Conspiring minds

Could our government have been behind the September 11 attacks? Welcome to Michael Ruppert’s world.

Michael Ruppert during his February 20 speech at the Crest Theatre.

Michael Ruppert during his February 20 speech at the Crest Theatre.

Courtesy Of Michael Ruppert

“Our country is mentally ill!” Michael Ruppert dramatically proclaimed at the beginning of his recent lecture at the Crest Theatre in Sacramento.

He wasn’t just referring to people like the woman in the middle of the crowded auditorium who continually and audibly talked to herself throughout the event. No, his target was more the seemingly sane average Americans who believe what their government says about how we’re good and they’re evil.

In his lecture, titled “Truth and Lies About September 11,” Ruppert presented evidence supporting his idea of who was really behind the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. And while he avoided a clear and direct answer to his own question, the implication was clear: Wealthy and powerful American interests were behind the attack.

Such a conclusion might seem far-fetched to that same “mentally ill” average American, but not to the suspicious crowd that showed up for this event. Ruppert was largely preaching to the choir, because few in attendance seemed to accept the standard line that Osama bin Laden and his terrorists were solely to blame.

No, the conspiracy ran deeper than that. It just had to.

Ruppert is a former Los Angeles Police Department narcotics officer who since 1998 has run a Web site called “From The Wilderness” ( The stories he writes are about the “criminal” aspect of our government, most of them having to do with the CIA. Going on the common assumption that America (except for the people in attendance, obviously) has been lulled into a kind of collective complacency by the mainstream media, Ruppert asked his audience: “Why haven’t the American people confronted this issue [of the criminality of our government]?”

Support for this initial diagnosis consisted of the usual litany of incidents: the Kennedy assassination, the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, Cambodia, Watergate, Iran-Contra, the Gulf War, and on and on and on. American history is rife with official conspiracies that get revealed years later.

After this introduction, Ruppert proceeded to educate his audience on how the world really works, although it was apparent from the nodding heads and the complete lack of contrary questioning that his audience was already on board. In fact, when one young boy confessed to not knowing who Zbigniew Brzezinski was, he was practically laughed out of the building, before being glibly answered: “Only one of the most powerful men in the world.”

Projecting various articles and documents up onto the PowerPoint display, Ruppert explained how Wall Street was dependent on the cheap capital of the drug trade to finance its mergers, how Wall Street and Washington are constantly getting into bed together, how the War on Drugs is a charade to protect those interests, how the media helps sell the illusion.

The audience nodded in agreement.

They could easily make the leap from a 1999 Associated Press article reporting on the New York Stock Exchange chairman’s visit to Colombia to the summary on Ruppert’s Web site: “We can deduce from this incident that the liquidity of the NY Stock Exchange is sufficiently dependent on the high margin cocaine profits that the Chairman is willing for Associated Press to acknowledge that he is making ‘cold calls’ in rebel-controlled peace zones in Colombian villages.”

How the chairman’s visit exactly led to the NYSE being “sufficiently dependent” on cocaine profits no one seemed to feel the need to ask. So Ruppert continued to spin his elaborate proof, adding more cards to the seemingly stable foundation of “facts.”

Wall Street’s dependence on drug money becomes relevant to Afghanistan when the audience learns that Afghanistan has been a huge producer of opium for quite some time. When the Taliban destroyed their country’s opium crop in January 1999, well, it was obvious who got pissed. That was a lot of cheap capital that Wall Street could’ve used.

Couple all of the above with the fact that Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan have the world’s largest remaining reserves of crude oil and the cheapest way for American companies to get it out is to build a pipeline through Afghanistan, and you have a nice little modus operandi for the U.S. government wanting to blow the Taliban straight back to Allah.

Are you starting to get the picture?

The term “conspiracy theory” comes with a lot of baggage. A Web search will bring up thousands of sites whose topics range from assassinations to secret societies to CIA operations to space alien technology buried under the Nevada desert.

Assembling facts and organizing them into a seemingly coherent pattern is what conspiracy theory is all about. As noted historian Richard Hofstadter put it in his highly regarded 1965 book on the subject, The Paranoid Style in American Politics: “The typical procedures of the higher paranoid scholarship is to start with such defensible assumptions and with a careful accumulation of facts, or at least of what appear to be facts, and to marshal these facts toward an overwhelming ‘proof’ of the particular conspiracy that is to be established. It is nothing if not coherent—in fact the paranoid mentality is far more coherent than the real world since it leaves no room for mistakes, failures, or ambiguities.”

Ruppert spoke to a large crowd at the Crest Theatre.

