Intervista a Gore Vidal di Giulietto Chiesa e Paolo Jormi Bianchi
da ''''Zero. Perchè la versione ufficiale sull''11/9 è un falso''''
Domanda: Un sondaggio di Zogby International di maggio del 2006 ha rivelato come più di 70 milioni di americani con diritto di voto non credano alla versione ufficiale sui fatti del 9-11 e siano favorevoli all''apertura di una nuova investigazione sul possibile ruolo del governo negli attentati. Ci sono buone ragioni per ritenere che questa cifra sia in costante aumento. Ma il movimento per la verità sui fatti dell''11 settembre è molto diviso, come lei sa. Per esempio molte persone credono che qualcuno nell''Amministrazione abbia lasciato che gli attentati avvenissero, mentre molti altri credono che essa abbia avuto un ruolo attivo nell''organizzarli. Come si colloca all''interno di questo dibattito? Ho notato che non ha mai preso parte a questa discussione e che per questa ragione è stato anche criticato da alcuni settori di questo movimento.
Gore Vidal: Io non sono un teorico della cospirazione, voglio metterlo in chiaro fin dall''inizio.. Io sono un analista delle cospirazioni. Mi diletto a esaminare i complotti che altri ritengono siano o siano stati attuati. Di regola ci si può rendere contro del perché essi non possono essere veri. Non può essere vero, ad esempio, che Bush e Cheney abbiano avuto qualche cosa a che fare con esso, se si accettua, forse, può darsi, qualche tipo di retroscena. Perchè sono degli incompetenti. Essi sono incapaci di fare bene qualche cosa. Quando New Orleans era in pieno disastro quelli non furono capaci neanche di mandare dei mezzi di soccorso. Non furono capaci di riparare le ey couldn''t repair the levees. They couldn''t do anything! And if you think that they''re going to do a complicated manoeuvre like 9/11. No! They wouldn''t know how. I take it for granted that 9/11 was not the work of the Bush administration. It''s tempting to think it was. I enjoy those conspiracy theorists who are positive that we were hit in New York and Washington by the administration. But we have the proof in front of us: 9/11 for all its horror for the victims was a superb operation. Strategically and tactically it was a great success. Mr Bush has 3 or 4 wars going on and has lost every single one of them. He has no gift for this sort of thing, so I find him innocent, alas, of 9/11. But he is culpable of thinking that he can recreate the panic of 9/11 and that the country will turn to him as our leader and our commander in chief, giving him dictatorial powers like George Washington or Abraham Lincoln. He compares himself to very high models. Well, a considerable number of Americans do believe that the administration allowed 9/11 to happen or indeed might have created 9/11? I could never go along with that because they are not that intelligent. They don''t do anything well. They could not have done it.
They could have let it happen.
But they always argue incompetence and God knows they are incompetent, these are people who are only interested in stealing money. They''re a bunch of thieves.
I said from the beginning about 9/11 that I accept that a rich man called Osama Bin Laden put some of his money to use in the interests of Puritanism in Islam and to punish Saudi Arabia for allowing American troops into the country of the two holy cities. I believe he''s perfectly sincere and he''s probably responsible for it.
But there are things that if I had been sitting on the congressional committee, examining 9/11, I would have asked. The one question they could not get Norad and the Air Force to answer correctly, was why the fighter planes did not go up automatically when the first planes were found to be hijacked. You don''t have to wait for a military command. You don''t have to wait for orders of any kind. My father put that in the code of civil aviation when he was the head of the whole thing under Franklin Roosevelt. I remember I talked to him once about what happens if anybody hijacks an airplane. He said "we''ve worked it out as well as we can, automatically within about 3 or 4 minutes (I forget exactly) of a hijacking, which is easily observed and recorded, fighter planes will go up, they will be scrambled (as they call it) and they''ll force the hijacked planes down to earth or, otherwise, if they have to, they''ll shoot them down. And that''s not an option. That''s the law. It''s inherent in being a fighter pilot: that''s what you have to do. unless someone has told you to stand down.
