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Preface for 2009
It has been two years since this column was first published, and despite a new Democratic administration and further scientific evidence debunking the Official Conspiracy Theory, the situation is largely unchanged. The United States is still occupying the nations of Iraq and Afghanistan, causing an appalling number of civilian deaths, creating resentment and hatred of the U.S. among the local populations, making the world a more dangerous place (according to three former CIA agents) and further bankrupting Americans in the process. Domestically, assaults continue on the rights and freedoms that America was once famous for. The mainstream media (and many on the Internet) continue to characterize those who sensibly disbelieve the Official Conspiracy Theory as "conspiracy theorists" and "nutjobs"; the ever-growing body of evidence against that official version of events continues to be ignored, downplayed, and misrepresented. The "Big Lie" theory espoused by Hitler has thus once again been proven correct. Few Americans are willing to put up with the discomfort of seeing things as they really are in this situation.
Of the "further scientific evidence" mentioned above, I will highlight only one item: the finding, by an international team of scientists, that a huge amount of high-tech nano-thermite was used in the demolition of the World Trade Center buildings. The PDF of the study published in The Open Chemical Physics Journal may be read here (25 pages) and is highly recommended.
Beyond the higher numbers of casualties for both U.S. troops and locals in the occupied areas, little in the column below would merit change. If you have not yet been willing to face the unpleasant truth of this situation, I encourage you to to do so.
September 11, 2007
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Epic Disaster and Failure All Around
Six years ago, on September 11, 2001 , America 's staggeringly expensive defense system failed catastrophically. Four airliners were hijacked and then used as weapons; three were flown into buildings and the fourth crashed on the way to an unknown target. Three skyscrapers in New York were completely destroyed (although one had not been hit by a plane) and the Pentagon suffered serious damage. Almost three thousand lives were lost, and people are still suffering and dying from the aftereffects. Last Friday, Discover Magazine reported that "Up to 70 percent of first responders are ill as a result of 9/11 contamination. If a similar rate of illness holds true for those who lived and worked near the Twin Towers , the number of seriously ill New Yorkers could climb to 300,000 in the near future."
This disaster should have been prevented, but was not. The people and organizations charged with detecting and thwarting such an attack failed. Warnings were in fact given, but as is typical of government action, even the sincere efforts of dedicated individuals were not enough to prevent the organization as a whole from failing, in this case with horrific consequences.
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Imagine that a group of private firms had been in charge of defending America from attack on 9/11, and imagine these firms had failed as completely as did our own defense establishment on that day. What would have happened to those firms and to their executives in the wake of the attacks?
Businesswoman Martha Stewart went to prison for five months merely for lying to investigators about a stock trade. Any corporation, small business, or other non-government organization responsible for the death of even a single person through negligence or failure of their product or service might well be taken to court, and those at the top charged with negligent homicide or other serious crime in regards the death. What on Earth would we have done to people responsible for the incredible failures of September 11 – if those people had not been highly placed in our own government?
Not only have those responsible for this massive and deadly failure not been held accountable, they have been allowed to use their own failure as a blank check for staggering new police-state powers and for waging aggressive war against Afghanistan and Iraq – two nations which had neither attacked us nor even threatened to attack us, and which were in fact incapable of realistically threatening the most powerful nation on Earth.
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Using Grenades to Kill a Fly at a Dinner Party
The 9/11 attacks were not an act of war by any nation's military, but instead criminal acts committed (so the Official Story goes) by a relatively small group of people headed by Osama bin Laden. War was an entirely inappropriate response to such attacks, and according to many authorities, was illegal under international law; see also here. The wars (and the occupations in the aftermath of the wars) in Afghanistan and Iraq have already cost over 4,000 American lives – more than the number of lives lost on September 11. The total number of American war dead is much higher (although figures are hard to come by) if one includes civilian workers and contractors, some of whom are, alarmingly, acting as mercenaries for us. The number of crippled, blinded, maimed, and other wounded Americans is huge, with total American wounded now standing at over 27,000 and by some estimates, closer to 100,000. Civilian deaths in the two nations we have invaded far exceed the numbers of coalition casualties; last year, a widely-reported study in the medical journal The Lancet found that 655,000 Iraqis had been killed since our invasion of that nation. Together, Afghanistan and Iraq have suffered "at least 832,962 people . . . killed and 1,590,895 seriously injured" by one current estimate.
