Return to Washington D.C., September 11, 2006
Part II: Journey to the Belly of the Beast
An encounter with our beloved and betrayed comtemporary Rome
and an inquiry into saving civilization from the madness of our government
© Brian O’Leary, Ph.D., September 2006
Amtrak train #111 pulled into Union Station at 8:50 am on 9/11/06. This was my first proactive mission to our nation’s capital in over eighteen years. The seductive multilevel consumer layout in the station was thriving with Guccis and Puccis, sushi and scones, Starbucks and Swaroski crystal. The majestic Roman arches and columns completed an image which, during my last active years in Washington two to three decades ago were just in the making, then a largely empty space housing a few ticket booths and newsstands. If you were there at night, you’d see a few vagrants and policemen acting out their eternal conflict.
On this journey my wife Meredith and I feared for my life. After all, I am a seasoned war protester and a new energy advocate, a thorn in the Bush agenda on all sorts of lists, and recent foreign resident to get away from a lot of this. Many of my colleagues have been murdered, I once was almost murdered, so this return was not without its intrigue. Would I be arrested? Would the orange alert then in effect be increased to a red alert, a terrorist attack or martial law? Would I be followed, mugged, poisoned, shot, bombed or nuked? These thoughts ranged from a self-reflection of a sober reality projection to one of paranoia. But it was too late, we were there. I must fulfill my mission.
Walking through the morning drizzle to the van of one of the video crews for my protest gigs, we headed off to the National Press Club, where various press conferences commemorating the fifth anniversary of 9/11 were underway.
The first one we entered was a small and animated crew of 9/11 truth-seekers, researchers who just don’t buy the official story of the 9/11 Commission Report (based on my own extensive research, I don’t buy it either). The panel of experts included former Bush administration Treasury Department official and economics professor Morgan Reynolds, former Pentagon Star Wars colonel Robert Bowman (recently nominated for a Democratic U.S. congressional seat from Florida), author Jim Marrs and an enclave of young activists with black T-shirts. None of the mainstream media was to be found within 100 feet of this truth-fest, they were so bought out and tunnel-visioned and inclined to dismiss us all as conspiracy theorists (while their own acceptance of the official version is itself a wild conspiracy theory).
The latest books on the table of this countercultural gathering included David Ray Griffin’s latest “The Christian Faith and the Truth about 9/11” and “9/11 and American Empire: Intellectuals Speak Out”. Both books are eye-openers. Griffin, a prolific professor emeritus of theology and philosophy at the California Claremont colleges has assembled the most comprehensive and scholarly treatment of 9/11 to date. Griffin and other notable intellectuals have concluded that the physical, eyewitness, video, confessional, circumstantial and motivational evidence of this great tragedy clearly points to its orchestration by elements within the Bush administration as a pretext for launching the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They also needed an excuse to discard the Constitution and Bill of Rights in favor of a totalitarian superpower. Griffin goes on to describe the moral implications of such an unconscionable crime committed by some of “us” and the actions we’ll need to take as spiritual beings wishing to end the tyranny.
To me, even the possibility that our own government either did it or allowed it is but another escalation of outrage within my heart on how our unelected leaders can become mass murderers and torturers, controllers of the world’s oil, destroyers of the environment, thieves of the public treasury, and guardians of a corporatocracy that keeps us in fear, as they ever further consolidate their power and money. We’ll return to this most important point.
My next D.C. post was in front of two American flags in the lobby of the National Press Club for a couple of interviews on alternative TV. This was an interesting location because hundreds of besuited mainstream journalists filed by, some condescendingly gazing at my impromptu gig. They were headed for the real gig: a press conference held by 9/11 Commission co-chairs Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, still peddling their own outrageous conspiracy theory that the whole job was done by nineteen Arab terrorists with box-cutters hijacking four planes under the direction of Osama bin Laden.
I reflected at the robotic obsequiousness of the press personalities as they filed in between me and the camera. I wanted to reclaim the flags behind me so abused by King George’s multiple flags behind his war-talk…and most of all, that that flag has probably become a “false flag” underlying 9/11. I felt ambivalent during the interview about the overuse and subsequent desecration of the flag by Bush-Cheney in their numerous neo-fascist appearances and wondered if that flag will go the way of Hitler’s swastika. It was a miracle we weren’t kicked out. I guess my astronaut credential helped.
