Posts Tagged ‘conspiracy’

When Is A Conspiracy A Conspiracy? More Anarchist Cooking

Saturday, August 3rd, 2013

Chicago Eight Benefit Poster

Poster for Benefit for Chicago Eight defendants put on by Wavy Gravy

When is it a conspiracy, and when is it something else?

I got in a debate with my friend Jack over the nature of conspiracies, whether they constitute the basis for history or coincidence. He tends to conspiracy I tend to coincidence. But it did bring up some tricky questions as to when for instance a secret plan becomes a conspiracy. He used the Lincoln assassination as a case of conspiracy, I used the D-Day deception of the Germans as an example of war time planning not a conspiracy, where he argued that because it was a secret plan, it was by definition a conspiracy. Jack mentioned the Chicago Eight, as an example of conspiracy, I countered that the charges did not stick. He also brought up the case of government conspiracy against Martin Luther King. I countered that there is no proof of a federal conspiracy against Martin Luther King and that he was siding with the view that history can be explained as a conspiracy something I rejected as plainly not true. He countered that on a case by case basis conspiracies can be shown to exist and then he used a quote from the famous ‘Chicago Eight’ defense lawyer William Kunstler, “conspiracy in Latin means ‘to breathe together,” to which I replied by that overly broad definition all humans on Earth are breathing together and it would make the modern meaning meaningless. I wanted to narrow the definition and Jack seemed to be constantly attempting to expand it. This became the crux of our dinner time debate, as we prepared a meal together and then argued during dinner, what constitutes a conspiracy?

Confronting the Police

Police Stop Marchers Chicago 1968

This is from the Federal Judicial Center site:

The Chicago Conspiracy Trial: A Short Narrative

The trial of political activists accused of inciting riots during the Democratic National Convention of 1968 attracted national attention and exposed the depths of political and cultural divisions at a crucial moment in the nation’s history. The trial of the “Chicago Seven” became a defining event in public debates about the Vietnam War, the student protest movement, and the fairness of the federal judicial process.

The defendants and their lawyers used the courtroom as a platform for a broad critique of American society and an almost anarchic challenge to the legitimacy of governmental authority. The judge in the case displayed open contempt for the defendants, and his own unorthodox behavior threatened public confidence in the judiciary. The nearly five-month long trial illustrated the contentious and often theatrical nature of public affairs during the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Jerry Rubin at House Unamerican Committee Hearing

Jerry Rubin at the House Committee on Un-American Activities hearing.

The violence surrounding one of the essential rites of American democracy deepened the widespread perception that the nation faced a political and cultural crisis in 1968. The city of Chicago, the U.S. Department of Justice, the House Committee on Un-American Activities, and the presidentially appointed National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence all responded with investigations of the violence. Within days, the Daley administration issued the first report, blaming the violence on “outside agitators,” described as “revolutionaries” who came to Chicago “for the avowed purpose of a hostile confrontation with law enforcement.” The chair of the House Un-American Activities subcommittee, Richard Ichord, suspected communist involvement in the demonstrations, but his hearings devolved into a bizarre preview of the conspiracy trial when a shirtless, barefooted Jerry Rubin burst into the hearing room with a bandolier of bullets and a toy gun. In December 1968, the report of the National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence labeled the disturbances in Chicago a “police riot” and presented evidence of “unrestrained and indiscriminate police violence on many occasions.”

Police Riot Chicago 1968

Police Riot Chicago 1968

John Mitchell, the new U.S. Attorney General appointed by President Nixon following his inauguration in January 1969, worked with the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago to strengthen draft indictments of demonstrators, and Department of Justice officials asked U.S. Attorney Thomas Foran, a political ally of Mayor Daley, to remain in office and direct the prosecution. On March 20, 1969, the grand jury indicted eight demonstrators and eight policemen. Seven policemen were charged with assaulting demonstrators and the eighth policeman was charged with perjury.

