When the sun rose on New York and Washington on 11 September 2001, the official legend of 9/11 lay ready to be promoted worldwide: Osama bin Laden had been readied for over three years to become the main suspect (although he was never formally accused for 9/11); the war against Afghanistan had been prepared long before 9/11; the FBI raided within hours a bar in Florida, because it knew that the “pious” Mohamed Atta had been there a few days earlier to get drunk. The U.S. Congress was made to confirm the official legend within 24 hours and give the President a green light to attack foreign countries.
While this report concentrates on the forensic aspects of 9/11, I think we need to address a far larger picture, including the facility with which virtually the entire world was deluded within hours to believe in what can be designated as a surreal tale. For the official 9/11 narrative — had it not been systematically and intensively promoted by all major media as “news” — could have been taken as the synopsis of a book on religious miracles:
Nineteen young and pious Muslims with short knives succeeded to hijack within minutes of each other four Boeing 757 and 767 airliners and maintain all forty to eighty passengers and crew in each plane docile as sheep. To do so, they first slashed the throats of passengers and flight attendants without anyone noticing. They then sneaked unobserved into the cockpits and silently massacred the pilots and copilots, who did not fight back. The pilots among the terrorists, who had previously trained on single-engine Cessnas, sitting in a pool of blood, found their way to their targets, hundreds of miles away, by looking out of the window. Allah, who heard their prayers, ensured to them a sunny day. Their very religious team leader, the one and only Mohamed Atta, who four days previously got drunk in a Florida bar, managed to hit the North Tower of the WTC, a building only slightly wider than the wingspan of his aircraft, at 500 mph. He accomplished what non-Muslim pilots found difficult to repeat on a simulator, and thus proved what deep faith can accomplish. Allah also ensured the confusion of U.S. air defenses and that President Bush would dawdle in a classroom while America was attacked. The great Usama bin Laden later said that, thank to Allah, the consequences of 9/11, which surpassed all human expectations and measures, included the miraculous collapses of the Twin Towers and of WTC Nr. 7.1 He thus summed it up: “God has struck America at its Achilles heel and destroyed its greatest buildings.”2
The readiness of wide sections of Western society to swallow this legend hook, line and sinker, is difficult to comprehend. Yet it is an undeniable historical fact and it cries out for an explanation.
The grisly television spectacle included scenes of people jumping from the burning floors to their deaths and apocalyptic scenes of collapsing skyscrapers. In order to cause the requisite mental trauma, it was necessary to destroy the Twin Towers while everyone was glued to the television. Timing was a crucial ingredient in this carefully staged and coordinated operation. The plotters designed the horror show to last about 100 minutes, the duration of an average feature film. Indeed, some commentators actually compared the events to a grand spectacle.
The dramaturgists of 9/11 correctly designed the events, played out in real time on television, to unite the American people and rally them behind the president. These effects were duly observed and commented on by journalists early on. Caryn James, for example, writing in The New York Times on 13 September 2001, observed that
television does for the national psyche what wakes and funerals do in personal situations… That communal function is a crucial today as it was when John F. Kennedy was assassinated… A similar pattern united the country after the Oklahoma City bombing and the shootings at Columbine High School…[A]s the images [of 9/11] were replayed and the conversations continued, the reality sank in.3
The role of the media in promoting the official account of 9/11 is by now notorious.4 Today’s mass media are increasingly perceived by the public as weapons of mass deception.5 Since 1998, when Western media began to nurture the reputation of Osama bin Laden as “enemy no. 1” of Western civilization, and particularly since 2001, mainstream publications have spent substantial resources, both in time and money, to promote the fear of Islamic terrorism, and continue to do so.6 Jack Leslie, chairman of the one the largest P/R agencies — Weber Shandwick Worldwide — said in Hearings before the U.S. House International Relations Committee after 9/11: “There has been no greater challenge for communications professionals in my lifetime that (sic) explaining the importance of the war on terrorism.”7 Indeed, in the light of the fact that more people die by snake bites than in terrorist attacks, selling the “war on terror” represents a real challenge for P/R professionals!
I parsed a random sample of approximately 100 articles published after 9/11 in English-language law journals about terrorism-related issues. None of the authors of these articles questioned the official myth of 9/11 or the claim that terrorism represents a serious threat to world peace or to the security of Western nations.8 None of the authors provided evidence or references to substantiate these two legends. These omissions appear to affect virtually all academic publications that refer to 9/11. It is no exaggeration to say that nearly the entire academic community, worldwide, has espoused these two myths and lent them a scientific garb in academic literature. Academic journals systematically refuse contributions that question the official account of 9/11.