Then it was time to hop a taxi to have a meeting with Rep. Dennis Kucinich to discuss coming legislation to support new energy development. Kucinich, one of the few visionaries in Congress, understands the importance of reallocating the weaponization of the world and space to true solutions to the global energy-environment crisis. I’ll be reporting much more of this silver lining in the near future.
9/11 Speech in Lafayette Park
The climax of our day in D.C. was speaking at a 9/11 truth rally in Lafayette Park right in front of the White House. About thirty others mostly wearing black T-shirts cheered as I delivered a speech, the text of which follows:
“My fellow citizens, I have returned to Washington to protest and petition my government for the outrageous criminal actions they have performed against we the people. I have a fifty-year history with this city having played many roles, as a graduate student, as a space scientist, as a high school math teacher, as an astronaut, as a professor of science policy, as a Vietnam War protester, as a congressional aide and speechwriter, as a citizen diplomat, as a truth-teller about our militaristic space policies.
There is a tyrant living in La Casa Blanca (I point to the White House behind me). We must find all means possible to remove him from power. He doesn’t deserve to be there. He wasn’t even elected—TWICE.
Regarding 9/11 and other secret operations, we demand the truth. WE WANT THE TRUTH, WE WANT THE TRUTH, WE WANT THE TRUTH!
Are any of you around here working for the government and know there’s something wrong here? Are you willing to risk your job and blow the whistle? Now that’s being a true patriot!
Are any of you here working for the CIA, NSA, DIA, or FBI? Raise your hands please, don’t be shy, you’re welcome here. All I ask is, do you really want this job? Do you want to experience a new freedom from the shackles of money and power? Then join us! That’s what’s meant by freedom and democracy.
Our new agenda must go far beyond removing these tyrants from power and getting the truth and stopping the criminal wars and recovering our rights as citizens. We need a new agenda to create a peaceful, just and sustainable Earth. Our survival depends on it.
If some of you still believe we must respect and follow this self-styled, illegitimate “president”, let’s hear from some past real presidents:
‘I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of moneyed corporations, which dare already challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country.’
‘To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.’
‘The truth is that liberty is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to the point where it becomes stronger than that of their democratic state itself. That, in essence, is Fascism.’
‘In the councils of Government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the Military Industrial Complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together.’
‘To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else.’
‘The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.’
‘The only way to win World War III is to prevent it.’
‘The issue today is the same as it has been throughout all history, whether man shall be allowed to govern himself or be ruled by a small elite.’
My friends, what is happening now is the very thing these former presidents feared the most: a fascist takeover of everything dear to us, with the added crime of killing off the planet itself. We must start a revolution, and this is the time and place to announce that intention. To do any less is to sell our souls to the devil and to destroy our civilization.
So, my fellow citizens, I’ve come to Washingon today to join you in striking old roots and planting new seeds.
We need not only to take back Washington and restore the republic and our Constitution as the law of the land.
We are not only creating a movement of movements.
We are not only encouraging whistleblowers to risk their jobs and come forward with the truth.
We are not only pressing for impeachment and removal from office the tyrants in the Bush administration.
We vow never to vote for anyone who supports war and most of the Bush agenda.
We must remember that this regime was not even elected. They don’t deserve to be here. (points to the White House)
Every time the media equates “Bush” to the “U.S.”, every time the media equates us citizens with what they call the “U.S.” as if the controlling cabal’s foreign (and domestic) policy decisions represent the will of the people, our standing in the world falls another notch. I do not acknowledge this myth and do not recognize this cabal in charge as the legitimate government of the United States. The growing realization of this truth will give us the space to organize a new, peaceful visionary agenda.
I personally have spent about half of my fifty adult years in Washington. On one of my more recent visits, while walking along a sidewalk in front of the Senate Office buildings, I fell into unprotected wet cement. This taught me many valuable lessons beyond the obvious one, “watch where you’re going.” This embarrassing experience showed me which steps we might take to restore the republic:
Be willing to confront our fear of entrapment,
There are many recent successful models for creating nonviolent positive change in our policies: citizen diplomacy, which helped create a friendship with our former enemies in Russia, and the efforts of fearless peace warriors such as Mahatma Gandhi who successfully fended off the British Empire, Martin Luther King who restored civil rights to the poor, and Nelson Mandela, who led the abolition of apartheid in South Africa through the process of Truth and Reconciliation.
