Sunday, 11 September 2011

9/11 and its great transformations





On September 11th, 2001, on what was a perfect morning-right up until the very moment a Boeing 767-223-ER slammed into the North Tower of the World Trade Centre, I stood on the corner of Delancey and Ridge Streets in downtown Manhattan.

I was working on an election campaign - it was primary day in New York - and little did I realise that politics, culture and our entire trajectory as a nation was about to change forever. I had been alerted to the first crash by a friend calling my cell phone, but it was as I was staring at the gaping hole in this New York City landmark, in horror, shock set in as I saw a second plane approaching.

I can see it all in slow motion these days - the airplane seemed to glide in almost effortlessly, and as I and others around stood unable to move, a loud explosion echoed through the canyons of lower Manhattan as a fireball erupted that almost seemed to reach where I was standing. It was, for lack of a better term, surreal.

For me, the journey forward from that day would be a difficult one. I was born and raised in Manhattan and was young enough that I couldn’t remember the city without those two awe-inspiring landmarks. It is what I would use to figure out where I was going whenever I came up from the subway system.

I had to process the knowledge that I had been in the North Tower only 16 hours before the attack. Because I had been delivering campaign literature to a volunteer who lived in the neighbourhood and thought to myself, "I haven’t been in the Twin Towers for a while".

What sticks with me most, though, is that after seeing the second plane hit, a lanky, salt-and-pepper-bearded man standing next to me who was holding his bike at his side, saying, "this is terrible; we’re going to be at war tomorrow".

He wasn’t far off the mark. He only underestimated the wars.

The result for me was that for a few years after the tragedy, any images or even talking about 9/11 gave me a deep feeling of dread in the pit of stomach. The result for my country, however, was worse. And we’re still living with it every day.

Perhaps that is why it is fitting that this past week former Vice President Dick Cheney has been on his media tour to promote his memoir, openly bragging about the use of torture, warrantless wiretapping and other illegal actions that he approved while in office.

It is therefore interesting that in interviews, one-time friends of the former VP turned antagonists, such as President George H W Bush’s National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft and Secretary of State Colin Powell’s Chief of Staff Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, have said that they don’t recognise Dick Cheney anymore.

Because Cheney, as much or more than anyone else in the post-9/11 period, used the loopholes in our system, the lack of nerve in Washington and fear created by that day to transform this nation slowly into something we would not have recognised as recently as the late 90s or dawn of the 2000s.

We became a harder people. Less forgiving. More on edge. No longer our brother’s keeper. More fanciful.

Along with President Bush, Cheney made it mundane to operate prisons overseas, beyond the reach of due process. House GOP Majority Leader Eric Cantor thought nothing of demanding budget cuts to offset the costs of helping those whose lives were destroyed by Hurricane Irene. The response of Texas Governor Rick Perry to a drought in his state is to pray for it to go away.

Meanwhile, President Obama, whose campaign of hope and change was exactly the antidote to the cultural angst that became the norm in post-9/11 America, has not only continued many of the Bush Administration’s civil liberties violations. He has actually added a few gems of his own that even Bush didn’t try, such as condoning the assassinations of American citizens without due process.

Like many Americans, I find myself having followed a long and winding road over the last decade, ending up in places I truly never expected, only in recent years coming to terms with what I saw that day. Of course, for many people, the economic crash was like a second attack.

But it is where my country has gone over this past decade that is truly unfathomable. It’s important to remember as the 10-year anniversary approaches that we may have lost our way - but buried beneath many wrong turns is a national character that has been redeemed in the past.

In the beginning of the movie Gladiator, Marcus Aurelius, before being assassinated by his son in a coup, says to the man he wishes were his son, General Maximus, "There was once a dream that was Rome. You could only whisper it. Anything more than a whisper and it would vanish ... it was so fragile."

Such is the nature of American democracy - really, any democracy. To truly honour the sacrifices made that terrible day by almost 3,000 people living in America, it is a dream we need to get back.

Cliff Schecter is the President of Libertas, LLC, a progressive public relations firm, the author of the 2008 bestseller The Real McCain, and a regular contributor to The Huffington Post.