Yet failing to substantiate factual claims is regarded in the academic world as bad science. When such carelessness is as massive and systematic as it is in the case of 9/11, it transcends individual failure. This massive dereliction of all principles and norms of scientific procedures by the vast majority of tenured academics with regard to 9/11 may be regarded as a symptom of a fundamental civilizational crisis.
Attempts to engage so-called terrorism experts in a serious debate about the events of 9/11 have repeatedly and consistently failed.
Liberals and leftists in Western societies also avoid dealing factually with 9/11, although doing so would help them oppose wars and the erosion of the rule of law and human rights.
While the failure of academics to question the official account of 9/11 may be attributed to fear of ruining one’s career or of losing government or corporate funding, that of the established Left is based on other considerations. Leftist writers have largely tried to explain the events of 9/11 as retribution by Muslim warriors against U.S. foreign policies. Attacks such as 9/11 are designated by leftist authors as “blowback.”9 Typical in this respect is former U.K. member of parliament George Galloway, who ten years after 9/11 said that “the planes didn’t come out of a clear sky but emerged from the swamp of hatred the west had sown over many years [among Muslims]” and that “our role in the Palestinian catastrophe and the propping up of the dictators who ruled almost all of the Muslim world [were] the twin reasons that some enraged Muslims were being drawn to bin Laden.”10
While the “blowback” explanation appeals to leftists — who may relish that “someone” is finally retaliating against the hated Empire — it constitutes deplorable wishful thinking. According to this view, the most successful opposition to U.S. imperialism is spearheaded by fanatic Muslims who enjoy beheading their chosen enemies on camera. The fact that the United States has for decades supported the most reactionary Islamic regimes as a bulwark against socialism and national independence appears to have been forgotten by these leftists.
When the U.S. aggression against Afghanistan was debated in European parliaments in 2001, no leftist fraction demanded hard evidence that Afghanistan had anything to do with 9/11. Leftists who had formerly opposed the Vietnam War and various U.S. acts of aggression suddenly believed the White House, as if the U.S. government had suddenly become the fountain of truth and honesty.
This failure to ask questions about 9/11 did not stop in 2001. Despite the publication of serious critical literature and the growth of the 9/11 truth movement, leftist organizations remain firmly committed to the canard of an Islamic terrorist operation and obstinate in their refusal to learn about 9/11. The usual justifications for not dealing with 9/11 are either that questioning the official account amounts to a “conspiracy theory,” or that 9/11 has lost its immediate relevance. Such answers do not explain, however, their doggedness in remaining ignorant about 9/11, and their frequent efforts to slander the 9/11 truth movement.
Indeed, some prominent leftist publications did not content themselves with simply ignoring 9/11. The Nation (U.S.)11, CounterPunch (U.S.)12, The Progressive (U.S.)13 and Le Monde Diplomatique (France)14 have slandered respectable citizens who question the official account of 9/11 as loonies or conspiracists. Among the methods used to slander the 9/11 truth movement, are attempts to link 9/11 skepticism with Holocaust Denial, when in fact the opposite would be nearer the truth. The overwhelming majority of those who reject the official narrative of 9/11 are known to oppose war and racism and support justice. They investigate 9/11 because of their sense of civic responsibility. Among these are hundreds, if not thousands, of personalities from the fields of the humanities, science and government. Some are pilots and former military and intelligence officials.15 The attacks on 9/11 truth research by leftist organizations and publications is an outright betrayal of solidarity with victims of state terrorism.
The probable reason for the Left to avoid dealing with 9/11 appears to be the hope of leftists to join the fold of “the Establishment” and enjoy the material and psychological benefits of being tolerated by the ruling class. Some organizations bearing leftist titles are already among recipients of foundation grants or of government largesse that might be endangered if they questioned the official account of 9/11.16
In 2004, the 9/11 Commission issued its Final Report. While initially hailed as a breakthrough, it is today widely recognized as having been a whitewash.17 This was even acknowledged belatedly by the chairman of the Commission, Thomas H. Keane, and his vice-chairman Lee Hamilton, who admitted in their joint book Without Precedent that the Commission was “set up to fail,” that it was seriously misled by senior officials of the Pentagon and that it was not given access to crucial data, such as transcripts of interrogations of 9/11 suspects.18
In an attempt to appear reasonable and responsible, militants of the 9/11 truth movement demand, therefore, a new, independent investigation of 9/11.19 This legitimate demand is largely supported within the movement. But is a new investigation of 9/11 necessary? And is it at all feasible?
