Saturday, September 10, 2005

Oswald and Atta

Katrina & 9/11

Allow me to randomly speak of recent and past events on a more personal level today, on how I am relating to these difficult few days and anniversaries.

Remembering the Unbelievable

Name the biggest stories of modern media? Pearl Harbor Day? No, too long ago for you? JFK's assassination? Of course, if you are a certain age. Post-Edward R. Murrow, our modern broadcast news (live, in the field, and on video, versus archival, in the studio, and on film) began on 11/22/63. (Remember when we use to not write dates all the way out?) Yes, November 22, 1963. Four straight days of television news. I couldn't believe what I was watching. As a mere kid myself, I saw a kid from New Orleans named Oswald killed, live, while I was sitting on the back of my family's couch in my living room. Live. Unbelievable.

Then 9/11 happened. We all saw that "live" too. I "heard" the news through an email, turned on my television, and saw, like millions of others, the second plane crash. Live. I flew into New York City a month later to film an interview for a documentary, and my plane banked exactly over Ground Zero, on my side of the plane. I looked straight into hell. And I watched on television how this all changed our view of America. All over again. Unbelievable.

Katrina. Almost two weeks later, and it's still on the television, every day, almost every moment. This one crept up on us, and yet has turned into one of the biggest and most sorrowful of cabe news' human tragedies. A natural disaster that has become worse as a manmade one. Television, the internet, radio. Katrina, day and night. New Orleans is a great city that I have visited a few times. There's always been an underground twilight language part of New Orleans, of course. I informally once, even created a walking tour of all of the locations (thanks to addresses from John Gooch) where Lee Harvey Oswald lived, worked, demonstrated, and interacted with the shadow side of government. I've stood on the streets with my sons and caught beads. I've enjoyed the music of the city. Now on television, America sees little of the life, history, or traditions of that city. No jazz, no Lafayette Square, no, not even any stories about the Voodoo Queen in Cemetery #1. It is all about floating bodies, the horror of the Convention Center, and an Arabian horse guy heading FEMA these days (but may not tomorrow). On a more subtle level, it is about the race war in America, and reflects, as I've mentioned in The Copycat Effect how "death sells" in the media. Unbelievable.

Predictions

What the Katrina coverage does is expose an incredible vulnerable belly to the world. If you live in America, you know its truths. You realize that some whites are afraid of people of color, and some would rather think all blacks are going to loot that just be in need. You know that a rich guy's government will fly in troops within hours to Florida during hurricane disasters if your brother is the governor there, but if a black mayor and a Democratic governor are saying things to you about New Orleans, you just won't "get" it for a few days. We know that, on some level. Now it is being broadcast worldwide. We have to face this - what is being reported, that we have shown al Qaeda we are sometimes less than a super power, and that we are only human. And we are showing ourselves these things too.

Sure, sometimes is has not been the media's finest hour. We see the media stumbling around with words like "refugees" for days before they get it that these are American "survivors" or "evacuees." We still hear NPR's news department and PBS's nightly reports have "experts" debate "pre-planning," which actually, of course, means simply "planning." But from the brown water of New Orleans, the future comes forth. What of tomorrow?

The predictions have begun. It is almost 9/11 again, and we have some hard days ahead.

Take Tom Ritchford, New York author and Fortean thinker, for example. On an internet forum, he put out this list of predictions, including these:

-- al Qaeda clearly wishes to strike again at some point.
-- the resistance movement in Iraq is about ready for a "Tet
offensive" to cause serious damage to the (distracted by mutinies!) US
forces
-- China wishes to take Taiwan and doesn't care about headlines.
-- there are many other evil forces that want to take on the United
States now that it has moved to the dark side.
and September 11 approaches.
If I were one of these parties and I had a nefarious scheme hatched,
I'd be racing to get it going just at the point where the US's
resources are most tied up with disaster recovery -- Sunday, September
11. I'd hit people at a vacation center or some similar relaxation
place -- they've already made people feel unsafe at work, why not make
them feel unsafe at play?
If I were bold I'd hit the Patriot Day parade in DC. (Did you know
9/11 is now called Patriot Day?)


Why Portland?

Can such things happen? Will al Qaeda see that if there was ever a time to strike again, a la' London's 7/7, it is now, because of how far stretched America is? Will they decide to hit a mall, like the Bloomington Mall in Minnesota, or all those targets people have been watching like the Sears Tower. How many people are guarding the malls versus how many are watching the Seattle airport? You do the math.

And speaking of math, what about the dates? This Bush administration's little known badly named Patriot Day (9/11) may or may not be that important to al Qaeda, as I think they have their own number, date, and name game agenda. They might wish to go for the real Patriots Day, in April, in Maine, or the Patriots Day in Massachusetts, at the Boston Marathon, for example. Thousands of people there. Of course, this is not an invitation, but we have to see that we might not see what they see. Maine, you ask? Why?

Well, then, truth be told, I live in Portland, Maine, where 9/11 all began for Mohammed Atta, who picked Flight 11, so needless to say, I'm not letting my guard down on 9/11/05. Or 11/9/05. Or 11/11 (Veteran's Day). Or on next April's Patriots Day 2006, 2007, 2008, and so forth. Atta, the leader of the operations wing of 9/11, historically, was tied into those elevens. Afterall, the first mastermind of the 1993 Twin Towers attack was Ramzi Yousef, and he used parts of Bonjinka, a plan to place bombs on 11 planes in the Phillippines, for the eventual 9/11 attacks. Yousef's test run for Bonjinka occurred on, you guessed it, another eleven, December 11, 1994. Sometime, look up the 1970 origins of the naming of the group "Black September," whose kidnapping of Israeli athletes attending the Munich Olympics (which was scheduled to end on September 11, 1972), ended in the death of 11 of those athletes. Certainly, 9/11 hits very close to home. And lives on. Mysteries remain that may be hidden in numbers and places.

For example, why did Atta pick Portland? A question that haunts my city. And it troubles me too.

Was that Arab man I exchanged glances with and a smile that wasn't returned, in the Portland International Jetport, a few months before 9/11/01, Atta? I was on my way to another speaking engagement. I would later remember him vividly because he seemed relatively out-of-place in Portland - and there was those piercing eyes. Maybe just a business man visiting to make a deal, I thought. Unlikely. Only later, when all the photos of Atta were published, did I join the ranks of those in Portland who think they saw Atta here months before 9/11/01. Was he practicing? Why Portland?

Oh yes, some things come full circle. Today, you can go on an informal driving tour of the spots where Atta stayed (Comfort Inn), went to the two ATMs (at a bank and a Mobil Station), ate (Pizza Hut), and shopped (Wal-Mart), just like those Lee Harvey Oswald places I've visited in New Orleans. Frighteningly unbelievable.

Why Portland?

Why New Orleans?

Where next?

1 comment:

Scott said...

I can't believe I found your blog!! I am a huge fan, and have read your research for years.
I remember you writing before about city names that had strange attractor like phenomenon,, like Lafayette, Devils (insert mountain name), have you matched the 11 number thing with city names??? Also, remember how during, I think the Harmonic Convergence years people were always talking about 12:12???
During those years instead of the 12:12 synchronicity (mostly people reported casually looking at clocks that would read that time) I always saw 11:11. Recently it has resurfaced, on my blog I have talked about the numbers 22 and 23, yet didn't really begin rethinking the 11:11 thing until I read this post.

Glad I found you, will be reading all the previous blogs now to catch up with you to date.