Would the US have been able to sell the invasion of Iraq to the American public and its allies if Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the September 11 attacks had been known?
That is the central question WhoWhatWhy’s Editor-in-Chief Russ Baker discusses in the second part of his interview on the release of the (redacted) “28 Pages.”
If you missed the first part, you can view it here.
This is part 1, go here.
Full Text Transcript:
You’re watching The Hawks. We’ve covered the 28 pages extensively, but why isn’t the mainstream media making a bigger deal out of this? Well, because it would expose the United States’ despicable relationship with Saudi Arabia, a regime that ranks as one of the worst on earth in terms of human rights and which regularly incites violence and extremism throughout the Middle East and the world. That’s why. All the more reason to cover the story. The release of the 28 pages coincides with the United States preparing to authorize another $1.15 billion weapons package to Saudi Arabia, and this is on top of the $20 billion in weapons given to the Saudis since they began bombing Yemen back in March 2015. So what is the significance of the 28 pages, and do they have the potential to change the US relationship with Saudi Arabia. Previously we showed part one of my interview with Russ Baker, founder of Whowhatwhy.org and a 9/11 expert. In the second part, I asked Russ if the 28 pages were kept redacted for this long so that American public attention would stay firmly affixed on Iraq and that invasion, instead of where it should have been: on Saudi Arabia. Take a listen to Russ’s response.
Russ Baker: That’s a critical point you raised, and I would also note that another Clark, General Wesley Clark, at Whowhatwhy we interviewed him. If you go on our site, you can, I hope, find that video where he talks about having been at the Pentagon shortly after 9/11 and being shown a top secret memo which contained a list of nine countries that the Bush Administration had already decided to invade prior to 9/11. So now what you’re looking at is they wanted to invade all of these countries, which included Iraq, Syria, Libya and on and on. And they needed a reason to do it. Now, here you have these attacks and they have a reason to do it except unfortunately and inconveniently, the attacks don’t point to any of those countries. They point to Saudi Arabia, which also wanted the United States to do all of these invasions to knock out all of these independent leaders like Assad and Gaddafi and so forth and of course Saddam Hussein. All of those who represented different factions within the larger, global Arab community. And so yes, you’re absolutely right. There’s some very, very profound geopolitics going on here. I agree with you. It probably would have been impossible to prosecute a war in Iraq. I’m not sure that George W. Bush could have been reelected. I think the world would have been a very, very different place had this not been suppressed.
Interviewer: Now let’s speculate a little bit on why these pages are finally being declassified at this juncture. I mean there’s obviously been a lot of support from 9/11 victim families to want these pages to be declassified and also trying to basically get sort of more of a movement against Saudi Arabia in general to basically put pressure on them as sponsors of terrorism. But why would Obama declassify or allow this to be declassified at this point, when previously he had said he wouldn’t allow it to be declassified? There’s obviously still a very strong alliance between the United States and Saudi Arabia. And the pages themselves do really put doubt on what the Saudi alliance is like if they allow an agent of theirs, including potentially Prince Bandar, to support al-Qaeda operatives in the 9/11 operation. So, could we be seeing a potential shift in our relationship to Saudi Arabia in the near future?
Russ Baker: Yes, that’s quite right. In fact, we have been seeing that shift. The Obama Administration itself has significantly distanced itself from the Saudis compared to the Bush Administration. We also see a whole bunch of developments all over the place. We see some Republican members of Congress who would’ve fought something like this when Bush was president. They were only too happy to see it come out under a Democratic presidency, because sadly the public is not so well informed about these things, and if something comes out during the watch of the opposing party, they don’t necessarily understand that that’s not the administration that’s responsible for the thing. So I think that there’s some sense of that. Also, a lot of the reporting that we and some other organizations have been doing about the FBI’s role in this, asking questions. Again, we’re in a Democratic administration and they’ve got to, in their justice department have to work with the FBI, so they have to cooperate with whatever efforts there may be to try to prevent some of this from coming to light. So it’s a very volatile and very complicated situation. We also have Senator Graham and also a partner of his, a Republican – Senator Graham is a Democrat, former Senator Graham – Republican Walter Jones of North Carolina, who’s also been a leader in trying to get these things released. Very interestingly, he mentioned that the Republican Party, even though he is an incumbent, conservative Republican, tried to get somebody to run against him because they were against this coming out. So we see this fascinating alliance of Democrats and Republicans who all share a common interest in this not coming out and we see sort of dissident Democrats and Republicans doing what you might call the “right thing” and standing up for transparency and for the public to be leveled with as to this incredibly complex and extremely dangerous situation.
