Updated -- 15 September 2003
When it comes to
Conspiracies, this one is all the current rage (pardon the pun).
The basic idea is that LIHOP stands for "Let It Happen On Purpose". In essence, we're dealing here with
a theory that suggests the United States federal government -- and very importantly, high level members of the Bush Administration
in particular -- were sufficiently forewarned about the 9-11-2001 attacks that these attacks could have been prevented. Furthermore these forewarnings were intentionally
ignored, and allowed to happen, in order to have an attack on the order of Pearl Harbor. According to
the theory, such an attack could be used to carry out a neo-conservative, covert agenda of invading various countries in the
Middle East. By occupying and controlling several countries in the Middle East -- Afghanistan and Iraq spring to mind
-- the United States and Britain would then have access and control over the oil fields in these countries. In
effect, taking the hit on 9-11-2001 -- or more accurately, having several thousand innocent people take the hit -- would then
allow a fanatical response, which would be politically acceptable to the American public. Thus the initiation of what
might best be described as Bush Wars -- a variation of a theme of Oil Wars.
An extremely credible and interesting article in this regard
is by a member of the British Parliament, entitled The War on Terrorism is Bogus. This article has the advantage of basing its argument on what has been learned over the last
two years -- but almost never publicized in the mainstream Media. In essence, it explains that the evidence is extremely convincing that the high level neo-conservatives
in the US government were aware of the impending strike and took great pains to ensure that it was successfully accomplished.
The latter includes making sure every member of the government was immediately unavailable to deal with the crisis as it unfolded
over a matter of hours, and to keep the US Air Force on the ground and thereby not prevent the hijacked aircraft from reaching
their targets. About the only thing that went wrong in their plan was that one airliner was taken down by its passengers
before it could -- allegedly -- crash into the Capital Building. [Note, for example, that President Bush was in Florida
reading to elementary school children.]
William Rivers Pitt, editor
of truthout, gives an American perspective along similar lines, in his article, "I Believe." Both of the essays are must reads (as are most of the truthout.org articles).
Pitt, however, while seeing the oil connection, does not relate as specifically to the neo-conservative agenda that states
in essence that now is the time for the United States to bring the entire world under its sway. The sheer arrogance
of this agenda is matched only by the personalities who are actively supporting and embellishing the plan. Well known
members of this neo-conservative clique include President Bush, Vice-President Cheney, Attorney General John Ashcroft -- the
ABC's of the "axis of evil" -- Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and Assistant Defense Secretary Wolfowitz.
An earlier article by Pitt -- which provides for an interesting,
earlier perspective (June 20, 2002) -- is entitled “All
Along the Watchtower”. It's the sort of thing to really grab your attention.
But Pitt’s not alone -- by any means. He just writes it in such
a way as to make it all the more plausible. Consider, for example, this truthout / Opinion.
Stanley Hilton, a
San Francisco attorney and former aide to Senator Bob Dole, filed a $7 billion lawsuit in U.S. District Court on June 3rd. The class-action suit names ten defendants, among whom are George W. Bush, Dick Cheney,
Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld and Norman Mineta.
charges Bush and his administration with allowing the September 11th attacks to take place so as to reap political benefits
from the catastrophe. Hilton alleges that Osama bin Laden is being used as a scapegoat by an administration that ignored pressing
warnings of the attack and refused to round up suspected terrorists beforehand.
Hilton alleges the
ultimate motivation behind these acts was achieved when the Taliban were replaced by American military forces with a regime
friendly to America and its oil interests in the region.
in this case are the families of 14 victims of 9/11, numbering 400 people nationwide.
These are the same families that rallied in Washington recently to advocate for an independent investigation into the
attacks. The current 9/11 hearings are being conducted by Congress behind closed
doors, a situation these families find unacceptable.
Mr. Hilton, by filing
his lawsuit, has joined the ranks of an ever-increasing body of Americans who subscribe to what they call the LIHOP Theory. LIHOP stands for Let It Happen On Purpose. The
LIHOP Theory puts forward the accusation that Bush and his people allowed the September 11th attacks to take place, despite
the fact that they had been repeatedly warned of an impending strike.
The LIHOP Theory
is straightforward: In the months before 9/11, American intelligence agencies received ominous warnings from the intelligence
services of nations like Israel, Russia, Egypt and Germany. These warnings were
pointed - an attack involving hijacked aircraft and prominent American landmarks was imminent, our security forces were told.
