The Reichstag fire is an extremely pivotal event in the establishment of Nazi Germany. It began on the night of February 27, 1933, when a Berlin fire station received an alarm that the Reichstag (“Parliament”) building was ablaze. The fire seemed to have been started in several places, and by the time the police and firemen arrived a huge explosion had set nearly the entire building on fire. Looking for clues, the police quickly found Marinus van der Lubbe, half-naked, cowering behind the building. Van der Lubbe was a mentally ill former Dutch Communist and unemployed bricklayer who had been floating around Europe for the last two years prior to 1933.
Adolf Hitler and Hermann Göring arrived soon after, and when they were shown Van der Lubbe, a known Communist agitator, Göring immediately declared the fire was set by the Communists and had the party leaders arrested. Hitler took advantage of the situation to declare a state of emergency and encouraged aging president Paul von Hindenburg to sign the Reichstag Fire Decree, abolishing most of the human rights provisions of the 1919 Weimar Republic constitution.
Prior to the fire, and during the election campaign in which Hitler eventually won, the Nazis had run on a platform of hysterical anti-communism, insisting that Germany was on the verge of a Communist revolution, and that the only way to stop the revolution was to pass the Enabling Act. The Enabling Act was a special power allowed by the Weimar Constitution to give the Chancellor (in this case, Hitler) the power to pass laws by decree, without the involvement of the Reichstag. The Enabling Act was only supposed to be used in times of extreme emergency. In fact, Hitler’s platform during the campaign comprised little more than demands that voters increase the Nazi share of seats so that the Enabling Act could be passed.
The Reichstag Fire allowed Hitler to accelerate the banning of the Communist Party and was used to confirm Nazi claims of a pending Communist revolution. The Nazis argued the Reichstag fire was meant to serve as a signal to launch the revolution, and warned the German public about the grisly fate they would suffer under Communist rule. Eventually, the Nazis got their wish. They managed to pass the Enabling Act– essentially turning Adolph Hitler into the Supreme Ruler of Germany. Eventually, Hitler managed to “parlay” this supremacy into the genocide known as the Holocaust.
Years later, after the fall of the Third Reich, at the Nuremberg trials, General Franz Halder claimed Göring had confessed to setting the fire:
“At a luncheon on the birthday of Hitler in 1942, the conversation turned to the topic of the Reichstag building [fire] and its artistic value. I heard with my own ears when Göring interrupted the conversation and shouted: ‘The only one who really knows about the Reichstag is I, because I set it on fire!’ With that he slapped his thigh with the flat of his hand.”
What was 9/11?
9/11 was an extremely pivotal event in the establishment of a Neoconservative America. It started one morning when four (4) planes were hijacked….. And from all accounts, it was an open and shut case. Although there was no ‘half-naked person cowering behind the wreckage,’ like the Reichstag’s Van der Lubbe, there was, within a few days following the hijackings, amazingly detailed dossiers on each of the hijackers. Luckily, each of the hijackers left copies of the Koran, box cutters, and aircraft piloting manuals in the trunk of their rental cars parked at the airport. But even more amazing, on September 12, Senator Orrin Hatch said “the US was monitoring bin Laden supporters and overheard them discussing the attack.” [AP, 9/12/01] (Somehow, this little tidbit has always been lost in the shuffle. I wonder ‘why’?).
Prior to taking control of Washington, the Neocons were already planning on invading Iraq. But there was no public support for such a campaign prior to 9/11. Moreover, prior to 9/11, on three occasions, President George W. Bush publicized his envy of dictatorships:
“You don’t get everything you want. A dictatorship would be a lot easier.” – Bush describing life as the governor of Texas. (Governing Magazine 7/98)
“If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I’m the dictator,” Bush joked. (CNN 12/18/00)
“A dictatorship would be a heck of a lot easier, there’s no question about it,” [Bush] said. (Business Week 7/30/01)
On October 2, 2001, The Patriot Act is introduced in Congress. The next day, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D) accuses the Bush administration of reneging on an agreement on this anti-terrorist bill. [Washington Post, 10/4/01] Anthrax letters are sent to Leahy and Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D) on October 9. [CNN, 11/18/01]
For the next few weeks, the country is freaked out (and rightfully so!) by a series of anthrax letters that reach not just the two Democratic Senators, but also various media companies who have been previously labeled as “liberal” by the right wing. During this scare, it is speculated that the letters are being sent from al-Qaeda or perhaps Iraq. During this scare, the Anthrax story is front page news, discussed almost 24 hours a day on the various news channels.
After an FBI investigation, it turns out that the Anthrax letters contain an anthrax strain which originates from a US Army base and that the likely source of the letter is a US government insider. But for some strange reason, this AMAZING FACT is hardly covered by the major media outlets. And after the revelation, the story becomes hardly discussed eventhough, to this day, the anthrax case has not been solved. (or has it?)
Nevertheless, 9/11 and the anthrax scare are used by the Neocons and President Bush to take the country to war against Iraq. It turns out that Iraq had absolutely no connection to the 9/11 attacks nor the anthrax attacks.
This seemingly neverending White House-sponsored orgy of 9/11 rhetoric, recrimination and revenge is treacherously similar to the Nazi orgy. (of course, it is not identical, but the similarities are certainly worthy of recognition.) A growing number of Americans believe the Bush Administration is culpable, either in whole or in part, for bringing down the World Trade Center (whether directly or via gross negligence). This conviction, however, is already widespread throughout Europe and the Muslim world, and perhaps for good reason.
Similar to Germany’s Hitler, Bush also came to power with a minority of votes (remember, he didn’t even win the popular vote in 2000) and has since exploited the terrible tragedies of September 11 in much the same way the Nazis exploited the Reichstag fire. Bush has used American fear and anger, which has resulted from the tragedies of 9/11 and anthrax, to push an extreme rightist (Neocon) agenda aimed at devouring civil liberties, muting dissent, fattening a war machine (see Halliburton and Bechtel), and arrogating the right to unilaterally attack other countries without tangible and/or legal provocation.
Concurrently, with all of this, the Neocons have shamelessly mounted assaults against the natural environment, social security, human rights, organized labor, and a wide range of international treaties, including the Geneva Convention. Combining fear with elements of patriotism and religion, the Bush regime has strong-armed its way into an overtly militaristic and imperialistic policy aimed at taking over the world’s greatest oil assets, including the Iraqi oil fields and the Afghanistan pipeline.
Ironically, the conservatives profess themselves to be staunch opponents of Big Government. Yet so-called “Patriotic conservatives” and Neocons have trashed virtually every guarantee of individual freedom on which American greatness has been built. Under the guise of fighting terrorism and national security, the administration has become the ultimate anti-Constitutional terrorist– going so far as detaining hundreds of people for years without charges ever being brought against them, without trials, hearings, or the right to counsel. And even more disgusting, these so-called patriots support the use of torture– ultimate acts of barbarism and terrorism.