If you believe the media, John P. O'Neill was simply
another innocent victim killed in the September 11
attacks on the World Trade Center. But you don't
need much imagination to suspect something deeper
was at work.
Clearly, O'Neill was a man Osama bin Laden wanted
dead. O'Neill had been a Deputy Director of the FBI,
and Osama bin Laden's main pursuer in the US
government. O'Neill had investigated the bombings of
the World Trade Center in 1993, a US base in Saudi
Arabia in 1996, the US embassies in Nairobi and
Dar-Es-Salaam in 1998, and the USS Cole last year.
But once the first plane hit the North Tower, Osama
bin Laden wouldn't be the only man to profit from
O'Neill's death. At the moment of impact, O'Neill
became the man who knew too much.
Just two weeks, TWO WEEKS, prior to the attack,
O'Neill had left his job with the FBI. O'Neill had quit
because he believed that the Bush administration had
stymied the intelligence agency's investigations on
terrorism. O'Neill charged that it had done so even as
it bargained with the Taliban on handing over of
Osama bin Laden in exchange for political recognition
and economic aid. In the ultimate irony, O'Neill had
gone public with these charges at the same time that he
was leaving the FBI to become the head of security at
the World Trade Center.
"The main obstacles to investigate Islamic terrorism
were US oil corporate interests, and the role played
by Saudi Arabia in it," O'Neill reportedly told the
authors of an explosive new book, Hidden Truth, by
intelligence analysts Charles Brisard and Guillaume
Dasquie. Brisard met O'Neill several times last
summer and reports that O'Neill complained bitterly
that the US State Department - and behind it the oil
lobby who make up President Bush's entourage -
blocked attempts to prove bin Laden's guilt.
Released just last November, Brisard and Dasquie's
book was mostly ignored by the US media. But it is
beginning to cause a stir. Just two days ago, the story
aired for the first time on US television when CNN's
Paula Zahn interviewed former Iraqi chief U.N.
weapons inspector Richard Bulter. "The most
explosive charge, Paula, is that the Bush administration
-- the present one, just shortly after assuming office
slowed down FBI investigations of al Qaeda and
terrorism in Afghanistan in order to do a deal with the
Taliban on oil -- an oil pipeline across Afghanistan"
Maybe part of the reason Paula left Faux news is
because she knew her right wing bosses would never
let her run a story like this one. But what Paula didn't
explore, or even mention, was that O'Neill was not
alive to confirm or refute those charges. What CNN
didn't find interesting was the fact that John P. O'Neill
was in his 34th-floor office in the World Trade Tower
when the first of two hijacked planes hit the building,
or that he phoned a son and a friend to reassure them
he was fine.
What the US media have apparently found less
interesting than the death of Clinton's dog is that we
have only the government's version of what happened
next. O'Neill is reported to have called FBI
headquarters, and then re-entered one of the towers to
help others. The official story is that O'Neill was inside
when the buildings collapsed.
How convenient for the Bush administration that Mr.
O'Neill would not only die in the attack, but also that
he would make such a call. Not only was the Bush
administration's most dangerous critic forever silenced,
but he also provided the administration the perfect
story to explain his death.
Can you imagine how the events of the past four
months would have differed had John P. O'Neill,
former Deputy Director of the FBI and head of
security at the World Trade Tower at the time of the
attacks, had been alive to tell this story?
Can you imagine the uproar this story would be
causing if Bill Clinton were still president?
As things stand, only time will tell if O'Neill's story is
investigated by the US press that found Monica
Lewinsky worthy of two years of our lives. Certainly,
the authors who have reported it are credible. Till the
late 1990s, Brisard was the director of economic
analysis and strategy for Vivendi, the giant French
conglomerate that owns Universal Studios and
effective control of USA Networks. He also worked
for French secret services (DST), and wrote for them
in 1997 a report on the now famous Al Qaeda
network, headed by bin Laden. Dasquie is an
investigative journalist and publisher of Intelligence
Online, a respected newsletter on diplomacy,
economic analysis and strategy. And Richard Bulter,
who put the story in play on the US cable networks, is
hardly an excitable conspiracy nut.
Perhaps the CIA will investigate. But I wouldn't expect
much from them. After all, they were apparently
unable to penetrate the same Al Qaeda network that
welcomed in John Walker, a confused 20 year old kid
from California, who is reported to have met bin