So my only bit of conspiracy theory is that someone told them not to go after these planes and not to force them down. If we remember, the entire Bin Laden family was on one of the planes later. They''d been collected from all over the United States and they were whisked out of the country with the speed of light, while the Pentagon was still burning. So that is a question I would certainly have asked if I had been sitting on that committee. It is well known that a lot of the people on the commission were not satisfied with the Air Force. They could never answer why they had done what they had done, or why they had not done what they should have done. That is very disturbing. If we had a free press we''d all know about this. Those of us who read everything about this sort of stuff, do know about it but we don''t really know if we''re getting the truth or not. We don''t know if we are getting a new set of lies coming to us from Mr. Cheney.
Paolo Jormi Bianchi: Non ci sono solo le menzogne in gioco qui, ma anche censure e silenzi imposti a tutti i livelli. Lei conosce la vicenda di David Shippers, l''avvocato di Washington famoso per aver avuto il compito di seguire le indagini per l''istruttoria dell''impeachment del presidente Clinton. Lei stesso ha spiegato nel saggio del 2001 "Le menzogne dell''impero e altre tristi verità", che numerosi funzionari e e agenti di agenzie di sicurezza statunitensi hanno chiesto a Shippers di aiutarli ad ottenere il permesso di rivelare informazioni di cui sono in possesso e che possono aiutare a capire l''1 settembre. Il loro problema è che non possono farlo perchè sono informazioni.
Vidal : "Classified"!
Jormi Bianchi: . esatto, sono segretate e se osassero rivelarle sarebbero incriminati e perderebbero non solo il lavoro ma anche la pensione. Ha mai parlato con Shippers di questa questione?
Vidal: Well it was well know at the time, it was well publicised that a number of FBI agents and also maybe elements from the military had gone to this lawyer. I was longing to find out from Mr. Shippers himself, or a statement from him, what they told him. The FBI, particularly out in Minneapolis , knew perfectly well something was going to happen and that it would come from the air. They knew quite a bit about it. They''d been following suspicious young men in the mid-west and had come to the conclusion that they were going to try something like a hijacking. Suddenly it was off the front page and never referred to again. Censorship in the United States is total and at every level. Things just don''t get printed if the government says "no". So there was never a follow up on this. And this was from newspapers and it shows how corrupt the media is. Fbi agents and other officers had gone to the man who had done the impeachment of Bill Clinton to get him to argue their case that they had gone to their superiors to warn them that something was going to happen... like 9/11.
Chiesa: Sempre nel saggio "Le menzogne dell''impero e altre tristi verità", lei ha citato l''ex presidente del servizio segreto nazionale tedesco, Ekhart Werthebach, che secondo l''agenzia American Free Press ha dichiarato il 4 dicembre del 2001 che qugli attentati richiedevano una "pianificazione di anni" e "una organizzazione di livello statale".
Nel saggio lei chiede, e io le rigiro la domanda: "allora quale stato ci ha attaccato l''11 settembre?"
Vidal : It looked to the german commentator as though there was a state somehow behind it, to do it logistically, to pay all those people to come to the United States and learn how to pretend to fly airplanes. That there were signs that a state was involved. What state was involved? I would say it was clear that we still haven''t heard the truth from the secret service of Pakistan , the ISI. The Pakistan secret service has had a hand in everything, and they work very closely, or they did work very closely with the CIA. So for all we know there could have been elements from the Pakistanis and rogue elements in the American spy networks.
