To Alex Jones and Kevin Smith:
The main headline in the story by Kevin Smith and Alex Jones, Infowars.com, July 19, 2006, "Ellsberg Says Government May Have Carried Out 9/11," is a highly misleading paraphrase of my comments and beliefs.
The subheadline, "Predicts Bush Regime Will Stage Terrorist Attack to Provide Pretext for Iran, Syria invasion, and Justify Internment Camps for American People," is a flat misquotation, which actually reverses what I said. Likewise, the corresponding statement in the second paragraph that "within days after a U.S. military strike on Iran, Bush's handlers would probably stage some type of terror attack in the West to legitimize the new war."
Both of these alleged quotations are contradicted by the accurate quotation running in a boldface insert alongside them: "If there's another 9/11 or a major war in the Middle-East involving a U.S. attack on Iran, I have no doubt that there will be, the day after or within days an equivalent of a Reichstag fire DECREE that will involve massive detentions in this country."
[emphasis added: not a Reichstag-fire-like US-staged "terrorist ATTACK, either before or after a US air attack (not an "invasion") against Iran].
On the possibility that 9-11 was "carried out" by the government, my views have not changed over the last two years, when I have repeatedly endorsed calls for a thorough investigation of a sort that has not yet occurred, exploring valid questions that have been raised by outside investigators and not directly addressed by the official hearings. Those hearings have at the very least been aimed at obscuring or covering up massive incompetence, inattention, horribly misdirected priorities, and culpable negligence, especially in neglect of warnings (all comparable to the response to Katrina). That there "may" have been more sinister motives at work, I cannot rule out as impossible, after my own insider's experience of the Tonkin Gulf incidents in Vietnam, but the evidence so far does not make that a major probability in my view.
Since your story has already given rise to paraphrased assertions on the web that I now "suspect" or regard as "probable" or "likely" or "conclude" that the government staged 9-11, I'm forced to try to describe my state of uncertainty less ambiguously than words like "may" convey. I did say that I believed the psychological (not "physiological") CAPABILITY for staging or provoking an attack did exist in elements in this administration, as in the past, but at this moment I would personally put the odds in favor of this actually having happened at about one in a hundred, or 1%.
Dick Cheney, according to Ron Suskind's "The 1% Doctrine," might regard that as sufficient grounds for torture, indefinite detention, or even preventive war, but I would say it falls far short of legal requirements for indictment, let alone conviction. Further investigation, yes, considering the stakes. By comparison, for example, I would regard the evidence that manipulation of the electoral process, unethical or illegal, enough to shift the results in the 2000 and 2004 elections to be very much stronger, though still short of near-certainty. And the evidence that a secret Administration RESPONSE to 9-11 was to accelerate a president-led conspiracy to lie the country into an invasion of Iraq, and to violate laws and Constitutional rights, seems overwhelming, more than enough to warrant impeachment of the president, the vice-president, the secretary of defense, and other top aides.
I know others disagree about 9-11, which I respect, but I would point out that much of the evidence on which they base their conclusions has not been subject to cross examination or directly opposing testimony, precisely because the "investigations" so far have refused to use fully the subpoena powers at their disposal or even to address directly many of the probing questions that have been raised by outside analysts.
I trust you will wish to correct these misimpressions on your website, and arrange for the publication of this correction.
Yours, Daniel Ellsberg
GCN Radio show host Jack Blood
Daniel Ellsberg interview - Deadline Live July 14th 2006
JB: Daniel Ellsberg is with us. Daniel Ellsberg is a former military analyst employed by the Rand Corporation, who precipitated an international uproar in 1971 when he released the Pentagon Papers of the U.S. activities during the Vietnam War to the NY times. The release awakened the American people of how much they have been deceived by their own government about the war, and I'll tell ya, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Daniel Ellsberg, we're honored to have you on the show.
DE: Thank you
JB: Obviously, the comparisons need to be made between the Nixon administration, the Bush administration, the Vietnam War, and also the war in Iraq currently can I get your analysis comparing these 2 different regimes?
