Geography and World Politics

by Colin Dueck (June 12 2013)

This article appeared in Volume XIII, Number 2 – Spring 2013

Books discussed in this essay:

Great Powers and Geopolitical Change (2006) by Jakub J. Grygiel

Geopolitics and the Great Powers in the 21st Century: Multipolarity and the Revolution in Strategic Perspective (2009) by C. Dale Walton

A Student’s Guide to International Relations (2010) by Angelo M Codevilla

The World Island: Eurasian Geopolitics and the Fate of the West (2011) by Alexandros Petersen

The Revenge of Geography: What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate (2013) by Robert D Kaplan

The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660-1783 (1890), by A T Mahan

Democratic Ideals and Reality (1919) by Halford J Mackinder

America’s Strategy in World Politics: The United States and the Balance of Power (2007) by Nicholas J Spykman

The Geography of the Peace (1966) by Nicholas J Spykman

Europe: The Struggle for Supremacy, from 1453 to the Present (2005) by Brendan Simms

Red Star over the Pacific: China’s Rise and the Challenge to US Maritime Strategy (2010) edited by Thomas G Mahnken

Power and Willpower in the American Future: Why the United States Is Not Destined to Decline (2012) by Robert J Lieber

Becoming the world’s only superpower can cause strange dreams. In the case of the United States, which achieved this status over twenty years ago, many who should know better have dreamed that economic interdependence, multilateral institutions, technological change, global democratization, the rise of non-state actors – even Barack Obama’s charming personality – will have a transformational effect on world affairs, rendering irrelevant the geopolitics underlying American national security. But geopolitical competition between major world powers obviously continues, and these dreams, which are recognizably liberal dreams, remain delusive and dangerous.

The very word “geopolitics” strikes such dreamers as having a kind of reactionary, outmoded, even sinister quality. It represents to them a distasteful way of thinking about the world. In reality, geopolitics is simply the analysis of the relationship between geographical facts on the one hand, and international politics on the other. These geographical facts include natural features, such as rivers, mountains, and oceans along with elements of human and political geography, such as national boundaries, trade networks, and concentrations of economic or military power. To try to make foreign policy while closing one’s eyes to geopolitical factors in world politics is like trying to play chess without noticing the configuration of the board, and the powers of the pieces.

A number of excellent recent books show the continued relevance of classical geopolitical insights today. Jakub Grygiel’s Great Powers and Geopolitical Change (2006) uses historical case studies from the sixteenth century to show that states prosper or decline depending on whether they match their foreign policies to underlying geopolitical realities. C Dale Walton’s Geopolitics and the Great Powers in the 21st Century (2007) argues that the coming era of great power competition centered on the eastern half of the Asian continent will be characterized by the need for shifting, fluid alliances, requiring considerable American versatility and skill. Angelo Codevilla’s A Student’s Guide to International Relations (2010) reminds us that a geopolitical framework is not incompatible with an appreciation for the ways in which cultures, regimes, and civilizations differ in their approaches toward international relations, and that the United States is entirely justified in pursuing its own distinct interests abroad rather than conforming to progressive visions of transnational governance. Alexandros Petersen’s The World Island: Eurasian Geopolitics and the Fate of the West (2011) makes a powerful case for the US and its Nato allies to pursue a vigorous forward strategy around Russia’s perimeter, with the aim of integrating the smaller nations of the former Soviet Union more deeply into Western-oriented market and democratic institutions. And Robert Kaplan’s The Revenge of Geography (2012) – one of his best books in years – provides a characteristically engaging geopolitical world tour for the reader, concluding with recommendations for close US cooperation with Mexico on issues of trade, immigration, and counternarcotics.

In addition to their useful differences, these books present certain common themes of geopolitical analysis, which might be summed up as follows: The international system is a competitive arena in which great powers play a disproportionate role, struggling for (in the bland terms of modern social science) security, resources, position, and influence. Military force is critical to that influence. Given their essential autonomy, states not unreasonably tend to fear their own encirclement by other powers, and try to break out of it through strategies of counter-encirclement. The realities of geography and material capability set very definite constraints on foreign policy decision-makers, which they ignore at their peril. At the same time, there is considerable room for human agency and political leadership to respond to these constraints and pursue worthwhile ends with skill, courage, and success. Despite technological and institutional changes over the years, these underlying features of world politics have never really changed much. This is one reason the study of history is instructive for statesmen.

Classical Geopolitics

What has changed, among other things, is the distribution of power within the international system. Today, it is China’s economic and military power that is rising, not only on land but at sea. Yet the basic patterns of its rise are hardly unprecedented. So it is appropriate that we go back for perspective, and even wisdom, as these recent books do, to the classical geopolitical theorists. In the past century or so, three stand out: Alfred Mahan, Halford Mackinder, and Nicholas Spykman.

US rear admiral Alfred Mahan was in his time the preeminent theorist of maritime power in world politics. Disturbed by the lack of governmental or popular attention to the state of the US Navy, in 1890 he published his greatest work, The Influence of Sea Power upon History, 1660-1783. In it, he argues that sea power is central to the rise and decline of great nations. Seapower is defined by Mahan as not simply a strong navy – although it certainly includes that – but a national orientation toward the ocean, in terms of geographical position, commercial shipping, maritime production, and intelligent policies. The military essence of sea power, for Mahan, is the concentrated possession of numerous capital ships, with well-trained and aggressive crews, capable of defeating enemy navies in battle. The possession of such naval forces, when properly led, carries the immeasurable benefit of driving the enemy’s fleet and commerce from the open seas. Mahan refers to this type of naval predominance as “command of the sea”. In wartime, command of the sea allows maritime powers to intervene decisively on land, whether through naval blockade or in direct support of allied armies. In peacetime, command of the sea allows for the operation of friendly maritime trade, which in turn gathers wealth to finance the maintenance of the navy. Maritime shipping, a strong navy, and the benefits of seaborne commerce thus operate in a kind of virtuous circle for the leading naval powers, giving them a great advantage over nations whose capabilities are bound mainly to the land.

Mahan argued that the self-reinforcing nature of sea power was best demonstrated in modern times by the rise of Great Britain, which achieved worldwide preeminence by defeating the navies of Spain, Holland, and France in turn. But he worried that modern democracies were not sufficiently attuned to the necessity of maintaining sea power. His own United States, in particular, he viewed as preoccupied with internal matters, and neglectful of its navy. He, therefore, recommended not only the expansion of the US battle fleet, but the careful development of naval bases, canals, and coaling stations overseas, so that the oceans would act as a strategic asset for America rather than as a liability in the face of more aggressive competitors. Effective control over vital maritime choke points, bases, and ocean lanes would allow the seagoing nations to project their influence inland while constraining the expansion of great land powers such as Russia – but that control would have to be exercised and maintained energetically.

Halford Mackinder was much less confident than Mahan that Anglo-American command of the sea could be used to check the consolidation of great land powers in Europe and Asia. A British parliamentarian and founder of the discipline of geostrategy, Mackinder formulated his core argument only a few years after Mahan’s appeared. In a Geographical Journal article from 1904, and later in a book entitled Democratic Ideals and Reality, Mackinder asked his readers to think of Europe, Asia, and Africa as one great continent, which he called the “world island”. This single world island, Mackinder pointed out, contained much greater human and natural resources than the rest of the planet’s islands and continents combined. Moreover the world island’s “Heartland” – at its maximum extent including Russia, Mongolia, Iran, Tibet, Central Asia, and Eastern Europe – had the great advantage of virtual inaccessibility to sea power. Historically, it was not so unusual for land powers to defeat and overcome sea powers. After all, sea power was ultimately based upon the land. Were the European and Asian continents ever to fall under the domination of a single political entity emanating from the Heartland, that entity would necessarily overpower through sheer weight the outer crescent of insular maritime nations such as the United States, Great Britain, Australia, and Japan. In this sense, the most relevant precedent for the future might not be European maritime dominance, but the sprawling Mongol empires of the thirteenth century.