That could have been so, and I think that was a popular conspiracy theory. I told both of you last night: what Americans know instinctively and Europeans are more suspicious about, is that everything is a conspiracy in the United States . Every political party is a group of people conspiring to get the great offices of the state for themselves and their friends. That''s all it is, and so Wall Street, Enron, these great corporations that turn out to be stealing money from the public and the government, they are all conspiracies, so it''s fairly normal for and American to think "oh, it must be a conspiracy!" It''s interesting that the entire propaganda machine of the United States has worked desperately hard to convince everybody that Lee Harvey Oswald, all by himself, killed Jack Kennedy ( John F. Kennedy, ndt ) in Dallas . Nobody in America believes that. They can''t sell it to anyone. It was too elaborate. It was too successful. It was unlike what a lone marine might be able to do with a gun. Well 9-11 is something much bigger and it''s why the blogs go on forever. I often have to defend myself in that I tend to reject the conspiracy theory on the grounds that these "conspirators" Bush and Cheney are not competent to have done anything like 9/11. I mean you see them conspiring to destroy the city of New Orleans . They were successful there, only by not doing anything. Yes!
Chiesa : Vorrei insistere su un punto: ho l''impressione che lei creda che il terrorismo islamico esista di per sé, ma allo stesso tempo ha scritto e detto più volte che sotto molti aspetti esso è stato creato con la collaborazione degli Stati Uniti.
Vidal : It has been said that I''ve believed in Islamic terrorism. I don''t believe there is something like that per se or that this is the policy of the Islamic world absolutely or its religion. Americans are crazy about religions and especially the more primitive religions. They''re more excited by them, particularly primitive Christianity, so they would naturally go for the street version of Islam. No, I don''t think that they are on their own any danger to us at all. I think they''re convenient because they sit on top of all that oil, and to pretend that they are our enemies and want to destroy us is a normal thing for a totalitarian government, like ours, to do. So we have our propagandists convincing us that they''re evil people and they''d love to kill us because we''re so wonderful and they envy us, and they just go on and on and the American people are so used to being lied to that they can''t see the truth even if it came up and bit them. They can''t.
Chiesa : You said that the Warren Report on the assassination of President Kennedy was an infamous case of high incompetence. I''d like to know what is your judgement of the Keen Report about september 11 th terrorist attacks.
Vidal : Bad, shallow superficial. The Warren Report is often referred to as an answer to the assassination of president Kennedy but it was nothing but a cover up for whoever actually did it and was behind it. Kennedy was killed by the Mafia and I won''t go into that now, but I''ll tell you it was because his brother Robert was very unpopular. Everyone pretends, everyone thought he was a saint, but he had a bad image so he thought as attorney general of the United States he would arrest the Mafia. That was the death-warrant for Jack Kennedy, because the Mafia had helped elect him. The Warren Report was run by the establishment of the United States and they cooked up a story about how this one lone marine who had been in Russia had wreaked all this havoc. Well that is an extraordinary story, which is only just beginning to come out 40 years later. With 9-11 they went through a sort of mock investigation of it by the legislative branch of the government: the senate and the house of representatives. They got a former governor of New Jersey who was a political hack to be the head of it. They had one or two good people on the commission but they shut them up every time they started to ask serious questions. They were not answered.
Chiesa: We are speaking some months after the defeat of Mr. Bush in the midterm elections and at the very likely beginning of the fourth war after Kosovo , Afghanistan and Iraq . The fourth war of the empire in its last edition, I would say. Or, if you want, the "Armageddon edition", to quote your words. In fact Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Advisor during Jimmy Carter Presidency, on the last 2 nd of february told the Defence Committee of the U.S. Senate that somebody in the United States could organise a terrorist act on United States soil to start a defensive military action against Iran. It is a scenario which recalls in my mind the 9/11 scenario, very closely. What is your opinion about this?
Vidal: Politicians tend always to repeat themselves, not having many ideas to begin with, and whatever works or once worked for a president, he will probably try it a second time or a third time.