'WTC-7 impossible to have fallen by fire'




An unresolved mystery of 9/11 is the collapse of the World Trade Center building 7, hours after the collapse of WTC-1 and WTC-2, as it was never hit by a plane, Press TV's US Desk reports.


Scientists, architects and engineers all over the world have questioned the official version of how WTC-7 fell down, adding that these buildings are built to fight even the formidable forces of nature. 

Based on claims by the US government, the 47-story modern steel-framed WTC-7 was brought down by office fires. 

Shyam Sunder, the lead investigator at National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) -- a state-run organization -- had said, “World Center 7 collapsed because of fire fueled by office furnishings.” 

However, experts say that a building with a steel-frame never collapses after a few hours of fire. 

“Fires have never before caused the collapse of any skyscraper. Even though there are numerous examples of much hotter, larger, and longer-lasting fires in these buildings,” says architect Richard Gage, the founder of AIA Architects. 

Metallurgical engineer Kathy McGrade says, “You cannot generate enough heat to melt steel.” 

According to witnesses, massive explosions were heard before WTC-7 collapsed. 

NIST's official scenario resulting in the total collapse of the building is, as experts say, absolutely impossible. 

All the columns needed to be severed at the same time in order for that structure to fall the way it did, based on what structural engineer Michael Donly says. 

Although NIST rejected the possibility of any sort of controlled demolition, it refused to test the explosive residues, which could have documented the evidence of melted steel. 

“The destruction of evidence was a criminal act itself. It was already being carted away and destroyed when the investigators got there,” says structural engineer Ronald Brookman. 

Families of the victims demand that the cause of the collapse be investigated carefully because millions of people around the world, and not just scientists and engineers, want these unanswered questions answered. 

JM/MGH

Quick Facts: 40 reasons to doubt the official 9/11 account

Photo by James Nachtwey

The 911Truth.org has listed 40 reasons to doubt the official story of September 11th, 2001.

THE DAY ITSELF - EVIDENCE OF COMPLICITY

1] AWOL Chain of Command

a. It is well documented that the officials topping the chain of command for response to a domestic attack - George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Myers, Montague Winfield - all found reason to do something else during the actual attacks, other than assuming their duties as decision-makers.

b. Who was actually in charge? Dick Cheney, Richard Clarke, Norman Mineta and the 9/11 Commission directly conflict in their accounts of top-level response to the unfolding events, such that several (or all) of them must be lying.

2] Air Defense Failures

a. The U.S. air defense system failed to follow standard procedures for responding to diverted passenger flights.

b. Timelines: The various responsible agencies - NORAD, FAA, Pentagon, USAF, as well as the 9/11 Commission - gave radically different explanations for the failure (in some cases upheld for years), such that several officials must have lied; but none were held accountable.

c. Was there an air defense stand-down

3] Pentagon Strike

How was it possible the Pentagon was hit 1 hour and 20 minutes after the attacks began? Why was there no response from Andrews Air Force Base, just 10 miles away and home to Air National Guard units charged with defending the skies above the nation's capital? How did Hani Hanjour, a man who failed as a Cessna pilot on his first flight in a Boeing, execute a difficult aerobatic maneuver to strike the Pentagon? Why did the attack strike the just-renovated side, which was largely empty and opposite from the high command?

4] War games

a. U.S. military and other authorities planned or actually rehearsed a defensive response to all elements of the 9/11 scenario during the year prior to the attack - including multiple hijackings, suicide crash bombings, and a strike on the Pentagon.

b. The multiple military war games planned long in advance and held on the morning of September 11th included scenarios of a domestic air crisis, a plane crashing into a government building, and a large-scale emergency in New York. If this was only an incredible series of coincidences, why did the official investigations avoid the issue? There is evidence that the war games created confusion as to whether the unfolding events were "real world or exercise." Did war games serve as the cover for air defense sabotage, and/or the execution of an "inside job"?

5] Flight 93

Did the Shanksville crash occur at 10:06 (according to a seismic report) or 10:03 (according to the 9/11 Commission)? Does the Commission wish to hide what happened in the last three minutes of the flight, and if so, why? Was Flight 93 shot down, as indicated by the scattering of debris over a trail of several miles?

THE DAY - POSSIBLE SMOKING GUNS

6] Did cell phones work at 30,000 feet in 2001? How many hijackings were attempted? How many flights were diverted?