Bush himself was briefed of these warnings weeks before they happened.
Instead of responding
vigorously to these warnings, the Bush administration and its security apparatus did nothing.
LIHOP is, of course,
the purest breed of conspiracy theory, involving high-ranking members of government from both parties, as well as the CIA,
FBI and NSA. Like all good conspiracy theories, LIHOP is surrounded by disturbing
facts and bits of evidence that are difficult to ignore.
The warnings from
all those foreign intelligence services, after all, are quite real. Egypt, Germany,
Russia and the Israelis were vociferous in their concerns. The German intelligence
service BND told US and Israeli intelligence that Middle East terrorists were “planning to hijack commercial aircraft
to use as weapons to attack important symbols of American and Israeli culture.”
The BND’s information came through Echelon, the American-controlled network of 120 satellites that monitors all
worldwide electronic communications.
Egypt voiced similar
warnings that same month regarding aircraft attacks. Delivered just before the
G-8 summit in Genoa, Egypt’s alert carried such weight that anti-aircraft batteries were placed around Columbus Airport
The Russians warned
the US that same summer of 25 pilots who had been trained for suicide missions, and Putin himself delivered the warning “in
the strongest possible terms” to the US government. The Israeli intelligence
service Mossad delivered a warning to both the FBI and the CIA detailing “a major assault on the United States”
against “a large-scale target” that was “very vulnerable.”
The Washington Post
has reported that the NSA intercepted two messages on September 10, 2001, warning that something was going to happen the next
day. “Tomorrow is zero hour,” was one of the messages. The NSA’s charter is to intercept, translate and pass on to FBI and CIA operatives important electronic
signals from all across the globe.
The Echelon satellite
network which provided the German BND with their 9/11 information last June is part of that system. According to the NSA, the September 10th data was not translated until September 12th, but it stands to
reason that they were privy to the same electronic data the other foreign services were using as the basis for their warnings.
One US intelligence
source claims the data provided “no actionable intelligence,” a fair claim given the vagueness of the messages
and the volume of material NSA must deal with. Yet in combination with the strident
foreign intelligence warnings, the words intercepted by our large electronic ears on September 10th add to the growing questions.
Then, there are the
threads. A FEMA official told Dan Rather that the disaster agency had been at the World Trade Center on September 10th. Why?
Governor Jeb Bush
of Florida signed executive order #01-261 on September 7th, putting his state’s National Guard on heightened alert status,
essentially placing Florida under martial law for no demonstrable reason. Why?
John Ashcroft stopped flying on commercial aircraft in the weeks before 9/11, something he had commonly done since his entry
into the administration. Why?
At the core of the
LIHOP Theory lies motivation - what possible purpose could be served by the Bush administration allowing a terrorist attack
to take place on American soil? It is flatly inconceivable to most Americans
that Bush and his people could demonstrate such callous disregard for American lives, and accusations that they allowed an
attack to happen reek of the worst kind of poisonous partisan politics.
LIHOP Theory, however,
is not so easily dismissed. Two French intelligence analysts, Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquie, have published an
extensively-researched book entitled “Osama bin Laden: The Forbidden Truth.”
In it, they allege that the Bush administration put energy policy before national security concerns.
According to Brisard
and Dasquie, a foundering pipeline project aimed at exploiting natural gas reserves along the Caspian Sea in Turkmenistan
was revived by the Bush administration when it arrived in Washington in January of 2001.
The pipeline project, which sought to bring oil and natural gas from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to a warm water
port, had been the brainchild of American petroleum giant Unocal for much of the 1990s.
After the destruction
of two American embassies in Africa in 1998 by Osama bin Laden, the Clinton administration forbade any American companies
from doing business with the Taliban, which had been sheltering bin Laden in Afghanistan.
Unocal’s pipeline project was frozen.
After the Bush administration
came to power, Brisard and Dasquie allege that reinvigorating the pipeline project became a high-priority matter of policy. Assistant Secretary of State Christina Rocca was dispatched to Pakistan to discuss
the pipeline with Taliban officials in August of 2001. Rocca, a career officer
with the CIA, had been deeply involved in Agency activities within Afghanistan.
According to documents
Brisard and Dasquie claim to hold, the main subject of their discussion was oil. A
Pakistani foreign minister was also present at the meeting, and witnessed the exchange.
