On September 11, 2001, I was in a building near Columbia Pike highway in Arlington, Virginia when a hijacked plane flew just a few feet above the highway and down the Potomac River, and then smashed into the Pentagon.
The building I was in shook violently. Almost everything fell off the walls. A large “Boom” resounded across the urban glutscape that girdles America’s capitol.
At the time, I did not know planes had hit the World Trade Center. I got my press pass and camera backpack, boarded my bicycle, and rode in the direction of the explosion. Billowing clouds of smoke guided my way, as I rode streets empty of cars towards Crystal City and the Pentagon.
The sidewalks were crowded with Pentagon workers, some in uniform, others in civilian clothes, fleeing the burning building. Some looked shocked, others looked maniacal, others looked like it was a good excuse for an unplanned summer vacation.
Police of all types were everywhere around the Pentagon, but they had no idea what they were doing. Other than being confused, angry and dictatorial as police usually are, they did not prevent people like me from riding right up to the road in front of the burning fissure in the Pentagon’s fa?ade.
The vertical wound was enormous, the smoke from it inky black; the flames shooting from the building were an ugly purple orange color. I never did see an airplane in that wound. I only saw destruction and the beginning of a long and horrible descent into war fever, nationalism, and fear.
I was supposed to fly later that day to Stockport, England so I could be there to witness the opening ceremonies of The Dutch Experience, which was to be England’s first Hollandesque marijuana coffee shop.
Instead, all planes were grounded worldwide for a week.
I was trapped in America while British police raided The Dutch Experience and dragged its harmless founders off to jail.
In the aftermath of terrorism, when all eyes, hearts and hands should have been dedicated to self-defense and healing, the lug-headed police of Stockport were terrorizing patients instead of fighting terrorism.
While I sat stranded in Arlington desperately trying to find an air flight to Stockport in time for opening day, and the rest of the world was reeling from scenes of sudden death and the implications of international terrorism, British police were arresting sick and dying people at The Dutch Experience.
It was business as usual for the blind piglets, even as their Prime Minister, a sell-out globalizer warmonger named Tony Blair, said that every British citizen must focus solely on the terrorist threat.
The only terrorists in Stockport are the police. They would have made Osama bin Laden proud, the way they smacked down those medpot patients and advocates at the little shop that could have been a perfect model for rational pot policy in England.
An eerie silence descended on the Washington, DC area in the days after 9-11. I rode my bike up and down the Potomac, breathing clean air for the first time in a long time, with traffic decreased and no commercial air flights overhead, a lovely late summer reprieve from urban-industrial noise and air pollution.
The Pentagon burned several days, while military jets flew above the nation’s capitol. Too bad they had been so slow to scramble and intercept when the hijacked airliner veered off course and headed for the Pentagon. Some people wondered about that odd delay, and about other troubling facts regarding 9-11. Facts that lend credence to the idea that the real story of that fateful day is at least as complicated as a well-made spy movie.
Here are some facts that ought to be considered on September 11th:
– Osama bin Laden and the Taliban had been funded, trained and equipped by the CIA and other agencies during the 1980’s. They were made into vicious terrorists who fought and eventually won against the invading Russian occupiers who had sought to control Afghanistan.
– US government officials and agencies, along with Western corporations and commercial interests, and Pakistan, had been engaged in secret dealings with the Taliban for decades, and these contacts continued through July, 2001. In general, the contacts were military and commercial in nature: the US and its corporate allies wanted the Taliban to let them build an oil pipeline across Afghanistan. They also wanted to use the Taliban for military and intelligence purposes, and to assist in the drug war. In summer, 2001, the Bush administration gave $43 million to the Taliban as payment for its anti-opium and anti-marijuana efforts.
– The Saudi royal family and other Saudi groups and individuals, were sponsors or tacit players involved with banks, networks and individuals affiliated with Al Qaeda and other organizations now deemed as terrorist. The Bush family, most notably George H.W. Bush, the 41st US president, and George W. Bush, the current US president, has long had financial and personal ties to the bin Laden family and to Saudi royalty.
– George H.W. Bush and the bin Laden family, along with a lot of other shady people, are co-partners in the Carlyle Group, an investment company heavily leveraged into military hardware assets. The elder Bush and other Carlyle investors have benefited financially from the warlike reaction to 9-11 implemented by George W. Bush.
– Books that have been censored or banned in the USA, such as “Forbidden Truth,” “Lost History,” and “Rogue State,” contain indisputable evidence that American governments and individuals for decades have supported dictators, genocides, biowarfare, and terrorism. The dirty business has been bi-partisan; Democrat and Republican administrations have waged ugly wars and covert atrocities.