DE: Look, all administrations, all governments lie, all officials lie and nothing they say is to be believed. That's a pretty good rule. It's not always the case in the world that a country like ours is being lied into a war. There is a very strong analogy almost parallel between us being lied to during the Vietnam War and us being laid to going into Iraq. And I would say now, the Pentagon Papers of Iraq would look very similar to the ones going into the war in Vietnam. In terms of the gap, the enormous gap, between the inside debates, and there are more debates than the publicists allow us to see, which unfortunately don't leak very regularly, but I think if someone would take the step of revealing those inside debates, they would show that there was as much criticism and opposition really to the prospects who are prospects in Iraq and in Iran and there was in Vietnam. Unfortunately, there is silence of the people who criticize and oppose the policies from within. Their silence to the public enables the leaders to maneuver the public, unfortunately with more ease into disastrous wars. I think that not only are we involved in a disastrous war with Iraq right now, we're being maneuvered toward a war in Iran that will be even worse even if in the first station involve US ground troops but it will set the Mid-East on fire even more than it is appearing to be the case today.
JB: You know there is a lot of things I want to get to today, but since you kinda brought up the war, and a possible war with Iran, we see the saber rattling getting extremely heated at this point, particularly as we are looking at new events going on with the Middle East now, Israel really taking on this preemptive attack, Syria being a potential target of Israel's wrath or retribution, also now Iran warning if you go into Syria we are going to have some type of response... Do you think that we are being hooked into this war? How are you seeing this Daniel?
DE: Well, one thing that I see, in the last couple of days, is to remind me that not all the reckless, foolish, decisions being made in the world, are by Americans. Granted, we're the most powerful, our decisions are often the most consequential, the decision making by the leaders frankly of Hamas, of Hezbollah, probably of Syria and Iran as well, do not look good. They are in many respects, playing into desires of the hawks in this administration. To get a war started in Iran. Certainly, I think that those people in our government secretly want to get a war against Iran, are essentially happy today. I think that they think that their cause has been made easy, the American public is going to be more easily fooled into thinking that Iran is a threat to the security of the US and other regions by statements and actions of various other people in the region. And I think that it is not a question of one wild ideological government, mainly ours, that's a fair description of it, battling a group of prudent far thinking leaders and followers in that region, unfortunately, it's kind of a rat's nest.
JB: We see and often hear a lot of the analyst's also sharing with us Daniel, that there are 2 governments basically at war within our own government. we got the Neocons and I guess those with little more sense than the neocon, who understand that we can't continue to escalate the battles on the different theaters, as we just don't have the resources to pull this off but yet, here it seems that almost a perfect strategy at the perfect time with us nearly having to defend Israel, having to defend the Middle East, even, let's just say quote on quote, against our will, it just seems that we're just playing right into the hands of the Neocons.
DE: It does, it does. And I tell you that everybody's playing into that. When you talk about a war within the US government, in terms of the number of people involved, there's no doubt that there's a lot of dissenters, but they've acted very helplessly as far I can see in the last four years, hard to call it a war really, kind of a whine, or a complaint and we only get the echoes of that through leaks. We haven't really seen much courage by dissenters within or really risk their careers and take on the Neocons. By the way, I'm not sure that Bush, Rumsfeld or Cheney are at the top of this, along with Raffe (?), I really will describe as Neocons. When you describe Neocons, you're not really talking about a Cheney, he certainly not a neocon he's been a con and a conman for a long way going back, I don't think Israel is on the top of his list of priorities as a matter of fact, or that of Rumsfeld or even Bush. Their interests seem to have a lot to do with oil; anyone who discounts the role of oil in their ambition is naive.
JB: Well, who is controlling the Neocons? If bush and Cheney aren't calling the shots and I happen to agree with you...
DE: Well, yes, they're calling the shots, that's what I'm saying, but I don't think they're well described as Neocons, they're certainly aligned with the Neocons and the second level people like Wolfowitz and fife, pearl, they certainly have been following along the lines of those people we've been calling for, in many cases quite explicit interest in Israel, going back to their advice to Netanyahu, who you just quoted I noticed on your program, those are the people who wrote a plan for changing regime throughout the middle east in the late 90's specifically for Netanyahu who I'm sure is happy today by the way things are developing. It's a little more complicated than saying that all of this is just a...
JB: I agree, it's always a little more complicated, we have a break...
