A War Diary 
In this space I shall publish my daily thoughts, beginning with what I wrote in September, just after the attacks, as fast as I type it up. Also, lyrics to some of my favorite Apocalypse Songs by Matt Johnson and others. And, if you can stand it, the occasional poem. 

Text as originally written (style polished), except for bracketed interpolations. Names have been changed. 

JR, June 19. 


WRITTEN IN BERLIN, Sept. 11th, 2001: 

A new world war appears to have begun. I have been watching this for about three hours. They just evacuated Disneyworld. 
It was something like 3:30 p.m. here in Berlin when I turned the television, 9:30 a.m. in New York.  
[I had been in the bathtub when B. called, about half an hour before, and I heard him saying something on the answering machine, but it didn't sound like anything pressing. Twenty minutes later, I listened to his message:  "I guess we live in interesting times, if people are flying planes into the World Trade Center."  I knew he wasn't joking, and like everyone else in the world that day I knew how to confirm it. As I fumbled and punched wrong buttons on three remote controls - wasn't it much easier once to turn on the TV? - I made my last joke, something like, well if it was those towers in Malaysia, maybe it wouldn't be the top story, but if it's really in New York...] 
Both towers were hit and were burning like torches. 
They showed replay footage of the second plane hitting the South Tower. 
Then they said, "Pentagon hit." (First word: helicopter.) 
Then the South Tower went down! 
Then they showed the Pentagon, a piece of it collapsed, and they announced an apparent false alarm about the Capitol, which was said to to be on fire, and there was first word of one or two plane crashes, both somewhere in Pennsylvania. The scroll-text reported, "Fire at the National Mall" and "Car bomb at the State Department." 
Then the North Tower went down! 
Before that, the FAA had shut down all airports. 
Then they were talking about various lost flights, mentioned flights to or from Boston, Chicago, LA, Pittsburgh, all in confusion. And a second plane was said to be headed to the Pentagon. 
I switched to the German news. They were running images of Palestinians cheering in the street. 
Now, back on CNN, every potential suspect group is busy denying involvement. Taliban, Binladin, the Palestinian factions have all stated they had nothing to do with it. It is 6:30 p.m., 12:30 p.m. in New York. 
Before, they said the United States grounded all planes and closed its borders. 
EVERYTHING IS CLOSED! 
I was on the phone the whole time, trying to get through to my family in the city, then just calling my whole list of people in the States. I finally reached S. in Michigan. Then other relatives, and finally B.  
His wife had been outside the courts, three blocks away from the disaster, with a clear line of sight when the first tower collapsed. She turned and outran the cloud as it headed uptown, not really sure if it would kill her. She saw others behind her get engulfed, disappear in the smoke. She kept running. 
My cousin is still at his job Midtown. All he has seen of the disaster is what is on the TV. 
My aunt won't be flying to X tomorrow, like she planned. 
No doubt my mom won't be flying Thursday, back to JFK, like she planned. 

Thousands must be dead. 
When it collapsed, the smoke ate all the oxygen. 
Right now, live, they say the Space Center has been shut down. 
The scrolling text says, "Taliban: Afghanistan feels your pain." 
A press conference is awaited shortly in Kabul. 
An "Islamic Jihad" claimed responsibility hours ago, calling in from Jordan. 
Giuliani is on the phone to CNN, talking about a massive rescue effort.  
"Get out of Lower Manhattan," he says. 
They're talking about seven or eight hijacked planes and a car bomb at the State Department. That means teams of them! All of them successful in hijacking! With what weapons? And they had to be pilots. No reports of a hijacking gone wrong - how? 
They had Tom Clancy on, talking about his novel where the bad guy crashes an airliner into the Capitol during State of the Union speech. 
Were there other bombs in the towers, besides the planes? Or was it structural? Seems to be.  
Yet yet yet. 
All hospitals in New York, New Jersey, Westchester stand ready to take the injured. 
They're showing footage of people jumping from the WTC top floors.  
Ash on the street like a volcano! 