Interviewer: Indeed. Could we be seeing a shift, almost a realignment because of Obama’s overtures towards Iran in the region where for example, we don’t depend on our alliance with Saudi Arabia as strongly as in the past and we actually might be shifting back towards Iran, which actually had been our prior strongest ally from the ‘50s and the ‘60s until ’79?
Russ Baker: Absolutely, I think any of this is possible. It’s a changed game in part because at least temporarily the United States’ demand and appetite for fossil fuels is way down and we’re finally seeing some major breakthroughs in the cause of renewable energy coming down. There is a real will. I think climate change has a lot to do with it. I think there’s a tremendous number of factors in play, absolutely, that the Iran initiative is related to all of that. I do think that we’re seeing a realignment and I imagine that the Saudis are panicked because their unique position in the world as the wealthiest royal family with tremendous resources and really incredible lifestyles, which cannot continue if the situation changes and the Saudi people become fed up. The whole game could change on every level!
Interviewer: As far as 9/11 is concerned, I think obviously there’s still many questions left unanswered despite the release of the 28 pages. Richard Clark again, whose account of terrorism said himself, nothing in those reports provides any reason to disbelieve the possibility that the CIA, the counter terrorism center and the agency’s top management hit a false flag operation that went wrong. A false flag operation, I mean this is the kind of terrorism that starts using this word false flag operation as though there was something that was being planned between the CIA, Saudi agents and al-Qaeda operatives that went wrong. Now whether or not it went wrong or it was part of a much bigger operation that became 9/11, this is fascinating that he’s divulging this. What are the questions that remain on 9/11? What are the steps that can be taken towards at least answering some of those questions?
Russ Baker: I think to get context on this, you have to look back at things like the assassination of John F. Kennedy, where a vast majority of the American public suspected right from the beginning, and has increased over the years, that they weren’t told the truth. Most of the books by researchers and others who’ve really looked into the Kennedy assassination found that the official narrative was unquestionably false. The public is divided between those who’ve read these books and those who haven’t. The media has continued very doggedly to defend the Warren Commission and to stick with the official story, and I think we’re going to see the same thing with 9/11. The people who over the years have been dismissed as cranks and cooks may turn out to have been right, or at least partially right as suspecting that 9/11 was enabled somehow as part of some kind of grand power play. Now it’s so monstrous and it’s so horrible and it’s so difficult even to imagine logistically exactly how something like this could even be done. So that I think a lot of people in our society, a lot of people in the media – I think are justifiably wary of jumping to any kind of conclusions. I think there was a lot of psychic resistance, but with these new developments, I think that it’s a whole new game. Now, the so called 9/11 truthers sadly are so stuck in whatever their own theory is of what happened that they tend to dismiss all of these new developments around the Saudis themselves as some kind of sleight of hand to distract you from the real story. Well, I think that’s wrong. I think you have to do what we try to do at Whowhatwhy is be responsible journalists – look at whatever evidence there is, particularly evidence that’s not in question like the FBI report about the Saudi family in Sarasota, like all of these FBI and CIA reports about al-Bayoumi and Bassami and about Prince Bandar and all of these other figures, their known movements. We have to start with that and we have to meticulously build a picture until we understand where this goes, and we have to be fearless. It may be a really, really terrible story that will change our understanding of almost everything.
Interviewer: Absolutely. Well, I appreciate the work you’re doing, Russ, and I really look forward to any more revelations we can discover in the future because obviously 9/11 is still, in my mind at least, an unsolved mystery.
Russ Baker: It absolutely is, and probably the biggest story of our time and it certainly deserves a lot more attention than it’s getting.
Interviewer: Yeah. Well, thank you so much for joining me today, Russ, and we’ll speak again in the future.
Russ Baker: Thank you.
Related front page panorama photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from Saudi men (Stephen Downes / Flickr – CC BY-NC 2.0) and George Bush at Ground Zero (White House / Wikimedia)