The Myth and the Reality
DAVID RAY GRIFFIN (Authorized
Notes: This lecture was delivered
March 30, 2006, to a sell-out crowd of over 800 people at Grand Lake Theater
in Oakland, California for Progressive Democrats of the East Bay. Over 100
people were unable to enter because the seating capacity had been reached.
Abbreviated versions of it were given in San Francisco for the Democratic
World Federalists on April 2 and the Commonwealth Club on April 3.
MP3 file of lecture as broadcast by KMUD that evening
runtime: 01:07:27 32Kbps
mp3 (15.44MB) Mono
Who is David Ray Griffin?
[More on David
Ray Griffin | 9/11
Although I am a philosopher of religion and theologian, I have spent most of
my time during the past three years on 9/11—studying it, writing about it, and
speaking about it. In this lecture, I will try to make clear why I believe this
issue worthy of so much time and energy. I will do this in terms of the
distinction between myth and reality.
I am here using the term "myth" in two senses. In one sense, a myth
is an idea that, while widely believed, is false, failing to correspond with
In a deeper sense, which is employed by students of religion, a myth serves
as an orienting and mobilizing story for a people, a story that reminds them who
they are and why they do what they do. When a story is called as a myth in this
sense—which we can call Myth with a capital M—the focus is not on the
story's relation to reality but on its function. This orienting and mobilizing
function is possible, moreover, only because Myths with a capital M have
religious overtones. Such a Myth is a Sacred Story.
However, although to note that a story functions as a Myth in the religious
sense is not necessarily to deny its truth, a story cannot function as a Sacred
Myth within a community or nation unless it is believed to be true. In most
cases, moreover, the truth of the Myth is taken on faith. It is not a matter of
debate. If some people have the bad taste to question the truth of the Sacred
Story, the keepers of the faith do not enter into debate with them. Rather, they
ignore them or denounce them as blasphemers.
According to the official story about 9/11, America, because of its goodness,
was attacked by fanatical Arab Muslims who hate our freedoms. This story has
functioned as a Sacred Myth for the United States since that fateful day. And
this function appears to have been carefully orchestrated. The very next day,
President Bush announced his intention to lead "a monumental struggle of
Good versus Evil."1 Then on September 13, he declared that the
following day would be a National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for the Victims
of the Terrorist Attacks. And on that next day, the president himself,
surrounded by Billy Graham, a cardinal, a rabbi, and an imam, delivered a sermon
in the national cathedral, saying:
Our responsibility to history is already clear: to answer these attacks and
rid the world of Evil. War has been waged against us by stealth and deceit and
murder. This nation is peaceful, but fierce when stirred to anger. . . . In
every generation, the world has produced enemies of human freedom. They have
attacked America, because we are freedom's home and defender. And the
commitment of our fathers is now the calling of our time. . . . [W]e ask
almighty God to watch over our nation, and grant us patience and resolve in
all that is to come. . . . And may He always guide our country. God bless
Through this unprecedented event, in which the president of the United States
issued a declaration of war from a cathedral, French author Thierry Meyssan
observed in 2002, "the American government consecrated . . . its version of
events. From then on, any questioning of the official truth would be seen as
That attitude has remained dominant in the public sphere until this day, as
the official account has continued to serve as a Sacred Story. When people raise
questions about this story, they are either ignored, ridiculed as conspiracy
theorists, or—as Charlie Sheen has recently experienced—attacked personally.
When anyone asks what right the administration has to invade and occupy other
countries, to imprison people indefinitely without due process, or even to
ignore various laws, the answer is always the same: "9/11." Those who
believe that US law and international law should be respected are dismissed as
having "a pre-9/11 mind-set."
Given the role the official account of 9/11 has played and continues to play,
the most important question before our country today is whether this account,
besides being a Myth in the religious sense, is also a myth in the pejorative
sense—that is, whether it is simply false.
As a philosopher of religion, I would emphasize that the fact that a story
has served as a Myth in the religious sense does not necessarily mean that it
fails to correspond with reality. Many religious accounts contain at least a
kernel of truth that can be defended in terms of a rational examination of the
In many cases, however, stories that have served as religious Myths cannot
stand up to rational scrutiny. When such a story is stripped of its halo and
treated simply as a theory, rather than an unquestionable dogma, it cannot be
defended as the best theory to account for the relevant facts. The official
account of 9/11 is such a theory. When challenges to it are not treated as
blasphemy, it can easily be seen to be composed of a number of ideas that are
myths in the sense of not corresponding with reality. Using the word
"myth" from now on only in this pejorative sense, I will discuss nine
of the major myths contained in the official story about 9/11. I will thereby
show that the official account of 9/11 cannot be defended, in light of the
relevant evidence, against the main alternative account, according to which 9/11
was an inside job, orchestrated by people within our own government. I will
begin with a few myths that prevent many people from even looking at the
evidence for this alternative account.
Myth Number 1: Our political and military leaders simply would not do such
This idea is widely believed. But it is undermined by much evidence. The
United States, like many other countries, has often used deceit to begin wars—for
example, the Mexican-American war, with its false claim that Mexico had
"shed American blood on the American soil,"4 the
Spanish-American war, with its "Remember the Maine" hoax,5
the war in the Philippines, with its false claim that the Filipinos fired first,6
and the Vietnam war, with its Tonkin Gulf hoax.7 The United States
has also sometimes organized false flag terrorist attacks—killing innocent
civilians, then blaming the attacks on an enemy country or group, often by
planting evidence. We have even done this in allied countries. As Daniele Ganser
has shown in his recent book NATO's Secret Armies, NATO, guided by the
CIA and the Pentagon, arranged many such attacks in Western European countries
during the Cold War. These attacks were successfully blamed on Communists and
other leftists to discredit them in the eyes of the voting public.8
Finally, in case it be thought that US military leaders would not orchestrate
such attacks against US citizens, one needs only to read the plan known as
Operations Northwoods, which the Joint Chiefs of Staff worked up in 1962,
shortly after Fidel Castro had overthrown the pro-American dictator Batista.
This plan contained various "pretexts which would provide justification for
US military intervention in Cuba." American citizens would have been killed
in some of them, such as a "Remember the Maine" incident, in which:
"We could blow up a U.S. ship in Guantánamo Bay and blame Cuba."9
At this point, some people, having seen evidence that US leaders would be
morally capable of orchestrating 9/11, might avoid looking at the evidence by
Myth Number 2: Our political and military leaders would have had no motive
for orchestrating the 9/11 attacks.
This myth was reinforced by The 9/11 Commission Report. While
explaining why al-Qaeda had ample motives for carrying out the attacks, this
report mentions no motives that US leaders might have had. But the alleged
motive of al-Qaeda—that it hated Americans and their freedoms—is dwarfed by
a motive held by many members of the Bush-Cheney administration: the dream of
establishing a global Pax Americana, the first all-inclusive empire in
This dream had been articulated by many neoconservatives, or neocons,
throughout the 1990s, after the disintegration of the Soviet Union made it seem
possible. It was first officially articulated in the Defense Planning Guidance
of 1992, drafted by Paul Wolfowitz on behalf of then Secretary of Defense Dick
Cheney—a document that has been called "a blueprint for permanent
American global hegemony"10 and Cheney's "Plan . . . to
rule the world."11
Achieving this goal would require four things. One of these was getting
control of the world's oil, especially in Central Asia and the Middle East, and
the Bush-Cheney administration came to power with plans already made to attack
Afghanistan and Iraq. A second requirement was a technological transformation of
the military, in which fighting from space would become central. A third
requirement was an enormous increase in military spending, to pay for these new
wars and for weaponizing space. A fourth need was to modify the doctrine of
preemptive attack, so that America would be able to attack other countries even
if they posed no imminent threat.
These four elements would, moreover, require a fifth: an event that would
make the American people ready to accept these imperialistic policies. As
Zbigniew Brzezinski explained in his 1997 book, The Grand Chessboard,
the American people, with their democratic instincts, are reluctant to authorize
the money and human sacrifices necessary for "imperial mobilization,"
and this refusal "limits . . . America's . . . capacity for military
intimidation."12 But this impediment could be overcome if there
were "a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat"13
—just as the American people were willing to enter World War II only after
"the shock effect of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor."15
This same idea was suggested in 2000 in a document entitled Rebuilding
America's Defenses, which was put out by a neocon think tank called the
Project for the New American Century, many members of which—including Cheney,
Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz—became central members of the Bush administration.
This document, referring to the goal of transforming the military, said that
this "process of transformation . . . is likely to be a long one, absent
some catastrophic and catalyzing event—like a new Pearl Harbor."15
When the attacks of 9/11 occurred, they were treated like a new Pearl Harbor.