We not only need to recover our own Constitution. We also need to draft a manifesto for peace, sustainability and justice as a template, a declaration of interdependence to precede the drafting of worldwide constitutional system that includes the relevant features of the current constitution and brought up to date to deal with our contemporary tyrannies, opportunities and restoring power to we the people.
In this process, we need to do more than clean house. We need to both restore the original house and build new houses.
Our agenda must be visionary.
We must include bold Apollo-type programs to develop clean energy, exploring the full
We must create those structures that foster peace and end war, torture and illegal detention.
We must provide for continuing support for those displaced in moving from a war economy to a domestic peace economy.
We must find new ways to control the greed of large corporations.
We must restore and enforce the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
We must ensure honest elections and eliminate private campaign financing.
We must provide health care and environmental protection and disaster relief for all.
We must make new friends of enemies.
We must stop illegal surveillance of citizens.
We must end huge military budgets.
We must bring the National Guard home where they’re needed.
We must require that the budget be balanced.
We must decouple from imperialistic economic policies and institutions such as the
But most of all, our new agenda should require that we apologize to those who have been victims of our aggression. We should work with all nations to form a global green
Thank you and may peace, justice and sustainability prevail!”
Escape from the Eye of the Storm
And so after greeting some of the thirty stalwart protesters, Meredith and I retreated across Lafayette Park and hopped a taxi back to Union Station, wondering why things seemed so calm here in the center of action. Civil servants, ordinary people and traffic milled around the streets and the police force was thin. No obvious CIA agents were lurking about.
On the surface, everything seemed genteel, mannerly, dressy, a reverie of the tranquility of the palace I had experienced when some of us Vietnam protesters in 1970 were invited into the White House. Somehow that deceptive quiet had now spread to all of official Washington. Business-as-usual prevailed. This time we were among thirty protesters instead of the 100,000 in 1970. No mainstream media came out for this protest. In 1970, I was interviewed on the lead story of CBS Evening News.
The city seemed to be drugged out of reality as the worst violence was being unleashed from right here upon our less fortunate fellow humans in remote places, the murder of animals and the planet itself, these criminal actions perpetuated in our name. The policymakers surrounding the Mall stretching from Foggy Bottom to Congress and the Supreme Court, from the Pentagon and the White House with their illegitimate occupants, were corrupting our souls through a massive war on the world, here at the nexus of distracted consumerism, while the revolutionaries preferred to stay home. It was unreal.
The one consolation was that all this was recorded on video. Then it occurred to me that most of the 9/11 Truth folks have retreated to their computers to haul in the latest piece of research that will nail Bush. As important as that may be, it won’t change things. These people need to join the thirty others and keep multiplying so the streets are filled and we cannot be ignored. Ironically, that’s why my gig was curiously “safe” yet marginalized. But it’s often said that the opposite of love is not hate, but apathy. You could cut the apathy in Washington that day with a knife.
Underneath this genteel passiveness lies a Roman force so globally massive it sometimes feel like it’s a lost cause, that that nuke will drop at any moment so why not whoop it up, eat drink and be merry. Go to that special French restaurant on K Street as a trough of lobbying, or at least have a sushi or scone at Union Station while awaiting the train back to New York.
Peeling the Onion of Truth
We’ve had a coup d’etat, after a buildup of at least decades marked by a disastrous foreign policy, greed, militarism and environmental neglect. Symbolically we can mark the precipitous decline of the American Empire at the start of this millennium, at the time Bush was illegally selected to be president in December of 2000. In January 2001 he was crowned King of the World during a lavish inauguration party hosted by his buddy Ken Lay of Enron. Soon after, Cheney met with his infamous energy task force made up mostly of oil, coal and natural gas plutocrats and their financial cronies, carving up the world for neo-conservative fascist invasions soon to come.
The neoconservatives, now in power, had always craved for wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, increased military spending, deploying weapons in space, and backing out of treaties. As their published writings have clearly shown, they desperately needed a pretext. That pretext was obviously provided by 9/11.
Whoever did 9/11, we can say that only two elite groups benefited: a small selection of Muslim extremists, but much more, the Bush administration itself and its corporate and political cronies, who have pocketed trillions. They won this one, and even if all morality and sensibility points to their guilt, they’ve still won, even if they’re on their own suicide mission to end their own careers in dramatic sacrifice for the greater greed. Halliburton has already won. It’s just too bad the rest of us have been bilked by the extremists.
