In David Cronenberg’s awesome Cosmopolis (France/Canada, 2012), based on the homonymous novel by Don DeLillo, young billionaire Eric Packer (Robert Pattison) slowly cruises New York in his white limo, installed in a cushy leather throne with incrusted screens.
He feels … nothing; he essentially sucks up the world into his own inertia. Outside his moving silent chamber, it’s total chaos, with activists spraying rats in posh restaurants and a tense threat of imminent apocalypse.
This is the world morphing into, or being gobbled up by, dematerialized ultra-capitalism; a world in a state of crisis, driven by violence, and with violence as the only possible horizon. As a libidinous art dealer (Juliette Binoche) tells Packer: “It’s cyber-capital that creates the future.”
A walk in the dead of a New York night to Ground Zero offers extra context to Cosmopolis. This is where our post-apocalyptic modernity began, 11 years go — and where cyber-capital still creates at least some of the future. As Cosmopolis shows, turbo-capitalism is not only in crisis; turbo-capitalism, in shorthand, IS crisis.
Ground Zero remains an eerie sight deep in the dead of night. There’s the memorial. There’s the new unfinished glass tower. And there remain holes the size of Ground Zero all over the official narrative.
This week, 11 years after 9/11, the talk of the (crisis) town is a Navy SEAL “hero” trading his anonymity for the proverbial fistful of dollars, telling it like it is – “it” being the snuffing out of “Geronimo,” aka Osama bin Laden, the alleged mastermind of 9/11, the whole spectacle packaged as a celebratory “bringing him to justice.”1
Yet the snuffing out of “Geronimo” brought no closure; what it did was to hurl a batch of inconvenient truths to the bottom of the Arabian Sea. Over three years ago, the indispensable Sibel Edmonds was certifying how Osama was “one of our bastards” right up to 9/11.2 And Richard Behan earlier delivered a succinct deconstruction of the road to 9/11 once again exposing the fallacy of the “war on terror.”3
When I interviewed the Lion of the Panjshir, Ahmad Shah Masoud, in late August 2001 — only two weeks before his assassination on September 9, the green light for 9/11 — he was convinced the US would not invade Afghanistan to snatch “Geronimo.”4
What Masoud didn’t know by then was what had taken place on August 2 in Islamabad, when US State Department negotiator Christine Rocca for the last time reiterated to Taliban ambassador to Pakistan Abdul Salam Zaeef in no uncertain terms: “Either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs.” The offer was all about Pipelineistan — “golden” transit rights for the Taliban for the construction by UNOCAL of the TAP (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan) pipeline.
Yet even before Rocca’s final offer, the George W Bush administration — at the Group of Eight meeting in Genoa, Italy, in July — had already secretly informed the Europeans, plus Pakistan and India, that Washington would start bombing Afghanistan by October. That was several weeks before the neo-cons’ so much cherished “Pearl Harbor” was sent by Providence in the form of 9/11.
Freedom fighter fix
Eleven years later, the proverbial stenographers of Empire are now eagerly promoting … al-Qaeda (what else is new?). The Barack Obama administration — shelving the “war on terror” terminology and Orwellianizing its methods — worked side by side with the al-Qaeda-linked Libyan Islamic Fighting Group to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi in Libya; and, side by side with the House of Saud, supports a rosary of Salafi-jihadis of the al-Qaeda variety to topple the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria.5
We all remember the mujahideen in the photo side-by-side with Ronald Reagan; they were cherished as “freedom fighters.” Blowback was inevitable in Afghanistan — as it will be in Libya and northern Africa, and Syria and the Middle East.
Meanwhile, all those myriad questions will remain unanswered. Among them:
Why was metallic debris found no less than eight miles from the crash site of the plane that went down in Pennsylvania — suggesting the plane may have been shot down under Dick Cheney’s orders?
- See CBSNews video. [↩]
- See Daily Kos. [↩]
- See “Masterpiece of Propaganda.” [↩]
- See Masoud: From warrior to statesman, Asia Times Online, September 12, 2001. [↩]
- See Syria’s eerie parallel to 1980s Afghanistan, by David Ignatious, Washington Post, September 6, 2012. [↩]