7] Demolition Hypothesis

What caused the collapse of a third skyscraper, WTC 7, which was not hit by a plane? Were the TwinTowers and WTC 7 brought down by explosives? (See "The Case for Demolitions," the websites wtc7.net and 911research.wtc7.net, and the influential article by physicist Steven Jones. See also items no. 16 and 24, below).

FOREKNOWLEDGE & THE ALLEGED HIJACKERS

8] What did officials know? How did they know it?

a. Multiple allied foreign agencies informed the U.S. government of a coming attack in detail, including the manner and likely targets of the attack, the name of the operation (the "Big Wedding"), and the names of certain men later identified as being among the perpetrators.

b. Various individuals came into possession of specific advance knowledge, and some of them tried to warn the U.S. prior to September 11th.

c. Certain prominent persons received warnings not to fly on the week or on the day of September 11th.

9] Able Danger, Plus - Surveillance of Alleged Hijackers

a. The men identified as the 9/11 ringleaders were under surveillance for years beforehand, on the suspicion they were terrorists, by a variety of U.S. and allied authorities - including the CIA, the U.S.military's "Able Danger" program, the German authorities, Israeli intelligence and others.

b. Two of the alleged ringleaders who were known to be under surveillance by the CIA also lived with an FBI asset in San Diego, but this is supposed to be yet another coincidence.

10] Obstruction of FBI Investigations prior to 9/11

A group of FBI officials in New York systematically suppressed field investigations of potential terrorists that might have uncovered the alleged hijackers - as the Moussaoui case once again showed. The stories of Sibel Edmonds, Robert Wright, Coleen Rowley and Harry Samit, the "Phoenix Memo," David Schippers, the 199i orders restricting investigations, the Bush administration's order to back off the Bin Laden family, the reaction to the "Bojinka" plot, and John O'Neil do not, when considered in sum, indicate mere incompetence, but high-level corruption and protection of criminal networks, including the network of the alleged 9/11 conspirators. (Nearly all of these examples were omitted from or relegated to fleeting footnotes in The 9/11 Commission Report).

11] Insider Trading

a. Unknown speculators allegedly used foreknowledge of the Sept. 11th events to profiteer on many markets internationally - including but not limited to "put options" placed to short-sell the two airlines, WTC tenants, and WTC re-insurance companies in Chicago and London.

b. In addition, suspicious monetary transactions worth hundreds of millions were conducted through offices at the Twin Towers during the actual attacks.

c. Initial reports on these trades were suppressed and forgotten, and only years later did the 9/11 Commission and SEC provide a partial, but untenable explanation for only a small number of transactions (covering only the airline put options through the Chicago Board of Exchange).

12] Who were the perpetrators?

a. Much of the evidence establishing who did the crime is dubious and miraculous: bags full of incriminating material that happened to miss the flight or were left in a van; the "magic passport" of an alleged hijacker, found at Ground Zero; documents found at motels where the alleged perpetrators had stayed days and weeks before 9/11.

b. The identities of the alleged hijackers remain unresolved, there are contradictions in official accounts of their actions and travels, and there is evidence several of them had "doubles," all of which is omitted from official investigations.

c. What happened to initial claims by the government that 50 people involved in the attacks had been identified, including the 19 alleged hijackers, with 10 still at large (suggesting that 20 had been apprehended)?

THE 9/11 COVER-UP, 2001-2006

13] Who Is Osama Bin Laden?

a. Who judges which of the many conflicting and dubious statements and videos attributed to Osama Bin Laden are genuine, and which are fake? The most important Osama Bin Laden video (Nov. 2001), in which he supposedly confesses to masterminding 9/11appears to be a fake. In any event, the State Department's translation of it is fraudulent.

b. Did Osama Bin Laden visit Dubai and meet a CIA agent in July 2001 (Le Figaro)? Was he receiving dialysis in a Pakistani military hospital on the night of September 10, 2001 (CBS)?

c. Whether by Bush or Clinton: Why is Osama always allowed to escape?

d. The terror network associated with Osama, known as the "base" (al-Qaeda), originated in the CIA-sponsored 1980s anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan. When did this network stop serving as an asset to covert operations by U.S. intelligence and allied agencies? What were its operatives doing in Kosovo,Bosnia and Chechnya in the years prior to 9/11?

