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Senator Mike Gravel passed away June 26. Obituaries by the New York Times, Democracy Now, and other supposedly trustworthy outlets failed to mention Senator Gravel’s nearly two decades of support for the 9/11 truth movement, which he was privately advising even before I came onboard in 2004. In affectionate memory of one of the all-time most courageous US senators, I am replaying my June 22, 2016 conversation with him. Below is the original write-up, followed by a transcript of the interview. -KB
Truth Jihad Radio interview with Sen. Mike Gravel
Kevin Barrett: Welcome to Truth Jihad Radio, The Struggle for Truth disguised as a radio show. I’m Kevin Barrett bringing you the best guests I can find telling the most important truths that are boxed out of the corporate-controlled mainstream. Today we’re looking at a key issue that’s been on and off of our radio shows here, popping up consistently over the past couple of years. And that’s the 28 pages that apparently implicate some Saudis, and maybe some other folks as well in the U.S. and perhaps foreign governments, in connection to 9/11. And maybe not the obvious one of supporting the “9/11 hijackers,” given that we are pretty certain that there weren’t any hijackers. But this could blow the whole thing wide open. And it looks like we’ve made huge progress this past week, with the new House Resolution 779. And here to talk about it is Senator Mike Gravel. Resolution 779 looks back to Senator Gravel’s brave and historic stand in reading the Pentagon Papers into the Congressional Record. And it essentially says that this is what we’re going to do with the 28 pages. So is history repeating itself? Let’s talk about it with Senator Mike Gravel. Welcome, Senator. How are you?
Sen. Mike Gravel: Happy to be with you.
Kevin Barrett: Yeah, great to be to be back with you. We had a wonderful time in Tehran a couple of years ago. I’ll never forget spending time with you and your wife. It was my first trip to Tehran as well.
Sen. Mike Gravel: So it was mine, and we enjoyed it very much. We found it very edifying. And of course, the tragedy of American foreign policy towards Tehran is something we’ve been living with ever since, and even before. Sanctioning them was clearly illegal. They weren’t doing anything they weren’t authorized to do under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act. But here again, American imperialism does not need a reason to mete out injustice. All they’ve got to do is want to do it. And they do.
Kevin Barrett: Indeed, I think Iran’s real crime is wanting to be independent and opposing Israeli policies. Well, let’s move on to the 28 pages. That’s a very interesting issue for those of us who’ve been pushing to get a real investigation into the crimes of 9/11. And it looks like a lot of progress has been made. And I was actually surprised.
Sen. Mike Gravel: Yes and no. OK, first off, they’ve got a new resolution and they’ve got a number of co-sponsors on the resolution. You should understand that under the American Constitution and sustained by a Supreme Court decision and subsequent case law, any single member of Congress can release anything of a classified nature to the American people. And there’s nothing that anybody can do to that person. So here we have a situation where from the get go, members of Congress refused to exercise this Constitutional power that they had to release or to stop any classification by the executive, the CIA, of what was going on. And so we had the chairman, Graham, who pleaded to release the papers. And then over the years, groups of members of Congress would plead. And now we have a formal resolution asking for the release. Any one member could release these papers. But (there is) the difficulty of peer pressure. But now when they get together and they put forth a resolution asking for the declassification, well, fine. I can applaud that. That’s an advance. But it’s a little ridiculous when any one of them could have released and can still release the 28 pages.
Kevin Barrett: I agree. It does seem a little ridiculous. But this new resolution is not just calling for the release, it’s actually citing the Speech and Debate Clause. Basically they’re giving notice that they’re planning to read it into the Congressional Record. And as you say, why don’t they just do it now?
Sen. Mike Gravel: That’s right. It’s a lot of shillyshallying around. Keep in mind that that decision of the Supreme Court was rendered in 1972. And there’s not been a single instance of a member of Congress releasing information people should know about what their government is doing, not one single instance, since then. Now I hope that this resolution will be the first example of relying on Speech and Debate. But you see, Speech and Debate is is fundamental to our democracy. If the elected representatives who know what’s going on in government cannot share that information with the people in a democracy, then a democracy cannot function, because the people cannot give a proper evaluation of public policy that’s being undertaken in their name. That’s the tragedy: Our democracy is being destroyed by the lack of will in the Congress to share what they know with their constituencies.
Kevin Barrett: Well, some people would of course raise objections to your saying that there would be no consequences for any congressmen who read the 28 pages into the record or did other kinds of whistleblowing releasing secret information, given that there’s there’s pretty good evidence that Senator Paul Wellstone was murdered, as Senator Barbara Boxer said. She said she would deny having said this if it were repeated, that Senator Wellstone’s murder was, quote unquote, “a message to us all.” We have a deep state that relies on these layers and layers of secrecy, and that deep state has let it be known that we’re not a democracy anymore. And in that situation, how do we get democracy back?