It bears repeating: In the process of hunting down a small band of attackers, we have been responsible for nearly a million deaths and a staggering number of wounded. Men, women and children have been torn apart by bullets and bombs, burned alive, buried under rubble from their own homes or other buildings, and killed in dozens of other ways. Over 1.5 million human beings will bear the scars of these wars for life, and that isn't even counting the cost in pain and emotional damage, which will impact future generations as well.
We have also destroyed much of the infrastructure in two nations, doused wide areas with thousands of tons of poisonous and radioactive depleted uranium, and generally wreaked havoc and violence. No wonder millions of Iraqis have already fled their homes and their nation. The London Independent reports that perhaps 50,000 of these refugees, including many who are "alarmingly young," have been forced into prostitution in Syria and elsewhere.
In light of all that, one cannot be surprised that America's standing in the world has suffered dramatically, with polls finding that large majorities in most nations now believe America is a threat to world peace. Not only have we squandered the sympathy and good will the world expressed towards us after the 9/11 attacks, we have made ourselves feared, hated, and despised.
It seems almost petty to consider financial costs in light of so much death and pain, but these wars will be a financial millstone around America 's neck for generations. The country's financial situation was already grave before the 9/11 attacks (although few Americans seemed aware of this), but since that day our national debt has skyrocketed and our unfunded liabilities have grown even faster than the official debt. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are not the only factors in this, but consider: the war in Iraq may already have cost us $1 trillion or even $2 trillion when future expenses (for care of wounded soldiers, replacement of lost and destroyed equipment, and other costs) are included. The original cost for the Iraq war was estimated by the Pentagon at roughly $50 billion (see "$1 trillion" link above), so what we have is a $50 billion estimate versus a possible $2,000 billion (and rising) price tag.
Despite all that, we have failed to achieve our objectives. Indeed, we have made our original problem worse. Osama bin Laden has not been captured and our own intelligence agencies reported last September that the terror threat has INCREASED because of our efforts.
A recent New York Times/CBS News poll found that a majority of Americans believe we "made a mistake getting involved in the war in Iraq " – and no wonder.
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Was a Better Response Available?
Our Constitution, our history, and international law all suggest that our response to the 9/11 attacks has been wrong and, once again, outright criminal – even aside from our systematic violations of the Geneva Conventions regarding torture. Furthermore, there exists a remedy that would have likely succeeded at capturing, killing, or otherwise neutralizing our enemies without causing all the needless death, destruction, and other negative effects of our "Preemptive War" approach.
That remedy, listed by name in Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, is the use of letters of marque and reprisal. Congressman (and now presidential candidate) Ron Paul introduced the Marque and Reprisal Act of 2001 to deal with the problem of the 9/11 attacks by specifically targeting only the people responsible, rather than going to war with nations that had not attacked us. Early administrations in U.S. history successfully used letters of marque and reprisal to deal with piracy. Paul's legislation was ignored in favor of our present, incredibly disastrous course of action. Why?
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About the List, and an Omission
I have limited the list below to items I find personally compelling. I have also put aside several well-known reasons for concern about the official 9/11 story because of widespread and heated disagreement over their meaning. That does not mean the listed items are uncontroversial; nearly everything related to September 11 is controversial.
The most obvious omission is the collapse of the three buildings at Ground Zero in New York . Burning skyscrapers rarely fall down, and burning steel-framed skyscrapers that have completely collapsed – at near free-fall speed, into their own footprints, the way professionally demolished buildings do – are so rare that I know of only three: the Twin Towers and their lesser-known companion Building 7, on September 11, 2001.
Amazingly, the idea that all three of these buildings – one of which was not hit by a plane – would collapse in precisely this way without demolition charges or other covert assistance is controversial. That does not mean the matter is settled; it is not settled, and the fact and manner of these building collapses remain important reasons to suspect foul play on the part of some person or persons in addition to the hijackers. But given that expert opinion is divided on the topic and that the WTC building collapses are already the subject of more discussion than perhaps any other element of the 9/11 story, I have left this very large concern off my list.
Still, the collapse of those towers is worth a moment's reflection. Note that the first steel-framed skyscraper dates to 1885, so we have 122 years of real-world data to draw upon.
How many other steel-framed buildings (skyscrapers, not utility buildings or smaller structures without protective insulation around the steel) have collapsed from fire in those 122 years?
