NINE-ONE-ONE — This three number combination is etched into the public psyche and instantly conjures up images of America’s most recent Day of Infamy. The images of chaos and terror were speedily delivered via satellite to anyone near a television set. At first, these images burst into the minds of the TV audience without context, but television viewers were not left long to worry their beautiful minds with troublesome questions like: “Who perpetrated these crimes?”
The narrative vacuum was quickly filled by the “official” story. This version of the events of 9/11 is forever enshrined in the volume known as The 9/11 Commission Report.
Proceeding apace with the development of the official story was an entire universe of unofficial stories. These alternative points of view were helpfully framed by President George Walker Bush on November 10th, 2001:
“We must speak the truth about terror. Let us never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories concerning the attacks of September the 11th; malicious lies that attempt to shift the blame away from the terrorists, themselves, away from the guilty.” (1)
More than a few watching the President address the UN that day were puzzled by the phrase “outrageous conspiracy theories” regarding 9/11. As they logged on to their dial-up Internet connections that evening, trying to understand what the President was talking about, they were privy to the nascent chatter that over time has morphed into a kaleidoscope of alternative narratives, fueled by 9/11 skepticism.
With the Internet, there is a transitory sense to information presented and referenced on this matrix of hard drives. Hyperlinks go dead, domains are not renewed, and digital media is more susceptible to easy manipulation than the printed page. So there is a certain satisfaction when a web resource makes a successful transition to print. (One example is researcher Paul Thompson’s remarkable book, The Terror Timeline, a wide-ranging resource that extensively mines publicly available information regarding the events of 9/11 and collates the information chronologically.)
Research meant to be transmitted via a more permanent media, (like a book), also carries an added level of gravitas. More capital must be dedicated to the mass production of a book than the establishment of a web domain, and a publisher must be willing to stake its reputation on the information disseminated under its imprint.
That is why the Elsevier publishing house is going to turn some heads with the publication of The Hidden History of 9-11-2001. 9/11 skepticism has been lifted from the realm of dime-a-dozen websites and small-scale publishers to an arena of scholarly review.
Hidden History is Volume 23 of Elsevier’s Research in Political Economy series. Edited by Paul Zarembka, Professor of Economics, Vol. 23 is a carefully researched, well-documented compendium, replete with accurate and informative citations.
A majority of contributors to Hidden History are associated with academic institutions, with one Emeritus, and one currently unaffiliated. This should not be construed as tacit endorsement by any of the Universities or Colleges. However, it should be considered likely that publishing in Hidden History will be cited as evidence of the maintenance of academic standing for some of the authors.
At issue is the veracity of the official story. As it turns out, not even the most basic premise of the Official Story is doubt-proof. We are told by the Bush administration, and reminded by the 9/11 Commission, that 19 Arab hijackers under the purview of al-Qaeda, pulled off the most technically demanding terror incident ever, right under the noses of the NSA, CIA, FBI, DIA, etc., etc., etc?
Leading the charge on the official story is independent researcher Jay Kolar. Kolar culls reports from various media sources that raise significant doubts as to the identity of eleven alleged hijackers. Ten of which have been reported alive in mainstream media reports, one report relayed by the reliable Robert Fisk. The eleventh case is that of Ziad Jarrah, who turns up simultaneously on more than one continent, and more than one country? more than once. Jarrah is the only hijacker who personally admitted under interrogation, (apparently instigated by the CIA), that he visited Afghanistan. However, Jarrah is documented by Kolar to be in Florida and Lebanon during the time period that he is alleged to be in Afghanistan and Dubai, where the “other Ziad Jarrah” is interrogated.
Kolar also has expertise in film analysis, and offers his criticism of video sequences that are often used prima facie to bolster the official story. Under heavy scrutiny is the supposed closed-circuit sequence from Dulles airport that reveals a host of anomalies. Among them a complete lack of verifiable security data on the released sequence, the obvious evidence of editing, (including a close-up and panning), and most peculiarly, two separate establishing shots for this supposedly closed-circuit video. Were two tapes spliced together? What date were the tape(s) taken? Why does the lighting suggest midday v. early morning?
