Another Anniversary of the Cover-Up, 911 IN PLANE SIGHT, Directors Cut ….clik here


Another year, another anniversary of the cover-up, false flag operation of 911, this is just one of the many films revealing the evidence, the truth must prevail, to the end of time, our Corporate Fascist Government and it’s brutal treatment of segments of our society with the murder of so many must never be allowed to be swept under the rug. A government that does this and then holds the banner for human rights is inexcusable.

IN PLANE SIGHT Director’s Cut


Some thoughts on “patriotism”

By William Blum

Most important thought: I’m sick and tired of this thing called “patriotism.”

The Japanese pilots who bombed Pearl Harbor were being patriotic. The German people who supported Hitler and his conquests were being patriotic, fighting for the Fatherland. All the Latin American military dictators who overthrew democratically-elected governments and routinely tortured people were being patriotic — saving their beloved country from “communism.”

General Augusto Pinochet of Chile: “I would like to be remembered as a man who served his country.” [1]

P.W. Botha, former president of apartheid South Africa: “I am not going to repent. I am not going to ask for favours. What I did, I did for my country.” [2]

Pol Pot, mass murderer of Cambodia: “I want you to know that everything I did, I did for my country.” [3]

Tony Blair, former British prime minister, defending his role in the murder of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis: “I did what I thought was right for our country.” [4]

I won’t bore you with what George W. has said.

At the end of World War II, the United States gave moral lectures to their German prisoners and to the German people on the inadmissibility of pleading that their participation in the holocaust was in obedience to their legitimate government. To prove to them how legally inadmissable this defense was, the World War II allies hanged the leading examples of such patriotic loyalty.

I was once asked after a talk: “Do you love America?” I answered: “No.” After pausing for a few seconds to let that sink in amidst several nervous giggles in the audience, I continued with: “I don’t love any country. I’m a citizen of the world. I love certain principles, like human rights, civil liberties, democracy, an economy which puts people before profits.”

I don’t make much of a distinction between patriotism and nationalism. Some writers equate patriotism with allegiance to one’s country and government, while defining nationalism as sentiments of ethno-national superiority. However defined, in practice the psychological and behavioral manifestations of nationalism and patriotism — including the impact of such sentiments on actual policies — are not easily distinguishable; indeed, one can’t exist without the other.

Howard Zinn has called nationalism “a set of beliefs taught to each generation in which the Motherland or the Fatherland is an object of veneration and becomes a burning cause for which one becomes willing to kill the children of other Motherlands or Fatherlands.” [5] . . .”Patriotism is used to create the illusion of a common interest that everybody in the country has.” [6]

Strong feelings of patriotism lie near the surface in the great majority of Americans. They’re buried deeper in the more “liberal” and “sophisticated,” but are almost always reachable, and ignitable.

Alexis de Tocqueville, the mid-19th century French historian, commented about his long stay in the United States: “It is impossible to conceive a more troublesome or more garrulous patriotism; it wearies even those who are disposed to respect it.” [7]

George Bush Sr., pardoning former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger and five others in connection with the Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages scandal: “First, the common denominator of their motivation — whether their actions were right or wrong — was patriotism.” [8]

What a primitive underbelly there is to this rational society. The US is the most patriotic, as well as the most religious, country of the so-called developed world. The entire American patriotism thing may be best understood as the biggest case of mass hysteria in history, whereby the crowd adores its own power as troopers of the world’s only superpower, a substitute for the lack of power in the rest of their lives. Patriotism, like religion, meets people’s need for something greater to which their individual lives can be anchored.

So this July 4, my dear fellow Americans, some of you will raise your fists and yell: “U! S! A! U! S! A!” And you’ll parade with your flags and your images of the Statue of Liberty. But do you know that the sculptor copied his mother’s face for the statue, a domineering and intolerant woman who had forbidden another child to marry a Jew?

“Patriotism,” Dr. Samuel Johnson famously said, “is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” Ambrose Bierce begged to differ: It is, he said, the first.

“Patriotism is the conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it.” –George Bernard Shaw

“Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage — torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians — which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by ‘our’ side. . . . The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.” –George Orwell [9]

“Pledges of allegiance are marks of totalitarian states, not democracies,” says David Kertzer, a Brown University anthropologist who specializes in political rituals. “I can’t think of a single democracy except the United States that has a pledge of allegiance.” [10] Or, he might have added, that insists that its politicians display their patriotism by wearing a flag pin. Hitler criticized German Jews and Communists for their internationalism and lack of national patriotism. Along with Mussolini in Italy, the Führer demanded that “true patriots” publicly vow and display their allegiance to their respective fatherlands. Postwar democratic governments of the two countries made a conscious effort to minimize such shows of national pride.