Sen. Mike Gravel: Well, first off, you exercise the courage that members of Congress should have, should get. The fact is, somebody has been murdered. My God, that happens in war. When you enlist in the service and you go off, you don’t know that you’re not going to get killed, but you have the patriotism to do that. And so where’s the patriotism of the members of Congress in standing up to the deep state that you refer to? This is secondhand information, I don’t know if it’s accurate, but Obama once made the statement, apparently, that if he were to treat objectively the military industrial complex, he probably would end up like Kennedy. Well, that’s not a reason! I mean, he’s elected president of the United States to lead. And if in the process he is assassinated, then the next person should step up and lead. You see, you don’t cower down to oppression. You stand up to oppression and take the risks that are involved. Otherwise, don’t run for office.
Kevin Barrett: I agree completely. Well, that’s how I felt about the academy when I was at the University of Wisconsin and found some discrepant information about 9/11 that looked pretty historic to me. I thought the academy was supposed to be the honest voice of keeping power in check. And journalism as well. But it seems like all these institutions are failing us.
Sen. Mike Gravel: Journalism has totally copped out. The mainstream media is six corporations. And they’re totally sold out to Wall Street and the military industrial complex. Wall Street and the military industrial complex control the presidency, the Congress, the judiciary. There is no democracy left. We are just being led around by the nose. And so when you see something that takes 20, 30 years, like the 28 pages, to surface, when the information is not all that misunderstood. Anybody who’s followed these events well knows the role that’s been played by Saudi Arabia in corrupting and creating the jihad movement worldwide through their madrassas and the hatred that they teach young children. This has been going on for years and years. And so there’s no secret that it’s going to be totally disruptive when we know that Saudi Arabia is a bad country. It’s our ally. We prefer Saudi Arabia over Iran. And Iran has done nothing on the order of what Saudi Arabia has done.
Kevin Barrett: That’s a great point. But I would argue that the reason that they’re keeping this under wraps is not so much to protect our wonderful ally, Saudi Arabia, as to protect the deep state actors who work with our wonderful ally, Saudi Arabia, in creating all of this synthetic terrorism by way of the perverted Wahhabi ideology. It’s very convenient for the empire to have the Saudis be the way they are.
Sen. Mike Gravel: Kevin, I would I would say that I find your analysis is correct, but it doesn’t go deep enough. One of the things that is not understood in the American community is that OPEC cut a deal back in 1972 when they quadrupled the price of oil. And the deal that was cut was that they would make sure that oil is purchased in dollars. And one of the things that Iran did before the sanctions were laid on them was that they had made a deal with some countries to denominate the oil price in euros. If OPEC did not support the dollar under the deal that we have, our economic system would just crumble. It’s that serious. And so we can look for marginal deals, but that’s the fundamental deal that we have with OPEC. And the Saudis control OPEC. And that is why we’re paying this horrendous price of creating jihadism around the world for the fact of sustaining the dollar. It gets pretty complex and pretty convoluted, Kevin.
Kevin Barrett: Well, as far as creating jihadis around the world, isn’t it true, though, that most of that has imperial benefits as well. It’s not just the oil, but also, for example, the Saudi jihadis were on our side, they were freedom fighters against the Russians in Afghanistan. They’ve been doing all kinds of subversion of Russia ever since. So-called al-Qaeda’s main item of business, ever since it began, has been attacking Russia on behalf of the USA. And they also run drugs for the CIA through Kosovo and so on and so forth. I would argue that al-Qaida, and even more so ISIS, which is completely synthetic, purely the product of the Western intelligence services through Saudi proxies, that these groups are not authentic expressions even of Wahhabi Islam, that these are primarily Western mercenary organizations.
Sen. Mike Gravel: I would not disagree with that. Not in the slightest.
Kevin Barrett: I’ve been a Muslim since 1993 and these groups are utter embarrassments. It seems to me they’re partly serving a function as a PR move against Islam. Look at the Islamophobia that this stuff has created over the past 20 years. What honest Muslim would actually want any of this?
Sen. Mike Gravel: Right. And when you compare Iran to Saudi Arabia, you see that because Iran is a theocratic state, of course, no different than is Israel and Saudi Arabia, but it is not a violent theocratic state. They do defend their allies, whether it’s Hezbollah or Hamas, or allies in Iraq. But why there was such a hatred of Iran within the American establishment, I think is all rooted in the hatred of Saudi Arabia against Iran, because they see Iran as a rising theocratic power that can overshadow their power.
Kevin Barrett: Yeah, I would I would add to that, though, that it’s not so much just the theocracy as the sort of revolutionary sentiment that the Iranians have somehow managed to combine with a kind of a nationalistic movement with their revolution. But it’s also a movement that really cares for justice around the world. So they’re always going to be friends and supporters of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and other liberation movements around the world, and especially in Palestine. They’re absolutely committed to liberating Palestine. And I think that’s probably the single biggest problem. That’s what I’ve heard from my Iranian friends, some of whom are very well placed. They all say that “Iran could be the economic powerhouse of the Middle East. All we would have to do is knuckle under and stop supporting the Palestinians and they (the West) would give us what we wanted.” So they think the whole problem is really about Israel.