– The FBI, CIA and other government agencies had ample warning that terrorist attacks were likely to happen this year. Individual agents figured out what was going to happen, and warned their “superiors.” Foreign intelligence services warned their American counterparts about a bin Laden operative that they had in their custody. The warnings were ignored. The Bush administration actively squashed investigations that would have led to the discovery of the 9-11 plot before it happened. Why?
These facts are troubling, but just as troubling are the actions of the US government in the aftermath of 9-11.
The attacks have been used as justification for a massive rollback of civil liberties. The USA Patriot Act and other fascist initiatives allows warrant less searches, secret arrests and detentions, invasions of libraries and book stores by armed goons seeking information about what books somebody read, imprisonment, and even execution, without benefit of attorney or a fair trial.
The Bush administration has tried to turn regular Americans into narks, spies and amateur cops, to bust unions and stop free speech and protests, to prevent courts, lawmakers, journalists and citizens from finding out what Bush associates are doing to the nation’s environmental laws, constitutional protections, and judicial system – all under the guise of “national security.”
The police state can persecute me just for writing this article.
In the face of theocracy, military build-ups on America’s borders, mainstream media propagandistic complicity, and war-mongering fear, the cannabis culture is wondering how to defend itself.
A culture that is known for peace and passivity is facing federal agents attacking people in wheelchairs in states where voters legalized medical marijuana.
A culture known for hiding and pretending is facing more narks, drug dogs, strip searches and thought police than ever before.
It’s easy to blame everything on George W. Bush, an unelected president whose drug warrior father was head of the CIA, and whose vice president and almost all other close advisors have intimate ties with death industries such as petroleum, mining, logging, prisons, and the military-industrial complex.
And yet, it isn’t all Bush’s fault. Indeed, if he was an honest, courageous man, he would tell Americans the truth about themselves – that they are only five percent of the world’s population but they consume a quarter of its resources and produce nearly a third of its pollution.
Bush could easily say that his policies – dedicated to oil production, fundamentalism, destruction of the environment, and mindless consumerism – are what he has to do to feed the American people and their enormous appetites.
He would fess up to his world domination scheme, pointing out that if Americans want to continue to have big cars and fat children in a world of desperate overpopulation and ecological devastation, we are going to have to run the world like a plantation, with us as the slave masters.
After all, the real votes that count are the ones people cast with their lives and their dollars. When Americans buy SUV’s that get seven miles per gallon, when they build huge houses 40 miles from where they work, when they allow their harmless neighbors to be taken away by drug police, when they allow what’s left of their beautiful natural places to be raped by developers – that’s a kind of vote, and it’s a vote for George W. Bush.
Don’t blame Bush that America and the world are addicted to oil. Europeans who criticize Bush and America should look at their own petroleum addiction. It’s a bad habit most of us need to break. If we don’t wean ourselves away from the tit of crude black gold, we will all end up with cancer from breathing the poisons produced by our cars, jet skis and leaf blowers.
Yet, for “progressives,” “Greens,” “pro-pot,” “pro-choice,” lovers of freedom and peace, these are the best of times and the worst of times.
We can be surveilled and arrested just for wanting a better world. We can be sent to jail just for loving a plant. But we can also be a light on a hill, shining like a beacon as an alternative to fascism. Bush says war; we say peace. Bush says kill; we say stop killing.
When “patriotic” Americans rally around the flag, desirous of revenge, big cars, and worldwide domination, we rally around truth and justice for all, seeking not to dominate, but to integrate, not to destroy, but to create.
Now more than ever it’s time to plant cannabis seeds everywhere and overgrow the government. Now more than ever it’s time to plant seeds of peace in people’s hearts, to give them an alternative to Nazism.
It’s up to us. Most people have gone silent in the wake of 9-11. But pot people are still standing up to tell the truth. The cannabis culture is a minority culture persecuted by swine, but we are fiercely independent and defiant. If we link with other groups of people seeking to resist the dominant paradigm, we might save the world.
Whoever killed all those people on September 11th, 2002, whoever it was and whoever they were working for when they did it, their souls are not with Allah in Paradise.
The horror on that fateful day, horror that I experienced too close to home firsthand, will not be forgotten.
But what will also not be forgotten is what we did with that horror. Did we make more horror, or did we embark on a new path to a better world?
As you pause to remember the World Trade Center’s burning embers and the sadness of last September, meditate on why it happened, who benefited from it, who knew about it and did nothing to stop it, who was in bed with the terrorists, what country is the only country to have ever used nuclear weapons. Think about it!
And then smoke some cannabis, and pray that our precious world will survive.