The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 were a turning point in world history. We have been told that those crimes were planned and implemented by nineteen Arab Muslim hijackers under the direction of the leaders of al Qaeda. According to the official account, this criminal conspiracy received no help or funding from any government.
Unfortunately, this explanation fails to address a majority of the evidence and leaves most of the critical questions unanswered. In fact, the reports that constitute the official account do so little to explain what happened that it is possible that, to this day, we know very little about who was behind the attacks. That fact is alarming to many people, given that so much war and unprecedented change has been driven by the official account.
On closer inspection, the 9/11 Commission Report provides only 90 pages of discussion about what actually happened on the day of 9/11, found in Chapters 1 and 9 of the report. The remainder of the report is devoted to promoting a myth behind al Qaeda, and suggesting what to do about it.
The 9/11 Commission told us in its report that, “Our aim has not been to assign individual blame. Our aim has been to provide the fullest possible account of the events surrounding 9/11 and to identify lessons learned.”
Author David Ray Griffin revealed that the Commission not only failed to provide the fullest possible account, it omitted or distorted many of the relevant facts. The report also gave us a new explanation for one of the most alarming aspects of the attacks – the complete failure of the U.S. national air defenses. The new explanation represented the fourth, distinctly different, version of how the air defenses failed.
A number of excuses were given by Commission members for the shortcomings of the report. In their 2006 book, Without Precedent, the leaders of the Commission, Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, claimed that “we were set up to fail.” Hamilton said that the Commission faced too many questions, too little funding, and too little time.
But the fact is that, if it had not been for 9/11 victim’s family members working diligently to publicize problems with the emerging official myth, there would never have been a 9/11 Commission investigation at all. Both President Bush and Vice President Cheney actively sought to limit the investigation into the attacks.
As CNN reported in January 2002, President Bush personally asked Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle to limit the congressional investigation. This unusual request came after a “rare call to Daschle from Vice President Cheney.” Daschle stated that Cheney “expressed the concern that a review of what happened on September 11 would take resources and personnel away from the effort in the war on terrorism.”
When the political pressure caused by the victim’s families grew too great, the 9/11 Commission was born. But the Commission was given less than one tenth of the funding that had been allotted to investigate the sexual exploits of President Clinton just three years earlier. Clearly, the U.S. government did not want an in-depth investigation into 9/11.
There were several brief inquiries that preceded the 9/11 Commission. These included the CIA Inspector General (IG) inquiry, the Department of Justice inquiry, and the Joint Congressional Inquiry. The scope of all three of these was limited to the shortcomings of U.S. intelligence agencies related to the alleged hijackers. The 9/11 Commission, which stated its goal of presenting “the fullest possible account,” built its work on the earlier inquiries and used many of the same staff for its investigation.
To lead the Commission, President Bush first appointed Henry Kissinger. As with the 14-month delay in getting started, this appointment was a strong indication that the investigation was not intended to be a fact-finding mission. Kissinger’s refusal to release his client list, which was expected to include the name Bin Laden, forced his resignation and replacement by Kean and Hamilton. Kean’s ties to the oil and gas industry and Hamilton’s history as an intelligence agency insider, along with similar conflicts of interest among the rest of the Commission members, were issues that remained unaddressed.
In November 2003, one of the 9/11 Commission members quit. This was Senator Max Cleland of Georgia, who was outraged at the process and had previously said “This is a scam” and “It’s disgusting. America is being cheated.” In October 2003, Cleland told the New York Times that, “As each day goes by, we learn that this government knew a whole lot more about these terrorists before September 11 than it has ever admitted.”
The Commission’s report came out nine months later, in July 2004, and was hailed as a great achievement by the publicists hired to promote it. Unfortunately for the rest of us, the report failed to answer 70% of the questions provided by the 9/11 victim’s families who had inspired the Commission’s charter.