(Oddly enough, the American Pledge of Allegiance was written by Francis Bellamy, a founding member, in 1889, of the Society of Christian Socialists, a group of Protestant ministers who asserted that “the teachings of Jesus Christ lead directly to some form or forms of socialism.”)

Following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, we could read that there’s “now a high degree of patriotism in the Soviet Union because Moscow acted with impunity in Afghanistan and thus underscored who the real power in that part of the world is.” [11]

“Throughout the nineteenth century, and particularly throughout its latter half, there had been a great working up of this nationalism in the world. . . . Nationalism was taught in schools, emphasized by newspapers, preached and mocked and sung into men. It became a monstrous cant which darkened all human affairs. Men were brought to feel that they were as improper without a nationality as without their clothes in a crowded assembly. Oriental peoples, who had never heard of nationality before, took to it as they took to the cigarettes and bowler hats of the West.” –H.G. Wells, English writer [12]

“The very existence of the state demands that there be some privileged class vitally interested in maintaining that existence. And it is precisely the group interests of that class that are called patriotism.” –Mikhail Bakunin, Russian anarchist [13]

“To me, it seems a dreadful indignity to have a soul controlled by geography.” –George Santayana, American educator and philosopher


[1] Sunday Telegraph (London), July 18, 1999

[2] The Independent (London), November 22, 1995

[3] Far Eastern Economic Review (Hong Kong), October 30, 1997, article by Nate Thayer, pages 15 and 20

[4] Washington Post, May 11, 2007, p.14

[5] “Passionate Declarations” (2003), p.40

[6] ZNet Magazine, May 2006, interview by David Barsamian

[7] “Democracy in America” (1840), chapter 16

[8] New York Times, December 25, 1992

[9] “Notes on Nationalism,” p.83, 84, in “Such, Such Were the Joys” (1945)

[10] Alan Colmes, “Red, White and Liberal” (2003), p.30

[11] San Francisco Examiner, January 20, 1980, quoting a “top Soviet diplomat”

[12] “The Outline of History” (1920), vol. II, chapter XXXVII, p.782

[13] “Letters on Patriotism,” 1869

William Blum is the author of “Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2,” “Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower,” “West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir” and “Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire”


June 17, 2008
Former Senator Mike Gravel Calls for Independent 9/11 Investigation and Prosecution of President Bush and Vice President Cheney

The former Democratic senator from Alaska discusses his presidential campaign, his role in the releasing of the Pentagon Papers and his support for NYC 9/11 Ballot Initiative Campaign, a grassroots group seeking to place an initiative on the ballot of the November 6th general election allowing registered New York City voters to create a new commission to investigate 9/11.


Sen. Mike Gravel, former Democratic senator from Alaska, who served two terms from 1969 to 1981, and a former candidate in the 2008 presidential election.
Rush Transcript
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* 9/11 Ballot Initiative Campaign

AMY GOODMAN: Former Alaska senator and 2008 presidential candidate Mike Gravel is holding a news conference in New York City today to call for a new independent investigation into 9/11. Gravel will be speaking on behalf of the NYC 9/11 Ballot Initiative Campaign, a grassroots group seeking to place an initiative on the ballot of the November 6th general election allowing registered New York City voters to create a new commission to investigate 9/11.

The group is looking to appoint between nine and fifteen commissioners on the panel to conduct the investigation. Some of the people who have reportedly already agreed to serve as commissioners include Lori Van Auken, a 9/11 widow, one of the so-called “Jersey Girls”; Lincoln Chafee, the former Republican senator from Rhode Island; Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, a pastor in Detroit, Michigan; as well as former Democratic Senator Mike Gravel, who joins us here today.

He has published three books this year: Citizen Power: A Mandate for Change, The Kingmakers: How the Media Threatens Our Security and Our Democracy and A Political Odyssey. His book Citizen Power: A Mandate for Change has a forward by Ralph Nader. He’ll be joining us on the show later in the week.

Welcome to Democracy Now!, Senator Gravel.

MIKE GRAVEL: Amy, thank you for having me. But before we launch into the mission of my appearance, I want to comment on this young man you just had on. I’ve got to tell you, the military is in for deep trouble. That this kid felt he wasn’t very educated, wasn’t good student, I mean, I’ve—he’s beautifully articulate. Let me tell you one thing. We lose—we forget history. The First World War ended because hundreds of thousands of people walked off the battlefield. If we’re going to end this war and the strength of the military-industrial complex, it’s through courageous young men like this walking away from the stupidity and the immorality of our political leaders who lead us on fools’ errands of violence and war. And so, I want to applaud what this kid is talking about and his experience. And boy, now that is Courage with a capital C. And I just wanted to articulate that for you.

