admit that there were a series of investigations that were carried out in the warehouse of corpses" . The article states: "The shocking new revelation tarnishes the reputation of Dover, hallowed ground for the military and the entry point for the dead in the nation's wars, and is likely to create further anguish among the families of the 11 victims." September" (6)
The formation of the 9/11 Commission
The same article notes that Lisa Linden, spokesperson for the families of United Flight 93 that crashed in Shanksville, said in a statement: "This is impossible to believe. The remains from the Flight 93 crash were under the care and control of the coroner. of Somerset County, Wallace Miller. He has said that there are no remains that were sent to Dover." (7) The serious problems of handling 9/11 remains in Dover forced the Secretary of Defense of the Obama administration, Leon Panetta, to order to investigate the management of the Dover military morgue.
Panetta ordered the creation of a committee to analyze the management of the morgue and issue recommendations, after the loss and improper manipulation of human remains came to light. According to the New York Times article, the problems with the missing body parts indicate that the problems at the mortuary were more extensive and went back even further than previously thought, linked to other cases of bodies from the wars of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Now reaching the end of 2001, the delay in forming an investigative commission into the attacks continued and this was unprecedented in the history of the country. Even the questioned Warren Commission that investigated the Kennedy assassination had been formed 7 days after the events. But the 9/11 Commission, having arrived in December 2001 and more than 90 days after the attack, was not formed and its constitution was delayed in the midst of negotiations and political disputes.
The delay of the Bush Administration in forming the investigative Commission contrasted with its haste in invading nations. Ninety days after the attacks, there was no investigative commission appointed, but after 16 days the Bush Administration had already ordered the invasion of Afghanistan. When 4 months had passed since 9/11 and, without official evidence, the first 20 prisoners had already arrived at Guantánamo. And 120 days after the attacks, in the State of the Union speech, Bush stated that the countries responsible for the attack were an "Axis of Evil" made up of Libya, Iran, Iraq, Syria and North Korea.
Both the invasion of Afghanistan, the arrival of the prisoners at Guantánamo, and the State of the Union address were carried out without any public and official investigation because no commission had been officially established. NATO ordered the bombings and destruction of cities in Afghanistan without any official investigation documenting and proving the relationship that these cities in Afghanistan had with 9/11.
Meanwhile, relatives of the " 9/11 Families Movement ," including the "Jersey Girls" who were part of the movement, continued to press for the Independent Investigative Commission. The government offered millionaire sums of money as compensation to the relatives of the victims of 9/11, and many of these families took the money and dropped their claims. But an important part of the relatives did not stop at the sums of money or the tributes.
On the contrary, they decided to deepen the demand for justice and clarification of the facts, which is why at the end of 2001, several members of the Movement began the first of many trips to Washington DC to demand that Congress create legislation for an independent investigation of the 9/11, a claim that received no response from the Bush Administration for several months. This led family organizations to hold a demonstration in June 2002 in Washington, DC, in which they demanded the creation of an independent commission.
The pressures from the 9/11 Families Movement began to have an effect on some congressmen from both the Democratic and Republican Parties, who began to express that the Independent Commission should be established. In July 2002, the House of Representatives passed an amendment to the Intelligence Appropriations Act of 2003 (HR 4628) establishing a bipartisan " Blue Ribbon" commission to investigate. In this way, the bidding and pressure on the constitution of the investigative commission moved inside Congress.
In Congress, both Republican congressman Christopher Shays (R-CT) and Democratic congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) introduced a resolution arguing that the President should appoint a nonpartisan commission to investigate 9/11. chambers of parliament various parliamentary projects, options and amendments that proposed establishing a commission to investigate 9/11, but all of them were rejected by the Bush Administration. Only in October 2002 was a bipartisan agreement announced on the creation of an independent commission, establishing a panel of ten nationally recognized private citizens, equally divided between Democrats and Republicans. In the deal, the White House would choose one co-chair and congressional Democrats would choose the other. But in a matter of hours, the White House announced its opposition to the agreement, because it considered that it should appoint the president of the panel.
He also opposed the number of votes necessary to specify the commission's subpoena power, as well as its duration and scope. In response, family members held a candlelight vigil outside the White House to draw attention to the urgent need for an independent investigation of 9/11, and to demand that the administration drop its objections to a full investigation. Pressure from family members finally forced the Bush Administration to give in. On November 27, 2002, Bush sent to Parliament a bill that, among other things, allowed the formation of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, popularized under the name "9/11 Commission".
The 9/11 Families Movement established the so-called "9/11 Families Steering Committee" to monitor and control the investigation, seeking to ensure that it was an independent, serious and reliable investigation. But, once the Commission was established, the investigation was officially paralyzed once again. Disputes broke out over who should chair the Commission, as a result of the Bush Administration promoting Henry Kissinger to the presidency, which unleashed almost immediate rejection and disapproval from broad sectors that challenged Kissinger's appointment, arguing and denouncing that the Administration Bush wanted to control and manipulate the results of the investigation.
Kissinger represented neither neutrality nor objectivity in research. Kissinger's name has always been linked to multiple human rights violations, war crimes and crimes against humanity that included bombings in Laos and Cambodia; and coups d'état in Latin America. In particular, Kissinger's name was particularly linked to the coup d'état that led to the overthrow of President Allende and the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile.
But in addition, Henry Kissinger had to demonstrate by law that he constituted an independent personality. It had to be verified that Henry Kissinger was an official free of influence and all other pressure and lobby traffic, for which he had to provide the client list of his international consulting company. It had to be checked to verify who Kissinger was linked to, but he refused to provide this list of clients, which deepened the political crisis in the investigation. More than 1 year and 2 months after the 9/11 attacks, the Commission that investigated them had no one to chair it. The Jersey Girls led the challenge to Kissinger, and his refusal to provide the client list of his international consulting firm, which led Kissinger to decline the nomination on December 13, 2002.
After Kissinger's resignation, Thomas Howard "Tom" Kean, leader of the Republican Party, and 48th governor of New Jersey, was promoted to the presidency of the 9/11 Commission . Kean, a member of a long line of state political leaders, achieved enormous popularity while serving as governor of New Jersey, earning him two consecutive terms as governor. His appointment responded to the fact that the epicenter of the "9/11 Families Movement" was in New Jersey, the Jersey Women came from there, and New Jersey was the state that had suffered the greatest number of victims from 9/11. -S. Now Kean had to take charge of perhaps the most important Commission in the history of the country.
Along with Kean as President, the 9/11 Commission was made up of Lee H. Hamilton, a congressman from the Democratic Party as Vice President, and along with them, 5 officials from the Democratic Party and 5 from the Republican Party. Together with them, a team of 80 officials, congressmen and personalities was established, among them, Richard Ben-Veniste, Max Cleland, Fred F. Fielding, Jamie S. Gorelick, Slade Gorton, John F. Lehman, and Timothy J. Roemer, among others.
The Bush Administration took 441 days to form a commission of inquiry into the events of 9/11, an amount of time that was an incredible, historic and unjustified delay in the investigation of one of the most important attacks in history. And he did so reluctantly, under pressure from the families of the dead, who did not cease their demand for an impartial and independent investigation. The 9/11 Families Movement carried out their fight facing hostility, isolation, lack of resources, facing the worst days of their lives due to the loss of their loved ones, and even overcoming their own inexperience. They had to endure all kinds of campaigns and slander, they were accused of politically favoring this or that sector, but none of this stopped their demand for the constitution of an independent commission.
The role of the 9/11 Families Movement
The investigation of 9/11, given its global impact and its political and social consequences, could not find a less urgent response from its authorities. Above all, it was the Bush Administration that had done everything possible to prevent the initiation of an Investigative Commission by refusing to establish an Independent Commission of the Executive Branch. But his policy had to face the mobilization of the commissions of relatives and victims of 9/11, added to the pressure of public opinion. It seemed that the Bush Administration's policy had suffered a defeat because an Independent Commission had been imposed.
But criticism soon began to point to the fact that the recently appointed members of the 9/11 Commission had economic and political ties to government officials and State Agencies. Those who criticized Kean and the composition of the 9/11 Commission argued that their political and economic ties made it difficult for them to act objectively, and pointed to the fact that the person appointed as Personnel Director of the Commission was the Professor of History of the University of Virginia Phillip D. Zelikow who had been part of George W. Bush's presidential transition team.
Zelikow was strongly linked to the Bush-Cheney Administration, in close collaboration with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, which is why the controversies and questions deepened. The relatives had fought tirelessly for a year to achieve an Independent Commission, but could a Commission whose staff was directed and selected by an official closely linked to the Bush Administration be considered independent?
Philip Zelikow, lawyer, diplomat, and academic, after being part of candidate George W. Bush's transition team for the presidential elections, once he won the elections he was appointed to a position on the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Council of the Bush Administration. Zelikow's career had always been linked to Republican administrations. In the 2nd Reagan Administration, Zelikow's career had included a position in the State Department on staff to Secretary of State George P. Shultz. In the Bush Sr. Administration, Zelikow was part of the National Security Council, and had co-authored, with Condoleezza Rice, the book " Unified Germany and Transformed Europe: A Study in the Art of State" in 1995.
For all this, Zelikow's appointment was met with angry opposition from the 9/11 Families Steering Committee, who cited the obvious conflict of interest due to the fact that Zelikow had previously worked on Bush's transition team. The Jersey Girls demanded Zelikow's resignation. But his claims were rejected by Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, who headed the 9/11 Commission, arguing that Zelikow had been chosen because of his academic credentials and his knowledge of security issues.
But the relatives, and especially the Jersey Girls, criticized Zelikow's presence on the Commission, so the bidding, and the fight for the independent Commission and the tug-of-war continued. This tough political struggle that the relatives of the 9/11 victims carried out elevated them to a harsh political and personal experience. It is necessary to keep in mind that just 4 months before the formation of the 9/11 Commission, the majority of the members of the 9/11 Families Movement were simple people concerned about issues that afflict any ordinary citizen.
They were completely alien to the politics, negotiations and political leaders in Washington. But now the 9/11 attacks had changed his life and his destiny. The hard blow of the loss of family members and loved ones had seriously affected their personal life, and while they dealt with the regret and pain in their feelings, face the sudden changes to which their personal life had been subjected, at the same time, They also now had to rapidly undergo a political experience in a few months, which for many political leaders takes a lifetime.
Without having the necessary political experience, nor being most of them political professionals, they had to come face to face with the "stabilization" of Washington. They had to supervise the investigation, prevent or counteract the chain of intrigues, negotiations and lobbying that often acted behind their backs, unleashed by powers much greater than what they could imagine. There were too many variables, too many pressures from immensely powerful institutions and organizations. The relatives had to face this reality wrapped in pain and confusion typical of a process that they were forced to live through in the short time that had passed since the attacks.
Among the Jersey Girls, Kristen Breitweiser was a mother and housewife in suburban New Jersey who, driven by her grief and indignation, felt compelled to act as an activist in pursuit of a fair investigation. She testified before the Congressional Joint Investigative Committee. In the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, Breitweiser confronted Kissinger's nomination, fought and demanded an independent investigation. Lorie Van Auken, wife of Kenneth Van Auken, a Cantor Fitzgerald bond trader, had a similar experience.
Lorie lived in East Brunswick, as did Mindy Kleinberg, and both of their husbands were working for Cantor Fitzgerald at the time of their deaths in the attacks. The same thing happened with Patty Casazza: at the time of her husband's death, she was a nurse who also lived in the Colts Neck neighborhood. All of them simple women far from politics, like many family members, who went in a rush of suffering the pain of the loss of their loved ones, their projects and aspirations broken forever, to confront Kissinger, officials, congressmen, and rulers.
Many of them had controversial political positions, some initially demanding surveillance of Arab citizens, greater deployment of police and security forces. It was impossible for them to escape the general climate that existed in the country, of paranoia, fear and uncertainty. However, some of them even being of conservative ideology, they showed brave and determined action in their fight for a fair investigation. They confronted and opposed the Bush Administration's control of the Commission. They questioned and criticized Zelikow's appointment. And then, when they could not prevent it, they pressured the Bush Administration for months to have National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice testify before the Commission, an issue that Rice resisted as long as she could.
She refused to testify under oath in March 2004, and the Jersey Girls staged a protest that forced the White House to relent and force Rice to testify. Bob McIlvaine, a former history teacher and member of 9/11 Families who lost his son Robert, also became an activist. McIlvaine attended every hearing of the 9/11 Commission, and acted hard in the fight for the investigation. Beverly Eckert, whose husband Sean Rooney died in the attacks, was an activist for the creation of the 9/11 Commission and members of the Steering Committee.
Eckert died at the age of 57 on February 12, 2009, in the accident of Air Colgan Flight 3407, after having met with President Barack Obama a few days before to complain about the investigation, the detainees in Guantánamo and other issues. The political positions of the relatives oscillated between the pressures, the comings and goings caused by their fight for the investigation, always motivated by the need to unravel the truth. They suffered pressure and numerous attacks from different political sectors, they were accused of aligning themselves with the "extreme left", of being millionaires, of wanting to be celebrities, of campaigning for this or that candidate, etc.
The concrete fact is that, if it had not been for the brave and determined action of the relatives, there would never have been a 9/11 Commission. That is why the Bush Administration pressured everything it could to restrict any breath of independence and legitimacy to the 9/11 Commission, pressed to limit its actions as much as possible and domesticate it. The pressures of the Bush Administration took their toll on the 9/11 Commission; differences and questions about the investigation soon arose from the depths of the Commission itself.
Several members of the 9/11 Commission expressed criticism of the panel's performance, including Max Cleland, who charged that the Bush Administration was blocking the commission's access to key documents and witnesses, and called the 9/11 Commission a "national scandal" (8) Shortly thereafter, MaxCleland resigned from his position on the 9/11 Commission, only to later appear to be appointed by the Bush Administration as a member of the Board of Directors of the Export-Import Bank of the United States ( in English, Export-Import Bank)
Max Cleland, who until that moment was one of the members of the 9/11 Commission most critical of the White House's actions, had now become an official at a bank that provides credit and financing to small and large businesses. by management of the Bush Administration. The actions of the 9/11 Commission were involved in pressure and political bidding at the highest level, but bidding, political pressure and great controversies.
Other federal agencies also prepared reports that were complementary to the 9/11 Commission report, and the subject of much controversy. FEMA also prepared its report, dedicating itself to studying how each of the World Trade Center buildings behaved and the failure mechanisms that led to the collapse of the twin towers. The FEMA study focused on refuting the controversies that arose around the collapse of the WTC Towers, given that many entities and personalities denounced that the Towers could not fall due to the plane crash.
FEMA stated that the collapse of the buildings was caused by a combination of the impact of the planes and the fire. According to FEMA, the heat increased the temperature of the structural members, dilated the transverse beams and generated stress throughout the structure, which was weakened. The studies commissioned by FEMA reveal that the WTC structure lost rigidity, generated tensions, accumulated debris and caused failures in the floors. Once the collapse began due to a combination of all these factors, the potential energy of the building was quickly converted into kinetic energy, and according to the FEMA report, the mass of debris accelerated, impacting the lower floors that progressively gave way, leaving foot some sections, which ended up falling randomly on the surrounding buildings and streets.
Justice and the 9/11 investigation
The horrible attacks demanded due punishment for those who perpetrated them. A crime of that magnitude, with so many innocent victims, could not go unpunished. For this reason, a global demand, from the families of the victims and the population of the country, was to know the entire truth about the events and punish their authors. But in addition, 9/11 is of such importance due to the political changes that it brought about internationally, that knowing the entire truth about the events and those responsible for them is not only a necessity in the country, but also in the entire world.
The investigation of the 9/11 Commission focused on the recounting of the events and the criminal responsibility of those who perpetrated it. The Final Report of the 9/11 Commission was presented on July 22, 2004, and provided chilling figures that reveal the magnitude of the attack: A total of 2,982 dead, more than 6,000 injured, 300 firefighters killed, 85 police officers killed, 7 Injured in hospitals, 92 dead passengers of the American Airlines Boeing 767 that hit the North Tower, 11 of whom were crew.
The deaths of the Boeing 767 United Airlines 175 that hit the South Tower totaled 65, of which 9 belonged to the crew. At the Pentagon, the investigation recorded the death of 184 people, 125 in the building, 76 injured, and 64 dead on the Boeing 757 American Airlines, including 2 of the crew. In Pennsylvania, the report showed the death of 45 passengers of the Boeing 757, 7 of the crew. The report of the 9/11 Commission also includes the rescue and recovery efforts, in which it records the participation of more than 55,000 people.
Among those who participated in the rescue efforts were 40,000 police officers, 11,000 New York firefighters, 2,000 emergency personnel, and around 2,000 volunteers. The data from the experts and engineers reveal that the North Tower remained standing after the accident for 1 hour and 43 minutes, while the South Tower remained standing for 59 minutes. The damaged buildings in Manhattan, in addition to the 7 WTC buildings, were another 25. Regarding the fate of the planes, a report was prepared by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the agency in charge of studying transportation safety, who carried out an investigation process that was complementary to the 9/11 Commission report. The FBI took charge of the investigation of the 4 flights and ended up working together with the NTSB to read data from recovered black boxes.
The 9/11 Commission presented the Final Report after 1 year and 9 months of work, in which it reviewed more than 2.5 million pages of documents over 19 months. This was the last official investigation of 9/11, which can be divided into 2 parts: The first analyzes the actions of Al-Qaeda, the planning and execution of the attacks, and the Second part, on the other hand, analyzes in detail the failures of the different investigative agencies, in charge of safeguarding the country's security, FBI, CIA, NSA, etc.
After analyzing these two parts, the Final Report of the 9/11 Commission did not reveal anything new in relation to what the public already knew about the attacks; it generally presented the same sequence of events and explanations that had been given. the Bush Administration, with the conclusion that the attacks were conceived and carried out by terrorist members of Al-Qaeda, under the direction of Osama Bin Laden.
The Final Report listed the same 19 kidnappers on the first list published by the FBI as material authors of the attacks. In the second part of the Final Report, where the failures of the security agencies are described, the 9/11 Commission proposed creating a position of Director of National Intelligence, and carrying out the concentration of all security agencies, with the objective to centralize command of the 15 investigative agencies. In this way, the 9/11 Commission proposed creating a super-ministry of security assigned to be the most responsible for investigation and intelligence tasks,
The Final Report stated that the Director of National Intelligence should centralize the management of all agencies and deliver the "President's Daily Brief", the intelligence report that is presented to the President every morning. After the publication of the Final Report, the 9/11 Commission ceased its functions on August 21, 2004, thus concluding the last official investigation that was carried out on the events of 9/11, and from that moment on Until now, no other official investigation dealt with 9/11.
These reports were complemented by another official report, the NIST report on the collapse of the 7 World Trade Center building that was published in August 2008, four years after the Final Report was published. Given that the Final Report does not mention the fall of WTC 7, nor had the large television networks and the mass media made a development of that fact, a response was indebted. The NIST Report focused on explaining the fall of the WTC Tower that occurred in the afternoon, without it being touched by any aircraft.
The strange events surrounding the collapse of Tower 7 of the WTC, which made them the target of all kinds of complaints. The NIST report of August 2008 explained the physical reasons that caused the collapse of WTC 7, and thus sought to counter the campaign launched by many organizations that the buildings fell as a result of a controlled demolition process. NIST released that report as the Bush Administration was at the end of its second term in office and preparing to depart.
9/11 and the leadership of Al-Qaeda
The official explanations, reflected in the Final Report of the 9/11 Commission, were questioned by numerous citizens and organizations who found contradictions and many dark points in the explanation of the attacks. Both in the country and in the rest of the world, various organizations have emerged that question the Final Report of the 9/11 Commission. Some of these proposals are called "Conspiracy Theories" or "Conspiracy Theories", and have unleashed intense debates about the nature of the attacks.
These debates contain different positions and angles of research, which have surpassed the country's borders, and have been developed throughout the world, with countless forums, meetings, conventions, books and films that debate the nature of the 9/11 attacks. S. Movements such as the "9/11 Truth Movement" emerged in the country , as well as numerous personalities and organizations that question both the official version of the Bush Administration and the 9/11 Commission investigation.
Regardless of the direction of the debates about these theories, or the questions that have been raised about the official explanations of the attacks, the fact is that the Final Report of the 9/11 Commission presents a political contradiction of enormous importance. Presented as a neutral, objective and independent investigation of the parties and the different political currents of opinion in the country, it turned out to be the opposite. The Final Report ended up endorsing the explanations offered by the Bush Administration regarding 9/11.
Thus, by presenting the same conclusions that the Bush Administration presented just hours after the attacks, without contradicting them in practically any aspect, the Final Report ended up losing its character as a neutral or independent report. It remained linked to the vision of the Bush Administration and its proposals of GWOT, or the existence of an "Axis of Evil", without fully answering many of the doubts and questions about aspects that have to do with 9/11.
the Bush Administration had the explanation for the attacks 72 hours
after they occurred: How is it possible that after 1 year and 9 months
of investigations, the Final Report of the 9/11 Commission did not find
any contradiction, any element different from the explanations What did
the Bush Administration offer? It
is striking that the Final Report did not report new facts or new
elements that would provide a different approach than that given by
Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld.
For example, answer simple questions: How did a small group armed with small sharp weapons manage to violate all the most expensive and sophisticated air control systems that exist in the world? Who financed 9/11? As the debates continued, the 9/11 investigation reached dramatic heights, when the case of the former director of broadcast operations on the FEMA team, Kurt Sonnenfeld, who, on September 11, 2001, was assigned to Ground Zero to film images of the area.
Sonnenfeld filmed 29 videos, collected the images, lived with the first responders, firefighters, doctors and all the personnel assigned to the site to carry out the assistance and search for survivors at Ground Zero. Since he was the only person authorized to take images of the place to provide to the television networks and the FBI, Sonnenfeld took the images, did his job, and returned home. But after finishing and retiring, Sonnefeld began to experience confusing and serious personal episodes, he began to receive attacks and persecution from the authorities, he ended up being persecuted, and had to leave the country and go into exile with a request for refuge in Argentina.
However, the darkest side of the 9/11 investigation turns out to be the case of those accused of being leaders of Al-Qaeda, leaders and personalities of Muslim origin imprisoned in Guantánamo. Among them is the considered number 2 leader of Al-Qaeda, Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, a Pakistani citizen from a wealthy family, accused by the FBI and the CIA as the mastermind. According to authorities, Mohammed had been the real "9/11 mastermind . " Mohammed had completed his college education at North Carolina A&T State University and, according to authorities, he was the one who planned the attacks down to the smallest details.
The authorities claimed that Mohammed had used his facade as a harmless civil servant, technician and intellectual as a mechanical engineer, to mastermind the attacks. Mohammed was captured in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, on March 1, 2003 by the CIA, and charged with 9/11. S by a Military Commission at the Guantánamo detention camp, and faced a death sentence if convicted. However, according to complaints from Human Rights Watch, Mohammed claimed responsibility for 9/11 after being horribly tortured.
Mohammed suffered the controversial technique of simulated drowning, also called " waterboarding " , which CIA agents performed on him up to 183 times. The torture process included keeping him awake for 180 hours, after which Mohammed confessed to several terrorist operations. He confessed to having been the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks. He also confessed to the attempt to blow up a plane over the Atlantic, and confessed to being part of the 2002 attacks in Bali, Indonesia.
Mohammed confessed to being linked to the 1993 World Trade Center attacks and confessed to being involved in several other attacks. Due to Mohammed's multiple confessions, Pakistani citizen Aafia Siddiqui, a professional who moved to the United States in 1990 and studied neuroscience at the prestigious University of Massachusetts, was arrested. In Boumediene vs. Bush (2008), the United States Supreme Court ruled that detainees like Mohammed had the right of access to federal courts upon request.
His lawyers filed habeas corpus proceedings to challenge his detention. A tough legal fight by his lawyers, and an international campaign in defense of his rights, managed to remove Mohammed from the Military Commissions and brought his case before civilian courts. His confession under torture casts a shadow over his real participation and involvement with 9/11. But even more serious was what happened with the case of Abu Zubaydah, accused by the CIA and the FBI as number 3 in the chain of Al Qaeda command.
Captured in early 2002, Zubaydah's information obtained under torture was decisive in the elaboration of the official version of 9/11. According to Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld, Zubaydah was "a close associate (of Osama bin Laden ) and , "In the absence of being number 2, (he was) very close to the person who occupies that position within the organization (Al-Qaeda) . I think all of this is well demonstrated." (9) When subjected to torture, Zubaydah revealed the names of other Al-Qaeda officials who were arrested thanks to their revelations.
But the problem is that it is now known that Zubaydah was never a member of Al-Qaeda. Who was considered number 3 of Al-Qaeda by Donald Rumsfeld Secretary of Defense and head of the Pentagon, and accused of being a senior leader of Al-Qaeda by the CIA and the FBI, had no connection with Al-Qaeda. He confessed everything that he confessed under torture, and he said it only so that they would not continue to torture him, which came to light when his lawyer published an article denouncing his situation in the British newspaper The Guardian in 2009. .
Zubaydah's lawyer wrote in The Guardian that his client, who had been described as " Al-Qaeda's number 3 ", had never been linked to, nor had he been a member of, that organization. Following the publication by which it became public knowledge that Zubaydah was never a member of Al-Qaeda, his lawyers filed a writ of habeas corpus after judicially denouncing that his detention was arbitrary. In September 2009, the Obama administration acknowledged Zubaydah's innocence during a habeas corpus petition.
The Obama administration acknowledged that Zubaydah had never been a member of al-Qaeda, that Zubaydah was not involved in the 1998 African embassy attacks or the 9/11 attacks, as reported by investigative journalist Jason Leopold. In a federal court filing, Justice departed from the Bush administration's claims that Zubaydah had helped plan the 9/11 attacks and was a close confidant of Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.
Even the Obama Administration dismissed previous claims, coming from the Clinton Administration, that he was directly involved in planning the 1998 embassy bombings in East Africa. In the filing, the Justice Department asked the judge presiding over the case to reject the Bush Administration's allegations against Zubaydah, including the claim that he was one of the "Top Organizers" of 9/11.
In doing so, the government contradicted Court of Appeals Judge Jay Bybee, who in August 2002, as head of the Office of Legal Counsel, signed the memoranda authorizing torture techniques applied to Zubaydah and other detainees. "high value". Memos signed by Jay Bybee authorized enhanced interrogation techniques, considered torture at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp beginning in 2002, and at Abu Ghraib after the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
American lawyer George Brent Mickum IV represented three British residents, Bisher Al Rawi, Jamil El Banna and Martin Mubanga, who were captured in Africa and transferred to the Guantanamo Bay detention camps. When the United States Supreme Court forced the Department of Defense to provide an opportunity for captives to learn why they were being held, they designed administrative procedures called "Combatant Status Review Tribunals" ( CSRT ) .
The Guardian cited Mickum's advice to his clients who refuse to participate, arguing that such courts would be used against his clients at trial. In February 2008 Mickum was one of the first two lawyers to see Abu Zubaydah, and on March 30, 2009 The Guardian published an article by Mickum, titled " The truth about Abu Zubaydah: Bush administration's false claim that my client was a senior Al-Qaeda official has led to his imprisonment and torture" (10)
Other governments also had to acknowledge the false charges against Zubaydah. On 24 July 2014, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that Poland violated the European Convention on Human Rights when it cooperated with the United States by allowing the CIA to hold and torture Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri in its territory in 2002 to 2003. The court ordered the Polish government to pay each of the men €100,000 in damages and awarded Zubaydah €30,000 to cover his costs. (11)
Since he was not involved in the 9/11 attacks, Zubaydah's arrest, torture, solitary confinement, deprivation of liberty and transfer, had constituted an aberrant attack on human rights and civil liberties. Similar cases were experienced with Mustafa Ahmed Al Hawsawi, alleged financial officer of Al-Qaeda, Ramzi Bin Al Shaibah, alleged coordinator of the attacks, and Omar Abdel Rahman, an Egyptian cleric who is serving a life sentence accused of instigating the attacks.
