highlights 9/11 "no plane" since they know it's false
for more on the history of the Washington
"We live in a dirty and dangerous world. There are some things
the general public does not need to know and shouldn't. I believe democracy
flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets,
and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows."
-- Katharine Graham, Washington Post at a 1988 speech at CIA headquarters
|Washington Post - October 7, 2004|
note how this article "sandwiches" mention of David Ray Griffin's book in-between discussions of alien abduction and communication with beings in other dimensions - a great way to discredit "New Pearl Harbor" a month before the Kerry/Bush "election" - note also that the Post implied that the no plane claim was the only issue mentioned in New Pearl Harbor - when it was only a small part of the book (most of the rest of the book is excellent). The Washington Post is shrewd enough to know that this part of the book was not true and worth promoting to discredit 9/11 truth, especially in the DC area where many people know eyewitnesses to the events. Pentagon Strike is a very deceptive film, which is why the Post highlighted it instead of Crossing the Rubicon.
Conspiracy Theories Flourish on the Internet
By Carol Morello
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, October 7, 2004; Page B01
Working from his home office in a small town in England, Darren Williams spent four weeks this summer making a short but startling video that raises novel questions about the 2001 attack on the Pentagon.
The video, "9/11: Pentagon Strike," suggests that it was not American Airlines Flight 77 that slammed into the Pentagon, but a missile or a small plane.
With rock music as a backdrop, the video offers flashes of photographs taken shortly after impact, interspersed with witness accounts. The pictures seem incompatible with damage caused by a jumbo jet, and no one mentions seeing one. Red arrows point to unbroken windows in the burning building.
Firefighters stand outside a perfectly round hole in a Pentagon wall where the Boeing 757 punched through; it is less than 20 feet in diameter.
Propelled by word of mouth, Internet search engines and e-mail, the video has been downloaded by millions of people around the world.
American history is rife with conspiracy theories. Extremists have fed rumors of secret plots by Masons, bankers, Catholics and Communists. But now urban legends have become cyberlegends, and suspicions speed their way globally not over months and weeks but within days and hours on the Web.
"The dissemination is almost immediate," said Doug Thomas, a University of Southern California communications professor who teaches classes on technology and subgroups. "It's not just one Web site saying, 'Hey, look at this.' It's 10,000 people sending e-mails to 10 friends, and then they send it on."
The Pentagon video could be a case study. Williams created a Web site for the video, www.pentagonstrike.co.uk. Then he e-mailed a copy to Laura Knight-Jadczyk, an American author living in France whose books include one on alien abduction. Williams, 31, a systems analyst, belongs to an online group hosted by Knight-Jadczyk that blends discussions of science, politics and the paranormal.
On Aug. 23, Knight-Jadczyk posted a link to the video on the group's Web site, www.Cassiopaea.org. Within 36 hours, Williams's site collapsed under the crush of tens of thousands of visitors. But there were others to fill the void.
In Texas, a former casino worker who downloaded the video began drawing almost 700,000 visitors a day to his libertarian site. In Louisiana, a young Navy specialist put the video on his personal Web page, usually visited by a few friends and relatives; suddenly, the site was inundated by more than 20,000 hits. In Alberta, traffic to a cabdriver's site shot up more than sixfold after he supplied a link to the video.
Across thousands of sites, demand for the video was so great that some webmasters solicited donations to pay for the extra bandwidth.
"Pentagon Strike" is just the latest and flashiest example of a growing number of Web sites, books and videos contending that something other than a commercial airliner hit the Pentagon. Most make their case through the selective use of photographs and eyewitness accounts reported during the confusion of the first hours after the attack. They say they don't know what really happened to American Airlines Flight 77 and don't offer other explanations. The doubters say they are just asking questions that have not been answered satisfactorily.
The ready and growing audience for conspiracy theories about the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks has been particularly galling to those who worked on the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, the bipartisan panel known as the 9/11 commission.
"We discussed the theories," said Philip D. Zelikow, the commission's executive director. "When we wrote the report, we were also careful not to answer all the theories. It's like playing Whack-A-Mole. You're never going to whack them all. They satisfy a deep need in the people who create them. What we tried to do instead was to affirmatively tell what was true and tell it adding a lot of critical details that we knew would help dispel concerns."
Conspiracy theories are common after traumatic events. Michael Barkun, a political scientist at Syracuse University who has written books on the culture of conspiracies, said contradictory and inconclusive eyewitness accounts often leave room for different interpretations of events.
