Monday, February 05, 2007

The two kinds of conspiracies

The CIA rendition teams sent to Milan and Munich were similar:

  1. both were rather large (26 identified in Milan and 13 in Munich);
  2. both lived the high life in luxury hotels while they awaited their respective missions;
  3. both (mostly) used fake identities;
  4. both showed deplorably sloppy tradecraft, making it easy for local authorities to track them down;
  5. both committed the crime of kidnapping as part of the rendition process.

The 9–11 hijacking crew was also large (19), lived more frugally than the CIA agents (but also had bouts of excess), used fake identities, were very sloppy (but less so than the CIA agents), and were in place preparing to commit a crime.  The differences seem to be connected with the fact that the rendition missions were conducted outside of the United States, leading to a reduced need for building walls between American officialdom and its thug employees.

I don’t want to over-generalize, but there was a sea change in the conduct of American conspiracies after Iran-Contra.  It became apparent that it was impossible to claim any kind of plausible deniability if the apprehended conspirators were government employees, or obviously working for government employees.  Ollie North was dangerously close to Reagan-Bush.  People went to jail, or almost went to jail.  The old method of ‘hiding in plain sight’ by having the media cast a trail of disinformation was no longer safe.  It was thus decided to contract out the actual workings of the conspiracies.  The conspirators in government would hire a third party contractor to hire the criminals and run the operation.   If anyone was caught, there would be no easy way to tie the conspiracy back to anyone in the American government.  I note that the history of this idea goes back to using organized crime to commit crimes for government agents, a method which didn’t always work very well.

The opening attempt at the new kind of conspiracy was the first attack on the World Trade Center.  The contracting out worked, but FBI connection to the conspiracy led to a lot of questions being asked.  A more successful example was Oklahoma City, but again it took intentional blindness by the mainstream media to avoid seeing the many inconsistencies in the Official Story.  Andy Strassmeier was a loose end that was dealt with by just ignoring him.  Timothy McVeigh was, however, your classic ‘new conspiracy’ employee, with no obvious links to anyone important.

By the time we got to September 11, they had polished up the workings of the second kind of conspiracy.  There were still a lot of problems, which were dealt with by having the mainstream media avoid looking too closely (Hopsicker reports that Florida witnesses were told by the FBI not to talk to anyone about what they knew).  The key point of the ‘new conspiracy’ remains that there is no way to connect any of the identified criminals with any government authorities.  The wall is created by having a contractor run the conspiracy.

The JFK assassination isn’t a good model for understanding September 11, as it is the main example of the old kind of conspiracy.  The CIA rendition teams in Milan and Munich are closer to the old model, sloppy and easy to tie back to the American government, probably because nobody in the United States feared any domestic political consequences if the conspirators were caught.

The new model conspiracy is a tough nut to crack, but not impossible.  It has to be attacked by professional investigators working from both ends.  With the exception of the small amount of money sent to Atta in order to implicate Pakistan, we have no real information about the mechanics of how the conspiracy was funded.  People make mistakes, and a proper forensic operation may be able to tie the funding back to a specific military or intelligence contractor.  At the same time, we know who the high-level government conspirators are, based on the results flowing from the attack and the motives for the attack (they are not just in the Bush Administration, but constitute the continuity of neoconservatism in American government which we didn’t realize existed until recently).  Using a matrix tying these people to specific figures in the contracting community should allow a list of suspects to be created, which can then be compared to any information discovered about funding, and any information concerning the real identities of the hijackers and their past associates and employment history.  It is not too late for a professional police team to do a proper investigation, but where is the political will to make it happen?