11 September 2007

9/11, Six Years On and Only Burning Questions with No Answers

Questioning the official narrative of international terrorism, or of events like 9/11 or 7/7, is widely perceived as evidence of an irrational, paranoid, delusional mindset, that automatically necessitates some totally bizarre "truth" purporting to explain "what really happened."

I'm not interested in that, and most people aren't. But it's now becoming increasingly difficult to avoid the fact that what really happened on 9/11 remains unknown. The 9/11 Commission Report was denounced as a comprehensive "whitewash" by one of the very 9/11 widows, Lorie van Auken, who played a leading role in the 9/11 Families Steering Committee whose incessant lobbying forced the Bush administration to set-up the Commission.

Unfortunately, although there are some journalists in the mainstream media who are beginning to recognize, and belatedly voice their questions, about aspects of the 9/11 official story, the media continues to really fail to pick up on some of the most explosive expert testimonials that continue to emerge, discrediting the official narrative.

It was therefore with great surprise that I read the piece by veteran Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk in The Independent, noting some of the extant anomalies with the 9/11 official narrative. Fisk, one of the few Western journalists to have personally interviewed Osama bin Laden three times (all printed in The Independent in 1993, 1996, and, 1997), begins by establishing clearly that he has no regard for conspiracy theories about 9/11. He points out that "the Bush administration has screwed up everything – militarily, politically diplomatically – it has tried to do in the Middle East; so how on earth could it successfully bring off the international crimes against humanity in the United States on 11 September 2001?" Emphasising that he still holds to that view, Fisk nevertheless goes on to not that questions about the anomalies surrounding the 9/11 terrorist attacks, from physical evidence to intelligence issues, are perfectly legitimate:

"I am talking about scientific issues. If it is true, for example, that kerosene burns at 820C under optimum conditions, how come the steel beams of the twin towers – whose melting point is supposed to be about 1,480C – would snap through at the same time? (They collapsed in 8.1 and 10 seconds.) What about the third tower – the so-called World Trade Centre Building 7 (or the Salmon Brothers Building) – which collapsed in 6.6 seconds in its own footprint at 5.20pm on 11 September? Why did it so neatly fall to the ground when no aircraft had hit it? The American National Institute of Standards and Technology was instructed to analyse the cause of the destruction of all three buildings. They have not yet reported on WTC 7. Two prominent American professors of mechanical engineering – very definitely not in the 'raver' bracket – are now legally challenging the terms of reference of this final report on the grounds that it could be 'fraudulent or deceptive'.

"Journalistically, there were many odd things about 9/11. Initial reports of reporters that they heard 'explosions' in the towers – which could well have been the beams cracking – are easy to dismiss. Less so the report that the body of a female air crew member was found in a Manhattan street with her hands bound. OK, so let's claim that was just hearsay reporting at the time, just as the CIA's list of Arab suicide-hijackers, which included three men who were – and still are – very much alive and living in the Middle East, was an initial intelligence error.

"But what about the weird letter allegedly written by Mohamed Atta, the Egyptian hijacker-murderer with the spooky face, whose 'Islamic' advice to his gruesome comrades – released by the CIA – mystified every Muslim friend I know in the Middle East? Atta mentioned his family – which no Muslim, however ill-taught, would be likely to include in such a prayer. He reminds his comrades-in-murder to say the first Muslim prayer of the day and then goes on to quote from it. But no Muslim would need such a reminder – let alone expect the text of the 'Fajr' prayer to be included in Atta's letter.

"Let me repeat. I am not a conspiracy theorist. Spare me the ravers. Spare me the plots. But like everyone else, I would like to know the full story of 9/11, not least because it was the trigger for the whole lunatic, meretricious 'war on terror' which has led us to disaster in Iraq and Afghanistan and in much of the Middle East."

And Fisk is right. Six years after the event, asking hard questions about 9/11 is not simply rational; it is a matter of political urgency. Admitting that the official story is riddled with absurdities, contradictions, outright fabrications and inexplicable holes is merely to acknowledge what is in the public record. Yet doing so, is not the same as endorsing a specific theory about what actually happened -- because in truth, we simply don't really know what happened.