The indicted demonstrators, soon known as the “Chicago Eight,” were charged with conspiring to use interstate commerce with intent to incite a riot. Six of the defendants—David Dellinger, Rennie Davis, Tom Hayden, Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, and Bobby Seale of the Black Panther Party—were also charged with crossing state lines with the intent to incite a riot. The other two defendants, academics John Froines and Lee Weiner, were charged with teaching demonstrators how to construct incendiary devices that would be used in civil disturbances. If convicted of all charges, each of the defendants faced up to ten years in prison. The case entered the court record as United States v. Dellinger et al. These were the first prosecutions under the anti-riot provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1968.

Bobby Seal Bound and Gagged

Bobby Seal Bound and Gagged by Judge Hoffman’s orders during trial

The eight were linked less by common action or common political goals than by a shared radical critique of U.S. government and society. Rennie Davis thought the government “lumped together all the strands of dissent in the sixties,” and Tom Hayden concluded that the government had “decided to put radicalism on trial.” On the witness stand, Abbie Hoffman dismissed the idea of any conspiracy among the eight defendants, adding, “we couldn’t even agree on lunch.”

Judge Hoffman issued no contempt orders until the argument phase closed. Then, while the jury deliberated, the judge cited the defendants and their lawyers for 159 counts of criminal contempt and sentenced them to prison terms ranging from less than three months for Lee Weiner to more than four years for Kunstler.

After five days of deliberation, the jury on February 19 acquitted all seven defendants of conspiracy and acquitted Froines and Weiner on all charges. The jury found the five defendants (other than Froines and Weiner) guilty of traveling between states with the intent to incite a riot. Judge Hoffman imposed the maximum sentence of five years in prison on each of the defendants found guilty.

In a separate proceeding in the Northern District of Illinois, a jury acquitted seven of the eight indicted policemen. The case against the eighth was dropped.

The defendants and their attorneys appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit for a reversal of the criminal convictions and the contempt citations.

On November 21, 1972, an appeals court panel of Judges Thomas E. Fairchild, Wilbur J. Pell, and Walter J. Cummings unanimously overturned the defendants’ criminal convictions.

In January 1973, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it would not pursue any further prosecution. Only Judge Pell found the Anti-Riot Act to be unconstitutional, so that statute stood.

Chicago Seven Defendants and Lawyers

Chicago Seven defendants and lawyers

The Martin Luther King conspiracy case is interesting in that the accused assassin James Earl Ray first confessed and then recanted and claimed innocence. There were investigations, allegations of conspiracy but until the 1999 civil trial in Memphis, the allegations went nowhere. The civil trial based primarily on the confession of Loyd Jowers gave a verdict that there was a conspiracy to kill Martin Luther King but did not specify who was involved. Justice department investigations in 2000 then concluded that Jowers testimony was unreliable. The records from a government investigation have not been released.

Moments after King is shot

Jesse Jackson and others pointing to source of shot killing Martin Luther King

This is from the Mary Ferrell Foundation site:

In the early evening of April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed by a single shot which struck his face and neck. He was standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, where he had come to lead a peaceful march in support of striking sanitation workers. About an hour later, he was pronounced dead at 7:05 PM at St. Joseph Hospital.

Shortly after the murder, a bundle was dropped near the door of Canipe’s Amusement Co. near the assassination scene, and a white Mustang sped away. Memphis police officers found the bundle to contain a .30-06 rifle, ammunition, a pair of binoculars, and other items. The rifle had been purchased in Birmingham by a Harvey Lowmeyer, later determined to be one of several aliases used by Ray.

Since recanting his confession three days after giving it, James Earl Ray began claiming his innocence, saying that he did not know King was in Memphis and that his actions had for months been directed by a mysterious person named “Raoul.” Beyond Ray’s own possibly self-serving statements, though, there are several indications that there was more to the King murder than just Ray. Among these are Ray’s sophisticated use of aliases, evidence of framing including a second white Mustang at the assassination scene and the convenient “bundle” of evidence implicating Ray, and several indications that Ray was aided or directed at times.

James Earl Ray In Shelby County Jail

James Earl Ray being transported shortly after capture

The House Select Committee on Assassinations conducted investigations into the murders of both President John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In the King case, the HSCA wrote about the context of the murder, noting in particular the then-recent revelations of the FBI’s COINTELPRO operations and its harassment of Dr. King. Regarding the assassination itself, the HSCA interviewed Ray extensively, along with his brothers and many witnesses and officials. Some of the HSCA’s findings were:

Ray fired the shot that killed King, from the roominghouse bathroom window.
Ray’s “Raoul” story was “not worthy of belief, and may have been invented partly to cover for help received from his brothers John and Jerry.”
There was a “likelihood” of conspiracy. In particular, the HSCA focused on an alleged $50,000 bounty on King’s life offered in St. Louis.