Mackinder suggested that starting in about 1500 AD, with the launch of what he called the Columbian era, Western European nations had been able to employ specific naval and technological advantages to explore, penetrate, and colonize the rest of the world. The Asian Heartland had thereby been outmaneuvered. But by the start of the twentieth century, that era was coming to an end. The surface of the earth had been largely navigated and partitioned by Europe’s great empires; the international system was now closed, without more possibilities for external discovery. Furthermore, railways now crisscrossed massive distances, bringing new advantages to trade, transport, and communication by land. The future tendency would, therefore, be toward the consolidation of continental-sized land powers in Eurasia, raising the danger of Britain’s relative decline and encirclement. The aftermath of the First World War, including the Bolshevik Revolution and Germany’s failed bid for continental dominance, illustrated Mackinder’s argument that the Eurasian landmass could not be allowed to fall under the control of a hostile authoritarian power. His specific response was to call for the creation of an independent tier of East European buffer states, at the Heartland’s perimeter, to guard against either German or Soviet expansion. But like Mahan, Mackinder feared that modern liberal democracies were not inclined to think strategically over the long run. Woodrow Wilson’s brainchild, the League of Nations, confirmed his fear. Mackinder urged the West’s great maritime democracies to defend themselves by establishing favorable balances of power on land; Wilson created the League with the intention of putting an end to balances of power altogether.

The failure of the League of Nations to prevent fascist aggression led to a new wave of Western geostrategy, in which Nicolas Spykman was the leading figure. A Sterling Professor of International Relations at Yale, Spykman built on Mackinder’s work and modified it significantly in two books written during the early 1940s: America’s Strategy in World Politics and The Geography of the Peace. In particular, Spykman introduced the concept of the “Rimland”, a belt of nations stretching from France and Germany across the Middle East, to India, and finally to China. What distinguished Rimland nations was their amphibious nature: they were neither purely land powers nor sea powers. But taken together, it was these Rimland powers – and not Mackinder’s Heartland – that contained most of the human population and economic productivity on the planet. Spykman, therefore, characterized great geopolitical struggles such as the Second World War not as contests of sea power versus land power, but as conflicts between mixed alliances – each on sea and land – over control of the Rimland. And control of the Rimland meant control of the world.

Spykman renamed Mackinder’s outer crescent of maritime powers the “Offshore Islands and Continents”. To offshore islanders like the Americans, a purely naval or isolationist approach is always appealing. Aware of his countrymen’s intense reluctance to engage in military conflicts overseas, Spykman nevertheless denied that an isolationist policy was a viable option for the United States, either during or after World War Two. If the US did not exercise effective control over the airspace and sea lanes of the two oceans on either side of it, then somebody else would. Specifically, Spykman pointed out the southern cone of South America was so far away from the United States that German influence there was a real possibility if Hitler was permitted to win the war in Europe. US hemispheric defense would then inevitably collapse into something even more impoverished and constrained, allowing the Axis powers to dominate vital resources from Europe and Asia. Altogether, the Rimland’s combined potential meant there was simply no safe resting place for Americans on this side of the water. The US would have to ensure, through serious and costly effort, that the resources of the Old World were not combined and mobilized against the New World. Spykman was more optimistic than Mackinder that this could actually be done, through the exercise of a forward strategic presence and with the development of modern American air power. He further warned, in anticipation of World War Two’s conclusion, that from the perspective of the leading Offshore Continent (America), a Rimland dominated by the Heartland (Russia) was no improvement on a Heartland dominated by the Rimland (Nazi Germany and Japan).

For both Spykman and Mackinder, the geopolitical nightmare for the West was an autocratic Heartland-Rimland conglomeration able to dominate the Old World to such an extent that the seagoing Anglo-American democracies would be outmaneuvered. This dire scenario has often been dismissed over the years as highly improbable. But the great struggles of the twentieth century, including two world wars and one cold one, were fought to prevent it, and without American intervention there is good reason to believe that either an authoritarian Germany or the Soviet Union would have dictated world politics for decades to come.

Eastern Rimland

The other way in which Mackinder’s 1919 book, especially, appears to have been prophetic, was in its prediction of a long-term power shift from West to East, reversing the trend of previous centuries. During most of the modern era, Europe was at the center of international politics, with the world’s most capable militaries, most dynamic economies, and most assertive foreign policies. As Brendan Simms shows in Europe: The Struggle for Supremacy (2013), the focus of great power competition from the early modern era well into the twentieth century was ultimately the Holy Roman Empire and its successor states. Even during the Cold War, when Rimland nations in Western Europe were finally overshadowed by the actions of external superpowers, the European continent – particularly Germany – remained the supreme geopolitical prize for which those superpowers contended. The end of the Cold War was taken by many liberal dreamers to mean the end of geopolitics. But in reality, it merely introduced a new distribution and ranking of great powers, characterized by a predominant America, a resentful Russia, a strategically incoherent European Union, and a rising set of Asian nations. As the Chinese economy has grown rapidly, allowing them to build up and modernize their armed forces, there has been a massive shift in relative economic and military capabilities from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The chief focus of international great power competition is now along the eastern rather than the western end of Spykman’s Rimland.

In geopolitical terms, China is not a Heartland but a Rimland power. That is to say, it is accessible by sea and land, with security concerns in both directions. The collapse of the Soviet Union represented a windfall for China, reducing the threat from the north. Starting in the 1990s, Beijing also resolved many of its border disputes with neighboring countries. This has sometimes been taken as an indication that China has few aggressive intentions. But in fact the resolution and security of China’s vast land frontier – an exceptional achievement, by historical standards – allows Beijing to be more assertive and expansionist at sea.

In recent years, aware of America’s preoccupations with economic recession and Mideast terrorism, China has begun throwing its weight around in the South and East China Seas, triggering a series of dangerous maritime incidents with Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, and Vietnam, as well as with US surveillance ships. At the same time, China has built up and modernized its navy, both to lend greater weight to its diplomatic assertions in the region and to protect its extensive and growing merchant marine. As James Holmes and Toshi Yoshihara detail in their very useful book, Red Star over the Pacific (2010), numerous Chinese naval strategists explicitly invoke Admiral Mahan and his concept of sea command.

China’s practical goal appears to be command over the South China Sea. Admittedly, the Chinese navy – the People’s Liberation Army Navy, as it is called – is still not comparable to the US Navy, but it doesn’t have to be. By building up large numbers of frigates, submarines, and land-based missiles ready to attack US forces in unorthodox fashion – for example, in concert with cyber strikes – China has created a new correlation of forces which an American president might be reluctant to challenge during a crisis. The purpose of the Chinese naval buildup is not to go looking for war with the United States, but to deter the US from acting in the region, notably in defense of Taiwan. Securing control of Taiwan would constitute not only a sweeping national accomplishment for the Chinese Communist Party but a dramatic improvement in China’s geopolitical situation at sea. What Chinese strategists call the “first island chain”, stretching from Japan to Malaysia, would then be breached. Beyond that, the Chinese themselves may not know how they plan to use their newfound sea power. But history suggests they will continue to define their maritime interests more expansively as they acquire greater and greater maritime capabilities.

China and America

China is in a position to challenge the US for predominance along the East Asian littoral, and has considerable interest in doing so, especially given its grinding sense of historical grievance. For many Chinese, to achieve such predominance would be a return to the natural order of things, in which the Middle Kingdom leads within East Asia. The Russians, for their part, share with China a long-term desire to expel American influence from their immediate spheres of influence. The most persuasive accounts of Sino-Russian cooperation tend to suggest it is opportunistic and pragmatic. Still, from an American point of view, this is not exactly reassuring. If these two massive, authoritarian powers are able to cooperate pragmatically and case by case against American interests, the US will face a severe geopolitical challenge in much of Eurasia. When Rimland powers are able to secure their land borders, as China seems to be doing, and then convincingly take to the seas, this has to worry offshore powers like the United States.

President Barack Obama came into office hoping for cooperation with China on a range of issues such as climate change and arms control; sustained Sino-American strategic competition was probably the last thing on his mind. He soon discovered that praising China’s growing power, as he did when visiting Beijing in 2009, only encouraged its self-assertion. As America’s Asian allies grew increasingly concerned by Chinese aggressiveness at sea, the Obama Administration eventually announced a strategic “pivot” toward Asia. But at the same time, the administration cut US naval strengths significantly – strengths that will be crucial to balance Chinese influence. It didn’t help when Obama displayed his strategic insouciance during a 2012 presidential election debate, mocking concerns over America’s shrinking Navy.