"Conspiracy theories are one way to make sense of what happened and regain a sense of control," Barkun said. "Of course, they're usually wrong, but they're psychologically reassuring. Because what they say is that everything is connected, nothing happens by accident, and that there is some kind of order in the world, even if it's produced by evil forces. I think psychologically, it's in a way consoling to a lot of people."
The belief that the government is lying about the Sept. 11 attacks is coming from both the right and the left. Experts say more than suspicion of the Bush administration is at work.
"It seems that since the end of the Cold War, the enemy is the United States government, the enemy is within," said Rick Ross, whose Ross Institute of New Jersey monitors cults and other controversial groups, many of which see manipulative forces working behind the scenes. "Instead of projecting conspiracy theories out, it's become internalized."
Zelikow, for example, lacks credibility with many who question the work of the 9/11 commission because he wrote a book with national security adviser Condoleezza Rice. He believes that it is futile to discuss evidence with people convinced of a conspiracy.
"The hardcore conspiracy theorists are totally committed," Zelikow said. "They'd have to repudiate much of their life identity in order not to accept some of that stuff. That's not our worry. Our worry is when things become infectious, as happened with the [John F. Kennedy] assassination. Then this stuff can be deeply corrosive to public understanding. You can get where the bacteria can sicken the larger body."
David Ray Griffin considers himself an unlikely recruit to what is called the "9/11 Truth Movement." The retired theologian, who taught religion for three decades at Claremont School of Theology, initially dismissed the notion that it was not an airliner that hit the Pentagon. But after visiting several Internet sites raising questions about the attack, he ended up writing a book. "The New Pearl Harbor," published in the spring, argues that a Boeing 757 would have caused far more damage and left more wreckage strewn around the Pentagon.
"There are reasons why people doubt the official story," he said. "There are photographs taken, and there is no Boeing in sight."
Suspicions formed as the Pentagon still smoldered.
For 2 1/2 years, the attack on the Pentagon has been discussed and researched by members of Knight-Jadczyk's online group, the Quantum Future School.
The group's talks formed the basis for articles in which Knight-Jadczyk argues that after the attack on the World Trade Center, eyewitnesses at the Pentagon were predisposed to see a large airliner. She believes that the Pentagon was attacked by a smaller plane and that members of the Bush administration were somehow complicit because it was beneficial for war-profiteers and Israel.
Interviewed by telephone from what she said is a 17-bedroom castle outside Toulouse, where she lives with her Polish physicist husband and five children, Knight-Jadczyk acknowledged that her group is considered "fringe."Knight-Jadczyk, 52, a Florida native, has been a psychic and a channeler.
She is now involved in experiments in what she calls "superluminal communication," which she described as involving "time loops" that would enable people to communicate with their former selves.
Knight-Jadczyk said she never imagined anyone outside her group would ever view "Pentagon Strike."
"The fact everybody's been sending it to his brother and his cousin, almost frenetically, reflects the fact that there is a deep unease," she said.
"They don't come out and say it. They don't want to be accused of being with terrorists, anti-American or anti-patriotic. But they still feel something's wrong."
Bret Dean of Fort Worth said he considers it "baloney" to question whether a plane hit the Pentagon. But he also believes that the government ignored warning of the attacks.
After posting a link to the video on his libertarian site, www.freedomunderground.org, Dean recorded more than 8 million hits. At least one came from inside the Defense Department, he said.
"I don't think the video is an instigator," said Dean, 45, a former casino worker. "It's a symptom. A lot of people don't trust the government's explanation because the government's classified all the information."
Asked if there were unreleased photographs of the attack that would convince the doubters, Zelikow, of the 9/11 commission, said, "No." "The question of whether American 77 hit the Pentagon is indisputable," Zelikow said. "One reason you tend to doubt conspiracy theories when you've worked in government is because you know government is not nearly competent enough to carry off elaborate theories. It's a banal explanation, but imagine how efficient it would need to be."
|Washington Post - September 8, 2006|
9/11 Conspiracy Theorists Are Building Their Case Against the Government From Ground Zero
By Michael Powell
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 8, 2006; C01
David Ray Griffin, whose book "The New Pearl Harbor" is a
foundation of the "9/11 Truth Movement." Photo Credit: For The
Washington Post Photo
He felt no shiver of doubt in those first terrible hours.
He watched the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and assumed al-Qaeda had wreaked terrible vengeance. He listened to anchors and military experts and assumed the facts of Sept. 11, 2001, were as stated on the screen.
It was a year before David Ray Griffin, an eminent liberal theologian and philosopher, began his stroll down the path of disbelief. He wondered why Bush listened to a child's story while the nation was attacked and how Osama bin Laden, America's Public Enemy No. 1, escaped in the mountains of Tora Bora.