Once again: none that I know of. Certainly not the Empire State Building, which was hit by a B-25 bomber in 1945 – and which sustained a substantial fire as a result. The building still stands today.
In Los Angeles , the First Interstate Bank Building sustained a horrific fire in 1988; the LA Fire Department called it ". . . the worst, most devastating high-rise fire in the history of Los Angeles ." The account at lafire.com continues: "Extinguishing this blaze at the 62-story First Interstate Bank Building, 707 West Wilshire Boulevard, required the combined efforts of 64 fire companies, 10 City rescue ambulances, 17 private ambulances, 4 helicopters, 53 Command Officers and support personnel, a complement of 383 Firefighters and Paramedics, and considerable assistance from other City departments."
No collapse, though.
In 2004, a high-rise in Caracas burned, suffering severe damage to the top 22 stories. Here again, no collapse.
The only near-example I could find was of the Windsor Building in 2005, which was steel-reinforced concrete rather than steel-framed, and which collapsed only in part and in stages (see also here). What happened was nothing like the near freefall collapse of all three WTC buildings on 9/11.
Those who insist the three buildings at ground zero collapsed because of fire may be right, but so much suggests otherwise that a careful, independent, and unbiased investigation seems an obvious necessity. Unfortunately, much of the relevant evidence was quickly destroyed – but I am getting ahead of myself. (For a level-headed recap of major concerns about the WTC events, consider Why Did the Trade Center Skyscrapers Collapse? by Morgan Reynolds; for a reminder that the WTC buildings may indeed have collapsed from the fires, click here for a recent story about a Berkeley professor's study which supports that position, although few details are yet available).
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Top Ten Reasons for a New Investigation of 9/11
10) The Project for a New American Century
This group of neo-cons, including several in the Bush Administration, made it clear years before 9/11 that "a new Pearl Harbor" would be necessary to rally public opinion around their violent plans for taking over the Middle East . For details, see the New American Century website, begun in the 1990s and still active. David Ray Griffin titled his book The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions about the Bush Administration and 9/11 in reference to that " Pearl Harbor " comment.
When those who benefit from a crime have expressed a desire and claimed a "need" for that crime beforehand, it is natural and realistic to consider them as possible suspects in the crime. This is surely one reason that, according to a Scripps Howard/Ohio University poll last year, "Thirty-six percent of respondents overall said it is 'very likely' or 'somewhat likely' that federal officials either participated in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon or took no action to stop them 'because they wanted the United States to go to war in the Middle East.'" Other polls (see here, here, and here) have found much higher percentages (as much as 90%) who believe the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated or covered up in some fashion by the U.S. government – an opinion shared by many overseas, by the majority of New Yorkers, by many NY police and firefighters, and by numerous scientists and academics.
9) $2.3 Trillion went MISSING from the Pentagon before September 11, 2001
The day before the terror attacks of 9/11/2001, Donald Rumsfeld said the Pentagon could not track how 25% of its entire budget is spent; at the time, he said the Defense Department was missing $2.3 trillion dollars (link is to a CBS "Eye on America" report by Vince Gonzalez; highly recommended). A trillion is a thousand billion, and a billion is a thousand million.
Can that much money actually be misplaced? Even if $100 billion was lost and another $100 billion stolen, that leaves $2.1 trillion to account for – plus whatever is unaccounted for since 2001. One can be certain those trillions were spent on something, by somebody – officially accounted for or not. And yes: it does seem suspicious that the Pentagon "lost" such an ocean of money in the few years leading up to the 9/11 events. At the very least, those trillions could have bought a more effective defense for America than we actually had. When Enron lost a few piddly billions through fraud and mismanagement (perhaps $70 billion), the people at the top of that organization went to prison.
8) Our defense system – the most expensive on Earth – was useless, yet those responsible were not held accountable
Have those responsible for the failure to detect, prevent, or even respond appropriately at the time to the attacks been fired, hauled into court, charged with anything, fined, or otherwise inconvenienced? No. The entire defense and intelligence community has a single legitimate function: to protect the people of this nation from attack. America pays more for defense than any other nation in the world, by a large margin; Americans have a right to expect their defense and intelligence agencies will detect and prevent attacks, or at least respond swiftly and effectively to any attack in progress. Certainly, Americans have the right to expect their government will not provoke attacks against them – by, for example, repeated and violent meddling in other nations around the world.