These arrests have generated controversy and many doubts about the investigation process that gave rise to the confessions. The allegations indicate that the confessions were made by these prisoners under extreme conditions of torture, denounced by numerous human rights organizations in the country and the world. All of this has cast a huge shadow over the investigation that the CIA, the FBI and the Bush Administration have carried out with the Guantánamo prisoners, accused of being responsible for 9/11.
But although the accusations that weighed on leaders and personalities of different nationalities in the Middle East were shown by the Bush Administration as reliable proof that it was making progress in clarifying the attacks, it was missing to know what had happened to the main suspect of having had responsibility for 9/11. The Bush Administration had to show traces, data, something about the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden, who had been accused of being the main person responsible and top leader of Al-Qaeda.
9/11 and Osama Bin Laden
On November 1, 2017, the CIA published 470,000 documents, audio and video tapes belonging to Osama Bin Laden, which allow obtaining more personal details of the former head of Al Qaeda. At the time of the arrests of Abdel-Rahman Mohammed, Aafia Siddiqui and Zubaydah, the Bush Administration began to propose that the country was undermined by sleeper Islamist cells, and that they could perpetrate another attack, imminently and anywhere, inside or outside the country. These sleeper cells were under the control of the leaders of Islamic organizations, and protected by the "Axis of Evil" , but above all they were under the control of one: Osama Bin Laden.
The theory of "sleeping cells" had a profound impact on the spirit of the population, who, sensitized by the horror of the attacks, feared that it would happen again and produce the terrible sequences of 9/11 again. The warnings about sleeper cells were spread all the time in all the media, repeated simultaneously by social and government organizations, which caused a logical fear in the population that some of these sleeper cells would come into action again. .
The 9/11 investigation could not be said to be finished and resolved until something was known about the whereabouts of the person most responsible for the sleeper cells in the world: Osama Bin Laden. It took 10 years for the US government to make any announcement about the fate of the person considered the main author of 9/11. The death of Osama Bin Laden was announced on May 1, 2011 by President Barak Obama. through a message to the nation on TV, which was quickly spread globally through all media.
That day, President Obama reported that elite units of the US military had killed Al-Qaeda's top leader in a shootout in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The action was called by the authorities "Operation Geronimo", an operation that was renamed "Neptune Sear" and carried out by units of the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, an elite SEAL unit, which operated under the JOSC, in coordination with CIA operatives. According to official sources, Bin Laden participated unarmed in the resistance against the group of special forces soldiers.
That day, 470,000 documents, audio and video tapes belonging to Bin Laden were captured, allowing more personal details to be obtained about the former head of Al Qaeda. There was an exchange of shots, until finally the special forces killed Bin Laden with a shot to the head. Several soldiers have proclaimed themselves authors or participants in the Special Forces group that killed Bin Laden. In the memoir " No Easy Day" Matt Bissonnette, a Navy SEAL who signed the book under the pseudonym Mark Owen said he was among several shooters who shot bin Laden, but received a trial for which he was fined pay the government for publishing classified information without prior consultation with the Pentagon.
Esquire magazine published in 2013 that had the " shooter" , named Robert O'Neil, belonging to the operations team of the Naval Special Command of the Navy (NSWC), was the one who publicly announced that he was the " "shooter" by Bin Laden. His testimony was posted on the Sofrep site, which specializes in news from the naval industry and the armed forces. That same testimony was prepared for a documentary produced by the FOX News network, in which the events that led to Bin Laden's death were presented.
According to the Obama Administration, troops seized Bin Laden's body after the shooting, took him back to Afghanistan by helicopter, and there they confirmed his identity through a procedure that was done by comparing DNA samples with brain samples. of a sister of Bin Laden who died of cancer. According to the government, his body was transferred to the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, where a funeral was first held according to Islamic rites, and later, his body was thrown into the sea. The 470,000 captured documents were only made public on November 1, 2017, 6 years later. The authorities explained that they threw the body into the sea for fear that a land grave would become a place of memory for his supporters, and that his grave would become a place of pilgrimage. But Bin Laden's corpse did not have time to become a relic or a sanctuary. The White House did not publish any image of the body. No photos, no videos, no type of verifiable or verifiable image. Only photos of the officials who attended the time of the murder and were able to see it. Controversies immediately arose: Had this really been Bin Laden's death?
Since there is no body, no images, no measurable, appreciable and precise factual data about the end of Osama Bin Laden, his disappearance exists closer to the symbolic terrain than to the material and practical terrain. The death of the leader of Al Qaeda meant putting an end to the issue of 9/11. Not to the political problems derived from it, such as the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq, but to the issues linked to the investigation, motives, responsible parties. , and events linked to 9/11.
The announcement of Bin Laden's death has an enormous impact on the clarification and knowledge of the entire truth about 9/11, because he is the person universally recognized as its author and main person responsible. But the announcement of Bin Laden's death leaves us without the most important proof. When Bin Laden died the way the authorities claim he died, the most important accused of 9/11 was unable to give his testimony. We will never be able to hear the confession of the person who was identified as the main author of one of the most important attacks. of history.
We will never be able to hear the confession of the person accused of being the leader of the Islamic resistance in Afghanistan and of an international network of living cells . The controversies increase when we advance in the field of the 9/11 investigation, because there is no doubt that Bin Laden's confessions and statements would have shed light on a fact that was universally closed under the accusation that was made against him, and to the organization he directed.
The fact that the army disposed of the body at sea, instead of solving the mystery of his death, has added to it. Why is there no photo, image, film or evidence of Osama Bin Laden's body? Why did they throw the body of the person primarily responsible for 9/11 into the sea? Bin Laden, his testimony or his corpse, would have shed some light on 9/11. But the problems linked to the clarification of 9/11 worsened when in 2007 a new scandal broke out when it became known that the CIA had destroyed a material of enormous value. That year, it became public knowledge that the CIA had destroyed the confession videos of the alleged perpetrators of 9/11.
On December 7, 2007, Washington Post editors Dan Eggen and Joby Warrick published the statements of CIA Director Michael Hayden, who said that in 2005 the videos of the confessions of the perpetrators of 9/11 were destroyed in Guantánamo, and justified the measure by stating that it had been done in defense of CIA agents. In this way, it became public that the CIA obstructed the investigation of the 9/11 Commission. This forced the top officials of the 9/11 Commission, Tomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, to publicly denounce in the New York Times, that they did not know of the existence of the interrogation videos.
That the CIA had hidden them from them. And therefore, the 9/11 Commission never had access to the confessions of the perpetrators of the attack, because the CIA denied them the existence of the videos and then destroyed them. This complaint by Kean and Hamilton shows the seriousness of the irregularities carried out in the 9/11 investigation.
"Stonewalled" por la CIA
When the Federal Justice asked the Department of Justice for the video tapes of the interrogations of Zacarias Moussaoui, to advance the investigation of the cases linked to him, the Department of Justice responded that the CIA did not have videos. But the CIA did have videos. The scandal broke out when CIA Director Michael Hayden acknowledged that in 2005 video tapes of the interrogations of Al Qaeda leaders and other prisoners accused of 9/11 had been destroyed. According to the Washington Post: " All tapes were destroyed in November 2005, on the order of José A. Rodríguez Jr., then director of clandestine operations for the CIA." (12) The CIA destroyed the videos of the interrogations of Abu Zubaydah, considered a close collaborator of Osama Bin Laden, and number 3 of Al Qaeda, subjected to numerous tortures. And it also became public knowledge that the tapes had not been provided to the 9/11 commission either.
The 9/11 Commission based its investigation on interrogation transcripts, but was not aware of the existence of the videos. The Department of Justice did not know about them either. The surprising revelations came on the same day that Senate negotiators reached an agreement on legislation that would ban waterboarding. According to the Washington Post: "In a memo to agency employees yesterday, Hayden said that "the decision to destroy the video tapes was made to protect the identity of the CIA agents who were clearly identifiable on them...they would allow identification of his CIA colleagues who had served in the program, exposing their families to reprisals from Al-Qaeda?" (13)
The New York Times confirmed that the tapes had been destroyed in 2005, and with them material of enormous value had disappeared in order to know who were responsible for 9/11. In this way, it was established with respect to those accused as material authors and intellectuals of 9/11, a more than irregular situation. There is no material that confirms the responsibility of Osama Bin Laden. We know that Bin Laden died, but just as we do not have any photo, video, statement or testimony, that is, any material that proves that he is the author of the attacks, nor any graphic material that allows us to see him dead.
In relation to the other leaders such as Abdel-Rahman Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah, or Zacarias Moussaoui who accepted being the authors of the attacks, the videos in which they testified to their guilt were destroyed by the CIA, a fact so serious that it forced the main officials of the 9/11 Commission to make a public statement to clarify the cumbersome situation created by the confession of the top CIA leader at that time.
Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, 4 years after the 9/11 Commission that they led ceased its functions, were forced to publish an article in the New York Times, denouncing what had happened, and highlighting the crash between the 9/11 Commission and the CIA. On January 2, 2008, Kean and Hamilton published an article called "Stonewalled by the CIA" in the New York Times . In said article, they stated that they did not know of the existence of the videos that had been destroyed by the CIA, and that the CIA hindered them from information about 9/11.
We transcribe fragments of the article by Kean and Hamilton, which are revealing about the seriousness of the problem that arose between the 9/11 Commission and the CIA: "More than five years ago, Congress and President Bush created the 9/11 Commission The goal was to provide the American people with the greatest attention to the "facts and circumstances relating to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001"...Shortly after its creation, the Presidential Staff Secretary addressed all agencies of the Executive Branch to cooperate with the commission...But the recent revelations by the CIA, that the tapes of the videotaped interrogations of Al Qaeda agents were destroyed, lead us to the conclusion that the agency did not respond to our legal requests for information on 9/11..."
"...Those who knew about the videos - and did not tell us about them - obstructed our investigation. Beginning in June 2003, we requested all intelligence reports on these major issues that had been collected from the interrogations of 118 named people, including both Abu Zubaydah and Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, two high-ranking Qaeda operatives, parts of whose interrogations were apparently recorded and later destroyed. The CIA gave us many reports summarizing the information obtained in the interrogations. "Agency officials assured us that if we asked specific questions, they would do their best to answer them. So, in October 2003, we sent another wave of questions to the CIA's general counsel..."
general counsel responded in writing to the answers...and made it known
that no additional relevant information had ever been recorded...Not
satisfied with this response, we decided that we had to question the
detainees directly , including Abu Zubaydah and some other key
captives... At a working lunch on December 23, 2003, George Tenet,
director of the CIA, told us that we would not have access to detainees.
During the meeting, we stressed that the CIA must provide all documents
that respond to our requests...Tenet responded by alluding to several
documents that he thought would be useful to us, but neither he, nor
anyone at the meeting, mentioned video tapes. In a January 21 session
2004, with Mr. Tenet, the White House advisor, the Secretary of Defense
and a representative of the Department of Justice, there was also the
denial of access by the 9/11 Commission to the detainees...Once again ,
the video tapes were not mentioned..."
"...As a result of this January meeting, the CIA agreed to pose some of the questions to the detainees and report back to us. The commission concluded that this was all the administration could give us. But the commission never felt that his previous questions had been satisfactorily answered...As a legal matter, it is not our place to examine the CIA's failure to reveal the existence of these tapes. That is for others. What we do know is that the government officials decided not to inform a legally constituted entity, created by Congress and the president, to investigate one of the greatest tragedies this country has ever faced. Which we call obstruction..." ( Thomas H. Kean and Lee H Hamilton president and vice president, respectively, of the 9/11 Commission. January 2, 2008) (14)
and Hamilton's complaint reveals the extent to which governments have
worked intensely to prevent an investigation that would give the
American people, and the people of the world, the truth about 9/11. The
Bush Administration took 441 days to form the Commission of the 9/11.
11- S, an unjustified delay in days that were vital to obtain an
accurate investigation. He then worked intensely to strip said commission of its independence, put limits on it, and control it. Those
responsible for the attacks were announced and they confessed the
authorship under torture, of whose interrogations nothing is known
because the films were burned by the CIA.
Those who led the 9/11 Commission had to face the reality that Bush Administration and CIA officials had denied them access to the prisoners, and had lied to them about the existence of videos, which they never knew were. They existed. Kean and Hamilton were forced to go public and denounce it several later in a New York Times article. At the morgue in Dover, Delaware, serious errors were committed in the handling of the remains of those who traveled on the plane shot down in Pennsylvania, and of those who perished in the attacks on the Pentagon. Reports from FEMA, NIST and the handling of remains from Ground Zero are also questioned.
Obama announced the death of Osama Bin Laden, without there being a single graphic material to corroborate it. They
announced that his body was thrown into the sea, and his strange
disappearance of which we have no record, left us without his
confession, neither written nor filmed. After
10 years, there are no filmed confessions, nor documents that allow us
to verify that those who were accused of being responsible for 9/11 were
actually the ones who carried out the attack. But what is really serious is not that these documents that allow us to know what happened with 9/11 are not there. The
really serious thing is that these documents do not exist because both
the Bush Administration and the Obama Administration, both their
officials and the officials of the Pentagon, the CIA, and the FBI,
worked to ensure that they are not there.
It is the work of officials of the executive branch, and of the security organizations subordinate to them, that left the American people and the people of the entire world, without the vital evidence that allows them to know accurately, precisely and without questioning of any kind, which actually occurred on September 11, 2001 on the territory of the United States. The people of the United States, and the entire world, do not have in their hands the incontrovertible evidence about what happened on 9/11, because Democratic and Republican leaders worked to make it happen.
Reflecting the Absence
In New York, the city that was the epicenter of the 9/11 attacks, there are already more than 6,000 people affected by the attacks, from stockbrokers, to students, housewives and workers who helped in the cleanup. Their health problems began shortly after the attacks, due to the toxic dust, which, in the midst of the intense heat and explosive pressure, impacted them with its mixture of cement and asbestos particles. These elements, which irritate and damage the lungs and stomach, are carcinogenic and highly harmful to health. Specialists and pulmonologists affirm that the consequences of 9/11 on the population will have long-term effects. On October 28, 2003, hundreds of immigrant workers hired to clean up the toxic remains of 9/11 in New York demanded compensation for the serious health problems they suffer, from breathing difficulties to skin rashes, constant nausea, depression and anxiety, some of the symptoms suffered by thousands who worked at Ground Zero to remove debris from the WTC twin towers
"These were the invisible workers behind the scenes," said Beverly Tillery of the New York Committee on Occupational and Health Safety (NYCOSH). Among the organizations that work to defend the rights of immigrants hired for Ground Zero cleanup tasks is the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund. They organized a workshop for 25 former Ground Zero workers, who said that no one warned them about the dangers of materials such as asbestos, silicone and mercury. " They were working hard to make the offices and buildings clean so everyone could go back to work...Most, if not all, lacked health insurance, so compensation is the only way for them to undergo a medical treatment for the illness they contracted at Ground Zero ," Tillery said.
About 80% of workers suffered some respiratory symptoms attributable to the Ground Zero cleanup, including throat ulcers, chest tightness and frequent coughing, according to data from the Mount Sinai Center, and half were still suffering from them a year later. of the attacks. Others suffer from muscle, skin, and psychological problems, such as stress and depression. In 2003, 2 years after it happened, the effects of 9/11 could still be seen, both for the population and for the workers who came to clean the Ground Zero area.
Part of the population of New York contracted serious diseases that may take longer to manifest. The struggle and demands of the workers who helped clean Ground Zero received support from many organizations and professionals such as Debra Steinberg who was in New York City on September 11, 2001, and from her apartment she could see the smoke rising from the ground. WTC. Debra became a passionate advocate for 9/11 families, and the group of lawyers led by Debra offered free services to the families of 9/11 victims. They offered free legal advice, counsel, services, and advocacy. authorities in defense of the families of the victims. And they also offered assistance to the most vulnerable victims of the attacks: immigrants who were in the country illegally when their relatives died on 9/11. Around 60% of the people who participated in the rescue operations or cleaning of debris on the 64,000 square meter site left behind that morning of destruction are sick today.
Many of them are no longer here, they died from inhaling toxic dust, substances that damaged their lungs, affected their respiratory system or in some way deteriorated their health. To the thousands of workers, servants and auxiliaries who worked at Ground Zero who are sick and dead, there will be added those who will die as a result of various diseases that affected them forever. Health professionals such as pulmonologist Meredith Turetz point out that cases of diseases continue more than a decade after the attacks.
Possibly the deaths among those who collaborated in the tasks of removing debris and searching for victims are higher than the number of victims left by the events of 9/11. Marcy Borders, known as "the Dust Lady", because she was the protagonist when she unintentionally one of the most representative photographic images of 9/11. Mary Borders was captured leaving the World Trade Center absolutely dazed, covered in dust, looking lost, but alive, minutes after the planes hit the towers. The "Dust Lady" was diagnosed with stomach cancer in April 2014. The evolution of the disease was abrupt and ended her life, and Borders herself attributed the appearance of the cancer cells to the aftermath of 9/11. .
Only one morning was needed to turn New York's Twin Towers into a mountain of rubble and ash, but many years will be needed to heal their wounds. When the cleanup after 8 and a half months of work was completed, workers discovered the existence of a last steel beam still remaining at Ground Zero, which survived when the Twin Towers collapsed, and was transformed into 1.8 million tons of rubble. For months it was hidden by the material, but when the collection was finished, the workers found that it was still standing, in the same place where it had been built with the south tower, 3 decades ago. With its discovery, the beam became a kind of altar, where those who worked in the area placed a flag, messages and photos of the victims.
Most of the victims of 9/11 were reduced to ashes after the explosions. These people were crushed or burned with the explosions and collapse of masses of steel and concrete. Efforts to try to identify all those missing on 9/11 have already extended to more than a decade, but even of the 2,982 people who died, only 1,634 have been identified, which means that there are just over a thousand people of which no remains have yet been found. Among the thousands who were identified, their remains were recovered by the work of rescuers, firefighters, and workers who for months worked on the removal, but became seriously ill in the effort to try to recover them. The remains of those who were identified as deceased in the 9/11 attacks could be recovered from DNA analysis of remains of corpses, skin or hair. But thousands of relatives of victims were still left without remains of their loved ones.
The new World Trade Center was presented as a project by Governor George E. Pataki and New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on December 19, 2003. Designed by architects Daniel Libeskind and David M. Childs, it has 5 buildings, a terminal transportation system for passengers, and a Memorial to the victims of the attacks presided over by the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere at 1,776 feet high (541.3 meters), to take the place of Ground Zero, the epicenter of one of the most intense dramas of the history. At the heart of the new WTC in honor of the 2,982 victims is the Memorial called "Reflecting Absence", that honors not only the victims of the WTC, but also those of Pennsylvania and the Pentagon, with a museum with an exhibition of objects and artifacts of great significance to tell the story. The ceremonies at the end of the cleaning of Ground Zero were also the cause of discussion and controversy after entire months of speeches and words.
It was the workers, firefighters and the families of the victims who asked the mayor of New York, Michael R. Bloomberg, that the commemorative events be held, without shows, speeches, or noise. However, not everyone agreed: many asked that the commemorations be held during the weekend so that there were no limitations such as school or work hours. Despite the claims, Bloomberg said the city did not want the ceremonies to conflict with ceremonies of different religions.
The commemoration began with the bells of the entire city ringing in unison, remembering the fall of the second of the two 411-meter towers. Members of the rescue teams, firefighters, and family members heard the sounds echoing in the midst of the sepulchral silence that enveloped the area. After the work of collecting and removing debris where the WTC was, Ground Zero was now just a huge ditch, a physical expression of the open wound, and of the terror and horror experienced there. The ditch is gone, but it is still overwhelming to walk through Ground Zero today.
The truth about 9/11
The Final Report issued by the 9/11 Commission became an editorial success. In 4 days it had sold more than 350,000 copies and its sales skyrocketed in the following days, a success linked to the fact of the population's need to find an explanation for what happened, to truthfully know why it happened, those responsible for the attack, and how they did it. However, the questions received by the Final Report, its explanations limited to repeating in more or less detail the Bush Administration's version, leave the most important task pending.
Ellen Mariani lost her husband, Louis Neil Mariani, on 9/11. She turned down a government offer of $1 million for Louis' death when United Air Lines Flight 175 he was on crashed into the Tower. South of the WTC. Since that day, Ellen and her attorney, Phillip Berg, former commissioner of the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office, have amassed a 62-page file in federal district court with charges against President Bush and other officials, including Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleeza Rice and John Ashcroft.
Ellen accuses them of criminal conspiracy, obstruction of justice and unlawful death, invoking the Racketeering, Influences, and Corrupt Organization (RICO-Act). Attorney Berg summoned former federal employees with extensive knowledge and experience in military intelligence to provide him with data that would allow him to establish the charges and prove that the defendants were subject to a "pattern of criminal activity and obstruction of justice", violating the public trust and laws of the United States, embarking the country in an endless war against terror for personal and profit objectives
One hundred American personalities from all walks of life, and 40 relatives of victims rejected the Final Report in November 2004. They asked that the investigation be reopened with a letter of complaint that they delivered to the Attorney General of New York Eliot Spitzer, in which they demanded 4 questions: That the Attorney General reopen the investigation, that there be parliamentary hearings on them, analysis by the media of the press and the constitution of an independent and citizen investigative commission. Martin Sheen, Charlie Sheen, Woody Harrelson, John Heard, Sharon Stone, Willie Nelson, and Rosie O'Donell, are among hundreds of artists who have signed demanding an investigation of 9/11 alongside scientists, researchers, political and social leaders .
The list of signatories includes presidential candidates Ralph Nader and Michael Badnarik; Daniel Ellsberg, former senior Pentagon official, retired CIA analyst Ray McGovern, anti-war activists such as Code Pink co-founder Jodie Evans, Kevin Danaher of Global Exchange.
In the text signed by the former United States ambassador and head of mission in Iraq, Edward L. Peck; Environmentalists such as Randy Hayes and John Robbins, popular journalist Ronnie Dugger, prominent investigative journalist Kelly Patricia O'Meara, and five-time Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney ask authorities questions like these: Why not Were the standard operating procedures in case of diversion of commercial aircraft respected that day? Why were the rocket batteries and air defense officially deployed around the Pentagon not activated during the attack? How could Flight No. 77, which officially crashed into the Pentagon, have turned around and headed toward Washington DC for 40 minutes without being detected by the FAA (Federal Aviation Agency) radars, nor by the even more powerful of the American army? Why was the 9/11 Commission unable to answer most of the questions posed by victims' families?
Why was Philip Zelikow chosen as executive director of the so-called 9/11 Commission, despite having written a book with Condoleezza Rice? NYC CAN, a coalition made up of families of victims, survivors and members of first responders of 9/11, requested that a referendum be held in New York City, so that the population could express whether they agree or not with reopen the 9/11 investigation. City authorities rejected NYC CAN's request.
New York authorities argued that the investigation into 9/11 had already been carried out, closed and there was no more to investigate. That did not deter NYC CAN, which organized the march from Battery Park to New York City Hall on Sunday, September 27, 2009, in protest against the city's attempt to prevent the referendum on the new investigation into the 9/11 attacks. to be carried out, an action that was accompanied by thousands of followers. The action passed through Ground Zero, the City Clerk's Office and the State Supreme Court, before reaching the steps of City Hall, showing that those who fight for the truth on 9/11 do not shy away from anything, neither the rejection nor the refusal of the authorities.
9/11 will forever be recorded as one of the most important days in history. For the number of innocent victims, for the horror experienced by family, friends and in general all of us who have experienced the impact of the attacks. Because of the political, social and economic changes that it brought about globally. All citizens of the world, whether we are more or less aware of the fact, have been impacted by 9/11. The political order that prevailed until that moment was broken, and the global cry for justice was immediate. The events that occurred on 9/11 became a great scar in the history of the United States. As we have seen, those who benefited politically from the 9/11 attacks were the "Neocons" perched in the Bush Administration, who They suddenly saw their global political strategy and design strengthened. The great contradiction that we experience until today is that the only explanation for such an event is the one given in general terms by the Neocon officials of the Bush Administration.
The Final Report of the 9/11 Commission essentially reaffirmed the version that Neocon officials gave about 9/11, and in this way, the 9/11 Commission left us an explanation of the events linked to the strategic project of those who directly benefited politically from these attacks. Thus, 9/11 left us images and concepts that will be part, forever, of an indissoluble whole: The destruction of the WTC, Al-Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden, the " terrorist cells", the concepts of WMD, GWOT , and the "Axis of Evil", etc. These two are the constituent elements of an event that twisted the course of history, and left the Bush Administration as the main protagonist, which allowed George Bush to say speeches like this: "We have known that there are evil people in this world . And in what way... And we will be alert. Your government is alert. The governors and mayors are alert because evil people are still lurking around here. As I said yesterday, those who have declared war on the United States have made a mistake terrible... My administration has a job to do and we are going to do it. We will rid the world of the evil ones" (15)
9/11 is the starting point of the political changes that affected the entire world in the following years. It will take a great collective effort to know the whole truth about 9/11. But from the moment the attacks took place, knowing the whole truth about them, knowing who instigated and perpetrated them, has become a democratic task. of first order for all those in the world who fight in defense of civil rights and democratic freedoms. "Tuesday, September 11, 2001, dawned warm and almost cloudless in the eastern part of the United States. Millions of men and women were preparing to go to work. Some went to the Twin Towers, the emblematic architectural structure of the World Trade complex Center in New York City ." Thus, with these words, the Final Report on 9/11 begins, portraying the routine daily experience that thousands of people were involved in, without knowing that they were on their way to being part of events that would change the world forever.
Once the enormous mountain of rubble, dust and twisted iron was slowly cleared from Ground Zero, and after the last column that had survived the 9/11 attacks was removed, an immense void was left where it stood. the WTC. Then, the members of the rescue teams took the last stretcher, empty, covered by the American flag, out of the Ground Zero ditch, in a silent tribute to the victims who were never found. The stretcher was placed in the last hearse. Finally, the workers last loaded the concrete beam onto a truck and left. In that humble and simple ceremony the curtain was opened on the greatest political drama of the 21st century. Nobody was aware of the political, economic and social changes that would ensue from there. And precisely the analysis of those changes that occurred in the United States and the world, which ended up modifying the country and the world forever, are a reason for development starting in the next chapter.
(1) and (2) Bob Woodward. "Bush at War." 2003
(3) Diario Crónica de México, March 21, 2002.
(4) C- SPAN State of the Union Adress, George W. Bush, 29 de enero de 2002
(5) Shadow Elite, Janine R. Wedel, 2009. p.147-191
(6) and (7) Elisabeth Bumiller New York Times, February 28, 2012
(8) Eric Boehlert. November 22, 2003 The president should be ashamed" Salon.com
(9) y (10) Brent Mickum. "The truth about Abu Zubaydah", The Guardian. 30 de marzo de 2009.
(11) "Poland 'helped in CIA rendition" European Court rules" BBC News 24 julio del 2014
(12) y (13) Dan Eggen y Joby Warrick "CIA destroyed videos showing interrogations" The Washington Post
(14) Thomas Kean y Lee Hamilton, "Stonewalled by the CIA" The New York Times, 2 de enero del 2008.
(15) George W. Bush, CN N, September 16, 2001.