Sen. Mike Gravel: Oh, there’s just no question about that. And of course, Israel is the power that determines what American Middle East policy will be. They control American Middle Eastern policy. And it’s a criminal situation because it’s cost untold human lives and untold treasure on behalf of the American people. If the Americans knew how much money we were pouring into Israel, you would see a revolution much larger than the twenty eight pages in this country.
Kevin Barrett: And I think if Israel’s role in various false flag events were revealed that would also contribute to the same outcome. So how are we going to make things better? What hope is there for improvement through the electoral system? If it’s Hillary versus Trump, I don’t see much hope. But their negatives are both at record highs right now. And we have Gary Johnson, the Libertarian, on the ballot in all 50 states and polling 10 percent plus in the polls. Is this a year that a third party breakthrough could conceivably happen?
Sen. Mike Gravel: No, not at all. I know Gary Johnson very, very well. And they are not in all 50 states yet. He’s made that representation, the same representation is made by the Greens, that they’re working on getting into all 50 states. I think Dr. Stein with the Greens would be a hell of a lot more acceptable to the American community than would be the Libertarians. And I have a lot of friends within the libertarian movement, but I think it is extreme. Gary Johnson’s talking about wiping out the IRS, wiping out the Department of Education and the Department of Commerce. Really, these are ridiculous positions. Plus, he has made statements that just make me wonder where they stand with respect to the military industrial complex. I would predict that if Bernie Sanders—and he’s already been solicited by Dr. Stein—if he would join Dr. Stein, he’d be the standard bearer, she would be vice president, and then they would really cut a broad swath. But what would be the results of that? I think that nobody would get the necessary votes in the Electoral College to win. So you’d have a plurality that would then take the issue to the to the House of Representatives, where each state has got one vote. And since Republicans control that, more than likely they would anoint Ryan, Speaker Ryan, the way they anointed him speaker, they would anoint him president of the United States, and that would be the outcome of that. So let me repeat, I don’t believe that the third parties would would make that much difference other than possibly creating a plurality situation with respect to the electoral votes.
Kevin Barrett: And that sounds like it wouldn’t come out the way that we might hope.
Sen. Mike Gravel: It would come out and make the Republicans happy because they could give it to Trump and they could get a “nice” reasonable person like Paul Ryan—who’s not so reasonable, but they think he’s reasonable. And that’s my take on it. The problem is that Bernie Sanders is right now in a catbird seat. He could decide—and he’s already apparently decided—that he’s going to try to keep his movement alive. I think it’s a fool’s errand. There’s no way you can keep a broad movement alive just on the basis of protest, because we have examples of the failure of movements throughout our history, including recent history. And so his view that he could do this really begs the question: What is the revolution he’s talking about? He and so many others don’t don’t know how to put their finger on it. What is the revolution? There’s only one possible thing. There’s only two venues for change. One is the government wherein lies the problem and the other is the people who do not have the power to use their power other than to give it away on Election Day to representatives. And so the answer is obvious. We have to bring about the people of the United States becoming lawmakers so that if they want to pursue an agenda like Bernie’s and I’m telling you, in a heartbeat, the American public would vote for single payer. They wanted it from the get-go. And they’ve been denied that by the Congress. And Citizens United! They would vote in a heartbeat to take the corruption of money out of the political process. That’s just the beginning. And so the answer is very simple. Empower the people to make laws. I’ve submitted a proposal to Bernie, because I’ve worked on over the last twenty five years a process of how to do this.
And we can do this by going around the government entirely. We don’t have to have the government to hold an election. The government would never, ever have an election to empower the people to make laws because it would dilute the power of the one percent. So what we have to do is to have a Constitutional amendment wherein the people assert their sovereignty to be able to be legislators, and where they would assert, like in Article Seven of the Constitution that created our government, they would assert the sanction of the election being conducted by a private entity, and then would assert the standard for the enactment of that legislation. And then it would also add another section to create an electoral trust that would then manage the procedures on behalf of the people, the legislative procedures, just like in the Senate. All I did is I copied the Senate procedures. And the constitutional amendment would also outlaw all moneys that do not come from a natural person. So that’s what the people could do. And the standard for enactment would be the only standard we have for a national election, which is the election of a president. So the majority of the people who voted in the most recent presidential election, if the people vote for this constitutional amendment, it becomes the law of the land period. That’s what’s possible. But the difficulty that I have had over the last few decades, is that I have not been able to get a single a single representative in government to buy into what I’m talking about—much less the pundits.
Kevin Barrett: You’re talking about putting them out of a job.