JB: A lot of faces that you see making policies today aren't strangers, these are people that have been around in the Nixon administration, the plumbers, the Iran contra, like Negroponte, Cheney and Rumsfeld, they have a long history of this type of behavior. How they got into office is, I guess, a little baffling to some of us, but Daniel Ellsberg, you tell a very interesting story in your work of G. Gordon Liddy and Howard Hunt and some of these plumbers breaking into your office, this became part of the Watergate scandal trying to find something on you because you're leaking these Pentagon Papers to the New York Times what is really going on in the Vietnam war. I mean, look at the history of leaks, look at where we are now, everything's national security, nothing's allowed to be leaked, nothing's allowed to be printed, the White House is trying to control all the news reports around the country, what would happen today if somebody leaked something as big as you did back in 1971?
DE: Actually, if somebody took the risk of putting out a lot of clearly authoritative real documents as I did at that time, I think that they would get printed. For one thing, we could certainly get them out on the internet even if no major newspapers took them. But I think actually we are seeing major leaks come out. Unfortunately not usually accompanied by documents so they get discounted and some of them are way overdue.
JB: That's a good point; I mean what is the problem in this country today? I mean some things are being leaked as we saw this banking information, the invasion of privacy, the massive data basing, and cataloging of all Americans, the loss of liberties. Why do you think that people don't take this seriously today? Would they have taken it more seriously in '71?
DE: I don't know, I'm very disturbed by the reaction that you've described there. I had to reflect, and it's not a happy reflection, that probably in any given time, in any country, including this one, most people don't care that much about liberties or rights or guarantees of freedom that much. It dates back to the revolution, 1/3 of the people supported the revolution and 1/3 supported the insider, according to John Addams, and another third were indifferent. It's probably always true that there is a minority of people that are really concerned about that. Unfortunately, at this very time, I don't see a strong minority of people being very active in showing resistance, and protest and outrage and really efforts to change it. If real efforts were put on congress to investigate this, of course it's a republican majority and they're gonna show a great deal of resistance to it, but how much pressure are they actually getting? The democrats press more for it. It's as if, after 9-11 especially, the country is acting like so many other countries, we're in danger, we need a strong man, let him free, don't put him under restraints, and I'm afraid we're slipping toward a police state without any resistance, which is what happened in Germany.
JB: I think the correlations are exactly precise. You know we kinda talk about the Neocon doctrine in a way, I'm sure you're aware of the Project for a New American Century and they had said they had laid a lot of this out of how they were gonna go fight multiple wars in multiple theaters, how they were going to expand the budget of the Pentagon by doing so. But they also mentioned that this was going to take a really long time unless they had a new Pearl Harbor and then magically we had 9-11. Have you had a chance, I'm gonna take a risk here in asking you this Daniel, in all due respect, have you had a chance to look at this information coming from America's leading scholars, business', engineers, etc. who have taken a look now at 9-11 and are now not only questioning what might have happened on 9-11, but really being very direct...
DE: I have looked at a lot of that and I tell ya, without going into it all, which would take a lot of time, I find some of it very implausible and other parts of it, quite solid. There is no question in my mind, that there is enough evidence to justify a very comprehensive and hard hitting investigation of the kind we have not seen. With subpoenas, general questioning of people, releasing a lot of documents. There's no question that very serious questions have been raised about how much they knew before hand and how much involvement there may have been. Is the administration capable, humanly, psychologically, of engineering such a provocation? Yes. I would say that. I worked for such an administration Myself. President Johnson put destroyers in harm's way in the Tonkin Gulf, not only once, but several times with a lot of his people hoping that that would lead to a confrontation, and claiming that it had and could have resulted in the loss of many lives in the course of it. What I'm saying now, by the way, is this, and here's a really strong analysis, to this day, there is a controversy going back and forth historically, as to who caused the Reichstag fire, the burning of their empowerment, the Reichstag. On Feb. 27, 1933. Kerry, at one point, the number 2 man in the regime said, "I set that fire." Later, he denied that at Nuremburg. And I notice that the latest history suggests that it wasn't the Nazi's. The point is, all this time later, there is still a controversy about that. What there is no controversy about is the use that the Nazi's made of it that very night and the next day. Feb. 28th, there was a Reichstag fire decree that ended freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of association, all in the constitution, and, privacy of the postal system and of communications and telephones. What ended here, more than we knew, four years ago, right after 9-11, if there's another 9-11 or a war, a major war in the middle east, involving the US attack on Iran, I have no doubt that there will be, the day after, the equivalent to the Reichstag Fire Decree of massive detentions in this country, contingent camps of the middle easterners and their quote "sympathizers" predict of the Americans policy, we would essentially be wiping out the Bill of Rights.