The two political parties acted together to celebrate the war and finance the war and to create quite an atmosphere of fear. Like most totalitarian governments this one governs through fear. It''s not "if we''re going to be hit again like 9/11". it''s "when"! It''s "it will be!". They pretended it was going to happen again: right after 9/11 within 4 days they said "we''ll be struck on Tuesday. The CIA has just found documents up in the hills in Pakistan ". "They''re ready for us!". This went on every week, and it''s still going on right now. So americans don''t want fly in airplanes, they''re terrified of cities. They''re terrified of brown people.
My God, it''s a thorough job and it''s extremely vicious, making a whole country shake with terror, when there is practically no enemy at all.
I mean we have made so many enemies by now, yes. I believe there must be something like Al Qaeda now because we''ve wrecked two countries and that often leaves resentment behind, with angry patriots of those two countries wanting to get rid of us and get us out of their sovereignties.
We had been struck in a deadly way, and all the propaganda had begun. It was going to be a war between Moslems and Christians and Jews and so on. And Mr. Bush just tought "wouldn''t it be nice if this could happen again?" I think he''s desperate and I''m afraid he''s going to seize any opportunity to attack Iran . That''s why they may invent something that they''ll say the Iranians did, but they didn''t do it. We don''t know it, our media is totally corrupt and only repeats what the government wants them to say. But I think he''s looking for an excuse. It''s obvious from every statement he makes: "If we don''t fight ''em over there, we''ve gotta fight ''em here!" ( fa l''imitazione di Bush, ndr ) well this is cretinism on a grand scale, but countries do fall into the hands of the occasional Caligula and he''s ours. So I would say that it''s going to be very dangerous. He''ll seize on anything to blame the Iranians: "it was their weapons that did this" or "they''ve got some kind of mysterious powers to knock down our helicopters". They''ll say "we''ve got to do something to straighten that out!", so he''s waiting for a moment to strike so that he can be popular again. Unfortunately he doesn''t know that these things don''t work twice, and it''ll be uncontrollable.
Chiesa: Excuse me but the question of time is very important. He has not so much time to do this.
Vidal : He has two years but it seems like an eternity to me! In two years the mess that that fool could make could be quite terrible. If he ended up being killed with an army I would regret the loss of other Americans, but I certainly wouldn''t regret his loss. but he won''t be. What happens is that we will be attacked if Iran is driven to attack us, thinking that we''re going to attack them, then a lot of americans is going to be killed. They''ll take out New York or they''ll take out Washington . But one thing they don''t have, is the atomic bomb. Mr. Scott Ritter, chief United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991 to 1998, was one of the people who went in to study Iran and atom bombs and nuclear power. I appeared with him a couple of times on the lecture circuit. Ritter is an expert and he said "I have looked at everything the Iranians have or could get. They can''t make nuclear weapons and they don''t have the means. There are certain things that are forever missing for them. It doesn''t mean they won''t be able to find them or buy them in 20 years, but there''s no way that something like that could happen now". He was immediately silenced by the government, of course, but he''s still out there telling this story. As I said politicians repeat themselves. The only time Bush was popular was after 9/11 for which, let us say, he was not responsible in any way, except by carelessness and indifference, as it was after hurricane Katrina and other things. He never works. He really dislikes the American people. It''s quite clear if you see what they''ve done to the wounded soldiers in the hospitals in Washington . They''re living in poverty. And the generals haven''t looked at . He''s never gone there. He''s never been to a funeral. He''s never acknowledged that anyone was ever killed in this war. So he''s in a state of denial, according to one book. (" State of Denial" è l''ultimo libro di Bob Woodward, ndr ).
Chiesa: Nel settembre del 2002 lei ha dichiarato che il Presidente Bush aveva convinto il Congresso ad evitare ogni seria indagine ad ogni livello e che solo un processo di impeachment poteva convincerlo ad accettare di lasciare che si facesse davvero luce sull''11 settembre. Lei ha dichiarato che Bush ha limitato il raggio dell''inchiesta, ha messo il senatore Kean alla presidenza della Commissione e Philip Zelikow, un uomo di Cheney, come capo dello staff di ricerca. L''idea dell''impeachment è ancora sul tavolo? Nancy Pelosi sembra piuttosto incline al compromesso... ricordo la sua deliziosa definizione del sistema politico americano: "un solo partito con due ali destre". La cito spesso e tutti ridono sempre.