Several members of the Bush administration spoke of 9/11 as providing
opportunities. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld said that 9/11 created "the
kind of opportunities that World War II offered, to refashion the world."16
It created, in particular, the opportunity to attack Afghanistan and Iraq; to
increase the military budget enormously; to go forward with military
transformation; and to turn the new idea of preemptive warfare into official
doctrine. This doctrinal change was announced in the 2002 version of the National
Security Strategy, which said that America will "act against . . .
emerging threats before they are fully formed."17
So, not only did the Bush administration reap huge benefits from 9/11. These
were benefits that it had desired in advance. The idea that it would have had no
motives for orchestrating 9/11 is a myth. But there is one more myth that keeps
many people from looking at the evidence. This is
Myth Number 3: Such a big operation, involving so many people, could not
have been kept a secret, because someone involved in it would have talked by
This claim is based on a more general myth, which is that is impossible for
secret government operations to be kept secret very long, because someone always
talks. But how could we know this? If some big operations have remained secret
until now, we by definition do not know about them. Moreover, we do know of big
some operations that were kept secret as long as necessary, such as the
Manhattan Project to create the atomic bomb, and the war in Indonesia in 1957,
which the United States government provoked, participated in, and was able to
keep secret from its own people until a book about it appeared in 1995.18
Many more examples could be given.
We can understand, moreover, why those with inside knowledge of 9/11 would
not talk. At least most of them would have been people with the proven ability
to keep secrets. Those who were directly complicit would also be highly
motivated to avoid public disgrace and the gas chamber. Those people who had
knowledge without being complicit could be induced to keep quiet by means of
more or less subtle threats—such as: "Joe, if you go forward with your
plans to talk to the press about this, I don't know who is going to protect your
wife and kids from some nutcase angered by your statement." Still another
fact is that neither the government nor the mainstream press has, to say the
least, shown any signs of wanting anyone to come forward.
I come now to
Myth Number 4: The 9/11 Commission, which has endorsed the official
account, was an independent, impartial commission and hence can be believed.
One needs only to look at the reviews of The
9/11 Commission Report on Amazon.com to see that this assumption is
widely accepted. Perhaps this is partly because in the Preface, the Commission's
chairman and vice chairman tell us that the Commission sought "to be
independent, impartial, thorough, and nonpartisan." But these terms do not
describe the reality. The Commission's lack of impartiality can be partly
explained by the fact that Chairman Thomas Kean, most of the other
commissioners, and at least half of the members of the staff had conflicts of
The most serious problem, however, is that the executive director, Philip
Zelikow, was essentially a member of the Bush-Cheney administration. He had
worked with Condoleezza Rice on the National Security Council in the
administration of the first President Bush. When the Republicans were out of
office during the Clinton administration, Zelikow and Rice wrote a book
together. Rice then, as National Security Advisor for the second President Bush,
had Zelikow help make the transition to the new National Security Council. After
that, Zelikow was appointed to the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory
Board. Zelikow was, therefore, the White House's man inside the 9/11 Commission.
And yet, as executive director, he guided the staff, which did virtually all
the work of the Commission.20 Zelikow was in position, therefore, to
decide which topics would be investigated and which ones not. One disgruntled
member reportedly said at the time, "Zelikow is calling the shots. He's
skewing the investigation and running it his own way."21
Accordingly, insofar as the Commission was supposed to be investigating the
failure of the Bush administration to prevent the attacks, the Commission was no
more independent and impartial than if Dick Cheney had been running it. (The
only difference is that no one got shot.)
Zelikow's ideological and personal closeness to the Bush administration is
shown by one more fact that has until now not been widely known, even within the
9/11 truth movement. I mentioned earlier the Bush administration's National
Security Strategy statement of 2002, in which the new doctrine of
preemptive warfare was articulated. The primary author of this document, reports
James Mann in Rise of the Vulcans, was none other than Philip Zelikow.
According to Mann, after Rice saw a first draft, which had been written by
Richard Haass in the State Department, she, wanting "something
bolder," brought in Zelikow to completely rewrite it.22 The
result was a very bellicose document that used 9/11 to justify the
administration's so-called war on terror. Max Boot described it as a
"quintessentially neo-conservative document."23
We can understand, therefore, why the Commission, under Zelikow's leadership,
would have ignored all evidence that would point to the truth: that 9/11 was a
false flag operation intended to authorize the doctrines and funds needed for a
new level of imperial mobilization.
The suggestion that 9/11 was a false flag operation brings us to:
Myth Number 5: The Bush administration provided proof that the attacks
were carried out by al-Qaeda terrorists under the direction of Osama bin Laden.
One of the main pieces of alleged proof involved the claim that the baggage
of Mohamed Atta, called the ringleader of the hijackers, was discovered at the
Boston airport, from which Flight 11 departed. This baggage, besides containing
Atta's passport and driver's license, also contained various types of
incriminating evidence, such as flight simulator manuals, videotapes about
Boeing airliners, and a letter to other hijackers about preparing for the
mission. But the bags also contained Atta's will. Why would Atta have intended
to take his will on a plane that he planned to fly into the World Trade Center?
There are also many other problems in this story.24 We appear to have
Another element of the official story about the alleged hijackers is that
they were very devout Muslims. The 9/11 Commission Report said that
Atta had become very religious, even "fanatically so."25
The public was thereby led to believe that these men would have had no problem
going on this suicide mission, because they were ready to meet their maker.
Investigative reporter Daniel Hopsicker, however, discovered that Atta loved
cocaine, alcohol, gambling, pork, and lap dances.26 Several of the
other alleged hijackers, the Wall Street Journal reported, had similar
tastes.27 The Commission pretends, however, that none of this
information was available. While admitting that Atta met other members of
al-Qaeda in Las Vegas shortly before 9/11, it says that it saw "no credible
evidence explaining why, on this occasion and others, the operatives flew to or
met in Las Vegas."28
Another problem in the official account is that, although we are told that
four or five of the alleged hijackers were on each of the four flights, no proof
of this claim has been provided. The story, of course, is that they did not
force their way onto the planes but were regular, ticketed passengers. If so,
their names should be on the flight manifests. But the flight manifests that
have been released contain neither the names of the alleged hijackers nor any
other Arab names.29 We have also been given no proof that the remains
of any of these men were found at any of the crash sites.
One final little problem is that several of these 19 men, according to
stories published by the BBC and British newspapers, are still alive. For
example, The 9/11 Commission Report named Waleed al-Shehri as one of
the hijackers and reproduced the FBI's photograph of him. It even suggested that
al-Shehri stabbed one of the flight attendants shortly before Flight 11 crashed
into the north tower.30 But as BBC News had reported 11 days after
9/11, al-Shehri, having seen his photograph in newspapers and TV programs,
notified authorities and journalists in Morocco, where he works as a pilot, that
he is still alive.31
But if there are various problems with the government's story about the
hijackers, surely it presented proof that Osama bin Laden was behind the
operation? Insofar as this belief is widely held, it also is a myth. Secretary
of State Colin Powell promised to provide a white paper providing proof that the
attacks had been planned by bin Laden, but this paper was never produced.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair did provide such a paper, which was entitled
"Responsibility for the Terrorist Atrocities in the United States."
But it begins with the admission that it "does not purport to provide a
prosecutable case against Usama Bin Laden in a court of law."32
(So, evidence good enough to go to war, but not good enough to go to court.) And
although the Taliban said that it would hand bin Laden over if the United States
presented evidence of his involvement in 9/11, Bush refused.33
This failure to provide proof was later said to be unnecessary because bin
Laden, in a video allegedly found in Afghanistan, admitted responsibility for
the attacks. This "confession" is now widely cited as proof. However,
the man in this video has darker skin, fuller cheeks, and a broader nose than
the Osama bin Laden of all the other videos.34 We again seem to have
There are, moreover, other problems in the official account of Osama bin
Laden. For one thing, in June of 2001, when he was already America's "most
wanted" criminal, he reportedly spent two weeks in the American Hospital in
Dubai, at which he was treated by an American doctor and visited by the local
Also, after 9/11, when America was reportedly trying to get bin Laden
"dead or alive," the US military evidently allowed him to escape on at
least four occasions, the last one being the "battle of Tora Bora,"
which the London Telegraph labeled "a grand charade."36
Shortly thereafter, Bush said: "I don't know where he [bin Laden] is. . . .
I just don't spend that much time on him. . . . I truly am not that concerned
about him."37 (Sometimes the truth slips out.)
