Diana-Ralph

Kourosh Ziabari – Fars News Agency: Professor Diana Ralph, a retired Canadian university professor and prominent social worker says, there’s little doubt that the United States was involved in the 9/11 attacks.

Prof. Diana Ralph believes that the 9/11 attacks played into the hands of the US government and Israel to launch a long-awaited global war on the Middle East and Central Asia, dominate the regional countries’ extensive energy resources and create a foothold for a permanent presence in the region.

“The 9/11 pretext served the interests of all those who benefit from military sales and oppressing people. It effectively derailed the rising anti-globalization movement worldwide, including the 2001 World Conference Against Racism, by turning Western states and their allies into security states,” she said in an exclusive interview with Fars News Agency. “As a state which depends on subjugating Palestinian people and selling its “anti-terrorism” technologies worldwide, it also served Israeli interests.”

According to Prof. Diana Ralph, the American people, following the September 11, 2001 attacks, have been subject to a massive propaganda campaign by the mainstream media in their country to mistakenly believe that the administration’s project for a global War on Terror was something needed: “I do not believe that the American people, or likely the Israeli people, understand the underlying economic and political reasons for the post 9/11 assaults on their civil liberties and the huge economic costs of waging these brutal military attacks.”

“They are subjected to enormous propaganda from the media, the educational system, and government announcements about terror threats, to believe that these “anti-terrorism” measures are necessary. However, I do see some cracks emerging in this hegemonic narrative,” she noted.

Diana Ralph holds a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Regina. She is a registered social worker with Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers. Until 2011, she was an Associate Professor of Social Work at the Carleton University.

On the 13th anniversary of the tragic 9/11 events, FNA conducted an interview with Prof. Diana Ralph. Here is the full text of this in-depth interview.

Q: Ms. Ralph, in an essay that you contributed to the 2006 book “The Hidden History of 9-11″, you argued that the 9/11 attacks were not perpetrated by Al-Qaeda, and challenged the official accounts of the 9/11 attacks as presented by the US government. What’s your alternative narration on the dreadful attacks? Is it tenable to say that the United States needed a new “Pearl Harbor” attack to be able to carry out an imperial agenda in the Middle East?

A: The 2006 book was a special issue on 9/11 published by Research in Political Economy to bring legitimate research – as opposed to the nonsensical conspiracy theories including anti-Semitic ones then on the internet – to the question of whether or not the official story about 9/11 was tenable. Seven Stories Press published an updated version in 2008. Most other chapters in this book summarized other research and offered original credible evidence that the official account of the 9/11 attacks is untenable. For example, several of the so-called hijackers are alive and that the FBI’s lists of hijackers’ names kept changing. There is evidence that al-Qaeda had nothing to do with the events. And even if al-Qaeda had the resources to get hijackers onto planes with box cutters, it did not have the power to shut down FBI investigations of the suspected hijackers, to set up distracting war games on [September 11, 2001], to issue stand-down orders preventing effective military response, or to cause two World Trade Center towers plus Building 7 to collapse using demolition explosives (Griffin, 2004; 2005; Hufschmid, 2002; Jones, Chapter 5).

Q: What’s your opinion on the possible role the US government and intelligence community played in the 9/11 attacks by facilitating it or withholding the information they possessed of the date, time and location of the attacks? Has the failure of the US intelligence community in preventing that tragic event from happening been deliberate and premeditated?

A: I found evidence that as early as 1995, Western intelligence had uncovered plans by Middle Eastern dissidents to conduct a symbolic terrorist attack involving hijacking passenger planes. It is possible that elements in the US intelligence system may have facilitated plans by others, for example, by helping hijackers to bypass airport security, or shutting down investigations of potential terrorists before they could act. I also found that passenger airliners are set up to allow a military plane or ground control to take over remote control of the cockpit. So the US may even have directly planned and carried them out flying the planes by remote control. The technology was in place to do that, and in Operation Northwoods, the US military had discussed hijacking and destroying an American passenger airliner to justify an invasion of Cuba. Regardless of whether the US simply facilitated the attacks or carried them out themselves, I believe there is little doubt that the US was involved (Ahmed, 2002, pp. 82-83).

