Burried Truths: The Big Issue in Scotland
Thanks to dazinith


Peter John Meiklem
September 19, 2005

Four years on from the attacks of 9/11, cracks are beginning to appear in the ‘official’ version of events. A growing movement, backed by respected thinkers and political figures, is demanding an independent public enquiry into what really happened.

‘The most unbelievable of all the possible conspiracy theories about 9/11 is the official one about Osama bin Laden and 19 fanatic Muslim hijackers taking the government of the United States completely by surprise and getting ‘lucky’.”Robert M Bowman doesn’t mince his words.

The retired American, like millions of people across the globe, refuses to believe what his government has told him about the terrorist attacks of 9/11. But unlike millions of others, Bowman is a retired US Airforce lieutenant colonel and a former director of the ‘Star Wars’ missile defence system that was designed to ‘safeguard’ his country during the Cold War.

Bowman is not the only one doubting the official version of what happened on September 11, 2001. Senior academics, politicians and writers – in the US and the UK – are taking the debate, up until now conducted mainly on the internet, into the open. Several books on the topic have been recently published and there are more in the pipeline.

The Bush administration says they were taken completely by surprise on the day of the attacks. They claim 19 Al Qaeda terrorists, working independently of any governmental intelligence service, hijacked four passenger jets, flying two of them into the World Trade Centre and one into the Pentagon. They say the fourth plane was forced down over Pennsylvania, on its way to Washington, after its passengers stormed the cockpit. However, this story is beginning to crack under the weight of the unanswered questions surrounding it.

The main figures in the debate say this narrative – as corroborated by the official 9/11 commission in July 2004 – is “impossible”. Several high profile whistleblowers and hundreds of reports gleaned from ‘mainstream’ media sources support them. Some writers are content to present the problems with the account, others to suggest the complicity of the American government. Some even claim 9/11 was an “inside job”.

Collectively, they are calling for independent investigation into what really happened. George W. Bush has been keen to dismiss them as conspiracy theorists but the label doesn’t fit with the stature of the people involved.

Dr David Ray Griffin is a senior American theologian who has published more than 25 books on a variety of topics. In his texts on 9/11, The New Pearl Harbour and The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions, he catalogues the inconsistencies and “outright lies” contained in the official account. He believes the Bush administration fabricated the attacks to provide a context for pursuing global ambitions that would have been impossible otherwise.

In the foreword to Griffin’s book, ex-New Labour Environment Minister Michael Meacher writes, “Never in modern history has an event of such cataclysmic significance been shrouded in such mystery. So many of the key facts remain unexplained on any plausible basis, and so many of the key actors have put forward contradictory accounts, only to be forced to retract or cover-up later.”

Questions, unspeakable during the ‘patriotic’ backlash after the atrocities, are being increasingly put to those in power. Yet nobody in officialdom seems to be listening. It sounds like the archetypal conspiracy theory and would be easy to ignore if it wasn’t for the avalanche of details and reports – meticulously footnoted and researched – in a number of books by respected figures.

Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed, director of British think-tank the Institute for Policy Research and Development, has written furiously against the “fundamentally wrong” official narrative in his book The War On Truth. He provides evidence to show the ways that western governments are currently manipulating Al Qaeda “for strategic aims” in different parts of the world, thus compromising any notion of the war on terror. According to Ahmed, this casts serious doubt on the official explanation of 9/11.
David Shayler, the former spy who revealed a British intelligence service plot to assassinate Colonel Gaddafi by funding a terrorist organisation with strong links to Al Qaeda, even though Gaddafi was no longer funding terrorism, echoes Ahmed’s concerns. Basing his opinion on personal experience he says those who continue to believe in the official 9/11 story “need their heads examined”.

“Increasingly like a fairytale,” is how Ian Henshall, author of 9/11 Revealed: Challenging the Facts Behind the War on Terror describes Bush’s version of events. In 2004 Zogby – a respected US pollster – revealed that almost half of all New York citizens believed the Bush administration knew in advance that attacks were planned on or around 9/11 and that they consciously failed to act.

Ahmed says the Bush administration had detailed intelligence about Islamic hijackers who planned to fly planes into ‘symbols of American culture’ well before the atrocities actually took place.

After 9/11, Condoleezza Rice said the attacks were so preposterous that they couldn’t have been guarded against. Her remarks were widely discredited later but even now Ahmed says people don’t fully understand the extent to which the Pentagon understood the terrorist threat facing them.

In 1993, they commissioned a report on the possibilities of planes being used as weapons. It was distributed to all the agencies in the domestic intelligence community. Ahmed also says that an FBI investigation into one of the eventual hijackers – who it was revealed later had details of the 9/11 plot on his laptop – was blocked by a senior officer in the FBI who was later promoted.

Henshall, meanwhile, records the Newsweek report that claimed senior Pentagon officials cancelled flights they had scheduled for the morning of 9/11. Griffin gives details of the “incompetent” air authorities and defence forces who – contrary to normal procedures – failed to scramble fighter jets to intercept the hijacked planes though they had strayed hundreds of miles off their designated flight paths.

Of course, all of this is circumstantial evidence, there is no smoking gun, and it could be swept away by a proper, rigorous investigation. But that investigation hasn’t taken place. The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States – the 9/11 Commission which reported in July last year – has been branded a “white wash”
by experts.

Indeed, Senator Max Cleland resigned from the commission on those grounds. Ahmed says the information contained in the footnotes of the body’s final report is not publicly available so it cannot be checked. The testimony of whistleblowers such as FBI translator Sibel Edmonds – evidence that didn’t reflect the official story – was simply omitted. Ahmed, commenting on the business links and personal connections of those sitting on the commission, thinks it was “set up to investigate itself.”