Sen. Mike Gravel: That’s right. Well, you don’t put them out of a job. You dilute their power. Because the people would make laws in a parallel capacity as the representatives make laws. But the people would be the senior partners in that process. So, no, it dilutes their power. I’m not of a mood to throw out the baby with the bathwater. The legislation I put forward does not change anything in the representative government, other than requiring representative government in the various legislative bodies to vote in an advisory capacity on initiatives in their relevant jurisdictions. So that’s what I have put forward. You can’t get the body politic to buy into it, you can’t get the the mainstream media to even understand it. And then when you get a person like Bernie who could at this very point in time, turn his power and his supporters into going out and getting this initiative, the National Citizens Initiative, enacted into law. They have the capacity in numbers to do this, to raise the money to do this. And that opportunity will be dissipated. Because after the November election, Bernie is going to be sidelined. I promise you that, in his efforts to keep a body active, it’s just not going to happen. It hasn’t happened before. They all turned into little lobbying groups of the committees. But as far as the great unwashed, they go on to the rest of their lives.
Kevin Barrett: That’s a great point. Bernie’s slogan of his revolution—it would make sense to morph it into the kind of movement for direct democracy that you’re talking about. That would actually make it, in a sense, a real revolution. Because right now it’s a nebulous concept. And it could actually take concrete form if he jumped on board with your program.
Sen. Mike Gravel: That’s right. And I have communicated that to him twice. And I’ve never got an answer. What I conclude is that he doesn’t understand what his own revolution is all about. The revolution is not passing a piece of legislation. The revolution is empowering the people in every government jurisdiction of the United States to be able to make laws by initiative. That’s the revolution. And then they could turn around and do their agenda, not just his agenda, but the agenda of the people who want to vote in the majority on these various issues. But they can’t do that now. They’re not permitted to do that. All they can do under our structure of representative government, which, of course, keeps people in civic adolescence—all they can do is vote on Election Day to give their power away. And I’m reminded of a great statement by Mark Twain, and that is, if voting made a difference, they wouldn’t let us do it.
Kevin Barrett: Which is probably why they don’t.
Sen. Mike Gravel: Exactly right. And we are controlled by the one percent and they’re not about to let this happen. So you can’t solve any of this within the context of representative government. Representative government is controlled by the one percent, the military industrial complex and Wall Street. And so if you can’t do it within the confines of representative government, then you begin to ask: Why the foolishness of all of these progressive pundits and liberals insisting that we solve the problem within the context of representative government?
Kevin Barrett: Well, my friend Robert David Steele, with whom I’m working on a new book on the Orlando events, is a former CIA clandestine services officer who’s become a top Amazon reviewer and a leading voice of reform. He has a whole program for electoral reform that should incorporate your ideas. But in any case, he thinks that Bernie Sanders is not the real deal. He thinks that the idea all along was for Bernie to lose and then throw his support to Hillary. He doesn’t have faith in Bernie Sanders really being the truly independent voice that he pretends to be.
Sen. Mike Gravel: Well, I am hoping that he is wrong. And I will continue hoping until after the convention. But if Bernie endorses Hillary, forget it. It’s just business as usual.
Kevin Barrett: Yeah. I’m kind of afraid that’s the most likely outcome. Speaking of Robert David Steele and the Orlando book project, I don’t know if you’ve seen the last couple of books I’ve had out in the past year and a half. The first one was We Are Not Charlie Hebdo about the attacks in Paris in January.
Sen. Mike Gravel: I agree with that. Je ne suis pas Charlie!
Kevin Barrett: And then the follow up book Another French False Flag is about the events of November of last year. In both cases, we managed to round up a lot of leading public intellectuals the majority of whom, the great majority of whom, actually, are skeptical of the official stories of what actually happened in those cases. Most of us are now agreed that there’s an Operation Gladio going on post-9/11 that been responsible for the majority, if not all, of the high profile alleged Islamic terror attacks in the West, beginning with 9/11—actually before 9/11, even. I was wondering if you might perhaps be interested in writing a brief introduction or even a blurb for this book, given that skepticism about the deep state seems to be growing, which could lead to the kinds of big changes that you are working for?
Sen. Mike Gravel: Well, fine. I would buy into those ideas. But it’s as you point out, I’m really, really thirsting to get people to support this idea that the answer is to have people become lawmakers. So I’d be happy to forward to you the document that I’ve sent to Bernie and and see if you could include it. And I could send you a copy of the National Citizens Initiative.
Kevin Barrett: But, yeah, I’ve actually seen those things and I do support those things. What you could do is write just a very brief introduction saying that we need to have this kind of debate about these events. And if indeed they turn out to be what we think they may be, that that could lead to a rethinking of government. And the best way to that would be re-empowerment of the people, something along those lines.
