Sunday, June 20 2010 - Other Important News
William A. ('Bill') Christison (1928-2010)
David Ray Griffin
William A. ("Bill") Christison, a former senior analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency who became a supporter of the 9/11 Truth Movement, died June 13, 2010, due to a rapidly advancing neurological disease, which he had contracted three months earlier. He leaves behind his wife, Kathleen McGrath Christison (who had also been a CIA analyst), two daughters (Lynda Carlson and Judith Wooten), and a son (Eric). He had been preceded in death by two other sons (Robert and Thomas). The memorial service was held in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on Friday, June 18.
Born in Boston in 1928, Christison graduated from Princeton in 1950 and immediately joined the CIA to begin what would become a distinguished 28-year career. Starting out as an analyst on Soviet affairs, he worked in the 1960s on the problem of global nuclear proliferation, with special emphases on France, Israel, India, and Pakistan. In the 1970s, he became the National Intelligence Officer for South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Africa. (He and Kathleen met while they were both working in Saigon.) He finished his career as Director of the CIA's Office of Regional and Political Analysis, supervising over 200 analysts covering, between themselves, every region of the world.
In 1979, he and his wife retired from the CIA and moved to Sante Fe, where he started becoming more critical of US foreign policy, especially when he saw that the fall of the Soviet Union, which by ending the Cold War was supposed to bring a "peace dividend," did no such thing, but instead prompted the United States to advance its imperial interests.
Becoming especially critical of US policy with regard to Israel and the Middle East, he (along with his wife) began writing articles for Counterpunch. Some of Christison's most important work, Counterpunch editor Alexander Cockburn told the Santa Fe New Mexican (Steve Terrell, "Former CIA Agent Bill Christison Advocated for Palestinians," The Santa Fe New Mexican, June 15, 2010), came in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In a March 2002 Counterpunch article, Christison wrote:
At that time, Christison accepted the idea that the 9/11 attacks were "blowback" for US foreign policy, especially in the Middle East -- a view that was controversial enough. But he later came to accept an even more controversial view, which he articulated in an article entitled "Stop Belittling the Theories About September 11," which he posted August 14, 2006, on the Dissident Voice website (Bill Christison, "Stop Belittling the Theories About September 11", Dissident Voice, August 14, 2006), and in which he wrote:
Then, after listing nine judgments that had led him to this conclusion -- one of which was that the "North and South Towers of the World Trade Center almost certainly did not collapse and fall to earth because hijacked aircraft hit them" - he added:
Moreover, contrary to the view that any attempt to bring this issue into political debates would be politically suicidal, Christison suggested that "the untrue stories peddled by The 9/11 Commission Report are clearly susceptible of being turned into major political issues." He based this judgment partly on two polls: The Scripps Howard/Ohio University poll of July 2006 -- which found that "more than a third [36 percent] of the American public suspects that federal officials assisted in the 9/11 terrorist attacks or took no action to stop them, so that the United States could go to war in the Middle East" -- and the Zogby poll of May 2006 -- which found that 42 percent of Americans believed there had indeed been a cover-up of the true events of 9/11 (with an additional 10 percent "unsure"). This Zogby poll, Christison said, "suggested even more strongly that the issue could become a 'big one' if aggressively publicized."
Seeing these polls as implying the existence of "considerable support for making a major political issue of the subject," he suggested that we "work as hard as is humanly possible to defeat . . . any candidate who refuses to support a no-holds-barred investigation of 9/11 by the Congress or a high-level international court. No more evidence than is now available is needed in order to begin this process."
Christison argued that an international trial, resulting in the conviction and punishment of the criminals responsible for 9/11, would be of great benefit: "Such a trial, accompanied by actual change in U.S. policies, would show that some people on this globe are at least trying to move closer to more just and decent behavior in human relationships around the world."
Contrary to those members of the left (like his friend Alexander Cockburn) who regarded the 9/11 Truth Movement as a distraction from more important issues, Christison wrote:
Explaining in an email letter to friends, the same day the article was posted (August 14, 2006), why he had written it, Christison said:
In March 2009, when Intelligence Officers for 9/11 Truth was formed, Bill Christison was the first person to accept the invitation to join.
Finally, giving the lie to the claim that a concern for 9/11 truth prevents people from working on other causes, he in 2009 published Palestine in Pieces: Graphic Perspectives on the Israeli Occupation, which he co-authored with his wife, and which earned high praise from Ramzy Baroud, John Pilger, and Richard Falk.
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