Throughout the report, the Commission claimed that “no evidence” existed, or could be found, to explain aspects of the 9/11 events. This was reminiscent of comments made by President Ford to his press secretary, Ron Nessen, about Ford’s work on the Warren Commission that investigated the assassination of President Kennedy. Ford told Nessen that he and his colleagues on the Warren Commission – “were very, very careful when we wrote our final report not to say flatly that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone and was not part of a conspiracy.” Ford clarified that the Warren Commission was “very careful to say we ‘found’ no evidence of a conspiracy.” The strategy appeared to be that if the commission claimed to have never “found” the evidence then it could not be held accountable for ignoring it.
The 9/11 Commission took this “we found no evidence” phrase to an extreme and used some form of it 36 times within its report. Four of those instances highlight the fact that the 9/11 Commission could not explain how any of the alleged hijackers entered the cockpits of any of the four hijacked planes. Other instances reflected that the Commission put almost no effort into allegations of insider trading, or how the attacks were funded, which the Commission said was “of little practical significance.” In an honest investigation, the funding would be seen as a strong clue to who was behind the attacks.
The WTC Reports
Although the Commission addressed the World Trade Center (WTC) in a brief, superficial manner, the detailed explanation for what happened to the Twin Towers and WTC Building 7 was left to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). This agency reported through the U.S. Department of Commerce, which at the time was under the direction of George W. Bush’s old friend and oil industry colleague, Donald Evans.
Like the 9/11 Commission Report, the NIST reports, which were issued in 2005 and 2008, each represented only the latest in a series of failed official explanations for the destruction of the WTC buildings. NIST avoided much of the evidence for what had happened to the buildings by providing only a “collapse initiation sequence” for the towers, and by performing no physical testing to support its unusual explanation for WTC Building 7.
The timing of NIST’s WTC 7 report appeared to be scheduled for dual political purposes; to coincide with the seventh anniversary of 9/11 and to give the appearance of finished business at the end of the Bush Administration. That was not surprising, as the timing of NIST’s other reports coincided with political events as well. These included the draft report on the towers in October 2004 – just before the election; the final report on the towers – just before the fourth anniversary of 9/11; and NIST’s first of several “responses to FAQs” – just before the fifth anniversary. All of them appeared to involve politically motivated release dates.
In each case, the dates allowed time for the mainstream media to quickly present the official story while public interest was high, but did not allow time for critical questioning of the related documents, which were extensive and deceptive. With the WTC 7 report, the public was given just three weeks prior to September 11, 2008 to comment on a report that was nearly seven years in the making.
It was quickly discovered that the NIST WTC 7 report was a very poor attempt at a realistic explanation for what happened to that 47-story building, which had not been hit by a plane. It seemed that NIST didn’t even try to present a logical explanation for what happened, but simply relied on the idea that a compliant media would help them close the public discussion quickly.
The Response to Public Skepticism
The efforts to conceal the truth were not entirely effective, however. National polls showed that many people were very skeptical of the official myth. A poll done by Scripps-Howard in 2006, for example, showed that 36% of the American public suspected “that federal officials assisted in the 9/11 terrorist attacks or took no action to stop them so the United States could go to war in the Middle East.”
Among those who still trusted the official account were some who insisted that, if there was much more to the story of what happened on 9/11, the media would have latched on and reported the issues diligently. The History Commons Complete 9/11 Timeline, which can be found online, shows that the mainstream media did, at first, report many interesting facts about 9/11 that did not end up in the official account. Those facts were never followed-up or were quickly forgotten as the official myth was formed and reformed.
Attempts by some media sources to support the official accounts led to an increasing suspicion that something was being covered up. Hearst Publications magazine Popular Mechanics, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), and Skeptic magazine, are examples of media that went to great lengths to stifle any questioning of the official account and divert attention from the glaring discrepancies.
Such official story champions focused their efforts around the term “conspiracy theory” and its variants, which they liberally applied to any attempts made by independent researchers. Ironically, this was despite the fact that the only 9/11 conspiracy theory of any consequence had always been the official account.
The use of “conspiracy theory” to deter citizens from investigating historic events presents a paradox, to be sure. It suggests that those who commit criminal conspiracies can only be relatively powerless people who happen to live on the most strategically important lands, and conspiracies among rich, powerful people are impossible or absurd.
Our entire legal system is based on the idea of conspiracy. Despite this fact the public has been conditioned by the government and the media to blindly accept the official reports and to treat any questioning of those reports as “conspiracy theorizing.” That is, you are a conspiracy theorist if you don’t believe the government’s conspiracy theory.