AMY GOODMAN: Didn’t you lead the initiative to end the draft in Vietnam?

MIKE GRAVEL: Oh, yes. Well, I’m very proud. It’s one of my accomplishments. I forced it. I forced the end of it. And that—


MIKE GRAVEL: Well, it was a five-month filibuster that Mansfield made possible without anybody realizing it.

AMY GOODMAN: Senator Michael Mansfield.

MIKE GRAVEL: Yes, who was the Majority Leader at the time. So he bought into it, and I didn’t even realize what he was doing. He set up a two-track system on legislation. So I started in May, and then by—and, of course, you were there when Ellsberg, myself and West, at the annual meeting of the Unitarian Universalists, had a rollicking good time talking about this whole history, and you moderated it. And I can’t tell you how, as long as I live, I’ll never forget what a wonderful time we had piecing this together what happened.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, that, I was asking you about ending the draft. You’re talking about the publication of the Pentagon Papers.

MIKE GRAVEL: That’s right, but I got the Papers because I was filibustering the draft. [inaudible]

AMY GOODMAN: So you went on the floor of the Senate…

MIKE GRAVEL: And tried to filibuster. I failed it, because I was too nice to the staff, and so I had to use another device, which was to—and I was a freshman. So I was chairman of Buildings and Grounds, so I used the precedent, you won’t believe, House Un-American Activities Committee, where I could call at a moment’s notice a hearing and, as a result of that, turned around and got testimony from a Congressman Dowd from New York, Upper New York, who came and testified, and he wanted a federal—

AMY GOODMAN: You mean you called an emergency hearing—just to be clear, you called this man, what was it, out of bed? And you said, “You know that building you’ve been asking for? If you come and testify right now about why you need this building, we will commence the hearing.” That enabled you to hold the hearing.

MIKE GRAVEL: That’s right. And we held a hearing. And then, when he said—he said, “I want a federal building,” I says, “Well, I’d love to give you a federal building, but we don’t have the money, and the reason why we don’t have the money is because we’re in Southeast Asia. Now, let me tell you how we got into Southeast Asia.” And I started to read the Pentagon Papers. That’s how—and then I started sobbing after an hour of reading. I’m dyslexic, so I read terribly.

AMY GOODMAN: You had gotten those Papers from the Washington Post?

MIKE GRAVEL: Well, from Ben Bagdikian, who had gotten them from Dan Ellsberg, and the Post didn’t know that Ben had an extra copy. So Ellsberg had pushed Ben, because Ellsberg was very concerned that he couldn’t get the Papers out.

AMY GOODMAN: That the Times wouldn’t publish them.

MIKE GRAVEL: That’s right, and nor would the Post any further, because of the injunction. And so, as it happened, I released the Papers about six, seven, eight hours before the Supreme Court rendered its decision, and their decision was moot, because the world had the Papers as a result of what I did that night.

AMY GOODMAN: And you ultimately had them published by Beacon Press.

MIKE GRAVEL: Right, courageous Beacon Press, not just Beacon Press. Courageous Beacon Press, because nobody would touch it. Nobody would touch it, because they were at risk. And poor Beacon Press really suffered from government harassment. And as it turned out, I and Dr. Rotberg could have been prosecuted, but then, by that time, Watergate had been exposed, and they weren’t going to charge a religion or a sitting senator. And so, Dan Ellsberg and I never served a day in jail. And the three people within the Justice Department that came after us, they all went to jail. There’s some justice someplace.

AMY GOODMAN: They were…? They were…?

MIKE GRAVEL: They were the Attorney General Mitchell, Mardian, and the other guy I keep forgetting who his name is.

AMY GOODMAN: And, of course, the Pentagon Papers were the 7,000 pages of secret history of US involvement in Vietnam that Ellsberg had taken out of a safe.

MIKE GRAVEL: Totally. It’s nothing—nothing but history, nothing but history. This stuff should have never been classified, never have been classified. And what I operated on—I’m a layperson—is just very simple: if it’s important for the Secretary of Defense to know how we got into this mess, it’s important for the American people to know how we got into this mess. And this is the same situation we have with Iraq. How did we get there?

And now, this segues us into this commission here in New York. I view this very, very serious. I don’t see the body politic having the guts to go out and make a new—a real new investigation, because the way politicians act, whether it’s Democrat or Republican, “Oh, we’ll investigate a little bit, but let’s not go too deeply, because we’ve got to cover their backside, because they’ll cover our backside,” and it’s too political in nature.