I found and analyzed a sequence of strategic documents between 1992 and 2000 designed to secure the US as the sole superpower, which were prepared by a team of neo-conservatives led by Dick Cheney, then Bush Sr.’s Secretary of Defense. In 1990,  Dick Cheney, then Bush Sr.’s Secretary of Defense, organized the Defense Planning Guidance (DPG) group, including Paul Wolfowitz, Lewis “Scooter” Libby, and Eric Edelman, all hawks. Their task was to develop a secret, strategic plan to position the US as a permanent, unilateral superpower poised to seize control of  Eurasia, and thereby the entire world. Their goal was to set themselves up as rulers of this global US Empire.

They later renamed themselves The Project for the New American Century. Those documents argue that, as the sole superpower, after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the US needs to take military control of the Middle East and Central Asia, starting with preemptive wars to conquer Iraq and Afghanistan because of their geo-strategic position and their oil and natural gas resources. The Project for the New American Century study Rebuilding America’s Defences: Strategy, forces and resources for the New Century (published one year before the 9/11 attacks) laid out the core elements of the military policies which Bush Jr. implemented under the rubric of the “war on terror” within days and months of the 9/11 attacks. These documents repeatedly note concerns that the American public would not accept these imperial wars and infringements on their civil liberties unless they were experienced a sudden attack “like a new Pearl Harbor” (Donnelly, Thomas, Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century, p. 51). None of them gives more than passing reference to terrorism. Instead they focus on achieving US imperial ambitions.

Q: Has the United States government been able to achieve its goal of gaining economic and political supremacy over the Middle East and the world following the 9/11 events? America’s popularity has dramatically decreased following September 11, 2001 and the subsequent instigation of the global War on Terror. A recent BBC poll shows that only 45% of the world population consider Washington’s influence over the world as being positive. This is while this opinion poll was conducted among respondents in 22 countries, mostly allied with the United States, and from the Arab and Muslim nations, only Pakistan and Egypt were included. What’s your viewpoint regarding the decline of the US popularity in the Middle East, Arab world and Africa following 9/11?

A: The United States is facing massive threats to its post-World War II imperial control. At the end of World War II,  the US could present itself as the champion of freedom and democracy, not only because of its role in defeating fascist German, but also for its lead role in supporting anti-colonial struggles, which also imposed US economic colonialism to replace British colonialism. The Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe was touted as proof of the generosity of US “democracy.”  So it was no wonder that the US was popular. Now, however, its own economy lies in tatters, and its debt threatens the entire world economy. The US no longer has the economic resources to even care for its own population, much less achieve anything like the Marshall Plan reconstruction of Europe.

The US has always engaged in brutal wars, but it no longer can credibly claim that its purposes are altruistic.  The velvet glove is off the ugly iron fist. Especially since 9/11, the US military and economic domination of the Middle East, Central Asia and the world represent its desperate attempt to cling to power by brutality, threats, and lies. So of course, its popularity plummets while worldwide resistance rises. On September 11, 2014 the New York Times reported that Arab countries are offering only “tepid support” for the US war against ISIS (Anne Barnard & David D. Kirkpatrick).

Q: You wrote somewhere that the concept of War on Terror was concocted some 22 years ago, and its seeds were planted in 1979 at the Jerusalem Conference on International Terrorism organized by Benjamin Netanyahu. Were the Americans aware of the Israeli plans for launching such a war on the advent of the 21st century? Have they cooperated with each other to launch this war? In this light, do you think that the 9/11 attacks played into the hands of the US and Israeli governments to provide them with the pretext they needed to justify their military operation in the region?

A: The concept of a “war on terror” was first proposed by Benjamin Netanyahu in 1979 at a conference attended and supported by George Bush Sr. The conference proposed terming as “international terrorism” popular liberation struggles such as the PLO and the popular resistance in El Salvador, because they received international aid from the Soviet Union and Lebanon. It laid out proposals for a “war on terrorism” closely paralleling those which Bush Jr. implemented after the 9/11 attacks. Key elements of this policy were to demonize popular resistance movements as “terrorism,” to characterize state violence against these movements as moral and necessary for public safety, to slash civil liberties, to create a sophisticated spy network, and to promote torture and pre-emptive wars.