The system failed, thousands died, and yet no one has been held accountable.
The government running this protection racket has shown no interest in getting to the bottom of why such a failure happened and in punishing or at least replacing those responsible for the failure. Bush actually opposed an investigation into the intelligence failures leading to events of 9/11 (as did others in the administration).
7) Foreknowledge: Relevant intelligence was ignored and insiders were warned
There are many reasons for believing that hard-won intelligence and outright warnings were ignored; see here, here, and here for examples. Again, the question is: why?
Alleged insider trading and other stock market action prior to 9/11 is another reason to suspect foreknowledge of the attacks. This topic was reported in the major media briefly and then fell off the mainstream radar. Still another reason for suspicion is that many among the power elite were apparently warned shortly before 9/11 not to fly on that date.
6) President Bush continued reading The Pet Goat to children instead of being whisked to safety or doing his job
Here is the Wikipedia article on the topic, including links to video of the President's reaction to the news that America was under attack.
There are at least two issues here: first, Bush was at a publicly-scheduled event and thus attackers could easily have known his location. One would have expected the Secret Service to have immediately removed the President to safety upon learning that the nation was under attack. We have all seen the Secret Service spring into action to protect a President (when Reagan was shot, for example), and while Bush was not near the hostile actions occurring in the north, there was no way to know what other hostile actions might have been planned or in progress. Besides, one would hope the President would have more important things to attend to after learning that Americans were dying in unprecedented attacks on their home soil.
But if the attacks were expected, then everything changes. In that case, Bush and his Secret Service detail would have known he was in no danger and that he had nothing important to be doing right then. This isn't courtroom-level proof of anything; as I said above, these 10 points are ones I find personally compelling. It could just be that everyone was in shock and not thinking clearly.
The second reason for listing this point is subjective. Watch the video of Bush in the minutes after he is told that an attack is in progress (here's a copy, hosted at The Memory Hole website), and, well – see what you see.
5) Passports fluttering down from the WTC
You've seen video (and may have seen live coverage at the time) of the airliners slamming into the towers of the World Trade Center at hundreds of miles per hour and the ensuing fireballs. (Here's one; many others are available on the web, from many vantage points). Naturally, your first thought was: "I bet one of the passenger's passports will survive that crash and flutter to Earth without so much as a scratch or a singe."
And you were right! Almost nothing else survived the crash and fire (in any of the four airliner tragedies that day) – massive steel-framed skyscrapers were brought down by the fire, we are told – but one thing did survive: a passport from one of the hijackers. In fact, not one but TWO passports, both in fine condition, were recovered near the scene, and – proving that miracles do happen – both were from evildoers.
All by itself, this is enough to prove – beyond anything I would consider reasonable doubt – that we are not getting an honest and accurate accounting of the day's events. This seemingly minor detail is a mistake of such magnitude that it calls the entire Official Story into doubt.
4) Huge airliner vanishes at Pentagon; no bodies, no debris to speak of – no plane!
Take a look for yourself: see an airliner?
For that matter, can you spot the plane at the Flight 93 crash site? Me neither. See also here.
Some experts say this is to be expected; for example, flight 93 just sort of embedded itself in the ground, which "liquefied" when hit.
As soon as excavation is started and both the plane and the passenger bodies are found under the ground, I'll consider such an explanation at least slightly plausible.
In the meantime, it is worth knowing that several on-the-scene observers saw the same thing YOU see in the photos and video: basically, nothing – no airliner or any suggestion that an airliner had been there. You can read Dr. Karen Kwiatkowski's report of her experience at the Pentagon right after the impact, here, along with 9/11-related reports and comments from many other military people, active and retired (and on other pages at the site, from people in other fields). The site, http://www.patriotsquestion911.com/, offers commentary from a claimed:
110+ Senior Military, Intelligence Service, Law Enforcement, and Government Officials
200+ Engineers and Architects
50+ Pilots and Aviation Professionals
150+ Professors Question 9/11
190+ 9/11 Survivors and Family Members
90+ Entertainment and Media Professionals
This is an excellent resource. I urge you to visit http://www.patriotsquestion911.com/; you will find enough material to keep you busy for days. The Official Story about 9/11 does not stand up well to the observations and commentary presented by the hundreds of very credible people at this site.