Chapter II Patriot Act
"A permanent military force, with an Executive Branch with too many powers, are not for long safe companions of freedom. The means of defense against foreign danger have always been the instruments of tyranny at home"
James Madison. Debates at the Federal Convention of 1787
A year after 9/11, the US was unrecognizable. Its regime, its government, its laws, its institutional organization had undergone a historic change. The New York Times editorial of September 10, 2002 was headlined: "The War on Civil Liberties" and said: "It
would be easy to dismiss the damage that has been done to our civil
liberties in the last year...The 1,200 detentions that hover after 9/11
and held in secret, were mainly Muslim men with immigration
problems...Since last September, the Bush administration has kept people
in jail indefinitely and refused to tell the public who are detained or
even how many detainees there are. No less odious is that the
administration's secret detentions are with secret trials...As the Bush
administration continues down its path, the American people need to make
clear that they have learned from history and will not allow his rights to be taken back." (1)
The New York Times editorial of September 10 was an expression of the seriousness of the situation within the country. As a result of the impact of 9/11, the strategy of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) had been imposed, the Neoconservative group that proposed the supreme, military and economic domination of the United States. The PNAC strategy had two sides: On the one hand, the launch of a large-scale global war, which was beginning to be launched through the implementation of the GWOT, based on the global fight against terror.
But the other side of the PNAC's strategy was to impose an undemocratic regime in the interior of the country, with the aim of muzzling the mass movement, and avoiding any expression of discontent that would hinder its plans. The New York Times editorial was one of the many expressions of the seriousness of the political situation, where a true police state had been installed, to the detriment of democratic freedoms.
The US Constitution and laws preserving civil rights were being dismantled, concentrating power in the president and the military. The entire system of constitutional guarantees established as protection against dictatorships, kings and tyrants, which dates back to the days of the revolution for Independence from the British Empire in the 18th century, was being destroyed. The changes had affected the very structure of the government in order to change the relationships between the Executive, Legislative and Judicial powers, and between them and the Armed Forces.
After 9/11, a reactionary and antidemocratic institutional reform took shape in the United States that sought to install a new political regime within the country, crushing the most basic democratic rights of the entire population. The shock caused by the horrible attacks on the WTC was used by the Bush Administration to form a new relationship between state institutions, through a battery of measures, laws, decrees and resolutions with characteristics unprecedented in North American history.
The Neocon group that dominated the Bush administration, with cadres and leaders from the PNAC and other conservative sectors, thus attempted to establish a new political regime in the United States, based on 3 pillars: The President, the Pentagon and the Patriot Act. . The PNAC strategy, supported, adopted, and carried forward by all political and social organizations in the world, included the push for this reactionary reform.
An undemocratic institutional reform: The AUMF
The first major measure taken by the Bush Administration was a law passed to support and authorize a military response to attacks on US soil. On September 14, 7 days after 9/11, both houses of Parliament passed the so-called Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) law, signed by President Bush on September 18 . September 2001. With the AUMF the legislative branch transferred all the powers of the state to the Executive Branch, that is, to George W Bush. The law recognizes "the authority of the President, under the Constitution, to take action to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism against the United States ," and authorizes him to "use all necessary and appropriate force against such nations, organizations or persons whom it determines planned, authorized, committed or assisted in terrorist attacks." (2)
The AUMF took the President's authority to its highest level, Category 1 since it is acting with the express authorization of Congress. Said law changes its authority qualitatively since "it includes all that it possesses in its own right in accordance with the Constitution, as well as all that Congress may grant it" (3) The concentration of powers of the state to the Executive, that is, to George W Bush, was thus granted by the Legislative Branch.
And in Parliament, this concession of powers was carried out by agreement of both chambers and by agreement of the 2 most important political parties, the Democrat and the Republican. The AUMF actually modified the US Constitution, under which Congress has the power to declare war. For the US Constitution, the power to control war financing also lies with Congress, as specified in its Article I, Section 8.
The AUMF also annulled the Federal War Powers Resolution Act of 1973, which strictly establishes that the President can declare war or send troops only with the authorization of Congress. This Law had arisen as a result of the fact that during the Korean Wars of 1950 and the Vietnam War of 1964, the country had been involved for many years in belligerent situations without a formal declaration of war, which caused friction and conflicts between the Executive Branch. with the Legislature.
These wars, carried out without authorization from Congress, evidenced an erosion of Congress's authority to decide whether the United States should get involved in a war or not. The War Powers Resolution Act, apparently, resolved this conflict between both powers, clearly specifying that it is Congress that can authorize a war, but its sanction caused traumatic clashes between the Executive and Legislative Branches, then President Richard Nixon He vetoed the law, but Parliament, by a vote of two-thirds of each Chamber, overrode the veto and approved it on November 7, 1973.
The conflict and friction between both powers around this Law continued with President Reagan who violated the Law by sending the " Contras" to Nicaragua, and with President Clinton in 1999, who also violated the law during the bombing campaign in Kosovo. Now with the AUMF, the Bush administration, rather than violating it, left the Federal War Powers Resolution Act of 1973 directly ineffective. The War Powers Resolution further specified that the President must notify Congress within 48 hours of sending troops into military action and prohibited the armed forces from remaining there for more than 60 days, with a waiting period of 30 days. further, without the authorization of the use of military force or a declaration of war.
Likewise, as Attorney General Eric Holder recognized in the question he received in Parliament in May 2013, the AUMF empowered the president to use the military on US territory. In this way, the Bush Administration nullified with the stroke of a pen nothing less than the historic Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 (4) , a law that is a historic political principle, and prohibits the armed forces from intervening in any city, state or town in the United States, to act on problems internal.
Emerging after the civil war that unified the country and abolished slavery after the Civil War in 1865, the Posse Comitatus was negotiated at that time by the elected representatives and senators of the former Confederate States. After the Civil War, the representatives of the Confederate States arrived in Washington and established as a priority the creation of a prohibitive statute, so that in the future none of the powers, neither the Executive nor the Legislative, could use the army for the purpose to settle internal issues, invade states or attack citizens within the United States. The Posse Comitatus had a reactionary aspect at that time, to the extent that the oligarchic governments of the Confederate states did not want the interference of the federal army in the states that they still dominated.
Despite having lost the war, the Confederate leaders sought to negotiate a status that would allow them to continue their oppression and exploitation of the black population in the states they governed.
But over the years, the passage of that law played an enormously progressive role that transformed it into one of the most important democratic gems in North American history. By preventing the intrusion of the army in any state, the Posse Comitatus protects the civilian population of the army, prevents the soldiers themselves from using weapons against civilians, thus becoming one of the most important protections that the American people enjoy against the imposition of a military dictatorship. But precisely, this progressive aspect of the Posse Comitatus is what was put at risk with the sanction of the AUMF, given that under the supreme objective of the "fight against terrorism" it allowed the Bush Administration to enshrine a new order with the AUMF. institutional when managing the army.
Now with the AUMF, the Bush Administration first modified the US Constitution, which clearly stated that war could only be declared by Congress; then annulled the War Powers Act, which clarified that the army could only be mobilized by Parliament; and it also annulled the Posse Comitatus, which prevented the army from being mobilized within the United States, against the people.
That is why the effects of the AUMF far transcend the events that occurred after 9/11. The consequences of the AUMF on the world situation and in the United States are felt to this day: It opened the doors to war in Iraq, Afghanistan , attacks on Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Mali and allowed new drone bases in Niger and Djibouti. It made possible the murder, imprisonment and torture of American citizens and citizens around the world, and also made possible the actions of special forces groups that are still operating in 92 different countries. Michael Shank and Matt Southworth, journalists from the English newspaper The Guardian , called the AUMF "A blank check for endless war," since according to them the AUMF allows the US government to wage war "any time, anywhere." and with anyone considered a threat to national security with very little evidence necessary." (5)
The power in the shadows of Homeland Security (HS)
If the AUMF changed the balance of powers in the North American political regime, concentrating it in the Executive , Bush's next measures aimed at the creation of institutions to deepen the investigation, control and espionage of citizens within the United States and throughout the world, centralizing the actions of all the agencies that are dedicated to that task. Thus, a kind of supra-governmental institution was formed, which is the Department of Homeland Security (HS). The Department of Homeland Security is a ministry, made up of different institutional levels, beyond all control. , which act as a true parallel government.
The Final Report of the 9/11 Commission, formed to investigate the attacks, advised creating a ministry that would centralize the country's security agencies, uniting them into a single ministry, an issue that the Bush Administration promoted when creating in October 2001 with the decree 13,228, the Office for Homeland Security. This Office was the direct predecessor of what would later become HS. The Bush Administration appointed former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge as its director, who assumed office with the title of Assistant to the President for Homeland Security.
The Office of Homeland Security began its functions 27 days after the 9/11 attacks and one day after the start of the bombings in Afghanistan, on October 8, 2001. Tom Ridge, a Republican leader, and businessman linked to important Multinational Corporations, such as The Home Depot, The Hershey Company, Exelon Corporation, Deloitte & Touche, and TechRadium, took office while the official announcement stated: "The Office will be responsible for coordinating the Executive's efforts to detect, prepare, prevent, protect, respond to and recover from terrorist attacks in the United States" .
But the measures promoted by the Bush Administration aimed in this case in two directions. On the one hand, espionage and internal control over US citizens. But on the other hand, forming a state bureaucracy that would act as a government in the event that it disappeared due to a national emergency or foreign attack. Therefore, among the responsibilities that the Bush Administration gave to Ridge, was to "analyze plans and preparations to ensure the continuity of the federal government in the event of a terrorist attack that endangers the security of the United States government or its conduct." ". (6)
The existence of the "Replacement Government" was revealed on March 1, 2002 by The Washington Post and published by journalists Barton Gellman and Susan Schmidt in a famous article titled "A shadow government is working since the attacks" (in English "Shadow Government Is at Work in Secret After Attacks") What Gellman and Schmidt denounced was that Bush was carrying out an old plan devised during the time of President Dwight Eisenhower.
In this plan, in the event that a massive Soviet nuclear attack destroyed the capital and the government structure, there had to be an institutional structure that would provide continuity of power in Washington. Gellman and Schmidt denounced that the Bush Administration's plan was called the "Continuity of Operations Plan" and was put in place during the first hours of confusion that followed the 9/11 attacks, when helicopters from the military district of Washington took flight with the first group of officials evacuated, escorted by fighter planes.
These officials would assume control of all regional federal offices in the event of an emergency and would try to avoid the interruption of water supplies, food, transportation services, energy networks, telecommunications, the health system and order. civil throughout the country. In other words, 30 days after 9/11, the government chaired by George W. Bush existed in Washington, but simultaneously another government was formed on the outskirts of Washington, composed of between 100 and 150 officials, hidden and ready to assume power. in any contingency.
On March 2, 2002, The Washington Post again denounced this parallel government, in an article signed by journalists Amy Goldstein and Juliet Eilperin called "Parliament is not informed of the existence of a shadow government" (in English, " Congress Not Advised of Shadow Government") .
The Bush Administration accelerated the development of parallel state bureaucracy by Homeland Security Act HR 5005-8, which allowed the Office of Homeland Security to become the Department of Homeland Security (HS) on November 25, 2002. According to the Act, the mission of HS " is (A) to prevent terrorist attacks on the United States, (B) to reduce the vulnerability of the United States to terrorism, and (C) to minimize damage and assist in recovery. , from the terrorist attacks that occur within the United States." (7) Thus, 1 year and 14 days after the 9/11 attacks, the Bush Administration completed the introduction of important organizational changes in the State security institutions. The Washington Post described this reorganization of the bureaucratic security structure as the most important since World War II, when the Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) were created.
Through the formation of HS, an enormous bureaucracy was developed that went from a handful of hundreds of officials within 30 days of 9/11, to a structure of 22 offices with more than 180,000 employees and a budget of more than US$40 billion. $S several years later. Now with Homeland Security (HS) the 3rd largest ministry of the United States federal government emerged, behind the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs. In the institutional structure, Defense was in charge of military actions, while HS was in charge of the civil sphere covering Immigration, Customs Enforcement, Borders and the United States Secret Service.
The assembly of this state bureaucracy caused traumatic clashes and friction between the different institutions dedicated to internal intelligence. Faced with the attempt to unify all security functions into a single ministry, friction and controversies arose. One controversy was whether the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) should be incorporated, in part or in whole, into HS. The friction and clashes revolved around how many of these transcendental internal security agencies should be absorbed by the new institutional structure of HS, and what part and roles they should fulfill with respect to this new emerging state bureaucracy.
The bill itself was also controversial for its elimination of unionization and labor protection rights for HS employees, who, left without this protection, could be quickly reassigned or fired for safety reasons, incompetence or insubordination. This ever-growing state bureaucracy was exposed by journalists Dana Priest and William Arkin in the Washington Post with the work called "Top Secret America" (in Spanish , "The Biggest Secret in America").
In this work, Priest and Arkindenounce that this enormous HS bureaucracy continues to grow, already exceeds a million employees, operates in specially built facilities, secretly, outside of any control of the population or any of the traditional institutions of the state, like Parliament or Justice. The complaints state that 10 years after 9/11, this security bureaucracy functions without anyone knowing exactly what it does, without knowing what economic cost it has, and without the supervision of any other institution.
The HS structure is closed to all consideration, control or knowledge of the people. According to the research of Priest and Arkinto, every year 3 dozen new federal organizations, 1,900 private companies, 17,000 new locations and billions of dollars are incorporated into this new state bureaucracy, without any control.
The emergence of HS, as a complex of new antidemocratic institutions, which encompass the already antidemocratic institutions such as the CIA or the FBI, aggravated the dangerous bias of limitation of freedoms and rights in the country that the Administration began to develop. Bush. HS involved the emergence of new institutions that tend to shape and be part of a new political regime. To fully understand the changes produced by the Bush Administration, it is of great importance to analyze how these different new institutions and laws combine with the most important of them all: the Patriot Act.
Patriot Act: Legislative reform to suspend freedoms and guarantees
In the analysis of the measures taken by the Bush Administration after 9/11, up to this point we have seen the AUMF, which concentrates powers in the Executive and grants it exclusive management of the armed forces. Also to the National Security Law that creates HS, a parallel state bureaucracy that acts as a shadow government over the people of the US, without any control. But now we are going to see the most important of all the regulations, measures, decrees and resolutions taken by the Bush Administration, the law enacted on October 26, 2001, 45 days after the 9/11 attacks. Law called " Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism " . The initials of the long title in English result in the words USA-Patriot, and it is known as the Patriot Act.
This law, voted in Parliament by an absolute majority with the only vote against being the African-American congresswoman from Georgia Cynthia McKinney, is the most important of all the regulations, measures, decrees and resolutions taken by the Bush Administration. In fact, it became the cornerstone of the entire political regime established by the Bush Administration after 9/11. To begin with, the Patriot Act reformulated the definition of " terrorist activity . " In its article 211, it defines terrorist activity as the use of a "weapon or any other dangerous instrument that may cause damage to property." (8) According to constitutional lawyers Marcos Criado and Antonio de Cabo, the definition of "terrorist activity" is so broad that an anti-globalization demonstrator or someone who protests against war, demands civil rights, goes on strike, or is a member of the Occupy movement Wall Street can be defined by the Patriot Act as a "terrorist" (9)
The law enacted new crimes and toughened penalties for terrorism crimes, authorizing incarceration, without trial or presentation of charges and for an indefinite period of time for foreigners suspected of terrorism. He also instituted widespread surveillance over the population: with the Patriot Act the right to the inviolability of the home disappeared, the protection against arbitrary arrests disappeared, the right to the assistance of a lawyer disappeared, and the right to be tried in a trial disappeared. with due guarantees.
A sector especially harmed by the sanction of The Patriot Law were immigrants. Section 411 of the Act reformed the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), leaving immigrants with few or no rights. Once sanctioned, any immigrant may be detained indefinitely, may be denied a visa based on his or her political opinions, may be expelled even for joining legal political organizations, and may be detained for the simple allegation of a federal agent. without the need for further testing.
In this same section 411, the Patriot Act resurrected the idea of guilt by association, with which, any foreign individual who is associated with an organization that appears on the list of organizations considered "terrorist", or is a subscriber to its publications , or economic contributor, may be immediately deported or prohibited from entering the country. In section 802 of the Patriot Act, the so-called crime of "domestic terrorism " was created, defined as "acts dangerous to human life...that appear directed to influence the policy of a government through intimidation and coercion" (10 ) In this section the Patriot Act criminalized any public demonstration, which has constituted over the centuries a legitimate way of "pressuring and coercing a government ." For centuries, protest has been the tool that people have used to "put pressure on a government" and change measures that, in popular opinion, harm or attack rights. For centuries mobilization has been a tool to defend them.
But now after the passage of the Patriot Act, anyone who opposes a government measure and wants to express it is exposed to their actions being considered "domestic terrorism." Sections 802 and 411 of the Patriot Act are an amendment to the First Amendment of the US Constitution, which protects the right to freedom of speech and assembly, the independence of the press, access to ideas and the free flow within and outside the United States. With the passage of the Patriot Act, these rights were severely limited, which constituted a serious blow to the 1st amendment of the Constitution, and a de facto reactionary reform, in the Constitution of the United States. country.
The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution was also affected by the Patriot Act. The 4th Amendment protects against searches, searches and requires a court order from public forces to prevent unfounded intrusions into the home of any citizen. But now the Fourth Amendment was also affected by the Patriot Act, because it eliminated the restrictions that the FBI had to carry out domestic espionage tasks. These restrictions were imposed in the mid-1970s, after the revelations of the Watergate case, when information came to light about espionage carried out by federal agents against opponents during Richard Nixon's government.
According to constitutional lawyers Marcos Criado and Antonio de Cabo, since its enactment, the Patriot Act made it easier for the FBI to intervene in the telephones and electronic communications of North American citizens and immigrant citizens, and eliminated the guarantees contained in the Law of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) enacted in 1978 under the Carter Administration.
The FISA law established procedures for physical and electronic surveillance and the collection of foreign intelligence information among permanent residents suspected of espionage or terrorist activities, a law created to establish judicial and congressional oversight of surveillance activities. covert foreign entities and people in the country. FISA was the result of extensive Senate Committee investigations into the legality of domestic intelligence activities, in response to President Richard Nixon's use of federal resources to spy on political groups and activists in violation of the Fourth Amendment. But now, by eliminating FISA guarantees, the Patriot Act allowed communications to be intercepted, without a court order or specific process.
On December 16, 2005, the New York Times reported that the CIA intercepted communications using calls made to people outside the country, without obtaining orders from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, a court created for that purpose in FISA. The New York Times complaint is that the CIA carried out espionage with the collaboration of telecommunications companies.
Numerous organizations defending rights and guarantees sought to discover how the government was carrying out the application of Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which came to light due to an unexpected event. The revelation of how the Patriot Act allowed global espionage with the collaboration of telecommunications companies, gained global relevance thanks to the information provided to the mass media in 2013, by a former contractor of the National Security Agency (NSA). ), Edward Snowden.
Snowden provided details to the British newspaper The Guardian and the American newspaper The Washington Post about the massive espionage operations. Horrified by what was happening, Snowden decided to publicly disclose NSA spy programs, including the PRIM and XKeyscore mass surveillance programs, on May 20, 2013 from his apartment in Hong Kong, where he was serving as part of his job. .
Snowden made clear that he cannot "in good conscience allow the United States government to destroy the privacy, Internet freedom, and basic liberties of people around the world with this gigantic surveillance machine they are secretly building" (11) "I don't want to live in a society that does this kind of thing... I don't want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. It's something I'm not willing to support or admit, " Edward Snowden told The Guardian. , in June 2013.
Snowden left the NSA, the agency for which he worked and was created on November 4, 1952 by President Harry S. Truman, and requested asylum in another country. On July 2, 2013, Wikileaks released the list of countries to which Snowden requested political asylum, which are Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Cuba, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Ireland, Netherlands, Nicaragua , Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, and Venezuela. Snowden's revelations shed light on some of the shadow power that looms over the American and global population, and the threat that the passage of the Patriot Act poses to democratic freedoms.
These complaints highlighted the consequences that not only the passage of the Patriot Act had within the United States, but also throughout the world, as a result of the existence of a global campaign to fight terrorism and the presence of the US military in vast regions and countries of the planet. Thus, although enacted as a "Domestic Law", the implications of the passage of the Patriot Act far exceed the scope within the United States, and extended beyond the country's borders. These derivations began to act, violating the privacy rights of thousands of North American and non-North American citizens, in various regions and countries of the world.
Article 215 of the Patriot Act allowed the director of the Federal Investigation Agency (FBI) to obtain a judicial order ordering an American citizen to present any document, as part of an investigation carried out against international terrorism. The order may include books, records, files, papers, documents and anything else to which that citizen has access. The order issued under this Law can be served on any North American citizen, regardless of whether he resides on North American soil or abroad.
This article of the Patriot Act allows the North American authorities to force a North American citizen who temporarily resides outside their country to send this documentation for the purposes of obtaining certain information. It must be taken into account that the country has Multinational Corporations (12) that control the world economy and have subsidiaries that extend across almost all continents, regions, states and on whose boards there are officials with American nationality who control countless data on bank accounts, companies, governments, countries, clients, operations, contracts, etc. Thanks to Section 215 of the Patriot Act, the FBI has unlimited access to vital information from every continent, country, and region it wants.
Since the enactment of the Patriot Act, the officials of the boards of directors of the Corporations are now obliged to provide all information to the FBI, if Homeland Security requests it by article 215 of the Law (13) According to jurist Alain Lecours : "In addition, under Art. 215 of the United States Patriot Act , it is prohibited for an individual or a company that has received that Judicial order to disclose the existence of that order under penalty of sanction. Following that logic, the American citizen employee who must provide certain documents to which he has access as part of his employment relationship cannot even inform his employer (or supervisor) or the company's board of directors and the individual or company that communicates the information to the FBI after If you have been issued a court order under the USA Patriot Act, you have complete immunity and cannot be subject to claims for damages by any third party in relation to, for example, the communication of private or privileged information relating to that third person." (14)
The order and prerogatives of the FBI can be carried out by North American authorities without having the obligation to prove probable cause , that is, the existence of specific facts that a crime was committed or is about to be committed. The only thing that the authorities must invoke is the fact that the information to be communicated could be related to an ongoing investigation related to terrorist activities. Section 215 of the Patriot Act allows agents to access "tangible things," such as business records. This was denounced by Senators Mark Udall and Ron Wyden of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Both senators have repeatedly said that the public would be surprised to know what information is being collected with the help of the Patriot Act. The two senators were prompted to write their complaint after learning that the Department of Justice intended to dismiss the lawsuits filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.
Udall and Wyden wrote a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder asking him to address this issue: "We believe that most Americans would be surprised to learn the details of how these secret judicial opinions have interpreted Section 215 of the Patriot Act. ...As we see it, there is now a significant gap between what the majority of Americans think the law allows and what the secret government claims the law allows. This is a problem, because it is impossible to have a public debate informed about what the law should say, what the public doesn't know, and what your government thinks the law says." (15)
Article 215 of the Patriot Act expanded the scope of FISA by creating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), which allowed it to supervise requests for surveillance orders from federal police agencies, a court that It is located within the headquarters building of the Department of Justice composed of eleven judges appointed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States for a seven-year term.
Section 215 modifies and expands the Department of Justice's powers under FISA, granting the Department authority to demand access to "any tangible things," including the medical, business, bookstore, and library records of any person in connection with a investigation of the fight against terrorism. Whether the records are further relevant to the investigation is determined at the discretion of individual Justice Department officials without oversight from their superiors or judicial bodies. The Bush Administration sought to advance a Patriot Act II, by introducing the so-called "Justice and Homeland Security Improvement Act , " national security and domestic crime legislation introduced by Senator Tom Daschle on January 7, 2003.
This law, which became known globally as the "Patriot Act II", was conceived as a comprehensive crime bill, but was never fully signed into law. With this legislation, the Bush Administration sought to grant broad additional powers to the Executive Branch in its surveillance capacity regarding wiretapping, detention, and prosecution. Widespread resistance from the American people and public opinion prevented the "Patriot Act II" law from being passed.
The Patriot Act is the most important measure of all those carried out by the Bush Administration after the 9/11 attacks, because it modified in one fell swoop historical aspects of the Constitution and the set of laws that preserve the democratic rights of the people of the USA, through a simple law. And this modification was made without the intervention of a Constituent Assembly, or any other institution or body that allows the slightest participation of the people. The Patriot Act was simply made possible by the push of the Bush Administration, and the agreement in Parliament between the Democratic and Republican parties.
Its rapid sanction definitively affected the legal fabric of the country, built over centuries, and began to outline a political regime that Bush sought to impose in the country based on an institutional triangle that included the Executive Branch, the Armed Forces and the Patriot Act. The most restrictive stipulations of rights of the Patriot Act were initially sanctioned as provisional emergency regulations until December 31, 2005. But after that period of time, the Bush Administration extended the application of the Patriot Act, which remained in force. Likewise, after the end of the Bush Administration, President Obama once again established an extension of the Law, whose effects acted on the country and the world during the almost 15 years in which it was in force.
The formation of the Military Commissions, and the "Black Sites"
We have seen the different measures whose application results in the emergence of new institutions, entities and laws that are modifying the political regime of the United States. We saw how the AUMF concentrated power in the Executive Branch, granting it management of the army. Then the Homeland Security Law which created HS as a parallel state bureaucracy that acts as a deep state, over which there is no control.
Finally, we saw the Patriot Act, which implied a de facto reform of the Constitution and the entire legislative framework of the country, with international repercussions. Now we will look at a measure that expanded the powers of the Department of Defense popularly known as the "Pentagon", the Executive Order of the Bush Administration. The Pentagon is the institution that controls the Armed Forces and has the power to wage war.
But after the Executive Order, it concentrated powers and began to have the power to administer justice. On November 13, 2001, 16 days after the Patriot Act was passed and 2 months after the 9/11 attacks, President George W. Bush signed the Executive Order called "Detention, Treatment and Prosecution of Certain Aliens in War against terrorism". The Executive Order authorized the Pentagon to hold non-U.S. citizens accused of terrorism in indefinite custody without charge in more than 100 detention centers around the world, and included the creation of Military Commissions, courts in which the military obtained the possibility of judging those civilian citizens detained on the 5 continents. In this way, a flagrant violation of all the democratic rights of the people of the United States and the entire world was institutionalized.
The Executive Order allowed foreign and American citizens who were accused of terrorism to be imprisoned, to be tried by military courts called Military Commissions, and not by civilian courts. It determined that the citizens subject to that order were at the disposal of the Secretary of Defense and head of the Pentagon, in this case, Donald Rumsfeld. He precisely described the conditions under which the Secretary of Defense was to detain individuals, specified how individuals were to be tried by the Military Commissions, and established some general guidelines on how the Military Commissions should be carried out.
The Executive Order detained thousands of people without charge, taken to clandestine detention centers located on all continents, called " Black Sites". The order gave enormous power to the Pentagon and its chief Donald Rumsfeld, and raised very serious questions regarding the rights of the accused that generated severe criticism in the United States and abroad. One of the big problems of this Executive Order is that it does not define the terms "international terrorism " or "terrorists ", neither in the text, nor in reference to any US or international legal norm, which leaves the President and the Pentagon determine who is a terrorist.
Thanks to the Military Commissions, the Executive Branch and the Pentagon have the power to decide who can be detained, tried and potentially sentenced to death, according to the Order. According to jurist Robert Goldman : " It should be noted that there is no international agreement on the definition of terrorism and that until now all attempts to classify terrorism as an international crime have failed...The definition of crimes without certainty and precision violates the principle of legality protected in domestic and international jurisprudence." (16)
Furthermore, the Order does not make the distinction between acts of terrorism and acts of war clear and assimilates many acts to the category of war crimes. The jurisdiction of the Military Commissions extends to any foreign national, whether inside or outside the United States. It is the President of the United States who determines whether the detainee has "aided or encouraged " terrorism, violating all instruments of legal guarantees. The laws of war mandate that the accused, regardless of the crime committed, be tried by independent and/or impartial courts, which provide them with the generally recognized guarantees of due process.