Loyd Jowers, the owner of Jim’s Grill located on the ground floor of the building which contained the roominghouse, confessed to involvement in the King assassination on ABC Prime Time Live in 1993. Jowers said that a Mafia-associated Memphis produce dealer named Frank Liberto gave him $100,000 to hire a hitman to kill King. Jowers said he stored the actual assassination rifle in his restaurant, retrieving it from the real killer.

Ray’s attorney William Pepper pursued this allegation, and the King family sued Jowers in a wrongful death lawsuit. This resulted in a civil trial in 1999. At the end of that trial, the Judge read the jury’s verdict: “In answer to the question did Loyd Jowers participate in a conspiracy to do harm to Dr. Martin Luther King, your answer is yes. Do you also find that others, including governmental agencies, were parties to this conspiracy as alleged by the defendant? Your answer to that one is also yes. And the total amount of damages you find for the plaintiffs entitled to is one hundred dollars. Is that your verdict?” The jury replied: “Yes.”

In 2000, the Department of Justice investigated the Jowers allegation. Noting inconsistencies in his story, and calling it “the product of a carefully orchestrated promotional effort,” the DOJ found the story to be “unsubstantiated.”


Martin Luther King

Thus in the case of King there is evidence, a verdict, and government claims of the unreliability of the testimony of the main witness, and the accused James Earl Ray died in prison before the civil trial. Government records remain unreleased. Conspiracy or not the case in this case seems to be still out. But certainly there were those who would have loved to see King dead.

I then argued would war contingency planning because it was secret be a conspiracy? He said no, because it was not acted on. But I thought by his using the example of the Latin meaning of conspiracy being “to breathe together” and particularly to make a secret plan, was a conspiracy. But he said only acting on the plan made it a conspiracy. I disagreed but then we dropped the argument, having finished dinner, with us both claiming victory. Essentially I argued that he wanted to make everything done in secret by several persons to be a conspiracy, and I argued that the meaning had to be more specific or it would be overly vague and lose it’s potency as a word signifying something specific.

Inflatable tank

Inflatable dummy tank used in D-Day deception

This is from Wikipedia article on Operation Fortitude:

Operation Fortitude was the codename for a World War II military deception employed by the Allied nations as part of an overall deception strategy (code named Bodyguard) during the build-up to the 1944 Normandy landings. Fortitude was divided into two sections, North and South, with the aim of misleading the German high command as to the location of the imminent invasion.

Both Fortitude plans involved the creation of fake field armies (based in Edinburgh and the south of England) which threatened Norway (Fortitude North) and Pas de Calais (Fortitude South). The operation was intended to divert Axis attention away from Normandy and, after the invasion on June 6, 1944, to delay reinforcement by convincing the Germans that the landings were purely a diversionary attack.

Fake Aircraft

Fake Aircraft in Operation Fortitude part of D-Day deception plan

Lets look at these elements, there is a group of individuals, they come together to make a plan, it is done in secret or not, and may or may not be illegal, and may or may not be acted upon. Essential elements people making a plan. Obviously that is not a conspiracy until at least one other element is added. So is a conspiracy a plan made in secret by several persons? Or is a conspiracy a plan made by several persons to commit an illegal act? So we have two additional elements, is it illegality that makes it a conspiracy, or is it secrecy that makes it a conspiracy? If neither of those are a conspiracy, then we need to combine more elements, in other words is a conspiracy, does it have to be acted upon? There I would argue no, a conspiracy is a plan, not an action, the Nazi guards in the concentration camps did not conspire to kill the Jews they acted as guards in a prison camp that was presumably legal by German law. Were the cruel guards conspiring to kill prisoners, or simply acting in manners that were inhuman and degrading? Do you need to conspire to be a sadist?