With the identities of the hijackers in doubt, (and not-so damning evidence under review), our attention is then turned to common perceptions of what al-Qaeda is, in the chapter penned by author Nafeez Mossadeq Ahmed. Ahmed’s study examines how al-Qaeda has interfaced with Western intelligence agencies, (directly and via third parties), and concludes that contact was never severed with the Afghan mujahideen after the end of the Cold War. Instead, the “Afghan Arabs” remained a covert operations asset throughout the 1990’s, and very probably remain so today.
This is not a light observation to make, and it should be noted that Ahmed has performed his yeoman’s service with two previous books about 9/11.
His first, The War on Freedom (2002), earned praise from none other than Gore Vidal. His second, The War on Truth (2005), continued Ahmed’s research into the 9/11 milieu, and it’s fair to say that Ahmed’s analytical and rhetorical skills are steadily evolving, making for a very satisfying and informative read.
Ahmed gathers information from paths less traveled by, exposing the Pentagon’s dalliance with the mujahideen in the Balkans throughout the 1990’s, MI6’s tango with an al-Qaeda cell well after the 1993 World Trade Center bombings, American oil companies cynically supporting the Taliban and mujahideen to garner access to oil and gas, and the infiltration and manipulation of other al-Qaeda linked groups by various government agencies.
Ahmed concludes his study with his boldest statement yet on al-Qaeda and 9/11:
“It has no existence as an independent concrete entity. It designates a highly developed category of Western covert operations designed to secure destabilization through the creation, multiplication, mobilization, and manipulation of disparate mujahideen groups. The evidence suggests that this was certainly the case on 9-11.” (2)
There is only one chapter dedicated to analyzing a major physical anomaly of 9/11. It focuses on examining the WTC collapses, and is penned by theologian-turned-9/11-activist, David Ray Griffin.
Griffin is currently the most well known author contributing to Hidden History. Like Ahmed, he has penned two books on 9/11, The New Pearl Harbor and The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions (both 2004). Through a series of public lectures, an endless stream of radio interviews and one popular broadcast on C-SPAN, Griffin has become one of the most recognized faces regarding “other” versions of 9/11.
An accomplished writer, with many other books under his belt, Griffin clearly lays down the cumulative case that the demise of the WTC Towers may have been accomplished by controlled demolition. He goes further and states that the version of the collapses as described by the government agencies tasked to explain them cannot be true.
Griffin takes this position, informed by the analysis of BYU Physics Professor Steven E. Jones and other researchers who have spent a considerable amount of time observing the collapses of the WTC buildings. These researchers have concluded that the nature of the collapses suggests extra energies were involved to overcome the resistance of the lower floors of the WTC Towers, (which were not damaged), and in the case of WTC7, the vertical descent of the building is strongly reminiscent of an implosion, a classic controlled demolition.
The debate rages on physics forums and message boards across cyberspace as to the veracity of these claims, but one form of evidence which is hard to deny is the group of oral histories recorded by the NYFD, and released to the public by the New York Times. Firefighters and emergency medical workers give their accounts of what they observed and heard on 9/11, and many of them describe explosions and phenomena indicative of controlled demolition. Griffin presents several shocking excerpts from the testimonies and lets the reader calculate the chilling possibilities.
The Times offers these testimonies but does not remark upon the many reports of explosions, seemingly reluctant to connect the dots of the rapidity of the WTC collapses with the possibility that they were aided by agents other than gravity, damage and fire. Griffin notes this with some indignation, calling on the Times to follow through and conduct an investigation into these troubling accounts, and to examine how these oral testimonies lend credence to the notion of controlled demolition.
It is one thing to contemplate the physics of 9/11, and still another to list al-Qaeda as an asset of Western interests. If al-Qaeda was deployed as an asset against the American people, then who pulled the strings?
Hidden History is not a theoretical volume.