In any case, the idea that the Bush administration has provided proof for its
claims about Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaeda hijackers is a myth. I turn now
Myth Number 6: The 9/11 attacks came as a surprise to the Bush
Nothing is more essential to the official story than this idea. About 10
months after 9/11, for example, FBI Director Robert Mueller said: "To this
day we have found no one in the United States except the actual hijackers who
knew of the plot."38 There is much evidence, however, that
counts against this claim.
The Put Options: One type of evidence involves an extraordinarily
high volume of "put options" purchased in the three days prior to
9/11. To buy put options for a particular company is to bet that its stock price
will go down. These extraordinary purchases included two, and only two,
airlines--United and American--the two airlines used in the attacks. They also
included Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, which occupied 22 stories of the World
Trade Center. The price of these shares did, of course, plummet after 9/11,
resulting in enormous profits for the purchasers. These unusual purchases, as
the San Francisco Chronicle said, raise "suspicions that the
investors . . . had advance knowledge of the strikes."39 It
would appear, in other words, that those who made the purchases knew that United
and American airliners were going to be used in attacks on the World Trade
The 9/11 Commission tried to show these suspicions to be unfounded. It
claimed, for example, that the purchases for United Airlines do not show that
anyone other than al-Qaeda had foreknowledge of the attacks, because 95 percent
of these options were purchased by "[a] single U.S.-based institutional
investor with no conceivable ties to al Qaeda."40 But the
Commission thereby simply begged the question at issue, which is whether some
organization other than al-Qaeda was involved in the planning.
Also, the Commission ignored the other crucial point, which is that US
intelligence agencies closely monitor the stock market, looking for any
anomalies that might provide clues about untoward events in the works.41
Therefore, regardless of who orchestrated the attacks, the US government would
have had intelligence suggesting that United and American airliners were to be
used for attacks on the World Trade Center.
Bush and the Secret Service: Further evidence of advance knowledge
is shown by the behavior of President Bush and his secret service agents during
the photo-op at the school in Florida that morning. According to the official
story, when Bush was first told that a plane had struck one of the Twin Towers,
he dismissed the incident as merely a "horrible accident," which meant
that they could go ahead with the photo-op.42 News of the second
strike, however, would have indicated—assuming that the strikes were
unexpected—that terrorists were using planes to attack high-value targets. And
what could have been a higher-value target than the president of the United
His location at the school had been highly publicized. The Secret Service
agents should have feared, therefore, that a hijacked airliner might have been
bearing down on the school at that very minute, ready to crash into it. It is
standard procedure for the Secret Service to rush the president to a safe
location when there is any sign that he may be in danger. And yet these agents
allowed the president to remain another half hour, even permitting him to
deliver an address on television, thereby announcing to the world that he was
still at the school.
Would not this behavior be explainable only if the head of the Secret Service
detail knew that the planned attacks did not include an attack on the president?
The 9/11 Commission, of course, did not ask this question. It was content to
report that "[t]he Secret Service told us they . . . did not think it
imperative for [the president] to run out the door."43
Maintaining decorum, in other words, was more important than protecting the
president's life. Can anyone seriously believe that highly trained Secret
Service agents would act this way in a situation of genuine danger?
Mineta's Report about Cheney: The attack on the Pentagon, as well as
the attack on the World Trade Center, was said to be a surprise, even though it
occurred over a half hour after the second strike on the Twin Towers. A Pentagon
spokesperson, in explaining why the Pentagon was not evacuated before it was
struck, claimed that "[t]he Pentagon was simply not aware that this
aircraft was coming our way."44 The 9/11 Commission claimed that
there was no warning about an unidentified aircraft heading towards Washington
until 9:36 and hence only "one or two minutes" before the Pentagon was
struck at 9:38.45
But this claim is contradicted by Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta's
testimony about an episode that occurred in the Presidential Emergency
Operations Center under the White House. In open testimony to the 9/11
Commission, Mineta gave this account:
During the time that the airplane was coming in to the Pentagon, there was
a young man who would come in and say to the Vice President, "The plane
is 50 miles out." "The plane is 30 miles out." And when it got
down to "the plane is 10 miles out," the young man also said to the
Vice President, "Do the orders still stand?" And the Vice President
. . . said, "Of course the orders still stand. Have you heard anything to
Mineta said that that this final exchange occurred at about 9:25 or 9:26.47
According to Mineta's account, therefore, Cheney knew about an approaching
aircraft more than 12 minutes before 9:38, when the Pentagon was struck.
Assuming that Cheney would not have kept this information from his good friend
Donald Rumsfeld, Mineta's testimony contradicts the claim of the Pentagon and
the 9/11 Commission that there was no advance knowledge, at least not sufficient
advance knowledge to have evacuated the Pentagon, which would have saved 125
This example gives us one of the clearest examples of the fact that the
Zelikow-led 9/11 Commission cannot be trusted. Having claimed that there was no
knowledge that an aircraft was approaching the Pentagon until the last minute or
so, it simply omitted Mineta's testimony to the contrary, which had been given
in open testimony to the Commission itself, from its final report. Then, to rule
out even the possibility that the episode reported by Mineta could have
occurred, it claimed that Cheney did not even arrive in the Presidential
Emergency Operations Center until almost 10:00 o'clock, hence about 20 minutes
after the Pentagon was struck.48 But this claim, besides
contradicting Mineta's eyewitness testimony that Cheney was already there when
Mineta arrived at 9:20, also contradicts all other reports as to when Cheney had
arrived there, including a report by Cheney himself.49
In light of this information about the put options, the Secret Service, and
Mineta's testimony, we can reject as a myth the idea that the attacks were
unexpected. However, even if the attacks had been unexpected, should they not
have been intercepted? This brings us to:
Myth Number 7: US officials have explained why the hijacked airliners were
Actually, there is a sense in which this statement is true. US officials have
explained why the US military did not prevent the attacks. The problem, however,
is that they have given three explanations, each of which is
contradicted by the others and none of which is a satisfactory
explanation. I will explain.
According to standard operating procedures, if an FAA flight controller
notices anything that suggests a possible hijacking, the controller is to
contact a superior. If the problem cannot be fixed quickly (within about a
minute), the superior is to ask NORAD—the North American Aerospace Defense
Command—to send up, or "scramble," jet fighters to find out what is
going on. NORAD then issues a scramble order to the nearest air force base with
fighters on alert.
The jet fighters at NORAD's disposal could respond very quickly: According to
the US Air Force website, F-15s can go from "scramble order" to 29,000
feet in only 2.5 minutes, after which they can fly over 1800 miles per hour.50
Therefore--according to General Ralph Eberhart, the head of NORAD—after the
FAA senses that something is wrong, "it takes about one minute" for it
to contact NORAD, after which, according to a spokesperson, NORAD can scramble
fighter jets "within a matter of minutes to anywhere in the United
States."51 These statements were, to be sure, made after 9/11,
so we might suspect that they reflect a post-9/11 speed-up in procedures. But an
Air Traffic Control document put out in 1998 warned pilots that any airplanes
persisting in unusual behavior "will likely find two [jet fighters] on
their tail within 10 or so minutes."52
If these procedures had been carried out on the morning of 9/11, AA Flight 11
and UA Flight 175 would have been intercepted before they could have reached
Manhattan, and AA Flight 77 would have been intercepted long before it could
have reached the Pentagon.
Such interceptions are routine, being carried out about 100 times a year. A
month after 9/11, the Calgary Herald reported that in the year 2000,
NORAD had scrambled fighters 129 times. Do these scrambles regularly result in
interceptions? Just a few days after 9/11, Major Mike Snyder, a NORAD
spokesperson, told the Boston Globe that "[NORAD's] fighters
routinely intercept aircraft."53 Why did such interceptions not
occur on 9/11?
During the first few days, the public was told that no fighter jets were sent
up until after the strike on the Pentagon at 9:38. However, it was also reported
that signs of Flight 11's hijacking had been observed at 8:15. That would mean
that although interceptions usually occur within "10 or so" minutes
after signs of trouble are observed, in this case 80 or so minutes had elapsed
before fighters were even airborne. This story suggested that a
"stand-down" order had been issued.
Within a few days, however, a second story was put out, according to which
NORAD had sent up fighters but, because notification from the FAA had
been very slow in coming, the fighters arrived too late. On September 18, NORAD
made this second story official, embodying it in a timeline, which indicated
when NORAD had been notified by the FAA about each airplane and when it had
scrambled fighters in response.54
Critics showed, however, that even if the FAA notifications had come as late
as NORAD's timeline indicated, NORAD's jets would have had time to make the
interceptions.55 This second story did not, therefore, remove the suspicion that
a stand-down order had been given.