But the Military Commissions do not comply with this basic standard. This is how Robert Goldman explains it: " The military justice system, in the United States and in other countries, is not part of the independent Judicial Branch, but of the Executive Branch. The fundamental purpose of military courts is to maintain order and discipline by means of punishing military infractions committed by members of the Armed Forces. As part of the War on Terrorism, President Bush assigned the United States Armed Forces the responsibility of administering justice in cases of terrorism. The United States Armed Forces , who have also been commissioned to destroy terrorists on the battlefield, have thus become, by order of the president, prosecutors and judges of their adversaries. There is an evident incompatibility in the simultaneous exercise of this double role by the same institution." (17)
The Military Commissions do not guarantee the presumption of innocence, nor the right to the appointment of a trusted defense attorney. They do not guarantee the right to appeal or Habeas Corpus, they deny the right to have access to the evidence against them. They deny the right to legal assistance before and during the trial, the right to propose witnesses and to question witnesses against them. The Military Commissions do not guarantee the non-application of laws after the fact, and the right not to testify against oneself or confess one's guilt.
After the Executive Order that created the Military Commissions was issued, a monumental and brutal raid was established throughout the territory of the United States, with global reach, a hunt that focused on the persecution of immigrants, mainly of Muslim origin, and in the first months after the 9/11 attacks, federal authorities imprisoned more than 1,200 people for their alleged links to terrorism. The majority of detained immigrants spent a long time in jail for a simple problem of missing or expired visa.
These citizens were detained solely on the basis of their religion or national origin, they were denied their basic rights and were subjected to multiple abuses and brutalities, in the midst of a gigantic raid, which left as a result the registration of traces of 80,000 Arabs and Muslims, 8,000 interviewed and 5,000 foreigners detained, who began to be tried by Military Commissions. These citizens were deprived of their fundamental rights to due process, in accordance with international law.
The laws, including the North American ones applicable to these cases that also grant the detainee the right to due process, were violated. Many prisoners and detainees were transferred to concentration camps administered by the CIA, from any country in the world by decision of the Executive Branch. With the Military Commissions, the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution, which protects citizens against the imposition of sentences without due process, also suffered a severe blow.
To make the order effective, at the end of 2001, the camp located at the US naval base in Guantánamo Bay, in Cuba, which was installed at the beginning of the 20th century, during the occupation, was converted into a concentration and detention camp. military that followed the Spanish defeat in the Spanish-American War. Guantánamo arose from an agreement signed between the two countries, but Cuba currently rejects this agreement, alleging that it was signed under pressure.
An immense system of clandestine prisons managed by the Pentagon and the President
The first 20 prisoners arrived at Guantánamo on January 11, 2002. But Guantánamo was only a small part of an enormous system of detention camps that began to develop globally as a complex structure that included 25 prisons in Afghanistan, 20 in Iraq , 50 in 28 other countries, and 17 ships as floating prisons. Thus, the beginning of the Patriot Act regime led to an estimated total number of prisons reaching more than 100 in various nations around the globe. Countries where Black Sites were located include Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gambia, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Kosovo, Libya, Lithuania, Morocco, Mauritania, Pakistan, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Syria , Somalia, South Africa, Thailand, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, Yemen and Zambia.
Some of the Black Sites reported were Bagram in Afghanistan; Abu Ghraib, Camp Bucca and Camp Cropper in Iraq; the Temara interrogation center in Morocco; Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, the US naval base of Diego García in British Indian Ocean territory, the Stare Kiejkuty base, and Szymany Airport in Poland, Camp Águila in Bosnia, and Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo, among others. More than 14 European states collaborated with the establishment of the "Black Sites" according to the report of Swiss Senator Dick Marty who was appointed to lead an investigation by the Council of Europe into illegal CIA secret prisons in Europe.
On May 31, 2008, The Guardian reported that the human rights group Reprieve gave the list of 17 naval ships used to secretly hold prisoners, including the USS Bataan, USS Peleliu, USS Ashland, USS Stockham, the USS Watson, USNS Watkins, USNS Sister, USNS Charlton, USNS Pomeroy, USNS Red Cloud, USNS Soderman and USNS Dahl. Also used according to this report were MV PFC William B Baugh, MV Alex Bonnyman, MV Franklin J Phillips, MV Louis J Huage Jr and MV James Anderson Jr.
The executive order issued by the Bush Administration annulled the 5th Amendment of the United States Constitution, which prevents detention without adequate explanation of the charges, enshrines the right not to incriminate oneself, and the guarantee of not being punished for various times for the same fact. The formation of the Military Commissions allowed this amendment to be suspended to keep thousands of people detained without charge, without the possibility of visits, for a very long time, in detention centers.
In turn, those detained in the clandestine centers suffered brutal torture methods by the Pentagon and the CIA. These torture processes in the Black Sites became visible to the general public around the world when the Senate Intelligence Committee chaired by Democrat Dianne Feinstein, made public in December 2014 its report on the torture, which consists of more than 6,000 pages.
Democratic and Republican representatives agreed in the Senate that only 524 pages of that report would be accessible to the public for reasons of national security. Nearly two hundred of the more than 500 pages are dedicated to describing and listing the interrogation program and documenting 119 cases of prisoners, at least 39 of whom suffered torture considered "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques" ( EIT ) . Interrogation Techniques" .
The Senate Intelligence Committee chaired by Feinstein, published the report after 5 years of document compilation, investigations and negotiations, and it gives chilling details of the humiliations to which the alleged terrorists held in captivity in the Military Commissions were subjected.
Among the torture techniques mentioned in the report are waterboarding, a simulated drowning, an infamous technique that was practiced in detention centers . In this technique, the prisoners were subjected to a procedure in which water was poured onto a cloth placed on the face of the immobilized detainee. While the captive person's face is covered with a cloth or other thin material, the rest of the person's body is immobilized, and interrogators begin pouring water over the airways. This causes an almost immediate gag reflex reaction that creates the feeling in the captive that he is drowning. Victims of waterboarding are at extreme risk of sudden death due to aspiration of vomit that travels up the esophagus, and can then be inhaled into their lungs.
Through waterboarding, whoever is subjected to this type of torture feels the sensation of suffocation, feels extreme pain, suffers damage to the lungs, and is susceptible to brain damage due to oxygen deprivation. Physical injuries include broken bones due to fighting restraints and can lead to death, or manifest months after the event, while psychological effects can last for years. Another technique used was rectal rehydration, a form of feeding through the rectum to which several prisoners were subjected, a horrific torture technique that was also made public with the US Senate report.
The wall technique or "walling" consists of multiple slaps to the face and blows to the belly inflicted on detainees after being placed in front of a wall; the interrogator pulls her towards him and then throws her violently against the wall. That is, by "walling" for more than "seven and a half days", the prisoner is kept in a particularly uncomfortable position: "standing, with his hands at the level or above his head" , chained and tied to the ceiling, according to says the Senate document.
Another technique that was used in the Black Sites was sleep deprivation, a procedure by which detainees could be kept awake for a maximum of "about 180 hours." Also included among the torture techniques was "Isolation and Confinement" in which the prisoner is placed in a kind of box the size of a coffin for 266 hours, more than 11 days, and in another even smaller box for 29 hours. , while being questioned.
At a secret CIA detention center in Afghanistan, identified by the name "Cobalt," a prisoner could be held in total darkness, standing with his hands tied above his head and usually naked, counting in the cell with only a bucket to store his waste. Along with the "Isolation and Confinement" techniques , the prisoner was subjected to psychological threats, which were widely used by CIA interrogators.
These included psychic torture techniques with threats against the families and children of those detained. In this torture scheme, they are told that their families would suffer and the prisoners are threatened with harm to their children, they are told that they are going to sexually rape the wives of one of them, or cut their mothers' throats. The Senate's own torture report mentions "deceit, dishonesty and brutality" on the part of CIA agents. All of these torture techniques could have been applied to the detainees in the Black Sites as a result of the Executive Order issued by President Bush, but also thanks to the legal maneuvers carried out by Jay S. Bybee from the Office of Legal Counsel of the Department of Justice.
Bybee issued memos on torture between August 2002 and March 2003 that were addressed to the CIA, and were issued when CIA General Counsel John A. Rizzo requested a legal consultation from the Department of Legal Counsel's Office. Justice on Interrogations John Rizzo's query was sent to the Office of White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales, asking whether after 9/11 there could be aggressive interrogations of high-ranking Al-Qaeda suspects. The CIA made this query based on the fact that the country is a subscriber to the Geneva Convention against Torture and other international conventions. Bybee's response was the signing of that legal memorandum that he considered " enhanced interrogation techniques " to be legal. The CIA relied on these Bybee memos as support for using the described enhanced interrogation techniques.
In March 2003, John Yoo, a member of the Federalist Society and acting General Counsel of the Office of Legal Counsel, made further progress with legal writings justifying torture. Yoo issued a memo to the Defense Department's General Counsel in which he concluded his legal opinion by saying that federal laws related to torture and other abuses did not apply to overseas interrogations. In this way, the torture authorized by Jay Bybee's memoranda, and legally justified with Yoo's arguments, developed strongly in Guantánamo and in the various detention centers installed on other continents.
But by carrying out Bybee's recommendations, the Bush Administration faced ignorance of the Conventions and Agreements signed internationally, and in this way, the White House placed itself outside national and international law. The torture carried out in detention centers was from then on legally constituted as crimes against humanity. Despite having legally justified the aberrant actions of torture in Guantánamo, and having promoted the realization of crimes against humanity, Bybee was rewarded with the appointment as a Federal Judge in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in March 2003, in the largest of the Courts of Appeals in the country.
In July 2009, after a 5-year investigation, the Office of Professional Responsibility released a report in which it stated that Jay Bybee and John Yoo committed "professional misconduct" for legal advice that violates international and federal laws on the torture. The Bureau recommended that both Bybee and Yoo be referred to the bars of the states where they were cleared for disciplinary action and possible disbarment.
In turn, Spanish courts considered investigating former Bush administration officials for the torture of prisoners at Guantánamo. Lawyer Gonzalo Boye filed the complaint for the prisoners' rights group: "After reading all the material, and after everything that has been happening in the United States, it must be concluded that we are facing a crime..." (18)
The allegations targeted Jay Bybee, John Yoo, Douglas Feith, David Addington, and Department of Defense Counselor General William Haynes II. In conclusion, the Executive Order "Detention, Treatment and Prosecution of Certain Foreigners in the War on Terrorism" allowed the senior commanders of the Armed Forces the possibility of imprisoning and trying civilian citizens through Military Commissions. And it made it possible for the Pentagon to act as a Judicial Branch in contradiction to the principle of Non-Delegation, since now the Pentagon could try prisoners whom it held in indefinite custody and without charge, in any of the more than 100 detention centers. scattered throughout the world.
Under the command of Donald Rumsfeld, this situation set the serious precedent of allowing the Pentagon to carry out arrests and trials on charges of terrorism in military and not civilian courts. From there, thousands of citizens of different nationalities were imprisoned in various nations and regions of the world to end up being transferred to the Black Sites, the multiple detention centers that were installed, in which the detainees were tried by Military Commissions. The citizens who were captured were placed at the disposal of the Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, were tried by Military Commissions, were deprived of their liberty, and were subjected to torture.
As a result of the aberrant conditions in which they found themselves, these citizens confessed false facts, as happened with Zubaydah, who confessed to being the author of 9/11 and a member of Al-Qaeda, an organization of which he was never a part. However, faced with the growing discontent, mobilization and confrontation with its policies that the Bush Administration was suffering within the country, the White House was forced to legally protect the category of "enemy combatant" and soften part of its antidemocratic policies derived from the establishment of the Patriot Act regime. As a result of this political change, the Bush Administration sent to Congress the " Detainee Treatment Act" in 2005 and the " Military Commissions Act " in year 2006), which we will analyze below.
The concept of "enemy combatant"
The Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 (DTA) is an Act of the United States Congress that was passed on December 30, 2005. Introduced as an amendment to a defense spending bill, it contains provisions relating to the treatment of persons in the custody of the Department of Defense and the administration of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The Act establishes interrogation standards for all Department of Defense agencies, prohibiting all other government agencies, such as the CIA, from subjecting any person in their custody to "inhuman or degrading treatment or cruel punishment . "
However, the Act does not provide detailed guidelines explaining the meaning of that phrase. In relation to interrogations, the Act cited the Army Field Manual as an authoritative guide for interrogation techniques, but did not cite a specific edition of the Manual. The content of the manual is controlled by the Department of Defense, and therefore it was under the control of the Executive Branch whether a certain technique was allowed or prohibited. Additionally, the anti-torture provisions of the Detainee Treatment Act were modified by the 2006 Graham-Levin amendment, which allows the Department of Defense to consider evidence obtained through torture from detainees at Guantanamo Bay.
However, once the Military Commissions and Black Sites were established, the Bush Administration began to encounter increasing legal problems that it resolved improvisedly, but showing an increasingly dangerous course for democratic freedoms. In order to resolve some of these legal issues caused by its own actions, the Bush Administration promoted the creation of the concept of "enemy combatant" .
The Bush Administration and the Armed Forces found that they had thousands of people captured who were not recognized as prisoners of war, as defined by the Geneva Convention. How to define those thousands of people, including children, captured there, who were sent to Guantanamo and secret prisons spread throughout the world? The legal vacuum produced by the brutal global raid undertaken by the Bush Administration was resolved with the creation of a new political and legal figure.
This is how the concept of "enemy combatant" arose . This legal figure and political concept is not the product of any legislation or jurisprudential treatise, but rather arose from the new problems that arose for the White House from the imprisonment of thousands of people around the world. The concept of "enemy combatant" means that President Bush, or an authority delegated by him for that purpose, claims for himself the authority to declare anyone, anywhere in the world, whether or not a US citizen, an "enemy combatant . " accused of terrorism.
Consequently, by being classified as an "enemy combatant", this citizen can be deprived of all the rights granted by the Constitution, or any national or international law that protects democratic rights. The designation of any citizen as an "enemy combatant" is a concept close to the "domestic terrorist" of the Patriot Act, which can lead to any citizen losing their citizenship, exile, or the torture chamber in a secret prison.
What rights remain for the citizen declared by the Bush Administration to be an "enemy combatant" ? People thus classified should not be treated either as prisoners of war in accordance with the Geneva Convention, or as alleged criminals. That is, they did not have the rights attributed to any of those legal categories recognized. The Bush Administration promoted new legal categories that began to operate, constituting a real danger for the entire people of the United States, and in it immigrants received the worst treatment.
North American citizens with Arab ancestry or other racial minorities, such as Yaser Isam Hamdi or José Padilla, were detained and considered "enemy combatants" They were sent to military prisons, with no charges brought against them, and denied access to a lawyer. Hamdi was captured in Afghanistan, while Padilla was detained by federal agents at Chicago's O'Hare Airport.
But the cases of these citizens were just a handful of cases, in the midst of a global raid of enormous scope. The establishment of the Patriot Act and the Military Commissions had established the precedent that any citizen, of any nationality, could be detained on the street, without charges, and without the government even recognizing that he was in prison. The level of violation of democratic freedoms was reaching unsustainable limits, crushing the most basic rights enshrined in the legal structure of any country, and recognized internationally.
Ohio courts called the Bush Administration's decision to hold secret hearings on deportations a "threat to the Constitution and democracy." The Ohio judges made this declaration after considering the lawsuit of four Michigan newspapers and Congressman John Conyers, against the exclusion of the press and the public in secret hearings.
These hearings were established to address the issue of the deportation of Rabih Haddad, a Muslim leader from Ann Arbor, Michigan. "Democracy dies behind closed doors," wrote Justice Damon Keith, who wrote the court's decision . "When the government begins to close the doors, then it begins to selectively control the information that belongs to the people." (19) The allegations continued to develop, and Judge Keith concluded his statement by saying: "A government that operates in the shadows is in "a blatant opposition to the type of society that our Constitution establishes." (20)
Other complaints were made by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, who resigned from her position alleging that she was receiving intense pressure from the Bush Administration when she denounced in September 2002 the violations of the Geneva Conventions carried out. by the US during the Afghanistan War. Robinson condemned Washington's refusal to grant prisoner of war status to Taliban and Al Qaeda prisoners held at Guantánamo. At the time of Robinson's resignation she pointed out the danger of the Bush Administration's policy.
For Robinson, the policy of the Bush Administration constitutes for all dictatorial regimes in the world "a green light to implement all types of repressive measures, in the belief that any excess on their part will be ignored" (21) Due to the growing complaints, and the growing legal problems that the Bush Administration was encountering, made further progress in the improvised resolution of these issues. This is how the Combatant Status Review Tribunals (CSRT) were established on July 7, 2004, by order of Undersecretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz after Supreme Court rulings that were not entirely favorable to the Bush Administration.
The CSRTs were coordinated through the Office of Administrative Review of the Detention of Enemy Combatants, as a set of tribunals to confirm whether detainees in US custody at the Guantánamo detention camp had been properly designated as "enemy combatants" This was determined in non-public hearings, to determine whether each person meets the criteria. The first CSRT hearings began in July 2004, and although the exact location where they were held was unknown, it is assumed that they were held among the Guantanamo Bay tows.
The presidency of the hearings was alternately occupied by the different forces, in some cases by representatives of the Air Force, in other cases, of the Marine Corps or the Army. Murat Kurnaz, a young Turkish citizen who had grown up in Germany, was one of the many victims of these hearings.
At the time of his capture, Kurmaz was about to be granted German nationality. While on a trip to Pakistan in the fall of 2001, he was taken off a tour bus, detained, and then transferred to the custody of the United States Armed Forces. When his case was reviewed by a CSRT in the fall of 2004, the court determined that there was sufficient evidence that Kurmaz had ties to terrorism, for which he was classified and held as an enemy combatant.
The Kurmaz case fell into the hands of Judge Joyce Hens Green, after an immense network of solidarity and mobilization of family and friends, in addition to the more than 60 Habeas Corpus presented by different lawyers and human rights defenders. The great struggle of friends, family and jurists, and the pressure of public opinion, managed to get the Supreme Court to decide in the case Rasul vs. Bush in 2004, that detainees had the right to due process and habeas corpus regarding their detention.
This set a precedent for Judge Joyce Hens Green Green, a judge of the Court for the District of Columbia, to be able to access both classified and declassified information and materials, and found that the Kurmaz file contained about 100 pages of documents and reports that explain that German and American investigators could not find any evidence of Kurmaz's ties to terrorism. The Kurmaz case is one of many that illustrate the seriousness of the situation established in the United States and the world through the application of the Patriot Act and the Military Commissions.
From then on, there was the possibility that, both in the United States and in the rest of the world, the existence of thousands of Kurmaz would begin to develop, tried by military courts, under torture, without any guarantee, with rudimentary procedures, subjected to the status of "enemy combatants", granted by the CSRT, without basic protections, without lawyers, under a series of irregular laws defined by the so-called Combatant Statute.
There are thousands of names of people who suffered this process in the name of the "fight against terror" , and the GWOT. The establishment of the concept of "enemy combatant" meant further progress in the concentration of powers in President Bush and the Pentagon. Since the establishment of this legal figure, the President and the Pentagon claim for themselves the authority to declare any citizen on any continent or region of the planet, an "enemy combatant" , accused of terrorism, liable to be imprisoned, and tried. by Military Courts.
Obstacles to the right of movement and attack on the "whistleblower"
The fight against military courts also had an important episode with the legal battle that occurred in the Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld in 2006, in which the Supreme Court ruled that the system of Military Commissions established by the Department of Defense was illegal and needed to be replaced by a system authorized by Congress. But the Republican and Democratic congressmen had a regrettable attitude. While they could have repealed the Bush Administration's laws, they enacted 2 laws that were in accordance with the Bush Administration's objectives.
Parliament passed the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 and the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which, far from overturning the Bush Administration's procedures, limited and then reduced the ability of detainees to file habeas corpus petitions. .
It was the Supreme Court that openly opposed this course, ruling on June 12, 2008 that Guantánamo captives had the right to access the civil justice system, in the pending habeas corpus appeals in Al Odah v. USA; and in Boumediene v. Bush. In Boumediene vs. Bush's Court challenged the legality of the detention of Lakhdar Boumediene at the Guantanamo military base, as well as the constitutionality of the Military Commissions Act (MCA) of 2006. Justice Anthony Kennedy called the Combatant Status Review Courts " inadequate", and left an emblematic phrase: "Maintaining that the political branches can change the constitution or deactivate it at will would lead to a regime in which someone, not this court, 'says what is law'" (22 )
Meanwhile, a new violation of democratic rights was carried out by the Bush Administration when it proposed to control the free movement of citizens. The Bush Administration promoted the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), an agency to control and regulate the use of airline flights inside and outside the United States. A few years after its creation, the TSA already had more than 100,000 opponents registered. to the policy of George W. Bush to whom he subjected to abusive security controls to decide whether to authorize or prohibit them from flying.
The existence of this signing was discovered in March 2004, when TSA agents prevented Senator Edward Kennedy from boarding a plane 5 times. Since then, dissidents coming from any medium, whether local elected representatives, members of various associations and organizations, professors, etc., were victims of this deprivation of individual freedom.
Part of the objective of movement control was to promote the signing of the anti-terrorist agreement called "Smart Borders", which as we saw in Chapter I was signed on December 12, 2001 with Canada, and on March 22, 2002 with Mexico. The plan included a budget of up to 11,000 million, including 380 million for immigration officials on the border with Mexico, the busiest in the world with approximately 350 million people crossing a year, of which between 400,000 and 600,000 are give illegally, mainly to people from Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. As an additional measure, Mexico protected vital strategic installations, mainly oil installations in the Gulf of Mexico, and built an aerial security belt.
The Mexican armed forces immediately implemented Operation Sentinel, incorporating 18 thousand members of the armed forces. As we saw in chapter I, through these agreements Canada and the United States were now united in matters of security and defense through the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). An agreement was missing that would allow the US to control the free movement provided for in the First Amendment of the US Constitution, and with the blow to the 1st Amendment the circle of the measures that constitute the Patriot Act regime was closed. .
If with the AUMF the Bush Administration concentrated military power in the Executive, with HS a "deep state" and a power in the shadows emerged, with the Patriot Act rights and guarantees were swept away; and if with the Military Commissions the Armed Forces were granted the ability to dispense justice, with the TSA, together with "Smart Borders", they sought to eliminate the right to free movement. Once this battery of measures was implemented, the Bush Administration set out to ensure that no federal employee dared to report what was happening.
Thus began the attack on the rights of federal employees, who are concentrated in the figure of the "whistleblower." This figure grants the federal employee immunity, the right and the ability to make complaints of fraud, corruption and abuse of power and provides protection against retaliation for reporting irregularities. The Bush Administration pushed to appoint conservative attorney Scott Bloch to the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) on June 26, 2003. Bloch was confirmed by the Senate on December 9, 2003. The Office of Special Counsel is supposed to Special created in January 1979 protects federal employees, and the figure of the "whistleblower" allows federal employees who dare to report violations against their rights to do so.
But under the control of the Bush Administration, the OSC was transformed into an agency of repression against the most vulnerable employees. Bloch's first major action as head of the Office of Special Counsel was to select lawyers who had publicly taken a stand against the "homosexual agenda," and to hire young lawyers from the conservative Ave Maria Law School. This school had opened its doors in 2000 as property of businessman Thomas Stephen Monaghan, owner of the Domino's Pizza company.
In February 2004, Bloch ordered the removal of all mention of employment discrimination based on sexual orientation from the OSC site. He also removed them from all printed materials, stating that his office lacked the authority to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Gay employees are protected by the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 which prohibits discrimination against federal employees "on the basis of conduct that does not adversely affect the employee's performance." . But Bloch alleged that his office did not have the legal authority to protect employees from employment discrimination based on sexual orientation.
The OSC under Bloch's administration sent less than 1.5% of whistleblower complaints to investigate , more than 1,000 complaints remained on file, only 8 complaints were chosen for processing, all of them of little relevance, and more than 470 complaints were filed. out of justice they were dismissed. There were massive layoffs and a hunt for gay employees to remove them. Bloch ordered several CSO employees, including the only two known homosexual employees, to agree to be transferred to distant cities or lose their jobs, seeking to purge the CSO of members of social organizations, or unions, or defenders of democratic rights. .
Federal employees who belonged to the Government Accountability Project organizations were persecuted, as well as federal employees belonging to different organizations such as the Government Oversight Project and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, from two federal unions, from the American Federation of Government employees, the National Union of Treasury Employees, and the Human Rights Campaign organization, an LGBT entity. This persecution further increased the antidemocratic bias of the Patriot Act regime imposed by the Bush Administration.
Deployment and growth of the Armed Forces and the Military-Industrial Complex
We have already seen the set of measures that constitute a reactionary political reform promoted by the Bush government. Now we will see the profound reorganization that the Armed Forces underwent after 9/11, which aimed to prepare the Armed Forces to carry out the two strategic objectives of the Bush Administration, that is, impose deep repression within the United States, and therefore on the other hand, carry out the development of a large-scale and long-range war that could extend for several years in many regions and continents. To achieve this objective, the Bush Administration promoted a change in the Armed Forces and the entire military-industrial complex, which was carried out through a reorganization process promoted by the official in charge of the Armed Forces and the Pentagon, the Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
The structure of the US Armed Forces is based on Unified Combatant Commands (UCC, Unified Combatant Command) which are the base structure of its organization. The reorganization promoted by Rumsfeld was based on the constitution of 2 new UCCs: NORTHCOM (Noth Command) and STRATCOM (Strategic Command). As we saw in chapter I, NORTHCOM was the UCC that was established with the purpose of acting throughout the geography of North America, including Mexico and Canada.
STRATCOM was promoted by the Bush Administration to replace the old Strategic Command, established by President George Bush Sr. on June 1, 1992. This old Strategic Command had in turn been the successor to the Strategic Air Command (SAC), formed in the Cold War by military bodies that became obsolete due to the change that occurred in world politics with the disappearance of the USSR, and which was based at the Offutt Air Force Base south of Omaha, Nebraska. The new Strategic Command STRATCOM absorbed all these old structures and also absorbed the structure of the old United States Space Command (SPACECOM), which had been created in 1985 for the use of outer space, a UCC that was in charge of satellite communications, intelligence, navigation, missile detection, and weather systems in conflict zones.
The announcement of the merger was made on June 26, 2002. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld announced that SPACECOM would merge with STRATCOM, through which the new STRATCOM emerged, a mega-UCC in charge of space operations, military satellites , information, anti-missile defense, nuclear system, command, and everything called the C4ISR system, concerned with global control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. This entire system was finalized in October 2002, and the new emerging UCC included control of the Department of Defense Architecture Framework (DoDAF), which provides the infrastructure for developments, planning, programming, budgeting, execution, systems engineering, and operational planning. .
President George W. Bush signed the Plan on January 10, 2003, and charged STRATCOM with 4 responsibilities: 1) Global Attack, 2) Missile Defense Integration, 3) Department of Defense Control of Defense Operations Information, and 4) The control of the C4ISR, the command and control system, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
STRATCOM's objective was to control space to carry out what was one of the priorities of the Bush Administration, that of establishing the construction of an anti-missile shield heir to the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) project of the Reagan era. This new system presupposed the abandonment of the logic of deterrence, still in force, and would be developed in three phases. In a first stage conceived for the year 2007, twenty missiles would be deployed in Alaska, then in a second phase the US could place another 100 defensive missiles on alert, ready to disrupt and neutralize possible decoys in the hypothesis that the enemy had placed on a missile several warheads to deceive the opponent's defense.
This second phase would not be ready before 2010. The third phase would begin in 2011 with the installation of 125 defensive missiles in Alaska and another 125 in North Dakota. The device would be completed, to ensure its effectiveness, in addition to this belt of missiles on the ground, with the installation in space of satellites in charge of diverting the flight of enemy intercontinental missiles.
The cost of the installation would be considered in hundreds of billions of dollars. To this end, in his first four years in office, President Bush requested a 50% increase in the Defense budget and for the next ten years, Donald Rumsfeld demanded an increase in the budget from 200,000 to 300,000 million dollars. This missile installation process would allow the construction of a system that would target missiles globally in all directions, regions, continents, cities and countries.