He wondered why 110-story towers crashed and military jets failed to intercept even one airliner. He read the 9/11 Commission report with a swell of anger. Contradictions were ignored and no military or civilian official was reprimanded, much less cashiered.
"To me, the report read as a cartoon." White-haired and courtly, Griffin sits on a couch in a hotel lobby in Manhattan, unspooling words in that reasonable Presbyterian minister's voice. "It's a much greater stretch to accept the official conspiracy story than to consider the alternatives."
"There was massive complicity in this attack by U.S. government operatives."
If that feels like a skip off the cliff of established reality, more Americans are in free fall than you might guess. There are few more startling measures of American distrust of leaders than the widespread belief that the Bush administration had a hand in the attacks of Sept. 11 in order to spark an invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq.
A recent Scripps Howard/Ohio University poll of 1,010 Americans found that 36 percent suspect the U.S. government promoted the attacks or intentionally sat on its hands. Sixteen percent believe explosives brought down the towers. Twelve percent believe a cruise missile hit the Pentagon.
Distrust percolates more strongly near Ground Zero. A Zogby International poll of New York City residents two years ago found 49.3 percent believed the government "consciously failed to act."
You could dismiss this as a louder than usual howl from the CIA-controls-my-thoughts-through-the-filling-in-my-molar crowd. Establishment assessments of the believers tend toward the psychotherapeutic. Many academics, politicians and thinkers left, right and center say the conspiracy theories are a case of one plus one equals five. It's a piling up of improbabilities.
Thomas Eager, a professor of materials science at MIT, has studied the collapse of the twin towers. "At first, I thought it was amazing that the buildings would come down in their own footprints," Eager says. "Then I realized that it wasn't that amazing -- it's the only way a building that weighs a million tons and is 95 percent air can come down."
But the chatter out there is loud enough for the National Institute of Standards and Technology to post a Web "fact sheet" poking holes in the conspiracy theories and defending its report on the towers.
Yeah, as if . . .
The loose agglomeration known as the "9/11 Truth Movement" has stopped looking for truth from the government. As cacophonous and free-range a bunch of conspiracists anywhere this side of Guy Fawkes, they produce hip-hop inflected documentaries and scholarly conferences. The Web is their mother lode. Every citizen is a researcher. There's nothing like a triple, Google-fed epiphany lighting up the laptop at 2:44 a.m.
Did you see that the CIA met with bin Laden in a hospital room in Dubai? Check out this Pakistani site, there are really weird doings in Baluchistan . . .
The academic wing is led by Griffin, who founded the Center for a Postmodern World at Claremont University; James Fetzer, a tenured philosopher at the University of Minnesota (Fetzer's an old hand in JFK assassination research); and Daniel Orr, the retired chairman of the economics department at the University of Illinois. The movement's de facto minister of engineering is Steven Jones, a tenured physics professor at Brigham Young University, who's studied vectors and velocities and tested explosives and concluded that the collapse of the twin towers is best explained as controlled demolition, sped by a thousand pounds of high-grade thermite.
Former Reagan aide Barbara Honegger is a senior military affairs journalist at the Naval Postgraduate School in California. She's convinced, based on her freelance research, that a bomb went off about six minutes before an airplane hit the Pentagon -- or didn't hit it, as some believe the case may be. Catherine Austin Fitts served as assistant secretary of housing in the first President Bush's administration and gained a fine reputation as a fraud buster; David Bowman was chief of advanced space programs under presidents Ford and Carter. Fitts and Bowman agree that the "most unbelievable conspiracy" theory is the one retailed by the government.
Then there's Morgan O. Reynolds, appointed by George W. Bush as chief economist at the Labor Department. He left in 2002 and doesn't think much of his former boss; he describes President Bush as a "dysfunctional creep," not to mention a "possible war criminal."
You reach Reynolds at his country home in the hills of Arkansas. His favored rhetorical style is long paragraphs without obvious punctuation: "Who did it? Elements of our government and M-I6 and the Mossad. The government's case is a laugh-out-loud proposition. They used patsies and lies and subterfuge and there's no way that Bush and Cheney could have invaded Iraq without the help of 9/11."
They are cantankerous and sometimes distrust each other -- who knows where the double agents lurk? But unreasonable questions resonate with the reasonable. Colleen Kelly's brother, a salesman, had breakfast at the Windows on the World restaurant on Sept. 11. After he died she founded September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows to oppose the Iraq war. She lives in the Bronx and gives a gingerly embrace to the conspiracy crowd.