Now it is 7:30 p.m. in Berlin, 1:30 p.m. in New York. 
Holbrooke is on CNN. He says if a regime, if a state "to be determined by the intelligence community" harbored anyone, then it is "coequally responsible." Taliban should "face the same consequences." As he talks, the text keep scrolling along the bottom of the screen: "Hamas and Jihad deny." "FBI: No claims of responsibility." 
Now they claim that the Pentagon was hit at army offices. [Later they said it was Naval Intelligence.] No one mentions a helicopter anymore, or anything else. 
The National Guard has been activated in New York and DC. 
All baseball games cancelled, out of fear of a "Black Sunday" scenario. 
They're interviewing a guy who was on the 65th floor! 
Now it's Kissinger, on the phone from Berlin. The man who reaped so much murder in the world, but did not and will never sow what is due to him. How dare he speak now, when a measure of the crimes he perpetrated in the name of the United States has been visited on the innocent people of New York? Of course, when did he ever show shame? 
How calm the New Yorkers are, on the street. 
Both towers are gone. Gone! 
We were at Windows on the World two years ago, my wife, B. and his wife. That night we met two Jehovah's Witnesses from out west somewhere. They had visited their organization's world headquarters in Brooklyn, and now they wanted to see Babylon from the air. We talked about their idea of the coming apocalypse. 
Now Senator Dodd is on, comparing today to Pearl Harbor. 
A first listing of four hijacked flights is displayed. AA11, AA77, UA93, UA175. There is no follow up on stories of a "second crash" in Pennsylvania, or of the "second plane" heading for the Pentagon. Apparently rumor and confusion multiplied the number of incidents. 
I last saw "Car bomb at the State Department" scroll past about an hour ago. 
Meanwhile, on the German television, news that the Reichstag and other government buildings are being evacuated. Wall Street trading was suspended in the morning. In Frankfurt, the DAX has fallen by 600 points. They're showing a number for Germans to call if they're worried about relatives in the States. 
Aircraft carriers are dispatched to New York. 
German TV shows children dancing in Jerusalem. Same footage as before. 
At 8:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. in New York, the mood is definitely shifting to Bin Ladin, on CNN, on BBC, on the German TV. The Taliban have issued a second denial. Mullah Omar has called the operation "too complex" for Bin Ladin. 
Two of my relatives said they heard reports that the Pennsylvania plane was shot down. 
Those weren't the "headquarters of American capitalism," there is no such thing. They were office buildings! Just nothing, damned offices. Nothing! Such evil and moronic assholes. They just wanted to hit the biggest thing in sight. 
Nothing else. No more follow up. Motherfuckers. 
Look at this, they just flashed "Fire at the National Mall" again. That one's been running five, six hours, but none of the talking heads has said anything about it. And what about the State Department? 
Scroll text says, "No SOS from pilots." 
Here's George Schulz on the phone to CNN, saying, "Let's go after them."  
Yeah, let's.  
Who are they? 
Here's the BBC saying, "This is the face of warfare in the 21st century." Yeah, right. As opposed to when? I remember something about London being bombed, only 60 years ago. 
Now it's 10 p.m. in Berlin. 
The TV says, "Good indications it's bin Ladin." 

WRITTEN THE NEXT DAY, SEPT. 12:  

Woke up in the kitchen. Had fallen asleep on the floor. Cried. Spent all day watching TV.  
Talked to B. He repeated reports of a truck full of explosives caught on the George Washington Bridge. 
He told me the story of a man on UA93, who said the men on the plane had decided to attack the hijackers and apparently they caused the plane to crash. They saved the Capitol. "They did it," he said, sobbing. "They won. They won." 
There must be 10,000 dead. 

WRITTEN ON THURSDAY, SEPT. 20: 