The constitution of a global missile shield, targeting the entire world, would allow the Department of Defense to carry out deterrence on everything that was a potential threat to its plans. Where the armies could not advance in destroying the sources of resistance to their plans, the Bush Administration would seek, through the global missile system, to act by eliminating the sources of resistance, or bring them to their knees through the direct threat of destruction. In this way, he would put the governments of the entire world at his feet, whatever their ideologies and political positions. The missile shield would allow them to win wars, and consolidate the PNAC.
In this way, STRATCOM involved the reorganization of the entire missile system, on the one hand it allowed the unification of the entire Submarine Ballistic Missile (SSBN) system that has different headquarters, Kings Bay Naval in Georgia, Norfolk in Virginia, of Bangor in Washington, and the headquarters of the Pacific Fleet Submarine Command which is located at the Pearl Harbor Naval Station in Hawaii. Rumsfeld gave STRATCOM control of the Global Strike Command (AFGSC), assigned to the Eighth Air Force.
The so-called " The Mighty Octave" , as it is recognized in military jargon, is an Air Force unit with headquarters at Barksdale, Louisiana, and Minot AFB, in North Dakota, and is in charge of Strategic Bombing and Aircraft Reconnaissance for which it is equipped with front-line aviation, B-52 Stratofortress bombers, and the B-2 Spirit, stealth bombers that are stationed at Whiteman Air Base, in Missouri.
The system included reconnaissance aircraft around the world supporting STRATCOM's mission, including the RC-135 Rivet Joint, Offutt AFB in Nebraska, the U-2S Dragon Lady, and Beale AFB in California, the B-1B Lancer heavy bombers that are available from Dyess AFB, Texas and Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota. Also under the command of STRATCOM and JFCC-GS (Global Strike), the entire Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) system was organized, dispersed in hardened silos at all central levels of the nation, such as the Minuteman III missile launch control centers. based at FE Warren AFB in Wyoming; Malmstrom AFB in Montana; and Minot AFB in North Dakota.
The constitution of STRATCOM had another objective for the Bush Administration, that of acting as a global force based on several working groups for the execution of global missions, anywhere, at any time, with the capacity to strike only with an issued order, even by telephone from the Oval Office of the White House. This is how several task groups were established that worked subordinate to STRATCOM. All UCCs have several Subordinate Commands, known by their acronym in English as JFCC (Joint Functional Component Command).
STRATCOM was made up of several subordinate JFCC's such as the JFCC-GS Global Strike, which carries out the planning and execution of missions to deter attacks against the US, territories, possessions and bases. Other subordinate commands were the JFCC Space, which carries out the planning, execution and management of space missions, or the JFCC-IMD in charge of the missile system. There is also the JFCC-ISR that coordinates the collection of global intelligence throughout the world, a kind of planning and execution center for global military Intelligence and a key factor in achieving knowledge of the global situation.
Other commands subordinate to STRATCOM are the WMD-SCC aimed at combating weapons of mass destruction, the SJFHQ-E which plans and trains for the WMD-SCC, and the Joint Warfare Analysis Center (JWAC) which is responsible for science and engineering. Currently subordinate to STRATCOM is the Cyber Command (CYBERCOM) created by the Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, on June 23, 2009, which has been incorporated into this structure.
By 2002, when this group of reforms of the Armed Forces was underway, in anticipation of long flight operations on various continents, Donald Rumsfeld promoted the establishment of the group for the oil refueling of aircraft Group 294-Air Force. This Group allowed the Armed Forces to supply aircraft and carry out global combat and reconnaissance operations.
For these air operations, the Airborne Communications group was also established, which was based on the E-6B aircraft, which acts as a command post in the air and allows the President and the Secretary of Defense to order attacks directly by telephone to the crews. of ballistic missile submarines, or land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, or long-range bombers.
The Bush Administration promoted the expansion of the budget to carry out the PNAC strategy, which included the formation of the concentration of powers in the hands of the Executive Branch and HS that implied the constitution of the Patriot Act regime, together with the military deployment in the interior. of the country based on NORTHCOM, and the global military deployment based on STRATCOM. All this political and military counteroffensive began to show consequences in countries and regions of the globe.
Horror in Afghanistan
What consequences would this reorganization of the Armed Forces promoted by the Bush Administration have for the entire world? By 2002, the reforms to the structure of the Armed Forces promoted by the Pentagon were beginning to have their effects in Afghanistan, a country that was in complete control of the Armed Forces as a result of the defeat they had inflicted on the Taliban. There the horrific consequences of the actions of the Armed Forces under Rumsfeld's command began to become visible.
The media-political campaign that preceded the military intervention in Afghanistan showed photos of veiled women and complaints abounded, so Washington promised to bring freedom, democracy and respect for women's rights to a country that all kinds of deficiencies. This campaign was based on a true fact: the serious situation suffered by the population of Afghanistan and the subjugation that women suffered under the Taliban regime.
But the NATO military occupation did nothing to improve the situation of the Afghan people, and especially the situation of women, which was worsened by the measures adopted by Hamid Karzai's government supported by the White House. Karzai reestablished the Department for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, a government entity that under the Taliban was the protagonist of all kinds of abuses, particularly against the country's women.
Having passed a long period of occupation, the United Nations Fund for Women (Unifem) conducted a revealing survey that provided chilling data on the state of women in the country. According to these data, 65% of the thousands of widows living in Kabul considered that suicide was the only way they could escape their misery, and hundreds of women began to commit suicide after the occupation as a result of the suffering caused by Islamic law. . The suicide rate also skyrocketed due to the serious situation of health conditions due to the lack of hospitals, which raised the maternal mortality rate from 1,600 to 1,900 women out of every 100,000 parturients, making it the highest rate in the world. planet.
The Unifem report revealed that the majority of women continued to suffer mental and sexual violence inside and outside the home. At the same time, the average lifespan of Afghan women was 20 years shorter than in the rest of the world. According to the United Nations, 700 children and elderly women began to die in Afghanistan every day due to the lack of health services, food, electricity, and water (24) But much of what helped aggravate the situation The Afghan population was the government of Afghanistan itself, supported by the Bush Administration, whose cabinet was made up of warlords, drug traffickers, former Taliban leaders, and all kinds of criminals who now supported the occupation. Before the occupation, Afghanistan produced most of the opium consumed worldwide, based on poppy cultivation.
Despite the Administration's repeated speeches regarding the fight against drug trafficking, in Afghanistan the US Armed Forces and NATO were complicit in Harzai's cabinet being made up of warlords and known drug traffickers who organized elections. parliamentarians minted for fraud, corruption and violence. After the fraudulent elections, warlords and drug bosses occupied the seats in the new Parliament of Afghanistan.
In the presence of more than 6,000 UN peacekeepers stationed in every city, and thousands of NATO Armed Forces, kidnappings of foreigners and members of NGOs occurred daily in broad daylight. These complaints were made by the Revolutionary Association of Women of Afghanistan (RAWA), founded in 1979 shortly after the entry of Soviet troops, an organization that emerged to defend the basic rights of women by constantly denouncing rape, torture and brutal violence against women, from armies, drug traffickers, and their husbands.
According to RAWA, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, one of the members of the list of the most wanted terrorists, now had 34 members in the Afghan parliament after the NATO occupation. The horror in Afghanistan reached such a magnitude that the Taliban and other opposition groups to the Afghan government once again gained popular support. While the Bush Administration continued to talk about "democracy" and "liberation" having come to the Afghan people, in reality they were in a dire situation, bleeding, devastated and hungry, suffering untold hardships.
Of the $12 billion in aid granted at the London conference for the reconstruction of the country, very little was allocated for that purpose. RAWA denounced that insecurity especially affected women and girls, that there were hundreds of attacks against teachers, students and schools throughout the country and girls' schools were the preferred target of attacks. The Karzai regime was a brutal dictatorship that saw more than 40 attacks on press freedom, including censorship, assassinations and several cases of kidnapping, assault and imprisonment, according to the Afghan Association of Independent Journalists.
The gloomy outlook for the people, workers, retirees, children and women in Afghanistan is extremely serious under the aegis of the Bush Administration. But it was just a small sample of what awaited the entire world, different countries and regions, in the event that the PNAC and the Patriot Act regime that was being established in the country were consolidated. This consolidation process projected this gloomy perspective on Afghanistan, and on the entire world. The PNAC and the Patriot Act regime took shape in 2002 in Afghanistan, threatening the future, the rights, and the lives of millions of people around the planet.
And the pillars of this new political regime that the Bush Administration sought to establish were being placed one by one through the AUMF, which concentrated power in the Executive; HS a new ministry that concentrated police power and would act as a shadow government; the Patriot Act, which constituted a de facto constitutional reform; the Executive Order that allowed the establishment of Military Commissions in the Black Sites and the introduction of the concept of "enemy combatant."
All of these stipulations allowed the Armed Forces to try and imprison prisoners in concentration camps. The constitution of NORTHCOM and STRATCOM now allowed the Armed Forces to carry out internal and global deployment, globally threatening the world and the country's population. This is how the Bush Administration proposed to establish the Patriot Act regime, the concrete incarnation established in a set of laws, decrees, institutions and military reforms that sought to materialize the Neocon strategy.
But the Bush Administration was not alone in this task, it was the support it received from the majority of political, social and union organizations and leaderships in the world, which made it possible for the Neocon strategy to be imposed in those years. globally.
The Bush Administration managed to get all the world's organizations, from the UN to the Vatican, and from European social democracy to the self-proclaimed "communist" regime in China, to endorse the policy of the fight against terror. We are now going to carefully analyze who were the group of leaders and officials who promoted the Patriot Act regime in the US, who were part of the Bush Administration and attempted this profound political and institutional change of historic dimensions for the US, and the whole world.
The Bush Administration Cabinet
The leaders and officials who promoted the Patriot Act regime since the Bush Administration were, first of all, the 43rd president of the United States, George Walker Bush, son of the former 41st president of the United States, George Herbert Walker Bush. , brother of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and grandson of former Senator Prescott Bush. Before becoming the second son of an American president to become president of the nation, he was an oil businessman and achieved popularity throughout the state of Texas when he became a businessman who owned the Texas Rangers, the state's baseball team.
He was elected governor of Texas in 1994 for the Republican party and re-elected in 1998. Bush was not characterized as a successful businessman, nor a good student, nor a great statesman, but if there is something that distinguished him it was the fact that he was one of the officials during whose administration the largest number of citizens were killed. His administration was characterized by the harshness of criminal justice that he took regarding the death penalty. During his mandate of almost 6 years, 152 executions were carried out in Texas.
If we add the executions carried out during the Bush period in Texas, to those carried out during the 8 and a half years of governor his successor Rick Perry's mandate, the executions total 352 executions, an amount equivalent to 30% of the total executions in the US since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1977. (25)
Bush does not come from the Neocon group in Washington. His background is the classic, conservative right, the product of being a member of a family linked to the Texas oil oligarchy. Bush was a mediocre student at the most prestigious aristocratic universities in the United States, Harvard and Yale. He was not brilliant in business either, in Midland, Texas, where they lived. He tried his luck in the oil industry, but it wasn't long before he was forced to declare bankruptcy.
In the electoral campaign in which he was elected President of the United States, he positioned himself as a militant of "conservatism with compassion", a Neocon orientation promoted by Senator Jesse Helms at the American Enterprise Institute evenings. Bush began to lean towards these political positions starting in '85, when he began his approach to religion with the conservative reverend Billy Graham when he was running for governor of Texas, where he adopted the approach of "conservatism with compassion. " mixes right-wing positions with religion, the Bible and a "touch" of greater sensitivity to social problems and poverty.
But Bush's "compassionate conservatism" does not propose that the state take care of poverty. This Neocon plan formulates the provision of services to the poor by private Christian charity groups through so-called " faith based programs" , carried out by numerous religious institutions. . At that time Karl Rove, one of Texas' most skilled strategists, introduced Bush to Marvin Olavsky, an atheist former communist who converted to Christianity and is considered the guru of "compassionate conservatism. "
Olavsky helped him formulate this political line of conservatism with compassion that he expressed in one of the key political speeches of his election campaign in which Bush said that we had to form "armies of compassion in our communities to fight a different battle against poverty, based on religion and community groups.
Carrying this precarious ideological and political architecture, Bush won the Republican Party nomination to run as a candidate in his country's presidential elections in 2000, in which he faced then-Vice President Al Gore of the Democratic Party. These elections will forever be remembered as one of the most controversial in history, because in them Bush was elected President of the United States with fewer votes than his rival, and in the midst of a scandalous dispute in the vote counting in the state. from Florida.
The entire vote counting dispute in the state of Florida was controversial and ended with the intervention of the Supreme Court, but the undemocratic electoral system allowed George W. Bush Jr. to be declared president by getting fewer votes than his Democratic rival Al Gore.
Another member of the Bush cabinet of fundamental importance was Vice President Richard "Dick" Cheney, who became one of the strong members of the Bush cabinet, successor in the line of power and true "heavyweight" of the staff. Cheney was not just another Vice President, he was one of the most powerful Vice Presidents in the history of US governments, and in many ways he was an advance in the art of combining war and business.
Cheney did not tremble when it came to managing death squads, assault groups and hired assassins to develop businesses that combined war with profits. Cheney brought great benefits to the Halliburton company, of which he was CEO, and unlike Bush, Cheney came from the kidney of the "Neocon" group. From the beginning of the Bush Administration, Cheney was part of the President's inner circle, had full access to the Oval Office at the same level as the Chief of Staff and developed a deployment of offices in key places of power in Washington.
For example, he had his own office in the House of Representatives with direct connection to the White House. Far from the merely ceremonial role and formality that existed in previous President-Vice President relationships, Cheney assumed a leading role after 9/11. He was behind the most important provisions and measures of the Bush Administration linked to the fact that he was a man with experience in key cabinet positions in the government of George Bush Sr.
If we had to define Cheney's ideological pattern, we could say that he is offended if he is considered right-wing, because he also considers himself the "right of the right." Consistent with this he voted against gun control, opposed abortion laws, and rejected sanctions against apartheid in South Africa. Cheney is a powerful businessman linked to the oil industry and an executive at the Halliburton Company oil company, from which he was an ardent defender of polluting production techniques. Cheney is a kidney man of the "Neocon", his signature is among the first 25 signatories of the declaration of principles of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), published by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).
Likewise, he actively participated in the meetings of the Foreign Policy division of the Congressional Policy Advisory Board, created within the Republican Party by Martin Anderson, with the objective of allowing the development of a neoconservative foreign policy, with the financial support of the Hoover Institute. , the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).
Colin Powell was another key member of the Bush cabinet. He is appointed in charge of the State Department, the sector of the Executive Branch that carries out international relations. Known in political jargon as " Foggy Bottom" (in Spanish "Fondo Mismoso" or "Fondo Misty" ), an ironic term to point to the unclear or crystalline relationships carried out by the State Department.
Powell took over as Secretary of State in charge of "Foggy Bottom", a vital position within the framework of the political situation opened after 9/11, given that the Secretary of State advises the President on international policy, takes charge of the representation of the country before other countries and international organizations. From his position in "Foggy Bottom" Powell was in charge of raising, proposing and bringing to terms international treaties with third parties, representing the White House in any international event, having all the diplomatic representation of the Republic, and protecting citizens. , companies and institutions of the country abroad.
Powell had experience because he worked alongside Dick Cheney in the Bush Sr. Administration, and although Powell was not from the constellation of Neocon groups, he had experience in military operations, having been, for example, one of those who directed the military operation "Desert Storm. " " in Kuwait in 1991.
However, in his capacity as Secretary of State, Colin Powell went down in history for having uttered one of the biggest lies of the time in front of the largest number of people. Powell achieved the record of being the official who lied to millions of people at the same time, a sad achievement he achieved when giving his speech at the UN Security Council in February 2003, where before millions of people around the world, he stated that Iraq He had weapons of mass destruction.
The claim was revealed to be false, but it later served to justify the invasion of Iraq. Weapons of mass destruction never appeared, but Powell's lies remained forever. Donald Rumsfeld remained in history linked to the PNAC strategy, perhaps its most visible face and its emblem. Protagonist of the Bush cabinet from his position as Secretary of Defense and head of the Pentagon, he was the protagonist of a clear division of tasks among Bush Administration officials: While Cheney organized the great business of war and Powell repeated lies to justify it, Rumsfeld was its executor. . He specialized in torture, persecution and concentration camps. Guantanamo is Rumsfeld's great living monument.
This official, a member of the Neocon group , had participated in the Reagan Administration as an articulator of the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) known as "Star Wars." In 1998, then-President Bill Clinton appointed him chairman of the Commission on the Ballistic Missile Threat, and with the Bush Administration he reached the position of head of the Pentagon, under which the largest restructuring of this institution in its entirety was carried out. history, since it was created in the 40's during the Truman Administration, as we have already analyzed.
The Secretary of Defense managed to transfer important budget items to the Pentagon, which caused friction between the Pentagon and the Intelligence community. During Rumsfeld's mandate, the Pentagon invaded powers, both Intelligence and diplomatic, acquiring a leading role in areas that under normal conditions would correspond to the CIA or the State Department. Rumsfeld undertook a diplomatic offensive to convince his NATO allies of the virtues of the new Missile Shield program, but had little success in implementing it.
Another important piece in the assembly of the Bush cabinet was the National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice, in a position that over the decades took on more and more power and importance in the country's political structure. The National Security Adviser chairs the National Security Council (NSC) created by the National Security Act of June 26, 1947.
The NSC advises, coordinates and advocates on strategic, foreign policy and national security issues as an administrative organization reporting directly to the President. It is composed of the President, the Vice President, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense and the National Security Advisor, and may also invite other members depending on the circumstances.
The National Security Advisor has progressively played an increasingly leading role in the National Security Council, especially in recent decades. For example, the role of Henry Kissinger is well remembered, particularly in the '70s, who as National Security Advisor played a key role in critical moments, carrying out international political initiatives and negotiations, some in secret. Condoleeza Rice was a businesswoman from the oil industry linked to Chevron, and she was a member of the steering committees of various Multinational Corporations, such as JP Morgan Chase, Transamerica Corporation, Hewlett Packard and Carnegie Corporation, among others.
Also coming from the Neocon sector, she was always linked to conservative entities such as the Rand Corporation. Like his cabinet colleagues, he had served in the Bush Sr. administration, and since 1999 Rice had been working with the team of advisors called "The Vulcans" that included Richard Armitage, Richard Perle, Dov Zakheim, Stephen Hadley, Robert Blackwill and Robert Zoellick, all officials who had great international experience having been part of the governments of Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Bush Sr.
In the second line of Bush's cabinet, the officials were also leaders linked to conservative entities and the Neocon group. This is the case of Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, a "Vulcan" Vietnam veteran, specialist in political negotiations and international security, or Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, leader of the Neocon group, and Rumsfeld's number 2. Wolfowitz was a signatory of the PNAC call and was permanently linked to the different cabinets that led to the Pentagon in recent decades.
John Ashcroft, the attorney general, had been attorney and governor of Missouri, linked to the right of the Republican Party. The only official who did not come from the Republican Party or the Neocon is George Tenet, Director of the CIA, who was from the Democratic Party and appointed to that position by the Clinton Administration in 1997. Tenet despite his political origin different from the rest of the cabinet, smoothly adopted the Neocon strategy.
Leading the economic area, railroad magnate John Snow was appointed as the new Secretary of the Treasury, who was president of the CSX railroad group, and was accompanied since 2002 by Stephen Friedman, former president of Goldman Sachs, as senior economic advisor to the White House. . It is not the objective to talk here about all the first and second line officials who were part of the Bush Administration, but rather to point out some touches of the most important of them to understand how the PNAC strategy was implemented, and who were the ones who they carried it forward.
The Founding Fathers and the Bush Cabinet
What would the core of leaders commonly known as the "Founding Fathers of the United States" think of the Constitutional reform made by the Bush Administration? What would Franklin, Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison or Paine think of the institutional reform that followed 9/11? What would some of the most prominent political leaders who founded the United States, led the American Revolution, signed the Declaration of Independence, or participated in writing the United States Constitution have said?
Many of the Founding Fathers came from patrician families and oligarchic circles of their time. Many of them exploited slaves, possessed great wealth and were owners of large fortunes. However, even with all the limitations imposed on them by the political and social conditions of their time, they promoted and led a powerful revolutionary process that liquidated the tyranny of the British Empire, the most powerful existing in its time. For this reason, even when they belonged to the most wealthy classes, the Founding Fathers knew how to promote some of the most revolutionary and democratic laws, measures and ideas that were an example not only for the nascent nation, but for the entire world.
Which leads us to ask ourselves the following questions: What would Benjamin Franklin have thought about the persecution of racial minorities and immigrants that the Patriot Act caused? Would anyone who was President of the Society to Promote the Abolition of Slavery in 1780, when black people had no rights, have approved these acts? And what would the "Father of the Nation" George Washington think of the profound reform that the Constitution underwent ?
Would the promoter of the Constitution of the United States of America and the first president of the United States have approved the reform made by a simple law dictated by Bush? The answer was given by Washington himself in his "Farewell Address" of 1796: " The basis of our political system is the right of the people to form or modify the constitutions of their governments; but the voted Constitution, while it exists, is sacred and mandatory for everyone until it is changed by the explicit vote of the people" (26)
What would constitutional lawyer and Founding Father John Adams, who was the second President of the United States, think of the AUMF that concentrated powers in the Executive Branch? In 1776, Adams published the pamphlet called " Thoughts on Government", which inspired the formation of a political regime with strict separation of powers. Adams inspired the character of the US Constitution by featuring a bicameral legislature, an Executive, and an independent judiciary.
And he appointed John Marshall as the fourth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, who established the Judicial Branch, with equivalence of powers with the Executive and Legislative. And what would Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine, Founding Fathers and declared sympathizers of the French Revolution, say about the categories of "domestic terrorist" or "enemy combatant" ? What would Jefferson say that having numerous friendships with the social elite and the nobility of France, when the French Revolution broke out, took the side of the revolutionaries?
And Thomas Paine, the Founding Father and drafter of the Constitution, who participated in the French Revolution and fought on the barricades? Paine and Jefferson did not hesitate for a second to put themselves at the service of the French Revolution, they stood on the barricades, faced the "terror" of tyranny, and wrote pamphlets. They could not have done it because of their wealthy social position, but they did it. What would the Bush Administration have done with Paine and Jefferson? Probably these leaders considered within the core of the "Founding Fathers" would have been declared "enemy combatants" by the Bush Administration.
What would Jefferson, who, being the third president of the United States of America in his two terms, never vetoed a single congressional resolution, think of the AUMF? They did not see popular uprisings and rebellions as something bad. In a letter to William Stephens Smith in 1787, Jefferson wrote: "A little rebellion now and then is a good thing and is as necessary in the political world as storms are in the physical... It is a necessary medicine for the good conditions of the world." government" (27)
Did James Madison think about a law like the AUMF? Considered among the core of the so-called " Founding Fathers" , he was the only president of the United States who had to flee the White House and the capital city of Washington DC, in the face of the advance of enemy foreign troops who occupied the city and burned the presidential residence, during the Anglo-American War of 1812? It is easy to know what they would think, because when they had to defend the nascent homeland against the all-powerful British Empire, they legislated and founded institutions in the exact opposite direction to that of the Bush Administration.
The Founding Fathers governed and legislated to defend the country from an enemy infinitely superior to what Bush called the "Axis of Evil." They faced all the imperial powers of their time and founded a revolutionary nation to consolidate independence. On the other hand, the Neocon group that dominated the Bush administration carried out a profound constitutional and institutional reform of the United States, in the opposite direction to the political regime built by the Founding Fathers. The Neocon tried to erase with a stroke of the pen the legacy that the Founding Fathers left behind.
The republican regime of the United States was not a product of chance, nor was it made in a cold laboratory, it is a regime that was established in the country over centuries, through Revolutions and great mobilizations of the people that faced to dictators, tyrants, kings, and all kinds of oppressors. It had several milestones: The North American Revolution of the 18th century against the British Empire and the Civil War of the 19th century that unified the country and abolished slavery.
In the 20th century, new democratic freedoms were achieved through a process of civil and military mobilization that was marked by the intervention of troops against the Nazi regime in the Second World War, the refusal of those same troops to continue the war against the USSR, the mobilization in defense of Civil Rights in the 60's and 70's and the mobilizations against the Vietnam War in the same period.
This Republican regime could only be conquered at the cost of much blood and sacrifice of the people. But the Bush Administration sought to demolish this regime and many of the democratic freedoms achieved over the centuries, to establish a new political regime in the United States, the Patriot Act regime. The Patriot Act regime promoted by the Bush Administration and Neocon was based on three pillars: The President, the Pentagon and the Patriot Act. These pillars were the fundamental components of Neocon's strategy, called Project for a New American Century (PNAC).
But although those who developed and had the initiative to carry out the PNAC strategy was the Bush Administration, oriented and directed by the Neocon group, this strategy was supported, adopted, and carried forward by almost all governments, political and social organizations. , unions of the world, which left the people of the US, and the people of the entire world, in a situation of absolute helplessness in the face of the PNAC strategy, and the GWOT.
International organizations such as the UN, the G7, the IMF and the WB, almost without exception, adopted the slogan of the "Global Fight against Terrorism" and announced the danger of the "Axis of Evil." These slogans were sustained and repeated by all presidents, statesmen, media, journalists and leaders throughout the world.
The impact of 9/11 had facilitated the PNAC strategy and had allowed a systematic policy of destruction of freedoms and rights, the closest thing to a military dictatorship, like those that were imposed during the 20th century in countless countries around the world. A similar regime was now beginning to be installed in the US, at the dawn of the 21st century. However, this regime was "in the air", it was in gestation and needed the PNAC strategy to be developed and consolidated, to be definitively established.
The specter of the Patriot Act regime
We have seen then how the Neocon group that dominated the Bush administration began to build a political regime that constituted a virtual assault against the democratic rights and freedoms of the US population, but which also constituted an assault on the democratic freedoms of all peoples. of the world. The specter of the Patriot Act regime began to emerge globally as one of the objectives of the PNAC strategy, that of liquidating with a stroke of a pen the republican regime established in the United States, its Constitution, its laws, the rights and freedoms.
To the extent that the constituent elements of the republican regime were displaced, new institutions and laws, such as HS and the Patriot Act, gave shape to this new political regime. But as we have been analyzing, the Patriot Act regime, after being built by the Bush administration, was not yet consolidated; it needed the success of the PNAC strategy, which had to be imposed both in the United States and internationally, in order to be established. definitively.
As long as the PNAC strategy failed to prevail, the Patriot Act regime was a regime "in the air", that is, it was established, it began to function, but it was not yet established on solid bases that would guarantee its continuity. Therefore, the next step of the Bush Administration was to seek and achieve immediate political and military successes to consolidate and definitively establish the Patriot Act regime and the PNAC strategy.
The PNAC and the Patriot Act regime needed each other. To the extent that the PNAC strategy did not achieve solid victories, the Bush Administration knew that the Patriot Act regime remained "in the air" , that is, advanced in its implementation, but without definitively settling and consolidating. Between the PNAC and the Patriot Act regime there was then a dialectical and complementary relationship, the Patriot Act regime was an objective of the PNAC strategy, but at the same time, the Patriot Act regime needed the strategy to be consolidated. of the PNAC. And to achieve this, the Patriot Act regime became a vital instrument for the triumph of the PNAC strategy.
We must then see how the specter of the Patriot Act regime that began to be projected over the United States and the world after the 9/11 attacks took concrete form. This specter began to be embodied in institutions and laws, but also in the actions of the institutions that occupied the center of the scene in the country, such as the Bush Administration and the Armed Forces. If anything expresses in all its magnitude the horror of the Patriot Act regime, it is the detention center called Joint Task Force Guantanamo at the Guantanamo Bay naval base, located in Cuba.