Hanging of Convicted Concentration Camp Personel

Hanging Concentration Camp Director and Guards in Poland after war

This is from a Der Spiegel article on the renewed convictions of Nazi concentration camp guards.

Demjanjuk was found guilty by a Munich court and sentenced to five years in jail for being an accessory to the murder of 28,060 Jews while he was a guard at Sobibor in occupied Poland.

According to Kurt Schrimm, the head of the Ludwigsburg Central Office, the Demjanjuk conviction represented a new interpretation of the law. It had made new trials feasible because prosecutors no longer need to establish culpability in specific murders to secure a conviction. Having been a guard in a death camp was now seen as proof enough of having assisted in murder.

Concentration Camp Prisoner Accosting Former Guard

Russian former Prisoner of War accusing Nazi guard of cruelty

Was the secret plan to say release a new product upon the market for Christmas a conspiracy? Or was it simply good marketing to hold back information from the public to create anticipation and thus drive sales, a teaser as it were, I would say it was not a conspiracy but a business technique. If secrecy in itself is not a conspiracy, nor is a plan, nor a secret plan, then when does a plan become a conspiracy? Is the intention to commit an illegal act that makes it a conspiracy? And if you are following orders, as say in the case of Oliver North and Admiral Poindexter in the Iran Contra scandal where an elaborate plan was concocted to circumvent the Congressional ban on funding the Guerilla war by the Contras against the Sandinista revolutionary government in Nicaragua, which was a plan initially to get Israel to sell arms to Iran, then engaged in a war with Iraq in order to encourage Iran to act on the behalf of the USA to get several hostages freed who were in the hands of Iranian backed Hezbollah in Lebanon. The profits from the arms sale were then to be used to fund the Contra operations, thus technically using money earned from Israeli sales to fund American supported forces, and free hostages and thus bypass the legal restriction on using US Taxpayer gained revenue to fund the contras on the one hand, and to bypass the embargo on Iran on the other by using Israeli arms not American.

Oliver North Defending His Actions in Iran Contra

Oliver North Defending Actions in Iran Contra Scandal

This from the Wikipedia article on the Iran Contra scandal:

The Iran–Contra affair (Persian: ایران-کنترا‎, Spanish: caso Irán-Contra), also referred to as Irangate, Contragate or the Iran–Contra scandal, was a political scandal in the United States that came to light in November 1986. During the Reagan administration, senior administration officials secretly facilitated the sale of arms to Iran, the subject of an arms embargo. Some U.S. officials also hoped that the arms sales would secure the release of hostages and allow U.S. intelligence agencies to fund the Nicaraguan Contras. Under the Boland Amendment, further funding of the Contras by the government had been prohibited by Congress.

Reagan Calls Contras Freedom Fighters

Reagan Calls Contras Freedom Fighters

My question is does this constitute a conspiracy to bypass the law of the land, or was it a smart work around that was technically within the law but perhaps against the intent of the law, in other words were they going to use loopholes like any good tax accountant, to work around the laws? Does doing a work around constitute a conspiracy? On the surface of it it sure seemed that there was some conspiring going on. But to call it a conspiracy in the sense of that to kill Lincoln, is clearly not the case.

The scandal began as an operation to free seven American hostages being held by a group with Iranian ties connected to the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution. It was planned that Israel would ship weapons to Iran, and then the United States would resupply Israel and receive the Israeli payment. The Iranian recipients promised to do everything in their power to achieve the release of the U.S. hostages. The plan deteriorated into an arms-for-hostages scheme, in which members of the executive branch sold weapons to Iran in exchange for the release of the American hostages. Large modifications to the plan were devised by Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North of the National Security Council in late 1985, in which a portion of the proceeds from the weapon sales was diverted to fund anti-Sandinista and anti-communist rebels, or Contras, in Nicaragua.

Perhaps Oliver North and others were simply being creative in working out a plan that would have to be secret because of the sensitive nature of the plan, and also was it legal because it was being enacted by agents of the government who had been advised to proceed in their plans. This may have been secret from the public at large but was no secret to those in Washington concerned with such matters. Just as secret government spying may be deplorable from a civil rights standpoint, it is seen as a necessity by national security actors. The policy to open a door to Iran and get some hostages freed, may have seemed to be a laudable plan, even if it did skirt around the embargo against selling arms to Iran.