Helpless. Rage burning inside me. Determined.  
Can't get pictures out of my head, like planes striking into my forehead. War coming. 
"Infinite Justice." Biggest word in the language. 
Every day just got worse for me, Sunday was maybe the low point. Cried and cried, everyone cried. 
What did I see? I don't know. I'll go easy on the big words. 
How have I tried to describe it, the last nine days? 
Blood, blood, blood - just make blood. 
Hate. 
A takeover of the Zeitgeist. 
A rape of all our thoughts. 
An invasion of every mind. 
The mene tekel of human - what? - Ignorance? Violence? Stupidity? Greed? Religion, fantaticism, blind faith? Civilization? Blind power?  
All that would depend on who did it. 
Blood, blood, blood, blood. 
Brought to us by people who don't care if they start the Third World War. Who are hoping to do so. Who believe they have. 
Who certainly did produce the most powerful image, and now the best known, the most reproduced image in human history. Who understood the symbolism of what they did like no one else. Who wanted the biggest public relations action in history. Who understood how to create fear. 
There has been genocide, war, many mass murders even worse than this one - though the final results of this attack, if they lead to a global conflagration, would be the worst ever. And something like a general conflagration must surely be considered a possibility by the cold, well-organized commanders of this action. 
Never, never have we seen this: mass murder live, real time, close-up, from every angle. We have seen cities in ruin, rows and endless rows of corpses, starvation, pestilence, fire and flood. We have seen missiles meet their "targets." But never have we seen the dam break  in the eye of the world-media hurricane. Live! All live, every moment filled with such familiar objects, the buildings, the planes, the places where such crowds have passed through and gone on to every corner of the world, the spots in New York where many millions have stood as visitors, before traveling back home by airplane.  
I have stood and watched the crowd go by on every corner, from every angle they have shown. I have gone through the WTC Concourse a thousand times, five or six times this year during my month in New York. I have watched the faces and the overcoats, the people hurrying to and from work, stuck working for the dollar, the rich and the poor, the 70 nations of New York concentrated, sampled, brought together on one spot to die. I have seen the movies, planes crash, buildings burn, towering infernos, alien ships with superlasers. I have New York dressed as a ruin thousands of years after the end of civilization, its Twin Towers still standing. I have stood atop the towers at Windows on the World, and have known something like this was coming, something logical, a consequence with innocents as its victims, a hate directed at a perceived vulnerability. 
A provocation. An invitation to more murder. 
If this was done by Arab men, then they did it to see more Arabs die. Their prime recruiter, America stands ready, wielding weapons almost exclusively of mass destruction, yet nothing with which to target the perpetrators, and no target to hit. So now, instead of the perpetrators, more innocents will die, on what is called the other side. 
I know that I don't know, that anything is possible, that the evil I have always examined as though I was a coroner actuallly lives and breathes its pestilence into every soul. We must not go easy into that dark night. 
The first day was science fiction, perceptions exploded, all metaphors outdone, a biblical vision, smoke to obscure all comprehension, the collapse of reason, it did not seem real. It did not seem real, I argued with the television, with my eyes. 
I saw the South Tower somewhere behind the column of smoke that had risen in its place. I tried to see it, like the man on TV who thought he saw it, who wanted to see it too. I saw the North Tower pancaking into the doom of thousands and thought, surely this is a replay of the first tower, surely they found some footage from a better angle, surely something still stands. Surely they will escape, those thousands, those thousands. No. Ah yes. By then, "Pentagon hit" and all the wrong information began - wild rumors? Or perhaps truths suppressed. Car bombs and infernos on the Washington mall. No doubt the first lie, injected innocuously into a swirl of exaggerations and mistakes, spoken from unknown lips, typed into an unsigned press release. 
The CNN flappers, they were actually alive, on the first day. They recalled awe and speechlessness, and they did not pose or defend, they talked naked in the wind as the rest of us. At least until the next night it was like that, before the smiling robots came back on and tried, against conditioning, not to smile. 
I argued with my eyes and punched a dozen numbers into the phone's memory, calling them over and over.  
T. was alive, she had outrun the cloud.  
A friend of S. was among the ghosts, for that is what they were from that first moment. The only "survivors" were those caught by debris far from the towers, but not anyone from inside except, apparently, some firemen caught in a piece of stairwell that remained standing, who were rescued on the same day.  
Never a chance for the rest, they were missing, their people wandering and believing. That took me until Thursday morning to realize, I woke up knowing there could be no survivors, understanding in a flash that this was not rubble but fire, aluminum melting, the gravitational energy of millions of tons, vaporization - and then, such a cloud still pluming, up from Ground Zero into the New York air, no chance. What would any survivors have been breathing? I feared an epidemic, thousands of bodies down there, though I knew this was irrational. 
That day, Thursday the 13th, the paper came with all the details, the flight plans, the models of the towers. A linear obvious physics, a problem I thought [at first] for a first-year college student. Tower 1 is struck at point x. These particular structural supports are knocked out by the impact and explosion. This many floors, weighing this many tons, are above the point of impact. This temperature is achieved, with this many thousand gallons of jet fuel to burn. How long before the section above the impact point collapses and its weight forces the rest of the floors to pancake downwards in a chain reaction? One hour, 44 minutes.  
Tower 2 is struck at point Y. The collision knocks out structural supports N1 through Nz. Many more floors, weighing many more tons, are above the impact point. The fire of G gallons achieves temperature T. When does the tower fall? 57 minutes. 
Only no one is there to tell the firefighters, so well prepared to fight the last disaster of 1993, setting up their command posts in the lobbies. It got the fire chief! I couldn't get over that, or the rest of it. The Fucking Fire Chief and 300 of the firefighters, running up the stairs thinking they had weeks to deploy. I saw tape footage of those poor men going up the stairs and I knew: These guys are dead! No defense, no chance, just dumb luck if you survive, no warning, no apparent logic, no differentiation, no up or down, no justice. No freedom, they raped freedom in the world, they may have killed whatever good was left in America, and now only the false America still stands. 
My friend S. interrupts these meditations, he brings my son back from a walk and he asks me when I am going to shave. He tells me I can buy a poster with the Historic World Trade Center, all proceeds to the victim's fund. My son says no, then you'd be sad whenever you saw it. I say, it wouldn't make a difference, I ain't sentimental about the image. I will see it everywhere anyway. 
A strike against the West? My first thought, that day, first seconds, seeing the towers burn. Well it was coming, we bombed everywhere with impunity and thought we were immortal. Not me, baby, not you, not the poor chumps working in the Center, we just vote these people in and tolerate what they do to the world in our name. There they stand, at the apex, Bush (Sr.), Cheney, Powell, Kissinger, Rumsfeld, the laughing lizards, untouched by their crimes, only strengthened by this one - so big? I couldn't help but think too, in that first moment, that it was them somehow, them or one of their friends. But then I think: no. The attack is too big, too much a strike on their apparent strengths, and all too shocking to think they'd dare. Yet the towers were only symbols, nothing but symbols, jut the two biggest, shiniest things around. The skyscrapers of Lower Manhattan, money embodied in glass and metal, at the center of the money-go-round. I liked to compare them to stacks of casino chips. But assuming a civilization remains to rebuild them, they are worth more money destroyed than standing. They are expendable. They were only symbols. Except with real people inside. And now I am calling, calling whoever I can think to call, and of course all lines are blocked. 
For days, we kept the TV off when the boy arrived, he only caught one glimpse of smoke with a plane heading into WTC 2, some days later, and I zapped it off in time. We told him it was a terrible fire, and that everyone we knew in New York was fine. Now he knows more. He's heard about holy war, and one day he suddenly interrupted a conversation among adults to ask, "Two planes?" He knows the perpetrators were willing, not an accident, not a fire.  
What's wrong with you, he asked me, still those silly towers upsetting you? What's wrong with you? 
The next day, Sept. 12th. I had fallen asleep on the kitchen floor, first and I hope only time in my life. Had spent most of the night as the sole patron of an empty sports bar, watching ABC/CNN until 3 a.m. Now watched TV while brushing my teeth and crying. The scroll text says, "Psychologists say trauma will first hit on second day." No shit. Now we all knew it was real, now the weight of it hit all who were not directly there, now it was forever. Now I watched people telling their stories, saw all manner of new tapes and angles, the new-found French footage of the first plane striking. 
The first day on CNN, McCain had called Bush a coward for not returning directly to Washington, and in response the administration started prevaricating unbelievable bullshit about threats to the president  
[Or so it seemed to me at the time; today, many months later, I am agnostic about whether the White House lied on the 12th, when it claimed that the President had been threatened during the attacks, or whether it lied a week later, when it retracted that claim.]  
They knew for sure that the third plane had been heading for the White House, Ari Fleischer said, and that it turned and plunged into the Pentagon only at the last minute. In Florida, the Secret Service had received a credible phoned-in threat on Air Force One. The caller had mentioned the day's secret security passwords. Excuse me? Are they saying there is a highly-placed Qaeda mole in their security organization? Or did Qaeda crack their encoded communications? Or who did, if not Qaeda? 
The bullshit had begun (so I thought), and it looked only like facesaving for Bush. Why? Who would not have run to Nebraska? I bet McCain would have scooted straight to Phoenix. There is no need to explain why they would want to hide the president for a few hours, yet here they were engaging in what sounded like naked and entirely unnecessary lies.  
This robot, the Dauphin, he cannot get a word straight without reading it. The first TV pictures of him during the attacks were of him with Florida school chilrdren behind him delivering a statement, a one minute statement and he needs to read it off sheets with handwriting in large letters (imagine: Clinton) and he stumbles over the word "huge." 
The next day, the 13th, was when my brother told me the story of the fight on the fourth plane, crying. I had already seen an interview with the mom and the wife of one of the passengers on UA93 on the 11th, and they were crying and saying he had called them to say goodbye, but in that interview they did not mention that they told him the WTC had already been attacked, or that he told them the men on the flight decided to attack the hijackers. At least on the 11th and the morning of the 12th, every news outlet I heard spoke of a UA93 shootdown. Now we're hearing this hero story, inspiring, everyone is crying, me crying too every time I repeat it. I want to believe it. I've been watching TV all day the whole time, and I haven't seen an interview with the mom and the wife since. Already, on the 13th, they said a car had been found in Boston with flight manuals in Arabic, and arrests were being reported around the country. 
On the morning of Thursday the 13th, I watched the man from Cantor Fitzgerald, the CEO, telling in an interview how he had taken his child to kindergarten on Tuesday morning, how he was therefore late getting to the office, how he saw the disaster, stood watching it outside, hoping anyone from his company would come out of the building. All of them were dead, and the survivors, who had not been in the building, were now coming to him and saying, "I gotta work. I want to work. I can't stay inside." He says he too must work, to make money for the families of the 700 dead, and I'm cracking up into tears.  
That was S.'s friend, he had worked at Cantor Fitzgerald, too, now a ghost.  
People wandering with the photos, putting the photos up on lampposts. 
I GOTTA BE IN NEW YORK! 
Thursday, the 13th of Sept., became my Day of Rage. Taliban, those motherfuckers. Worst possible fundamentalist male ignorant fascist scum indeed, total oppression, murder, hangings, cut the genitals off women and imprison them in walking cages, keep them at home all day, shoot men for not wearing beards, what creatures, if anyone had been able to ignore them, they sure announced themselves earlier this year, in March with the destruction of the Buddhist statues, a declaration of war on all of the world's religions, including any enlightened form of Islam. Of course they are this evil! But was it really them who did it, or anyway their friends in Qaeda? I believed it 100 percent, that day, I carried out ground campaigns in my mind and tracked them down to their deaths, I brought down Justice, yes righteous Justice, to free us and the Afghans from these Nazis! 
I was seething all day, I could not calm down. 
Same thing again on Friday, I went nuts. I got a message from D. forwarding an article by Michael Albert that began as follows: 