This cultural phenomenon goes back to 1967. At that time, in response to questions about the Warren Commission Report, the CIA issued a memorandum calling for mainstream media sources to begin countering “conspiracy theorists.” In the 45 years before the CIA memo came out, the phrase “conspiracy theory” appeared in the Washington Post and New York Times only 50 times, or about once per year. In the 45 years after the CIA memo, the phrase appeared 2,630 times, or about once per week.
Before the CIA memo came out, the Washington Post and New York Times had never used the phrase “conspiracy theorist.” After the CIA memo came out, these two newspapers have used that phrase well over a 1,000 times. As suggested by the memo, the phrase is always delivered in a context in which “conspiracy theorists” are made to seem less intelligent and less rational than people who uncritically accept official explanations for major events.
President George W. Bush and his colleagues often used the phrase conspiracy theory in attempts to deter questioning about their activities. When questioned by reporters about an emerging scandal in September 2000, Bush said the idea that his presidential campaign was flashing subliminal messages in advertisements was absurd, and he added that “conspiracy theories abound in America’s politics.” When in 1994, Bush’s former company Harken Energy was linked to the fraudulent Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) through several investors, Bush’s spokeswoman, Karen Hughes, shut down the inquiry by telling the Associated Press, “We have no response to silly conspiracy theories.”
Because Bush’s campaign had, in fact, been flashing subliminal messages in its advertisements, and Harken Energy was actually linked to BCCI, people began to wonder what Bush and his colleagues meant when they made diversionary comments about conspiracy theories. More importantly, that track record raised questions about Bush’s statement after the 9/11 attacks, in which he said in a speech to the United Nations — “Let us never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories concerning the attacks of September the 11th.”
There is no question that criminal, government-sponsored conspiracies exist. History is replete with them and they usually involve the government claiming that the country was under attack from “terrorists.” This was true of Hitler’s Reichstag fire and it was true of the attacks that occurred in 20th century Western Europe under the guise of Operation Gladio. An example more relevant to 9/11 was the conspiracy behind Operation Northwoods, a plan drafted and approved in 1962 by the highest levels within the U.S. military.
Author James Bamford wrote of Operation Northwoods that it called “for a wave of violent terrorism to be launched in Washington, D.C., Miami, and elsewhere. People would be framed for bombings they did not commit; planes would be hijacked. [This would provide] the public and international backing they needed to launch their war.” The signed documents are available to everyone today and because of this we know that high level U.S. government representatives do conspire, on occasion, to commit terrorist crimes against the American people for the purpose of starting wars.
Another claim made by those who fend off questions about 9/11 is that the official conspiracy theory is more plausible than it seems at first sight because it involves only a small group of conspirators. That is, it includes only 19 alleged hijackers directed by Osama Bin Laden (OBL). Of course, we must include Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) because the 9/11 Commission Report called him the architect of the attacks. Over the years we have also been asked to consider the roles of Zacarias Moussaoui, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, Mohammed al Qahtani and a few others who have been discussed in the media as possible candidates for prosecution in military courts.
Proposing a Better Explanation
Today, we don’t have an alternative to the official conspiracy that spells out how the events of 9/11 could be the result of a conspiracy among insiders. Yet at the same time we know it is impossible that those within the popular version of al Qaeda, the one promoted by the mainstream media, could have shut down the U.S. air defenses for two hours on 9/11 or destroyed the WTC buildings.
This book does not cover the falsity of the official account of 9/11 in great detail. That work has been done and today the information is widely available. See the bibliography for resources in that regard. Instead, this is an attempt to take next steps, by providing a preliminary investigation into another 19 suspects who had the power to accomplish what the official account has not explained.
Is it possible to propose a compelling alternative conspiracy based on the involvement of insiders? Could certain corporations, government representatives, and covert operatives have been involved? Such an alternative conspiracy should address more of the evidence and answer more of the questions about what happened, while not overly complicating the conspiracy.
