New Statesman (London) 16 December 2002

John Pilger reveals the American plan

Two years ago a project set up by the men who now surround George W
said what America needed was "a new Pearl Harbor". Its published aims
come alarmingly true, writes John Pilger

The threat posed by US terrorism to the security of nations and
was outlined in prophetic detail in a document written more than two
ago and disclosed only recently. What was needed for America to
much of humanity and the world's resources, it said, was "some
and catalysing event - like a new Pearl Harbor".

The attacks of 11 September 2001 provided the "new Pearl Harbor",
as "the opportunity of ages". The extremists who have since exploited
September come from the era of Ronald Reagan, when far-right groups and
"think-tanks" were established to avenge the American "defeat" in
In the 1990s, there was an added agenda: to justify the denial of a
dividend" following the cold war. The Project for the New American
was formed, along with the American Enterprise Institute, the Hudson
Institute and others that have since merged the ambitions of the Reagan
administration with those of the current Bush regime.

One of George W Bush's "thinkers" is Richard Perle. I interviewed Perle
when he was advising Reagan; and when he spoke about "total war", I
mistakenly dismissed him as mad. He recently used the term again in
describing America's "war on terror". "No stages," he said. "This is
war. We are fighting a variety of enemies. There are lots of them out
there. All this talk about first we are going to do Afghanistan, then
will do Iraq . . . this is entirely the wrong way to go about it. If we
just let our vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely
we don't try to piece together clever diplomacy, but just wage a total
. . . our children will sing great songs about us years from now."

Perle is one of the founders of the Project for the New American
the PNAC. Other founders include Dick Cheney, now vice-president,
Rumsfeld, defence secretary, Paul Wolfowitz, deputy defence secretary,
Lewis Libby, Cheney's chief of staff, William J Bennett, Reagan's
secretary, and Zalmay Khalilzad, Bush's ambassador to Afghanistan.
are the modern chartists of American terrorism.

The PNAC's seminal report, Rebuilding America's Defences: strategy,
and resources for a new century, was a blueprint of American aims in
but name. Two years ago it recommended an increase in arms-spending by
$48bn so that Washington could "fight and win multiple, simultaneous
theatre wars". This has happened. It said the United States should
"bunker-buster" nuclear weapons and make "star wars" a national
This is happening. It said that, in the event of Bush taking power,
should be a target. And so it is.

As for Iraq's alleged "weapons of mass destruction", these were
in so many words, as a convenient excuse, which it is. "While the
unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification," it
says, "the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf
transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein."

How has this grand strategy been implemented?

A series of articles in the Washington Post, co-authored by Bob
Woodward of
Watergate fame and based on long interviews with senior members of the
administration, reveals how 11 September was manipulated.

On the morning of 12 September 2001, without any evidence of who the
hijackers were, Rumsfeld demanded that the US attack Iraq. According to
Woodward, Rumsfeld told a cabinet meeting that Iraq should be "a
target of the first round in the war against terrorism". Iraq was
temporarily spared only because Colin Powell, the secretary of state,
persuaded Bush that "public opinion has to be prepared before a move
against Iraq is possible". Afghanistan was chosen as the softer option.

If Jonathan Steele's estimate in the Guardian is correct, some 20,000
people in Afghanistan paid the price of this debate with their lives.

Time and again, 11 September is described as an "opportunity". In last
April's New Yorker, the investigative reporter Nicholas Lemann wrote
Bush's most senior adviser, Condoleezza Rice, told him she had called
together senior members of the National Security Council and asked them
think about 'how do you capitalise on these opportunities'", which she
compared with those of "1945 to 1947": the start of the cold war.

Since 11 September, America has established bases at the gateways to
the major sources of fossil fuels, especially central Asia. The Unocal
company is to build a pipeline across Afghanistan. Bush has scrapped
Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gas emissions, the war crimes provisions
the International Criminal Court and the anti-ballistic missile treaty.
has said he will use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states "if
necessary". Under cover of propaganda about Iraq's alleged weapons of
destruction, the Bush regime is developing new weapons of mass
that undermine international treaties on biological and chemical

In the Los Angeles Times, the military analyst William Arkin describes
secret army set up by Donald Rumsfeld, similar to those run by Richard
Nixon and Henry Kissinger and which Congress outlawed. This
"super-intelligence support activity" will bring together the "CIA and
military covert action, information warfare, and deception". According
to a
classified document prepared for Rumsfeld, the new organisation, known
its Orwellian moniker as the Proactive Pre-emptive Operations Group, or
P2OG, will provoke terrorist attacks which would then require
"counter-attack" by the United States on countries "harbouring the

In other words, innocent people will be killed by the United States.
is reminiscent of Operation Northwoods, the plan put to President
by his military chiefs for a phoney terrorist campaign - complete with
bombings, hijackings, plane crashes and dead Americans - as
for an invasion of Cuba. Kennedy rejected it. He was assassinated a few
months later. Now Rumsfeld has resurrected Northwoods, but with
undreamt of in 1963 and with no global rival to invite caution.

You have to keep reminding yourself this is not fantasy: that truly
dangerous men
, such as Perle and Rumsfeld and Cheney, have power. The
thread running through their ruminations is the importance of the
"the prioritised task of bringing on board journalists of repute to
our position".

"Our position" is code for lying. Certainly, as a journalist, I have
known official lying to be more pervasive than today. We may laugh at
vacuities in Tony Blair's "Iraq dossier" and Jack Straw's inept lie
Iraq has developed a nuclear bomb (which his minions rushed to
But the more insidious lies, justifying an unprovoked attack on Iraq
linking it to would-be terrorists who are said to lurk in every Tube
station, are routinely channelled as news. They are not news; they are
black propaganda.

This corruption makes journalists and broadcasters mere ventriloquists'
dummies. An attack on a nation of 22 million suffering people is
by liberal commentators as if it were a subject at an academic seminar,
which pieces can be pushed around a map, as the old imperialists used

The issue for these humanitarians is not primarily the brutality of
imperial domination, but how "bad" Saddam Hussein is. There is no
that their decision to join the war party further seals the fate of
thousands of innocent Iraqis condemned to wait on America's
death row. Their doublethink will not work. You cannot support
piracy in the name of humanitarianism. Moreover, the extremes of
fundamentalism that we now face have been staring at us for too long
those of good heart and sense not to recognise them.