Transparency and Secret Sessions: A Tale of Two Terror Attacks


By Dave Lindorff
December 2, 2008

Before the odor of burned gunpowder has left the air of the Taj Mahal Hotel
in Mumbai, the US is lecturing India not to go off half-cocked and attack Pakistan,
simply because all of the attackers in the terrorist assaults in that city arrived
by boat, apparently from neighboring Pakistan. US officials, including Secretary
of State Condoleezza Rice, are calling on India to engage in a “transparent”
and “thorough” investigation into the attacks to establish who was

How different this is from the American government’s response to the
9-11 attacks in the US!

Instead of a “transparent” investigation, we got secret sessions
of the Congressional intelligence committees, closed-door interviews of key
officials, including President Bush and Vice President Cheney by the 9-11 Commission,
and of course the secret round [up] of thousands of mostly Islamic people living
in the US, many of whom were held for months incommunicado and without charge,
some of whom were subjected to torture, and many other of whom were deported
to likely arrest, torture and even death.

Instead of a calm assessment of what had happened and who was responsible,
the Bush Administration rounded up Saudi members of the Bin Laden family, and
others connected to the regime in Saudi Arabia, whence came most of the people
reportedly involved in the hijacking of the four planes used in the attacks,
and, with no attempt at interrogation, flew them home to Saudi Arabia.

Then, again with only minimal evidence, the US launched an all-out war within
days upon Afghanistan, with the goal of ousting and destroying the Taliban government
of that country. Shortly after that aggressive move, the Bush/Cheney administration
shifted its focus and launched an even larger all-out war against Iraq, a nation
that had no connection whatsoever with the attacks on the Pentagon and the World
Trade Center.

So much for transparency and measured responses.

Here again, we have an example of the US expecting one mode of behavior for
the rest of the world, and another for itself.

We Americans, it would appear, are not required to operate in a logical manner,
are not required to think through the consequences of our actions, are not required
to obey international laws, and are not required to listen to the counsel of
others. If the United Nations will not support our plan to attack and topple
the government of another sovereign nation, we will just do it ourselves. But
other countries may not behave in this manner.

There is another way that India and the US are different which has come to
light in this latest atrocity. Following the Mumbai attacks, India’s minister
of security resigned, in an admission that his department had failed to discover
an attack that was clearly at least six months in planning, and had failed to
prevent the massive loss of life because of inadequate preparation of police
and troops for such an eventuality (police and soldiers were not equipped even
with sniper rifles and scopes that might have enabled them to shoot and kill
some of the 10 terrorists with minimal threat to their hostages).

Nobody resigned for the manifold failings that led up to and allowed for the
9-11 attacks. Nobody resigned for intelligence failures, nobody resigned for
air defense failures, nobody resigned for investigative failures, nobody resigned
for the lies that were the basis for the attack on Afghanistan and the war against
Iraq. There has indeed been zero accountability in the US for the biggest national
security disaster since Pearl Harbor. But in India, it took only days for the
chief person responsible for security in the Indian government to resign his
post in disgrace.

Let us hope that saner heads prevail in India when it comes to Pakistan, as
the story of this latest terror action is exposed.

And let us hope that Americans finally demand an honest accounting of what
happened on 9/11/2001 and that those who are guilty of allowing it to happen,
and of sending the country off on a pointless, bloody and seemingly endless
jihad in the Middle East as a result are exposed and forced to pay for their
ineptness and their crimes.

DAVE LINDORFF is a Philadelphia-based journalist and columnist. His latest
book is “The Case for Impeachment” (St. Martin’s Press, 2006
and now available in paperback edition). His work is available at

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