It is neither unusual nor irrational for great powers to engage in long-term geopolitical competition during peacetime. This is exactly what is happening between the US and China now, whatever liberal dreamers may want to dream. In his edited volume, Competitive Strategies for the 21st Century (2012), Thomas Mahnken of the Naval War College shows that although this competition does not rule out the possibility of cooperation in certain areas, it does oblige us to leverage our strengths against our competitor’s weaknesses for decades to come. The last time the US government developed a genuinely grand strategy in relation to another great power was during the 1980s. China is not the Soviet Union, but there are still lessons to be learned from America’s Cold War competition with Moscow, which after all ended peacefully and, for the US, successfully.

One of the explanations for the lack of grand strategy toward China today is the tacit and widespread assumption that American power is in relative and irreversible decline, while China’s rise is more or less ordained. But as Georgetown University’s Robert Lieber points out in his new book, Power and Willpower in the American Future (2012), America’s “decline” is vastly overstated. The United States possesses capabilities and advantages denied to any other power. These include the world’s largest economy, its most powerful armed forces by far, its leading universities, a persistent edge in technological innovation, an unusual attractiveness for immigrants, vast natural resources on a continental scale, deep financial markets, underlying political stability, tremendous resilience, and a set of flexible international alliances. China poses a serious geopolitical challenge, but it lacks these advantages, and Chinese leaders know it.

Americans still have the ability to choose whether we want to play a leading role in the world. If we abdicate that role, we will one day awaken not to liberal dreams come true but to nightmarish realities that a sensible foreign policy could, and should, have averted.

A Diabolic False Flag Empire

A Review of David Ray Griffin’s The American Trajectory: Divine or Demonic? (2018)

by Edward Curtin (September 06 2018)

The past is not dead; it is people who are sleeping. The current night and daymares that we are having arise out of murders lodged deep in our past that have continued into the present. No amount of feigned amnesia will erase the bloody truth of American history, the cheap grace we bestow upon ourselves. We have, as Harold Pinter said in his Nobel address, been feeding on “a vast tapestry of lies” that surrounds us, lies uttered by nihilistic leaders and their media mouthpieces for a very long time. We have, or should have, bad consciences for not acknowledging being active or silent accomplices in the suppression of truth and the vicious murdering of millions at home and abroad.

But, as Pinter said,


I believe that despite the enormous odds which exist, unflinching, unswerving, fierce intellectual determination, as citizens, to define the real truth of our lives and our societies is a crucial obligation which devolves upon us all. It is in fact mandatory.


No one is more emblematic of this noble effort than David Ray Griffin, who, in book after book since the attacks of 11 September 2001, has meticulously exposed the underside of the American empire and its evil masters. His persistence in trying to reach people and to warn them of the horrors that have resulted is extraordinary. Excluding his philosophical and theological works, this is his fifteenth book since 2004 on these grave issues of life and death and the future of the world.

In this masterful book, he provides a powerful historical argument that right from the start with the arrival of the first European settlers, this country, despite all the rhetoric about it having been divinely founded and guided, has been “more malign that benign, more demonic than divine”. He chronologically presents this history, supported by meticulous documentation, to prove his thesis. In his previous book, Bush and Cheney: How They Ruined America and the World (2017), Griffin cataloged the evil actions that flowed from the inside job/false flag attacks of September 11th, while in this one – a prequel – he offers a lesson in American history going back centuries, and he shows that one would be correct in calling the United States a “false flag empire”.

The attacks of 11 September 2001 are the false flag fulcrum upon which his two books pivot. Their importance cannot be overestimated, not just for their inherent cruelty that resulted in thousands of innocent American deaths, but since they became the justification for the United States’ ongoing murderous campaigns termed “the war on terror” that have brought death to millions of people around the world. An international array of expendable people. Terrifying as they were, and were meant to be, they have many precedents, although much of this history is hidden in the shadows. Griffin shines a bright light on them, with most of his analysis focused on the years 1850 to 2018.

As a theological and philosophical scholar, he is well aware of the great importance of society’s need for religious legitimation for its secular authority, a way to offer its people a shield against terror and life’s myriad fears through a protective myth that has been used successfully by the United States to terrorize others. He shows how the terms by which the US has been legitimated as God’s “chosen nation” and Americans as God’s “chosen people” have changed over the years as secularization and pluralism have made inroads. The names have changed, but the meaning has not. God is on our side, and when that is so, the other side is cursed and can be killed by God’s people, who are always battling el diablo.

He exemplifies this by opening with a quote from George Washington’s first Inaugural Address where Washington speaks of “the Invisible Hand” and “Providential agency” guiding the country, and by ending with Obama saying “I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being”. In between we hear Andrew Jackson say that “Providence has showered on this favored land blessings without number” and Henry Cabot Lodge in 1900 characterize America’s divine mission as “manifest destiny”. The American religion today is American Exceptionalism, an updated euphemism for the old-fashioned “God’s New Israel” or the “Redeemer Nation”.

At the core of this verbiage lies the delusion that the United States, as a blessed and good country, has a divine mission to spread “democracy” and “freedom” throughout the world, as Hilary Clinton declared during the 2016 presidential campaign when she said that “we are great because we are good”, and in 2004 when George W Bush said, “Like generations before us, we have a calling from beyond the stars to stand for freedom”. Such sentiments could only be received with sardonic laughter by the countless victims made “free” by America’s violent leaders, now and then, as Griffin documents.

Having established the fact of America’s claim to divine status, he then walks the reader through various thinkers who have taken sides on the issue of the United States being benign or malign. This is all preliminary to the heart of the book, which is a history lesson documenting the malignancy at the core of the American trajectory.

“American imperialism is often said to have begun in 1898 when Cuba and the Philippines were the main prizes”, he begins. “What was new at this time, however, was only that America took control of countries beyond the North American continent”. The “divine right” to seize others’ lands and kill them started long before, and although no seas were crossed in the usual understanding of imperialism, the genocide of Native Americans long preceded 1898. So too did the “manifest destiny” that impelled war with Mexico and the seizure of its land and the expansion west to the Pacific. This period of empire building depended heavily on the “other great crime against humanity” that was the slave trade, wherein it is estimated that ten million Africans died, in addition to the sick brutality of slavery itself. “No matter how brutal the methods, Americans were instruments of divine purposes”, writes Griffin. And, he correctly adds, it is not even true that America’s overseas imperialistic ventures only started in 1898, for in the 1850s Commodore Perry forced “the haughty Japanese” to open their ports to American commerce through gunboat diplomacy.

Then in 1898, the pace of overseas imperial expansion picked up dramatically with what has been called “The Spanish-American War” that resulted in the seizure of Cuba and the Philippines and the annexing of Hawaii. Griffin says these wars could more accurately be termed “the wars to take Spanish colonies”. His analysis of the brutality and arrogance of these actions makes the reader realize that My Lai and other more recent atrocities have a long pedigree that is part of an institutional structure, and while Filipinos and Cubans and so many others were being slaughtered, Griffin writes,

Anticipating Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s declaration that “we don’t do empire”, [President] McKinley said that imperialism is “foreign to the temper and genius of this free and generous people”.

Then as now, perhaps mad laughter is the only response to such unadulterated bullshit, as Griffin quotes Mark Twain saying that it would be easy creating a flag for the Philippines:


We can have just our usual flag, with the white stripes painted black and the stars replaced by the skull and cross-bones.


That would have also worked for Columbia, Panama, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Nicaragua, and other countries subjugated under the ideology of the Monroe Doctrine; wherever freedom and national independence raised its ugly head, the United States was quick to intervene with its powerful anti-revolutionary military and its financial bullying. In the Far East, the “Open Door” policy was used to loot China, Japan, and other countries.

But all this was just the beginning. Griffin shows how Woodrow Wilson, the quintessentially devious and treacherous liberal Democrat, who claimed he wanted to keep America out of World War One, did just the opposite to make sure the US would come to dominate the foreign markets his capitalist masters demanded. Thus Griffin explores how Wilson conspired with Winston Churchill to use the sinking of the Lusitania as a casus belli and how the Treaty of Versailles’s harsh treatment of Germany set the stage for World War Two.