Vidal: I don''t agree that impeachment is not being considered. It''s being considered intensely by various members of congress. Mrs Pelosi who is the speaker of the House and the head of the Democratic Party, said in congress she isn''t going to go in for that, but there are other people besides this one lady, and these others are very angry and if we don''t have a trail and an accounting we''ll have a dictatorship forever: everyone could say in the future "We have precedents. We have the war-powers act granted by Congress to President George W. Bush". These things can hang on as precedents, which is what the law likes. I think you''re going to hear a lot of voices beginning next year and the subject will be impeachment and the way to begin, I think. So I wouldn''t be at all surprised if, despite Mrs. Pelosi saying she doesn''t want to deal in impeachment, senator Patrick J. Leahy, who outranks her in the Senate Judiciary Committee, proceeds. He does want to impeach and he''s got a very good case and there are about 5 or 6 other important figures. So I think justice will be done. They have the power of oversight. They have the power of investigation. They have the power of subpoena, which is extremely important: they can call people in and if they lie they can put them in jail for perjury for 3 years, which does have a chastening effect.
Chiesa: Do you believe that some kind of independent international investigation, like the Russell II Tribunal could be possible? During the Vietnam War there was very strong international action to press the American administration at the time. Now is it possible to change something and clarify what really happened on 9-11?
Vidal: At the time of Vietnam you had Bertrand Russell and his mock trial of President Johnson. We still had a fairly honest media, but today the New York Times won''t tell the story. They''re too used to telling lies, it''s like the old "Pravda". Well, we''re a totalitarian nation, to be blunt, and totalitarian powers are being exerted over the media and over the military. Notwithstandig this, there are many people who are going to insist that something should be done. What you suggest is an interesting idea, perhaps to have the court in The Hague call in Bush, or perhaps to have a Spanish magistrate (they''re always dependable) to arrest Mr. Bush on his first trip abroad not as emperor but as a tourist. Not that he''ll want to see anything but he might make a mistake. And I think there''s got to be some sort of world action, to start up Norimberga again, because his crimes are just as worthy as those of Hitler. So many people have been killed in these adventures of his, all of them without the will of the american people, or the consent of the legislative branch and indeed so far the judiciary. The judges have not been heard on this subject, not that they''re terribly reliable, but they represent legitimacy, which is very important in these things. What makes me nervous is that he has 2 years and he has this crazy Attorney General who makes up the law for him: the guy is called Gonzales and he''s from Mexico and I think he thinks he''s the attorney general of Mexico , not the United States . Nothing he says makes any sense at all, he hasn''t read the constitution and he says "the President has inherent rights". The president has no inherent rights! He has enumerated rights, and anyone who knows anything about the constitution knows that you can read his rights in about 5 minutes. It''s article 2, I think, of the Constitution. I''ve been all over the state of California in the last year and a half making speeches, raising money for the Democratic Party and I get to meet a lot of republicans who come to hear me speak, because they are alarmed. It''s going to be perpetual war, as I once wrote, for perpetual peace. It''s going to go on, war after war after war. Make one mistake and you might frighten the Iranians into attacking the United States . We will then hit them back with our advanced technology.
Chiesa: With the atomic bomb?