Sen. Mike Gravel: Well, I must say, maybe I’m too…I’m not cynical, because I’m an optimist, but I don’t see…here’s the problem. Since mainstream media is controlled by the one percent, since Wall Street is controlled by the one percent, which means the whole banking empire and the corruption in our monetary economic system, and the government, all three departments (branches) are controlled by the one percent, I don’t know of any way to make a breakthrough unless you see a situation like this that exists with Bernie, where you have young people alerted and ready to go, but no place to go other than representative government. And nothing will happen. Because they’re focusing on protest. They’re focusing on elements that you’re talking about focusing upon, trying to get the government to do something. I’ve just come to the conclusion that that’s impossible under the current structure. And it’s not just current. This was laid out in the Constitution of the United States from the get go. The people were denied the power to be able to change their government. And then if you look at the paper I sent you, you have all of these quotes from Washington, Jefferson, Madison saying that the people should be able to change government. The problem is that they never gave the people the procedures to do it in the Constitution. They did give the procedures to representative government to change the Constitution, but not the people. So from the get go, we’ve paid a price in slavery, the genocide of our indigenous people, the civil war and wars of imperialism, that’s really where we’re at. And so I just don’t have the stomach, Kevin, to turn around and say, well, I just hope the people will do this. The people have been acculturated.
Kevin Barrett: I think you were just going to do a half hour, right?
Sen. Mike Gravel: Whatever you want.
Kevin Barrett: OK, well, we have we’ve come to the end of the preplanned half hour. But if you want to continue, that would be great.
Sen. Mike Gravel: Sure. Whatever you want to do.
Kevin Barrett: Ok let’s go a little longer then. Let’s make it a full hour.
Sen. Mike Gravel: OK.
Kevin Barrett: You’ve been involved with the 9/11 truth movement, I believe in part because you recognize that this kind of issue has such profound psychological consequences in terms of possibly undermining people’s attachment to the current form of government. In the event that we learned, for example, that our own leaders were complicit in the events of 9/11…
Sen. Mike Gravel: They were. I think there’s no question in my mind that 9/11 was an inside job. And and why is it so unusual? My God, they killed millions and millions of people. Is that a big deal for them to kill 3000? We killed 58,000 American servicemen in the Vietnam War and all they did was die in vain. What’s so unusual about killing three thousand more in order to develop the grist for the mill to empower into infinity the funding of the military industrial complex? Let me read you this quote. This is from a poem, and I’m just taking the bottom part of it: “The Americans, do they want war? The line below could be added to God bless America to be sung at sporting events as US fighter planes do their flyovers. And our warriors are saluted by the civilian public, which is called upon to glorify and pretend to support them by bestowing our national treasure upon the D.O.D. and the military industrial complex which we’ve called upon to enrich beyond imagination.” Does that not say it all?
Kevin Barrett: Oh, yeah. Of course, that is the big force that’s trashed our democracy. But as I was suggesting, it seems to me that they went so far overboard on 9/11 and these follow-up events—and I’m convinced that most of these high profile terror events since then have also been essentially inside jobs—that the truth about this could, I believe, turn things around. But it has to come out in a kind of a quicker and more shocking way than just slowly leaking out the way it is.
Sen. Mike Gravel: So where will the truth go? The people. First off, mainstream media wouldn’t touch this with a ten foot pole. And so there’s no way to get it out other than through the Internet. And there’s a lot of wonderful stuff going out there, but still the whole Internet communication system is under question. We don’t know how this thing is going to resolve itself in the next 50 to 100 years. But we do know that since the founding of our country, our democracy has been controlled by the one percent by design. And the representative democracies around the world are similarly controlled by the one percent. So we are stuck, unless we have a device that would be legally accepted. And here’s where the rubber hits the road. When I talk about people voting directly for the national citizens’ initiative to empower themselves to make laws, well, of course, what would happen is that the somebody would sue the Congress and say, well, you can’t as directed in this legislation, you cannot appropriate the money for the functioning of this legislature or the people. Well, that issue would go to the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court would not be able to do anything but kick it back and say this is a political issue that has to be resolved between the Congress and the people. So now you have a situation where you have secured 70 to 80, maybe even 90 million people who have voted to empower themselves to make laws. And in the process of doing that, you really educate and persuade them that their vote is valid and that they should stand behind it. Now, you have a situation where the people could take to the streets a la Bernie Sanders and really effect change. But until we can get to that situation where we have educated, independent of representative government, the constituency of the nation, I don’t see where… And it’s really unfortunate because I find myself in a cul de sac. I know it’s important to elect decent people to public office. I know it’s important to try and educate the people. But I know historically I’ve not seen this happen.
Kevin Barrett: One of the good effects of the kind of program that you’re advocating would be that the laws would become much more straightforward and understandable. They would have to be for people to be able to vote on them. Currently, they’re all written by lawyers, specialists in these electoral bodies, and they’re full of gibberish. They have to be interpreted by people specially trained in legalese. Right now, how can any individual know how to obey laws? Because we can’t understand the laws. If the people voted on the laws, they would have to be written in plain English,
Sen. Mike Gravel: Of course. And in the Legislative Procedures Act that accompanies a constitutional amendment, we have a very specific dictum, and that is that an initiative can only be one subject. It can’t be any longer than 5000 words.
Kevin Barrett: Even then it would be tough to read all the legislation. But of course, today the representatives don’t read even a fraction of the legislation (they pass) because they’re too busy raising money.
