September 11 Digital Archive






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TomPaine Story: Story

Waiting for the Next Reichstag Fire

On February 22 1933 a deranged communist, Marinus van der Lubbe, 24, from Holland attempted to strike a blow against capitalism by burning down the German Reichstag. German Chancellor Adolph Hitler's SA agents knew about his plan but instead of preventing him they were concerned
that the fire he set wouldn't be effective. So while Marinus was upstairs setting his fire SA Storm Troopers under Karl Ernst, entered the Reichstag basement through a tunnel connected to Herman Goering's residence and distributed enough gasoline and incendiaries around to ensure a good blaze. After the Reichstag had burned and Van der Lubbe
had been captured, an incensed Hitler told his nation ""The German people have been soft too long. Every Communist official must be shot. All Communist deputies must be hanged this very night. All friends of the Communists must be locked up. And that goes for the Social Democrats and
the Reichsbanner as well!""

The next day he issued the following proclamation; ""Restrictions on personal liberty, on the right of free expression of opinion, including freedom of the press; on the rights of assembly and association; and violations of the privacy of postal, telegraphic and telephonic
communications and warrants for house searches, orders for
confiscation's as well as restrictions on property, are also permissible beyond the legal limits otherwise prescribed.""

He went on to slaughter millions of dissidents, Jews, and other people that he didn't care for and lead his country into a World War that ended in a bloody, disastrous, and humiliating defeat.

On September 11, 2001 a group of religious zealots hijacked some airliners and flew them into the Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington DC, killing about three thousand people including themselves. Following this, President Bush asked for and received passage of the ironically named USA Patriot Act, which contains the
following provisions.

- Allows for indefinite detention of non-citizens who are not terrorists on minor visa violations. Since the Constitution doesn't distinguish between citizens and non-citizens this undermines Constitutional protections of all citizens.
- Allows the Attorney General and the Secretary of State to designate groups as "terrorist" without specifying just what a "terrorist" is.
- Allows the government to conduct secret searches of homes and business.
- Allows for trial of suspected terrorists by secret military courts.
- Greatly reduces individual rights of privacy in communications.
- Creates the new crime of ""domestic terrorism"" which is so broadly defined as to include any dissident group.

President Bush also took the opportunity to get a blank check from Congress to make war on any nation that ""harbored terrorists"" - blithely
ignoring the fact that the CIA is demonstrably the biggest terrorist organization on earth and his own father, George Bush Sr. was at it's head when it committed some of its most heinous crimes. He then sent the entire weight of the American military against Afghanistan because it
was harboring Osama bin Layden although there was no proof that bin Layden or Afghanistan had anything to do with the September 11 attack. The attack was productive in other ways though; oil interests, to whom Bush has close ties, had long desired control of, and access to, the great oil and natural gas reserves in the Caspian Sea area, but this was
prevented by a constant state of political turmoil. One way to reduce the political problems is to bomb the population and infrastructure into a condition that wouldn't allow them to resist oil company domination.

In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks some Americans feel that there are questions that should have been answered and aren't receiving the attention they deserve. One, is the question of why the plane that hit the Pentagon wasn't shot down? There was almost a full hour between the attack on the first tower and the attack on the Pentagon, where was the Air Force? It is standard operational procedure to intercept and interrogate civilian aircraft that are off course. Any nation with a military establishment has secrets that it wants to keep and even a civilian airliner can carry spy gear - or a bomb. Some years ago the USSR shot down a civilian airliner under such circumstances. During the hour that elapsed between the first attack and the last it had become obvious that we were under attack and all civilian aircraft had been ordered grounded. The lone airliner cruising through the thick East Coast air defenses toward the Pentagon would have been easily detected. Why wasn't it intercepted and shot down?

The FBI is displaying an unseemly reluctance to discover who did the anthrax mailings. It has been established that the weapons grade anthrax found in the envelopes was made in the USA at the facility at Dugway Utah. How did it find it way out of this high security area into the envelopes that were mailed to leading Democratic Senators and news people?

It also seems that American intelligence organizations were warned of an impending terrorist attack by French, Israeli and Egyptian intelligence. Why were these warnings ignored - or were they? These questions and many others concerning September 11 have not been satisfactorily addressed by
the Bush administration.

Unanswered questions like these and the all out attack on civil liberties have caused a certain stiffening of what passes for a spine among the corporate whores that infest Congress and future increases of federal power at the expense of the Constitution may be more difficult
to push through.

The Reichstag Fire had increased Hitler's power and authority
tremendously - but it still wasn't enough. Hitler wanted total control.
With an election scheduled for March 5 1934 he had an opportunity to
take it. Accordingly, the Nazis made an all out attempt to win a
majority in the Reichstag so they could get an ironically named ""Law for
Removing the Distress of the People and the Reich"" passed. This act
would confer on Hitler the constitutional functions of the Reichstag
including, the power to make laws, control of the budget and the ability
to make treaties with foreign governments. Political enemies were
arrested by the thousands and put in hastily constructed prisons. Old
Army barracks and abandoned factories were converted to this purpose and
thus was begun the concentration camp system. Large donations were
solicited, and received, from industrial organizations like Krupp and
I.G. Farben. But in spite of an energetic and well-executed campaign the
Nazis didn't win the majority they needed to pass the act. They were
undeterred however, and when the newly elected Reichstag convened in the
Kroll Opera House on March 23, they packed it inside and out with SA
Storm Troopers. And with Storm Troopers on the outside chanting slogans
like ""Full powers - or else! We want the bill - or fire and murder!"" and
Hitler lying on the inside with statements like ""The government will
make use of these powers only insofar as they are essential for carrying
out vitally necessary measures..."" and promises to promote peace with
France, Great Britain and the Soviet Union; the measure passed and
Hitler became dictator of Germany.

For Bush all of the pieces are in place. An apathetic populace,
completely under the spell of the corporate media and so discouraged
with the corrupt political processes that only about half turn out for
presidential elections; a degenerate Congress whose members are fit only
for toadying to special interests and lying to their constituencies; a
huge military establishment without a draftee in it and completely
barren of democratic thoughts or ideals. A large and growing prison
system created under the phony War on Drugs. And finally, the newly
created, heavily funded, Office of Home Security, ready to become his
own personal police force immediately after the next attack. Everything is ready, and all he needs to sweep away the last vestiges of a government ""of, by and for the people"" in America is the next Reichstag Fire.


“tp200.xml,” September 11 Digital Archive, accessed March 20, 2023,