“The official explanation is fundamentally wrong in probably every single element of it,” he argues. “We need to establish factually what did not happen, and then examine what the possibilities are. There are absolutely no doubts in my mind that, even if you stick to two simple theories – the intelligence failure and the air defence failure – you can see the holes in the official account,” he adds.

“They [The Bush administration] had very precise advanced warnings yet there were deliberate decisions made, especially in Washington, which obstructed the intelligence community from acting on this information and sharing it. The American government failed their people and are now riding that failure to consolidate their power.”

Dr Griffin agrees: “The 9/11 commission went to extreme lengths to ignore well known facts and distort others in order to protect the official story. Some of the lies are so obvious and egregious that you wonder why they would tell them except to cover up a huge crime.”

Griffin says he struggled to find a publisher for his writings on 9/11 and lambasts the mainstream media for being too cowardly to ask difficult questions. He says he has been branded a conspiracy theorist. Henshall says many people refuse to believe in the ‘holes’ in the 9/11 account because of a misplaced trust in the media to investigate properly.
To date, Griffin adds, no mainstream media outlets in the US have reviewed his book. “‘Conspiracy theorist’ is a term that has been used as a thought stopper. If you say you don’t believe in conspiracy theorists then that’s ridiculous.”

Griffin points out the world is full of very real and obvious conspiracies that we accept without thinking, “from two guys conspiring to rob a bank, to employees of corporations conspiring to cheat people out of millions of dollars.” He says using that argument to discount problems with 9/11 is totally illegitimate. “The official story is conspiracy theory. The story is that 19 Arab Muslims hijacked airplanes and out-smarted the most sophisticated military defence system in history. So when Bush says beware of ‘ridiculous conspiracy theories’ he means every outrageous theory except his own. But that’s why they’ve got away with it because there’s no one there to call them on it.”

David Shayler says the speed at which the official story entered the media made him initially suspicious. American authorities, despite being unable to find the flight recorders from the planes that hit the towers, claim they found one of the hijacker’s passports lying in the rubble of Ground Zero. “Within 24 hours the FBI identified that there were 19 hijackers involved. We don’t know how they did that. I’m very, very suspicious that they could,” Shayler says. “I know from past terrorist situations that within the first 24 hours it is chaos. There is no time to do proper investigating – the investigations take much longer. It seems almost spurious that the FBI can suddenly put out this list. If you believe that you’d have to be pretty gullible.”

Those who question the official story say that without 9/11 the Bush administration would have been unable to invade Afghanistan and the pretext for the war in Iraq would have been non-existent. The Patriot Act – which curbed American civil liberties – would never have been pushed unquestioningly through Congress. Without 9/11 American foreign policy, they argue the world would be unrecognisable from what it is today.
The ‘war on terror’ – for 9/11 sceptics a ‘war without end’ that justifies American imperial ambitions, or lust for oil – in whatever country they desire would have been impossible.

Almost 3,000 people were killed in the September 11 attacks and many people refuse to believe that any western government would sacrifice that many lives to pursue other ends. However, in answer to those criticisms, Griffin points out that 56,000 Americans died in Vietnam and the number of troops killed in Iraq is steadily climbing towards the 2,000 mark with no disengagement in sight. Shayler also believes, based on his secret service experience, that western governments are more than capable of “playing
fast and loose with people’s lives.”

The theories surrounding what happened on 9/11 are not persuasive to everyone. Robin Ramsay, the editor of Lobster – a British journal dedicated to parapolitics and conspiracy theories – thinks the idea that the Americans organised 9/11 is “absurd”.

“Not because I don’t think the Americans are evil enough to do it, I just don’t think that something that sophisticated, which required that much inter-agency co-operation, could be done. The one thing that you can say for certain about the American intelligence bureaucracies is that they don’t talk to each other; they detest each other.

If the Americans were to hijack four planes and bomb New York then they’d have to have some kind of intelligence co-operation and that just wouldn’t happen.” Dr Jerry Goodenough, an expert in conspiracy theories based at East Anglia University, is equally unconvinced by the evidence. He thinks the desire to blame Bush for 9/11 is a symptom of political discontent.
“It’s one thing to say that George Bush is a bad president, corrupt and too concerned with the interests of big business, and another thing to say that he would casually organise the mass murder of several thousand New Yorkers.

“There’s a sort of weak logic here that because George Bush is a bad person, that when something bad happens, then he must have done it. This underestimates the complexity of the world.

In 2000 the neo-conservative think tank the Project For the New American Century published a paper called Rebuilding America’s Defences. The paper – signed by key Bush administration figures – argued for a greater American military presence around the world. It said: “the process of [military] transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalysing event like
a new Pearl Harbour.”

Whatever version of events is accepted – whether intentional or not – the fact remains that 9/11 was exactly the event described in the document. In light of this, and the huge amount of circumstantial evidence collected by Ahmed, Henshall and Griffin, you would think a full and rigorous public enquiry would be a matter of course. It hasn’t happened.

The events of 9/11 are still, in the words of Meacher, “shrouded in mystery”. The relatives of those who died don’t know what really happened; neither do the millions of people directly affected by the Bush’s wars in the Middle East. According to Ahmed that alone is “criminal negligence”.

Shayler puts it even more strongly: “This is the most important issue we face because 9/11 has destabilised the whole world. Getting to the truth of 9/11 is something we should all share: everyone should join in calls for a proper inquiry. “I’m not saying that we should all share the theories about what happened. I’m saying that if you’re an intelligent person, you’ll want answers to those questions that must be asked, and that is a perfectly rational position of any intelligent human being within a democracy. And it could change the world for the better if they [the Bush administration] are in a difficult position and they can’t answer these questions. We will see that foreign policy is being predicated on a lie.”

Reprinted from The Big Issue in Scotland