(a) Is a new investigation of 9/11 necessary?
Those who consider a new 9/11 investigation necessary may believe that existing evidence is not sufficient to reject the official account and to consider the U.S. government as the main suspect in the crime. Investigations carried out by volunteer citizens since 2001 have, however, assembled reams of evidence establishing probable cause for considering the U.S. government as the main suspect for 9/11. If criminal law could be enforced, such evidence would suffice to issue arrest warrants against suspects among U.S. officials, subpoena documents and force depositions.
The main value of demanding a new, independent investigation of 9/11 appears educational. Individuals unfamiliar with 9/11 and not yet convinced of U.S. government complicity may agree to support the demand for such an investigation if they believe that a truly independent investigation is feasible. But is it?
(b) Is an independent investigation of 9/11 feasible?
It has been suggested in this report and elsewhere that the main suspects for the mass murder 9/11 are leading U.S. officials. One can safely presumed that those who conceived, planned and carried out the mass murder of 9/11 did not do so to satisfy their personal whims. Whoever authorized the mass murder of 9/11 did so, obviously, as part of a long-term strategy consensually adopted in the 1990s by the political elite (discussed in Chapter 1). The operation was designed to wake up the American people (and more generally the Western public) from its complacency and whip up active support for the Project for the New American Century, in which the United States would reign supreme and lead the world to serve the interests of the ruling oligarchy.
Had the crime of 9/11 been carried out by rogue elements of the U.S. government or by a foreign state against the real interests of the ruling class of the United States and its allies, the plotters and perpetrators would have been exposed and punished long ago. This has not been the case. On the contrary, all ruling institutions — the political class, mass media, the judiciary and big business — have colluded since the attacks in covering up the crime. They will hardly allow an independent investigation that might undermine their interests and incriminate their own people in mass-murder.
It is equally moot — and for similar reasons — to expect governments allied to or dependent upon the U.S., to propose within the United Nations an independent investigation of 9/11. Even if most UN members could be convinced to demand such an investigation, a U.N. Commission of Inquiry would not be allowed to enter the United States, let alone to interrogate U.S. public officials and subpoena official American documents. Recall that the Security Council of the United Nations itself endorsed the official legend of 9/11 on 12 September 2001 without asking or obtaining any evidence in support of this legend.20 One can hardly expect the Council to admit having acted improperly, unless the world community has decided to effect regime change within the United States.
The current global political order is not conductive for establishing the truth about 9/11. Even great powers such as Russia and China, who are no U.S. allies, have until now refrained from exposing the 9/11 lies. The mass media, parliaments and governments worldwide have failed to demand evidence from the United States to prove its allegations regarding 9/11. The extent and effectiveness of the deception with regard to 9/11, carried out by the entire political elite of the world, has no historical precedent. It is unrealistic to expect those who have participated in this systematic deception or who gain by it to admit their dishonesty.
The quest for truth about 9/11 demonstrates, perhaps better than any other contemporary issue, the limits of parliamentary and judicial remedies in cases of high state criminality. Those who have recognized that 9/11 was a state crime will sooner or later discover that they cannot rely on established procedures to achieve justice. Existing political, financial and military institutions have become so entwined with those of the U.S. regime that a break with that regime may be dreaded by those who depend on these institutions as an existential threat to their own privileges.
In Hollywood movies political crimes are committed by a small circle of rogue government elements. At the end, honest government leaders clean out the mess and restore democracy. But reality is different. Political crimes, such as 9/11 and similar operations, are not carried out to serve individual greed, but because they are the natural outcome of an imperial strategy that required the creation of a new epochal enemy and the perpetration of a traumatic, catalyzing event. For advancing this strategy it is sometimes necessary to sacrifice thousands of “one’s own citizens.” This brutal nexus was demonstrated in Chapter 1.
The attacks of 9/11 and subsequent attacks which followed a similar pattern (with the alleged Islamic perpetrators dead) serve to maintain a global counterterrorism hysteria that serves many governments. In the garb of combating terrorism, governments institute arbitrary rule, reduce government accountability and justify the surveillance of their populations. Their final aim, as a service to the ruling minority, is to hollow out democracy, leaving only a façade. An entire security industry with a turnover of over $400 billion a year emerged since 2001 and thrives off the terrorism hysteria. Some governments use also the counterterrorism ideology to justify their foreign military interventions and threaten world peace.