Vidal: Well, we''re capable of it, yes. I don''t think our military would allow it because they have a sense of cause and effect. People like Bush have none, that''s why he''s so crazy. He never thinks of the consequence of anything he does. He just says "a wartime president! A wartime president! I''m just like Lincoln , just like Washington ! I can do anything that I want" ( imita ancora alla perfezione la voce di Bush, ndr ). And he doesn''t know that he can''t, and he''s got an attorney general who''s his legal councillor, who tells him lies about his powers. The point is that the rest of us will all be killed, that''s my worry. Military defeats are sad for the military since they''re mostly very poor young men who couldn''t go to university, couldn''t get educated, couldn''t find work. I personally know an ex-soldier, a ranger, he was in the army for 4 or 5 years and he now raises dogs. He told me few months ago he was offered hundreds of thousands of dollars to go back into the army. We are buying soldiers as if they were Fabergé eggs. It''s astonishing! I mean no empire has ever done this before. They would grab some slaves and give them a spear or a gun. What''s left of the treasury is going to buy mercenaries and sooner or later the mercenaries become like the Praetorian Guard. They''ll insist on making the emperors rather than obeying them, so that is a dangerous situation, but helpful in ending these wars.
Jormi Bianchi: Continuiamo su questo terreno fatto di paralleli storici. Ho notato, e non sono il solo, un fenomeno ricorrente nella storia degli Stati Uniti. Questo paese è come un gigante che a volte si strappa un braccio per tirarlo addosso ai propri nemici. Ovvero, un paese che che si autoinfligge ferite per avere una giustificazione all''offesa. È accaduto con la guerra Ispano-Americana del 1898: gli storici concordano oggi sul fatto che non furono affatto gli spagnoli a bruciare il destroyer U.S.S. Maine nel porto dell''Avana.
Vidal: Spontaneous combustion, that''s what happened.
Jormi Bianchi: . e lei ha scritto molto chiaramente che anche l''attacco a Pearl Harbour fu provocato e stimolato in ogni modo affinchè i giappponesi attaccassero. Ha persino detto che fu una grande idea, perchè rese possibile la salvezza dell''Europa. Resta il fatto che si è trattato dell''ennesimo trucco. Allo stesso modo prima dell''intervento americano in Vietnam, la nave militare U.S.S. Maddox nel Golfo del Tonchino il 4 agosto del 1964 ha sparato cannonate nella nebbia, e non è stata attacata in realtà da nessuna imbarcazione vietnamita, come invece venne raccontato all''opinione pubblica americana. Che si trattò di un inganno ormai è storia. Persino la distruzione del popolo dei Nativi Americani è stata condotta con questa strategia: veniva causato ad arte ogni volta un nuovo causus belli che permettesse di rompere i trattati appena stipulati e rubare nuovi territori. Crede che si possa guardare all''11 settembre da questo punto di vista? Anche questa volta il gigante si è ferito da solo?
Vidal: We could put 9/11 into a historical context. We''ve always had an enemy of some kind. Our original great enemy, whom we were terrified of, was the indigenous population of North America, whom we fancifully call "Indians" although they are Mongolians, so we could always say "the Indians are coming and they are going to kill us all, unless we attack them", which we planned to do in order to take their land away. We did this many many times. So you could make the case that 9/11 was a bit like general Custer''s last stand, back in 1876. The tribes had been very quiet and we had to stir them up, and stir them up, and make them angry and make them attack us, and the tribes went on the warpath. We could say that this has been an American pattern: inventing an enemy and then saying the enemy hates us and is going attack us unless we attack them first. So we''re in a great tradition there. The Roman Empire did the same thing all the time. They always said, every time they set up a new colony somewhere, that the colonists are getting ready to destroy Rome and they''re going to march on the capitol. General Custer was at the border of the country, it was the time of the first centennial of the United States , 1876. They said "the Indians are on the warpath". The Indians were just living happily by themselves. So we sent general Custer who was one of the stupidest of all our generals and they beat him and his army. It was the last great attack of the Indians against the occupiers of North America. and I did think about general Custer when I saw the Pentagon in flames with the smoke coming up, because they''d hit us at our most vulnerable and important place: the Pentagon symbolises our military power in the world, and they''d hit it! And to this day nobody knows what they hit it with, whether it was an airplane or whether it was a missile. And our government will never tell us so we''ll just have to wait for the French to explain it! ( Vidal si riferisce al giornalista francesce Thierry Meyssan che per primo ha contestato la versione ufficiale sull''attacco al Pentagono nel libro "Le effroyable imposture" del 2002, ndr ). This is not generally known, but I''ve spent a lot of time working over the constitution and how it was written and so on. We wanted a republic like Rome , knowing that Aristotele had already warned us that republics like Rome inevitably will go for Empire if they have any military capacity and that they will cease to be republics and will become imperial. It happened to the Romans and it happened to the Americans. Just like that. It''s like clockwork. So we are quite aware of what is done to us and the power of public relations and the power of publicity.