Sen. Mike Gravel: Well, but here again, the national citizens’ initiative, the Legislative Procedures Act, would dictate that you can only have 52 federal laws a year because you’re going to be able to vote on your initiative over a week’s time. You can be on vacation in Paris and be able to vote. You are registered for life under our process. So there’s no problem. And all of the elections are conducted by the Citizens Trust. So you begin to see that we have covered every one of those bases that need to be covered if we’re going to make the process deliberative. It raises other questions and I’ll tell you how we’ve addressed them.
Kevin Barrett: Ok, they have a lot of initiatives in certain states like California. How did the legislators in California ever get persuaded to allow that to happen?
Sen. Mike Gravel: Well, first off, they got persuaded by Hiram Johnson before the First World War. And this is the point I try to make with Bernie, that we’re not the first people that brought in this concept. It was the progressives of the turn of the 20th century that brought in the concept. And they copied Switzerland. They copied Switzerland and put into place about 23 states where they have the ability to make laws. The problem is when they copied Switzerland, they copied the flaws of the Swiss approach, and that is that the people making the laws are embedded in the structure of representative government. And obviously you see this throughout the United States, that these representatives are continually sabotaging the process whereby the people make laws, because they control representative government. And the essence of the whole situation that I have set up is that we create an electoral trust and a body that serves the legislature of the people in handling their procedures on behalf of the people and they conduct these elections on behalf of the people. And so it’s little wonder that we have all these initiative states that are screwed up because they have the same flaw that Switzerland had; they embedded it. And this is not to denigrate them. They made a great progressive move forward. But you have to understand where the flaws are and correct them. And that’s what I’ve done in this legislation.
Kevin Barrett: Excellent. Well, this leads me to some broad philosophical thoughts about how there’s a school of thought out there that says, well, the people, of course, are not mature enough for these sorts of things. And one of the areas where we hear this is in the area of the so-called UFO disclosure movement. I’ve spoken with people at VT who were veterans of the intelligence community who tell me, quite seriously it seems, that there is a huge coverup going on. Something big is happening with that issue of UFO disclosure. And they say that among the reasons that this is all covered up—and there’s apparently, according to some at least, there’s been a pretty massive disinformation campaign around this issue—is that whatever the truth is, it’s something that ordinary people just couldn’t handle. And that notion that ordinary people just can’t handle the truth, just can’t handle responsibility, seems to be very, very widespread and institutionalized. And the neocons have taken it to the next level, of course, with their notion that the great Nietzschean Superman, which is themselves, has to feed lies or public myths to the masses to keep them in line. So just using that example of the disclosure movement, do you think that if people were empowered to write legislation, they would vote to learn the truth about whatever is really going on?
Sen. Mike Gravel: Obviously they would. And of course, the procedures that are put in place would do that fairly well. I’m part of the intelligence group that you’re talking about. When I was 23 years old, I was a top secret control officer and the adjutant of a communications intelligence service in Europe. So I was 23, 24 years old. Their movement, and primarily Ray McGovern, who does most of the writing, is just excellent on this subject. But here, too, we’re stuck within the confines of representative government. And as long as the the solutions must be effected within the confines of representative government, they won’t be affected.
Kevin Barrett: Wait a minute, let me object there. I’m not sure it’s the representative government that’s the problem, because we’re told that in at least two cases, two presidents— that would be Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton—both came into office and put out an order that they wanted to get the dossier about what was really happening with the UFO issue. And in both cases they were told that “you don’t have the necessary clearance.” So if the president of the United States doesn’t have a necessary clearance, this is not representative democracy. The problem is that there’s a deep state that doesn’t care about any kind of democracy.
Sen. Mike Gravel: Well, first off, that’s BS, truthfully, Kevin. And I’m familiar with Carter’s presidency; that is when I was in office. And Carter was great up to a point. In fact, he’s been a better former president than he was a president. Absolutely. So he copped out to the military industrial complex. And of course, Clinton was the poster boy for Wall Street, as demonstrated by the repeal of Glass-Steagall and a whole host of other changes. And he, too, never met a war that he didn’t want to be part of.
Kevin Barrett: But they both supposedly did (unsuccessfully request the full truth about UFOs). Carter sent one of his aides, Web Hubbell or someone, to the military and CIA saying that Carter wants a briefing on UFOs. And basically he was stonewalled. And they say something very similar happened with Clinton. So whether or not they’re sellouts, both of them did want to find out about UFOs and both of them were supposedly turned down.
Sen. Mike Gravel: Does it surprise you that politicians may not always tell the truth?
