Terror-Sponsor China Awarded 9-11 Memorial Tower Contract

When a contract to produce blast-resistant glass for the 9-11 memorial tower at Ground Zero was awarded to a Chinese manufacturer earlier this year, the Harrisburg Patriot-News editorial board expressed outrage at what they described as a snub to Americans, and to Pennsylvanians in particular:

Despite the fact that three American glass manufacturers, including Pittsburgh-headquartered PPG Industries, spent months working with the tower architects to plan and develop a new kind of glass for floors one through 20, none of these American companies was awarded the contract to make the glass. The shun is reverberating in central Pennsylvania, too. One of PPG's main plants is in Carlisle.

Scores of American workers right here in the midstate -- not too far from where another of the planes went down that fateful Sept. 11, 2001 -- will no longer be a part of building the new tower.

That "honor" is going to Chinese workers, mainly because they get paid so little.

After noting that the name of the long-planned structure had recently been changed from Freedom Tower to One World Trade Center, the editorial also observes, "It's a bit fishy that the same month the Port Authority decides freedom is no longer a marketable virtue, Beijing company Vantone Industrial leases floors 64 through 69 in the tower (or, we should say, the building ‘formerly known as the tower')."

In addition to the objections to awarding a contract overseas for a uniquely American venture of profound emotional resonance, Sen. Chuck Schumer raised the issue of safety, telling WABC-TV, "I think that we have seen product after product from China be unreliable, and in this instance, we need the most reliable."

Yet the most significant reason for outrage -- Communist Chinese support for al Qaeda terror -- seems to have faded from memory.

After the 9-11 attacks, the Chinese government produced a celebratory video entitled "Attack America," in which the narrator says,

"This is the America the whole world has wanted to see. Blood debts have been repaid in blood. America has bombed other countries and used its hegemony to deny the natural rights of others without paying the price. Who until now has dared to avenge the hurts inflicted by unaccountable Americans."

In an eerily prophetic
article in Insight magazine's February 28, 2000 issue, author J. Michael Waller reported that the Chinese military's chief complaint about Osama bin Laden's terrorism was that it failed to produce large enough death tolls. Waller described how China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) was promoting a strategy of assassination and terrorism with remarkable candor in a book they released entitled Unrestricted Warfare:

The colonels appear to endorse the idea of the "traditional terror war," such as the bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania by Saudi terrorist bin Laden. "The advent of bin Laden-style terrorism has deepened the impression that a national force, no matter how powerful, will find it difficult to gain the upper hand in a game that has no rules."

But bin Laden's terrorism doesn't go far enough, the colonels argue. Bombings, kidnappings, assassinations and hijackings "represent less than the maximum degree of terror" against the target. "What really strikes terror into people's hearts is the rendezvous of terrorists with various types of new, high technologies that possibly will evolve into new superweapons... Such thinking, experts say, provides an intellectual framework for Beijing's sale of technology to make weapons of mass destruction to regimes supporting terrorism."

Waller observed,

"Unrestricted Warfare calls for widening the very idea of warfare to nearly every aspect of political, economic, cultural and social life in Western countries," a characterization which, if true, casts an alarming light on US trade with China in recent years. He quotes security expert Roger W. Robinson, who emphasized that the ominous PLA strategy document "should give pause to those who believe that China's integration into global financial and trading systems is an entirely benign and civilian development. It likens currency speculator George Soros to Saudi terrorist Osama bin Laden, the late Colombian cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar and the Japanese Aum Shinri Kyo cult that in 1998 attacked a Tokyo subway with sarin poison gas. Soros is named at least a half-dozen times as one who has waged ‘financial warfare' and ‘financial terrorism' on East Asia. Financiers such as Soros, the colonels suggest, could be legitimate targets of assassination."

The regime backed up its pro-terror rhetoric with weapon shipments. Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough reported in the December 21, 2001,Washington Times,

"China continued to supply arms to Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda terrorists even after the group began the September 11 attack on America, says a senior U.S. official...The official said that a week after the terrorist attack, the ruling Taliban and the al Qaeda fighters embedded among them, received a shipment of Chinese-made SA-7 missiles."   

The tragic reality is that it makes no difference what Red China does, whether it's arming bin Laden or arming Sudan's jihadist regime, which has produced an infinitely higher death toll than the 9-11 attacks. Our China policy can be summed up in the timeless phrase of Watergate source Deep Throat: "Follow the money." As the Wall Street Journal reported prior to China's acceptance into the World Trade Organization,

"Top business executives are issuing a blunt warning to federal lawmakers: Vote against the trade deal with China, and we will hold it against you when writing campaign checks. Phil Condit, chairman of Boeing Co., and Robert N. Burt, chairman and chief executive of FMC Corp., said a coming vote to facilitate China's entry into the World Trade Organization will be a measure of every lawmaker's friendliness to business."

Less than a week after Gertz and Scarborough's expose on China's arming of bin Laden, and a mere two months after 9/11/01, China was granted permanent normal trade status.

Chinese dissident Harry Wu condemned the trade agreement, insisting that western money pouring into China is used to strengthen their military and fund Islamic terrorists and enemy nations -- North Korea and Iran, among them -- rather than improve the lives of Chinese citizens.

Although the trade policy enjoys broad bipartisan support, Wu reserved his strongest condemnation for former President Bill Clinton, whose reckless commercial dealings with China crossed over into Democratic Party fundraising, with the recipients indebting themselves in the process and, in the John Huang scandal, allowing national security to be endangered. The day after permanent normal trade status was granted, Wu said,

"People ask me, ‘Why didn't people in America speak out about our business dealings with communist China?' I must answer, 'Former President Clinton wanted to find financial resources for his re-election from the Chinese dictatorship.'"

The debate over whether to do business with China ended long ago (and our rapidly growing indebtedness to the regime ensures that the discussion will not be reopened). The question today is whether there should be any limits. Awarding a contract for the memorial tower's terrorism-resistant glass to al Qaeda's arms supplier sounds like a cruel, surreal joke. Not long ago, no one would have doubted that the sacred memory of the victims and the feelings of their families should and would trump all other considerations. But the deeply shared post-9-11 empathy, unity, and patriotic resolve have faded, unlike the worship of the Almighty Dollar, which never fades.

Edward Olshaker is a longtime freelance journalist whose work has appeared in History News Network, The Jewish Press, FrontPage Magazine, and other publications.