JB: I know you're talking very carefully here Daniel, but that's pretty strong medicine. And I think we haven't looked at the history of the world, governments do this, governments are liars, governments are murderers, it is not above this. I'm sure you're familiar with the Northwoods document.
DE: Yes. Indeed, we're talking about a manufactured provocation that could involve the shooting down of American or some other airliner with American support. I would say, by the way, American's definitely play this game, I'm sure that it's happening now, I expected, by the way, Bush to manufacture a Tonkin Gulf like incident before he went into Iraq and then I'd just said, I'd been wrong, they didn't feel they need that. It is interesting that the memos that came out in conversations between Blair and Bush show that Bush was pressing for it, the possibility of sending out over a U2 and getting it fired on and using that as an excuse. But what's happening right now is, Israel clearly seeking a genuinely provocative act by both Hamas and Hezbollah, which I think were not wise acts or applauding those in the middle east, very short sighted I would say the least.
JB: I know you don't have a lot of time with us, but I do want to ask you about an exit strategy in Iraq... So many comparisons between the Vietnam war and the Iraq war, one thing we failed to mention enough in the media, is that we were told that we could get out of Vietnam without losing face and the world falling to communism, and yet we got out of Vietnam and nothing happened. Can that process be applied to Iraq? Does anybody have a plausible plan that you have heard of to get us out of Iraq?
DE: Actually, we could start listening to the vast majority of the Iraqi people right now. 87% of them in a recent poll, random polls, private polls, want the US to set a deadline. And not a deadline of 5 years, of 10 years, but a much shorter deadline for getting out of Iraq, and we could listen and respond to that desire of the Iraqi people. They know, after all, of what the dangers are, like they've said for 2 years, that they wanted the US out even though that they expected security for some period in that country. But they know that the US is uh, will cause insecurity in that country so as long as they're there. that they will be in a national position in their presence. They want us out, we could listen to that. Likewise, and what's going on in the middle east right now, the US, yesterday, couldn't find yet one single vote out of 15 members of the security council to join in opposing in a resolution that is condemning the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and calling on Israel to withdraw. Now, in a situation like that, we could start paying attention to the fact that we've isolated ourselves and our policy isolates us, and that we should reexamine policy on the grounds that without any thought that we are the ones that are right on this, and everybody else is wrong. So we exercise the veto. And I notice, by the way, I was just reading that 8 of the 9 last veto's were in a security council over the last decade or more are by the US and 7 of those 8 are on Palestine and Israel. In other words, the rest of the world sees it one way and we and Israel claimed to see it another way. That's not in out interest and that's not even, I would say, in Israel's interest. I think that when I talk of reckless behavior and unwise behavior, along with the US, I would start of course with a crude policy in Israel and a general policy they've been following, there will not be peace in the middle east of any sort so long as US maintains it's support on questioning support as it did yesterday of very aggressive Israeli an policy.
JB: Conveniently enough we have all this trouble in the Middle East, which makes it even harder to get out of Iraq, and then there's the hundred and eighty odd bases that are being built, this is the real reconstruction that is going on in Iraq now making it impossible for us to ever leave. Now, is that the reality of the situation?
DE: It's not a matter of impossibility; we could leave the bases very easily. I don't think it's the matter of the cost, the question is, the will, what the bases indicate is a secret policy by this administration to stay in Iraq forever.
JB: Let's look into this real quickly, last question is guess, let's look at this, the elections are coming up, the mid-term elections coming up in November, we have presidential elections coming again in '08, unfortunately, some of the leading democrats, like Lieberman or Clinton or others seem to be as hawkish on the war as some of the republicans. Is there anyone we can turn to Daniel Ellsberg at this point?