He tells us how in the intervening years between the world wars the demonization of Russia and the new Soviet Union was started. This deprecation of Russia, which is roaring at full-throttle today, is a theme that recurs throughout The American Trajectory. Its importance cannot be overemphasized. Wilson called the Bolshevik government “a government by terror”, and in 1918 “sent thousands of troops into northern and eastern Russia, leaving them there until 1920”.

That the US invaded Russia is a fact rarely mentioned and even barely known to Americans. Perhaps awareness of it and the century-long demonizing of the USSR/Russia would enlighten those who buy the current anti-Russia propaganda called “Russiagate”.

To match that “divine” act of imperial intervention abroad, Wilson fomented the Red Scare at home, which, as Griffin says, had lasting and incalculable importance because it created the American fear of radical thought and revolution that exists to this very day and serves as a justification for supporting brutal dictators around the world and crackdowns on freedom at home (as is happening today).

He gives us brief summaries of some dictators the US has supported and reminds us of the saying of that other liberal Democrat, Franklin Roosevelt, who famously said of the brutal Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza, that “he may be a son-of-a-b*tch, but he’s our son-of-a-b*tch”. And thus Somoza would terrorize his own people for 43 years. The same took place in Cuba, Chile, Iran, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, et al. The US also supported Mussolini, did nothing to prevent Franco’s fascist toppling of the Spanish Republic, and supported the right-wing government of Chiang-Kai Shek in its efforts to dominate China.

It is a very dark and ugly history that confirms the demonic nature of American actions around the world.

Then Griffin explodes the many myths about the so-called “Good War” – World War Two. He explains the lies told about the Japanese “surprise” attack on Pearl Harbor; how Roosevelt wished to get the US into the war, both in the Pacific and in Europe; and how much American economic self-interest lay behind it. He critiques the myth that America selflessly wished to defend freedom loving people in their battles with brutal, fascist regimes. That, he tells us, is but a small part of the story:

This, however, is not an accurate picture of American policies during the Second World War. Many people were, to be sure, liberated from terrible tyrannies by the Allied victories. But the fact that these people benefited was an incidental outcome, not a motive of American policies. These policies, as [Andrew] Bacevich discovered, were based on “unflagging self-interest”.

Then there are the conventional and atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Nothing could be more demonic, as Griffin shows. If these cold-blooded mass massacres of civilians and the lies told to justify them don’t convince a reader that there has long been something radically evil at the heart of American history, nothing will. Griffin shows how Truman and his advisers and top generals, including Dwight Eisenhower and Admiral William D Leahy, Truman’s Chief of Staff, knew the dropping of the atomic bombs were unnecessary to end the war, but they did so anyway.

He reminds us of Clinton’s Secretary of State Madeline Albright’s response to the question whether she thought the deaths of more than 500, 000 Iraqi children as a result of Clinton’s crippling economic sanctions were worth it: “But, yes, we think the price is worth it”. (Notice the “is”, the ongoing nature of these war crimes, as she spoke.) But this is the woman who also said, “We are the indispensable nation. We stand tall …”

Griffin devotes other chapters to the creation of the Cold War, American imperialism during the Cold War, Post-Cold War interventions, the Vietnam War, the drive for global dominance, and false flag operations, among other topics.

As for false flag operations, he says, “Indeed, the trajectory of the American Empire has relied so heavily on these types of attacks that one could describe it as a false flag empire”. In the false flag chapter and throughout the book, he discusses many of the false flags the US has engaged in, including Operation Gladio, the US/Nato terrorist operation throughout Europe that Swiss historian Daniele Ganser has extensively documented, an operation meant to discredit communists and socialists. Such operations were directly connected to the OSS, the CIA and its director Allen Dulles, his henchman James Jesus Angleton, and their Nazi accomplices, such as General Reinhard Gehlen. In one such attack in 1980 at the Bologna, Italy railway station, these US terrorists killed 85 people and wounded 20 others. As with the bombs dropped by Saudi Arabia today on Yemeni school children, the explosive used was made for the US military. About these documented US atrocities, Griffin says:


These revelations show the falsity of an assumption widely held by Americans. While recognizing that the US military sometimes does terrible things to their enemies, most Americans have assumed that US military leaders would not order the killing of innocent civilians in allied countries for political purposes. Operation Gladio showed this assumption to be false.


He is right, but I would add that the leaders behind this were civilian, as much as, or more than military.

In the case of “Operation Northwoods”, it was the Joint Chiefs of Staff who presented to President Kennedy this false flag proposal that would provide justification for a US invasion of Cuba. It would have involved the killing of American citizens on American soil, bombings, plane hijacking, et cetera. President Kennedy considered such people and such plans insane, and he rejected it as such. His doing so tells us much, for many other presidents would have approved it. And again, how many Americans are aware of this depraved proposal that is documented and easily available? How many even want to contemplate it? For the need to remain in denial of the facts of history and believe in the essential goodness of America’s rulers is a very hard nut to crack. Griffin has written a dozen books about 11 September 2001, trying to do exactly that.

If one is willing to embrace historical facts, however, then this outstanding book will open one’s eyes to the long-standing demonic nature of the actions of America’s rulers. A reader cannot come away from its lucidly presented history unaffected unless one lives in a self-imposed fantasy world. The record is clear, and Griffin lays it out in all its graphic horror. Which is not to say that the US has not “done both good and bad things, so it could not sensibly be called purely divine or purely demonic”. Questions of purity are meant to obfuscate basic truths. And the question he asks in his subtitle – Divine or Demonic? – is really a rhetorical question, and when it comes to the “trajectory” of American history, the demonic wins hands down.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out one place where Griffin fails the reader. In his long chapter on Vietnam, which is replete with excellent facts and analyses, he makes a crucial mistake, which is unusual for him. This mistake appears in a four page section on President Kennedy’s policies on Vietnam. In those pages, Griffin relies on Noam Chomsky’s terrible book – Rethinking Camelot: JFK, the Vietnam War, and US Political Culture (1993), a book wherein Chomsky shows no regard for evidence or facts – to paint Kennedy as being in accord with his advisers, the CIA, and the military regarding Vietnam. This is factually false. Griffin should have been more careful and have understood this. The truth is that Kennedy was besieged and surrounded by these demonic people, who were intent on isolating him, disregarding his instructions, and murdering him to achieve their goals in Vietnam. In the last year of his life, JFK had taken a radical turn toward peace-making, not only in Vietnam, but with the Soviet Union, Cuba, and around the globe. Such a turn was anathema to the war lovers. Thus he had to die. Contrary to Chomsky’s deceptions, motivated by his hatred of Kennedy and perhaps something more sinister (he also backs the Warren Commission, thinks JFK’s assassination was no big deal and accepts the patently false official version of the attacks of 11 September 2001), Griffin should have emphatically asserted that Kennedy had issued NSAM 263 on October 11 1963 calling for the withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam, and that after he was assassinated a month later, Lyndon Johnson reversed that withdrawal order with NSAM 273. Chomsky notwithstanding, all the best scholarship and documentary evidence proves this. And for Griffin, a wonderful scholar, to write that with the change from Kennedy to Johnson that “this change of presidents would bring no basic change in policy” is so shockingly wrong that I imagine Griffin, a man passionate about truth, simply slipped up and got sloppy here. For nothing could be further from the truth.

Ironically, Griffin makes a masterful case for his thesis, while forgetting the one pivotal man, President John Kennedy, who sacrificed his life in an effort to change the trajectory of American history from its demonic course.

It is one mistake in an otherwise very important and excellent book that should be required reading for anyone who doubts the evil nature of this country’s continuing foreign policy. Those who are already convinced should also read it, for it provides a needed historical resource and impetus to help change the trajectory that is transporting the world toward nuclear oblivion if continued.

If – a fantastic wish! – The American Trajectory: Divine or Demonic? were required reading in American schools and colleges, perhaps a new generation would arise to change our devils into angels, the arc of America’s future moral universe toward justice, and away from being the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today, as it has been for so very long.


