Once upon a time a disgruntled millionaire troglodyte plotted with his ideological cohorts in his Afghan mountain fastness to teach the superpower a lesson. As a result, 19 volunteers, including several trainee pilots, were dispatched to the U.S. to engender a cataclysmic event that would shake America to its core. The rest is history, or would be if we knew what really happened on September 11, 2001. There are currently two main versions: the official story, which has more holes than Swiss cheese and that of the so-called “conspiracy theorists, which relies on speculation rather than proof. Americans are divided on the issue. A poll conducted by the Scripps Survey Research Center found more than a third of all Americans believe the government either took part in the September 11 attacks or allowed them to happen. The truth may never be revealed in our lifetime, as U.S. President George W. Bush has sealed his presidential records for 100 years. We may never know why fingers were pointed at Osama bin Laden just hours after the implosion of the World Trade Center’s twin towers. We may never know why the North American Aerospace Defense Command (Norad) failed to scramble fighter jets when four passenger jets flew off course. We may never know why steel from those towers was hurriedly shipped off to China before it could come under scientific scrutiny, how passengers on those doomed planes were technically able to make cell calls to loved ones from a height of 30,000 feet or why the names of the 19 hijackers failed to show up on passenger manifests. The number of discrepancies could fill a book. Indeed, they are littered over the pages of a whopping 3,000 books, including The New Pearl Harbor by David R. Griffin and Webster Tarpley’s 9-11 Synthetic Terror: Made in the USA. Both Griffin and Tarpley are members of a non-partisan organization called Scholars for 9-11 Truth, which officially entered the mainstream when its hard hitting symposium was aired by C-Span last June. At the same time one of the most watched movies on the Internet is Loose Change, a documentary written and directed by Dylan Avery, which purports to show a “direct connection between the attacks of September 11, 2001 and the United States government. Dedicated to “the lives we lost on September 11 the documentary begins by quoting Condoleezza Rice, then National Security Advisor, as saying shortly after 9-11: I don’t think anyone could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center. The film proceeds to contradict Rice’s statement, pointing out that the August 1997 cover of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s response to terrorism depicts the World Trade Center towers “in the crosshairs. Then in 1999, Norad began conducting exercises in which hijacked planes fly into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. It also addresses those who believe the United States government simply isn’t capable of such evil machinations by highlighting ‘Operation Northwoods.’ This was a plan encapsulated in a 1962 Department of Defense document titled “Justification for U.S. Military Intervention in Cuba . Operation Northwoods called for various false flag operations, including sabotage of U.S. ships, bombing America’s Guantanamo base, staging the funerals of mock victims, launching a terror campaign in Miami and Washington and destroying a U.S. aircraft over Cuban waters. The passengers were to be federal agents posing as college students on vacation. The narrator explains how this would be done. A plane would be painted and numbered so as to duplicate an existing civil aircraft. The duplicate aircraft would then be substituted for the real plane and loaded with passengers. The real plane having been converted into a drone would rendezvous with the duplicate at an airbase south of Florida. There, the passengers (Federal agents) would be evacuated from the duplicate plane while the original, now a drone, would pick up the scheduled flight plan. Once over Cuban waters it would transmit a May Day signal before being blown up. In the event, the plan was rejected by President John F. Kennedy and only came to light in 1997 when it was declassified by the Kennedy Assassination Review Board. While it’s uncontestable that Operation Northwoods was a serious proposal, the truth about 9-11 is still murky. But here’s what we do know. In 1997, a think tank called The Project for a New American Century (PNAC) was established by several members of the current administration, including Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Elliott Abrams, John Bolton and others, formerly deemed “the crazies by the President’s father George H.W. Bush. Its aims included U.S. domination of the Middle East and the emergence of America as the world’s only superpower. In 2000, PNAC published a paper titled “Rebuilding America’s Defenses that advocated U.S.control over the world’s skies, seas and space and the waging of simultaneous wars. On page 52 of that document was this prophetic statement. “The process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor. Coincidentally, a year later, the 19 Bin Laden emissaries obliged. We also know that without that terrible catastrophe and the ensuing “War on Terror it is doubtful whether the U.S. could have invaded Afghanistan and Iraq. Moreover, it’s unlikely that Russia would have given the U.S. the green light to establish bases throughout the Caspian or that U.S. troops would have been welcomed into the Gulf in such large numbers. Just days after 9-11 George W. Bush told the world “you are either with the terrorists or with the U.S. Most countries swiftly hopped on board the “War on Terror bandwagon including nuclear Pakistan that was formerly an ally of the Taliban. Thus the only “Islamic bomb was effectively neutralized. Soon afterwards, the President announced that Iraq, Iran and North Korea formed an “Axis of Evil and proceeded to ignore approaches by North Korea and Iran for direct talks. But even the best laid plans of mice and men go awry and that of the Project for a New American Century, which for a while looked as though it might work, is no exception. Today, Iraq is on fire and according to a recent Pentagon report is on the verge of civil war. Voices calling for the country to be broken up into three states are becoming louder. Tehran’s growing influence within Iraq has been acknowledged by Britain’s Chatham House, which recently issued a report saying America’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have succeeded in eliminating Iran’s enemies and bolstering its power throughout the Middle East. As for North Korea, it has stopped negotiating with America’s intermediaries and continues enriching uranium to produce nuclear bombs. Afghanistan is hardly a success story either. Indeed, the Taliban has regrouped to the extent that NATO is urgently calling for additional troops, and bombs are once again going off in Kabul, until recently considered a secure part of the country. Even more worrying for U.S. ambitions are new strategic allegiances that have been formed between China, Russia, Iran, Syria and Venezuela to counter the emerging U.S. global hegemony. Returning to the man said to have orchestrated 9-11 Osama bin Laden despite George Bush’s promise to smoke him “out of his cave he is as elusive as the one-eyed Taliban leader Mullah Omar, last seen disappearing into the sunset on the back of a motorbike. Nevertheless, the name Osama bin Laden is once again on George Bush’s lips. Dismissed as irrelevant for years, Osama is being used by the President, whose popularity has dwindled, as a mainstay of his renewed focus on terrorism. This new strategy is thought to be a prelude to upcoming congressional elections. As Simon Tisdall of the Guardian points out in a Sept. 8 report, “the U.S. President’s tactical switch has raised suspicions that Republicans are once again resorting to the politics of fear. Bin Laden’s political
comeback “was sealed by no less than 17 name checks during a Bush speech in Washington on Tuesday, says Tisdall. It seems Bin Laden is more useful as a bogeyman ostensibly hiding out in whateverstan together with his personal audio/video production company than if he were in custody. America’s reaction to the crimes committed on September 11 has resulted in well over 100,000 civilian deaths (a conservative estimate), the erosion of human rights and civil liberties, the dilution of the Geneva Conventions, and the exposure of the UN as an impotent body. It has also led to anti-Islamic bigotry and anti-Western feeling. In the final analysis September 11 will go down not only as the day 3000 innocents lost their lives but also as the day the world changed for the worse – a divided and dangerous world where the only right is might.
Linda S. Heard is a British specialist writer on Mid-East affairs and co-author of a book titled “An Enemy called Apathy. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org