Threshold Fears and Unanswered Questions about 9/11
By Peter Phillips
For many Americans, there is a deep psychological desire for the 9/11 tragedy to be over. The shock of the day is well remembered and terrorist alerts from Homeland Security serve to maintain lasting tensions and fears. The 9/11 Commission report gave many a sense of partial healing and completion – especially given the corporate media’s high praise of the report. There is a natural resistance to naysayers who continue to question the US government’s version of what happened on September 11, 2001. This resistance is rooted in our tendency towards the inability to conceive of people we know as evil; instead evil ones must be others, very unlike ourselves.
We all remember, as young children, scary locations that created deep fears. We might imagine monsters in the closet, dangers in a nighttime backyard, and creepy people in some abandoned house down the street. As we get older we build up the courage to open the closet, or walk out into the backyard to smell the night air. As adults there are still dark closets in our socio-cultural consciousness that make it impossible to even consider the possibility of the truthfulness of certain ideas. These fearful ideas might be described as threshold concepts in that they may be on the borders of discoverability, yet we deny even the potentiality of implied veracity – something is so evil it is completely unimaginable.
A threshold concept facing Americans is the possibility that the 9/11 Commission Report was on many levels a cover-up for the failure of the US government to prevent the tragedy. Deeper past the threshold is the idea that the report failed to address sources of external assistance to the terrorists. Investigations into this area might have lead to a conclusion that elements of various governments – including our own – not only knew about the attacks in advance, but also may have helped facilitate their implementation. The idea that someone in the Government of the United States contributed support to such a horrific attack is inconceivable to many. It is a threshold concept that is so frightening that it brings up a state of mind akin to complete unbelievability.
The intrepid director of Project Censored cuts to heart of the 9/11 truth dilemma, which is not the absence of evidence but the public’s fear to know. It is perhaps time for some of us in the movement to rest the factual case, and address the jury’s fear. It’s still by far the biggest hurdle we face and Phillips starts to help us surmount it here.
Philosophy/Religion professor David Ray Griffin has recently published his findings on the omissions and distortions of the 9/11 Commission report. Griffin’s book brings into question the completeness and authenticity of the 9/11 Commission’s work. Griffin questions why extensive advanced warnings from several countries were not acted upon by the administration, how a major institutional investor knew to buy put-options on American and United Airlines before the attack, and why photos of the Pentagon immediately after the attack show damage inconsistent with a crash of a 757 airliner.
Additionally, Griffin notes questions remain on why the 9/11 Commission failed to address the reports that $100,000 was wired to Mohamed Atta from Saeed Sheikh, an agent for Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI), under the direction of the head of ISI General Mahmud Ahmed. General Ahmed resigned his position less than one month later. The Times of India reported that Indian intelligence had given US officials evidence of the money transfer ordered by Ahmad and he was dismissed after the “US authorities sought his removal.”
Also, the 9/11 Commission report failed to address the reasons for the collapse of World Trade Center (WTC) building 7 more than six hours after the attack. WTC-7 was a 47-story steel frame building that had only small fires on a few floors. WTC buildings 5 & 6 had much larger fires and did not collapse. This has led a number of critics to speculate that WTC 7 was a planned demolition.
Overall concerns with the official version of 9/11 have been published and discussed by scholars and writers around the world including: Jim Mars, Nafeez Ahmed, Michael Ruppert, Cynthia McKinney, Barrie Zwicker, Webster Tarpley, Michel Chossudovsky and many others. The response to most has been to label these discussions as conspiracy theories unworthy of media coverage or further review. Pursuit of a critical analysis of these questions is undermined by the psychological barrier about 9/11 issues as threshold concepts – too awful to even consider.
We may be on the borders of discovery regarding the possibility of a great evil within our own government, and perhaps others outside as well. We must step past the threshold and have the courage to ask the questions, demand answers, and support research into all aspects of this American tragedy. Perhaps the closet isn’t as dark and as fearful as we envision. If we don’t courageously look and search into the deepest regions of our fears how can we assure our children and ourselves a safe and honest future?
Peter Phillips is a Professor of Sociology at Sonoma State University and Director of Project Censored a media research organization.
David Ray Griffin’s book “The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions” is available from Olive Branch Press.
Peter Phillips Ph.D.
Sociology Department/Project Censored
Sonoma State University
1801 East Cotati Ave.
Rohnert Park, CA 94928