"Sometimes I listen to them and I think that's sooooo outlandish and bizarre," she says. "But that day had such disastrous geopolitical consequences. If David Ray Griffin asks uncomfortable questions and points out painful discrepancies? Good for him."
Griffin's book, "The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11," never reviewed in a major U.S. newspaper, sold more than 100,000 copies and became a movement founding stone. Last year he traveled through New England, giving speeches in whitewashed churches and gymnasiums. He came to West Hartford, Conn., on a rainy autumn evening. Four hundred mostly middle-aged and upper-middle-class doctors and lawyers, teachers and social workers sat waiting.
Griffin took the podium and laid down his ideas with calm and cool. He concluded:
"It is already possible to know beyond a reasonable doubt one very important thing: The destruction of the World Trade Center was an inside job, orchestrated by domestic terrorists," he says. "The welfare of our republic and perhaps even the survival of our civilization depend on getting the truth about 9/11 exposed."
The audience rose and applauded for more than a minute.
"Reality is a thin line between denial and paranoia."
-- Author unknown, but often quoted by the 9/11 truth movement
"Me?" You've asked the Rev. Frank Morales, the bohemian Episcopalian minister with the hipster goatee, where he stands on the nature of the conspiracy. We're standing in the ancient graveyard of St. Mark's Church in the Bowery on Second Avenue. "I lean to LIHOP."
The 9/11 truthers share a lieutenant colonel's love of acronyms. They divide themselves into LIHOPS and MIHOPS and differences are not trifling. LIHOP stands for "Let It Happen On Purpose," which means someone inside the U.S. government intentionally let the terror conspiracy go. MIHOP means "Made It Happen On Purpose," and its gradations center on whether Bush was in or out of the loop (a surprising number believe he was clueless) and whether the Mossad or British intelligence was dealt into the deal.
Morales, 57, who came out of the Lower East Side housing projects, spent days at Ground Zero performing last rites for the dead, many little more than a collection of body parts.
"I didn't presume to know who did it," he says. "There was a lot of shucking and jiving. I wonder at what point massive incompetence crosses over into negligent homicide."
To make sense of the truth movement's anger, you need to hit the rewind button to early 2001, with the hindsight of today. There was, as the 9/11 Commission hearings made clear, a bad moon rising. Warnings kept coming of a "high probability" of a "spectacular" terrorist attack. A national security adviser warned Condoleezza Rice there were terrorist cells, probably al-Qaeda guys, in the country. CIA chief George Tenet said the "system was blinking red."
A presidential bulletin on Aug. 6 had a catchy title: "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." Bush did not discuss it again with Tenet before Sept. 11.
So give the truth movement, many of whom are based in New York City, their props. They may be paranoid, but something nasty came our way. They pore over the paper trail with a Sherlock Holmesian intensity, alert to intriguing discrepancy.
Former transporation secretary Norman Mineta told the commission he arrived in the presidential operations center -- under the White House -- at 9:20 a.m. on Sept. 11 and found Vice President Cheney. When an aide asked Cheney about the hijacked plane fast approaching the Pentagon, Mineta says the vice president snapped that the "orders still stand." Mineta assumed the orders were to shoot the plane down. Conspiracy theorists interpret this to mean: Don't shoot it down.
Cheney later said he was not in the operations center until after the plane hit. The commission never mentioned Mineta's contradictory version.
In September 2001, NORAD generals said they learned of the hijackings in time to scramble fighter jets. But the government recently released tapes claiming to show the FAA did not tell the military about the hijackings until three of the four planes had crashed.
That would mean the FAA repeatedly lied. It would also mean, as Griffin points out, that the entire military chain of command stayed quiet about huge inaccuracies for four years "even though . . . the true story would put the military in a better light."
More mysteries pile up. The 9/11 Commission says Flight 77 hit the Pentagon at 9:37. But Honegger says clocks stopped at the Pentagon at 9:32. Then there's the collapse of the twin towers, which Jones, the physics professor, timed at just short of free fall. Griffin cites firefighters, including a captain, who said in hearings and on tapes from that day that they saw flashes and heard the sound of explosions before the collapse.
"It's like the Nazi-facilitated Reichstag fire," Honegger says from her home in California. "They guided and secretly protected it to justify their global agenda."
Let's put aside the could-anyone-do-something-that-spectacularly-twisted? question and touch on practicalities. Isn't the problem with big ugly conspiracies -- from the Gulf of Tonkin to My Lai to the 1961 Pentagon plan to provoke a war by attacking Americans and blaming it on Castro -- that they are too big and ugly to keep secret?
Griffin shrugs. History is littered with government black-bag jobs. "How do you know they can't keep big secrets? Can you be sure you know what you don't know?"