3) FBI immediately confiscated video of Pentagon event
Why on Earth was video from a gas station across from the Pentagon taken into custody and kept from the pubic, and for that matter how did the FBI manage to get to the gas station "within minutes" after the impact?
This point not only goes with #4 above: I list it because there is clearly no legitimate "national security" reason for keeping this video from the public for even a single day. We have all seen airliners; nothing top-secret is involved. Unless we are being lied to, of course.
2) Obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence
If there is one thing even a child knows about crime scenes, it is that you don't mess with the evidence. This point is constantly hammered home in television shows and movies, and in fact tampering with evidence is a serious crime [use menu box at link and scroll down to "tampering"]. Evidence tampering is a felony that you, as a mere citizen, might actually go to prison for.
Yet most of the steel in the collapsed World Trade Center buildings was quickly sold off for scrap (see also here). This would be the steel that failed so spectacularly and unexpectedly in a fire that today, six years later, experts are still arguing over whether such an event was even really possible or whether something else (say, demolition charges) might have been involved.
Darn. Wouldn't it be nice to have the actual steel handy for testing?
The steel beams from the WTC towers are only the most well-known examples of 9/11 evidence being destroyed or tampered with.
1) Use of 9/11 to enable tyranny
Covert attacks on one's homeland or on one's military abroad – blamed on foreigners or other enemies – have been used repeatedly in history to rally citizen support for war and tyranny. These are called false flag attacks.
Hitler used the Reichstag fire to create the dictatorial Nazi state, beginning with the Reichstag Fire Decree and then the Enabling Act. Many believe that the Nazis set the fire themselves for this purpose, but the tactic works even when an actual enemy makes the attack. Perhaps the Communists really did set the fire as the Nazis claimed; either way, Hitler was able to use the fire to gather dictatorial powers, eliminating basic rights for German citizens – who were told, naturally, that this was all for their own protection. Eventually, Hitler's National Socialist regime murdered millions of Germans and millions of foreigners, and caused the indirect death of millions more. Giving up freedom for protection did not work well for the Germans. It never does.
It is known that in 1962, the CIA planned a false-flag operation (in which terrorist attacks would have been staged in America itself) to be blamed on Cuba , for the purpose of creating public support for military action against Castro. Operation Northwoods was never activated.
Was 9/11 a set of false flag attacks, designed to help the Bush administration gain police-state powers and to create support for aggressive war in the Middle East ?
That is certainly possible. Bush was planning to attack both Afghanistan and Iraq before 9/11, and he attacked Iraq despite knowing Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction.
Either way, the 9/11 attacks have been used, very successfully, as cover for tyranny and aggressive war. Consider the passage of blatantly unconstitutional laws including the Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act of 2006, both of which illegally strip Americans of rights enshrined in the Constitution and in common law (although the second of those Acts is aimed primarily at non-citizens, Americans are also jeopardized by the Act directly, as almost any citizen can be declared an “enemy combatant”). Consider the widely-discussed and illegal use of torture by the United States against detainees in the War on Terror. Consider the John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007 which deals a blow to the protections of the Posse Comitatus Act, paving the way for Bush (or any future president) to simply declare an emergency and use American troops against American citizens. Consider the $385 million Halliburton contract for domestic concentration camps (they are being called "detention camps") announced in January of 2006 and pretty much ignored by the media since. And consider, of course, the war in Afghanistan , the war in Iraq , and the constant saber-rattling in recent months for an attack on Iran .
This has all been incredibly profitable for the military-industrial complex and for many in the power elite. None of it would have been possible without an enabling event – a "new Pearl Harbor " to rally Americans around a militaristic administration that claimed to be protecting the homeland.
9/11 was that event.
Whether the 9/11 attacks were actually instigated, financed, and planned by a small group of distant Arabs living in caves, or whether some other explanation is nearer the truth, one thing cannot be disputed and must not be missed: Americans have allowed those attacks to be used against themselves. Our rights are gone, our money is gone, our respect among other nations is gone, many of our sons and daughters are dead, and things look even bleaker for the next generation, which is inheriting quagmires that we cannot manage or pay for even today, but may be with us for decades. The likely response by future administrations to public unrest over these matters will be to clamp down even more, which the Bush administration's enabling legislation will greatly facilitate.
The 9/11 attacks have been used to destroy America in ways that no mere terrorist assault could ever do.
And that is the number one reason for a new, independent, unbiased investigation into the events of September 11, 2001.