Amazon Censorship of 9/11 Unmasked?

by Edward Curtin

Dissedent Voice (September 16 2018)

On September 10 2018, I published a laudatory review of the new book, 9/11 Unmasked: An International Review Panel Investigation by David Ray Griffin and Elizabeth Woodworth. The review also appeared at many sites. It is the definitive book on the defining event of the 21st century. The book concludes that the official version(s) of the attacks of 11 September 2001 are false. The review was subsequently reposted at many publications. There was great reader response and interest in the book, which was due for official release the next day, 11 September. My review provided a link to the book’s Amazon page that noted the 11 September availability date.

By the next day, readers were responding in great number that the Amazon site was reporting the book was “out of print”, when, in fact, it had just been published. This “out of print” notification lasted until the evening of 13 September when it was changed to “in stock on September 30 2018”. By the following morning it was changed to “in stock on September 21 2018”, only to be changed again between 11 and 12 PM on September 14 to “in stock on September 24 2018”, only to be changed again to September 26 2018, only to be changed again on Sunday, September 16, as I write, to “In stock on September 28. It is unheard of for a book that has an official release date and that is available straight from the publisher to be listed as “out of print”. Amazon Canada continues to report that the book “has not yet been released”. And obviously, all the date changes that push the book’s availability back by weeks suggest a clear-cut effort by Amazon to make sure readers cannot obtain the book quickly and in a timely manner from the most popular source, if ever. Will they soon announce that the book will never be available for national security considerations or because it violates Amazon’s “content guidelines”? The book’s publisher, Interlink Publishing, is selling the book now and says Amazon has the books. So why is Jeff Bezos’s company playing this game? His other major business, The Washington Post (known as the CIA’s newspaper) is surely not going to review the book, nor would their editorial staff post encomiums to David Ray Griffin, Elizabeth Woodworth, their colleagues in this important research.

Readers should demand that Amazon immediately change their website and accept orders to be shipped today. Whether they are responsible for this game of chaotic discouragement or the intelligence services, who are fully capable of hacking into Amazon, as Edward Snowden has pointed out, I do not know. But something very odd is happening and Amazon should correct it.


Edward Curtin is a writer whose work has appeared widely. He teaches sociology at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. Read other articles by Edward, or visit Edward’s website.


9/11 Contradictions (2008) Summary and Conclusion

by David Ray Griffin

The official story of 9/11 is riddled with internal contradictions. In this book, we have examined 25 of them:

1. With regard to President Bush’s behavior in the Sarasota classroom: The story told by the White House on the first anniversary of 9/11, according to which Bush left the room immediately after being informed by Andrew Card of the second crash into the World Trade Center (“WTC”), was contradicted by video footage and reports of the event, which revealed that he remained much longer.

2. With regard to the time that Vice President Cheney entered the Presidential Emergency Operations Center (“PEOC“) under the White House: The 9/11 Commission’s claim, according to which he did not arrive there until almost 10:00 am, was contradicted by the testimony of many people, including Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta and even Cheney himself, according to which he arrived prior to the attack on the Pentagon.

3. With regard to Norman Mineta’s report of Cheney’s response to messages about an incoming flight prior to the Pentagon strike, which appeared to confirm a stand-down order: The 9/11 Commission contradicted Mineta’s account by stating that Cheney did not enter the PEOC until long after the Pentagon strike and by portraying the episode described by Mineta as having occurred after 10:10.

4. With regard to the question of who gave the order to land all planes: The claim by Norman Mineta and Jane Garvey that Mineta gave the order (in the presence of Dick Cheney) was contradicted by the 9/11 Commission, which attributed the decision to Ben Sliney.

5. With regard to the time at which Cheney issued the shoot-down authorization: The 9/11 Commission’s claim that Cheney did not give it until after 10:10 was contradicted by Richard Clarke and several military officers, who reported receiving it prior to the crash of United 93.

6. With regard to the location of General Richard Myers between 9:10 and 10:00 that morning: Myers’s own account, that he was in Senator Max Cleland’s office on Capitol Hill, was contradicted by Richard Clarke, who said that Myers was in the Pentagon participating in Clarke’s video conference.

7. With regard to where Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was between 9:10 and 9:40 am: Rumsfeld’s own account, according to which he was in his office, was contradicted by Richard Clarke, who said that Rumsfeld was in the Pentagon’s secure teleconferencing studio participating in Clarke’s video conference.

8. With regard to whether Ted Olson received two phone calls that morning from his wife, Barbara Olson, reporting that Flight 77 had been hijacked: Olson’s claim that he did is contradicted by the FBI report presented to the Moussaoui trial, according to which an attempted call from Barbara Olson to the Department of Justice was “unconnected” and hence lasted “0 seconds”. Olson’s claim that the calls were made from a passenger-seat phone was contradicted by American Airlines, which said that Flight 77 had no such phones.

9. With regard to the time at which the military was first notified by the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA“) about American Flight 11: The 9/11 Commission’s claim, that the first notification was at 8:38, was contradicted in 2002 by ABC programs, based on interviews with many of the principals involved in the military response, which said that the notification occurred at about 8:31, and by Colin Scoggins, the military liaison at the FAA’s Boston Center, whose account implies that the first call to the North Ease Air Defense
Sector (“NEADS“) occurred prior to 8:30.

10. With regard to the time at which the military was first notified about United Flight 175: The 9/11 Commission’s claim – that this notification did not come until 9:03 when the flight was crashing into the South Tower – was contradicted implicitly by the FAA’s memo of May 22 2003, and explicitly by the NORAD’s (North American Aerospace Defense Command) timeline of September 18 2001, and several military officers, including the NMCC’s (National Military Command Center) Brigadier General Montague Winfield and NORAD’s Captain Michael Jellinek.

11. With regard to the time at which the military was first notified about the hijacking of American Flight 77: The 9/11 Commission’s position, that the military was not notified until after the Pentagon was struck, was contradicted by NORAD’s September 18 timeline, by a New York Times story of September 15 2001, by the FAA’s 2003 memo, and by the deputy director of the Secret Service.

12. With regard to the time at which the military was first notified about United Flight 93: The 9/11 Commission’s claim, that the military did not learn about its hijacking until after it had crashed, was contradicted by NORAD’s 2001 timeline, by several White House officials (including Cheney) in 2002, by Richard Clarke, and by several military officers, including Colonel Robert Marr and Generals Larry Arnold and Montague Winfield.

13. With regard to the question of whether the US military had been in position to shoot down United 93: The 9/11 Commission’s claim, according to which it had not, was contradicted by Dick Cheney, Richard Clarke, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, and several military officers, including Colonel Robert Marr, General Richard Myers, Brigadier General Montague Winfield, Major General Mike Haugen, and Lieutenant Anthony Kuczynski.

14. With regard to whether 9/11-type attacks had previously been envisioned: The claim by the White House, the Pentagon, and the 9/11 Commission that they had not been envisioned was contradicted by many statements from government and military officials and by several reports of military exercises based around 9/11-type scenarios.

15. With regard to whether the men said to have hijacked the airliners, especially Mohamed Atta, were really devout Muslims: The 9/11 Commission’s claim that they were was contradicted by numerous reports of their sexual activities and their use of alcohol and drugs.

16. With regard to the question of where the treasure trove of evidence reportedly left by Mohamed Atta was found: The 9/11 Commission’s claim, that it was found in luggage that failed to make the transfer to American Flight 11 from the Portland-to-Boston commuter flight, was contradicted by news reports from the initial days after 9/11, according to which it was found in a Mitsubishi that Atta had left in the Logan Airport parking lot.

17. With regard to whether the presence of hijackers on the airliners was reported by passengers using cell phones to call relatives: The claim by the press and the 9/11 Commission that such calls were made was contradicted by the FBI report provided at the Moussaoui trial in 2006, which entailed that no passengers used cell phones to call relatives.

18. With regard to whether there is hard evidence of the responsibility of Osama bin Laden for the 9/11 attacks: The stance of the Bush administration and the 9/11 Commission, which have both spoken as if such evidence existed, is contradicted by the FBI, which does not list 9/11 as one of the terrorist acts for which bin Laden is wanted because, it has said, it has no hard evidence of his responsibility for 9/11.