Initially the detention camp was called Camp X-Ray, when the first twenty detainees arrived at Guantanamo on January 11, 2002. But on April 29, 2002, the Camp to the so-called Delta Field. WikiLeaks leaked the Camp Delta Operational Procedures documents on November 7, 2007, reports that specify the different levels of access by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in relation to detainees and captives.
Joint Task Force Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO) operated the Guantanamo Bay detention camps, Camp X-Ray and their successors Camp Delta, Camp V, and Camp Echo, under the responsibility of the United States Southern Command (US- SOUTH COMMAND). The situation of the detainees is horrendous. Defined as "enemy combatants" , they are not prisoners of war as recognized under the Geneva Conventions, dozens of them live in prefabricated containers, without even the privacy of a cell. The prefabricated units have no internal partitions, and detainees are allowed to raise curtains to make temporary partitions, while sharing communal showers.
Only on June 29, 2006, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, that the prisoners had the minimum protection of Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions in which detainees must be housed and treated humanely, and that they had the right to an impartial tribunal to hear the charges against them. The images of Campo Delta with detainees tied hand and foot, on their knees blindfolded, located in the middle of prefabricated houses, without the right to know what they are accused of, confessing to aberrant acts resulting from torture, judged by improvised courts Military, they are the best painting of the horror of the Patriot Act regime.
Shafiq Rasul, detained at Camp Delta, described the horror after being released: "...The walls (of the interrogation room) were rusty, and seemed to be soundproof. There was no ventilation; it was scorching hot in there. An interrogator told me that anyone in Afghanistan was guilty of the 9/11 murders, even the women and children killed by the bombing...But they said my position was much worse...because at the meeting 9/11 planning on video, a lot of people had said that this guy with a beard standing behind Bin Laden was me..." (28)
Shafiq Rasul explained that it had nothing to do with 9/11, that he had not been to Afghanistan : "I told them that in 2000 I did not leave the country, that I was working at the Wednesbury Currys branch, who would have my records "I was told that I could have falsified records. That I could have had someone who works with me at Currys tamper with company details, and that I could have traveled on a false passport..." (29)
As the isolation and torture continued, Rasul broke down and confessed in a final session, in front of a high-level official who had come down from Washington : "My heart is beating, beating, I'm saying it's not me, it's not me." , but I'm thinking: "I'm going to be screwed, I'm on an island in the middle of nowhere, there's nothing I can do" (30)
The horrifying and moving testimony of Shafiq Rasul, graphically depicts the horror of hundreds of Shafiq Rasul, who constituted the reality of the detention centers showing the danger of the political regime built by the Bush Administration, and its Neocon officials. The impact of 9/11 had facilitated the PNAC strategy and had allowed a systematic policy of destruction of freedoms and rights. A similar regime began to be installed in the United States, at the dawn of the 21st century, a regime that was " in the air", which needed the PNAC strategy to be developed and definitively consolidated.
This was what prompted the Bush Administration and the Neocon group to launch at full speed the development of a long-range war that would allow the control and dominance of the North American state over the world capitalist economy and the people of the world to be consolidated.
In the next chapter we will see how the development of a crucial moment in the PNAC strategy took place, the invasion of Iraq and the Middle East region, in which the power of the Armed Forces and the military-industrial complex were at stake. , of the Pentagon and with them, the consolidation of the Patriot Act regime. The development of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, their impact on the world political situation, their international institutional order, the role of the UN, the G7 and the international reaction of the masses to the war, are the subject of analysis in the following chapter. .
(1) "The War on Civil Liberties," New York Times, Editorial. September 10,
(2) y (3) FindLaw. AUMF. Section 2. a.www.findlaw.com
(4) The Posse Comitatus was established to end the military occupation by US Army troops of the former Confederate States during the ten years of Reconstruction (1867-1877) that followed the Civil War. American (1861-1865). The original Posse Comitatus referred only to the United States Army, then the Air Force was added in 1956, and later the Armed Forces and Marine Corps were included, by a Department of Defense regulation. This law is frequently mentioned when it appears that the Department of Defense is interfering in domestic problems.(5) "Authorization for Use of Military Force: a blank check for war without end". The Guardian. Michael Shank y Matt Southworth. May 5 2013.
(6) The Washington Post. Barton Gellman y Susan Schmidt. "Shadow Government Is at Work in Secret After Attacks". March 1, 2002
(8) , (9) and (10) "The end of guaranteeism? Constitutional news in the US in 2002 Constitutional theory and reality " Marcos Criado and Antonio de Cabo.
(11) "Man claiming to be NSA whistleblower comes forward". CBS News. 9 de junio de 2013.
(12) " Multinational corporations are companies that simultaneously dominate several branches of commerce, industry and finance on a global level. If the characteristic of modern post-war multinationals was the dominance of one branch of production on a global scale, corporations "Multinationals are a superior Form of Accumulation because they monopolize several branches simultaneously, which allows them to achieve a capital accumulation greater than that achieved by modern post-war multinationals." "The End of Multinationals. Chapter IV Globalization. Amazon 2012
(13) and (14) " Extraterritorial effects of the USA Patriot Act - Privacy Rights of Non-North American Citizens " Legal Chronicle . Alain P. Lecours. October 2007. Canada
(15) The Nation. "What you don't know about the Patriot Act " George Zornick, March 16, 2012.
(16) and (17) Robert Goldman. "Aside from the law. A Legal Analysis of Bush's Military Order." Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.1/12/01
(18) CNN.Al Goodman (April 23, 2009). "Spanish court sends Guantanamo case to new judge". Al Goodman April 23, 2009. Archived from the original on May 2, 2009.
(19) y (20) Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights. keithcenter.wayne.edu
(21) Highbeam Business, September 10, 2002
(22) The Economist. "Stuck with Guantánamo" The implications of the court's ruling granting detainees habeas corpus rights" Jun 19 2008.
(23) TSA website. www.tsa.gov
(24) usainfo.state.gov., 9-18-05
(25) Amnesty International. www.amnesty.org
(26) Washington's Farewell Address. www.archives.gov.org
(27) Melton, The Quotable Founding Fathers, 277.
(28), (29) y (30) David Rose "The real truth about Camp Delta". The Observer 3 de Ocubre del 2004
(a) Habeas corpus : It is a Legal Procedure, to avoid arbitrary arrests or detentions.
(b)Amicus Curiae: translated as "friend of the court" , the Latin expression "amicus curiae" refers to presentations by third parties unrelated to a litigation, who, not being part of the case, voluntarily offer to provide legal opinion or testimony to collaborate with the court in the resolution that is the subject of the process, the court may or may not admit it.
Chapter III Iraq
To save your world, you asked this man to die. Could this man, if he could see you now, ask you why?
Wystan H. Auden. Epitaph for an unknown soldier. 1955
Thursday, March 20, 2003, the NATO armed forces began aerial
bombardments over the territory of Iraq with Tomahawk missiles, launched
from ships and submarines. At
the same time, American and British ground troops advanced on Baghdad,
the capital of Iraq from Kwait, while allied Kurdish troops did so from
the north. Thus officially began the military operation called in the US "Operation Iraqi Freedom" , also called by the British army "Operation Telic" , but known and popularized worldwide as the Iraq War. To
the extent that the entire political situation in the United States and
the world began to revolve around the political events developed by the
shock caused by the horrible attacks of 9/11, the PNAC strategy was
materialized, which included the development of an undemocratic
political regime in the US; and
at the same time the objective of developing a long-term war with
international scope, which would modify the entire world situation at
the service of the objectives of the Bush Administration.
The Iraq war is the most important political-military event at the beginning of the 21st century. It is so for several reasons: Because of the meaning that its announced beginning had for millions of people in the world, because of the very development of the war that ended with a humiliating defeat for NATO, and because of the global political consequences that arose from its development. The consequences of NATO's defeat in Iraq caused profound changes in the world political situation, and in the Middle East region. These changes affected the global economy, the internal situation of the United States, and definitively sealed the fate of the PNAC and the Bush Administration.
The war had a first stage, in which everything was victory and smiles for the Bush Administration. The invasion is preceded by a string of political, economic and military triumphs unthinkable for the Neocon long ago, but concrete and categorical. However, as soon as we set foot in Iraq, everything turns into hell for the White House. The Bush Administration begins to suffer a sustained process of setbacks and defeats, which gradually deteriorate the PNAC strategy, and explode the crisis of the Armed Forces. The development of the Iraq war, the previous events, the impact that the war is having on the situation in the country, is what we will analyze below.
The advances of the PNAC offensive in 2002
As we saw, on September 13, 2001, two days after the 9/11 attacks, President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney reported that the 9/11 attacks were the product of a conspiracy by Osama Bin Laden and his organization Al-Qaeda, who remained in Afghanistan. On October 7, 2001, sixteen days after 9/11, the Bush Administration ordered the invasion of this nation, whose operation was baptized as " Enduring Freedom", at the same time that the Britain's army called the invasion "Operation Herrick." These military maneuvers allowed the Bush Administration to pulverize the Taliban and completely control Afghanistan, something that the United States had not been able to achieve for 11 years.
But now, NATO established its own government and military force called the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which aimed to support the Afghan Interim Authority, a Washington puppet government headed by Hamid Karzai. To carry out the operation, the Bush government obtained the collaboration of the dictatorship of General Pervez Musharraf in Pakistan, which had to completely break ties with the Taliban, which placed Musharraf in a very delicate internal situation, due to the virulent rejection of these plans. They attracted Pakistan's Islamist political opposition.
In any case, on September 18, seven days after 9/11, the US Congress had enacted HR 198, Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), which allowed the Executive Branch to act militarily within of the United States, and also allowed both Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his Deputy Minister of Defense Paul Wolfowitz to establish the Northern Command (NorthCom) in early 2002. On October 26, 2001, one month and eight days after 9/11, the Patriot Act was approved, which had changed the definition of "terrorist activity" and created the figure of "enemy combatant."
On November 8, 2001, the State Department, headed by Colin Powell, indicated that, as soon as the operations in Afghanistan ended, the next objective of the war machine that was acting in Operation "Enduring Freedom" would be Iraq . To the extent that the victory in Afghanistan was achieved, the war proposals of the Bush Administration gained strength throughout 2002, which allowed the US military counteroffensive and the "Global War on Terrorism" , ( in English GWOT, Global War Over Terrorism), was achieving increasingly important victories.
The Bush Administration machinery acted with increasing speed. On January 29, 2002, four months after 9/11, President Bush, in his State of the Union address, used for the first time the expressions "Axis of Evil" and WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction), alleging that Saddam Hussein and Al Qaed had been cooperating with terrorist actions, although they did not provide evidence of this accusation. Starting with the State of the Union address on January 29, 2002, the main argument for the development of the war began to take shape. The Bush Administration stated that Iraq possessed and was developing WMD, which represented an imminent, urgent and immediate threat to the United States.
But Iraq was not the only thing that worried the US in the Middle East. One of the issues that caused the greatest concern in the Bush Administration was the "Intifada" (in Arabic , "uprising") in Palestine, which extended to all the Palestinian territories and had cornered Israel, the US ally in the region, obtaining important victories. The Bush Administration took advantage of the situation generated by the 9/11 attacks and supported an offensive to support Israel, with the aim of changing the situation. Israel launched Operation Defensive Shield against the Palestinians on March 29, 2002 to stop the Intifada, an Israeli ground and air intervention against civilian areas of the West Bank that included massacres of Palestinians in the cities of Nablus and Jenin. .
the Operation, a good part of the Palestinian militias defending the
West Bank were eliminated and Yasser Arafat, the leader of the
Palestinian National Authority (PNA), was cornered in his offices in
Mukata, the PNA headquarters. These
victories strengthened the strategy of the PNAC and Israel, which
launched the second phase of the offensive with the so-called "Operation Path of Determination",
which took place during April and part of May 2002. In this phase of
the offensive, Israel completely reoccupied the West Bank. and
liquidated the power of the ANP. After
the military triumphs, the Bush Administration promoted a political
attack to consolidate, through diplomatic agreements, the military
triumphs obtained, thus the so-called "Quartet" was established, a multilateral negotiation framework unprecedented since the inauguration of the Bush Administration.
On April 10, 2002, Secretary of State Colin Powell met in Madrid with the Secretary General of the UN, Kofi Annan, the Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and two representatives of the EU, the Spanish Josep Piqué of the Council of Ministers of the EU. , and Javier Solana high representative of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) of the EU. Thus, the UN, the US, Russia and the EU formed the "Quartet", an agreement through which the Bush Administration managed to get the diplomatic leaders of Russia, the UN and the EU to work together defending the strategy of the PNAC.
The "Quartet" presented a surrender statement to the ANP demanding that it commit to the fight against terrorism. Arafat agreed to declare the fight against terrorism amidst the massacred corpses of Palestinians and surrounded by Israeli tanks. Between April 18 and 21, the Israeli Army declared its Operation "Defensive Shield" over, although until May 1 it maintained the siege of Arafat in Ramallah and continued with bombings, raids and sieges. In addition, Israel began erecting the so-called "Security Wall" on the border, which began to be built along the northern border of the West Bank and Israel. With victory in hand, the Bush Administration accelerated the pace of its plan to crush the Palestinians. On June 24, Bush announced the suspension of the UN-approved creation of the Palestinian state until Arafat left power. He also made another announcement: That NATO forces would take control of the PA security forces, and announced that all previous agreements signed between Israel and the Palestinians were annulled. In this way, with the Bush Administration's announcement they annulled the Gaza-Jericho agreement that had been negotiated in the secret talks in Oslo in August 1993.
Also with this announcement by the Bush government, the Washington Declaration of September 1993 and the agreements signed in Cairo in May 1994 were annulled. All of these agreements were revoked and replaced by a new peace plan prepared by the Quartet and presented on the 17th. September in New York that was called "Road Map" . This plan proposed that the problems inherent in the formation of a Palestinian State, the status of Jerusalem, the question of Palestinian refugees, Jewish settlements and final borders, remained pending resolution until the end of 2005. That is, all the Palestinian conquests, Israeli advances were consolidated and the entire situation was put on hold for another 4 years.
During those four years, the US and NATO's interference in Palestinian sovereignty deepened, the Palestinian militias were disarmed, the Palestinian police and army were left in the hands of NATO, all institutions were reorganized, and a new Constitution was declared. and elections were being held in the Palestinian territories, under the aegis of NATO. With the "Road Map ", the Palestinians had to hand over their sovereignty completely to NATO, and wait until 2005, when the PNAC strategy was consolidated, to discuss the problem of their future again.
The "Positive Aggression Doctrine" or "Bush Doctrine"
After 9/11, the Bush Administration had promoted the Patriot Act regime in the US, had crushed the Taliban in Afghanistan and had caused a severe defeat to the Palestinian Intifada. The importance of these victories was very great, but the PNAC strategy was just beginning. The Neocon, strengthened by the victories, needed to deepen the political and military offensive, which was stipulated on September 20, 2002, when the National Security Council (NSC) approved a document titled "The National Security Strategy of the United States. " United" , also known as the "Doctrine of Positive Aggression" or "Bush Doctrine". The "Positive Aggression Doctrine " enshrined the right to treat countries that harbored or aid terrorist groups as terrorists, and formulated the definition of the " preventive war " policy to act with those countries, a new category of war, which argued that the United States should depose foreign regimes that represent a perceived threat to its security.
The NSC approved the "Doctrine of Positive Aggression" document , under the leadership of the Neocon group, with the aim of deepening the PNAC strategy. According to the "Bush Doctrine", the US could act in this way towards foreign governments, even if that threat was not immediate, and without the agreement of the other permanent members of the UN Security Council. That is, the " Positive Aggression Doctrine" gave the Bush Administration carte blanche to carry out coups d'état in any country in the world that the government considered a threat to the security of the United States, or of any nation, a political decision that They took over the US president and the Pentagon unilaterally. In this way, it transferred the categories that the Patriot Act used for citizens to the field of the international arena. If for the Patriot Act the president could declare any citizen an "enemy combatant " and repress him through Military Courts to take him to Guantánamo or imprison him, now the "Positive Aggression Doctrine" allowed the Bush Administration to declare any country a "threat to the security" and repress it, declaring war or overthrowing its government.
The "Positive Aggression Doctrine" raised the need to carry out military attacks called "Anticipation Actions" , which meant that wherever an imminent threat to their security was detected, without first attacking and without distinguishing between terrorists and protectors , the army could begin preventive war and launch attacks as "Anticipation Actions ." All this summarized the PNAC strategy: Declaration of countries considered a threat, overthrow of their governments, declaration of "Preventive War" and execution of "Anticipation Actions."
And this entire program was decided by a group of officials in the White House. This "Doctrine" was presented to the entire world on September 12, 2002, when Bush himself explained to the UN General Assembly his intention to attack Iraq, unless it complied with a long list of demands at the head of the which included immediate compliance with Security Council prohibitions on the development and possession of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, and missiles with a range of more than 150 km. In his speech he also stated that there were suspicions that Saddam had dealings with Al Qaeda, among which there was a possible transit of weapons of mass destruction. With those statements by Bush at the UN, the countdown to the Iraq war began. On November 8, 2002, the UN Security Council (SC) unanimously approved resolution 1441 to establish a new period of weapons inspections, while giving Iraq a period of 30 days from the publication to present a complete statement of all aspects of programs for the development of chemical, biological, nuclear and ballistic missile weapons. The resolution included the requirement that Iraq not carry out any act or threat against any state. Consistent with the "Positive Aggression Doctrine", the Bush Administration threatened that if there was material non-compliance with resolution 1441, or if the result of the inspection verified the possession of WMD, Iraq would be punished with war.
But resolution 1441 was not the first that proposed a complete requisition of the existence of weapons in Iraq. The inspections had a history dating back to the end of the 1991 Gulf War, when the United Nations Security Council with resolution 687 had ordered an end to Iraqi development programs for chemical, biological, nuclear, and weapons weapons. long-range missiles, as well as the destruction of the existing arsenal under the control of the UN Special Control Commission (CEC). Was Iraq really a threat to the US? What was the situation in Iraq?
Iraq in the eye of the storm
By the time Bush made these statements at the UN, Iraq was a small nation, governed at that time by a ferocious dictatorship. Saddam Hussein's regime was hated by a huge part of the population, especially the ethnic minorities, who had received horrible treatment from the man who had been the strongman of the Baath Party since 1974 and had been rewarded by the fascist Franco regime. Spanish with the Grand Cross of Isabel la Católica, for the oil that Saddam sent them despite the OPEC embargo. After being appointed president of the Republic in 1979, Saddam, supported by the US, defended the interests of the oil multinationals that coveted the fuel wells located in the strategic region. When the Iranian revolution occurred in 1979, which affected the interests of the capitalist powers and oil companies, Saddam Hussein carried out a war against Iran between 1980 and 1988, in which he had the support of the United States, France, and the USSR.
The war claimed hundreds of thousands of dead, most on the Iranian side, and left both countries in a catastrophic economic situation. But two years later, when Kwait and the United Arab Emirates exceeded their quota of oil extraction and refining in 1990, the price of crude oil fell worldwide and the interests of Saddam and the United States were at odds. Iraq demanded that the price of a barrel of oil be increased to $25 and threatened Kwait with force if he did not substantially reduce his production. The US responded by offering its support to Kwait. On August 2, 1990, Iraq invaded and annexed Kwait, but was defeated in the 1991 Gulf War by a US-led international coalition, forcing Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait.
After Iraq's defeat in the Gulf War, a series of insurrectional movements were unleashed in Iraq promoted by the Kurdish people in the north of the country and by the majority of the Shiite population in the south of the country, which took advantage of the weakness in which Saddam Hussein's dictatorship had been left after his defeat in the conflict, to rebel against him. Saddam brutally repressed the population in the towns where the centers of rebellion were registered, causing multiple civilian casualties and hundreds of refugees. The US and the capitalist powers took advantage of the popular discontent and growing hatred aroused by Saddam Hussein's dictatorship, to interfere in Iraqi sovereignty and gain a foothold in the region. On April 5, 1991, the United Nations Security Council adopted resolution 688, in which it condemned the acts of repression perpetrated against the Iraqi civilian population in many areas of Iraq, which was already a surrounded and devastated country.
But the UN resolution allowed the US, Great Britain, and France to affect its sovereignty by decreeing the imposition of a no-fly zone, both in the north and south of Iraq. The imposition of the air inclusion zone allowed the United States, Great Britain and France to prohibit military flights north of the 36th parallel in Iraqi territory, a ban that in August 1992 was extended to the south of the 32nd parallel, and in 1993 would be extended to the 33rd parallel. The powers tried to justify and legally support their decree based on the provisions of UN resolution 688, but the truth is that this decision lacked legality and deliberately violated the sovereignty of the Iraqi state. Despite not being backed by international law, the no-fly zone affecting the north of the country was maintained until 1996, while the one relating to the south lasted until 2003. The no-fly zones were guaranteed by US aircraft patrols. , British and French forces who exchanged fire regularly with Iraqi forces for six years. France withdrew in 1998, but the meddling of Britain and the US continued.
And although United Nations weapons inspectors in Iraq were able to verify the destruction of a large amount of material, in 1998 a new military aggression by the US and the United Kingdom called "Operation Desert Fox" materialized. This operation consisted of four days of bombing between December 16 and 19, 1998, which affected Baghdad and other strategic points in the country, complemented by an economic embargo that severely hit the population, children, women and the elderly who suffered from hunger. and precarious living conditions. The severe sanctions imposed by the United Nations (UN) greatly increased infant mortality and made Iraqi society, which was one of the most prosperous in the Middle East, very poor.
The majority of the population could only survive on food aid from the State, half a million children under five years old died because of the sanctions, and the economic blockade, far from weakening Saddam's dictatorship, by hitting the people Iraqi, strengthened it temporarily. In 1996, in order to alleviate the Iraqi crisis caused by the economic embargo, the program called "Oil for Food" was established , which meant that Iraq could produce oil in exchange for food and allowed a limited export of crude oil in order to subsidize important foods and medicines.
But the "Oil for Food" program did not solve the underlying problem; the embargo was having serious consequences on the Iraqi population, as recognized by UNICEF, the International Red Cross and Human Rights Watch. The United States began "Operation Focus" in southern Iraq , increasing the overall number of missions and objectives throughout the area in order to disrupt the military command structure in Iraq, bombing the region, thus reducing the weight of bombs dropped on Iraq increased, reaching a pre-war peak of 54.6 tons.
That is to say, at the time of being declared by the Bush Administration as part of the "Axis of Evil", Iraq was an extremely weakened country, with an unpopular dictatorship, a destroyed economy, enormous internal conflicts and millions of people suffering from famine. Was this nation in tatters a threat to US "national security" ? Not by chance. So in order to carry out its purposes and justify its invasion, the Bush Administration needed to invent one of the biggest political lies in history.
The Coalition of the Will (COW) and the Azores Summit
And in addition to inventing a big lie to attack Iraq, the Bush Administration had to achieve an Alliance of governments that would provide political, methodological and material support for its military operation. The Bush Administration began to build a network of political and diplomatic agreements to support its global GWOT strategy, which would support the Iraq War. The most important ally that the Bush Administration had was the government of Great Britain then headed by Anthony Charles Lynton Blair, better known as Tony Blair. This politician, who became prime minister in 1997, was at that time leader of the Labor Party. Today, after his departure in 2007 after 10 years in power, he is an advisor to various companies in the energy and financial sector, and acts as representative of the " Quartet " for the Middle East. Blair had come to power in the 1997 elections when he defeated the then Head of Government, the conservative John Major, defending a model that he set out in his work entitled " The Third Way."
The "Blair model" was presented as an alternative path to capitalism and socialism, a "progressive" and "leftist" political alternative, which was based on the period of relative economic prosperity in the '90s of the world capitalist economy, and the from England in particular. This allowed Blair to establish an administration that gave some economic and political concessions to the people of Great Britain, he pushed through a human rights law in 1998, he removed most of the hereditarily titled Lords from the House of Lords, Lords in 1999, and established a policy of agreements, deterrence and negotiation with Britain's national minorities.
For example, he had established the Scottish Parliament as a concession to Scottish independence claims, did the same to Welsh claims by promoting the constitution of the National Assembly of Wales, and helped end thirty years of armed conflict in Ireland. of the North, with the signing of the "Good Friday Agreement" at Stormont Castle, after 2 years of negotiations with the IRA guerrillas. These measures, which gave small political concessions to the people of Great Britain, caused sympathy among the population and allowed Blair to appear as a "friendly politician" who, supporting the imperialist character of Great Britain, worked in partnership with the United States in regarding the dominance of the capitalist world economy.
Blair formed a duet with Bill Clinton, which made them appear with a "progressive" face, as cordial negotiators that would allow the businesses of Multinational Corporations, Wall Street and the City of London to be maintained, but with a "human face." Blair and Clinton appeared as "cordial commissioners", signing the agreement with the IRA together at Stormont Castle, or allowed Blair to appear promoting historic " Peace Agreements" with the Irish, Scots and Welsh, while Clinton signed agreements in Oslo between Palestinians and Israelis. Without giving up their desire to manage global capitalism in society, they appeared as the standard-bearers of the strategy of "deterrence, consensus and negotiation" and promoters of "Peace" in the world. This strategy and the relative "economic bonanza" that occurred in the '90s, earned Blair high popularity ratings in Great Britain, which allowed him a second absolute majority in Parliament and then a historic third consecutive term, as British Labor premier. .
But the 9/11 attacks and the arrival of the Neocon group to power meant a global change in the strategy of the capitalist powers. The era of "deterrence, peace agreements and negotiations" had come to an end, and the era of "Fighting Terror", the GWOT and the "Bush Doctrine" had arrived. The political cycle of the "doves" had ended and that of the "hawks" had arrived. Blair had no problem changing out of her dove suit and dressing in the clothes of the hawks. The Labor government became the right hand of the Neocon group, and adopted the entire GWOT discourse and global campaign. Not only that, he also adopted the PNAC strategy, including the attempt to crush civil liberties within Great Britain, following the style of the Patriot Act Regime in the United States. Blair together with David Blunkett, or John Reid, who were Successively, his Interior Ministers granted extraordinary powers to the police to carry out unlimited detention, and without prior trial, of terrorism suspects.
This is denounced by countless documents presented by human rights organizations, such as the report "The rules of the game", carried out by Andrew Blick of Democratic Audit, or Tufyal Choudhury, professor of human rights at the University of Durham and Stuart Weir, head from the Center for Human Rights at the University of Essex. They reported that since the 9/11 attacks, Blair, along with Blunkett and Reid, caused 14% of Muslims to be victims of physical, verbal or psychological abuse. In England after 9/11, 3% of people were savagely attacked for being Islamic; 5% detained, patted down and groped by armed British police officers solely for looking Muslim and 32% subject to terrorist suspicion, solely for prejudice and their physical appearance and for that reason being discriminated against in the workplace. Civil rights organizations also denounced a regime of espionage against the population in Great Britain, in which the police intercepted without authorization 1,788 telephone calls in 2001, 1,885 in 2002; 2525 in 2003, and 3101 in 2004,
Along with arrests of alleged "terrorism suspects", which amounted to thousands, the Blair government, according to the report "The Rules of the Game", reached a rate of arrests of people only for their physical appearance, race or Islamic religious beliefs, which increased by 302%, between the period from 2002-2005. John Reid even said that the war against terrorism was "similar to the British war against Nazi Germany" and that at least two hundred "terrorist cells" were operating in the country, made up of some 1,600 individuals who were preparing attacks. This is how Blair became a fundamental supporter of the PNAC strategy whose support point allowed progress in the so-called "Coalition of the Will" (COW, Coalition of the Willing) to which Spain, Portugal, and Italy joined. , Poland, Denmark and Australia. The COW included a total of 48 states, although some such as the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, and the Solomon Islands have no armies or international political weight. Bush also received the support of the governments of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, Colombia in America, the Mediterranean islands of Malta and Cyprus; the state of Israel and that of Kwait.