How does this pipeline
relate to September 11th? According to Brisard and Dasquie, the main obstacle
to the completion of the pipeline was the fact that it had to pass through Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. The project would receive no international support unless the Afghan government somehow became legitimized.
In bargaining for
the pipeline, the Bush administration demanded that the Taliban reinstate deposed King Mohammad Zahir Shah as ruler of Afghanistan,
and demanded that the Taliban hand over Osama bin Laden for arrest. In return,
the Taliban would reap untold billions in profit from the pipeline. According
to Brisard and Dasquie, part of the Bush administration’s bargaining tactics involved threats of war if these conditions
for the legitimization of Afghanistan were not met.
The BBC of London
reported on September 18th, 2001 of the existence of war plans on Bush’s desk aimed at Afghanistan. Niaz Naik, a former Pakistani Foreign Secretary, stated that the war plans were slated for October of 2001. Conditions set by the Bush administration to avoid war involved the Taliban’s
handing over of bin Laden and the acceptance of King Zahir Shah. Naik went
so far as to doubt that America would hold off on war even if these conditions were met.
The result, according
to the French analysts, was total disaster. The Bush administration fundamentally
misunderstood the Taliban regime’s commitment to bring back the King and hand bin Laden over to the West would have
been tantamount to suicide for the Taliban. Instead of acquiescing to the hard-sell
tactics of the Bush administration, the Taliban unleashed their pet attack dog, Osama, upon America. They were going to lose everything, and chose to attack first in the hope that all-out war would break
out in Central Asia and rally other Muslim nations to their cause.
Motive suddenly becomes
far more clear. The Bush administration very much wanted the Unocal pipeline
to go through, and put intense pressure on the Taliban to see it happen. As this
was happening, American intelligence services were flooded with warnings of an impending attack upon American targets by bin
Laden and Al Qaida.
The decision was
made -- let the attack come, and in the ensuing outrage American forces can carve out the guts of the Taliban government like
a ripe gourd, replacing them with a “legitimate” regime more receptive to the pipeline plan.
Did the Bush administration
have an inkling of the massive death and destruction that would come on September 11th?
Those who espouse the LIHOP Theory disagree on this point. Some believe
that FEMAs presence at Ground Zero on the day before the attack, coupled with specific language within the international intelligence
warnings pertaining to aircraft and high-profile targets, are prima facie evidence of specific prior knowledge.
Others believe that
the Bush administration only knew vaguely that an attack would come, but not where or when.
They did not foresee the level of destruction, and were caught flat-footed when those planes appeared along the New
In the end, the LIHOP
Theory can encompass either view. Whether they had specific knowledge beforehand,
or merely decided to let some attack happen somewhere, the final results were the same.
The Taliban were routed and replaced by an interim government headed by a man named Harmid Karzai.
Karzai was recently
elected President of Afghanistan in his own right, legitimizing the Afghanistan government.
Soon after this, Karzai announced the impending construction of a pipeline that would exploit Turkmenistan’s
natural gas reserves. He named Unocal as the lead company for the project. Before becoming President, Karzai was an advisor to Unocal.
For LIHOP Theorists,
the evidence is clear. The Bush administration got the pipeline it wanted. Along the way, they used the horrors of 9/11 to place themselves above reproach. In the patriotic fervor that resulted from the attacks, both the press and the Democratic
opposition were bracketed by the administration-espoused idea that any questions or criticism were tantamount to treason.
The passage of the
PATRIOT Anti-Terror Act has given the US government sweeping abilities to snuff dissent by defining it as terrorism, thanks
to the loosely defined wording of the bill. Bush enjoyed stratospheric approval
ratings that persist to this day [but have since lessened considerably], and American citizens were given new enemies to hate. The Defense Department, and the weapons contractors who cater to them, received billions
from the federal budget to do with as they pleased in order to address the objects of that hate. Even the most hardened political observer must admit the dismal truth: September 11th was the greatest thing ever to happen to the Bush administration.
Hilton has brought LIHOP Theory into the federal court system with his class-action suit, and with the families of 9/11 victims
he represents. It will be interesting to see what transpires when these two facts
collide in an American courtroom.
Given the current
climate, it does not seem likely that much will come of it... After all, these
conspiracy theorists are just a bunch of nuts. Right?
William Rivers Pitt
is a teacher from Boston, MA. His new book, The Greatest Sedition is Silence, will
be published soon by Pluto Press.