There could be about 5,000 deaths from the horrific events in NYC. If  so, some relevant context is that the same level of human loss would  have to happen in the U.S. once every month, all year long, for over  fifteen years, for the death toll to match what U.S. policies have  imposed on Iraq. This grisly accounting doesn't make the pain here any  less, but it may help reveal that the pain elsewhere, induced by U.S  policies, is even greater, perhaps opening the way to compassion and  solidarity.  

I exploded, I had never corresponded with Albert so I wrote to Chomsky instead, calling the comment  

a prime example of why leftists win arguments on the logical and political merits and yet fail to communicate with anyone other than a tiny minority of themselves. You cannot, on the same week, writing to an American audience, even a leftist one, start an article about the WTC slaughter with one sentence about how it's "horrific," and then go directly to the numerical comparison with the genocide in Iraq, true as it is. Of course I have always opposed what the American military and establishment have wrought on the world and I feared (expected) that it would lead to something like this happening in my hometown, or far worse (which may yet happen), but there is no justification for this evil and it cannot be dismissed so easily. All rhetoric aside, it really is an attack on freedom and every ideal leftists should have. The killers took advantage of freedom of motion and relative tolerance, and the lack of a total surveillance state, to kill innocents in the most horrifying way, victims who went to work that day because they had to make a living. And do you think the perpetrators would have hesitated to nuke New York, if they had had a hydrogen bomb? What would the numbers have looked like then, compared to the genocide in Iraq?  

[Today, months later, I feel ambiguous about these words. Okay, Iraq already has a surveillance state, you probably could not attack it in the same way. Which is why our government shoots missiles... and bombs from the air. Which is why we choke off the food, and poison the water and the air with depleted uranium, and why we have indeed killed hundreds of thousands, perhaps more than a million Iraqis in the eleven years since the start of the Gulf War on Jan. 15th, 2002. But it's true... the killers of Sept. 11th would not have cared how many they killed, either. And they could have hardly thought that their action would stop the killing of Iraqi children; quite the contrary! There is no moral difference, no relativization under any system for this atrocity.] 