And so, with the commission that we’re talking about 9/11 here in New York City, now that’s a commission that’s going to be a real commission. And that commission now can make a true investigation as to what happened on 9/11, but not just 9/11, because the war is tied with that. And so, this will give us an opportunity to vertically go into all the backup to this data and have subpoena powers to have people testify. Now, if a person perjures themself here with the New York commission, it’s perjury, so it’s a crime. And so, maybe, maybe this will give us an opportunity to have justice, and we can begin subpoenaing the President of the United States—at that time, he’ll be the former president—and the Vice President and go on down into the boughs of the intelligence and a whole host of areas to get to the truth. We don’t know the truth.

AMY GOODMAN: And how advanced is this ballot initiative?

MIKE GRAVEL: Well, it’s very serious right now, because there’s windows. When you do an initiative, there’s a window that you have to comport to. And so, they need upwards of 50,000 signatures to be real safe, and they’ve only got 10,000 signatures. And so, they’ve got about four weeks left.

AMY GOODMAN: They have to all be New Yorkers?

MIKE GRAVEL: Yes. Oh, yeah, they do. And I can’t even—I was going to try to go out and collect signatures, but legally I can’t. So I’m going to be part of a press conference, and I’ve done several initiatives myself as a sitting senator. And as you know, with my efforts with the National Initiative, I believe in this concept. What the government can’t do, the people can do through the initiative process. And so, we’ve got to get those signatures in the next forty—thirty, forty days, and it’s going to depend on people hearing my voice, hearing you, because you’ve spoken about this before and the importance of this.

And so, there’s a telephone number I want to give: (646) 537-1755. That’s (646) 537-1755. And that’s a hotline. And today, at St. Mark’s Church, that’s at Second Avenue and 10th Street—

AMY GOODMAN: Here in New York City.

MIKE GRAVEL: Here in New York City. If people will come there, we’re going to have a get-together at 7:30. It’s going to be a reception. There will be some light refreshments, and then we’ll be talking about this. Sign the guest book. Give us your address. And then what you can do is log on to our website, and that website will permit you to download a petition, and then you’ll be able to circulate the petition. But it’s key to call this phone number.

AMY GOODMAN: Mike Gravel, did you ever raise this, for example, in the debates that you were able to participate in?

MIKE GRAVEL: About the commission? Not this particular commission, because I was—keep in mind, I was shut out in September of ’07 after I had challenged the Democratic Party and Hillary, particularly, on the Lieberman 2 resolution which gave George Bush the power to invade Iran, which is still a threat that looms over our heads.

I was with Ramsey Clark over the weekend, and Ramsey joins me in feeling very, very frightened over the possibility that George Bush may go crazy again and do something significant between now and the term. Remember when Sarkozy asked him, “Well, Mr. President, you’ve did a—you know, you’ve done a fine term of office.” He said, “I’m not done yet!” Well, by “not done,” what’s he got in his mind? What more could he do?

AMY GOODMAN: Senator Gravel, when you say we don’t know the truth about 9/11, what do you mean?

MIKE GRAVEL: Government—90 percent of what the government does is held secret. It’s a whole cult. And that’s the thing that is really strangling our democracy, that we just don’t know what’s going on. And so, you need to rip off the scab and see the wound of what the government is damaging. And so, it’s a cult. And I don’t know how I can phrase it. I’ve written about the subject.

When I was—here, best example I can give you. When I was twenty-three years old, I was in a communications intelligence service. I was an agitant of the communications intelligence service, and I was a top-secret control officer. I was twenty-three years old. Now, I’m forty-two years old, I’m a United States senator, and I could not go in and take notes and read the Pentagon Papers, because they were under guard in the Senate. Now, does it get any stupider than that? And that—and I didn’t even go in. When that was—Nixon sent them to the House, sent them to the Senate, and no staff could read it or senator could read it, couldn’t even take notes. I mean, we are so steeped in this.

And when you hear—and keep this in mind, Amy, any member of the Congress could release any secret about the government’s activities right today, because the court case, the Supreme Court ruled in my case 5-4 that a senator, under—or a House member, under the speech and debate clause of the Constitution of the United States, could not be held accountable. I was talking to Congressman Moran, and he had made the statement, “Well, you know, George Bush is about to do something in Iran.” I said, “My god! Say something about it. They can’t touch you.”

AMY GOODMAN: Jim Moran of Virginia.

MIKE GRAVEL: Of Virginia, and who’s a tough hombre.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you believe there’s another set of Pentagon Papers around 9/11 and Iraq?

