Tuesday, September 05, 2006



My friend Kevin wrote a letter to ABC-TV. Maybe you should too.

Dear Mr. Kleiner,

I am looking forward to your airing of The Path to 9/11 mini-series. I'd like to see to believe that it is still possible that we have a bi-partisan media in the United States. It is time for the Fourth Estate to acknowledge their power and influence in the new era of "info-tainment" and to take responsibility for what has more often been a rush to judgment. Unfortunately, with the writer of your series, Cyrus Nowrasteh, being an openly activist right wing extremist, the prospects appear grim.

As you know, the path to 9/11, as it were, actually began in modern history during the period made most famous by the adventures of Lawrence of Arabia. Ironically, it didn’t directly involve the US at all, but it was the betrayal of the Arabs by the United Kingdom, France and Russia with the 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement and later the Balfour Declaration of 1917 that set the Middle East meets West ball rolling.

Tracing the chronology from that point through the establishment of Israel, its complex relationship with its Arab neighbors and the unblinking support of Israel by the US both economically and militarily, a bigger picture begins to unfold. Add to that the well documented overthrow by the CIA in 1953 of the Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh after he nationalized that country's oil reserves, resentment for our involvement and the impending "blowback" becomes much clearer. It was our installing Mohammad Reza Shah in as an American mouthpiece that began to breed US antipathy in the Middle East and gave rise to the first poster boy of that sentiment-- the Ayatollah Khomeini.

Years of our political, economical and cultural influence has continued to foster discontent. What they call imperialism, we like to think of as "spreading democracy." In fact, both Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney were active participants in spreading our democracy there when they befriended Sadam Hussein during the Reagan and later the George HW Bush Administrations respectively. As a Sunni, they saw him as an ally against the Shi’ite Iran and a protector of US oil interests in Iraq. To wit, the chemical weapons-of-mass-destruction that Hussein used against his own people were in part supplied by the US and because of our military and oil interests in the region. (It should be noted that Osama Bin Laden, too, is a Sunni though an avowed enemy of Hussein’s.)

Early reviews of The Path to 9/11 suggest that the film puts more responsibility on the Clinton Administration for the attacks than what the 9/11 Commission itself says of the George W. Bush Administration's own responsibility. Noted in Chapter 8 of their report, "The System Was Blinking Red." We now know, for instance, that the Presidential Daily Brief of Aug. 6, 2001, "Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in U.S.” was all but ignored by Bush and Secretary Rice.

The commission report also says in Chapter 6 "From Threat to Threat" that "President Clinton was deeply concerned about [Osama] Bin Ladin." The public needs to be reminded that after the first World Trade Center bombings in 1993 and the Oklahoma bombings of 1995, the Republican controlled Congress refused to support Clinton’s request for roving wiretaps as just one example of how two-faced and destructive the Republicans have always been on the subject of terrorism. Time and time again, at the behest of the Republicans, the media focused more on Clinton’s infidelities than on his concern for the threat of terrorism and, in particular, bin Laden. There were repeated suggestions that Clinton was diverting attention from his personal scandal to the Islamic terrorist threat in a "Wag the Dog" scenario in reference to the film of the same name. Again, while Clinton signed an executive order authorizing bin Ladin's arrest or assassination in 1998, the reactionary Republican establishment not only showed no support, but chastised him for it. The press played it up to the hilt until his credibility was all but gone, but they sold a few papers.

Let us not forget that it was the news media that left Bush’s neo-conservative rallying cry to attack Iraq all but unquestioned. It is that media that allows propaganda to infiltrate what is presented to the public as "fair and balanced" reporting. Instead of selling commercial time at the risk of dumbing down the public and, by extension, giving free reign for Bush and the extreme Right to make America more vulnerable to attack, the day must come when politics do not influence news and commercial programming. While that pie-in-the-sky ideal may very well never come to be, anything short of it may allow for something much more dangerous falling from the sky within our lifetimes. In that event, the path to and from 9/11 will lead directly from the door of the fundamentalist conservative movement in our society and from the unabashed support given it by the US media itself. Either act responsibly now or be forced to accept responsibility when that dark day comes. In the interest of our own security, if not the world’s, sacrificing a few of ABC’s profits in the short term may reap untold rewards for you and your audience in the future. And all you need to do is tell the truth.


Kevin Laffey
Los Angeles, CA


The DNC has something to say about this fictionalization of 9/11... while an ABC executive assures right wingers that their anti-Democratic spin will be broadcast intact no matter what.


At 6:34 PM, Anonymous jerryb said...

I only wish letters like that would be enough. Once we scratch the surface and I'm sure someone will, I have no doubt that the truth behind this sham will be much deeper and more sinister than we now know.

I'm not saying do nothing. Thats a great letter and an excellent thumbnail history of the region but the meaning is ultimately lost on ABC because they are not going to read it. Unfortunatly, threats of economic action on a large enough scale are the only thing they can comprehend.

This is an excellent opportunity for the on-line community to flex it's muscle. The main players in the progressive blogosphere should begin to rally their readers to go hard after ABC. Lets scare the crap out of them.

And by extension the rest of the so-called MSM. Once the real power of this movement, the people power, is recognized by the establishment media they wont be able to ignore the message anymore.

At 8:43 PM, Blogger libhom said...

This is an excellent letter. Thank you for posting it on your blog.


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