In reality, the COW was a force predominantly made up of weak states, except England, in need of money. In general, the efforts to convince more countries to invade Iraq gave poor results, and at the same time, as the countdown to war began, the United States, instead of adding governments and important countries to its cause, I lost them. The reason why Bush was losing support was that the war was absolutely unpopular throughout the world, there was no poll, no demonstration, no public statement to show that the masses of the world were interested in the idea of invading Iraq. And secondly, there was no evidence that Iraq was a threat to the US, nor that it had WMD, nor that it was developing them.
In other words, there was no reason to invade Iraq. The war practically had no popular support in any country, except in some pockets of fanatics, who had made the GWOT cause their own. In turn, the governments that were associated with Bush's plan suffered the consequences of criticism and popular discontent with that decision, hence the Bush Administration had to mount one of the biggest lies in history to justify the invasion. The White House had the need to demonstrate that Iraq possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), and it had to do so publicly, before millions of eyes around the world, to convince a good part of the world's population that it was going to start a " War Fair."
This montage took place on February 5, 2003 when Colin Powell presented to the United Nations Security Council, in a public session, the alleged evidence that Iraq had WMD. According to Powell, this evidence had been compiled by the intelligence services of several countries, and he presented it accompanied by the director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), George Tenet. The CIA director provided recordings, maps, abundant audiovisual material, photographs taken by spy satellite, and segments of telephone conversations scanned by the intelligence services.
Tenet also spoke and presented the alleged evidence incriminating Saddam. But the alleged weapons were never in sight, they wandered from one place to another, with the international inspectors hot on their heels, but they were not seen. The presentation to the members of the Council was followed closely by millions of television viewers around the world, but the persuasion effort was in vain, since the countries with permanent seats on the Council - France, Russia and China - and the non-permanent ones - Germany, Syria, Chile, Mexico, Angola, Cameroon, Guinea and Pakistan - expressed that inspections had to continue. The exhibits were inconclusive that WMD had been found in Iraq. The 3 countries with veto power in the SC stated that Powell's presentation had not been conclusive, and on March 7, an informative appearance took place before the Security Council of the inspectors, who admitted "progress" in the search for the ADM, requested more time, and with their reports actually refuted the veracity of several assertions made by the Bush administration.
The specialists said they were not aware of the existence of the mobile laboratories that Secretary of State Colin Powell was talking about, who insisted that Saddam Hussein already possessed 2 of the 3 elements necessary to build the nuclear bomb, he had the scientists, the design bomb, and apparently already had a contract with Nigeria, the African country, to obtain enriched uranium. That is to say, for the Bush Administration, all the elements were amply proven to begin the attack and invasion of Iraq, and Colin Powell together with the head of the CIA George Tenet went down in history as those who maintained a lie before the greatest number of people in the world.
The global mobilization against war
The decision of the Bush Administration provoked a global process of mobilization against the War, which reached the maximum peaks of global mobilization known up to that moment, even surpassing the peaks and quantities produced in the Vietnam War. In Great Britain the majority of the population was against the war, so Blair's decision to support Bush began to hit his popularity, and caused the British Labor Party to split. The global demonstrations against the invasion of Iraq in 2003 were called by a global platform simultaneously around the world.
And they were especially relevant in countries committed to the invasion such as Australia, the United States, Spain, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Poland, Italy, and Denmark. These were the first demonstrations called by internet and SMS, and the effectiveness of new media and social networks for this type of calls was shown, since the global protest began to be organized only a month before it took place. The universally adopted slogan that unified the mobilization was "No to war", along with others such as : "No more blood for oil", "Blair, Bush, Aznar: murderers".
On February 15, 2003, the largest demonstration took place, achieving the largest global mobilization in history. Until then, millions of people took to the streets in many cities, led by Rome with 2 million protesters, also 2 million. in Madrid. There were many subsequent demonstrations and rallies in front of the US embassies, with large numbers of protesters, also in the US, in New York, Washington and Los Angeles. Spain was one of the countries where the demonstrations achieved greater significance given the fact that Spain was part of the UN Security Council and that the United States government gave it special prominence.
The Spanish government of José María Aznar had one of the lowest popularity ratings in all of Europe, and it is estimated that around more than 8 million people demonstrated against the war in Spain. On March 17, in the Canadian parliament, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien announced Canada's official position of not supporting the United States in the invasion of Iraq. France, Germany, China, Syria, Mexico, Chile and Russia expressed their opposition to forceful measures against Iraq and were in favor of a negotiated solution to the crisis.
In any case, the War was already decided, and on March 16, 2003, the Azores Summit was called to give "institutional cover" to the invasion, in which Presidents Bush, Blair, José María Aznar for Spain, and José Manuel Durao Barroso for Portugal, who served as host. At this Summit, a 24-hour ultimatum was issued to the Iraqi regime led by Saddam Hussein to disarm. However, the war did not have the express mandate of the UN Security Council, which made it an illegal invasion from the point of view of international law. This did not prevent NATO troops from, once the 24-hour period had expired. launching through the Summit of the Azores, they will begin the attacks.
The beginning of the War and the triumphs of NATO
The Iraq War began on Thursday, March 20, 2003 with aerial bombardments on Iraqi targets with Tomahawk missiles and the mobilization of 225,000 North American and British soldiers. The coalition had 800 M1 Abrams tanks, 600 M2/M3 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, as well as hundreds of combat and transport helicopters. Donald Rumsfeld had arranged bomber planes that departed from the aircraft carriers Constellation, Harry S. Truman, A. Lincoln and T. Roosevelt. Saddam Hussein organized the defense and responded to the attacks in an artillery duel with elements of the United States 1st Armored Division, launching Al-Samud missiles that could not prevent an American column consisting of numerous Abrams tanks, Humvee armored vehicles and helicopter gunships. Apache and Blackhawk will enter Iraq. The Iraqi Air Force did not carry out a single sortie to defend the country, due to the poor condition of its aircraft.
The invading forces encountered little resistance, which was mainly concentrated in Um Qasr, a key port to secure the entry of troops and supplies, which NATO immediately defeated. The Americans advanced rapidly without encountering notable opposition until reaching the Nasiriyah bridge, a point where the Iraqi Army hoped to stop the invading forces. The casualties for NATO were much greater there, and the first images of downed Americans arrived. On March 27, about 1,000 American paratroopers arrived in northern Iraq to join Kurdish forces. After defeating the Iraqi resistance in Nasiriya, the invasion convoy continued its journey through the desert, and at the same time as the main fighting was taking place in the south and center of Iraq, about a thousand Turkish soldiers penetrated a few kilometers into the north to monitor the actions of the Kurds fighting against the Iraqi forces. Supported by NATO planes and troops, the Kurdish guerrillas attacked the main cities and towns in the north of the country, but the Iraqi army responded by launching 37 surface-to-surface missiles.
The Iraqi High Command made the decision to form two defensive rings around Baghdad, using the Republican Guard, the elite division of the Iraqi Army. However, the enormous superiority of NATO made it possible for the first tanks and NATO troops to enter Baghdad on Wednesday, April 9. By that time, NATO had 173 soldiers dead and 542 wounded, while casualties among the Iraqi armed forces were between 4,000 and 6,000 dead.
Saddam Hussein fled and NATO launched "Operation Red Dawn" seeking to apprehend and detain him. On May 1, 2003, President George W. Bush proclaimed the end of major military operations, and celebrated a new triumph for the PNAC from the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Lincoln with the phrase: "Mission Acomplished! " (Mission accomplished!). Bush stressed that the invasion was not occupation, but "liberation" and promised a rapid transfer of power to a democratic government, beginning with the drafting of an Iraqi constitution. This new triumph of the Bush Administration marked a series of political and military successes that followed one another after 9/11. The Bush Administration had promoted the Patriot Act regime in the United States, had crushed the Taliban in Afghanistan, had caused a severe defeat to the Palestinian Intifada, had aligned the UN and NATO behind the PNAC strategy, had established the COW and the Quartet, and now had achieved a resounding victory in Iraq. The importance of these triumphs was very great, and the Neocon, strengthened by the victories, was at the zenith of its political and military offensive.
The provisional government of Iraq (CPA) and business
On April 21, 2003, the Organization for the Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance of Iraq or Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA) was created. This organization became the government in Iraq vested with executive, legislative and judicial authority under former military man Jay Garner linked to SY Coleman, a high-tech company specialized in missile control systems closely linked to the Pentagon. ORHA was later replaced by the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), and on May 11, the CPA was placed in charge of Paul Bremer, appointed to the title of Iraq Administrator by Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz. The colonial character of the Bremer government was evident in the fact that the CPA was created as a division of the United States Department of Defense, so Iraq became a nation that became administered by an official who reported directly to the head of the Pentagon.
The UN Security Council, which had been reluctant to support the invasion, after NATO's victory legalized the occupation and the CPA government through resolution 1483 adopted on May 22, 2003. In it it " recorded and note" the creation of the CPA and a Development Fund for Iraq (DFI), which replaced the former United Nations "Oil for Food" program. On July 22, 2003, three months and thirteen days after the occupation began, the CPA formed the Iraqi Governing Council and appointed its members, which included approximately 1,500 officials, including members of the conservative Heritage Foundation. , as well as officials from several of the offices of Republican congressmen, and other Neoconservative institutions that made up the CPA staff.
The CPA appointed representatives to the UN, and drafted a temporary constitution known as the Transitional Administrative Law (TAL). The Iraq Reconstruction Fund was kept in the Central Bank of Iraq, but administered by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. According to UN Resolution 1483, this fund was to be controlled by an International Consultative and Monitoring Board (IAMB) composed of the UN Secretary General, the Director General of the International Monetary Fund, the Director of the Arab Fund for Economic Development and Social and the president of the World Bank. However, the Development Fund for Iraq (DFI) acted in darkness and in absolute secrecy in flagrant violation of its obligations, without any type of published document.
The CPA was installed in the so-called Green Zone, an area 5 kilometers from the shore of the Tigris River that included the ancient monuments built by Saddam and housed numerous administrative offices, residences for officials of the new government and accommodation hotels. for journalists arriving from abroad. The Zone had its own radio station, sports fields, swimming pools, bars and restaurants, a permanent supply of electricity and drinking water, despite the fact that the inhabitants of Baghdad had to suffer constant cuts to these essential services.
The CPA in turn established 3 headquarters in 3 geographical regions: The CPA North had its headquarters in the northern city of Mosul, the CPA Central in Baghdad, and the CPA South was established in Basra. UN Resolution 1483 transferred the management of revenues from Iraqi oil to these 3 headquarters. Shortly after being established, the CPA began to issue government orders. CPA Order 17 guaranteed legal immunity to all foreign contractors operating in Iraq from any suit, civil or criminal, and Order 49 stipulated a reduction in taxes for those Corporations operating in Iraq with the objective of financing large reconstruction projects. Thus began the great businesses that the Multinational Corporations planned to obtain and expand their profits in Iraq.
Prior to the occupation, most large companies in Iraq were state organizations and foreign trade imposed huge tariffs to prevent the entry of foreign goods. But, after the occupation, the CPA began an accelerated process of privatizing the Iraqi economy, opening it to foreign investment. The CPA awarded the contracts for the reconstruction of Iraq to American companies, such as Trireme, which had Richard Perle, the Neocon leader of the Center for Security Policy (CSP), and the PNAC as one of its main investors.
At the time his company was hired, Perle was a member of the Defense Policy Board in the Bush Administration, but he had to resign from the Board that year, because it was a scandal that he was at the same time a member of the government and owner of one of the companies contracted for the reconstruction of Iraq. But cases like that of Perle and several government officials linked to neoconservative think tanks and, in turn, to companies that won juicy contracts in Iraq, were repeated over and over again with an endless list of companies.
The head of the CPA, Paul Bremer, hired the Blackwater corporation, a private security company, that trains soldiers and mercenaries as his government's bodyguard. To repair the Iraqi treatment plants and water treatment plants, Bechtel was hired, one of the most important construction corporations that had among its administrators George Schultz, former Secretary of State under Reagan, and president of the Advisory Council of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq. This council was a pro-war lobby financed by Lockheed Martin, one of the largest arms manufacturing corporations in the world, which introduced a curious paradox into the Iraqi reality: The CPA introduced the Lockheed Martin-Bechtel alliance, the curious association between a construction company and another destruction company. Once American aviation was responsible for destroying its drinking water systems with horrible bombing raids on Baghdad, Bechtel was awarded a fabulous million-dollar contract to rebuild the drinking water systems.
Another case was that of the Halliburton company, a world leader in oil equipment, a company that knows the country well because it had been there in the 1991 Gulf War, and had been contracted to rebuild oil drilling and refining facilities. Halliburton Company was closely linked to Dick Cheney, the Vice-President of the United States. Another scandalous case was that of the Carlyle Group company, a company that had James Baker III, former Secretary of State in the Bush administration, as Senior Advisor. between 1993 and 2005, which had Bush Sr. as Senior Advisor to Carlyle's Asia division, between 1998 and 2003.
That is to say, a company with clear existing links with officials of the Bush Administration, which was part of this entire complex based on a model of outsourcing and semi-privatization of war, had its antecedents in the first Gulf War and the Balkan conflict, in which the Pentagon promoted contracts with companies that provided a large percentage of services for the Armed Forces: security, construction, engineering, drivers and food and energy supplies, etc.
Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld defended privatization, pointing out that these contracts allowed members of the Army to concentrate on combat tasks. But criticism of corruption, diversion of funds, favoring certain business groups, and enrichment of corporations closely linked to the business of the Iraq War, grew day by day, in increasingly resonant complaints. The CPA acted as a colonial government of Iraq and, at the same time, as an unscrupulous administrator of the war business in the hands of Multinational Corporations from the COW member countries.
After the occupation of NATO forces, a treasure of goods and relics that are heritage of humanity disappeared from the museums and cultural and educational entities that housed them. The first editions of "The Arabian Nights" disappeared from the National Library of Iraq, the mathematical treatises of Omar Khayyam, the philosophical treatises of Averroes and Avicenna; and 236 manuscripts and porcelain stolen from the heritage room disappeared from the National Museum of Archeology. Among the seized pieces were some of humanity's first books: the 5,300-year-old clay tablets of the Sumerians, texts from Babylon, Assyria, Chaldea, Persia, and among these public goods the tablets of the Code of Hammurabi, where the first record of laws in the world appears. The looting of Iraq was not only of oil, but also of goods of incalculable value, being pieces of enormous scientific and historical importance, which the Bush Administration allowed and encouraged to loot, being as they are, part of the heritage not only of Iraq but of the entire The humanity.
The Iraqi resistance at the center of the scene
On May 1, 2003, President George W. Bush had proclaimed the end of the war from the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Lincoln with the phrase: Mission Accomplished! But contrary to the wishes of the Bush Administration, six months after that announcement, the war was far from over. Shortly after the invasion took place, enormous resistance flourished in all corners of Iraq, which by November 2003 led to the fighting to such a magnitude that it had already meant the loss of the lives of more than 298 American soldiers.
While official figures spoke of 1,300 wounded soldiers, confidential sources spoke of a reality of more than 7,000 wounded NATO soldiers who populated the care centers at bases in Germany and Turkey. From that moment on, the Bush Administration and the Pentagon stopped providing official figures on deaths and injuries in the Iraq War. The emergence of a powerful anti-invasion insurgency occurred almost simultaneously with the military occupation of the country, the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime, and the decomposition of the Baath Party (in Spanish, the "Renaissance Party") that had ruled Iraq since the 1970s. from '60.
The Iraqi guerrilla insurgency or resistance emerged from the old Iraqi armed forces, which were mutating to fight an enemy a thousand times superior. The Iraqi resistance was transformed into a huge armed insurrection with broad popular support from the masses both in Iraq and in the other countries of the Middle East, which, as we saw, had been preceded by an enormous process of global mobilization against the war. Millions around the world had demonstrated their opposition to the invasion, but the Bush Administration and its NATO allies had turned a deaf ear to the global process of mobilization and the protests that were developing in the US and around the world. However, as soon as NATO set foot in Iraq, it collided head-on with that process of mobilization and repudiation of the war that was spreading deeply among the Arab masses and the entire world, which is why the Bush Administration's problem was not It was their military power, unsurpassed and unquestionable, but the political issue that the Iraqi people and the masses of the world did not see them as "liberators", but as occupiers and violators of their sovereignty. This was the breeding ground for the rapid emergence of the guerrilla insurgency willing to reject the invasion, a conglomerate of guerrilla armies began to form around the generals, officers, and non-commissioned officers of the Iraqi army.
Saddam's Fedayeen was a guerrilla group part of the old Iraqi army and made up of almost 40,000 men that began to operate throughout the territory. Along with this force, another militia began to act, called Al-Awda ("The Return"), which was made up of former members of the Baath Party government, the Armed Forces and the Iraqi Republican Guardian, under the leadership of the Sheikh Abdel Sattar Abu Risha. "The Return" began to operate mainly in Baghdad, northern and central Iraq and reached almost 40,000 members.
Another group of former members of the Baath party and the army was Al-Abud ("The Network"), which performed in Fallujah and Baghdad. As part of this conglomerate of Sunni guerrillas, the 1920 Revolutionary Brigade emerged , headed by Hatim al-Zawba'i, which acted in the areas of Ambar, Nineveh and Daiala Governorate. The most important of all the Sunni organizations was the Islamic Front for Iraqi Resistance, headed by Izzat Ibrahim al Douri General Secretary of the Baath Party, which began to act as fighters in 2004.
Among the Kurds, the Peshmerga emerged, a coalition of armed groups that acted in Iraqi Kurdistan, led by old officers of the Kurdish army security forces, although sympathizers of other groups such as the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party) also acted. Among the forces that brought together the Shiite sectors, the majority racial fraction of the population, was the army of Al-Mahdi (in Spanish, "The Promised One"), a militia created by the Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who began to act in the south of Baghdad, at first with 5,000 militiamen, but it grew until it reached 60,000. The Shiite forces were made up of other militias such as the Soldiers of Heaven and the Sheibani network, among other organizations.
Hezbollah, Al Qaeda and other groups of diverse racial and political representations also began to act, both outside and inside Iraq. The entire policy of the Middle East governments began to revolve around the development of the Iraqi resistance, which had the massive support of the absolute and overwhelming majority of the entire population of the region. Billions of people who repudiated the invasion mobilized in all countries, organized collections and pressured their governments to support the resistance in Iraq.
The resistance inside Iraq had such heterogeneity among the groups that composed it, such a diversity of religious, racial and political factions, that at first it began to act in a disjointed manner, and the various sectors that composed it acted on their own, without no coordination or mutual support among themselves, and even, on more than one occasion, confronting each other for control of sectors of the population, territories and weapons. Even so, the actions of the Iraqi resistance were increasingly daring and destructive for the NATO armies.
On October 26, 2003, 10 Katyusha rockets were fired by the insurgency and hit the Al-Rashid Hotel, an 18-story building located in the Green Zone in the middle of the visit of Deputy Secretary of Defense, Paul Wolfowitz. Between June and July 2003, actions that brought down helicopters began to grow, and every time a device fell, celebrations broke out in the neighborhoods, while men, women, and children booed, stoned, and set traps for the police officers every day. NATO. NATO forces soon lost control of the Baghdad airport, and soon almost all of Iraq was ungovernable.
The triumph of "Red Dawn" and the defeat of the ADM
As we saw, the argument for invading Iraq was that the country had Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) that the US and Great Britain tried hard to prove existed, without success. Now, with Iraq in its possession, the Bush Administration launched the Iraq Study Group (ISG), a 1,400-member international team organized by the Pentagon and the CIA, to find WMD stockpiles. The ISG was headed by David Kay, who had been a weapons inspector after the first Gulf War, and staff from the Pentagon and the CIA, the Australian government, and the United Kingdom, although all reported directly to Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld.
After six months searching for weapons of mass destruction, surveying and exploring hundreds of potential WMD sites across Iraq, the ISG issued an interim report on October 3. 2003. There he reported that he had not found the WMD, although he had found evidence of registration of previous activities related to the production of WMD, but not their existence. The news was a political bomb. The main reason why the COW had given a deadline to begin the invasion was the WMD, and now, just months after the invasion, it was made public that the WMD did not exist and that its existence had been a lie. That is to say, it was close to becoming public that there had never been any reason to invade Iraq.
When David Kay, head of the ISG, prepared his resignation, Bush Administration officials asked him to delay it, because they were preparing another news story to counteract it. And they had it. The Bush Administration accelerated the steps of "Operation Red Dawn" that sought to capture and detain Saddam Hussein. Already on July 21, 2003, Saddam Hussein's sons, Uday and Qusay, had died in a shootout with soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division, with which the siege on the fugitive Saddam was closing day by day. On December 13, 2003, they captured Saddam near Tikrit, Saddam's hometown, where they found him hiding in a basement, and their capture of Saddam was announced with great fanfare the next day, December 14, at a press conference. before a crowd of journalists, with the presence of officials from the Bush Administration, senior military officers and Paul Bremmer, where the announcement was made to the entire world.
The Bush Administration wanted to show the capture of Saddam as what it undoubtedly was: a great triumph, crowning the political and military successes that the Bush Administration achieved in the years 2002-2003. The White House also sought to hide the growing difficulties that the NATO troops suffered on the battlefield. But undoubtedly, at that point in time, Cheney and Rumsfeld had achieved great objectives that were unthinkable a few days before 9/11. To the triumphs with the sanction of the Patriot Act in the US, over the Taliban in Afghanistan, over the Palestinian Intifada, over the Baath in Iraq, now it was added to have Saddam Hussein, one of the "great villains ", " from the "Axis of Evil."
The novelty of Saddam Hussein's capture sought to neutralize news that was undoubtedly a political and propaganda setback that was going to be made public, almost simultaneously. On January 23, 2004, ISG chief David Kay finally made public his resignation from the ISG, and in a presentation on the existence of ADM before the Senate Armed Services Committee, he said: "Let me say that from the beginning We were almost totally wrong." And he stated to the Reuters news agency that the Iraqi government "got rid" of such weapons after the 1991 Gulf War. That is, Iraq did not have WMD, and the invasion did not have the reasons announced by the Bush Administration.
On February 6, 2004, George W. Bush convened the Iraq Intelligence Commission over the failure to find weapons of mass destruction, while a similar inquiry in the United Kingdom was led by Lord Butler of Brockwell along with parliamentarians and senior officials. military officials. In Britain, Kay's resignation and certification that WMD did not exist hit Tony Blair hard, and his credibility declined. Blair had assured that WMD existed and had even confronted the BBC communications company for screening a documentary in which he demonstrated that WMD did not exist.
With Kay's resignation and the ISG statement it was clear that the BBC had been right and both Blair and Powell were liars. In short, WMD did not exist in Iraq and the ISG did not find any biological, chemical, or nuclear weapons. He found no arsenal. No complex to produce them. No SCUD missile, no laboratory to build prototypes. No mobile laboratory. Not a single barrel, projectile, kilogram of uranium, not a single compromising document, not a single statement from an intimidated Iraqi scientist. Absolutely nothing.
If WMD did not exist in Iraq, then could a nation that does not produce weapons of mass destruction be considered part of the "Axis of Evil"? Had Iraq had any connection with the 9/11 attacks? And if Iraq was not part of the "Axis of Evil", why had the invasion occurred then? The absence of WMD in Iraq left the Bush Administration without arguments, even so investigations continued and CIA Director George Tenet appointed former UN weapons inspector Charles Duelfer as Kay's successor, who stated that the possibilities of finding WMD stockpiles in Iraq were "almost zero", in official recognition that Iraq had nothing to do with WMD.
The same day Saddam Hussein was captured, President Bush signed the Intelligence Authorization Act for 2004, which expanded the Patriot Act by allowing the government to request personal information on a wide range of of individual citizens ranging from stockbrokers, automobile dealers, credit card company employees and any other business where cash transactions occur.
With this expansion, the FBI was allowed not to have to first go to a judge, nor demonstrate "probable cause" for companies to inform their clients that their files have been handed over to the FBI, thus, thanks to this law, Now local, state, federal and even private agencies could now have unrestricted access to the records of the average citizen. Attorney General John Ashcroft announced the launch of a National Criminal Intelligence Sharing Plan (NCISP) initiative designed to unite federal, state, and local law enforcement efforts to share intelligence information.
Changes within the PNAC strategy: Negotiations and ballot boxes to confront resistance
The non-existence of ADM in Iraq proved right to the millions of people who mobilized in the US and around the world opposing the war, exposing the lies of the Bush Administration and leaving the GWOT without political and propaganda support. Although the feeling for the effect of 9/11 was still felt in the United States, the nonexistence of ADM delegitimized the invasion of Iraq, which had become a quagmire every day, from which the Bush Administration began to realize that it was very difficult to get out.
The rebellion of the Iraqi people increased throughout 2004 and a strong insurgency developed. The feeling of Iraqi nationalism and rejection of the invasion was growing in the population and along with it, guerrilla fighting was growing in the urban areas of southern and central Iraq. Assaults and ambushes increased; bomb attacks, kidnappings of mercenaries, contractors and journalists, selective assassinations of personalities; attacks on churches and public buildings.
The resistance began to carry out executions by beheading, filmed and later released to the media, to instill fear and horror in the invading troops. The sabotage of oil pipelines caused continuous stoppages in the oil industry, which prevented the control and exploitation of the oil industry. The invasion was beginning to bog down, the political and military situation was increasingly complicated, and the awakening of the Iraqi resistance and its gradual strengthening raised the possibility of defeat. This increasingly unfavorable situation forced the tactics to be modified in order to preserve the PNAC strategy. Until then, the Bush Administration's privileged tactic was the "club", that is, the priority use of plain and simple military aggression, put before to political negotiation and consensus. But the "club" tactic had detonated a huge insurrectionary struggle among the Iraqi people, and as a result of the increasingly larger and more widespread resistance, the PNAC began to suffer its first defeats.
This forced the Bush Administration to change tactics and combine the "stick" with negotiations and the co-option of various politicians and personalities of Iraqi nationality, that is, a "carrot" that appeared as a concession and gave support to the strategy. That is to say, the Bush Administration began to combine the "stick" with the "carrot." He needed to change things to keep his strategy the same, and relaunch it, for which the Bush Administration began to focus on establishing a long process of negotiations with the different actors in the Iraq War.
Negotiations began simultaneously with France and Germany, as well as with European countries that had been reluctant to support the invasion. On the other hand, a long negotiation began with the different Iraqi factions that were fighting to take control of the country after the fall of Saddam, a plan that included ending the CPA seen as an occupation government, which meant ending the mandate. of Paul Bremmer who was already suffering from strong political wear.
At the same time, to give a touch of legitimacy to the negotiation process, the Plan included promoting another government with a strong presence of members of Iraqi nationality, which would be elected by the population, in elections controlled by the Bush Administration. In this way, they tried to demonstrate that Iraq had been "liberated" and that they could establish their own authorities. The Plan sought to form a provisional Iraqi government that would schedule the calling of elections for the constitution of a definitive government and the drafting of a constitution in Iraq, for the beginning of 2005.
This relaunch and the "carrot" line also had another objective: That of weakening the Iraqi resistance, seeking to sharpen the existing differences between the different sectors of the Iraqi nationality, giving them positions and favors, while displacing others. The Bush Administration began to co-opt politicians and resistance sectors seeking to divide the insurgents, creating and deepening differences between them, knowing that to maintain the chances of winning the war, it had to fuel divisions between the Iraqi factions of the resistance.
In the formation of the provisional government, it prioritized agreements with the Kurdish community and some Shiite sectors, marginalizing the Sunnis, leaving out the factions of the old Baath party that were still loyal to Saddam Hussein or were suspected of being so. On the other hand, they began to design an electoral calendar, controlled by the Bush Administration, that would serve to divert the people's struggle from the trenches to the polls, relying on Iraqi political leaders and religious leaders who called on sectors of the population to vote. Taking into account that Iraq had had a dictatorship in power for decades, even though Hussein had had support from the US for an entire period, now the Bush Administration sought to show that thanks to the invasion the Iraqi people would achieve "democracy.