THE VIOLENCE OF TRUTH 

What is Evil? What is Love?  
What is the force that possesses us? 
Where is the beauty? Where is the Truth?  
What is the force that, watches over you? 
What is it that makes us ashamed to be white? 
(when we close our ears to the sound of machine-gun fire) 
And while the niggers of this world are starving with their mouths wide open! 
What is it that turns the coins we throw at them into worthless little tokens? 
Why is that everything on this Earth we do not understand 
we are pushed down on our knees to worship or to damn? 
Those are the rules of religion. 
Those are the laws of the land. 
That's how the forces of darkness 
have suppressed the spirit of man. 
That's why human beings still walk on all fours  
whilst in the presence of their so-called superiors. 
Something's telling you to wake up and salute 
The dangers of obedience and the violence of Truth! 
Something's telling you to wake up and salute 
The dangers of obedience and the violence of Truth! 
God is Evil. God is Love! 
God is the force that possesses us! 
God is beauty! God is truth!  
God is the force that's watching over you! 

Matt Johnson 

WRITTEN ON SUNDAY, SEPT. 23:  

For three hours I have watched every religion on Earth come out to speak at Yankee Stadium, in a multidenominational ceremony for the victims of the attacks. The only major religion that will not be represented in a speech by one of its high priests is my own, that of skeptics and believers in Enlightenment ideals. 
The procession has been incredible, touching, powerful, in subtle ways also frightening and childish. The people in the audience are relatives of the victims and the proceedings are very restrained compared to what we have seen elsewhere. There are no open calls for blood or retaliation. The host is Oprah, lending a dose of everyday trivialism to the tragic and sublime. The first speaker is the Catholic bishop, representing the single largest flock of worshipers. He is followed by six or seven flavors of rabbi, then a couple of straight Protestant denominations, then Mayor Giuliani.  
Then come the first of four or five Muslim speakers. This is obviously the big moment. I am only watching on TV, but I can hear an all-encompassing silence, tension in the Stadium, anticipation. He sings the Call to Prayer, its sound amplified by a vast silence. I hear for the first time how it is truly a call, an exhortation to action, how it resonates with motion, vision, will, resistance. The song over, he tells the people simply, "God is love," and for once these words have meaning. The crowd accepts him. I don't really know about God, but I love New York. 
More Muslims follow, then the Armenian bishop, the Greek Orthodox, the Reverend Calvin Butts, and the Harlem Boys and Girls Choir singing "We Shall Overcome." Then a Hindu, who is the most direct in making the point that if a god is about killing, then he is no God at all. Then a Sikh. Then Clinton is acknowledged from the podium. Although he does not speak, he harvests perhaps the biggest cheers of the day. Bette Midler sings, and then Mark Antony puts an end to it with an extended and I must say beautiful rendition of "God Bless America." 
Every single speaker says that, of course: God bless America and God bless our president, our governor, our mayor. Each time, I think: Do they know what's coming? Don't they see this president/governor/mayor is leading them to the brink of much worse? Earlier today, Rumsfeld was on the TV to remind everyone that the United States has never renounced the first use of nuclear weapons. 
Finally, the flag is raised to full mast, signifying the end of the period of mourning. The service was incredible, touching, of enormous scope with its inclusion of so many religions. Who can imagine the same service in any other city? What city could so completely rise above the madness of religious intolerance? At the same time, not a word was lost about the reported hundreds of foreigners killed in the attacks. And certainly not a word was heard about the minimum one-quarter of the people in the towers who would have been religious skeptics. 
What a combination of love and anger, tolerance and groupthink. Of course I love this incredible city. 
Now what? It's been 12 to 13 days. The reigning catchphrases of the day are "Infinite Justice" - they are going to change that now, as though anyone will ever forget it - and "Homeland Security." Homeland. The talk on the news is of a strike on Afghanistan by midweek and the expectation of "devastating" new attacks at the end of the week against the U.S. and the West in response.  
Thanks heaps. 
Weird info of the day: Investigators say boxcutters were found on two planes that never took off after the FAA grounded all flights on Sept. 11th. Two were found in the seats of a plane due to leave Boston, another was in a garbage can on a flight that was supposed to go from Atlanta to Brussels. 
But how is this supposed to mean anything definite? We're talking hundreds of grounded flights, and a world full of boxcutters. I've occasionally heard the phrase, "boxcutters like the ones used by the hijackers," as though anyone alive could know what boxcutters they actually used. The first three planes crashed into three of the largest office buildings in the world, which probably had thousands of boxcutters in them. The cargo hold of a plane would logically have at least few, so even UA93 is tainted. 
Today, the FBI also issued a threat warning for a possible attack on Hollywood studios. This really stinks. I suspect the threat is invented, and that it is aimed at the Hollywood that makes movies like "Wag the Dog," not the Hollywood that made "Pearl Harbor." 
Meanwhile, Ronald Schill, the right-wing judge who ran on a strict law and order campaign in Hamburg, has taken 19 percent of the vote there. He should write a thank-you note to Osama. 