Zarembka does not fashion a hypothesis regarding the general orchestration of the attacks from the research presented. Instead, the eight individual contributors to Hidden History present their research un-tethered to a specific theory? but the inference is clear. The reader is asked to consider seriously the evidence presented and entertain the possibility that the attack from without was desired and facilitated by elements within the American power structure.
Contributor David MacGregor of the University of Western Ontario refers to this possibility as “Machiavellian State Terror” and offers a rich historical backdrop to illustrate his case. Among the many examples presented for consideration is the case of the FLQ in Canada.
The Front de libération du Québec, or FLQ, was a nationalist organization that advocated violence in the pursuit of its goal, the separation of the French-speaking Province of Quebec from Canada. The RCMP infiltrated the organization, and committed criminal acts, including the burning of a barn that was rumored to be a rendezvous point for the FLQ and Black Panthers.
MacGregor relates how RCMP operatives conflated the FLQ with bogus terror groups like the DEFLQ, and released statements posing as the ALQ, a supposed radical Islamist-linked militant wing of FLQ, training in Palestine. As well, an assassination, (preceded by false, planted news stories), was conducted by RCMP agents in Paris, and the assassination was blamed on infighting within the FLQ.
MacGregor shows that the notion of orchestrated terror incidents from within is not far-fetched, has historical precedent, and has happened even in a docile Western country like Canada.
Another Canadian author, Diana Ralph, presents perhaps the most sociologically cognizant chapter. Ralph argues that “Islamophobia” is currently the integral driving force behind the “War on Terror.”
The “War on Terror” itself is revealed to have roots dating back nearly a quarter of a century, when ideas about “pre-emptive” strikes against rogue states were born, as well as ideas about framing “international terrorism” as a distinctly Islamic-flavored entity.
Ralph also touches on the seeds that were sown in 1979 by Democratic president Jimmy Carter, the beginning of the facilitation of the Afghan mujahideen as a proxy army, all under the watchful gaze of ?minence grise, Zbigniew Brzezinski.
We are asked to consider the idea that the “War on Terror” is nothing more than a cover story for Imperial conquest? and that 9/11 was nothing more (or less!) than a pretext for aggression. The end result: giant profits for the likes of Dick Cheney, (PNAC alumnae), and others who see America’s role as the unchallenged Superpower of the world.
We are asked to reject Islamophobia, and critically engage with preconceived notions of Islam.
Above board profits by war profiteers and oil oligarchs are not the only kind to consider. Among the many suspicious events surrounding the events of 9/11 are reports of insider trading that preceded the event. This is where editor and contributor Paul Zarembka applies his specific field of expertise as a Professor of economics. In a careful and revealing manner, Zarembka scrutinizes the many reports that vary from concerned to alarmist, and draws a somewhat reserved
but serious conclusion.
As opposed to the reassuring footnote in the 9/11 Commission Report that tells us the issue has been entirely investigated and is wholly insignificant, Zarembka tells us that “?indeed, there is evidence of insider trading before 9-11 on American Airlines and United Airlines.” He examines the data that fueled the speculative reports, as well as a contemporary peer-reviewed study to reach his startling conclusion that fully contradicts the 9/11 Commission. (3)
A common refrain to be heard from any kind of investigator is, “follow the money”. If you can successfully trace the source of money that facilitates a crime, or identify those who profit from a crime, then you have taken a giant step toward solving that crime? barring coincidences, of course.
How many coincidences are people expected to accept without an allergic reaction?
Is it a coincidence that the lease on the WTC buildings changed hands weeks before 9/11? Is it a coincidence that PNAC longed for a Pearl Harbor type event, (preceded by an Imperial remedy concocted by Brzezinski), and months after the PNAC-heavy administration of George Walker Bush took office, the Pearl Harbor type event happened?
Is it a coincidence that several war games were scheduled for September 11th, 2001?
Four Arrows (aka Don Jacobs) explores the war games of 9/11 in far greater detail than The 9/11 Commission Report. The confluence of these drills with an actual event is troubling to say the least. (It should be mentioned that on the 7/7 terror attack in the UK, an uncannily similar situation occurred, a ‘terror drill’ involving bombs and British transit systems was underway as the actual event occurred.)