It’s time to remove them from office and have a coup d’etat of the coup d’etat. One scenario is impeachment, which would definitely have to take place with a Democratic Congressional majority in early ‘07. But most of the Democrats are spineless and join the elite arrogance of the sole superpower, ever decaying, while most of there rest of us still alive on Earth are crying out for big change.
But even that obvious step might not happen because of the notorious voting machines. Right now, 77% of Americans don’t want to re-elect their representatives or Senators anyway. Anarchy sometimes feels better than the current scenario of control by the elite and their media mouthpieces.
But the only lasting solution will be have to be a world government that will take most of the power away from the U.S., especially in militarization, economic imperialism, human rights violations and the destruction of the environment—amplified by an obsequious media. The U.S. government seems to have outlived its usefulness. We need to face that and recover our beloved Constitution to help get us through this transition to a global green democracy. After all, the whole purpose of a democracy is for the people to choose a government they want, not the one the very rich want.
Think about it: when the going gets rough and the Democrats are compliant, and in the absence of a viable third party, the best solution for replacing a corrupt government is to create a parallel government (this is happening now in Mexico because people are in the streets and the last president of Ecuador (where we live) was peacefully ousted by demonstrations in the streets; why not Bush-Cheney next?). We need to do that now, and we need for the whole world to join in, a world government of confederated states, just as the U.S. had done for its own states. We need a process of truth, reconciliation and a global green democracy charged with jurisdictions that affect all of us.
Arriving at the truth and taking the necessary actions is like peeling an onion. The outer layers are the roughest, least aromatic and least edible. They might represent the policies of the Bush administration, very crude, very dispensable.
The next layer is a bit more edible yet is also crude and politically correct and warmly embraced by the corporate Democrats and liberal portions of the media. Some of these pundits may decry the Bush policies but don’t really want to make the necessary changes. Hillary Clinton and John Kerry come to mind.
Peel the onion some more and we come to the articulate expressions of an Al Gore who eloquently points out the problems of global warming and climate change. Or those who feel that we should withdraw from Iraq after all, such as the expressions of a John Murta or Dennis Kucinich. This is just barely acceptable to some of the elistist mainstream. Just barely….yet not enough to upset things too much to sabotage re-election. This takes political courage but barely scratches the surface.
For the peeling of the onion has just begun. As we peel to lower layers, truth becomes more difficult to embrace, because we begin to enter the realms of political incorrectness. The gap between truth and image here is greater. The journey reaches new levels: did the Bush administration really orchestrate 9/11? Should we impeach the neo-cons? Should we send them to jail for violating our rights or starting an illegal, immoral war? Should we cut back on our fossil fuels and rejoin the world community by embracing the Kyoto protocols and various treaties trashed by the Bush administration? These questions seem to occupy the next layer.
The next layers may make us cry. What painful steps will America need to take to relinquish its global economic and military hegemony, to revision its foreign policy? What sacrifices must the elite and some of the rest of us make to stop the imperialism and confess these sins to the rest of the world? How can we rebalance our budgets, our economic and military fascism?
The next layer we come to is barely perceived; it’s just too much to consider in any normal discourse, yet it may provide the ultimate solution to the most basic problem we face: that we are killing ourselves and all of nature. We have solutions, the most pervasive of which is new energy, the prospect of a truly clean, cheap, decentralized energy economy that would totally end the Bush nightmare, the Republicratic Congressional nightmare. I am not talking about the conventional renewables such as solar, wind, biofuels and hydrogen fuel cells. But this layer is not even discussed, because it isn’t believed. This is the layer I’m working on.
My book Re-Inheriting the Earth and my postings on www.brianoleary.com and www.newenergymovement.org describe the promise of new energy. We need to get beyond the denials of mainstream scientists who really don’t know what they’re talking about. I have many reasons for asserting that. The so-called laws of physics and the limited visions of politicians and media are forever being broken by new visions. I can say that with the authority of physics professorships and an impeccable publication record for 45 years. That is my piece of the puzzle, and we need to get to that layer before it’s too late.
Are we ready? We’d better be, we don’t have much time for more denials and fears and posturing.
Meanwhile, I recommend you have a good cry while you keep peeling the onion of truth, to get over the grief of change while you embrace a new world we can still have.
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