WRITTEN ON MONDAY, SEPT. 24:  

Emotionally back on some kind of keel. I know someone tried to kill all New York in the world's biggest ever PR action, and I know war has been declared by US against THEM, but I don't know who they are and so far they are described mainly as a methodology, "terrorism." Otherwise I am shown a picture of the same Public Enemy No. 1 we have been given for the last three years already. I know I am being fed on convenient truths, misinformation and lies. I know Israeli intelligence blamed it on Iraq and Iraq blamed it on the Zionists. Everyone presumes, quite logically but without ultimate evidence, that the crime was done by Allah's warriors. Given how badly even I want to strike the "them" behind all this, whoever they are, I do not expect too many questions to be entertainedby a U.S. crowd bent on vengeance and security at all costs.  
Berliner Zeitung now reports Atta observed by CIA in Jan-May 2000 in Germany. The CIA did not inform the German authorities at the time. They saw him "buying chemicals" and suspected him of involvement in a 1980s Israeli bombing. Despite this, Atta received a visa from the U.S. embassy in Berlin on May 18, 2000. 
Germany has agreed to take over the Macedonia mission to free British and U.S. warmaking capacity. 
They're still pushing the story that the heroes knocked down the Pennsylvania plane, though three days ago I read Cheney and Rumsfeld basically admitting they had okayed a shootdown. 
They are saying four to five "Qaeda cells" are under observation in the U.S., but that there is no evidence of their being tied to anything yet. Now what? Arrest on suspicion? Hope they flee, and catch them? Hope they make a false move? Shoot them to make sure they are not sleepers? 
They also said a Yemeni pilot was arrested in Toronto, he was booked to fly Lufthansa to Chicago on Sept. 11, had two Yemeni passports, a Lufthansa ID and two uniforms. Lufthansa claims he is a sales agent who worked for them in Yemen.  
Israel now pulls back the Iraq story. "No direct connection," they say. "No Iraqi infrastructure" to the Sept. 11 attack. 
Infinite Justice is now Enduring Freedom. 
Sanctions on India and Pakistan were lifted the day before yesterday. 

The FBI's warning to Hollywood is such bullshit! Can't get the horrible image of an aging, shellshocked Hollywood nomenklatura, corrupt and besieged, crowding together confusedly behind Willie Nelson as he sang something shitty and sentimental at the end of "Tribute to Heroes," or whatever they were calling their geriatric "Benefit for America" last Friday. Hey, no doubt a few of them remembered, as I did the moment I happened to tune in, that this guy's most memorable political role was as the performer of a fake war-propaganda single in "Wag the Dog"! No doubt the Hollywood terrorism threat is a scare attempt by the government. They want no more "Wag the Dog," let alone "JFK." 

France had a big scare when a chem factory blew up in Toulouse. Luckily, "it's only an acident." 29 dead. Everyone says the WTC toll is being kept down.  
German skins attack an Iraqi man in Regensburg. 
In Liege, Brussels, EU financial investigators are saying they have no doubt that the suspicious shorts and put options before Sept. 11th were insider trading based on foreknowledge of the attacks. 
Coming to Berlin this week: Putin, Mubarak, Berlusconi. 
British SAS said already to be in Afghanistan with Northern Alliance. U.S. planes in Uzbekistan, say Russians. Rice says Taliban will go. Powell says not.  
There will be no war today. Tomorrow night? 

LATER, SEPT. 24 - A BREAKDOWN: 

God help us all! 

Kakistocracies rule nearly every spot on the planet, the worst are in charge. The wounded and blind and hateful and raging, here and there, only a few spots in Europe and Asia are still ruled by the merely corrupt, by the money oligarchs. Today it is clear to me how very much it may be bin Ladin and the Taliban behind the attacks. What words to describe these bastards, religious fascists sounds tepid. "America" does not have to "win" this war, she is not all powerful, the Plague could take us all indeed. Have we finally found something or someone worse than what "we," our power, our government has already done to the world? I feared most that Sept. 11 was a coup d'etat, but isn't that just a retooling of the idea of American omnipotence, a form of thinking that the events can still be controlled, complete with a fantasized happy ending in which the story breaks, evil is driven from Babylon, brotherhood reigns in America, peace comes to the world? And ha! What if it's ten times worse than admitted, what if it's not us, what if fire and plague and !!!!! are already seeded and waiting among our cities, what if the jihad monsters in the end cut down Chomsky alongside Bush, what if this be the war of destruction, extermination, what if "we" have not merely reaped as "we" have sown, what if the machine has really run into worse motherfuckers than even they imagined? Is the coup thesis really better after all? 

As though there is a fucking difference. 

History = ZERO 

WRITTEN ON TUE., SEPT. 25:  

Putin is in Berlin. He gets to speak to the Bundestag, gets to play Mandela. 

Russia approves U.S. force deployment in the former Central Asian republics of the Soviet Union. Two weeks ago, I still laughed at the neoimperialist dreams of the new Great Game, of playing Risk over the Caspian oil, of gaining the key position for dominance of the Eurasian landmass, at least in the fevered imaginings of geostrategist nerds. How could the U.S. ever hope to gain a foothold there? What could it accomplish by doing so? How could it maintain the support of the American people for such a faraway and risky venture, so obviously remote from their interests? Now U.S. forces are deployed all around the region. Unthinkable. 

For weeks, I expected the market to really turn down, the debt pyramid to buckle, the real extent of the economic crisis to become obvious, the revival of a workers' movement as the corporations chop their personnel lists, a resistance among conservatives to bailing out industries, a surge in the euro and in gold. The bill would be delivered for the distorted economy of so many years. The business channel liars would finally fall speechless as we see not that "recovery is on the way" but that the crisis has not even begun. Now the inevitable crash of a bubble economy has an explanation, as though Osama blew up Wall Street just when it needed it the most. One strike pays off everyone's blame and frees whatever remains of the always rather fictional U.S. surplus for bail-outs. Those funds were otherwise certain to go into shoring up Social Security and Medicare. 