DE: Well, there are a few, a handful of politicians who are taking very sound and I would say bold positions. Bold only because they are sensible but bold because they are in such a minority. For example, Russ Feingold, who everybody says is out of it because he is too liberal, too Jewish and too divorced. And that's too bad because he has been saying very good things and taking good positions right along. Incidentally, Morris Henche (?) introduced a resolution very few people ever heard of, just on June 20th, calling on no funds to be spent on a war against Iran that has not been declared by Congress. In other words, the president cannot attack Iran without a clear-cut decision by Congress to do that. And that got a fair number of votes in favor for that by the way, about 189 I think, but was, of course, was defeated. That is a good policy and I would like to see that reintroduced right now. As you were saying, it's certainly not enough to get democrats in power in Congress or in the Presidency to change our policy. Many of the top people, you could have mentioned Joe Biden, or Evan Bide are as hawkish as any republicans on this and if it's Hillary vs. McCain, it's likely that people won't be given any choice with the hawkish policy, but it is necessary. For a number of other reasons to get a democratic house and/or Senate, preferably both in November, without that, no investigation, nothing will change.
JB: It's not gonna happen Mr. Ellsberg, I mean, I'm looking at the map and the extrapolations involved here, it seems like another republican sweep, a part of this has to do with the fear that being put out to the American public is that these terrorist events that keep popping up on our shores, those are debatable...
DE: Well, you know the election isn't here yet and I'm not willing to take the position, realistic as though it might be, that there's no hope for doing this and nothing can be done...
JB: I'm not saying that there's no hope, I'm saying we need to prepare ourselves for 2 more years of republican trifecta, I mean, shouldn't we prepare for that?
DE: I don't know how you prepare for that because I see that its disaster, as you say, it may well happen. But I do think that we need to see more effort and more courage trying shown in trying to overt that than we have seen so far. It can't be said that people have made their best efforts their strongest efforts to change the situation. We haven't seen it yet and I would like to see people really telling the truth within the costs of their careers. You haven't seen a single person really risk his or her career to tell us the truth even though we have seen some leaks, that are good in themselves, and we've seen some good memoirs, Richard Clark, Paul O'Neill or some other telling us the truth but unfortunately, years after the event, when they retired and they've done it without any documents. I'd like to see a lot more courage than that.
JB: We all would and you're speaking for all of us when you say that. We've only about one more minute so I'd like to squeeze in one more question. Do you have any idea what happened to this trillions of dollars gone missing from the pentagon? Do you have any idea where that went? Can you put your finger on that?
DE: Well, I think that we can assume that it goes where all the other trillions that have been lost, pretty much to the same pockets in the military industrial complex to deal with the pentagon, black budgets that are hardly looked at by congress, these so called black projects that don't really go on, a tremendous amount of corruption, bank accounts, corporate accounts, I don't think it's simply been burned in the pentagon basement.
JB: Well no, neither do I, I think that we have to agree on that. Daniel Ellsberg, I really appreciate your time, I want to say that if at any time we can jump on your bandwagon, any time we can help you get your message out or come to your rescue, please give us a call and let us know and we'd be happy to do it.
DE: I appreciate it and you're already doing it.
JB: We're gonna open up the phone lines for the last 10 minutes of the broadcast here. What do you think about that? Daniel Ellsberg basically coming out for state sponsored terrorism and 9-11 being an inside job. I mean, I gotta tell ya folks, I have to underplay that, I have to work very carefully with some of these people but we'll be writing that up in an essay, including the audio portion of that interview for the world to see. I mean it's very important. A military industrial complex insider, someone working with the Rand Corporation, someone who worked at the pentagon on a very high level, who's well known around the world finally coming out and saying what we all know. That minimally, 9-11 was an inside job and defiantly if we get hit again, it's an inside job and everyone will know it and that's the thing to take from this. The wool isn't gonna be pulled over our eyes anymore, there's not going to be Gulf of Tonkin's , and USS Liberties, and Reichstag's and 9-11's and ok cities and world trade center 93's because 9-12 will be highly identified and well known as another inside job. Another Reichstag, exactly as the 77 London bombings look to the rest of the world, exactly how now it appears in many ways the; 7-11 bombings in India looking very, very unusual and of course all the usual suspects are involved.