Five Seconds with Dick Cheney

Five Seconds with Dick Cheney
By Sander Hicks
B14273 / Wed, 5 Apr 2006 07:55:02 / "War on Terror"

I infiltrated a GOP event, back in November, as part of my research into 9/11. It was part stunt, part investigative journalism. I put on a suit and bought a ticket into the National Republican Congressional Committee fund-raiser at the Grand Hyatt Hotel on 42nd Street, in Manhattan. When I was in front of the Vice President of the United States, I asked Cheney a question that’s on a lot of people’s minds, “What do I say to all these people who say 9/11 was an inside job?”

I read a lot from the look on his face. He wasn’t surprised: he was soothingly cool. Maybe he hears this one all the time. Maybe, at this point in history, everyone gets key information from the ‘net. That would explain why CNN just reported that out of 84% of their viewers agreed with the controversial views of actor Charlie Sheen, who just denounced the government’s explanation for 9/11. Even Ronald Reagan’s old Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, Paul Craig Roberts, recently wrote, “the real story is what the people are saying about 9/11.”

Back in November, Cheney’s face was puffy, almost translucent. You could see veins and fluid. Maybe he just had heart surgery or a secret stroke. My question didn’t shock him. He was natural, even nurturing in his tone. An inside job? He turned and looked up at my face. “Just look at the evidence, it’s not true.”

Weeks beforehand, when I filled out the security questionnaire, I thought my profile would get me red-flagged. Don’t my days in working-class organizing, or in anti-fascist groups, or in the anti-war movement count for anything? Don’t they remember me as the guy who published Fortunate Son: George W. Bush and the Making of an American President? Don’t my original contributions to the 9/11 Truth Movement mean that I can’t come anywhere near someone still collecting a salary from Haliburton? Wait, you mean I’m not on the “No Cheney List?”

This means one of two things. They know, and they need people like me, because fewer people believe their official story…and they want to meet the researchers who are onto them. Or something. More likely, I’m just not on their radar. I’m not a rich Democrat, I’m not the kind of threat they understand, they just do not care.

It took a donation of $5,000 to get five seconds with Dick. Chump change to the fat cats, but people I respect, in my family, and in the NY Greens, now want to know what the hell was I thinking. “What a sick waste…a donation to the enemy.” I can understand that. This was a pretty creepy event. The money came from some funds that my family had given me—family members were helping Holley and I buy a co-op apartment at the time, and there was some extra capital left over. I used it. A small window opened briefly, thanks to five thousand dollars. It created something unheard of: a 9/11 researcher spending five seconds with the top government official in charge on 9/11.

I’m a small businessman. I don’t have savings. But a unique set of factors lined up at a certain time. I happened to get pulled into being President of the local merchants association here in Flatbush. The GOP recruits all business association people, without really checking who they are, and then, boom. I used my five seconds to ask a provocative question, and then I recorded the reaction.

His answer and the way in which he gave it get us closer to answering the Big Question of our time: What really happened on 9/11? Did the attacks themselves “change everything”? Or did the Cheney/Rumsfeld White House change everything, in the name of the attacks? Did the attacks really originate from outside the US? Then, why, with all of the corporate media on your side, parroting your line, up to this point, does 84% of the population not believe you anymore? How did this happen? And how does it feel?

Cheney cited “evidence.” He exuded confidence. His tone was compassionate. And it all seemed like an act. A great performance, but a politician’s sound bite. The thing that gets me is that Cheney wasn’t all that concerned about the question. He wasn’t surprised that some guy had just popped up in the $5,000 photo-op line at a GOP fund-raiser and started talking about 9/11 being an inside job. He didn’t want to discuss what “evidence” he had to the contrary, or where one could find it to prop up his besieged official story. He didn’t care what I thought I knew. He didn’t want to hear what “all these people” were saying. He had a quick answer prepared and was ready for the next photo op.

So, was it worth it? Family members (even the ones who voted for him twice) are now shocked and upset and don’t remember any previous discussions when I was planning this. The Green Party people in New York are concerned. My run for Senate hangs in the balance here, according to some. But I don’t think this was such a huge waste. It was hard work. It’s literally nauseating to eat thick chicken breast with the top merchants of death, but look at what we learned.

I know now what it’s like to sit through a 8 AM Sean Hannity speech titled, “Behind the Scenes at Fox News” which turns out to be a stunted little man without self-esteem squinting into the lights and half-heartedly spitting out a few Ted Kennedy/Bill Clinton jokes. “These jokes are funnier after you’ve had a few drinks.” he said, unconvincingly, to a partially filled ballroom.

The mainstream GOP line is confused and desperate right now. Suddenly, 9/11 means more questions than answers now, for the majority. Yet the GOP still clings to it, as an eroding political bulwark. Back in November, there was a lot of immigrant bashing, as a prelude to draconian legislation coming down the pike. At that time, they were careful to tie the drastic anti-immigrant rhetoric to 9/11. They stated outright that somehow, 9/11 would not have happened if there weren’t such a “porous” border with Mexico.

Cheney, in his lunchtime speech, desperately clung to Iraq as a just war, with a big 9/11 link. And yet, just a few months after that speech, President Dubya gave up trying to pin 9/11 on Saddam. Bush himself apologized for the big lie. No one outside of the top of the GOP ever bought that story. Even the 9/11 Commission wouldn’t go along with that one. No one, that is, with the exception of the working class soldiers fighting and dying in a tightly controlled media environment. I guess it’s a question of morale. 9/11 is big, and it’s proven useful for decisive policy on a smorgasbord of issues. Unfortunately, each time the GOP implements a decisive policy, a large bunch of people get hurt or die.

The big debate in my head during Cheney’s speech was To Disrupt, or Not To Disrupt? Disrupting Cheney’s fatuous speech in the ballroom would have been so easy. Disruption is always an option. Anyone of us can become a monkey-wrench and throw our shoulder against the fragile mesh holding the official story together. Left, right or center, we are all just watching atrocious politics invoking garish tragedy to justify genocide. Torture and death are now scheduled for large groups for the indefinite future.

Yes, the whole experiment and the money and the nausea of this thing were all worth it. Am I certain? No, but I’m pretty close. Because now, as the Cheney/Bush administration begins to unravel, with apologies and gun accidents, and 1/2 a million people in the streets of LA protesting the immigration laws, let’s keep in mind: they still have their core myth, 9/11. As the 9/11 official story begins to give way, it’s becoming time to impeach, and then expel, and then prosecute, this neo-con order, for the entirety of what they’ve done. No single-issue politics here. And when the people sweep the neo-cons and the GOP from power, a lot of the Democrats who went along with it all will be swept out at the same time. It’s time to go Green.

We get a little closer each day. Even if the price is a thousand dollars a second, no money will bring back the dead lost on 9/11, or in the wars waged in its name. But if a little bit of money will get us closer to understanding the mindset that presided over, knew about, and probably was involved in those attacks, I’m OK with that. $5,000 is a small fee for something as priceless as the truth.