* * *
There is a "morning after" quality to the conspiratorial romance. One moment you groove on the epiphanies and the next moment you're lost in a dull haze of "this cannot be a coincidence," "perhaps significantly" and "if so . . ."
What of incompetence? Or the raw absurdity of life? The truth movement makes much of a 2001 BBC report that a half-dozen of the hijackers were still alive. They mention Waleed al Shehri, a pilot who still flies commercial runs in Morocco. But the BBC retracted that.
It turns out the live guy and the dead hijacker spelled their names differently.
Then there's the theory that Flight 77 did not hit the Pentagon and United 93 did not crash in Shanksville, Pa. But, like, what happened to the passengers? (Among the passengers on Flight 77 was Barbara Olson, wife of former U.S. solicitor general Ted Olson).
[note: Donald Rumsfeld was the first to imply a "missile" hit the Pentagon and the claim that Flight 93 did not crash in Pennsylvania was first floated by a Holocaust denial publication with a history of creating hoaxes.]
"Why should any of us know where it went?" Griffin says. "It could have been it crashed in Kentucky. We don't need a theory where it went."
Chip Berlet, senior analyst at Political Research Associates, a Boston-based left-leaning think tank, is no fan of the 9/11 Commission. He believes a serious investigation should have led to indictments and the firing of incompetent generals and civilian officials.
But he has no patience with the conspiracy theorists.
"They don't do their homework; it's a kind of charlatanism," Berlet says over the phone. "They say there's no debris on the lawn in front of the Pentagon, but they base their analysis on a photo on the Internet . That's like analyzing an impressionist painting by looking at a postcard."
Now comes a loud sigh.
"I love 'The X-Files' but I don't base my research on it," he says. "My vision of hell is having to review these [conspiracy] books over and over again."
Let's move on to Eager of MIT. "Demolition experts say, 'Ohhh, it's all science and timing.' Bull!" Eager says. "What's the technique? If 200,000 tons gives way, where do you think it's going? Straight down."
In the days after Sept. 11, experts claimed temperatures reached 2,000 degrees on the upper floors. Others claimed steel melted. Nope. What happened, Eager says, is that jet fuel sloshed around and beams got rubbery.
"It's not too much to think that you could have some regions at 900 degrees and others at 1,200 degrees, and that will distort the beams."
The truth movement doesn't really care for Eager. A Web site casts a fisheye of suspicion at the professor and his colleagues. "Did the MIT have prior knowledge?" notes one chat room. "This is for sure another speculative topic . . . "
"It is no measure of health to be sane in an insane society."
Nico Haupt, a gaunt fellow in black sneakers, black socks, black jeans and black T-shirt, stands up in St. Mark's Church in the Bowery. He holds aloft two blue Oreos boxes taped to resemble the twin towers. A pen juts out, kind of like a Boeing airplane.
For an hour he's shown videos of planes hitting the towers. If you note the glinting sunlight and angle of wings and you're honest about vectors and maybe the hashish is kicking in, you'll realize there were no planes .
Truth movement veterans distance themselves from Haupt, who has a bit of a temper. But Reynolds, the former Labor Department economist, also is a "no-planer."
"There were no planes, there were no hijackers," Reynolds insists. "I know, I know, I'm out of the mainstream, but that's the way it is."
But what about all those New Yorkers who saw airplanes hitting the twin towers? A chuckle rumbles down the phone line. "I don't believe anyone in Lower Manhattan," he says. "You hire three dozen Actors' Equity dudes and they'll say anything ."
Some days the 9/11 truth movement resembles an Italian coalition government -- dissolution is a certainty. Honegger and Griffin believe bombs brought down the twin towers but have little truck with make-believe planes. There's a faction that says the Mossad did it and another that says that's insane, and maybe anti-Semitic.
Where are we going here? There's a Journal of 9/11 Studies, documentaries, CDs and DVDs. Is conspiracy thought getting codified?
"That's our worry, of course," Griffin says. "I want my life back. But how can I ignore that we have become entranced by demonic power, so focused on lust for wealth and control that almost anything becomes possible?"
You reach Honegger a few nights later. She'd like to give it up, too. "I am sitting here in my little office trying to figure out what happened to my country on this day. I wouldn't be a patriot if I didn't try to prove the government's story is preposterous."
© 2006 The Washington Post Company
Open Letter to Philip Zelikow and The Washington
By Nicholas Levis
NEW YORK, Oct. 7, 2004 --
Philip Zelikow, a high-level national security adviser to both Bush administrations, acknowledges that America faces a new infectious disease: lack of faith in the U.S. government's 9/11 Commission report.