If we examine the events of 9/11 in terms of what should have happened that did not, and what did happen that should not have, we can focus a little better on who might have been involved. At a minimum, the following five major, unexplained aspects must be addressed by any alternative account.
- The many opportunities for U.S. intelligence agencies to track down and capture the alleged hijackers should have resulted in the attacks being stopped before they happened.
- The four planes should not have been hijacked because the systems in place to prevent hijackings should have been effective.
- The U.S. chain of command should have responded to the attacks immediately but it did not.
- The U.S. national air defenses should have responded effectively and some, if not all, of the hijacked aircraft should have been intercepted by military jets.
- The three WTC buildings should not have fallen through what should have been the path of most resistance.
In addition to addressing these problems, an effective alternative version of 9/11 would better explain facts related to Flight 77 and the Pentagon, Flight 93, and ancillary issues like 9/11 insider trading.
For simplicity, this alternative conspiracy should accept as much of the official account as possible, including that the alleged hijackers were on the planes. However, it should also pay attention to the question of who benefited from the attacks, which the official investigations did not address. The benefits realized by al Qaeda should be compared to the benefits realized by those within an alternative conspiracy.
The official account claims that OBL, KSM and the alleged hijackers went to great lengths to plan and implement the 9/11 operation for reasons of revenge and symbolism. This explanation does not make a great deal of sense considering that the Arab Muslim world has suffered enormously as a result of the attacks. The only ones who have benefited in that region are the ruling royal families of countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Kuwait, who have long collaborated with the West. Those minority groups have benefited from the War on Terror because it has temporarily protected them from regional threats like that posed by Saddam Hussein and from other challenges to their positions of power.
The attacks of September 11 were an act of war meant to gain control over others. That’s true no matter what conspiracy you believe. If you accept the official conspiracy theory, that 19 Arab hijackers committed these crimes under the direction of OBL and KSM but with no help from any government, then the war was a religious jihad and the jihadists wanted to control the behavior of the U.S. government.
Yet if you learn more about the facts, including that the alleged hijackers were not religious Muslims but were people who took drugs, drank alcohol and dated strippers, then you begin to see the need for another explanation. Add to this an understanding of how unbelievably lucky the alleged hijackers would have had to be to even begin accomplishing everything the official account gives them credit for, and the need for better answers grows.
If the 9/11 attacks were accomplished as a result of an insider conspiracy, then several implications become obvious. First, the evidence which was omitted or distorted by official investigators might lead to revealing the true conspiracy. Secondly, any examples of avoidance, obstruction, or false testimony to those investigations would give good leads on the true conspiracy.
Owning up to the possibility that we were so grandly manipulated is not easy though. The psychological barriers to these questions can be difficult to overcome. It doesn’t get easier with the realization that the official 9/11 narrative has been the driving force behind many other crimes, including the deaths of countless innocent people.
If an insider conspiracy for 9/11 is found to be true then it was probably not the first time the American people have been so thoroughly deceived. Historical events such as the “October Surprise” holding of the hostages and the Iran-Contra crimes, both investigated by 9/11 Commission vice chairman Lee Hamilton, might shed light on a system that periodically subverts democracy for its own purposes. Other examples include Operation Gladio and the deceptions behind the first Gulf War. As readers will discover in this book, there are many links between the actors in these various events.
There has been a need for appropriate language to discuss these kinds of operations. Professor Peter Dale Scott has provided such language by defining concepts such as deep events, deep politics and the deep state. These terms refer to covert mechanisms that facilitate the strategies of the politically-minded rich, a group otherwise referred to as the “overworld.”
Deep events, which Scott defines as those which are “systematically ignored or falsified in the mainstream media and public consciousness,” can be seen as sharing certain features, such as cover-up of evidence and irresoluble controversy over what happened. These features contribute to a suppressed memory of the event among the general public. Deep events are often associated with illegally sanctioned violence, and involve little known, but historically evident, cooperation between leaders of the state and organized crime.
Throughout this review of alternate suspects, the elements of a deep event are revealed to be present in the historical record of the 9/11 crimes. In this case, the public’s suppressed memory has been helped along by a subservient press.