14] All the Signs of a Systematic 9/11 Cover-up

a. Airplane black boxes were found at Ground Zero, according to two first responders and an unnamed NTSB official, but they "disappeared" and their existence is denied in The 9/11 Commission Report.

b. U.S. officials consistently suppressed and destroyed evidence (like the tapes recorded by air traffic controllers who handled the New York flights).

c. Whistleblowers (like Sibel Edmonds and Anthony Shaffer) were intimidated, gagged and sanctioned, sending a clear signal to others who might be thinking about speaking out.
                                    
d. Officials who "failed" (like Myers and Eberhard, as well as Frasca, Maltbie and Bowman of the FBI) were given promotions.

15] Poisoning New York

The White House deliberately pressured the EPA into giving false public assurances that the toxic air at Ground Zero was safe to breathe. This knowingly contributed to an as-yet unknown number of health cases and fatalities, and demonstrates that the administration does consider the lives of American citizens to be expendable on behalf of certain interests.

16] Disposing of the Crime Scene

The rapid and illegal scrapping of the WTC ruins at Ground Zero disposed of almost all of the structural steel indispensable to any investigation of the collapse mechanics. (See also item no. 23, below).

17] Anthrax

Mailings of weapons-grade anthrax - which caused a practical suspension of the 9/11 investigations - were traced back to U.S. military stock. Soon after the attacks began in October 2001, the FBI approved the destruction of the original samples of the Ames strain, disposing of perhaps the most important evidence in identifying the source of the pathogens used in the mailings. Were the anthrax attacks timed to coincide with the Afghanistan invasion? Why were the letters sent only to media figures and to the leaders of the opposition in the Senate (who had just raised objections to the USA PATRIOT Act)?

18] The Stonewall

a. Colin Powell promised a "white paper" from the State Department to establish the authorship of the attacks by al-Qaeda. This was never forthcoming, and was instead replaced by a paper from Tony Blair, which presented only circumstantial evidence, with very few points actually relating to September 11th.

b. Bush and Cheney pressured the (freshly-anthraxed) leadership of the Congressional opposition into delaying the 9/11 investigation for months. The administration fought against the creation of an independent investigation for more than a year.

c. The White House thereupon attempted to appoint Henry Kissinger as the chief investigator, and acted to underfund and obstruct the 9/11 Commission.

19] A Record of Official Lies

a. "No one could have imagined planes into buildings" - a transparent falsehood upheld repeatedly by Rice, Rumsfeld and Bush.

b. "Iraq was connected to 9/11" - The most "outrageous conspiracy theory" of all, with the most disastrous impact.

20] Pakistani Connection - Congressional Connection

a. The Pakistani intelligence agency ISI, creator of the Taliban and close ally to both the CIA and "al-Qaeda," allegedly wired $100,000 to Mohamed Atta just prior to September 11th, reportedly through the ISI asset Omar Saeed Sheikh (later arrested for the killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who was investigating ISI connections to "al-Qaeda").

b. This was ignored by the congressional 9/11 investigation, although the senator and congressman who ran the probe (Bob Graham and Porter Goss) were meeting with the ISI chief, Mahmud Ahmed, on Capitol Hill on the morning of September 11th.

c. About 25 percent of the report of the Congressional Joint Inquiry was redacted, including long passages regarding how the attack (or the network allegedly behind it) was financed. Graham later said foreign allies were involved in financing the alleged terror network, but that this would only come out in 30 years.

21] Unanswered Questions and the "Final Fraud" of the 9/11 Commission:

a. The September 11th families who fought for and gained an independent investigation (the 9/11 Commission) posed 400-plus questions, which the 9/11 Commission adopted as its roadmap. The vast majority of these questions were completely ignored in the Commission hearings and the final report.

b. The membership and staff of the 9/11 Commission displayed awesome conflicts of interest. The families called for the resignation of Executive Director Philip Zelikow, a Bush administration member and close associate of "star witness" Condoleezza Rice, and were snubbed. Commission member Max Cleland resigned, condemning the entire exercise as a "scam" and "whitewash".

c. The 9/11 Commission Report is notable mainly for its obvious omissions, distortions and outright falsehoods - ignoring anything incompatible with the official story, banishing the issues to footnotes, and even dismissing the still-unresolved question of who financed 9/11 as being "of little practical significance."