MIKE GRAVEL: There’s no question about it, but how do you get your hands on it? If some—see, not every—there’s not that many Ellsbergs around. We’ve got Sibel Edmonds and others who—what people learn, and Ellsberg knew this walking into it, he was trying to find somebody in Congress. George McGovern wouldn’t do it, Fulbright wouldn’t do it. He needed the umbrage, the legal status of a member of Congress doing it.

He didn’t know I was alive until the Times wouldn’t act or the Post wouldn’t act. Then, all of a sudden, there’s this freshman who’s out there filibustering the draft. And so he called me up, “Would you release?” “Of course, I’d release it.” And I don’t know—people say, “Oh, you’re so courageous.” I’m not courageous; this is just the way I’m made. And that’s the reason why I admire this young kid, this Chiroux, that you just had on. This is what makes a difference in society, when people step up at any level of life.

AMY GOODMAN: You ran for the Democratic nomination for president.

MIKE GRAVEL: Yes, right.

AMY GOODMAN: But then, you just lost the—

MIKE GRAVEL: Libertarian.

AMY GOODMAN: —Libertarian nomination for president to Bob Barr.

MIKE GRAVEL: Right, yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: Why did you run there?

MIKE GRAVEL: As a Libertarian? Well, very simple. The Libertarian is not a war party. The Democratic Party is a war party. The Republican Party is a war party. My god, you’ve got to look around. The Green Party is not a war party. The Libertarians are not a war party. And I fancy myself very much—when people would say, “Well, Gravel is a misfit. He was a maverick,” what does that mean? It means that I didn’t fit into the Democratic Party. Now, there’s a lot of things that I like about what they do, but there’s a lot more things that I like about what the Libertarians—I believe in freedom.

AMY GOODMAN: Who are you endorsing for president?

MIKE GRAVEL: Well, I’m keeping my mouth shut. I’m going to vote, obviously, for the lesser of evils, but I’m not going to do it—

AMY GOODMAN: We’ll have Ralph Nader on next week, Independent candidate for president. What do you think of his run?

MIKE GRAVEL: Well, I like Ralph—

AMY GOODMAN: This week. We’ll have him on this week.

MIKE GRAVEL: Yeah, and I like Ralph. Ralph and I are good friends, as you can tell. He wrote the—

AMY GOODMAN: Forward to your book.

MIKE GRAVEL: He wrote the foreword to my book, but he never talked to me about running for president. He was my competitor until I got out of the race. Now I’ve got out of his way. But no, Ralph is a great, great American. There’s no question about it. His chances of becoming a president—but it’s a good place to put a protest vote if you want to put it. And so, we’ll see what happens. But we need people to articulate the alternative. I’ve not given up. I’m going to give an account of myself the rest of my life on all these issues.

AMY GOODMAN: What do you think of another Democratic candidate, Dennis Kucinich, you were on the debate floor with, introducing these articles of impeachment against President Bush?

MIKE GRAVEL: I think—and, of course, Ramsey Clark is leading that battle outside of the Congress. I think it’s important, because it sets the stage. It creates an appetite for people. But it’s not going anywhere.

And I really resent the identity politics that we have today. You know, you’ve got to have a woman be our president or a black person president. That’s fine. But I—very candidly, I was very excited when Nancy Pelosi became the Speaker, but I—reflecting on it, I don’t know of any woman in Congress, by and large, who is that much different from any male member of Congress. Oh, there are some that are courageous, but a lot of them are just normal. And Nancy Pelosi is no different than any male Speaker that I’ve seen in my career.

And so, she’s the one that took the impeachment deal off the table. That’s a tragic mistake. And I know why they did it: they’re playing politics. Now, from my point of view, impeachment is not what George Bush deserves. He deserves to be prosecuted. He and Cheney need to go to the Hague and stand in the dock like they had Milosevic and others. What they did was criminal. 4,000 Americans have died as a result of their fraud on the American people and—

AMY GOODMAN: Do you support Vincent Bugliosi, the Charles Manson prosecutor, who got him behind bars, his call for—we had him on on Friday. He’s written the book The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder.

MIKE GRAVEL: Oh, there’s no question about it. In fact, I have great regrets over the fact that we never put Richard Nixon in jail. I mean, everybody around him went to jail, and he got off and rehabilitated himself. The sooner we put a president or a vice president or a secretary in jail for crimes that they commit against humanity, the sooner leaders will shape up.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to have to leave it there. Senator Mike Gravel, I want to thank you very much for being with us, former Democratic senator from Alaska who served two terms and ran for president of the United States this past year.