We had the first publicity war, probably, in history, which was the Spanish-American war. We took advantage of the fact that an American destroyer in the harbour at Havana , Cuba , blew up and we said "Oh! the Spanish blew up our destroyer!" and we went to war and we seized Cuba , and we seized Puerto Rico . And then our big score was when we got islands of the Philippines which made us an Asiatic power, which was why we did it, which was co-ordination between the government of the time and Theodore Roosevelt, a very ambitious young politician who wanted war. He was crazy about war. Intelligent people at the time said it was very unlikely that the Spanish were able to blow up a battleship, a destroyer, and it was proved that they hadn''t. It was spontaneous combustion in the coal department of the ship, which we now know, it''s been proved. But we fought a war with great propaganda, that got us to arm and made us ready for World War I, in which we were going to made the world safe for democracy, as president Lincoln , the first of our idiot presidents, said. That was just ridiculous. It''s just like saying making the world safe for a good temper.
Chiesa: I would like to develop a reflection on the media and 9/11. I just told you about the polls which show that more or less a third of the American people does not believe in the official version, and that about one fourth is convinced that some part the US government in one way or another was involved in it. Now, how can you explain this? The mainstream was fully engaged in the patriotic mission to mobilise everyone against Osama Bin Laden, Al Quaeda and the Moslem fundamentalism, so where did 70 million American citizens get their scepticism?
Vidal: Happily we''re a sceptical people and rather cynical about our government. Luckily that 70 million of whatever Americans who disbelieve the president when he says there''s a great conspiracy of Moslems against the United States . They don''t believe him. You can terrify them. I have to say this to a foreign audience because foreigners tend to think that we actually elected a president like George W Bush. well, we didn''t. The election was stolen by the big money people who also own the media, and they print the lies that we''re all supposed to believe or pretend to believe. So I have to keep saying, every now and then, remember that president Bush did not beat Albert Gore junior, the former vice- president. He didn''t beat him! Albert Gore got, I think, 600 thousand more popular votes than Mr Bush did. Under our 18 th century constitution you could steal it from him, but it took a lot of money and a lot of propaganda until they got the supreme court to enter and say "Alright! we''re picking Mr Bush. He has won the election. We can''t go on recounting forever!" They didn''t recount at all in a serious way, because the people who owned the country wanted Bush as president. He represented them. He was going to cut their taxes immediately, which he did, and he served them very well. So I always point out, you should never blame us and say: "the Americans are those people who elected that stupid cowboy". We didn''t elect him. We voted for the man who was trying to save the planet, Albert Gore, who was considered not exciting enough. Who wants excitement when you can save the planet?
Chiesa: I''d like you to elaborate this question. You are a man of the information system. You have been in the main points of this system. How do you explain the fact that the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and so on and so on all react in the same way, manipulating altogether in the same way some particular elements of the behaviour. How can it happen? Do they speak to each other or consult together or is there a place from which the information comes and is dictated to everyone?