As executive director of the freshly-retired Kean Commission, Zelikow was a principal author of the 567-page document, which purports to explain everything that matters about September 11th, 2001.
Sales of the 9/11 report have far outpaced those of his earlier study in statecraft, "Germany Unified and Europe Transformed." He co-wrote that book in 1999 with one of his closest associates from the original Bush White House, Condoleeza Rice.
Despite blockbuster sales for the 9/11 report, Zelikow tells the Washington Post he is alarmed by the concurrent spread of "conspiracy theories" about the attacks, which he describes as pathogens:
"Our worry is when things become infectious, as happened with the [John F. Kennedy] assassination," Zelikow says. "Then this stuff can be deeply corrosive to public understanding. You can get where the bacteria can sicken the larger body." (1)
It's too late, Dr. Zelikow. The "bacteria" are winning, and your own work is to blame.
Perhaps the disease would have slowed if you had showed the courage to step down as executive director last March - when your resignation was demanded by the same Sept. 11 families who had fought the White House for 14 months to gain a 9/11 Commission in the first place.
They saw a grave conflict of interest in your having participated in White House briefings on al-Qaeda in 2000 and 2001. You did so on behalf of the incoming Bush administration, along with Dr. Rice, Richard Clarke and Sandy Berger, all of whom later testified to the Kean Commission.
"It is apparent that Dr. Zelikow should never have been permitted to be Executive Staff Director of the Commission," the Family Steering Committee wrote.
They asked you to resign, and to take your place on the other side of the table, as a witness to be questioned in the investigation, in public and under oath. (2)
Perhaps this might have helped to restore credibility to a Commission that was badly damaged a few months earlier when its most outspoken member, Max Cleland, resigned after condemning it as a whitewash. (3)
But you ignored the families and stayed on, undeterred. You continued to steer the Commission and its agenda. You stayed on, as one of only two staff members or commissioners with relatively unrestricted access to White House documents. (The other was Jamie Gorelick, a former high official in the Clinton administration and close associate of George Tenet. Small world.)
A few weeks later, we were treated to a star turn at the hearings by your co-author, Dr. Rice, as one of the most important witnesses before the Commission, even as you conducted behind the scenes.
And now you worry that people won't buy what you have to say about 9/11.
Guess what? They don't.
A representative poll of eight hundred New York state residents by Zogby International found less than 40 percent of them say they believe the 9/11 Commission report answered all of the important questions about Sept. 11. (4)
Sixty-six percent of New York City residents are therefore calling on the state attorney general to open a new criminal investigation, one based on the 383 questions of the Family Steering Committee, most of which the 9/11 Commission report simply ignores.
The same poll found that 41 percent of state residents believe high officials knew about 9/11 in advance, and "consciously" allowed the attacks to proceed. That view is shared by one-half of New York City residents - the very people who would have the most reason to be well-informed about Sept. 11.
But 41 percent of the good people in upsate New York, a microcosm of Middle America, also believe there was foreknowledge, as do 30 percent of the state's registered Republicans.
What would the same poll questions reveal, if they were posed to residents of the entire United States? Or to a sampling of the world population?
Isn't this big news? Half the people in the city where the attacks occurred don't believe what their government has told them. Why wasn't it in the papers, alongside the Bush-Kerry polling numbers? Shouldn't the papers be examining the unanswered questions that make people think this way?
What have the papers given us instead?
Zelikow's worry about the spread of heretical ideas is apparently shared by the Washington Post, which published his comments yesterday in a pop-psychology piece by Carol Morello, analyzing the souls who have fallen prey to "conspiracy theories" about 9/11.
Morello's first step is to define what "conspiracy theorists" think in the narrowest possible way. She focuses on a single notion - that the crash of a Boeing 767 does not explain the pattern of damage at the Pentagon. Her article pretends that this is the central hypothesis for all who question the official story of 9/11, which is untrue.
Before the Pentagon anomaly first arose as an issue among American researchers (in Nov. 2001), a broad case for doubting the government's claims had already been built, based in ample evidence of foreknowledge on the part of high U.S. officials, contradictions in investigators' statements about the alleged hijackers, and many other indications of complicity in the attacks by elements other than the Bin Ladin networks.
This constantly growing body of evidence caused Sept. 11 families and advocates for disclosure to lobby for an independent investigation, and ultimately became the basis for a vibrant "9/11 truth movement." (5)
But Morello's presumption - that uncertainty about what happened at the Pentagon is the sole issue of concern - allows her to ignore all that.
All that matters now is what makes these conspiracy theorists tick, and whether they can be cured.