Netanyahu, George Schultz, and George Bush Sr. conducted a successful lobbying campaign under the Reagan administration to promote what became “the Reagan doctrine” of a war against “international terrorism.” Israel implemented these policies independently in its1982 assault on Lebanon.

From its inception, Israel has served as a “strategic asset” first of Britain and then of the United States, to protect their geostrategic interests and access to oil.  At the same time, Israel has its own long-term interests in taking control over all of “Greater Israel” – the West Bank, Gaza, the Golan Heights, and possibly portions of Syria and Jordan – and in promoting sales of its military and intelligence industries.

The 9/11 pretext served the interests of all those who benefit from military sales and oppressing people. It effectively derailed the rising anti-globalization movement worldwide, including the 2001 World Conference Against Racism, by turning Western states and their allies into security states. As a state which depends on subjugating Palestinian people and selling its “anti-terrorism” technologies worldwide, it also served Israeli interests.

I do not believe that the American people, or likely the Israeli people, understand the underlying economic and political reasons for the post 9/11 assaults on their civil liberties and the huge economic costs of waging these brutal military attacks. They are subjected to enormous propaganda from the media, the educational system, and government announcements about terror threats, to believe that these “anti-terrorism” measures are necessary. However, I do see some cracks emerging in this hegemonic narrative.

Q: The 9/11 attacks and the so-called War on Terror contributed to the fomentation of Islamophobia and anti-Arab, anti-Iranian racism, and the term “terrorist” began to be used interchangeably with the word “Muslim.” Was this something which the Americans and the Israelis were looking for, that is, to pave the way for the defamation and denigration of the Muslims, Arabs and Iranians?

A: I think it’s important to distinguish between ordinary Americans and Israelis and the policies of their political leaders, who have access to enormous propaganda resources and control over the media, educational systems, courts, police, etc. I found that consistently the neo-conservative leaders who fomented the “war on terror” had expressed concern that their world-conquest plans would not be supported by the American people unless they were convinced their own security was in jeopardy. In fact, when the first DPG report was leaked to the New York Times in 1992, it was roundly denounced as scandalous, and it contributed to the defeat of George Bush Sr. Until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1997, the US had been able to sell the public on the threat of “the communist menace” to justify its military expenditures and conquest campaigns worldwide. After it collapsed, the US political leadership searched around for some other “enemy threat” around which it could mobilize political support.  William Blum qupped in 2000, “…in place of the International Communist Conspiracy, Washington now tells us, on one day or another, it’s fighting a War Against Drugs, or military or industrial spying, or the proliferation of “weapons of mass destruction”, or organized crime, or on behalf of human rights, or, most particularly, against terrorism. And they dearly want the American public to believe this.”

Before 9/11,  there had, of course, been egregious stereotypes of Islam, Muslims, and Arabs promoted in Hollywood films. The neo-cons seized on Islamophobic racism as the perfect new “enemy threat,” because most of the countries they wanted to attack have large Muslim populations. Similarly,  Zionist Israeli leadership has exploited racism against “Arabs” to convince ordinary Israelis and the Jewish diaspora that they threaten their security and to justify unprovoked military assaults on their Arab neighbors.

Q: Why do you think the Bush administration started its project of War on Terror by attacking Afghanistan and Iraq first? Was it because these two countries had a geopolitical importance, possessed large energy reserves and could provide the United States with a foothold to take control of the Middle East and Eurasia?

A: Yes, the neocon documents, such as Zbigniew Brzezinski’s 1997 The Grand Chessboard, Zalmay Khalilzad’s 1995 From Containment to Global Leadership, and The Project for the New American Century (2000) all explicitly claim that the key to the US world conquest ambitions is to control the Middle East and Central Asia. The CIA had spent over a billion dollars to fund the Taliban to defeat the pro-Russian government of Afghanistan in hopes that it would support the natural gas pipeline that Unicol proposed to build across Afghanistan. As recently as July of 2001, the US had informed the Taliban that it would either carpet it with gold or bombs depending on whether it supported the pipeline.