Vidal: Is it true that these people, directors and chief editors and so on, are educated in a special culture and they know their own interests. Sometimes it seems as though they were co-ordinated. For instance in the situation of 9/11, very soon, 5 or 6 months after that, all over the world the mainstream fell silent. They all think alike. They''ve all been educated by the same schools. They know what they have to say. They know what they have to do. You don''t have to corrupt any of them. They''re born bent out of shape and you can count on them all the time to sound alike. Why do you think the first thing Bush said was "I''m a wartime president! A wartime president!" he got himself wartime powers. He said "we''ve been attacked! we''ve been invaded! And if we don''t fight ''em over there, we''re gonna fight ''em here!" ( altra imitazione di Bush, ndr ). that was the mantra of those days. Well the editor of the New York Times is not going to say "no" to this because otherwise he''ll be accused of treason and helping the enemy and sent to Guantanamo . We have a police state. It''s just not gone to its furthest extremes yet, but it will.
Jormi Bianchi: Molto di quanto la versione ufficiale sui fatti dell''11 settembre afferma, è affidata alla prova delle immagini. Penso ai 5 fotogrammi della telecamera a circuito chiuso del parcheggio del Pentagono, rilasciati al pubblico come prova dell''impatto del volo AA77. Negli anni ''30 Walter Benjamin teorizzava le incredibili implicazioni derivanti dalla riproducibilità tecnica delle opere d''arte, un fenomeno per l''epoca ancora giovane. Così come noi oggi siamo di fronte alle implicazioni della riproducibilità digitale delle immagini. Ma soprattutto ci dobbiamo confrontare con la possibilità di crearne artificialmente di indistinguibili da quelle "naturali", sempre grazie alle tecnologie digitali. Quanto di "analogico" esisteva prima, ovvero l''analogia tra la reazione chimica sulla pellicola e la luce che passa dall''obiettivo, ha lasciato il posto a sequenze di 1 e di 0, totalmente indipendenti dai fotoni. Io credo che possiamo dire che tali tecnologie hanno distrutto le immagini. Virtualmente ogni immagine è manipolabile, il che significa che teoricamente nessuna immagine può più essere considerata prova, "evidence", di qualsivoglia fatto accaduto nella realtà. Lei non crede che tutto questo si scontri con la patologica dipendenza dalle immagini (dalla Tv) della società occidentale contemporanea, fino a delineare un serio rischio per la democrazia?
Vidal: Well there''s no doubt that between advertising and what is laughingly called entertainment everything is dependent upon the invention of images, and they don''t even have to be real images. They can be imaginary images. They can be bits and pieces of images put together to create chimeras. So what is reality? Any image that the eye can take in is reality even though it''s not an image of a real thing, the eye will accept it as what it pretends to be. I don''t think we can be too metaphysical about images. They are everywhere. They''re part of our lives, we''re brought up with them, from the first moment we open our eyes we see images and we see a lot of fictional ones which means we are prepared for total subversions of truth and its very easy to get us to behave badly because we misbelieve something. We think a friend is suddenly an enemy because the image maker has made him into one. This is not a new phenomenon, but the characteristic of this age it''s that it''s more efficient than earlier ages. You can wander through Byzantine churches and see the images of Saladin and you begin to see how propaganda works at a very early level.
Jormi Bianchi: La grande illusione è quella di chi nel terzo millennio pretende di dimostrare qualcosa, così come credere in qualcosa, sulla base di immagini. Lei concorda? Molte affermazioni presenti nella versione ufficiale dei fatti dell''11 settembre sono state dimostrate offrendo al pubblico come prova delle immagini. Anche quando ciò che quelle immagini pretendevano di far credere era palesemente falso.
Vidal: Certainly what hit the Pentagon is still an open question.
Jormi Bianchi: Non possiamo più fidarci nemmeno di quello che vediamo. Ma allora cosa dovrebbe fare un giornalista nel momento in cui si rende conto della decadenza in cui è precipitata la professione che ha scelto? Sempre che abbia la fortuna di accorgersene, ovviamente.
Vidal : Write fiction! It''s the only place you can tell the truth!'