19. With regard to whether Hani Hanjour could have flown American 77 into the Pentagon: The claim by the White House and the 9/11 Commission that he did so is contradicted by extensive evidence, reported by the mainstream press, that he did not have the skill to fly a single-engine airplane, let alone a large jet airliner, especially through the trajectory reportedly taken by American 77 in its final minutes.

20. With regard to the cause of the hole in the Pentagon’s C ring: The claim by Donald Rumsfeld and Lee Evey, that it was caused by the nose of American 77, has been contradicted by the Pentagon Building Performance Report, which said that the front of the aircraft disintegrated upon impact, and by Popular Mechanics, which claimed that the hole was made instead by the plane’s landing gear.

21. With regard to the identity of the plane spotted over the White House around the time of the Pentagon strike: The military’s denial that it was a military plane is contradicted by CNN footage of the plane’s flight, which showed, as former military officers have agreed, that it was an Air Force E-4B.

22. With regard to how Rudy Giuliani knew that the Twin Towers were going to collapse: His claim that there was a historical basis for expecting the towers to collapse was contradicted by numerous experts and evidently all the firefighters at the scene.

23. With regard to whether there were explosions in the Twin Towers beyond those that might have been caused by the fires and exploding jet fuel: The claim by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology
(“NIST“) and the 9/11 Commission that no such explosions occurred has been contradicted by numerous firefighters, emergency medical workers, WTC employees, and by television and newspaper reports on 9/11 and the following day.

24. With regard to whether there were explosions in WTC 7 beyond those that might have been caused by the fires: The claim by NIST and the 9/11 Commission that no such explosions occurred has been contradicted by journalists, emergency medical workers, policemen, and two city employees who had been in the building.

25. With regard to whether there was evidence in the WTC rubble that steel had melted: The claim by NIST that no such evidence was found has been contradicted by many professionals at the site and by three scientists who studied steel recovered from WTC 7 and one of the towers, reporting that it showed evidence of sulfidation, oxidation, and evaporation.

Shortly after 9/11, President Bush told the American people, perhaps especially Congress and the press, that they should not “tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories concerning the attacks of 11 September” {1}. Although we can probably all agree that such theories should be rejected, the meaning of the phrase “outrageous conspiracy theories about 9/11” may not be immediately self-evident.

One’s first reaction might be that the term “outrageous” does not serve to distinguish some conspiracy theories about 9/11 from others, because all such theories are outrageous. However, the official account of 9/11, which Bush was advocating, is itself a conspiracy theory. A conspiracy is simply “an agreement to perform together an illegal, treacherous, or evil act” {2}. A conspiracy theory about some event, therefore, is simply a theory that it resulted from such an agreement. According to the official account of the 9/11 attacks, they resulted from a conspiracy involving Osama bin Laden and several members of al-Qaeda. The official account is, accordingly, a conspiracy theory.

We must ask, therefore, what would make such a theory outrageous. What are the criteria?

Within the philosophy of science, there are two basic criteria for discriminating between good and bad theories. First, a theory should not be inconsistent with any of the relevant facts. Many critics of the official account of 9/11 have faulted it for not fulfilling this criterion. They have argued, for example, that the damage and fires resulting from the impact of two airliners cannot explain why the Twin Towers and WTC 7 collapsed.

But many journalists and politicians have felt unqualified to make judgments on such matters, which involve technical issues, such as how buildings react to being hit by planes and how steel behaves when it is heated.

The other basic criterion of good theories, however, does not require any technical expertise. It simply says that a theory must be self-consistent, devoid of any internal contradictions. If a theory contains an internal contradiction, it is an unacceptable theory. If it contained a large number of such contradictions, it would be an outrageous theory.

The official conspiracy theory about 9/11, containing at least 25 internal contradictions, is clearly an outrageous theory. And yet this theory has been used to justify attacks on two countries, which have caused over a million deaths, including the deaths of thousands of Americans. This theory has also been used to justify extraordinary rendition, torture, warrantless spying, the denial of habeas corpus, and a general undermining of the US Constitution.

Given the extraordinary developments that have been justified in the name of the official story about 9/11, Congress and the press need to ask if the many contradictions in this story point to its falsity.


{1} President George W. Bush, Address to the General Assembly of the United Nations, 10 November 2001 ( releases/2001/11/20011110-3.html).

{2} The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1969).

Preface to 9/11 Contradictions (2008)

by David Ray Griffin

The title of this book, 9/11 Contradictions, refers entirely to internal contradictions within the public story about 9/11. The book deals, in other words, with issues on which one person, agency, institution, or official body that has helped articulate the public story about 9/11 has contradicted another such person, agency, institution, or official body. In some cases, the contradiction is a self-contradiction, in which people contradict what they had said at an earlier time.

To give a few examples: In Chapter 1, we see that the White House has told two radically different stories about President Bush’s behavior in the classroom in Florida. The second and third chapters show that Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta’s testimony about Vice President Cheney’s whereabouts that morning contradicts the account given by the 9/11 Commission. In Chapter 7, the contradiction is between Richard Clarke, on the one hand, and Donald Rumsfeld and the 9/11 Commission, on the other. In Chapters 8 and 17, we see that two of the government’s claims – about Barbara Olson’s calls to Ted Olson and about evidence of Osama bin Laden’s responsibility for 9/11 – are contradicted by one of its own agencies, the FBI. Chapters 12 and 13 show that the 9/11 Commission’s main claims about United Flight 93, made in 2004, are contradicted by statements made in previous years by many US military officers. In Chapters 21 and 22, we see that statements made by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST“), which was given the task of explaining the destruction of the World Trade Center, are contradicted by numerous statements made by members of the Fire Department of New York.

In several chapters, the contradictions involve the mainstream media. (These contradictions are considered “internal” because the mainstream media, while perhaps challenging this or that detail of the story told by government officials, have supported all this story’s main elements.) Chapter 16, for example, shows that stories about cell phone calls from the flights, which have appeared in the media from the beginning, were contradicted by the FBI’s report on phone calls from the four flights, which was presented at the Moussaoui trial in 2006.

As its subtitle indicates, this book is addressed to Congress and the press. It is especially suitable for them for two reasons.

In the first place, most reporters and members of Congress are busy people, with little time to study complex issues. This book, besides being easy to read, requires no technical expertise in order to form a judgment about the issues involved.

Most other books about 9/11 revolve around various matters – such as FAA and military procedures, the conditions needed to cause steel-frame buildings to collapse, and the kind of damage that would be caused by an airliner striking the Pentagon – about which most people do not feel equipped to make a judgment.

In the present book, by contrast, no judgments requiring expertise are required, because each chapter revolves around a simple contradiction, which anyone can recognize. If Jones says “P” and Smith says “not P”, we can all recognize that something must be wrong, because both statements cannot be true.

In the second place, many members of Congress and the press have been reluctant to look into any possible difficulties about the public story for fear of being labeled “conspiracy theorists”. Although this may be unfortunate, it is understandable, because the most important asset of both journalists and politicians is their credibility. If they lose that, they lose their effectiveness, even their jobs. We can understand, therefore, that they are unwilling to risk being saddled with the dreaded “conspiracy theorist” label – one of the surest ways to lose credibility – by showing sympathy with people questioning the official account of what happened on 9/11.

Why is this – that anyone questioning the official story is almost automatically labeled a conspiracy theorist? It is because in most critical treatments of 9/11, the official account is rejected in favor of an alternative theory, which usually involves the idea that the 9/11 attacks resulted from a conspiracy within our own government.

The present book, however, contains no theory about what really happened. It provides simply an exposition of various facts. If Mineta said “P”, that is a fact. If the 9/11 Commission said “not P”, that is a fact. And it is a fact that “P” and “not P” cannot both be true.

Here, then, is the point of this book: 9/11 has clearly been the most important event in recent history. The accepted story about 9/11 has been used to increase military spending, justify wars, restrict civil liberties, and exalt the executive branch of the government. And yet there are serious contradictions within this accepted story: this book documents 25 of them. The existence of so many contradictions within such an important story is intolerable. Congress and the press are the two principal institutions with the power and the responsibility for looking into such matters.

This book is intended as a tool to help them fulfill this responsibility.