We can see that attacking “terrorists” had nothing to do with the motive to attack Afghanistan. After 9/11, the US ignored Afghanistan’s offers to turn Bin Laden over to a neutral state for trial. The day after the 9/11 attacks, the Bush cabinet met to argue over whether to attack Iraq or Afghanistan first – not how to protect the American people, and only chose Afghanistan because it could “sell” that war to the American people because Bin Laden had been sheltered there. As we now know, its later excuse for attacking Iraq – weapons of mass destruction – were completely unfounded. Well-respected journalist, John Pilger believes that the current US attacks on Syria, Ukraine, and planned attacks on Yemen and other Middle Eastern countries all represent continuing US plans to contain and eventually conquer Russia and China.

Q: It was following the 9/11 attacks that the Bush and Obama administrations as well as the Congress took steps which the majority of the American public considered a violation of their basic freedoms and civil liberties. The US government engaged in a series of espionage activities, not only against its own citizens, but on the citizens and even the leaders of other countries, as revealed by the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. What’s your viewpoint on this new wave of attacks against the personal freedoms and civil liberties of the American people taking place under the pretext of combating terrorism? Are such legislations as the Patriot Act consistent with the democratic values which the US government claims has been founded on?

A: From its original conception in 1979, the goals of an “international war on terrorism” for Israel and the United States and its other allies have prioritized slashing civil liberties and human rights of its own citizens.  In the name of protecting the public from “terrorists,” “security” legislation and policies give the state the power to target every progressive group and movement for spying, persecution, and ultimately imprisonment or worse. Of course, this violates democracy. The first targets, of course, have been Muslims, Palestinians, and other Arab human rights activists, who are demonized and subjected to, at minimum, ethnic profiling and, at worst, targeted assassinations and bombing.

Muslim citizens and immigrants in the US and Canada have been subjected to extraordinary rendition -kidnapping and getting flown to other countries to be tortured. But at the same time, we have also seen Western governments labeling as “terrorists” environmental groups, unions, and charities and churches that support human rights. In Canada, where I live, mainstream charities like Oxfam have had their charitable status threatened because they advocate an end to poverty, not just providing aid to the poor.

Q: What role does Israel play in the post-9/11 world? How do you see the interaction between the United States and Israel following the September 11 events and the fact that Netanyahu once implied that the attacks were “good” for Israel? What’s your viewpoint regarding the fact that the critics of the policies and actions of Israel, especially against the defenseless civilians in the Gaza Strip are immediately and automatically vilified as anti-Semites, exactly like the accusations which the Canadian papers have leveled against yourself?

A: Israel’s economy rests increasingly heavily on exporting its counter-terrorism, espionage, and population control technology and expertise. Palestinian people and especially the people of Gaza have been used as guinea pigs to test and demonstrate various Israeli “products.” Israel and pro-Israel lobby groups in the West regularly sponsor free propaganda trips for police chiefs, legislators, university administrators, and other policy makers to Israel. And Western governments and universities eagerly seek bilateral trade and “security” deals with Israel.

So from the perspective of military interests both in Israel and the West, brutal attacks on Palestinian people are good for business. For example, during the 2008-9 Operation Cast Lead assault on Gaza, Israel was able to showcase its new white phosphorous bombs and its building busting technology for use by any other world despots who might want to purchase them. The Canadian government signed a security agreement with Israel in which Israel would train Canada’s police and correctional services in crowd control methods.

During the massive Toronto protests against the G20 conference in Canada, the police demonstrated their new Israel-inspired training in violently imprisoning and torturing nonviolent protesters. Similar things are happening in France, Greece, and elsewhere around the world. So more and more the world’s people are learning that the real conflict is not between Muslims and Jews or Arabs and Israel, but between justice and injustice; The people vs. the masters of war and conquest.

One of the main ways that Israel has defended its abuses is to accuse anyone critical of its oppressive policies and behavior of being anti-Semitic. However, this tactic is beginning to wear thin, as more and more people, groups, churches, and governments are refusing to back down and as Israel’s offensive behavior has appalled the people of the world. Major mainstream churches have either endorsed or are considering endorsing the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions. More and more, Jewish groups are speaking out in support of Palestinian human rights. This makes it increasingly difficult for the Israel lobby to claim that criticizing Israel is equivalent to attacking Judaism or Jews.

This interview was originally published by Fars News Agency.