Criminalization of the state with crooked leaders

Michel Chossudovsky, PhD —

America’s leaders in Washington and Wall Street firmly believe in the righteousness of war and authoritarian forms of government as a means to “safeguarding democratic values”.

According to Homeland Security “the near-term attacks will either rival or exceed the 9/11 attacks”.

An actual “terrorist attack” on American soil would lead to the suspension of civilian government and the establishment of martial law. In the words of Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge: “If we go to Red [code alert]… it basically shuts down the country,”

“You ask, ‘Is it serious?’ Yes, you bet your life. People don’t do that unless it’s a serious situation.”(Donald Rumsfeld)

The “Criminalization of the State”, is when war criminals legitimately occupy positions of authority, which enable them to decide “who are the criminals”, when in fact they are the criminals.

A terrorist attack on American soil of the size and nature of September 11, would lead —according to former CENTCOM Commander, General Tommy Franks– to the downfall of democracy in America. In an interview last December, which was barely mentioned in the US media, General Franks outlined with cynical accuracy a scenario, which would result in the suspension of the Constitution and the installation of military rule in America:

a terrorist, massive, casualty-producing event [will occur] somewhere in the Western world – it may be in the United States of America – that causes our population to question our own Constitution and to begin to militarize our country in order to avoid a repeat of another mass, casualty-producing event.1

Franks was alluding to a so-called “Pearl Harbor type event” which would be used to galvanise US public opinion in support of a military government and police state. The “terrorist massive casualty-producing event” is presented by General Franks as a crucial political turning point. The resulting crisis and social turmoil is intended to facilitate a major shift in US political, social and institutional structures.

It is important to understand that General Franks was not giving a personal opinion on this issue. His statement very much reflects the dominant viewpoint both in the Pentagon and the Homeland Security department as to how events might unfold in the case of a national emergency.

The statement comes from a man who has been actively involved in military and intelligence planning at the highest levels. In other words, the “militarisation of our country” is an ongoing operational assumption. It is part of the broader “Washington consensus”. It identifies the Bush administration’s “roadmap” of war and Homeland defense.

The “war on terrorism” which constitutes the cornerstone of Bush’s national security doctrine, provides the required justification for repealing the Rule of Law, ultimately with a view to “preserving civil liberties”. In the words of David Rockefeller:

We are on the verge of global transformation. All we need is the right major crisis and the nations will accept the New World Order. 2

A similar statement, which no doubt reflects a consensus within the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), was made by former National Security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski in his book, The Grand Chessboard:

As America becomes an increasingly multicultural society, it may find it more difficult to fashion a consensus on foreign policy issues, except in the circumstances of a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat.”]

Similarly, the NeoCons’ Project for the New American Century (PNAC), published in September 2000, barely a few months before George W. Bush’s accession to the White House, called for:

some catastrophic and catalyzing event, like a new Pearl Harbor. 3

What is terrifying in these assertions is that they emanate from the architects of US foreign policy. In other words, America’s leaders in Washington and Wall Street firmly believe in the righteousness of war and authoritarian forms of government as a means to “safeguarding democratic values”.

The repeal of democracy is portrayed as a means to providing “domestic security” and upholding civil liberties. Truth is falsehood and falsehood is truth. Realities are turned upside down. Acts of war are heralded as “humanitarian interventions” geared towards upholding democracy. Military occupation and the killing of civilians are presented as “peace-keeping operations.”

This dominant viewpoint is also shared by the mainstream media, which constitutes the cornerstone of the propaganda and disinformation campaign. Any attempt by antiwar critics to reveal the lies underlying these statements is defined as a “criminal act”.

In other words, the “Criminalization of the State”, is when war criminals, supported by Wall Street, the “big five” defense contractors and the Texas oil giants, legitimately occupy positions of authority, which enable them to decide “who are the criminals”, when in fact they are the criminals.

From Orange to Red Code Alert

The “terrorist massive casualty producing event” has become an integral part of the Bush administration’s propaganda campaign. The Administration has put the country on “high risk” Orange Code terror alert five times since September 11, 2001. Without exception, Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda has been identified as “a threat to the Homeland”. The official announcement invariably points to “significant intelligence reports” or “credible sources” of a terrorist attack “from the international terrorist group al-Qaeda”.

Since 9/11, Americans have accepted these terrorist warnings at face value. Al Qaeda is viewed as an enemy of America. The terror alerts have become part of a routine: people have become accustomed in their daily lives to the Orange Code terror alerts. Moreover, they have also accepted the distinct possibility of a changeover from Orange to Red Code Alert (as stated time and again by Homeland Security) in the foreseeable future, which would result from an actual terrorist occurrence.