Hoping to overcome this problem, The 9/11 Commission Report provided
a third account, according to which, contrary to NORAD's timeline of September
18, 2001, the FAA did not notify NORAD about Flight 175 until after it had
struck the south tower or about Flight 77 until after it had struck the
Pentagon. But there are serious problems with this third story.
One problem is the very fact that it is the third story. Normally, when a
suspect in a criminal investigation keeps changing his story, we get suspicious.
Let's say that the police ask Charlie Jones where he was Saturday night. He says
he was at the movie theater, but they say, "No, the movie theater has been
closed all week." Then Charlie says, "Oh, that's right, I was with my
girl friend." But, the police say, "No, we checked with her and she
was home with her husband." If at that point Charlie says, "Oh, now I
remember, I was home reading my Bible," you are probably not going to
believe him. And yet that's what we have here. The military told one story right
after 9/11, another story a week later, and a third story through The 9/11
Commission Report in 2004.
A second problem with this third story is that it contradicts several
features of the second story, which had served as the official story for almost
For example, NORAD's timeline of September 18, 2001, had indicated that the
FAA had notified it about Flight 175 exactly 20 minutes before it hit its target
and about Flight 77 some 14 minutes before the Pentagon was struck. The 9/11
Commission maintains that both of these statements were "incorrect"—that,
really, there had been no notification about these flights until after they hit
their targets. This, it claims, is why the military had failed to intercept
them.56 But if NORAD's timeline was false, as the Commission now
claims, NORAD must have been either lying or confused. But it is hard to believe
that it could have been confused one week after 9/11. So it must have been
lying. But if the military's second story was a lie, why should we believe this
Further scepticism about this third story arises from the fact that it is
contradicted by considerable evidence. For example, the Commission's claim that
the military did not know about Flight 175 until it crashed is contradicted by a
report involving Captain Michael Jellinek, a Canadian who on 9/11 was overseeing
NORAD's headquarters in Colorado. According to a story in the Toronto Star,
Jellinek was on the phone with NORAD as he watched Flight 175 crash into the
south tower. He then asked NORAD: "Was that the hijacked aircraft you were
dealing with?"--to which NORAD said "yes."57
The 9/11 Commission's claims about Flights 175 and 77 are also contradicted
by a memo sent to the Commission by Laura Brown of the FAA. Her memo stated that
at about 8:50 the FAA had set up a teleconference, in which it started sharing
information with the military about all flights. She specifically mentioned
Flight 77, indicating that the FAA had been sharing information about it even
before the formal notification time of 9:24. Her memo, which is available on the
Web,58 was discussed by the 9/11 Commission and read into its record on May 23,
2003.59 But Zelikow's 9/11 Commission Report fails to mention this
Because of these and still more problems, which I have discussed in my book
on the 9/11 Commission's report and also in a lecture called "Flights of
Fancy",60 this third story does not remove the grounds for
suspicion that a stand-down order had been issued.
There is, moreover, ear-witness testimony for this suspicion. An upper
management official at LAX, who needs to remain anonymous, has told me that he
overheard members of LAX Security--including officers from the FBI and LAPD—interacting
on their walkie-talkies shortly after the attacks. In some cases, he could hear
both sides of the conversation. At first, the LAX officials were told that the
airplanes that attacked World Trade Center and the Pentagon had not been
intercepted because the FAA had not notified NORAD about the hijackings. But
later, he reports, they were told that NORAD had been notified but did
not respond because it had been "ordered to stand down." When LAX
security officials asked who had issued that order, they were told that it had
come "from the highest level of the White House."61
Accordingly, the idea that the attacks could not have been prevented is a
myth. I turn now to:
Myth Number 8: Official Reports have explained why the Twin Towers and
Building 7 of the World Trade Center collapsed.
This claim suffers from the same problem as the previous one: We have had three
explanations, each of which contradicts the others and none of which is anywhere
close to adequate. The first explanation, widely disseminated through television
specials, was that the buildings collapsed because their steel columns were
melted by the jet-fuel-fed fires. But this explanation contained many problems,
the most obvious of which is that steel does not begin to melt until about 2800
degrees F, while open fires based on hydrocarbons such as kerosene—which is
what jet fuel is—cannot under the most ideal circumstances rise above 1700
A second explanation, endorsed by The 9/11 Commission Report, is a
"pancake" theory, according to which the fires, while not melting the
steel, heated it up sufficiently to cause the floors weakened by the airplane
strikes to break loose from the steel columns—both those in the core of the
building and those around the outside. All the floors above the strike zone
hence fell down on the floor below the strike zone, causing it to break free,
and this started a chain reaction, so the floors pancaked all the way down. But
this explanation also suffered from many problems, the most obvious of which was
that it could not explain why the buildings collapsed into a pile of rubble only
a few stories high. The core of each of the Twin Towers consisted of 47 massive
steel columns. If the floors had broken loose from them, these columns would
have still been sticking up a thousand feet in the air. The 9/11 Commission
Report tried to cover up this problem by claiming that the core of each
tower consisted of "a hollow steel shaft."62 But those
massive steel columns could not be wished away.
The definitive explanation was supposed to be the third one, issued by the
National Institute of Standards and Technology, often simply called NIST. The
NIST Report claimed that when the floors collapsed, they, rather than breaking
free from the columns, pulled on them, causing the perimeter columns to become
unstable. This instability then increased the gravity load on the core columns,
which had been weakened by tremendously hot fires in the core, which, NIST
claims, reached 1832°F, and this combination of factors resulted in
But, as physicists Jim Hoffman and Steven Jones have shown, this account is
riddled with problems. One of these is that NIST's claim about tremendously hot
fires in the core is completely unsupported by evidence. NIST's own studies
found no evidence that any of the core columns had reached temperatures of even
482°F (250°C).64 A second problem is that, even if this sequence of
events had occurred, NIST provided no explanation as to why it would have
produced global—that is, total—collapse. The NIST Report asserts that
"column failure" occurred in the core as well as the perimeter
columns. But this remains a bare assertion. There is no plausible explanation of
why the core columns would have broken, or even buckled, so as to produce global
And this is only to begin to enumerate the problems in NIST's theory, all of
which follow from the fact that it, like the previous two theories, is
essentially a fire theory, according to which the buildings were brought down
primarily by fire. In the case of the Twin Towers, of course, the impact of the
airplanes is said to have played a role. But most experts who support the
official theory attribute the collapses primarily to the fires. NIST, for
example, says that the main contribution of the airplanes, aside from providing
jet fuel, was to dislodge a lot of the fire-proofing from the steel, thereby
making it vulnerable to the fires.66 But these fire-theories face
several formidable problems.
First, the fires in these three buildings were not very hot, very big, or
very long-lasting, compared with fires in some steel-frame high-rises that did not
collapse. A 1991 fire in Philadelphia burned 18 hours, and a 2004 fire in
Caracas burned 17 hours, without causing even a partial collapse.67
By contrast, the fires in the north and south towers burned only 102 and 56
minutes, respectively, before they collapsed, and neither fire, unlike the
Philadelphia and Caracas fires, was hot enough to break windows.
Second, total collapses of steel-frame high-rise buildings have never—either
before or after 9/11—been brought about by fire alone, or fire combined with
externally produced structural damage. The collapse of Building 7 has been
recognized as especially difficult to explain. It was not hit by a plane, so the
explanation has to rely on fire alone, and yet, because there was no jet fuel to
get a big fire started, this building had fires on only two or three floors,
according to several witnesses68 and all the photographic evidence.69
FEMA admitted that the best explanation it could come up with it had "only
a low probability of occurrence."70 The 9/11 Commission
Report implicitly admitted that it could not explain the collapse of
Building 7 by not even mentioning it. The NIST Report, which could not claim
that the fire-proofing had gotten knocked off the steel of this
building, has yet to offer an explanation as to why it collapsed.
And NIST, like the 9/11 Commission, evidently did not want citizens asking
why Building 7 collapsed even though it was not hit by a plane. On its Website,
it says that one of its objectives is to determine "why and how World Trade
Center buildings 1, 2, and 7 collapsed after the initial impact of the
aircraft"—thereby implying that building 7, like the Twin Towers, was
hit by a plane.71
In any case, a third problem with the official account of the collapse of
these three buildings is that all prior and subsequent total collapses of
steel-frame high-rises have been caused by explosives in the procedure known as
"controlled demolition." This problem is made even more severe by the
fact that the collapses of these three buildings manifested many standard
features of the most difficult type of controlled demolition, known as
implosion. I will mention seven such features.