As Philadelphia Daily News reporter Will Bunch pointed out, Morello is merely knocking down her own strawman. In a college debate, she would lose the point. (6)
If we must psychologize rather than argue, as Morello does, then I daresay she is in avoidance. Taking on the facts of 9/11 with an open mind would perhaps force her, in Zelikow's words, "to repudiate much of [her] life identity," which relies on rejecting ideas that her society characterizes as outlandish, as "conspiracy theory."
But what is "conspiracy theory"? Morello rounds up the usual suspects among experts who treat disbelief in official stories as a pathology.
Michael Barkun, author of "A Culture of Conspiracy" and much-cited in these matters, wisely informs us that "conspiracy theories are one way to make sense of what happened and regain a sense of control. Of course, they're usually wrong, but they're psychologically reassuring."
"Usually wrong"? Why does Prof. Barkun hedge his bets?
We need to unpack our terms. "Conspiracy theory" describes the official 9/11 report as well as it does the alternative views. The events of Sept. 11 obviously were not the product of a single perpetrator, but of a criminal conspiracy.
Criminal conspiracy is treated in countless volumes of what prosecutors call conspiracy law or racketeering statutes. Another word for it is organized crime. Any attempt to explain a criminal conspiracy constitutes a theory. Prosecutors devise theories based on initial clues, and then try to see which of them best fit the evidence. Convictions often follow.
Morello, and Zelikow, are not concerned about "conspiracy theories" per se. They are applying the term selectively, to include only hypotheses in which elements of the U.S. government were themselves involved in the attacks for political and financial gain.
If Cheney says Saddam Hussein backed the 9/11 attacks, as the vice-president did on many occasions despite his recent protestations to the contrary, this is not called a conspiracy theory, although it obviously involves a theoretical conspiracy. Yet this is the most important 9/11 conspiracy theory to date, because it was used to justify the invasion of Iraq.
If Zelikow tells us that 19 men agreed to hijack four planes and fly them into buildings and succeeded (although those identified as the ringleaders had been under observation by U.S. and allied agencies for years beforehand) this is not labeled conspiracy theory, although it describes a conspiracy.
The only theories branded as "conspiracies," and thus subject to ridicule and dismissal without examination, are those that suspect wrongdoing from a government that did its best to hide and destroy evidence, and then sent out a top adviser to both Bush administrations, Zelikow, to investigate what happened.
In the case of the Pentagon, the government has suppressed videotapes of the attack taken from a nearby hotel, a gas station, highway surveillance cameras, and the Pentagon's own cameras. At a press conference following the Kean Commission hearings of Dec. 8, 2003, the chair and co-chair promised that this evidence would be released, to help dispel speculation.
That evidence has not been released, and Zelikow suggests to the Post that there is no need:
"Asked if there were unreleased photographs of the attack that would convince the doubters, Zelikow, of the 9/11 commission, said, 'No.'"
Is it any wonder that people don't believe Dr. Zelikow? First the government suppresses evidence. Then its chief investigator of 9/11 justifies this by saying it would be pointless to release the evidence, and shifts the blame to the "conspiracy theorists" who are pathologically incapable of believing the truth.
The New Yorkers who are unsatisfied with the 9/11 Commission report are not supposed to get answers; they are remanded to the nearest therapist.
For three years, the Washington Post has joined America's other major press organs in ignoring the unanswered questions that cause so many people to reject the official conspiracy theory of the 9/11 attacks.
You would think the Zogby poll results, which were at least mentioned on washingtonpost.com if not in the newspaper itself, would finally move the Post to file some real stories.
This isn't the place to go into everything the Post has not reported about Sept. 11 - one might start by reading the book mentioned in Morello's article, "The New Pearl Harbor" by David Ray Griffin - but I submit that DC journalists would normally want to explore the following question:
What about the reports that the Pakistani secret service ISI wired $100,000 to Mohamed Atta? The ISI is often credited as the creator of the Taliban, and its operatives have been linked to the Bin Ladin networks. ISI is also linked to CIA, as historically close allies.
The ISI director, Mahmud Ahmed, was on a two-week visit to Washington and met for breakfast at the Capitol on Sept. 11 with the heads of the congressional intelligence committees, Bob Graham and Porter Goss. (7)
After 9/11, Graham and Goss oversaw the 858-page report of the congressional joint inquiry into 9/11, in which the term ISI never occurs, at least not in the 75 percent of the report remaining after "redactions."
In all of the Post's coverage of Goss's recent confirmation hearings as director of the CIA, wasn't the ISI breakfast worth an article?