22] Crown Witnesses Held at Undisclosed Locations

The alleged masterminds of 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Mohamed (KSM) and Ramzi Binalshibh, are reported to have been captured in 2002 and 2003, although one Pakistani newspaper said KSM was killed in an attempted capture. They have been held at undisclosed locations and their supposed testimonies, as provided in transcript form by the government, form much of the basis for The 9/11 Commission Report (although the Commission's request to see them in person was denied). After holding them for years, why doesn't the government produce these men and put them to trial?

23] Spitzer Redux

a. Eliot Spitzer, attorney general of New York State, snubbed pleas by New York citizens to open 9/11 as a criminal case (Justicefor911.org).

b. Spitzer also refused to allow his employee, former 9/11 Commission staff member Dietrich Snell, to testify to Congress about his (Snell's) role in keeping "Able Danger" entirely out of The 9/11 Commission Report.

24] NIST Omissions

After the destruction of the WTC structural steel, the official Twin Towers collapse investigation was left with almost no forensic evidence, and thus could only provide dubious computer models of ultimately unprovable hypotheses. It failed to even test for the possibility of explosives. (Why not clear this up)?

25] Radio Silence

The 9/11 Commission and NIST both allowed the continuing cover-up of how Motorola's faulty radios, purchased by the Giuliani administration, caused firefighter deaths at the WTC - once again showing the expendability, even of the first responders.

26] The Legal Catch-22

a. Hush Money - Accepting victims' compensation barred September 11th families from pursuing discovery through litigation.

b. Judge Hallerstein - Those who refused compensation to pursue litigation and discovery had their cases consolidated under the same judge (and as a rule were dismissed).

27] Saudi Connections

a. The 9/11 investigations made light of the "Bin Laden Airlift" during the no-fly period, and ignored the long-standing Bush family business ties to the Bin Laden family fortune. (A company in which both families held interests, the Carlyle Group, was holding its annual meeting on September 11th, with George Bush Sr., James Baker, and two brothers of Osama Bin Laden in attendance).

b. The issue of Ptech.

28] Media Blackout of Prominent Doubters

The official story has been questioned and many of the above points were raised by members of the U.S. Congress, retired high-ranking officers of the U.S. military, the three leading third-party candidates for President in the 2004 election, a member of the 9/11 Commission who resigned in protest, a former high-ranking adviser to the George W. Bush administration, former ministers to the German, British and Canadian governments, the commander-in-chief of the Russian air force, 100 luminaries who signedthe "9/11 Truth Statement," and the presidents of Iran and Venezuela. Not all of these people agree fully with each other, but all would normally be considered newsworthy. Why has the corporate-ownedU.S. mass media remained silent about these statementsgranting due coverage only to the comments of actor Charlie Sheen?


GEOPOLITICS, TIMING AND POSSIBLE MOTIVES

29] "The Great Game"

The Afghanistan invasion was ready for Bush's go-ahead on September 9, 2001, with U.S. and UKforces deployments to the region already in place or underway. This followed the failure earlier that year of backdoor diplomacy with the Taliban (including payments of $125 million in U.S. government aid to Afghanistan), in an attempt to secure a unity government for that country as a prerequisite to a Central Asian pipeline deal.

30] The Need for a "New Pearl Harbor"

Principals in U.S. foreign policy under the current Bush administration (including Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle and others) have been instrumental in developing long-running plans for worldwide military hegemony, including an invasion of the Middle East, dating back to the Ford, Reagan and Bush Sr. administrations. They reiterated these plans in the late 1990s as members of the "Project for a New American Century," and stated a clear intent to invade Iraq for the purpose of "regime change." After9/11, they lost no time in their attempt to tie Iraq to the attacks.

31] Perpetual "War on Terror"

9/11 is supposed to provide carte-blanche for an open-ended, global and perpetual "War on Terror," against any enemy, foreign or domestic, that the executive branch chooses to designate, and regardless of whether evidence exists to actually connect these enemies to 9/11.