Courtesy Of Michael Ruppert

Such a definition would seem to fit Ruppert’s presentation. The centerpiece consists of a timeline of events culled from various national and international news agencies. It runs from 1997 to February of this year and is available, along with all the rest of his evidence, on his Web site.

Indications of a pending terrorist attack become proof that the U.S. government knew that 9-11 was coming, and if they knew about it and didn’t stop it, then they must be responsible for it, right? Never mind the fact that the American intelligence community picks up vague warnings of imminent attacks almost constantly, before and since September.

The U.S. giving the Taliban $43 million in May 2001, supposedly to assist the nation after it put an end to its opium production, is made to look like government financing of 9-11. In the proper order and context, patterns seem to emerge from seemingly unrelated news events.

Engaging in “paranoid scholarship” doesn’t necessarily mean one is paranoid, although when one member of the audience asked Ruppert what he was going to do when the government conspirators came knocking, Ruppert indicated he had plans which he didn’t want to disclose for fear of jeopardizing them.

Yet Ruppert does not consider himself a conspiracy theorist. “The use of the term ‘conspiracy theory’ to describe what I do,” he said on the phone a few days after his lecture, “has the same effect as the old question, ‘Have you beaten your wife today?’ It’s an emotionally charged epithet.”

When a member of the audience at the Crest floated the term “illuminati” (supposedly a highly secret group of “enlightened” individuals who run the world) as the next logical step in Ruppert’s argument, Ruppert was quick to point out that in 24 years of investigating the government he’s never come across anything to suggest the existence of such a group.

However, Ruppert is talking about something that “rises above the level of political parties.” Referring to groups like the Trilateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Bilderburghers, his stance does seem to imply a unified conspiracy at work behind our government.

These organizations aren’t any kind of “illuminati,” Ruppert says, but they do exert a lot of control and they represent the ruling interests: major banking institutions, corporations and oil companies. And the fact that Zbigniew Brzezinski —the founder of the Trilateral Commission—wrote a book nearly 10 years ago outlining what has happened in Central Asia in the last six months, is, in Ruppert’s mind, very telling.

It is evidence, in fact, that the whole thing—from the attacks on 9-11 to the routing of the Taliban—was planned by U.S. interests. As another star in the constellation, Ruppert even vaguely implied that Noam Chomsky might be in on the whole thing, cryptically offering, “His office at MIT is right down the hall from [former CIA Director] John Deutsch’s.”

Instead of openly proposing a conspiracy theory as the glue that holds all of his facts together, Ruppert proposes something different: a disease theory. He takes as a model his own experience as an alcoholic.

“Alcoholism is a mental illness,” Ruppert said. “That disease model fits our government.”

Just as after 17 drinks at the bar the alcoholic orders another, he explained, likewise after record-breaking profits, major corporations still want more. He didn’t use the term “higher power” but did talk briefly about spirituality.

“Religion is for people who are afraid of going to hell; spirituality is for people who have already been there,” he said, referring not only to his alcoholism, but to his having checked himself into a psychiatric hospital back in the late 1970s when he thought he was going crazy because no one believed what he had to say about the CIA and its involvement in drug trafficking.

Although he does suggest that the Trilateral Commission might be running the world, the disease model gives Ruppert a bit of credibility. Clearly, the U.S. government and business communities have some common interest, and they’ve certainly conspired together before.

And then there are the news articles Ruppert found that would have given even skeptics a chill. Why did the ISI (Pakistani intelligence) wire $100,000 to Mohammed Atta—leader of the September attacks, according to the FBI—in the summer of 2001, as reported by the Times of India?

How and why did a U.S. Naval officer jailed on fraud charges in Toronto appear to know of the 9-11 attacks before they happened, as reported by the Toronto Star? Why did the National Command Authority wait 75 minutes from the time news of the hijackings first got out before they scrambled their aircraft to intercept, by which time it was too late? And how many of us knew that Hamid Karzai—who now rules Afghanistan with a blessing for the U.S.—was a former spokesman for Unocal?

Perhaps the most incriminating sign that someone knew something was the highly unusual behavior of the stock market the week before the attacks. There were 4,744 ‘put options’ (a speculation that stock will go down) purchased on United Airlines on September 6 and 7, and 4,516 purchased on American Airlines on September 10.

Whether or not this is proof of anything, it is intriguing.

In his 1999 book Conspiracy Theories: Secrecy and Power in American Culture, author Mark Fenster writes, “On the one hand, conspiracy theory is often characterized as illegitimate, pathological, and a threat to political stability; on the other hand, it seems an entertaining narrative form, a populist expression of a democratic culture, that circulates deep skepticism about the truth of the current political order throughout contemporary culture.”

Maybe that’s reason enough that we should listen to what Ruppert has to say.