The 9/11 Commission report fails to mention reports of a Pakistani connection, not even to explain them away, but at least it offers this gem:
"To date, the U.S. government has not been able to determine the origin of the money used for the 9/11 attacks. Ultimately the question is of little practical significance... Similarly, we have seen no evidence that any foreign government - or foreign government official - supplied any funding." (p. 172)
So who financed the attacks is of little significance. Now we know the first rule of the Kean Commission: Don't follow the money!
Does the Washington Post agree?
The Kean Commission "discussed the theories," Zelikow tells the Post. "When we wrote the report, we were also careful not to answer all the theories. It's like playing Whack-A-Mole. You're never going to whack them all."
Now we know the second rule of the Kean Commission: Don't test theories. Just whack them, if you can, and otherwise do your best to ignore them.
We shall conclude with two more of the moles that Zelikow and the Commission refused to whack. Is the Washington Post willing to take a swing?
First: The owner of World Trade Center Building 7, Larry Silverstein, interviewed for a PBS documentary of 2002 ("America Rebuilds"), seems to reveal that this building's little-reported collapse on the afternoon of Sept. 11, 2001 was the result of a decision to intentionally demolish the building. Isn't this worthy of a follow-up call to Mr. Silverstein's offices? Is it possible to wire a 47-story skyscraper for a controlled demolition within a few hours? If not, what does this imply?
Second: The 9/11 Commission report revised the older NORAD and FAA timelines of air defense response on Sept. 11. For more than two years, these two agencies presented a series of conflicting chronologies to explain the failure of standard operating procedure, under which the errant flights of Sept. 11 should have been intercepted by jet fighters as a routine matter of reconnaissance.
Last June, the Kean Commission issued a staff statement that radically contradicted all accounts upheld until then by either NORAD or FAA, establishing an entirely new timeline. This is now Chapter 1 of the 9/11 Commission report.
It exonerates everyone of blame for the failures of 9/11, in keeping with the dictum of Kean's vice-chairman, Lee Hamilton: "Weíre not interested in trying to assess blame, we do not consider that part of the commissionís responsibility."
Given the complexity of this issue, it may be asking too much of the Washington Post to figure out if the new timeline holds water - it most assuredly does not. (8) But if the Commission's version is right, then officials at NORAD and the FAA were issuing false accounts for more than two years. Isn't that, at least, an issue?
Are none of our taxpayer-financed public officials going to be held accountable for what they say and do? Can the official story of 9/11 be changed every few months without consequences?
Sen. Mark Dayton of Minnesota doesn't think so. At hearings on the 9/11 Commission report, Dayton said NORAD officials "lied to the American people, they lied to Congress and they lied to your 9/11 commission to create a false impression of competence, communication and protection of the American people." (9)
This, at least, made the Minneapolis Tribune. But where is the follow-up? Isn't the reality that either NORAD or the 9/11 Commission (or both) must be lying about what happened on Sept. 11 worthy of the newspaper that was once synonymous with investigative reporting?
(1) Re: "Conspiracy Theories Flourish on the Internet," Carol Morello, Washington Post, Oct. 7, 2004
(2) "Statement of the Family Steering Committee for The 9/11 Independent Commission," March 20, 2004. See http://www.911independentcommission.org/mar202004.html
(3) On the history of the Commission and its conflicts of interest, see my earlier article "The Rice/Zelikow Connection," May 15, 2004 at http://www.911truth.org/article.php?story=20040527201054793
(4) "Poll: 50% of NYC Says U.S. Govt Knew," press release. See http://www.911truth.org/article.php?story=20040830120349841
(5) "Putting on our tin-foil thiking cap," William Bunch, http://www.pnionline.com/dnblog/extra/archives/001002.html
(6) As portals to the kingdom of 9/11 research and truth movement sites, the author recommends 911Truth.org, the New York activist site ny911truth.org, and his own collection at http://summeroftruth.org
(7) Timeline of reports on allegations that ISI Director Mahmood Ahmed ordered a $100,000 wire transfer to Mohamed Atta in the weeks prior to Sept. 11. http://www.cooperativeresearch.org/essay.jsp?article=mahmoodahmed
(8) "Analyzing the 9/11 Report, Chapter 1" by Michael Kane http://www.williambowles.info/911/911_analysis_1.html.
For a series of links that makes clear how the official timelines of air defense response have changed over time, see "The Emperor's New Timelines" at http://summeroftruth.org/#timelines
An article is in the works.
(9) "Senator Dayton: NORAD lied about 9/11," following up on Minneapolis Star-Tribune, July 31, 2004 http://www.911truth.org/article.php?story=20040731213239607