First, the collapses began suddenly. Steel, if weakened by fire, would
gradually begin to sag. But as one can see from videos available on the Web,72
all three buildings are completely motionless up to the moment they begin to
Second, if these huge buildings had toppled over, they would have caused
enormous death and destruction. But they came straight down. This straight-down
collapse is the whole point of the type of controlled demolition called
implosion, which only a few companies in the world can perform.73
Third, these buildings collapsed at virtually free-fall speed, which means
that the lower floors, with all their steel and concrete, were offering no
resistance to the upper floors.
Fourth, as mentioned earlier, the collapses were total collapses,
resulting in piles of rubble only a few stories high. This means that the
enormous steel columns in the core of each building had to be broken into rather
short segments—which is what explosives do.
Fifth, great quantities of molten steel were produced, which means that the
steel had been heated up to several thousand degrees. Witnesses during the
clean-up reported, moreover, that sometimes when a piece of steel was lifted out
of the rubble, molten metal would be dripping from the end.74
Sixth, according to many fire fighters, medical workers, journalists, and
World Trade Center employees, many explosions went off before and after the
collapses. For example, Fire Captain Dennis Tardio, speaking of the south tower,
said: "I hear an explosion and I look up. It is as if the building is being
imploded, from the top floor down, one after another, boom, boom, boom."75
Firefighter Richard Banaciski said: "It seemed like on television [when]
they blow up these buildings. It seemed like it was going all the way around
like a belt, all these explosions."76 Thanks to the release in
August of 2005 of the oral histories recorded by the Fire Department of New York
shortly after 9/11, dozens of testimonies of this type are now available. I have
published an essay on them, which will be included—along with an essay on
"The Destruction of the World Trade Center," which I am here
summarizing—in a forthcoming book on 9/11 and Christian faith.77
A seventh feature of controlled implosions is the production of large
quantities of dust. In the case of the Twin Towers, virtually everything except
the steel—all the concrete, desks, computers—was pulverized into very tiny
The official theory cannot explain one, let alone all seven, of these
features—at least, as Jim Hoffman and Steven Jones have pointed out, without
violating several basic laws of physics.79 But the theory of
controlled demolition easily explains all these features.
These facts are inconsistent with the idea that al-Qaeda terrorists were
responsible. Foreign terrorists could not have obtained access to the buildings
for the hours needed to plant the explosives. Terrorists working for the
Bush-Cheney administration, by contrast, could have gotten such access,
given the fact that Marvin Bush and Wirt Walker III—the president's brother
and cousin, respectively—were principals of the company in charge of security
for the World Trade Center.80 Al-Qaeda terrorists would also probably
not have had the courtesy to ensure that these huge buildings came straight
down, rather than falling over onto other buildings. They also would not have
had the necessary expertise.
Another relevant fact is that evidence was destroyed. An examination of the
buildings' steel beams and columns could have shown whether explosives had been
used to slice them. But virtually all of the steel was removed before it could
be properly examined,81 then put on ships to Asia to be melted
down.82 It is usually a federal offense to remove anything from a crime scene.
But here the removal of over 100 tons of steel, the biggest destruction of
evidence in history, was carried out under the supervision of federal officials.83
Evidence was also apparently planted. The passport of one of the hijackers on
Flight 11 was allegedly found in the rubble, having survived the fire caused by
the crash into the north tower and also whatever caused everything else in this
building except the steel to be pulverized.84 As a story in the Guardian
said, "the idea that [this] passport had escaped from that inferno unsinged
would [test] the credulity of the staunchest supporter of the FBI's crackdown on
To sum up: The idea that US officials have given a satisfactory, or even
close to satisfactory, explanation of the collapse of the World Trade Center
buildings is a myth. And they have implicitly admitted this by refusing to
engage in rational debate about it. For example, Michael Newman, a spokesman for
NIST, reportedly said during a recent interview that "none of the NIST
scientists would participate in any public debate" with scientists who
reject their report. When Newman was asked why NIST would avoid public debate if
it had confidence in its report, Newman replied: "Because there is no
winning in such debates."85 In that same interview, Newman had
compared people who reject the government's account of the collapses with people
who believe in Bigfoot and a flat earth.86 And yet he fears that his
scientists would not be able to show up these fools in a public debate!
In any case, I come now to the final myth, which is:
Myth Number 9: There is no doubt that Flight 77, under the control of
al-Qaeda hijacker Hani Hanjour, struck the Pentagon.
There are, in fact, many reasons to doubt this claim.
We have, in the first place, reasons to doubt that the aircraft that hit the
Pentagon was under the control of Hani Hanjour. For one thing, the aircraft,
before striking the Pentagon, reportedly executed a 270-degree downward spiral,
and yet Hani Hanjour was known as a terrible pilot, who could not safely fly
even a small plane.87 Russ Wittenberg, who flew large commercial
airliners for 35 years after serving in Vietnam as a fighter pilot, says that it
would have been "totally impossible for an amateur who couldn't even fly a
Cessna to maneuver the jetliner in such a highly professional manner."88
Moreover, as a result of that very difficult maneuver, the Pentagon's west
wing was struck, but terrorists brilliant enough to get through the US
military's defense system would have known that this was the worst place to
strike, for several reasons: The west wing had been reinforced, so the damage
was less severe than a strike anywhere else would have been. This wing was still
being renovated, so relatively few people were there; a strike anywhere else
would have killed thousands of people, rather than 125. And the secretary of
defense and all the top brass, whom terrorists would presumably have wanted to
kill, were in the east wing. Why would an al-Qaeda pilot have executed
a very difficult maneuver to hit the west wing when he could have simply crashed
into the roof of the east wing?
A second major problem with the official story: There are reasons to believe
that the Pentagon was struck only because officials at the Pentagon wanted it to
be struck. For one thing, Flight 77 allegedly, after making a U-turn in the
mid-west, flew back to Washington undetected for 40 minutes. And yet the US
military, which by then clearly knew that hijacked airliners were being used as
weapons, has the best radar systems in the world, one of which, it brags,
"does not miss anything occurring in North American airspace."89
The idea that a large airliner could have slipped through, especially during a
time of heightened alert, is absurd.
Also, the Pentagon is surely the best defended building on the planet.90
It is not only within the P-56-A restricted air space that extends 17 miles in
all directions from the Washington Monument, but also within P-56-B, the
three-mile ultra-restricted zone above the White House, the Capitol, and the
Pentagon. The Pentagon is only a few miles from Andrews Air Force Base, which
has at least three squadrons with fighter jets on alert at all times. (The claim
by The 9/11 Commission Report that no fighters were on alert the
morning of 9/11 is wholly implausible, as I have explained in my critique of
this report.91) The Pentagon, moreover, is reportedly protected by
batteries of surface-to-air missiles, so if any aircraft without a US military
transponder were to enter the Pentagon's airspace, it would be shot down.92
Even if the aircraft that hit the Pentagon had been Flight 77, therefore, it
could have succeeded only because officials in the Pentagon turned off its
missiles as well as ordering the fighters from Andrews to stand down.
A third major problem with the official story is that there is considerable
evidence that it could not have been Flight 77 because it was not a Boeing 757.
For one thing, the strike on the Pentagon, unlike the strikes on the Twin
Towers, reportedly did not create a detectable seismic signal.93
Also, according to several witnesses and many people who have studied the
available photographs, both the damage and the debris were inconsistent with a
strike by a large airliner. That issue, however, is too complex to discuss here,
as is the issue of the what should be inferred from the conflicting eyewitness
Deferring those topics to another time, I will conclude by pointing out that
the suspicion that the Pentagon was not struck by a 757, as the government
claims, is supported by the fact that evidence was destroyed. Shortly after the
strike, government agents picked up debris and carried it off.94 Then
the entire lawn was covered with dirt and gravel, so that any remaining forensic
evidence was literally covered up.95
Also, the videos from security cameras on the nearby Citgo gas station and
Sheraton Hotel, which would show what really hit the Pentagon, were immediately
confiscated by agents of the FBI, and the Department of Justice has to this day
refused to release them.96 If these videos would prove that the
Pentagon was really hit by a 757, most of us would assume, the government would
It would seem, for many reasons, that the official story of 9/11, which has
served as a religious Myth in the intervening years, is a myth in the pejorative
sense of a story that does not correspond to reality. One sign of a story that
is a myth in this sense, I have pointed out, is that it cannot be rationally
defended, and the official story has never been publicly defended against
informed criticism by any member of NIST, the 9/11 Commission, or the Bush
administration. An illustration: After Charlie Sheen had made public his
skepticism about the official story, CNN's "Showbiz Tonight" wanted to
have a debate, about the points he had raised, between a representative of the
government and a representative of 9/11Truth.org. But the producers reportedly
could find no member of the government willing to appear on the show. In this
unwillingness of the government to appear on an entertainment show to answer
questions raised by an actor, we would seem to have the clearest possible sign
that the government's story is myth, not reality.