The biggest mistake of many in what passes for a 9/11 "truth" movement is it's claim to "know" the "truth" of 9/11. But this is a grave error that fails to appreciate the nuances and complexities in the little that we do know. For example, take the question of the collapse of the WTC towers, that Fisk also raises without any fear of being labelled a conspiraloon. Fisk recognizes that asking questions about the collapses does not automatically a conspiracy theory by itself. The interpretation of the new data requires a whole new analysis in itself. So we have some pertinent data, some disturbing questions, and some serious lines of inquiry. But any case that we build at this stage is purely circumstantial and liable to change in the event of introduction of new credible evidence. So while we should be outspoken and confident in highlighting very real anomalies and contradictions in the official narrative, we should be a little less hasty in endorsing full-fledged alternative narratives of what really happened. That doesn't mean we shouldn't try -- but that we should be prudent, pragmatic, and ultimately as close to the available data as we can be.

On the other hand, we have an equally fundamentalist theology emerging from the so-called icons of the "Left", claiming to "know", with a matching fervour, that 9/11 was certainly not an inside job; and moreover, that any attempt to question the official narrative of 9/11 is inherently an endorsement of insane conspiracy theories; and further that questioning the official narrative of 9/11 is, thereby de facto an intrinsically useless and fruitless pursuit, particularly by the lofty standards of the "Left".

In reality, I see no genuine equation between authentic and credible leftwing thought and such bizarre propositions that purport to close-off asking questions and pursuing inquiries into the historic event that opened and defined the politics of the 21st century, all in the name of "truth". And more and more experts are coming out who are vindicating those, 9/11 families, activists, and researchers alike, who have condemned the official story as worthless whitewash. Yet curiously, their stories don't make the news.

Here's a small sample of what you might've missed:

On 4th September, Joel S. Hirschhorn, Ph.D., who served for 12 years as a Senior Staff Member of the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and later as Director of Environment, Energy and Natural Resources for the National Governors Association, called for a new investigation of 9/11, saying "First, let the technical truth emerge. Then, if necessary, cope with the inevitable political, conspiracy and other questions."

On 27th August, Lynn Margulis, Ph.D., member of the National Academy of Sciences and world renowned scientist, characterized the official account of 9/11 as "a fraud" and called for a new investigation, "I suggest that those of us aware and concerned demand that the glaringly erroneous official account of 9/11 be dismissed as a fraud and a new, thorough, and impartial investigation be undertaken."

On 21st August, it was reported that James Quintiere, Ph.D., former Chief of the Fire Science Division of the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) that investigated the WTC collapses, called for an independent review of the World Trade Center Twin Tower collapse investigation. "I wish that there would be a peer review of this," he said, referring to the NIST investigation. "I think all the records that NIST has assembled should be archived. I would really like to see someone else take a look at what they've done; both structurally and from a fire point of view. ... I think the official conclusion that NIST arrived at is questionable."

Similarly, on 16th July, J. Marx Ayres, former member of the National Institute of Sciences Building Safety Council and former member of the California Seismic Safety Commission called for a new investigation of 9/11, and even went so far as endorse the specific line of inquiry being pursued by physicist Steve Jones: "Steven Jones' call for a serious investigation of the hypothesis that the WTC 7 and the Twin Towers were brought down, not just by impact damage and fire, but through the use of pre-positioned 'cutter-charges' must be the rallying cry for all building design experts to speak out."

Now these are not the only people to have spoken out in some form or other, based on their own expertise, calling into question the fundaments of everything we think we know about 9/11. There are hundreds of others, physicists, engineers, architects, ex-government, military, Air Force, intelligence officers, members of Congress, and so on, who have dismissed various elements of the official narrative as a fairy tale. Some of these people have their own interpretations, others articulate no particular overall viewpoint. Some are clearly close to suggesting some kind of collusion on the part of the state and/or its agencies; others are forthright in saying this; and still others are very cautious. But none of them are deluded, paranoid maniacs. In fact, most of them are leading experts in their respective fields, who are trying to offer a sincere and careful analysis.

How do I know about them? Well, we have one man to thank, Allan Miller, a US citizen who off his own back decided to set up a non-partisan non-theoretical website, Patriots Question 9/11 showcasing the testimonials of experts, whose own words were allowed to speak for themselves. Allan offers no theories, no explanations, and no speculations of his own. He merely lets hundreds of experts speak for themselves.

This data, these testimonials, show that the 9/11 case remains, very much, open. That's all I wanted to emphasise. That we don't know.

Check it out. It might just open your mind.

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