The event of 9/11 was foreshadowed by war games involving hijacked airliners, and at least one that involved a plane crashing into the Pentagon (!). In a practice terror attack involving UAVs called Amalgam Virgo, the complexity of the simulated attack is indeed daunting.
In Amalgam Virgo, multiple defense agencies and technologies are involved in a highly coordinated effort to deal with an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle launched by a ‘terrorist’ element. Accent is placed on simulating the “Realism and Fidelity of Our NORADS/SEADS Live-fly Exercises”.
The questions that immediately come to mind are; if these “exercises” designed to simulate a terrorist attack bleed into the civilian sector, how would a civilian agency know the difference? If a terrorist cell is given insider information about a specific day when multiple exercises converge, how would a military agency know where the simulation stops and reality begins? More importantly, how did they get the information?
How does The 9/11 Commission Report manage to gloss over and omit so much contradictory information?
Benjamin DeMott sent up one of the early warning signals in the October, 2004, Harper’s Magazine, with his piece, Whitewash as Public Service. DeMott found the report to be an utter failure as a critical document, but a righteous success as a diluent of blame.
In Hidden History, Bryan Sacks conducts a forensic examination of the 9/11 Commission and vindicates DeMott’s assertions. Executive Director Philip Zelikow is exposed as an exceedingly inappropriate selection as impartial judge of evidence. His longstanding ties to the Bush political dynasty practically guaranteed that the Commission would see no evil about the 9/11 conduct of the George Walker Bush administration, and lo, none was seen.
Sacks presents information that suggests Zelikow was deployed to manufacture a public myth about 9/11, not a comprehensive document that would answer all the burning questions that swirl around that fateful day.
Lee Hamilton would hear no evil, just as he ultimately heard none during the Iran/Contra affair, or during investigation of the “October Surprise.” Jamie Gorelick and Dietrich Snell would speak no evil, and Sacks portrays them busily obfuscating trails that led to FBI malfeasance.
Ultimately, Sacks’ autopsy of the Commission reveals it be an elaborate shell game, revealing evidence when congruent with the Official Story, and utterly omitting it when contradictory. DeMott’s early prognosis is confirmed after this biopsy, and yes, it was terminal.
Elsevier has an excellent pedigree as a producer of textbooks and scientific research, as well as a host of topics in the area of social studies. Hidden History is a benchmark in 9/11 research; a serious reference volume that does not peddle vacuous theory, but instead offers up facts to be considered, and places 9/11 within a historical and social context that differs radically from the Official Story. It offers no shame to the Elsevier pedigree.
The 9/11 Commission Report has not chilled speculation about the events of 9/11. Rather, it has given impetus to a bevy of researchers who don’t believe the public myth.
Hidden History will have the same effect, but in this case, the effect is wholly intentional.
1. Bush, George Walker. (2001) President Bush Speaks to United Nations. http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/11/20011110-3.html
2. Ahmed, Nafeez. (2006) Terrorism as Statecraft: Al-Qaeda and Western Covert Operations After the Cold War. In: P. Zarembka (Eds), The Hidden History of 9-11-2001. Research in Politcal Economy (Vol. 23). Amsterdam: Elsevier. p. 181
3. Zarembka, Paul. (2006) Initiation of the 9-11 Operation, With Evidence of Insider Trading Beforehand. In: P. Zarembka (Eds), The Hidden History of 9-11-2001. Research in Politcal Economy (Vol. 23). Amsterdam: Elsevier. pp. 49-50
(A final note, there is one more chapter in Hidden History that I did not discuss, The UK Pension System: The Betrayal by New Labour in its Neoliberal Global Context, by Jamie Morgan. In my opinion this chapter serves a thread of continuity to previous volumes of Research in Political Economy, and although the chapter has tangential value regarding the aftermath of 9/11, doesn’t deal as much with the event of 9/11, which is what I study and write about.)
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