If so, we must demand that the government immediately cease implementing the
policies that have been justified by this myth.
When charges were brought against some members of Duke University's lacrosse
team in March of 2006, the president of the university immediately cancelled all
future games until the truth of the charges could be decided. But surely, as
serious as the charges were in that case, the charges against the official story
of 9/11 are far more serious, for this story, serving as a national religious
Myth, has been used to justify two wars, which have caused many tens of
thousands of deaths; to start a more general war on Islam, in which Muslims are
considered guilty until proven innocent; to annul and violate civil rights; and
to increase our military spending, which was already greater than that of the
rest of the world combined, by hundreds of billions of dollars, partly so that
weapons can be put into space.
Congress needs to put the implementation of these policies on hold until
there is a truly independent investigation, carried out by qualified individuals
who are not members of the very circles that, if 9/11 truly was a false
flag operation, planned it, carried it out, and then covered it up.
1. "Remarks by the President in Photo
Opportunity with the National Security Team" (www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/09/20010912-4.html),
quoted in Thierry Meyssan, 9:11: The Big Lie (London: Carnot, 2002),
2. "President's Remarks at National Day of
Prayer and Remembrance" (www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/09/20010914-2.html),
quoted in Meyssan, 9/11: The Big Lie, 76-77.
3. Meyssan, 9/11: The Big Lie, 79.
4. Howard Zinn, A People's History of the
United States (1980; New York: HarperPerennial, 1990), 150. Richard Van
Alstyne, The Rising American Empire (1960; New York, Norton, 1974),
5. Stuart Creighton Miller, Benevolent
Assimilation: The American Conquest of the Philippines, 1899-1903 (New
Haven: Yale University Press, 1982), 11.
6. Ibid., 57-62.
7. George McT. Kahin, Intervention: How
American Became Involved in Vietnam (Garden City: Anchor Press/Doubleday,
1987), 220; Marilyn B. Young, The Vietnam Wars 1945-1990 (New York:
HarperCollins, 1991), 119.
8. Daniele Ganser, NATO's Secret Armies:
Operation Gladio and Terrorism in Western Europe (New York: Frank Cass,
9. This memorandum can be found at the National
Security Archive, April 30, 2001 (http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/news/20010430).
It was revealed to US readers by James Bamford in Body of Secrets: Anatomy
of the Ultra-secret National Security Agency (2001: New York: Anchor
Books, 2002), 82-91.
10. Andrew J. Bacevich, American Empire: The
Realities and Consequences of U.S. Diplomacy (Cambridge: Harvard
University Press, 2002), 44.
11. David Armstrong, "Dick Cheney's Song of
America," Harper's, October, 2002.
12. Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard:
American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives (New York: Basic Books,
13. Ibid., 212.
14. Ibid., 212, 24-25.
15. Project for the New American Century, Rebuilding
America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century,
September 2000 (www.newamericancentury.org), 51.
16. "Secretary Rumsfeld Interview with the
New York Times," New York Times, October 12, 2001. Similar
sentiments were expressed by Condoleezza Rice and President Bush. On Rice, see
Nicholas Lemann, "The Next World Order: The Bush Administration May Have
a Brand-New Doctrine of Power," New Yorker, April 1, 2002 (http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/020401fa_FACT1),
and Rice, "Remarks by National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice on
Terrorism and Foreign Policy," April 29, 2002 (www.whitehouse.gov); on
Bush, see "Bush Vows to ‘Whip Terrorism,'" Reuters, Sept. 14,
2001, and Bob Woodward, Bush at War (New York: Simon & Schuster,
17. The National Security Strategy of the
United States of America, September 2002 (www.whitehouse.gov/nsc/nss.html),
18. Audrey R. Kahin and George McT. Kahin, Subversion
as Foreign Policy: The Secret Eisenhower and Dulles Debacle in Indonesia
(Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1995).
19. The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report
of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States,
Authorized Edition [New York: W. W. Norton, 2004], xv. David Ray Griffin, The
9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions (Northampton: Interlink
Books, 2005), 285-95.
20. Chairman Thomas Kean and Vice Chairman Lee
Hamilton, in their Preface, say: "The professional staff, headed by
Philip Zelikow, . . . conducted the exacting investigative work upon which the
Commission has built" (The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of
the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States,
Authorized Edition [New York: W. W. Norton, 2004], xvi-xvii).
21. These statements are quoted in Peter Lance, Cover
Up: What the Government is Still Hiding about the War on Terror (New
York: Harper-Collins/ReganBooks, 2004), 139-40.
22. James Mann, Rise of the Vulcans: The
History of Bush's War Cabinet (New York: Viking, 2004), 316, 331.
23. Max Boot, "Think Again: Neocons," Foreign
Policy, January/February 2004, 18 (http://www.cfr.org/publication/7592/think_again.html).
24. See Rowland Morgan and Ian Henshall, 9/11
Revealed: The Unanswered Questions (New York: Carroll & Graf, 2005),
25. The 9/11 Commission Report, 116.
26. Daniel Hopsicker, Welcome to Terrorland:
Mohamed Atta and the 9/11 Cover-up in Florida (Eugene: MacCowPress,
2004). These details from Hopsicker's book are summarized in his "Top Ten
things You Never Knew about Mohamed Atta," Mad Cow Morning News, June 7,
2004 (www.madcowprod.com/index60.html), and in an interview in the Guerrilla
News Forum, June 17, 2004 (www.guerrillanews.com/intelligence/doc4660.html),
summarized in NPH, 2nd ed., 243n1.
27. "Terrorist Stag Parties," Wall
Street Journal, October 10, 2001 (http://www.opinionjournal.com/best/?id=95001298).
28. The 9/11 Commission Report, 248.
29. The flight manifest for AA 11 that was
published by CNN can be seen at www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2001/trade.center/victims/AA11.victims.html.
The manifests for the other flights can be located by simply changing that
part of the URL. The manifest for UA 93, for example, is at www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2001/trade.center/victims/ua93.victims.html.
30. The 9/11 Commission Report, 19-20.
31. David Bamford, "Hijack ‘Suspect' Alive
in Morocco," BBC News, Sept. 22, 2001 (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/1558669.stm).
Several other alleged hijackers were reported to be alive in David Harrison,
"Revealed: The Men with Stolen Identities," Telegraph,
September 23, 2001 (www.portal.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2001/09/23/widen23.xml).
At least one of these claims, that involving Ahmed al-Nami, was based on a
confusion. The al-Nami contacted by Harrison was 33, whereas the man of that
name who was supposedly on Flight 93, which supposedly crashed in
Pennsylvania, was only 21. See Christine Lamb, "The Six Sons of Asir,"
Telegraph, September 15, 2002 (http://www.portal.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2002/09/15/wdoss215.xml).
But no such explanation seems possible with Waleed al-Shehri, since the FBI
photograph is clearly of a still-living man of that name.
32. Francis A. Boyle, "Bush, Jr., September
11th and the Rule of Law," which can be found in The Criminality of
Nuclear Deterrence: Could The US War On Terrorism Go Nuclear? (Atlanta:
Clarity Press, 2002) or at http://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/CrimNukDetSI.html.
33. "White House Warns Taliban: ‘We Will
Defeat You'" (CNN.com, Sept. 21, 2001). Four weeks after the attacks
began, a Taliban spokesman said: "We are not a province of the United
States, to be issued orders to. We have asked for proof of Osama's
involvement, but they have refused. Why?" (Kathy Gannon, AP,
"Taliban Willing To Talk, But Wants U.S. Respect" [http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/focus/terrorism/archives/1001/w01taliban.html]).
34. See "The Fake bin Laden Video" (http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/osamatape.html).
35. Richard Labeviere, "CIA Agent Allegedly
Met Bin Laden in July," Le Figaro, Oct. 31, 2001. This story was
also reported in Anthony Sampson, "CIA Agent Alleged to Have Met Bin
Laden in July," Guardian, Nov. 1, and Adam Sage, "Ailing
bin Laden ‘Treated for Kidney Disease,'" London Times, Nov. 1.
36. Telegraph, Feb. 23, 2002; Griffin, The
9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions, 60.
37. President George W. Bush, Conference, March
13, 2002 (http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/03/20020313-8.html).