Needless to say, the disinformation campaign, which is fed on a daily basis into the news chain, supports this process of shaping US public opinion. The hidden agenda ultimately consists in creating an environment of fear and intimidation, which mobilizes public support for an actual national emergency situation, leading to the declaration of martial law.

The Terror Alerts were based on Fabricated Intelligence

The evidence suggests that the Orange Code “high risk” alerts on February 7, 2003, and December, 21, 2003 were based on fabricated intelligence.

Orange Code Alert had been ordered on 7 February 2003, one day after Colin Powell’s flopped presentation on Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction to the UN Security Council. Powell’s intelligence dossier had been politely dismissed. The rebuttal came from UN Inspector Hans Blix, who showed that the intelligence used as a pretext to wage war on Iraq had been blatantly fabricated.

Colin Powell addressed the UN Security Council on the 6th. On the 7th, the Bush administration declared an ‘Orange Code’ Terror Alert. This “save face operation” contributed to appeasing an impending scandal, while also upholding the Pentagon’s planned invasion of Iraq.

Media attention was immediately shifted from Colin Powell’s blunders at the UN Security Council to an (alleged) impending terrorist attack on America. Anti-aircraft missiles were immediately deployed around Washington. The media became inundated with stories on Iraqi support to an impending Al Qaeda attack on America.

The objective was to present Iraq as the aggressor. According to the New York Post, (11 February 2003):

The nation is now on Orange Alert because intelligence intercepts and simple logic both suggest that our Islamic enemies know the best way to strike at us is through terrorism on U.S. soil.

Another story allegedly emanating from the CIA on so-called ‘radioactive dirty bombs had been planted in the news chain.4 Secretary Powell warned that “it would be easy for terrorists to cook up radioactive ‘dirty’ bombs to explode inside the U.S. … ‘How likely it is, I can’t say… But I think it is wise for us to at least let the American people know of this possibility.’” 5 Meanwhile, network TV had warned that “American hotels, shopping malls or apartment buildings could be al Qaeda’s targets as soon as next week…”

The hidden agenda in the weeks leading up to the invasion of Iraq was to link Baghdad to Al Qaeda, muster unbending support for President Bush and weaken the anti-war protest movement. Following the announcement, tens of thousands of Americans rushed to purchase duct tape, plastic sheets and gas-masks.

It later transpired that the terrorist alert was fabricated by the CIA, in all likelihood in consultation with the upper echelons of the State Department. 6

The FBI, for the first time had pointed its finger at the CIA.

This piece of that puzzle turns out to be fabricated and therefore the reason for a lot of the alarm, particularly in Washington this week, has been dissipated after they found out that this information was not true,” said Vince Cannistraro, former CIA counter-terrorism chief and ABCNEWS consultant.


According to officials, the FBI and the CIA are pointing fingers at each other. An FBI spokesperson told ABCNEWS today he was “not familiar with the scenario,” but did not think it was accurate. 7

While tacitly acknowledging that the alert was a fake, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge decided to maintain the ‘Orange Code’ alert:

Despite the fabricated report, there are no plans to change the threat level. Officials said other intelligence has been validated and that the high level of precautions is fully warranted. 8

A few days later, in another failed propaganda initiative, a mysterious Osama bin Laden audio tape was presented by Sec. Colin Powell to the US Congress as ‘evidence’ that the Islamic terrorists “are making common cause with a brutal dictator”. 9 Curiously, the audio tape was in Colin Powell’s possession prior to its broadcast by the Al Jazeera TV Network.10

Tom Ridge’s Christmas Terror Alert

On December 21st, 2003 four days before Christmas, the Homeland Security Department, again raised the national threat level from “elevated” to “high risk” of terrorist attack. 11

In his pre-Christmas Press Conference, Homeland Security department Secretary Tom Ridge confirmed in much the same way as on February 7, 2003, that: “the U.S. intelligence community has received a substantial increase in the volume of threat-related intelligence reports”. According to Tom Ridge, these “credible [intelligence] sources” raise “the possibility of attacks against the homeland, around the holiday season…”12

While the circumstances and timing were different, Secretary Tom Ridge’s December 21 statement had all the appearances of a “copy and paste” (Déjà Vu) version of his February 7 announcement, which according to the FBI was a hoax, based on fabricated intelligence..

What is disturbing in the December 21 statement is the fact that an “actual” or “attempted” Al Qaeda terrorist attack seems already to be in the official pipeline. Al Qaeda is once again identified as “the Outside Enemy”, without of course mentioning that Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda is a creation of the CIA and an “intelligence asset” controlled by the US.13

Needless to say the atmosphere of fear and confusion created across America, contributed to breaking the spirit of Christmas. According to the media reports, the high-level terror alert is to “hang over the holidays and usher in the New Year”.

