Thursday, September 11, 2014

Where Were You on 911? I became a terrorism analyst that day...

11 September 2014

Thirteen years ago today 9/11 shook America. Where were you that day?  I ended up in a different place. Normally I would have been practicing law. But I spent the day in a TV studio as a terrorism expert, watching the images and trying to analyze a confusing situation.

                                                     Michael Fjetland on 9/11, 2001

                                                     Inside the World Trade Center 1994

Why was I on TV as an expert in that area?  Because I had been an international negotiator before getting laid off during the “Great Texas Oil Bust” of the 80’s. Looking for a project that might earn a buck and use my knowledge of the world (I had been in the Middle East and over thirty countries) I had written a “fiction” book about a potential terrorist attack on the United States (and a flash war in a place called Iraq). I had no idea my fiction book would soon become non-fiction.

In the middle of my book, Saddam invaded Kuwait, which led to the first Gulf War in 1990-91.  When the second plane hit the WTC, I called the same TV station and asked: “Would you like me to come in?”  The answer was yes.  I saw photos that were never published. Some were of people falling from the towers. A close look showed that they had no feet, apparently burned off by the burning towers. I couldn’t imagine the choice they had faced.

Nine months before 911, I had sent to the just-elected VP, Dick Cheney, a video I had produced and aired on cable TV with a weapons expert from the Reagan administration, Dr. Ron Hatchett. I made it in 1994, a year after the first bombing of the World Trade center that killed six people. I asked Dr. Hatchett if the premise of my fiction book could happen: a terror attack on the U.S. He said “Yes” and went on to explain how it could occur.  In late January 2001, I sent a copy of that video to Mr. Cheney and to my local Congress rep at the time, Tom DeLay. Neither responded or asked “What is this about?”  In the months preceding 911, they cut counter-terrorism funding.  I cover all this in my chapter “Predicting 911” in my book “Better Times Ahead April Fool.” The proof: the video is available on YouTube if you search my name.

In 1994 Al Qaida was just forming – something I didn’t yet know, so my focus in the book and video was on Saddam Hussein. But it became clear after 9/11 Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11. It was all about Osama bin Laden and a place called Afghanistan.

As a result of the invasion of Iraq, the borders of Iraq opened to Al Qaida. Until then, Saddam had kept Osama bin Laden out of Iraq – he HATED him. Osama bin Laden was the religious nut and Saddam was the non-religious nut. I still remembered Reagan supporting Saddam in the eight year war against IRAN. Without Saddam, Iran was free to build its nuclear capability. 

And without Saddam, Al Qaida morphed into ISIS, which we now confront today – an organization so radical that it was kicked out of Al Qaida.

So, I remember all too well 9/11, and what led to today’s mess. The President is right to attack ISIS – a group that not only beheads American journalists, but kills children and sells women into bondage. Iraq’s Prime Minister Maliki had kicked us out of Iraq, but then they screwed it up so badly they had to invite us back in.

Osama had hoped the attack would get the U.S. into a war that would make us become the enemy in the Shia vs Sunni sectarian battle, and it worked. President Obama has been smart enough to make sure that we aren’t picking sides and forced the Iraqis to become more inclusive.

We should remember that on this day. The Iraq war cost over $5 Trillion dollars on borrowed money and nearly 5,000 U.S. lives, on top of those lost on 9/11.  We did much of the damage to our own economy – just as Osama bin Laden wanted.

The person who brought bin laden to justice was President Obama. He deserves Congress support against ISIS and their support in rebuilding our own country’s roads and bridges that are over 70 years old. We have done enough damage to ourselves. 

Let’s start investing in our future.
Michael Fjetland

Author, Better Times Ahead April Fool

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