38. Philip Shenon, "FBI Gave Secret Files to
Terrorist Suspect," New York Times, Sept. 28, 2002, citing
Mueller's testimony to Congress on June 18, 2002.
39. San Francisco Chronicle, Sept. 29,
40. The 9/11 Commission Report, 499 n.
41. Investigative journalist Michael Ruppert, a
former detective for the Los Angeles Police Department, has written: "It
is well documented that the CIA has long monitored such trades--in real
time--as potential warnings of terrorist attacks and other economic moves
contrary to U.S. interests" ("Suppressed Details of Criminal Insider
Trading Lead Directly into the CIA's Highest Ranks," From the Wilderness
Publications (www.fromthewilderness.com or www.copvcia.com), Oct. 9, 2001.
Nafeez Ahmed, besides quoting Ruppert's remark, points out that "UPI
reported that the U.S.-sponsored ECHELON intelligence network closely monitors
stock trading," citing United Press International, Feb. 13, 2001. See
Nafeez Ahmed, The War on Freedom: How and Why America Was Attacked
September 11, 2001 (Joshua Tree, Calif.: Tree of Life Publications,
42. CNN, Dec. 4, 2001, The Daily Mail,
Sept. 8, 2002, and ABC News, Sept. 11, 2002.
43. The 9/11 Commission Report, 39.
44. "Air Attack on Pentagon Indicates
Weaknesses," Newsday, September 23, 2001.
45. The 9/11 Commission Report, 34.
46. "Statement of Secretary of Transportation
Norman Y. Mineta before the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the
United States, May 23, 2003" (available at www.cooperativeresearch.org/timeline/2003/commissiontestimony052303.htm).
48. The 9/11 Commission Report, 40.
49. See the summary of evidence in Griffin, The
9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions, 241-44, which includes
discussion of the fact that the Commission cited no evidence for its
50. Cited in Griffin, The 9/11 Commission
Report: Omissions and Distortions, 140.
52. Ibid., 141.
53. See the Calgary Herald, Oct. 13,
2001, and Glen Johnson, "Otis Fighter Jets Scrambled Too Late to Halt the
Attacks," Boston Globe, Sept. 15, 2001 [http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_action=print]).
At an average of 100 scrambles a year, fighters would have been scrambled
about 1000 times in the decade prior to 9/11. One of the many falsehoods in a
essay entitled "9/11: Debunking Myths," which was published by Popular
Mechanics (March 2005), is its claim that in the decade before 9/11,
there had been only one interception, that of golfer Payne Stewart's Learjet.
This essay's "senior researcher," 25-year old Benjamin Chertoff, has
(on a radio show) tried to reconcile this claim with the fact that fighters
are scrambled about 100 times per year by saying that these statements speak
only of scrambles, not interceptions. But Chertoff's position would require
the claim that only one of the 1000 scrambles in that period resulted in
interceptions—that the other 999 fighters were called back before they
actually made the interception. Besides being highly improbable, this
interpretation contradicts Major Snyder's statement that interceptions are
carried out routinely.
54. Griffin, The 9/11 Commission Report:
Omissions and Distortions, 141-43.
55. Ibid., 139-48.
56. Ibid., 192.
57. Ibid., 176.
58. Laura Brown, "FAA Communications with
NORAD on September 11, 2001," available at http://www.911truth.org/article.php?story=2004081200421797.
59. National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon
the United States, May 23, 2003 (http://www.911commission.gov/archive/hearing2/9-11Commission_Hearing_2003-05-23.htm).
Commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste, who read the memo into the record, reported
that he had been told that it had been authored by two "high level
individuals at FAA, Mr. Asmus and Ms. Schuessler." However, I was told by
Laura Brown during a telephone conversation on August 15, 2004, that she had
written the memo.
60. Griffin, The 9/11 Commission Report:
Omissions and Distortions, 155-226; "Flights of Fancy: The 9/11
Commission's Incredible Tales of Flights 11, 175, 77, and 93," Global
Outlook, 12 (Fall-Winter 2006), and in Christian Faith and the Truth
behind 9/11 (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2006).
61. "My Observation of LAX Security Events on
9/11," by an Upper Management LAX Official. Although this official needs
to remain anonymous, he has said that he would be willing to take a polygraph
test if his anonymity could be protected.
62. The 9/11 Commission Report, 541 note
63. Final Report of the National Construction
Safety Team on the Collapses of the World Trade Center Towers (Draft),
June, 2005, usually called the NIST Report, 28, 143.
64. And, as Jim Hoffman says, NIST's claim about
these tremendously hot fires in the core is especially absurd given the fact
that the core "had very little fuel; was far from any source of fresh
air; had huge steel columns to wick away the heat; [and] does not show
evidence of fires in any of the photographs or videos." All the evidence,
in other words, suggests that none of the core columns would have reached the
temperatures of some of the perimeter columns ("Building a Better Mirage:
NIST's 3-Year $20,000,000 Cover-Up of the Crime of the Century," 911
Research, Dec. 8, 2005 (http://911research.wtc7.net/essays/nist/index.html).
65. See Hoffman, ibid., and Stephen E. Jones,
"Why Indeed Did the WTC Buildings Collapse?" in David Ray Griffin
and Peter Dale Scott, eds., 9/11 and the American Empire: Intellectuals
Speak Out (Northampton: Interlink, 2006); also available at
66. The NIST Report (xliii and 171) says:
"the towers withstood the impacts and would have remained standing were
it not for the dislodged insulation (fireproofing) and the subsequent
67. "High-Rise Office Building Fire One
Meridian Plaza Philadelphia, Pennsylvania," FEMA (http://usfa.fema.gov/fire-service/techreports/tr049.shtm);
"Fire Practically Destroys Venezuela's Tallest Building" (http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/venezuela_fire.html).
68. Chief Thomas McCarthy of the FDNY said that
while the firefighters "were waiting for 7 World Trade to come
down," there was "fire on three separate floors" (Oral History
of Thomas McCarthy, 10-11). Emergency medical technician Decosta Wright said:
"I think the fourth floor was on fire. . . . [W]e were like, are you guys
going to put that fire out?" (Oral History of Decosta Wright, 11). These
quotations are from the 9/11 oral histories recorded by the New York Fire
Department at the end of 2001 but released to the public (after a court
battle) only in August 2005, at which time they were made available on a New
York Times website (http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/html/nyregion/20050812_WTC_GRAPHIC/met_WTC_histories_full_01.html).
69. A photograph taken by Terry Schmidt can be
seen on page 63 of Eric Hufschmid's Painful Questions: An Analysis of the
September 11th Attack (Goleta, Calif.: Endpoint Software, 2002) or on
Schmidt's website (http://www.nycwireless.net/Images/wtc2/).
According to Schmidt, this photo was taken between 3:09 and 3:16 PM, hence
only a little over two hours before Building 7 collapsed. It shows that on the
north side of the building, fires were visible only on floors 7 and 12.
Therefore, if there were more fires on the south side, which faced the Twin
Towers, they were not big enough to be seen from the north side.
70. FEMA Report #403, World Trade Center Building
Performance Study, May 2002 (www.fema.gov/library/wtcstudy.shtm), Ch. 5, Sect.
6.2, "Probable Collapse Sequence."
71. Reported in Ed Haas, "Government
spokesman says, ‘I Don't Understand the Public's Fascination with World
Trade Center Building Seven,'" Muckraker Report, March 21, 200 (http://www.teamliberty.net/id235.html),
referring to NIST's "Investigation of the Sept. 11 World Trade Center
as accessed on March 20, 2006.
72. See Jim Hoffman's website (http://911research.wtc7.net/index.html)
and Jeff King's website (http://home.comcast.net/~jeffrey.king2/wsb/html/view.cgi-home.html-.html),
especially "The World Trade Center Collapse: How Strong is the Evidence
for a Controlled Demolition?"
73. Implosion World (http://www.implosionworld.com/dyk2.html).
74. Professor Allison Geyh of Johns Hopkins, who
was part of a team of public health investigators who visited the site shortly
after 9/11, wrote: "In some pockets now being uncovered they are finding
molten steel," Magazine of Johns Hopkins Public Health, Late
Fall, 2001. Dr. Keith Eaton, who somewhat later toured the site with an
engineer, said that he was shown slides of "molten metal, which was still
red hot weeks after the event" (The Structural Engineer, Sept. 3, 2002:
6). On the dripping steel, see Trudy Walsh, "Handheld APP Eased Recovery
Tasks," Government Computer News, 21/27a, Sept 11, 2002 (http://www.gcn.com/21_27a/news/19930-1.html)
and Jennifer Lin, "Recovery Worker Reflects on Months Spent at Ground
Zero," Knight Ridder, May 29, 2002 (http://www.messenger-inquirer.com/news/attacks/4522011.htm).