Terrorists still threaten our country and we remain engaged in a dangerous – to be sure – difficult war and it will not be over soon,” warned Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. “They can attack at any time and at any place.”

With America on high terror alert for the Christmas holiday season, intelligence officials fear al-Qaeda is eager to stage a spectacular attack – possibly hijacking a foreign airliner or cargo jet and crashing it into a high-profile target inside the United States. 14

The official Christmas announcement by the Homeland Security Department dispelled any lingering doubts regarding the threat level:

the risk [during the Christmas period] is perhaps greater now than at any point since September 11, 2001;

It also warned Americans, in no uncertain terms, but without supporting evidence, that there are:

indications that [the] near-term attacks … will either rival or exceed the [9/11] attacks.

And it’s pretty clear that the nation’s capital and New York city would be on any list…

Following Secretary Ridge’s announcement, anti-aircraft missile batteries were set up in Washington:

And the Pentagon said today, more combat air patrols will now be flying over select cities and facilities, with some airbases placed on higher alert.” Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld: “You ask, ‘Is it serious?’ Yes, you bet your life. People don’t do that unless it’s a serious situation. 15

According to an official statement: “intelligence indicates that Al Qaeda-trained pilots may be working for overseas airlines and ready to carry out suicide attacks.” 16

More specifically, Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists were, according to Homland Security, planning to hijack an Air France plane and “crash it on US soil in a suicide terror strike similar to those carried out on September 11, 2001.”

Air France Christmas flights out of Paris were grounded. F-16 fighters were patrolling the skies.

Yet it turned out that the stand down orders on Air France’s Christmas flights from Paris to Los Angeles, which were used to justify the Code Orange Alert during the Christmas holiday, were based on fabricated information.

According to the official version of events, Washington had identified six members of Al Qaeda and the Taliban on the Air France passenger list:

U.S. counter-terrorism officials said their investigation was focusing on the “informed belief” that about six men on Air France Flight 68, which arrives in Los Angeles daily at 4:05 p.m., may have been planning to hijack the jet and crash it near Los Angeles, or along the way.

That belief, according to one senior U.S. counter-terrorism official, was based on reliable and corroborated information from several sources. Some of the men had the same names as identified members of Al Qaida and the Taliban, a senior U.S. official said. One of the men is a trained pilot with a commercial license, according to a senior U.S. official.

U.S. law-enforcement officials said the flights were canceled in response to the same intelligence that prompted… Homeland Security… to ratchet up the nation’s terror-alert level to orange…

With that information, U.S. authorities contacted French intelligence … They prevailed upon Air France to cancel [their flights], because the original intelligence information warned of more than one flight being commandeered. 17

Other media confirmed that “the reports gathered by American agencies were ‘very, very precise'” Meanwhile Fox News pointed to the possibility that Al Qaeda was “trying to plant disinformation, among other things to cost us money, to throw people into panic and perhaps to probe our defenses to see how we respond?”18

“Mistaken Identity”

Needless to say these fabricated media reports served to create a tense atmosphere during the Christmas holiday. Los Angeles International airport was on “maximum deployment” with counter-terrorism and FBI officials working around the clock.

Yet following the French investigation, it turned out that the terror alert was a hoax. The information was not “very very precise” as claimed by US intelligence.

The six Al Qaeda men turned out to be a five-year-old boy, an elderly Chinese lady who used to run a restaurant in Paris, a Welsh insurance salesman and three French nationals.19

On January 2nd, the French government confirmed that the intelligence communicated by Washington was erroneous: There “was not a trace of Al Qaeda among the passengers.”

Yet, these “inconsistencies” regarding US intelligence had already been uncovered on the 23d of December by France’s antiterrorist services, which had politely refuted the so-called “credible sources” emanating out of the US intelligence apparatus.

France’s counter-terrorism experts were extremely “sceptical” of their US counterparts:

We [French police investigators] showed [on 23 December] that their arguments simply did not make sense, but despite this the flights were cancelled… The main suspect [a Tunisian hijacker] turned out to be a child… We really had the feeling of unfriendly treatment [by US officials] (ils nous appliquent un traitement d’infamie). The information was not transmitted through normal channels. It wasn’t the FBI or the CIA which contacted us, everything went through diplomatic channels… 20

The decision to cancel the six Air France flights was taken after 2 days of intense negotiations between French and American officials. They were cancelled on the orders of the French Prime minister following consultations with Sec. Colin Powell. This decision was taken following the completion of the French investigation. Despite the fact that the information had been refuted, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge insisted on maintaining the stand-down order. If Air France had not complied, it would have been prevented from using US air space, namely banned from flying to the US.