Two weeks ago, missile defense and the whole Pentagon budget were in serious question on the Democratic side. They were feeling resurgent after recapturing the Senate. The country's general war policy was in question. Now, no expense on security and defense is high enough. We shall have big deficits next year, all to cheers, just one year after we had been promised ten years worth of mammoth surpluses. 

Two weeks ago, the U.S. seemed isolated on the world stage, like never before. A gradual movement against American world hegemony had reached a first, low plateau. Every country in the world went ahead and found a Kyoto compromise after watching the U.S. try to sabotage the protocols for years. A historic moment. U.S. and Israel walked out of the racism conference due to language that would have never gone in. The EU reached a compromise there. France and Russia had pulled out on the Iraq sanctions, the status quo in Iraq was given a brief extension in anticipation of a later fight in the UN. The U.S. was getting crap for wanting to circumvent or abandon the biowarfare conventions and the ABM treaty, for its noises about resuming nuclear testing. The Bush administration wanted to pull out of every agreement and simply dictate terms on everything to everyone, and everyone was getting obviously sick of it. 

A small, determined movement of thousands of anti-capitalist groups around the world had coalesced, albeit around the rather useless "anti-globalization" umbrella. The World Bankers and the IMF were too afraid to meet. The G-8 summit was a battlefield. 

The oil men of the Bush clique were in for a fight on Alaska drilling, and on pretty much everything else. They had gotten their tax cut (always a popular measure) and I gave them little chance of getting anything else, let alone reelection. Now, suddenly, the bastard looks good, albeit not yet certain. I was sure the Democrats would recapture the House on a "populist" platform in 2002. They still might do it, but only on a police state platform!  

As for police states, two weeks ago the Ashcroft program was sure to hit stubborn resistance, especially from the cyber side. Now everyone is ready for Internet surveillance. Phil Zimmermann is (falsely) reported as weeping and wishing he had never invented PGP. Biometrics are to be installed at airports in a crash program. Search and seizure limits, such as they were, are now history. Something they called a worm (NIMDA) slowed down the Internet the last two weeks, constantly scanning, I got 12 to 15 scan hits an hour on my firewall (the average previously was two or less). Presumably this was the NSA, attempting to mirror the whole of the Net on its super-supercomputers. 

Now encryption and e-mail itself are the potential enemies of mankind, all surveillance is acceptable. The Drug War, of course, was already intensified. Crime has been perhaps irreversibly psychologized - the perpetrators of Sept. 11 "never did anything," we are told, until they did this. "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?" Knowing is now national imperative, privacy is history. Crime no longer arises through a criminal act. The criminal is essentially criminal, and it only manifests in reality at the final moment, when all is too late. Crime is now thoughtcrime. 

I thought we lived in Brave New World, and that 1984 was a fable about Stalinists. Now I know better. Now we have declared war on THEM, the enemy unknown with tentacles everywhere. We are battling a methodology of war, a presumed mindset, the thoughts angry men may have. A war without end (as though it had not been already), now in the open. A war that can only generate and regenerate itself, that ends with life as primeval soup or perfected totalitarianism. 

America had finally crippled the ideological basis for its worldwide war, and it was in clear decline at home. For 30 years, the men in charge right now have loudly lamented U.S. inability to take casualties in the world: Fucking Americans, they no longer wanted to die anywhere, not even at home of old age! They kept litigating damages for slights, they were so fat and selfish, they were un-American. They were anti-statist, they didn't trust their government. They didn't enlist, only the poor were that stuck, the poor and the yahoos. As long as it didn't cost them, Americans didn't even notice the remote-control wars fought on their putative behalf. But let one precious American die, they'd go nuts. None of our boys or girls, damn it!  

The cyber-ideologists and super-capitalists had declared the end of the State. Vouchers were popular, but most people did want to see money in the schools. "Education" was the most transparent and mendacious of the Bush promises. Just like dad.

Bush was going to get reamed on the campaign finance debate, even if the tepid reform bill would most likely die. Who knows what might have yet come out in the States about the Florida Coup? They were laughing stocks, this was dangerous for them. Last December I had laughed, fat, comfortable, stupid, cynical, thinking: let them steal the electoin, what's the difference Bush or Gore, let them go into the crisis lacking all credibility, lacking legitimation, let something truly better come in 2 and 4 years. 

Now they all gather at the National Cathedra, Bush alongside Clinton, Gore in the back with a beard, to sing Christian hymns as they go to war, glory glory Hallelujah, to hear Billy Graham speak. The latter's son was on CNN directly after the service, he called for the use of nuclear weapons, lest another American die.  

I don't expect that. A big hard blow on Afghanistan, cheers in the street. - A retaliation on the U.S., perhaps? (Then would come pogrom.) Then, just keep it all cooking, a good long time. A sting here, a sting there. The enemy is everywhere! Keep'em all moving, keep the fighting mostly low, the hysteria very high.  

The Dole anti-"violence on TV" program is in too. Which is to say, from now on we'll have double the violence shown, but always of Good Americans vs. THEM. 

FBI calling to tell Hollywood studios of new threats today. 

All this I know. All this would be just as true after the attacks, regardless of the origin of the attacks. The rest of what I have is fragments. Entrails. Hints. Ambiguous. A certainty we are lied to, but no view of the real evidence. A certainty that both main models of the attack - by THEM, or by "US" - are plausible and have a strategic motivation. And there might be other explanations, of course.  