In doing the research for this book, I relied most heavily on the Complete 911 Timeline produced by Cooperative Research. This timeline, drawn entirely from stories in the mainstream press, aspires to identify and, when possible, provide links to all reports dealing with events related to the attacks of 9/11. This timeline, which is surely one of the greatest journalistic feats of all time, is an indispensable resource for serious discussions of 9/11. Many of the chapters in this book would have been simply impossible without it.

I also relied heavily on the help of three wonderfully unselfish people: Matthew Everett of England, who is one of the managers of the Complete 9/11 Timeline; Elizabeth Woodworth of British Columbia, a writer and former research librarian; and Tod Fletcher of California, who would regularly spot problems the rest of us had overlooked. These three individuals, besides improving this book immensely with their good advice and proofreading skills, alerted me to the existence of dozens of reports I would have otherwise missed. Insofar as this book is easy to read and its references are useful to other researchers by virtue of being complete and up to date, gratitude should be directed primarily toward them.

Enormous additional thanks go to Elizabeth: after serving as my virtual assistant in the production of this book, she did most of the work for the preparation of the index.

I also wish to thank Hilary Plum of Interlink Books, for excellent work in editing this book, and my wife, Ann Jaqua, making it possible, in so many ways, for me to engage in the research and writing required for this book.

Advance Praise for

9/11 Contradictions (2008)

by David Ray Griffin



When the smoke finally cleared from the pile of rubble on September 11,2001, we were left with a host of burning questions. The 9/11 Commission did not provide the answers, despite their extensive mandate. 9/11 Contradictions is a work that needed to be written. With characteristic clarity and focus, David Ray Griffin masterfully lays out the most critical of these questions. Now the challenge is to finally get real answers.

– Lorie Van Auken, widow of Kenneth Van Auken, who was killed at WTC 1 on 9/11/01, and member of the Family Steering Committee for the 9/11 Commission


So who cares that the 9/11 Commission chose to believe that Dick Cheney did not enter the White House bunker until “shortly before 10:00, perhaps at 9:58”, twenty minutes after the strike on the Pentagon. Surely the vice president would not fib, so the Commission threw out the testimony of several eyewitnesses, including Norman Mineta, the transportation secretary. Mineta must have been making it all up when he testified that he joined Cheney in the bunker at about 9:20 and heard Cheney reaffirm an apparent stand-down order just before the Pentagon was struck. Such conflicting testimony is typical of the many serious 9/11 Contradictions documented in David Ray Griffin’s highly readable book. We need a truly independent investigation to put Cheney and Mineta under oath, along with the still unidentified “young man” who, Mineta reported, kept coming into the bunker and, after telling Cheney “the plane is ten miles out”, asked Cheney whether “the orders still stand” – about twelve minutes before 125 people in the Pentagon were killed. What were those orders?

– Ray McGovern, former CIA analyst and presidential briefer


9/11 attacks became the excuse for myriad disastrous changes in US foreign and domestic policy, unraveling the true history of those events is the paramount exigency of our times. By virtue of pointing out an astonishing number of irreconcilable contradictions in the official story of 9/11, David Ray Griffin’s 9/11 Contradictions is a must read, not only for the Congress and the press, but also for anyone concerned about the truth, because those contradictions suggest that we have not yet been told the truth about 9/11.

– David L Griscom, research physicist, Fellow of the American Physical Society, retired from the Naval Research Laboratory


David Ray Griffin is America’s bulldog on 9/11. His demand that the amazing contradictions in the story be explained resonates with millions of people.

– Paul Craig Roberts, former associate editor of The Wall Street Journal and assistant secretary of the US Treasury during the Reagan administration


This book describes in very straightforward and non-technical terms some major inconsistencies in the government’s official story about the events on September 11 2001. It points out many attempts in the 9/11 Commission’s report to cover up evidence … As an engineer, I am especially troubled by the cover-up of evidence relevant to the collapse of the three major World Trade Center buildings. I hope that Congress and the public will heed this call for a full and impartial investigation to determine what really did happen on that fateful day.

– Jack Keller, emeritus professor of engineering at Utah State University and member of the National Academy of Engineering


The Congress and the press may not pay attention, but this scholarly yet accessible analysis is must reading for Americans concerned about good government and effective democracy. Every reader will reach the only logical conclusion: 9/11 truth is not yet known.

– Joel S Hirschhorn, former official at the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and author of Delusional Democracy: Fixing the Republic Without Overthrowing the Government (2006)



According to Saint Timothy, “God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind”. In 9/11 Contradictions, David Ray Griffin, demonstrating once again what a fearless spirit and powerful mind can do, shows the official account of 9/11 to be so riddled with contradictions as to be essentially worthless.

– Catherine Austin Fitts, assistant secretary of housing in the George H W Bush administration

Tensions Grow as China, Russia, and Iran …

Lead the Way Towards a New Multipolar World Order

by Federico Pieraccini

Strategic Culture Foundation (September 24 2018)


Military and economic tensions are increasing due to the ramped up warlike stance of the US establishment. The impossibility of halting the shifting world order in favour of prolonging the unipolar moment has left the US deep state reaching for any available weapon at hand, taking no heed of the dangers and consequences of such a reckless foreign policy.


With the province of Idlib ever closer to being liberated from terrorists by the Syrian Arab Army (“SAA“), the tensions between the US and Syria (and Syria’s allies) are rising. Every significant military campaign by the SAA seems to be accompanied by the usual alarms and false reports emanating from the Western media and governments warning of an imminent (staged) use of chemical weapons by the SAA. Tensions are rising as several American voices, including that of the President, have expressed the desire to strike Syria over any alleged use of chemical weapons, without even waiting for any independent verification. Threats by the US, the UK, and France to bomb Russian troops in Syria are voiced every day on Western media. The insanity is reaching disturbing levels.

These developments in Syria appear to be accompanied by the persistent attempts of Ukraine and the United States to sabotage the Minsk agreements, re-igniting the conflict in order to blame it on Russia. The assassination of Aleksandr Zakharchenko, the charismatic leader of the Donetsk People’s Republic (“DPR“), killed a few days ago in a terrorist attack, should be seen in this light.

More false accusations against Moscow, this time of having poisoned former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in the UK, follow on from allegations of Moscow interfering in the US presidential election. Added to this situation of rising tensions between great powers are the constant threats, together with economic and financial warfare, directed at Iran by Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United States.

It is not surprising that, given this context, the Russian Federation has just carried out the greatest military exercise in its history. The Vostok 2018 military exercise is extensively described by TASS:


The Vostok 2018 troop exercises have started in Russia’s Far East. Taking part in the drills are about 300,000 Russian troops, over 1,000 aircraft, helicopters, and unmanned aerial vehicles, up to 36,000 tanks, armored personnel carriers and other vehicles, up to eighty ships and supply vessels. Exercises similar in scale have not been held since 1981 when the Zapad-81 drills that involved about 100,000 troops were held in the Soviet Union’s Belarusian, Kiev, and Baltic Military Districts and in the Baltic Sea.


It should not come as a surprise that the People’s Republic of China has sent thousands of men and materiel to participate in the exercise, sending a clear message to Washington and the West. As the West’s warmongering continues, this widely controversial article in The Atlantic came out and provides the following hint:


The inclusion of a relatively small Chinese contingent in this year’s edition [Vostok 2018 military exercise] is not quite the signal of a military alliance that some see, but it has certainly made the West take notice. It’s hard to escape the symbolism when as Russian and Chinese troops were training together, Putin and Xi Jinping were holding a summit and pledging closer business and political cooperation. At a time when Washington and Europe have tried to isolate Moscow diplomatically, this is clearly intended as a message that Putin is still capable of making connections with countries not willing to follow the West.


The Eastern Economic Forum held in Vladivostok marks yet another significant point in the new Sino-Russian strategy to isolate and limit Western-induced chaos, strengthen the support for countries affected in one way or another by Washington, and expand cooperation in every direction possible. The economic ties between the two countries’ production systems deserve attention, especially in light of future agreements between the industrial giants of the two countries. The partnership is broad and goes far beyond the territories of Russia and China. Technological cooperation is expanding in regions such as Africa and South East Asia, often symbiotically offering important agreements to third countries. Civil nuclear energy and arms sales seem to be Moscow’s speciality, just as generous loans and joint development of basic resources (hospitals, schools, water networks, sewerage, motorways, ports) are Beijing’s. Such offers of assistance are important for capturing not only the attention of Third World countries keen to break free from the West’s colonial chains, but also of those countries that need to transition quickly into the new multipolar world order.