It was only on January 2nd, once the holiday season was over that the US authorities admitted that they were in error, claiming that it was a unavoidable case of “mistaken identity.” While tacitly acknowledging their error, Homeland Security insisted that “the cancellations were based on solid information.”

Emergency Planning

Needless to say, had the flights not been cancelled, the Administration’s justification for Orange Code Alert would no longer hold. In other words, Homeland Security needed to sustain the lie over the entire Christmas holiday. It also required an active Orange Alert to launch emergency planning procedures at the highest levels of the Bush Administration.

The day following Secretary Ridge’s Christmas announcement (December 21st), President Bush was briefed by his “top anti-terror advisors” in closed door sessions at the White House. Later in the day, the Homeland Security Council (HSC) met, also at the White House. The executive body of the HSC, the so-called Principals Committee (HSC/PC), headed by Secretary Tom Ridge. includes Donald Rumsfeld, CIA Director George Tenet, Attorney General John Ashcroft , FBI Director Robert Mueller and Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary, Emergency Preparedness and Response, who overseas the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). 21

In the wake of the HSC meeting held on 22 December, Secretary Ridge confirmed that:

we reviewed the specific plans and the specific action we have taken and will continue to take 22

According to the official statement, which must be taken seriously, an “actual terrorist attack” in the near future on American soil would lead to a Red Code Alert. The latter in turn, would create conditions for the (temporary) suspension of the normal functions of civilian government, as foreseen by General Tommy Franks. This scenario was envisaged by Secretary Tom Ridge in a CBS News Interview on December 22, 2003:

“If we simply go to red … it basically shuts down the country,” meaning that civilian government bodies would be closed down and taken over by an Emergency Administration. 23

Preparing for Martial Law

In preparation for a Red code Alert, the Homeland Security department had conducted in May 2003 a major “anti-terrorist exercise” entitled TOPOFF 2. The latter is described as “the largest and most comprehensive terrorism response and homeland security exercise ever conducted in the United States.”

In a Strangelovian logic, this “national response capability” translated into a military style exercise by federal, State and local level governments, including Canadian participants, establishes various “scenarios” under a Red Code Alert. In essence, it was conducted on the same assumption as military exercises in anticipation of anactual theater war, in this case, to be waged by foreign terrorists, examining various WMD attack scenarios and the institutional response of State and local governments:

It assessed how responders, leaders, and other authorities would react to the simulated release of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in two U. S. cities, Seattle, WA and Chicago, IL. The exercise scenario depicted a fictitious, foreign terrorist organization that detonated a simulated radiological dispersal device (RDD or dirty bomb) in Seattle and released the pneumonic plague in several Chicago metropolitan area locations. There was also significant pre-exercise intelligence play, a cyber-attack, and credible terrorism threats against other locations. 24

The terror exercise including the WMD scenarios is based on a big lie.

Let us be very clear on what is happening in America. We are no longer strictly dealing with a fear and disinformation campaign. Actual “terrorist massive casualty producing events” constitute the basic premise and driving force behind the Homeland Emergency response system, including its Ready.Gov instructions to citizens, its “anti-terrorist” legal framework under the Second Patriot Act, etc.

What we are dealing with is not only a criminal act, but a carefully engineered act of treason emanating from the highest levels of the US State apparatus. In short, what we are dealing with is “the Roadmap to a Police State” in America, to be implemented in the wake of an national emergency, either under a military form of government or under a police state, which maintains all the appearances of a functioning two party “Democracy”.


  1. Tommy Franks Interview, Cigar Aficionado, December 2003
  2. David Rockefeller, Statement to the United Nations Business Council, 1994
  3. See
  4. ABC News, 13 February 2003.
  5. ABC News, 9 February. 2003.
  6. ABC News, 13 February 2003, .
  7.  Ibid
  8. Ibid
  9. US official quoted in The Toronto Star, 12 February. 2003.
  10.  Ibid
  11. See Department of Homeland Security at
  12. For complete statement of Secretary Tom Ridge, 21 December 2003,
  13. See Selected References at
  14. Boston Globe, 24 December 2003
  15. ABC News, 23 December 2003
  16. quoted by ABC News, 23 December 2003.
  17. Seattle Post Intelligence, 25 December 2003.
  18. Fox News, 28 December 2003.
  19. Le Monde, Paris and RTBF TV, Bruxelles, 2 January 2004
  20. quoted in Le Monde, 3 January 2003.
  21. White House Briefing, 22 December 2003.
  22. AFP, 23 December 2003.
  23. The scenario is presented in detail at the Homeland department’s Ready.Gov website at
  24. 24. For full text see, Department of Homeland Security, Summary Conclusions From National Exercise, Office of the Press Secretary, December 19, 2003,