Kevin Barrett: Well, yeah. And especially with this issue. You know, with 9/11, it’s pretty easy to figure out the broad strokes of what really happened. But with the UFO issue, it’s not. It’s clear there’s some kind of cover up going on…
Sen. Mike Gravel: Well, I obviously have been involved with this issue to a degree. My addressing it is very straightforward, very simple: that it would be the height of human arrogance to think that we are the only sentient beings in the cosmos. What the details are, that you don’t want to bother (with) as president. You’ve got to keep in mind that a president is just one person, one mind. And unless he wants to be able to really be a bull in a china shop, then not that much is going to happen. But then a bull in the china shop, they’ll shoot him and put him out of his misery. When Jack Kennedy made the speech at the American University, really turning away from the whole concept of war and military industrial complex, he was assassinated shortly thereafter. So, when you want to know how dangerous this is, when you take the Iraq invasion, you know, at one point we had more private contractors like Blackwater operating in Iraq than we had uniformed personnel. Now all of these private contractors, they are paid to go assassinate, to kill people, that’s their job. They’ve been trained by our military to do that. And so now when you try to say, well, we’re going to cut this out, how do you think people react when you’re making over 100,000 dollars a year and all of a sudden they’re going to lose the contract and they’re back going out and getting on welfare or getting a decent job? How are they going to react?
Some of them will really flip and assassinate the first person who’s pushing that policy. That’s the reason why, unfortunately, politicians get elected and they become cowards shortly thereafter. Because we’re just afraid. And what I was saying earlier is that we’re so proud of the military and it’s part of our culture: Well, when you join the military, as I did during the Korean War, when I was combat infantry platoon leader—I could have just as easily been sent to Korea as sent to Europe, but by the grace of God, I was sent to Europe—but had I been sent to Korea…what’s more expendable than a second lieutenant in a an infantry platoon? I don’t know of anything more expendable than that. So you’ve got to be able to say to yourself, if you’re truly a patriot, am I prepared to die for what is right? And if you’re not, then get the hell out of the kitchen, is my approach.
Kevin Barrett: Yeah, I agree completely. You were mentioning the private security complex: It seems that 9/11 really sent this stuff out of control even more than ibefore. Of course, Cheney and Rumsfeld had been involved in privatizing the military before 9/11. But post 9/11, now it’s G4S, for example, the employer of this Omar Mateen guy who’s being blamed for the shooting in Florida. They’re supposedly bigger than the British military. And speaking of that shooting in Florida and these weird connections, it seems that the FBI was all over Omar Mateen for a whole year. His dad works for the CIA and he (Omar Mateen) was employed by G4S, the world’s biggest mercenary outfit. And these kinds of connections, as well as other implausibilities with the story…such as this guy who was supposedly just a security guard killing 50 people with only a semiautomatic rifle, wounding 50 others. The killed-to-wounded ratio is very unusual. The ability to pull that off as one person is unusual in a club with eight exits. All of this has many of us very suspicious about this. Do you think that the security industrial complex could be manufacturing these episodes, both to keep the post-9/11 so-called war on terror going and to keep themselves with lots of business?
Sen. Mike Gravel: Very much so. What 9/11 really did was to set up the war on terror, which is a war into infinity. Wars are designed to be fought and won or lost and ended, and then you go through a period of peace. But that’s not what’s going on with the war on terror, because terror is a tactic. It’s not a set army plan. It’s a tactic that people use. And so what 9/11 did was to create such fear in the American public that it would accept any abridgment of its freedoms, which, of course, took place in the Congress, also with the passage of the Patriot Act and several other pieces of legislation which just accelerated the power the military industrial complex had over our democracy. And so when you look back at the writings of Wolfowitz, Cheney and all that cabal, writing a letter to Bill Clinton, asking him to invade Iraq, “that’s where the problems lie…” They kept equating it to “what we need is something like a Pearl Harbor” that would that would take the American populace that was isolationist and overnight make it want to go to war and destroy the enemy.
And so that’s the effect of 9/11. It was overnight. It caused Americans to turn around and surrender all their freedoms and all the processes to protect them. And this is all done by the Congress. This is done by intelligent people who know better. And so they they did this. And now we’re stuck with a war on terror. Obama has been president for almost eight years. He’s the only president that we have had that was at war for all eight years of his presidency. That’s Obama, who started out by getting the Nobel Peace Award. I mean, this thing is George Orwellian to a fare-thee-well. He’s the peace Nobel laureate, and all he does is go to war, and he invents a new war process, which, of course, is the drone. He expands the drones that were developed under Bush. So in answer to your question, yes, there’s no question in my mind that the 9/11 took place in order to radicalize the views and the fears of Americans so that they would accept any abridgment of their democracy in order to sustain the profit motives of the military industrial complex and Wall Street.
Kevin Barrett: It appeared there was a little problem with Congress after 9/11 and the anthrax incident may have solved it. Are you familiar with Graeme MacQueen’s book The 2001 Anthrax Deception?
Sen. Mike Gravel: Unfamiliar with his book, but I’m somewhat knowledgeable about the anthrax situation.
Kevin Barrett: It was a quite coincidence that they just happened to target the guys who were blocking the Patriot Act (Senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy).
Sen. Mike Gravel: Not only that: You think it was a coincidence that the anthrax was from American military installation rather than from some some other installation? Right.