32] Attacking the Constitution

a. The USA PATRIOT Act was written before 9/11, Homeland Security and the "Shadow Government" were developed long before 9/11, and plans for rounding up dissidents as a means for suppressing civil disturbance have been in the works for decades.

b. 9/11 was used as the pretext to create a new, extra-constitutional executive authority to declare anyone an "enemy combatant" (including American citizens), to detain persons indefinitely without habeas corpus, and to "render" such persons to secret prisons where torture is practiced.

33] Legal Trillions

9/11 triggers a predictable shift of public spending to war, and boosts public and private spending in the "new" New Economy of "Homeland Security," biometrics, universal surveillance, prisons, civil defense, secured enclaves, security, etc.

34] Plundered Trillions?

On September 10, 2001, Donald Rumsfeld announced a "war on waste" after an internal audit found that the Pentagon was "missing" 2.3 trillion dollars in unaccounted assets. On September 11th, this was as good as forgotten.

35] Did 9/11 prevent a stock market crash?

Did anyone benefit from the destruction of the Securities and Exchange Commission offices at WTC 7, and the resultant crippling of hundreds of fraud investigations?

36] Resource Wars

a. What was discussed in the Energy Task Force meetings under Dick Cheney in 2001? Why is the documentation of these meetings still being suppressed?

b. Is Peak Oil a motive for 9/11 as inside job?

37] The "Little Game"

Why was the WTC privatized just before its destruction?

HISTORY

38] "Al-CIA-da"?

The longstanding relationship between U.S. intelligence networks and radical groups including the network surrounding Osama Bin Laden. (See also point 13d). 

39] Historical Precedents for "Synthetic Terror"

a. In the past many states, including the U.S. government, have sponsored attacks on their own people, fabricated the "cause for war," created (and armed) their own enemies of convenience, and sacrificed their own citizens for "reasons of state".

b. Was 9/11 an update of the Pentagon-approved "Project Northwoods" plan for conducting self-inflicted, false-flag terror attacks in the United States, and blaming them on a foreign enemy?

40] Secret Government

a. The record of criminality and sponsorship of coups around the world by the covert networks based within the U.S. intelligence complex.

b. Specifically also: The evidence of crime by Bush administration principals and their associates, from October Surprise to Iran-Contra and the S&L plunder to PNAC, Enron/Halliburton and beyond.

ARA/SM/HJ

Quick Facts: What happened on Sep. 11?

Ever since the moment of the first impact at the World Trade Center, a struggle has raged between two broad, competing ideas of what really happened on September 11th, 2001.

The U.S. administration delivered an almost immediate verdict, which can be described as follows: Dispatched by Osama Bin Ladin's network and motivated by hatred and religious fanaticism, 19 suicide bombers hijacked four planes, crashed three of them into their targets, and caused the collapse of the Twin Towers as a consequence of the resulting damage and fires. The 19 men did not necessarily require any accomplices within the United States; and no one in the U.S. government could have possibly anticipated or prevented the attacks.

Even as the administration exploited this Official Story (or "Official Conspiracy Theory") as the pretext to launch new wars long in the making, independent researchers began to accumulate a vast body of evidence suggesting a different narrative for 9/11: that of the False Flag Operation.

The 9/11 events and the anomalies in the official story raised Unanswered Questions about:

- The unprecedented failure of the U.S. air defense system on the morning of the attacks;

- The AWOL military chain of command during the actual attacks, including the inexplicable behavior of the presidential entourage;

- The seeming impossibility of official claims with regard to Flight 77;

- The evidence that Flight 93 was shot down;

- Contradictions and dubious evidence in the official claims about the alleged hijackers and masterminds, and doubts about their real identities;

- Signs that the alleged hijackers enjoyed high-level protection against discovery by honest investigators;

- Evidence that the alleged hijackers were financed by states allied with US intelligence;

- Suspicious and massive international financial trades suggesting foreknowledge of the attacks;

- Widespread signs of official foreknowledge and, in fact, advance preparation for the 9/11 attack scenario;

- The long-running links between Islamist fundamentalist terror cells and US covert operations, dating back to CIA support for the anti-Soviet mujahedeen and Osama Bin Laden himself;

- The demolition-like collapse of the Twin Towers and of a third skyscraper, WTC 7;

- And questions concerning who could have logically expected to derive benefit in the aftermath of a massive attack on the United States. 911truth.org