At the same time, the Bush Administration needed to direct away any possible discontent that existed in the United States towards the war, because the 55th presidential elections agreed for November 2004 were already in sight. For these elections the Bush Administration had a large base of popularity, and its objective was to consolidate it. The victory that would allow him to obtain a second term was possible given that the events of 9/11 were still fresh in 2004, which allowed issues related to security and the fight against terrorism to be established as priority issues in the electoral campaign.
The "carrot" policy in Iraq had the support of sectors of the Iraqi and Middle Eastern bourgeoisie, which for decades had had alliances and businesses with the United States, and now did not want to give up that privileged location. Dissidents from the Baath party, displaced business sectors, Iraqis in exile, leaders of various factions and religious sectors, were willing to support and be functional to the "carrot" tactic, among them the Arab League, composed of important sectors of entrepreneurs linked to big business. This League played a regrettable role throughout the entire process of occupation of Iraq's troops. While millions of Muslims in the region mobilized, showed solidarity with the resistance of the Iraqi people, and sought to establish a support network for the resistance by collaborating for its supply and sustenance, the League, except for declarations of form, never lifted a finger to confront the ocupation. Their opposition to the presence of NATO troops was reduced to statements, and as soon as the "Iraqization" plan was established , the League showed interest in participating in it.
The governments of the Arab countries also played a regrettable role. While millions of Iraqis were massacred by NATO, the governments of Syria, Libya, Jordan, Egypt or the billionaire Sheikhs who dominate oil states like Saudi Arabia or Qatar did not lift a finger to prevent it. They did not put their fortunes, their armed forces or their state apparatus at the service of helping the millions of Arabs who were being murdered, and except for formal declarations, not even the heads of the countries accused by the Bush Administration of being part of the "Axis of the Evil".
These governments left millions of Iraqis to their fate, and not only turned their backs on the Iraqis, but also abandoned their own people in the countries they governed who watched with horror and indignation as their Arab brothers were massacred, and They cried out for solidarity with Iraq. The governments of Arab countries prioritized their interests and associations with big capital and business, which led them to turn a blind eye to the enormous genocide perpetrated by NATO.
The Bush Administration ordered the formation of armed forces made up of Iraqis, and in this way, an Iraqi Police Corps was formed, and a fraction of the army, made up of Iraqi officers who had deserted. Events accelerated, and on March 31, 2004, Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah ambushed a United States convoy in which 4 private military contractors were killed with grenades and small arms fire.
On April 4, the Marines began their assault on Fallujah, involving more than 2,000 soldiers, in what was known as the First Battle of Fallujah, which after a brutal and violent repression ended with a new victory for NATO. However, in March 2004, attacks occurred at the Atocha train station in Spain that caused a great commotion. The pressure of the situation led the newly elected president of the government of Spain, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, to order the immediate withdrawal of Spanish troops in Iraq on April 19. Spain was no longer part of the coalition and its troops were replaced by elements of the 2nd Battalion of the 1st Armored Division of NATO Task Forces. In May, a tough confrontation began between NATO troops and Al-Madhi's army in Najaf, around the Wadi' As-Salam cemetery, which ended 3 weeks later when Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani achieved negotiations for a cessation. of hostilities. But that same month of April 2004, another important event shocked the world: The revelation of the abuse of prisoners in the Abu Ghraib prison.
This prison had been built in the 1980s by Saddam Hussein to hold and torture political prisoners. After the invasion, Abu Ghraib came under the control of the Pentagon, which called it "Camp Redention." The entire world was shocked when the media in the United States exposed the torture, abuse and humiliation of Iraqi prisoners through photographs, which triggered a major political scandal in the country and the other nations and governments that were members of the coalition.
The scandal was of such magnitude that it forced the Bush Administration to establish a commission of inquiry into the abuses at Abu Ghraib in May 2004, which established that torture was carried out by the armed forces, and that indirect responsibility for the events affected to the entire chain of command, especially General Ricardo S. Sánchez, then head of US troops in Iraq. The torture in the Abu Ghraib concentration camps was carried out with methods designed and approved by psychiatrists and doctors, which were denounced by countless human rights associations before different courts and media outlets around the world.
On May 28, 2004, Iyad Hashim al-Allawi took over as interim Prime Minister, replacing Bremmer's CPA. And on June 1, 2004, a government was formed with 3 institutions: Prime Minister Allawi, the Council of Ministers with 31 ministers with State portfolios and the Presidency of Iraq headed by the Sunni Yawar, supported by 2 vice presidents, the Shiite Jaafari. and the Kurdish Rowsch Nuri Shaways. The composition of the new government sought the integration of sectors of the different nationalities and Iraqi factions into the transitional government.
Prime Minister Allawi appointed Barham Saleh of Kurdish nationality as Head of National Security Affairs. On June 8, the UN Security Council, through resolution 1,546, approved the legal framework for a transition calendar negotiated with NATO and the US, which included a call for elections to the transitional National Assembly to January 2005 that would elect a Transitional Government of Iraq and approve a permanent Constitution. The objective of this entire plan was that on December 31, 2005, the National Assembly and the definitive Government of Iraq would have to be formed.
One month after Allawi's inauguration, on June 28, 2004, Paul Bremer, representing the US government, dissolved the CPA and handed power to the new Iraqi government. Bremer was the one who represented US interests in Iraq, and replacing him, John Negroponte was appointed US ambassador to Iraq, who in reality was the one who acted as the real power in the shadows. In turn, the UN Security Council declared NATO troops as a Multinational Force "under unified command" with a presence in Iraq without a time limit, that is, the UN extended the stay of NATO armies. in Iraq, due to the questioning that the interim government suffered from the Iraqi resistance.
Allawi requested the automatic extension of NATO troops and also the reinforcement with contingents from other countries, because he needed immediate results in the field of security to prove himself to the population by showing that it was a government that offered security and control of the country. Allawi also needed to show some control of the insurgency to be able to unlock the disbursement of the $33 billion for reconstruction that had not arrived until then while the resistance actions increased.
The Pentagon's military operations began to become increasingly brutal and focused on viciously bombing Fallujah to hunt down the Jordanian fundamentalist Abu Musabaz-Zarqawi, head of the group Tahidwa al-Jihad ("Monotheism and Holy War") . Allawi's government considered "Holy War" as the mastermind of the wave of kidnappings and terrorist attacks in the cities, while resistance groups accused the Iraqi members of the Interim Government of being " collaborators and traitors."
The new prime minister on June 7 adopted an agreement with 9 parties and groups to dissolve their militias and integrate them into the Armed Forces, the National Guard and the Police of the new government of Iraq. Sheikh Al-Sadr ordered his men to put an end to the revolt in Najaf and announced his willingness to join the transition process, offering an amnesty to all resistance unrelated to the terrorist acts. However, in a few months, the most dramatic events would occur that shook the world and marked a before and after for the invasion.
Tensions in Iraq were increasing. In March 2004, the Syrian Kurdish uprising occurred in the northeastern city of Qamishli, which included the burning of Baath Party offices, and the rapid response of the Syrian army, which deployed thousands of soldiers supported by tanks and helicopters, as a result of which at least 30 Kurds were killed, and thousands of Syrian Kurds fled to Iraqi Kurdistan where local authorities there, UNHCR and other UN agencies established the Moqebleh refugee camp on a former army base near Dohuk.
November 2004: Bush Triumph and Holocaust in Fallujah
Meanwhile in the US, the first presidential election campaign was taking place after the 9/11 attacks. The elections a priori seemed close, head to head, and the big issue was undoubtedly the war in Iraq, which dominated the debates. between candidates. During the campaign, political denunciations abounded from one side and the other, for example the documentary filmmaker Michael Moore gave up the possibility of being nominated for an Oscar, to broadcast the film "Fahrenheit 9/11" before the elections, a film denouncing the Bush Administration.
The government presented a video of Bin Laden where he appeared promising new attacks in the United States, which helped Bush's campaign. All the polls gave a technical tie, but finally the 2004 presidential elections yielded a total of 62,040,610 votes for Bush and 59,028,444 votes for Kerry, with voter turnout around 59%, among those with the highest participation in voters in absolute terms. This election left Bush as the candidate with the most votes up to that point in the history of presidential elections in the country.
The Bush Administration achieved a great political victory in those elections. He achieved re-election and a 2nd term, and also control of the 2 chambers of Parliament, and greater dominance in them. In this way, and as a result of 9/11, the Bush Administration went from the slim majority of the controversial elections of 2000, to a political situation of great strengthening and political support that it did not have before the attacks: It now had an absolute parliamentary majority and the, until then, the largest vote in history. In the 2004 presidential elections, a new element played an important role, the so-called 527 groups, which had been approved by decisions of the Supreme Court, the Federal Electoral Commission and the Internal Revenue Service.
The so-called 527 organizations are dedicated to raising money to finance electoral campaigns without restrictions in terms of the amount to be raised, nor in donors, nor in the limit of expenses, such as PACs (in English, Political Action Committees), which are committees Politicians not directly related to a political party, but affiliated with companies, worker unions or other organizations, have been in charge of carrying out these financing campaigns for decades. In the 2004 campaign, PACs and even "Super PACs" developed strongly , very powerful fundraising committees, which significantly increased their influence and number in relation to recent years: In 1976, there were 608 PACs; But by the 2004 elections there were more than 3,000, which showed how the "business" of political financing and electoral campaigns had developed strongly .
The strengthening achieved by the electoral victory allowed the Bush Administration to get Great Britain, France, Kuwait and Italy to head a long list of governments that recognized the new Iraqi Government headed by Allawi. But things in Iraq were getting worse for the Bush Administration. The Iraqi guerrillas fighting the invasion were made up of members of all factions and even foreign fighters who volunteered to fight, coming from almost all Arab countries.
The resistance perfected its methods and by mid-2004 it was already carrying out an average of 50 attacks per day, against which, while negotiating at full speed with the different armed groups, Allawi deployed, in collaboration with NATO, the entire capacity of the Task Force 121. This task unit was part of the Special Forces made up of mercenaries, and elite forces specially trained as combatants, which intervened alongside the regular army, as well as members of the Delta Force, the Navy Seals, and paramilitary elements. All of this push by Allawi occurred under the direction of the head of the Pentagon, Donald Rumsfeld, who promoted the doctrine of "manhunt", a concept of clandestine assassination operations, to confront an armed rebellion that was hiding in neighborhoods, small houses, neighbors and civilian population.
Rumsfeld defended both in public speeches and in internal Pentagon communications the need to implement the "manhunt" to dismantle the Iraqi insurgency and resistance. The head of the Pentagon considered it regrettable that the regular army is not trained and equipped to carry out such "manhunts" and the deployment of mercenaries. These military hunting tasks were a necessity for NATO troops to the extent that it was increasingly difficult for them to confront a resistance in which the Iraqi guerrillas acted hidden and protected by housewives, children, young people, the elderly, workers and peasants, humble people, who no longer had anything to lose, or had lost everything,
Moved by hatred of invading troops who had destroyed their homes, their families, seized their property and taken over their country, millions of people provided shelter and assistance to the guerrilla insurgents. This heroic and brave resistance, which every day evaluated different variants to destroy an infinitely superior invading army, had become the main obstacle that the Bush Administration faced when defining the situation in Iraq, and it was what infuriated Rumsfeld who called for "manhunts."
The resistance had settled and strengthened in Fallujah, Samarra, Ramadi and Mosul, and the Bush Administration made the decision to use whatever military measures were necessary to eliminate it at any cost. Between October and November 2004, the new Iraqi government launched, together with NATO, a vast operation to reconquer Samarra, Fallujah, Ramadi and Mosul, thus beginning on November 7, the Second Battle of Fallujah. In this confrontation, NATO advanced with 6 battalions from the North, made up of between 10,000 and 15,000 soldiers, with 2,000 Iraqi allies under the command of General Richard Natonski.
Those 6 battalions took the northwest of the city and three days later they occupied the center, with the objective of pushing the rebels to the south to destroy them with artillery. While the assault on Fallujah was taking place, the provisional government of Iraq led by Allawi decreed a state of emergency for 2 months throughout the country, except for the 3 Kurdish provinces. The attack on Fallujah undertaken by NATO and the Iraqi government was explained by Allawi as reported by the author Naomi Klein in her work "Democracy with blood enters" : "In a letter to the Secretary General of the UN, Kofi Annan, the Prime Minister Iraqi appointee by the United States, Iyad Allawi, explained that a general attack was required "in order to safeguard lives, elections and democracy in Iraq."..." The enemy has a face. He is called Satan. "He lives in Fallujah," Lieutenant Colonel Gareth Brandl told the BBC, according to the Canadian writer in the same work.
Fallujah was surrounded and civilians were instructed to leave, but almost 75,000 inhabitants decided to remain. In the attack , escape routes were sealed, houses demolished, NATO troops razed schools, civic centers and the emergency health clinic. The battle was a true urban war, house to house, in which the Pentagon mercenaries were at the forefront against a population in inferior conditions. At the same time that the hand-to-hand fighting was developing, the action of the elite troops and NATO soldiers was supported by an incessant bombardment that destroyed houses with planes and tanks, causing thousands and thousands of deaths of civilian men, Women and children. By November 19, when the southern part of the city was taken, Fallujah had been completely destroyed, and the bombing had caused a true holocaust.
Around 150,000 people lost their homes and, according to the Red Cross, 12,000 civilians were killed and injured. Among the NATO troops, 95 American soldiers, 8 Iraqis and 3 British were killed, while 560 Americans, 43 Iraqis and 8 British were wounded. The 2nd Battle of Fallujah was the bloodiest of the war, described by many US military personnel as "the heaviest urban combat since the Battle of Hue City in Vietnam" . Fallujah was devastated during the fighting, besieged and razed, it was a horrific genocide planned by the Bush Administration, committed by the US army, its mercenaries and NATO troops. The massacre was ordered by the new Iraqi government headed by Allawi, and had the complicity of all the world's political organizations, the UN, and the governments of the G-7 countries.
In Fallujah, NATO and the Bush Administration took victory, but after the massacre, there was no turning back. Fallujah was a before and after in the Iraq War. The horror of the genocide and the magnitude of the massacre proved right to the millions who had mobilized against the war around the world, and who had denounced that there were going to be massacres and genocides. How to explain, after the horror of Fallujah, that the US army was there to "liberate" Iraq?
How to explain after the horror of Fallujah, that the US army was there to sow "Peace and Democracy"? The occupation was left without support, and lost any possibility of achieving any popular support. After Fallujah, there were practically no sectors left among the Iraqi workers and people willing to support the occupation. And the images of what happened in April 1937 returned to collective memory, when Nazi pilots dropped their bombs on Guernica, the former Basque capital, under the orders of General Francisco Franco, supported by the fascist governments of Italy and Germany.
Franco bombed the city without distinguishing between civilians and combatants and murdered almost 1,700 people, leaving 900 injured. The massacre was immortalized by the painter Pablo Picasso in the moving work "Guernica". " Where is the current Picasso who painted the picture of Fallujah?" asked the American journalist and writer Saul Landau (1) With Fallujah, NATO cut all bridges with the Iraqi people forever and the Bush Administration won the battle, but lost the war. After the massacre of the Second Battle of Fallujah, several Iraqi groups that had approached Allawi's government moved away; while throughout the world, a wave of horror and indignation multiplied the denunciations against the Bush Administration's policy, while the attacks and resistance to NATO continued and deepened.
Transitional Government and agreements with the Shiite bloc
Throughout 2005, the Bush Administration went to great lengths to implement the "carrot" tactic and asked the Iraqi people to go to the polls on 3 separate occasions within a year. On January 30, 2005, elections were held to the transitional National Assembly with functions of Constituent Assembly with 3 lists: That of the Transitional Prime Minister Iyad Allawi called the Iraqi List, secondly the United Iraqi Alliance, a block of confessional Shiite parties. promoted by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, and in third place, the Patriotic Democratic Alliance of Kurdistan (PUK and KDP) was presented, made up of sectors of Kurdish nationality.
Allawi's list came last with 13.8% of the votes, obtaining 40 seats of the 275 at stake, a product of the fact that Interim Prime Minister Allawi was already a deeply unpopular leader, identified with the occupation and even linked to elements of the Saddam's dictatorship summoned, as indicated by numerous complaints, to organize death squads and clandestine torture centers against the resistance. The Kurdish list, made up of the 2 main parties of the Iraqi Kurds, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) came second with 26% of the votes and won 75 seats.
The winner was the United Iraqi Alliance (UIA) list, which with 48.2% of the votes obtained 140 of the 275 seats, the absolute majority. This list was a bloc of confessional Shia parties such as SCIRI, Supreme Assembly for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the Islamic Dawa Party, the Badr Organization, the Islamic Party of Virtue and the Sadrist Movement, in addition to important leaders such as Chalabi and Shahristani.
The highest religious authority of the Shiites of Iraq, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani was the main protagonist of the negotiations to form this alliance. Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani became the great political actor in Iraq, as the political crisis worsened both among the political leaders who directly represented the Bush Administration, NATO, and the Arab leaders who collaborated with the occupation. Sistani was the only person whose decisions were followed by all Shia political leaders, whose political role was increasingly important in post-invasion Iraq given that the Shia population is more than 60% of Iraq's population.
Sistani, through a network of junior clerics, had been demanding the formation of a constituent convention, and demanded a direct vote for the formation of a transitional government. Sistani's speculation was to dominate the government of Iraq, if there were direct elections, because he would impose his majority on the population of Iraq, for which he launched a critical preaching against the Bush Administration's plans for the implementation of the Iraqi government, which which gained him growing popularity in the population. And so, Sistani and the Shiite network made a call and organized a mobilization from mosques, networks and religious circles, to guarantee the attendance of the Shiite population at the polls to guarantee victory.
Sistani's call helped guarantee an electoral participation of 59% of the voter roll, although the majority of Sunni groups called for a boycott of the elections that took place under impressive security measures and endless suicide attacks against schools throughout the country. with a balance of more than 45 deaths. The electoral results forced Sistani to seek the support of other parties to gather the necessary majority in the National Assembly and thus be able to appoint the Government and approve the new Constitution. For that reason, he reached an agreement with the United Kurdish List, as a result of which a Shiite leader of the United Iraqi Alliance was elected Prime Minister, the leader of Dawa, Ibrahim Al-Jaafari, anointed on April 7, 2005. On May 3 The transfer of powers in the Executive took place and Allawi considered himself in opposition to the new Government.
Other controversial figures made up the cabinet of the new Iraqi government. Ahmed Abdel Hadi Chalabi, who was appointed as interim Oil Minister, was among those who provided false information that weapons of mass destruction existed and that Saddam Hussein had alleged links to Al-Qaeda. Much of this information had been fabricated by Chalabi, who enjoyed close relationships with some members of the Bush Administration such as Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle, and was an important manager of the Corporations' business in Iraq.
Meanwhile, the Bush Administration increasingly pursued a business policy that allowed corporations to establish a virtual reign over the Iraqi economy, with enormous profits made possible by the lack of regulatory controls, very low taxes, and extremely low labor. cheap employment of refugees and residents of Iraq who worked in terrible conditions in order to earn some salary, since they had lost everything. The CPA committed billions of dollars in contracts before it dissolved with the intention of keeping them in force with any government that took over in Iraq, and the Allawi government aspired to have control of the funds that the CPA used and deposited in the Fund Development created by the UN Security Council. But the CPA left a budget legacy of hundreds of American experts and advisers in all 29 ministries and other government departments, who exerted decisive influence over all areas.
On the other hand, there was the fact that NATO maintained 140,000 soldiers in Iraq, which made it the holder of "true power" in the country. Under the leadership of John Negroponte who had under his control the 18.3 billion dollars in assistance to the Arab country, and Donald Rumsfeld managing the army, Iraq was reduced to a colony for the exploitation of its oil resources, looting and all kinds of speculation. financial. A new external debt was created, creating new debt plans and credits for reconstruction digitalized by North American financial consortia, and with institutions dependent on the North American Treasury such as the IMF.
Through an agreement reached between the Paris Club, the World Bank and Iraq, on November 21, Washington obtained the forgiveness of 80% of the Iraqi debt, estimated at about 120 billion dollars, but not destined for the people of Iraq. Iraq, but to the administration that avoided allocating oil resources to the payment of interest and capital, and had a free hand to generate new debts with its financial entities from the "reconstruction business."
This business sought to benefit investment groups and banks based on Wall Street, but with tentacles and communicating vessels spread throughout the planet. The new government, made up of Iraqis, Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis, remained like a puppet in the hands of the true owners of the country. On June 21 and 22, 2005, the United States and the European Union organized an international conference on Iraq in Brussels, attended by more than 80 states and government organizations that ratified their support for the invasion and the policy of agreements that gave rise to the new Iraqi government.
In her closing speech, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice congratulated the Iraqi transitional government and expressed " total and wholehearted support." Also from Fort Bragg, President George Bush congratulated the new Al-Jaafari government, and at the same time the 31st G-8 summit held between July 6 and 8 in Scotland provided explicit support for the government process that was being carried out. in Iraq. But while the Summit was taking place, on July 7, 2005, four explosions paralyzed London's public transport system in the middle of the morning. The policy of "negotiations" put into play in Iraq had the support of governments such as that of Chiriac in France or that of Schroeder in Germany that had previously withdrawn their support for the invasion. But, despite the support of the G-8 and the UN, things in Iraq complicated day by day for the Bush Administration. The popularity of the "war on terror" was in sharp decline, and by August 2005 only 39% of Americans supported armed intervention in Iraq.
The crisis in the Army and the Pentagon (DoD)
During the year 2005, an event broke out that was placed at the center of the Iraq war and hit the Bush Administration and the PNAC hard: The crisis in the Armed Forces exploded. During that year the daily average of dead soldiers reached almost 4 per day (3.7), an average slightly lower than that recorded in the months of heavy fighting during the Fallujah massacre. Already since the first months of 2005, there was an increase in resistance attacks against the occupiers, which increased the number of dead and wounded in combat in a wide range of 6 provinces in the west and north of the country, in addition to everything the metropolitan belt of the capital and in Babil, south of Baghdad.
The attacks were most frequent in the western province of Anbar and its capital Ramadi, where Iraqi fighters were responding to the Pentagon's attempts to reoccupy the capital. The Pentagon stated that the contingent of around 160,000 soldiers could not be reduced, 141,000 in Iraq and 21,000 in Afghanistan. But military specialists began to warn about the risk of a military disaster. "...We are in the early stages of a kind of crisis that if not controlled will result in the bankruptcy of the force," retired Army colonel and military expert Andrew Bacevich said at Boston University. The years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11 left signs of wear and tear in the armed forces, highlighted the crisis in their ability to maintain operational levels, as well as growing warnings from senior military leaders about the lack of operational capacity of some units, the lack of equipment, or the equipment crushed by excessive use on the battlefield. Many soldiers faced a 2nd and 3rd major combat tour with less time interval between one deployment and another.
The casualties for that year were more than 2,730 soldiers who died in Iraq, and more than 280 in Afghanistan, and in turn, the Army's statements were supported by statistics that indicated the growth of casualties, and the average number of soldiers. dead and wounded. The average daily number of resistance attacks went from 52 in 2004 to 70 in 2005. figures that showed an alarming picture for the Bush Administration.
From a military point of view, the only way to sustain both wars in Afghanistan and Iraq was to increase the troops that had to be taken from 150,000 to 500,000 soldiers. However, the troops could not be increased because conscription ended in the country in 1973 as a result of the defeat in Southeast Asia and the "Vietnam Syndrome." But furthermore, it was not Rumsfeld's or the Bush Administration's strategy to increase troops. This is why Rumsfeld refused to return to the conscription system and continued to use the contract soldier system. The prospect of withdrawal from Iraq was humiliating for the Bush Administration, of which it did not even want to hear, given that the entire PNAC strategy, the entire domestic and foreign policy of the country was mounted around the GWOT, which led the Administration Bush to exert strong pressure on the majority of the Army and Marines deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Rumsfeld imposed on soldiers and reservists the continuous provision of service after the end of their voluntary period. The Army Reserve is a force of about 200,000 part-time men and women who choose not to sign up for active duty but who can be mobilized in times of need. They made up about 40% of the troops in Iraq, but on June 1, 2005, Army Reserve Commander Lieutenant General James Helmly stated that the Army Reserve was rapidly degenerating into a "broken" force .
Symptoms of exhaustion in the troops at this time included an increase in the rate of divorce and suicide, and the abandonment of the army by mid-ranking officers, in addition to the fact that contract recruitment began to decline and the army lost its objective in the fiscal year 2005 to deploy 80,000 recruits by 2006. This occurred despite measures taken to convince new volunteers, offering more attractive contracts with greater financial incentives, having a greater number of recruiters, and modifying contract requirements to increase the number of recruits: The campaign included modifying the age limit for enlistment to 42 years and accepting recruits with criminal records. The Army National Guard and Army Reserve failed recruiting plans again in 2006 and both fell slightly short of their goals after also missing them in 2005. The critical element was that while the U.S. The US found it difficult day by day to recruit new soldiers, the Iraqi resistance grew in number of combatants, in the level of attacks, and their lethal level. This entire situation led to the outbreak of the crisis in the armed forces, and the political crisis within the Pentagon.
Army officers and senior commanders decided to "break ranks" with the Bush Administration and expressed their own concerns regarding various aspects of military operations, but they were confronted by the attitude of the White House that refused to recognize the reality of what was happening in Iraq. The difference in visions produced enormous tension between the leadership of the US Army and the Bush Administration, especially with Donald Rumsfeld, the head of the Pentagon, to the extent that the army crisis had a strong political basis. The soldiers were hired to combat terrorist organizations and liberate the people from these oppressive terrorists, but the reality was very different when they arrived in Iraq.
There they received orders to commit day after day atrocities of all kinds against the defenseless civilian population, against men, women and children, who in turn expressed rejection and repudiation against the soldiers. An expression of this situation that moved the army soldiers was that conscientious objector soldiers began to emerge. Conscientious objector soldiers had the courage to confront Pentagon orders, such as the case of Florida National Guard Sergeant Camilo Mejía Castillo, assigned to Iraq in April 2003, who began to doubt the morality and legality of the war, and in October 2003 he returned to the United States on a 2-week leave, after which he did not rejoin his unit in Iraq. On March 16, 2004, he applied to be discharged as a conscientious objector, stating that he believed the war and occupation of Iraq were "illegal and immoral."
In his request to be granted conscientious objector status, Camilo Mejía described the conditions of detention of the prisoners, and how the soldiers were ordered to " break the will of the detainee." He recounted the use of methods such as hitting metal walls with sledgehammers to prevent them from sleeping, or holding guns to prisoners' ears, and the killing of civilians, including children. He was detained in a military prison at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and on May 21, 2004, a military court sentenced him to the maximum sentence of one year in prison for desertion.
Amnesty International considered him a prisoner of conscience, imprisoned for refusing to participate in the war for reasons of conscience. The sentence was handed down even though the army had not yet responded to his request to be considered a conscientious objector, and during the trial, his lawyers were unable to present arguments that had to do with his conscientious objection, and therefore could not Describe the abuses you witnessed. A member of his legal team, former Attorney General Ramsey Clark, referred to "the incredible irony of the fact that we are trying soldiers in Iraq for violating international law and a soldier in the United States for refusing to do it".
The specter of a defeat in Iraq began to hover over the Bush Administration, and over the world political situation. A political and military disaster for the Bush Administration in Iraq was an unthinkable event in 2005. But that fact was beginning to hover like a ghost, a dangerous possibility for the Bush Administration and for the Project for a New American Century, a certain possibility of defeat could cause a total change in the political and world situation, the reasons why that circumstances changed in Iraq, and how this affected the situation of state institutions, fundamentally the Armed Forces, are the subject of analysis in the next chapter.
(1) Saul Landau ."Fallujah: The Guernica of the 21st Century" . Rebellion 11/28/2004
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