75. Quoted in Dennis Smith, Report from Ground
Zero: The Story of the Rescue Efforts at the World Trade Center (New
York: Penguin, 2002), 18.
76. Oral History of Richard Banaciski, 3-4. See
"Explosive Testimony: Revelations about the Twin Towers in the 9/11 Oral
Histories," in Griffin, Christian Faith and the Truth behind 9/11.
It is also available at 911Truth.org (http://www.911truth.org/article.php?story=20060118104223192).
The oral histories of 9/11 recorded by the Fire Department of New York are
available at a NYT website (http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/html/nyregion/20050812_WTC_GRAPHIC/met_WTC_histories_full_01.html).
78. Jim Hoffman, "The North Tower's Dust
Cloud: Analysis of Energy Requirements for the Expansion of the Dust Cloud
Following the Collapse of 1 World Trade Center," Version 3, 9-11
Research.wtc7.net, Oct. 16, 2003 (http://911research.wtc7.net/papers/dustvolume/volume.html).
The available evidence, Hoffman says, suggests that the dust particles were
very small indeed—on the order of 10 microns. Also Colonel John O'Dowd of
the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said: "At the World Trade Center sites,
it seemed like everything was pulverized" ("The World Trade Center:
Rise and Fall of an American Icon," The History Channel, September 8,
79. Jones, "Why Indeed Did the WTC Buildings
Collapse?" See also David Ray Griffin, "The Destruction of the World
Trade Center: Why the Official Account Cannot Be True," in Paul Zarembka,
ed., The Hidden History of 9-11-2001 (Amsterdam: Elsevier, March,
2006), and in Griffin, Christian Faith and the Truth behind 9/11.
This essay is also available at 911Review.com, December 9, 2005 [http://911review.com/articles/griffin/nyc1.html]).
For Hoffman's analyses, see http://911research.wtc7.net/essays/nist/index.html.
For videos of the WTC collapses, see in particular "9/11/01 WTC
80. See Griffin, The 9/11 Commission Report:
Omissions and Distortions, 31-32.
81. The official investigators found that they had
less authority than the clean-up crews, a fact that led the Science Committee
of the House of Representatives to report that "the lack of authority of
investigators to impound pieces of steel for examination before they were
recycled led to the loss of important pieces of evidence" (see the report
82. "Baosteel Will Recycle World Trade Center
Debris," Eastday.com, January 24, 2002 (http://www.china.org.cn/english/2002/Jan/25776.htm).
83. This removal was, moreover, carried out with
the utmost care. Each truck was equipped with a Vehicle Location Device,
connected to GPS. "The software recorded every trip and location, sending
out alerts if the vehicle traveled off course, arrived late at its
destination, or deviated from expectations in any other way" (Jacqueline
Emigh, "GPS on the Job in Massive World Trade Center Clean-Up," July
1, 2002 [http://securitysolutions.com/ar/security_gps_job_massive]).
84. Another problem with this story is that there
were at least two versions of it. One said that the passport was found in the
rubble the day after 9/11, the other that it was found minutes after the
attack (see Morgan and Henshall, 9/11 Revealed, 68).
85. Anne Karpf, "Uncle Sam's Lucky
Finds," Guardian, March 19, 2002 (http://www.guardian.co.uk/september11/story/0,11209,669961,00.html).
86. Haas, "Government spokesman says, ‘I
Don't Understand the Public's Fascination with World Trade Center Building
87. New York Times, May 4, 2002, and CBS
News, May 10, 2002, quoted under "Was Hani Hanjour Even on Flight 77 and
Could He Have Really Flown It to Its Doom?" in Killtown's "Did
Flight 77 Really Crash into the Pentagon?" (thewebfairy.com/killtown/flight77),
Oct. 19, 2003. Even The 9/11 Report acknowledge that Hanjour was
"a terrible pilot" in some passages (225-26, 242, 520n56).
88. Greg Szymanski, "Former Vietnam Combat
and Commercial Pilot Firm Believer 9/11 Was Inside Government Job," Lewis
News, Sunday, January 8, 2006 [http://www.lewisnews.com/article.asp?ID=106623]).
89. "PAVE PAWS, Watching North America's
Skies, 24 Hours a Day" (www.pavepaws.org).
90. Besides the fact that this is what we would
expect, this is evidently what Pentagon officials tell their employees. April
Gallop, who was working in the Pentagon on 9/11, has reportedly said that
during her classified tour when she was first assigned to the Pentagon, she
was told that it was the best-defended building in the world (John Judge,
"Pentagon and P-56 Preparations and Defenses and the Stand-Down on
9/11," Ratville Times, Jan. 11, 2006 [www.ratical.org/ratville/JFK/JohnJudge/P56A.html]).
91. See the evidence in Griffin, The 9/11
Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions, 159-64.
92. Thierry Meyssan, who has referred to these
anti-missile batteries (Pentagate [London: Carnot, 2002], 112, 116),
has said with regard to his source of information: "The presence of these
anti-missile batteries was testified to me by French officers to whom they
were shown during an official visit to the Pentagon. This was later confirmed
to me by a Saudi officer."
John Judge, co-founder of 9-11 Citizens Watch, has
reported that he learned about the missiles from his father, John Joseph
Judge, a WWII Army Air Corps veteran who worked at the Pentagon after the war
until his death in 1965. Young John Judge, whose mother also worked at the
Pentagon, spent much time there. In the late 1950s, he says, his father
pointed out the location of an air-to-surface missile.
Judge also reports that in 1998, he was given a
tour of the Pentagon by Colonel Robinson, the long-time director of security.
While they were outside talking about threats from terrorists, Robinson
pointed to the roof and said, "we have cameras and radar up there to make
sure they don't try to run a plane into the building." Since cameras and
radars by themselves would not stop anything, Judge concluded, Robinson's
statement implicitly referred to anti-aircraft missiles (John Judge,
"Pentagon and P-56 Preparations and Defenses and the Stand-Down on
9/11," Ratville Times, Jan. 11, 2006 [www.ratical.org/ratville/JFK/JohnJudge/P56A.html].
The Pentagon, to be sure, has denied that it had
any anti-aircraft batteries at that time, saying that they had thought them
"too costly and too dangerous to surrounding residential areas"
(Paul Sperry, "Why the Pentagon Was So Vulnerable," WorldNetDaily,
Sept. 11, 2001 [http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=24426]).
But can anyone believe that Pentagon officials would have let such
considerations prevent them from protecting themselves?
93. Won-Young Kim and Gerald R. Baum,
"Seismic Observations during September 11, 2001, Terrorist Attack" (http://www.mgs.md.gov/esic/publications/download/911pentagon.pdf).
94. Karen Kwiatkowski, who was working at the
Pentagon that morning, reports that "any physical remains of the aircraft
that hit the Pentagon were quickly carted away to some unknown location, so we
have no physical evidence that the aircraft really was Flight 77 or even a
Boeing 757" ("Assessing the Official 9/11 Conspiracy Theory,"
in David Ray Griffin and Peter Dale Scott, eds., 9/11 and the American
Empire: Intellectuals Speak Out (Northampton: Interlink, 2006).
Photographic evidence of this removal can be seen on Eric Hufschmid's video,
"Painful Deceptions" (available at www.EricHufschmid.Net).
95. A photograph showing this literal cover-up can
be seen in Ralph Omholt, "9-11 and the Impossible: Part One of an Online
Journal of 9-11" (http://www.physics911.net/omholt.htm).
96. On the confiscation of the film from the Citgo
gas station and the Sheraton Hotel, respectively, see Bill McKelway
"Three Months On, Tension Lingers Near the Pentagon," Richmond
Times-Dispatch, Dec. 11, 2001 (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2001/12/1211_wirepentagon.html),
and Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough, "Inside the Ring," Washington
Times, Sept. 21, 2001. Scott Bingham, who has tried to get videos of the
Pentagon strike released under the Freedom of Information Act, has his lawsuit
and the official response posted on his website (http://www.flight77.info).
See also "Government Responds to Flight 77 FOAI Request,"
911Truth.org, Aug. 2005 (http://www.911truth.org/article.php?story=20050824131004151).
© David Ray Griffin.
911truth.org hereby grants to all readers of this website permission to link
to any and all articles found in the public areas of the website,
www.911truth.org, so long as the full source URL (http://www.911truth.org/article.php?story=20060405112622982
in this case) is posted with the article.