Kevin Barrett: Well, this is where MacQueen’s book is really interesting, because it appears that the original plan of the joint 9/11-anthrax attacks, which clearly were part of the same operation, was to blame Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida for both events. And they sheep-dipped the 9/11 hijackers, the ALLEGED hijackers, in anthrax prior to 9/11. They had some of those “hijackers” get treated for anthrax exposure prior to 9/11. And the idea was to then say that these guys had been working with Saddam Hussein, they’d gotten Saddam Hussein’s anthrax. And so, therefore, the same group that carried out 9/11 also carried out the anthrax attacks. The only problem was that somebody in the FBI didn’t get the memo. And so they blew the whistle on the fact that the anthrax was this ultra-weaponized stuff that was clearly made by our own germ warfare department. It was obviously Ameri-thrax, as the FBI put it, in naming the investigation. So that blew the whole thing. And so now they were left having these alleged 9/11 hijackers sheep-dipped in anthrax, which essentially proves that the same people did 9/11 and the anthrax attacks, and that both of them were done by people in the American government.
Sen. Mike Gravel: One thing, Kevin, when you point out this book that goes into details, the literature on this subject is awesome. There are a lot of people that have done a lot of research and have the facts. One of the great benefits of our phony democracy is that it leaks like a sieve. And thank God it does. And so people who are prepared to—what that brings to mind is Gareth Porter, who I know very well, is such an accomplished investigative journalist. What’s his name with The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald. They’re out there doing the work. But it’s not carried by mainstream media. And so Americans, by and large, are brainwashed by mainstream media. And then these other things, they’re just pointed to as “these are a bunch of crazies, they’re conspiracy nuts.”
Kevin Barrett: Wait a minute. (Gareth) Porter and (Glenn) Greenwald won’t go the distance on 9/11 and anthrax and all of that. Why do you think they’re shy of those issues?
Sen. Mike Gravel: Well, I don’t think that they’re shy. There are limits of time as to what one person can do. I’ll give you my situation: I don’t go into all these areas for the very simple reason that I have one focus of attention, and that is to empower people to make laws in our system of government. And so I focus all my energies on that. And so when you say, well, why don’t they go into that? They may have their own agenda. And clearly, Greenwald does. You know, he runs the Intercept. He he not only fights the battles in the United States, he fights the battles going on in Brazil. And, my God, that’s that’s an undertaking in itself. So I don’t think it’s fair…It’s like Noam Chomsky. People say, well, why doesn’t Noam Chomsky do more? Well, my God, the guy has written a (great) number of books; he is elderly, like I am…
Kevin Barrett: But you’re honest about 9/11. Chomsky is dishonest. He’s actually done everything he can to undermine the truth movement. And you’re the exact opposite of Chomsky.
Sen. Mike Gravel: I don’t know what he’s done in that regard at all.
Kevin Barrett: It’s a long story. Well, we’ll skip that.
Sen. Mike Gravel: Let’s skip that. But again, Chomsky is just one person doing good work. And Snowden has done great work for society. And people say, why can you do more? Well, the first thing he’s going to do is fight to keep himself out of jail.
Kevin Barrett: Yeah. And I think you’re right, I think that’s actually why most of these people won’t do 9/11: because they’re doing something else and it would interfere with what they are doing. And in some cases I think that’s legitimate—as long as they don’t get in our way, those of us who are actually pursuing the biggest issues. Well, Senator Mike Gravel, I think we hit the end of the hour.
Sen. Mike Gravel: Aleady!
Kevin Barrett: Yeah, it went fast.
Sen. Mike Gravel: Time flies when you’re having fun.
Kevin Barrett: Yeah. You’re one of the best people to talk to. I wish I could check in with you more often. And I really appreciate your work in trying to help force people to mature and take control of their own lives through direct democracy.
Sen. Mike Gravel: And the only way to do that is to empower them to make laws so they can take responsibility for public policy. Right now, what they do is they just defer to George, Bill, whatever. And if something goes wrong we blame our politicians. Well, if the people were in power, then there’s nobody to blame but yourself. And the people would make mistakes and they’d correct them. Politicians, when they make mistakes, don’t correct them, because it would cause their dis-election in the next political run.
Kevin Barrett: Ok, well, we’re going to leave it there. Thank you so much, Senator Mike Gravel. Keep up the great work and I look forward to another conversation before too long.
Sen. Mike Gravel: Ok, thank you very much.
Dr. Kevin Barrett, a Ph.D. Arabist-Islamologist is one of America’s best-known critics of the War on Terror.
He also has appeared many times on Fox, CNN, PBS, and other broadcast outlets, and has inspired feature stories and op-eds in the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, the Chicago Tribune, and other leading publications.
Dr. Barrett has taught at colleges and universities in San Francisco, Paris, and Wisconsin; where he ran for Congress in 2008. He currently works as a nonprofit organizer, author, and talk radio host.