What’s more, 9/11 can be seen as not only a deep event but a “constitutional deep event.” That is, the implementation of continuity of government (COG) plans as a result of 9/11 means that the U.S. constitution has been circumvented in favor of what former Assistant Attorney General Jack Goldsmith called the “Terror Presidency.” That office has been exploited by an influential power group, whose major operatives are Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, to pursue long-standing goals of U.S. global domination.
The question remains, however – was 9/11 not only a deep event but a deep state operation? As the suspects in this book are examined, evidence will be discussed that indicates the answer is yes. The crimes of 9/11 appear to have been a deception planned and perpetrated by powerful interests associated with a private network of deep state operatives, some of whom were embedded within U.S. political and military institutions.
Only half of the people reviewed in this book were in government or military roles at the time of the attacks. The others were private citizens working for think tanks or corporations. As will be seen, many of them have links to past crimes against democracy. These nineteen people may or may not have been consciously involved in a conspiracy to attack the United States on 9/11. But none of them are innocent and investigating them will lead to the truth about what happened.
Of course, an insider conspiracy can be seen to have had a much more believable motivation – the seizure and long-term maintenance of uncontested power. Such a conspiracy would have represented the interests of trans-national corporations and powerbrokers who have benefited, beyond imagination, from the 9/11 attacks.
Historical information is interwoven throughout this review because the old adage is certainly true that those who fail to learn their history are doomed to repeat it. Readers will find that 9/11 was not something new but, instead, was just another chapter in a long history of power plays. The 9/11 crimes were unique only in the sense that the ease of access and scope of information available to citizens today might still result in critical mass awareness and a widespread call for truth and justice.
Notes to Chapter 1
- Family Steering Committee for the 9/11 Independent Commission, Unanswered Questions, http://www.911independentcommission.org/questions.html
- David Ray Griffin, The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions, Olive Branch Press, 2005
- Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton with Benjamin Rhodes, Without Precedent: The Inside Story of the 9/11 Commission, First Vintage Books, 2006
- Private meeting with Lee Hamilton, May 2007
- Dana Bash, Jon Karl and John King, Bush asks Daschle to limit Sept. 11 probes, CNN, January 29, 2002
- Kristen Breitweiser, Wake-Up Call: The Political Education of a 9/11 Widow, Warner Books, 2006
- Philip Shenon, 9/11 Commission Could Subpoena Oval Office Files, New York Times, October 26, 2003
- Ron Nessen, It Sure Looks Different From the Inside, Playboy Press, 1978, p 59
- Kevin R. Ryan, The 9/11 Commission claims that “We found no evidence,” DigWithin.net, October 30, 2011
- National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, The 9/11 Commission Report, p 172
- Kevin R. Ryan, Why the NIST WTC 7 Report is False, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ArnYryJqCwU
- Thomas Hargrove, Third of Americans suspect 9-11 government conspiracy, Scripps News, August 1, 2006
- History Commons, Complete 9/11 Timeline
- In August 2011 I appeared as a guest on NPR, along with James Meigs of Popular Mechanics. As the only 9/11 skeptic in a show about 9/11 skeptics, I was given 5 minutes to respond to various leading questions. Meigs and the host used the remainder of the 42-minute program to belittle anyone questioning the official account. They used some form of the phrase “conspiracy theorist” every 30 seconds throughout the show. Similarly, I debated Skeptic Magazine’s Michael Shermer in 2007, and Air America radio. Shermer used the same techniques in response to pointed questions.
- CIA Document #1035-960
- David E. Scheim, Trust or Hustle: The Bush Record, CampaignWatch.org
- James Bamford, Body of secrets: anatomy of the ultra-secret National Security Agency. Random House. 2002
- U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, “Justification for US Military Intervention in Cuba (TS)”, U.S. Department of Defense, March 1962. For online pdf file, see the National Security Archive at the George Washington University Gelman Library, Washington, D.C.
- Kevin R. Ryan, Muslims did not attack the U.S. on 9.11, DigWithin.net, March 17, 2012
- Peter Dale Scott, American War Machine: Deep Politics, the CIA Global Drug Connection, and the Road to Afghanistan, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2010
- Readers interested in the propaganda model of the mainstream media should see Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, Random House, 1988 and 2002