Two main suspects.  
I KNOW NOTHING.  

The KGB is in power in Moscow. That much I know. They likely came in by means of a planned putsch, with terrorist attacks in Sept. 1999 on the population in Moscow arranged by X (fill in the blank with presumably Russian spooks of choice) and blamed on Chechens. This was followed by the second, far more heinous edition of the Chechen War, this time popular, this time with relatively minimal protest and popular willingness to sacrifice Russians in the fight against evil. Putin then threw off Yeltsin, just as the folks at STRATFOR had predicted in their daily mailing when he first came to power, in August, even before the attacks on the Moscow apartments in September. Before his surprise appointment as PM, Putin had been next-to-nobody. Now he was the highly orchestrated picutre of Russia's salvation.  

Jesus! 

It's Tuesday, two weeks since The Day. Stupid Bloody Tuesday. The Powell Report on Binladin promised imminently - attack on Afg. said to follow soon. The 28th is Sharon day, a year ago he went to Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Intifada started, and it's a Friday, too. Why the fuck does it have to be a Friday? [NOTE: Nothing terrible happened that day, of course.] 

Smallpox. Anthrax. Who stockpiles this shit? 

Everything I wrote above on the macro-picture, the timing, was a predictable and necessary consequence of the attacks. Those who planned them (whoever they were), if they understood America and the world political scene from a Western/Northern perspective, could have predicted this stuff precisely, the reactions in the populace, the media, Wall Street, businesses, politics, economy, religion, etc. They would have understood all of this, if it mattered to them to understand it. Outsiders to America might not have cared about any of these consequences, but outsiders and insiders alike could have figured out easily and fairly exactly the psychic results of the attacks, what the panic and mobilization would look like. The political and economic reactions. How many people would call for world war. How many people would want to kill Arabs. How many people would go alcoholic. How many would get shell-shocked and take pills to help. How many would kill themselves. How many would forget it in a week and act like it never happened. How many would construct conspiracy theories. The types of theories they would construct. How many (few) would enlist, or want to join the CIA. How many would buy gold, or sell their stocks, or buy stocks. How many would run for the hills, or start moving to the Pacific, or stockpile canned goods and ammunition. How many would wish for the life of Britney Spears. How many would commit murders, who would not have committed murders. All of these would be statistically measurable variables that you could estimate with fair accuracy in advance. If you wanted to. If you knew what was coming.  

Sept. 26: 
NOTES FROM EUROPE  

The first pre-scheduled routine event that was not cancelled because of the attacks, that was held and shown on TV as scheduled, the first anything unrelated to the attacks that they showed on TV was  

FORMULA ONE. 

nnnnnnnnzzzzzzzzzzzoooommmmmm... nnnnnnzzzzzzzzzzzooooommm... 

The first pre-scheduled event to which Chancellor Schröder went after the temporary shutdown due to the attacks was  

THE INTERNATIONAL MOTOR SHOW IN FRANKFURT. 

Nothing, nothing will ever make us stop! More oil, more! 


ARMAGEDDON DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN 

Are you ready Jesus? Uh huh. 
Buddha? Yeah. 
Mohammed? Okay. 
Vishnu? Well all right fellas - LET'S GO!!! 

They're five miles high as the crow flies,  
leavin' vapour trails against a blood red sky.  
Movin' in from the East, toward the West,  
with Blaclava helmets over their heads... YES! 

But if you think that Jesus Christ is coming. 
Honey YOU'VE GOT another thing coming. 
If he ever finds out who's hijacked his name. 
He'll cut out his heart & turn in his grave. 
ISLAM is rising.  
The Christians mobilizing. 
The world is on its elbows & knees. 
It's forgotten the message & worship the creeds. 

"It's war"... she cried ... "It's war" ... she cried 
"THIS IS WAR!" 
Drop your possessions, all you simple folk 
You will fight them on the beaches... in your underclothes 
You'll thank the good lord... for raising the Union Jack 
Watch the ships go out the harbor & the bodies come floating back 
Watch the ships go out the harbor & the bodies come floating back 

But if you think that Jesus Christ is coming. 
Honey YOU'VE GOT another thing coming. 
If he ever finds out who's hijacked his name. 
He'll cut out his heart & turn in his grave. 
ISLAM is rising.  
The Christians mobilizing. 
The world is on its elbows & knees. 
It's forgotten the message & worship the creeds. 

If the real Jesus Christ were to stand up today. 
He'd be gunned down cold by the C.I.A. 
Oh, the light that now shines brightest behind stained glass. 
Will cast the darkest shadow upon the human heart. 
But God didn't build himself that throne. 
God doesn't live in Israel or Rome. 
God doesn't belong to the Yankee Dollar. 
God doesn't plant the bombs for Hezbollah. 
God doesn't even go to church. 
And God won't send us down to Allah to burn. 
No, God will remind us what we already know 
That the human race is about to reap what it sown. 

But if you think that Jesus Christ is coming. 
Honey YOU'VE GOT another thing coming. 
If he ever finds out who's hijacked his name. 
He'll cut out his heart & turn in his grave. 
ISLAM is rising.  
The Christians mobilizing. 
The world is on its elbows & knees. 
It's forgotten the message & worship the creeds. 

Armageddon Days are here... again. 
Armageddon Days are here... again! 

(c) 1986 Matt Johnson, from The THE: "Mind Bomb." 



TO BE CONTINUED. 

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