But truth has the tendency to seep through. The truth about 9/11 may be regarded as the Achilles heel of the ruling oligarchies, because they have no defense available. The quest for the truth on 9/11 can, therefore, help empower and unite all those who cherish freedom, social justice and peace to act for a system change.
If this book has contributed to awareness of the liberating potential of 9/11 truth, it will have served its purpose.
1. “Osama bin Laden, The Towers of Lebanon”, 29 October 2004. Video message attributed to Osama bin Laden delivered to Al-Jazeera. In Messages to the World: The Statements of Osama bin Laden, edited and introduced by Bruce Lawrence (Verso, London, 2005), p. 240
2. Ibid., p. 104
3. Caryn James, “Television; huge events are close to home”, The New York Times, 13 September 2001, #166
4. Several websites such as Media Monitors Networks, TVNewsLies.org, PRWatch and Project Censored are dedicated solely to exposing and fighting media lies as a general phenomenon. Specific lies by media are exposed daily by civil society activists.
5. “Weapons of Mass Deception” is the title of a book by Shelton Rampton and John Stauber (Penguin, 2003). It is also the title of a documentary film by Danny Schechter (2004)
6. Popular Mechanics and National Geographic Magazine in the United States and Der Spiegel in Germany, have issued colorful special issues and DVDs to promote the official account of 9/11 and debunk “conspiracy theories.” U.S. officials, on the other hand, have been reluctant to defend the official account.
7. The “War on Terror is [the] ‘greatest communications challenge of generation’”, The Holmes Report, 19 November 2001, #377
8. “[Y]our risk of dying in a plausible terrorist attack is much lower than your risk of dying in a car accident, by walking across the street, by drowning, in a fire, by falling, or by being murdered” (Ronald Bailey, “Don’t be terrorized”, reason.com, 11 August 2006, #1124); Professor Peter Rez of Arizona State University, says that for the average passenger, the risk of dying from body-scanner induced cancer is about equal to the risk of dying from a terrorist attack — 1 in 30 million (Jason Mick, “Pilots Unions Boycott Body Scanners Due to Health Risks”, Daily Tech, 15 November 2010, #1125)
9. See, for example, Jack Hunter, “Did ‘Blowback’ Cause 9/11?”, Charleston City Paper, 19 September 2007; Patrick Foy, 9/11: “Blowback for U.S. Foreign Policy”, Taki’s Magazine, 10 September 2011; “Interviewing Chomsky”, Counterpunch, 18 September 2001
10. Simon Jenkins, et al, “What impact did 9/11 have on the world?”, The Guardian, 5 September 2011, #1154
11. Christopher Hayes, “The Roots of Paranoia”, The Nation, 8 December 2006, #973; Alexander Cockburn, “The 9/11 Conspiracy Nuts”, The Nation, 7 September 2006, #972
12. Alexander Cockburn, “The 9/11 Conspiracists: Vindicated After All These Years?” CounterPunch, 2-4 September 2011, #967; Alexander Cockburn, “The 9/11 Conspiracists and the Decline of the American Left”, CounterPunch, 28 September 2006, #968; Alexander Cockburn, “The 9/11 Conspiracy Nuts”, CounterPunch, 9-11 September 2006, #969
13. Matthew Rothschild, “Enough of the 9/11 Conspiracies, Already”, The Progressive, 11 September 2006, #975
14. Alexander Cockburn, “The Conspiracy that Wasn’t”, Le Monde Diplomatique, December 2006, #970. Alexander Cockburn, “Hinter wem sie wirklich her sind”, Le Monde Diplomatique in German, December 2006, #971
15. See “Military, Intelligence and Government Patriots Question 9/11”, <patriotsquestion911.com>
16. An overview of foundation fundin “leftist” media is found on http://911review.com/denial/imgs/left_gatekeepers.gif, #2796
17. Benjamin DeMott, “Whitewash as public service: How the 9/11 Commission Report defrauded the nation”, Harpers Magazine, October 2004, #976. Also David Ray Griffin, The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions (Olive Branch Press, 2005)
18. Ivan Eland, “9/11 Commission Chairmen Admit Whitewashing the Cause of the Attacks”, The Independent Institute, 7 August 2006, #977. Also wikipedia: “Criticism of the 9/11 Commission”
19. Search the internet for the string “9/11 Truth Petitions”
20. United Nations Security Council Resolution 1368 (2001), #2753