Canadian Coverage of the WTC Disaster

ermadog at freenet.edmonton.ab.ca ermadog at freenet.edmonton.ab.ca
Tue Sep 11 20:14:46 MDT 2001


When I woke up at noon today, my brother - also a shift worker - was still
up, transfixed by the news. After getting the gist of the story, I
immediately switched to CBC's news channel, for something a bit more
accurate than what the corporate media provide. By this time, the two
towers had collapsed (a nearby building collapsed several hours later),
and the US establishment was already beating its war drums.

The big news on Newsworld was the massive diversion of planes from
American airspace to Canadian airports. (When my other brother heard that,
he said, "Sure send the terrorists to Canada!). Thousands of passengers
are stranded here due to the unprecedented closure of American airspace in
response to the attack. CBC is also continuously broadcasting the
toll-free number for the Canadian Blood Services, which has been
overwhelmed by response to its call for blood for New York.

We were treated to a long conference with the head of the RCMP, Canada's
federal police agency, who assures us that Canada is not a target. This
was followed by a speach from Alberta's Premier Ralph Klein calling for
the Canadian Armed Forces to be dispatched immediately to protect
Alberta's oilfields. At first I thought he was being a bit alarmist; but,
then I remembered that Calgary is the headquarters of Talisman, one of the
oil companies currently involved in the repression in Sudan. Amnesty
International has recently proposed to the City of Edmonton that it
reconsider its investment in Talisman, and there were many anti-Talisman
t-shirts at the meeting of the ant-G8 activists two weeks ago. Klein was
also adamant that the upcoming G8 summit be reconsidered, and was quite
alarmed by the possiblity of terrorist attack in Kananaskis.

For the first time ever, the Canada-US border was closed. I didn't think
that was possible to shut down the longest border in the world. The US has
long regarded Canada as a haven for terrorists, and, also, non-sympathetic
to their drug wars; so, I imagine things at the border are pretty tense,
and the repurcussions will be long-term.

What interested me most was a report from Peter St. John, billed as an
airport security expert. He has previously reported to the House of
Commons his view that airport security is deplorably lax in both Canada
and the US because airlines have been catering to overly-demanding
passengers who become impatient with delays. This state of affairs has, of
course, ended today.

What was of more interest, however, was his contention that this could not
have happened without co-operation at high levels. He was impressed by the
high level of sophistication of the attacks, suggesting that the pilots
must have been overwhelmed before they could signal distress, and that the
terrorists must have been trained pilots themselves. He also pointed out
that warnings had been issued in Europe on Friday. This brings to mind the
warnings that were ignored prior to the Pearl Harbour attack, to which
this is being compared.

What is most significant to me is the fact that the Pentagon attack came
40 minutes after the Towers attack. My brother has suggested that Area 51
has better security than the Pentagon. There has been an unconfirmed
report of cell-phone calls from a passenger prior to the Pentagon attack.

That's not just lax security. I couldn't say whether this was a covert
action of the American intelligence community; but, most definitely, they
knew about it and allowed it to happen, for reasons outlined by Jared's
post. It seems pretty clear to me that talk of "getting tough" with "those
who harbour terrorists" is a declaration of war, aimed most likely at
Afghanistan.

I also agree with Jared that the damage, however horrific we might find
it, is mere collateral damage in the minds of those in the US
Establishment. In terms of lives lost, this is slight compared with the
genocides in Korea and Vietnam, to the 300,000 reported by the Guatemala
Truth Commission, to the 50,000 of Operation Condor in South America -
need I continue? The attack on the Pentagon came nowhere near crippling
the American military command - much of which is located at Air Force
Command in Nebraska, and Wall Street will be back up and functioning
tomorrow. The federal services previously interrupted are now functioning
again, albeit with a skeletan staff.

Latest news: As I was typing this last paragraph, some guy whose name I
didn't catch was questioning whether this attack really matches the
car-bombing style of Islamic fundamentalists. He says that those attacks
are aimed at maximum civilian damage, and suggests that the military
targets of today are not standard modus operandus for them. I'll try to
follow up on further coverage.

Joan Cameron







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