An example is Japan, with Abe also present in Vladivostok, exploring ways to balance the Chinese expansion in Asia. In reality, such a reading belongs very much to the Western way of thinking, in which everything must be seen in zero-sum terms. What many in the West struggle to understand, especially among European and American journalists and analysts, is how Washington’s attitude over recent years is actually serving to push together the four Euro-Asian giants of China, Russia, Japan, and India. While maintaining sometimes strong ties with the West, the trend is decidedly different from the past. Abe was in discussion with Putin to sign the long-awaited peace agreement between the two countries. India seems increasingly anxious to expand its strategic independence, especially from an energy point of view, cooperating with Iran and ignoring Western sanctions, and from a military standpoint, buying the S-400 air defence system.

In general, a multipolar environment of international relations already prevails in vast areas of the planet, both from a military and economic standpoint. De-dollarization appears to be an inevitable trend for the purposes of achieving significant economic sovereignty, thereby avoiding the vulnerability of US-dollar blackmail as a destabilization tool used by Washington and the Federal Reserve. With an imminent economic crisis in the West, fuelled and exacerbated by more than ten years of artificially printed money (quantitative easing), an economic prophylactic is a priority for Washington’s declared rivals (Iran, China, Russia). The consequences for the international financial system could be much more serious than the two previous crises of 1929 and 2008, especially according to Chris Hedge in his recent analysis.

Unprecedented joint military exercises, economic cooperation as a means of diversification, strategic partnerships – these have become normal in Eurasia, especially for Russia, China, and Iran, who continue to advance their formula for overcoming the chaos wrought by Washington and her Israeli and Saudi sidekicks. The prevailing modus operandi of Western policy-makers for countries they cannot control seems to be to sic onto them the dogs of chaos and destabilization in order to destroy them. This can be seen, for example, in the assassination of Zakharchenko in eastern Ukraine (Donbass) by the Kiev junta, probably even employing elements of Daesh or al Qaeda; the same tools used by the US in the Middle East to sow chaos.

The situation is not different in Syria, with Washington, London, and Paris intent on stopping the liberation of Idlib, a remaining pocket containing thousands of Al Qaeda-affiliated terrorists. Seventeen years after September 11th 2001, the United States unstintingly supports the terrorists who, according to the official story, killed thousands of its own civilians on home soil.

Logic and reason seem to have been abandoned long ago in Washington’s decision-making, even more so given that Trump has completely renounced all his electoral promises regarding foreign policy. The rapprochement with Moscow is now a distant mirage; the special relationship between Xi Jinping and Trump is just the latter’s propaganda, anxious as he is to reach an agreement with the DPRK and show some example of success to his base.

The logic of imposing more than $200 billion in tariffs on Chinese products, and then asking for strong support from Beijing in mediation with Pyongyang, seems more like the moves of a desperate person rather than those of an amateur. Even historical allies like South Korea, Pakistan, India, and Turkey, as repeatedly stressed recently, fear Washington’s irrationality and politics of “America First” and are running for cover. They are diversifying energy resources and ignoring American diktats, buying armaments from Russia, cooperating with China in large infrastructure projects to connect the vast Eurasian continent, and participating in economic and financial forums to diversify funding and cooperate on a new and industrial level.

Indeed, the strategic triangle that emerges between Tehran, Beijing, and Moscow, seems to draw all the neighbouring countries into a large geopolitical waltz. A transition to a multipolar reality brings many advantages to Washington’s allies, but it also brings many tensions with American oligarchs. The example of the sale of the S-400 in Ankara is an important wake-up call for the oligarchs of the American military-industrial complex, who see a potential loss in revenue. In the same way, the creation of an alternative system to SWIFT strongly reduces the centrality of American banking institutions and thus their political weight. We must also keep in mind Sino-Russian actions in Africa, which are progressively breaking the chains of Western neo-colonialism, thereby freeing African countries to pursue a more balanced foreign policy focused on their national interests.

This transition phase that we have been living in over the last few years will continue for some time. Like an already written script, the trend is easily discernible to a lucid mind free of Western propaganda. Erdogan certainly is not a person to be completely trusted, and the talks in Astana should be understood in this light, especially if viewed from the Russian-Iranian point of view. Yet such cooperation opens the door to an unprecedented future, although at present Astana seems more like an alternative to a bloody war between countries in Syria than a conversation between allies. Syria’s future will unavoidably see the country’s territorial integrity maintained, thanks to allies who are now disengaged from the Western system and are gravitating around centers of power opposed to Washington, namely Beijing, Moscow, and Tehran.

The reconstruction of the country will bypass western sanctions and bring significant amounts of money to the country. In the same way Iraq, once under the rule of a dictator friendly to Washington, today openly and genuinely collaborates with Moscow, and especially Tehran, in defeating the Wahhabi proxies of Riyadh, an American ally.

The economic battle serves to complete the picture, with European allies forced to suffer huge economic losses as a result of sanctions against Russia and Iran. The tariffs on trade, especially to countries like Turkey, Japan, and South Korea (although it seems that this proposal was intentionally sabotaged by a collaborator within the Trump administration), are further serving to push US allies to explore alternatives in terms of trust and cooperation.

China and Russia have seized the opportunities, offering through adroit diplomacy military, industrial, and economic proposals that are drawing Washington’s historical allies into a new political reality where there is less space for Washington’s diktats.

The European establishment in some Western countries like Germany, France, and the UK seems to have decided to wait out Trump (this torture perhaps brought to an early end through a palace coup). But many others have instead intuited what is really happening in the West. Two factions are fighting each other, but still within the confines of a shared worldview that sees the United States as the only benevolent world power, and the likes of China and Russia as rivals that need to be contained. In such a difficult situation to manage, well-known leaders like Modi, Abe, Moon Jae-In, and Erdogan are starting to take serious steps towards exploring possible alternatives to an exclusive alliance with the United States, that is, towards experiencing the benefits of a multipolar-world environment.

It is not just a question for these countries of breaking the strategic alliance with the United States. This aspect will probably not change for several years, especially in countries that have enormous military and economic ties with Washington. The path that South Korea, Turkey, and Japan appear to be taking is deeply rooted in the concept of Multipolarity, which diversifies international relations, allowing countries to shop around to find the best opportunities. It is therefore not surprising to see the Japanese prime minister and the Russian president discussing at the economic forum in Vladivostok the possibility of signing a historic peace treaty. In the same way, if Turkey suffers a double political and economic attack from the US, it should not surprise us if they decide to purchase the S-400 defense system from Russia or start a full-fledged campaign to de-dollarize. Such examples could be repeated, but the case of South Korea stands out. There is no need for Seoul to wait for Washington to mess things up diplomatically with Pyongyang before discussing the rebirth of relations between the two countries. Seoul is anxious to seize the opportunity for a renewed dialogue between leaders and solve the Korean impasse as much as possible. Finally, India, which has no intention of losing the opportunity for an economic partnership with Beijing and a military one with Moscow, launched the basis for a multi-party discussion between the Eurasian powers on the Afghan situation that has caused so much friction with Islamabad, especially with the new political phase that Imran Khan’s victory as Pakistan’s prime minister promises.

Washington faces all these scenarios with skepticism, annoyance, and disgust, fearing losing important countries and its ability to determine the regional balance around the planet. What fascinates many analysts is the stubbornness and stupidity of US policy-makers. The more they try to prolong the US unipolar moment, the more incentive they give to other countries to jump on the multipolar bandwagon.

Even countries that probably have deep ties with the United States on an oligarchic level will have no alternative other than to modify and redesign their strategic alliances over the next thirty years. The United States continues along the path of diplomatic arrogance and strategic stupidity, mired in a civil war among its elites, with no end in sight.

Each scenario involving the US now has to be viewed with two factors in mind: not just the attempt to maintain an imperialist posture, but also an internal struggle involving its elites. This adds a further level of confusion for America’s allies and the world in general, who strain to decipher the next moves of a deep state totally out of control.


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