Reagan Speaking on Iran Contra

Reagan Speaking Publicly on Iran Contra

While President Ronald Reagan was a supporter of the Contra cause, the evidence is disputed as to whether he authorized the diversion of the money raised by the Iranian arms sales to the Contras. Handwritten notes taken by Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger on December 7, 1985, indicate that Reagan was aware of potential hostage transfers with Iran, as well as the sale of Hawk and TOW missiles to “moderate elements” within that country. Weinberger wrote that Reagan said “he could answer to charges of illegality but couldn’t answer to the charge that ‘big strong President Reagan passed up a chance to free the hostages’”. After the weapon sales were revealed in November 1986, Reagan appeared on national television and stated that the weapons transfers had indeed occurred, but that the United States did not trade arms for hostages. The investigation was impeded when large volumes of documents relating to the scandal were destroyed or withheld from investigators by Reagan administration officials. On March 4, 1987, Reagan returned to the airwaves in a nationally televised address, taking full responsibility for any actions that he was unaware of, and admitting that “what began as a strategic opening to Iran deteriorated, in its implementation, into trading arms for hostages”.

So again I ask was this a conspiracy or bungled national policy? It certainly was done as secretly as could possibly be expected with so many parties engaged, it was of dubious legality, skirting laws but not necessarily breaking them. But clearly the intent was to do whatever it took to get the hostages freed and as a byproduct use profits to fund contras.

We are in murky territory. We are talking about good intentions perhaps on Reagan’s part, ambitious government servants such as Oliver North determined to do his best to serve the public welfare and prove his value to the Administration by acting upon a plan that was devised to satisfy both the law and the policy of the administration.

Conspiracy does not seem to capture the true meaning of this, it seems more to obscure the significance of the human tragedy or perhaps comedy of errors that ensued.

Iran Contra Finger Pointing

Iran Contra Finger Pointing

So we are back to what is a conspiracy. I would contend that a conspiracy is a plan concocted by a group of persons with an attempt to keep limit those who are privy to the plan, which is to subvert and break one way or another, the laws of the land, excluding enemies acknowledged to be enemies of the country, such as the D-Day secret planning to distract the German war machine to save lives and insure the success of the operation by keeping the actual invasion site secret for as long as possible.

Lincoln Assassination

Artist conception of Booth shooting Lincoln

Thus the Lincoln assassination conspiracy fits that definition, and has been called a conspiracy by the government with the agents of the conspiracy captured and punished. The co-conspirators were not considered to be enemy soldiers because they were not in uniform, and were acting as criminals. A stealth cavalry assault upon Washington, DC by the rebels would not be considered to be a conspiracy, but a secret war plan.

The Trial of the Lincoln Assassination Conspirators
by Douglas Linder (c) 2002
Every American schoolchild learns the tragic story of the assassination, just as the long nightmare of the Civil War drew to a close, of President Abraham Lincoln. They know of the shot fired by John Wilkes Booth into the brain of the great President as he watched Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theatre on April 14, 1865. They know of Booth’s dramatic leap from the presidential box to the stage, his cry as he ran of “Sic Semper Tyrannus!,” his escape on horseback, and of his own death by bullet twelve days later in a burning Virginia barn.

Far fewer Americans, however, know that Booth’s evil deed was part of a larger conspiracy of Confederate sympathizers–a conspiracy whose targets included Vice President Johnson and Secretary of State Seward and which had as its goal destabilization of the entire federal government. Fewer Americans yet know the fascinating story of the trial of eight conspirators before a specially appointed military commission in Washington.

Hanging of Lincoln conspirators

Hanging of Lincoln conspirators

The Chicago Seven were accused of conspiracy and then the charges were dropped. In the case of Martin Luther King, early investigations found Ray guilty, later a civil trial finds there was a conspiracy, but then nothing comes of it other than a sense that this may have been part of a political process, one in which America’s past racism and collective guilt over it was on trial, but such speculations go beyond the the scope of this blog and I will leave it at that, as the case does not seem to be closed in this matter.

Operation Fortitude was called a plan. Iran Contra was called a scandal, Nazi concentration camp guards were hung for crimes against humanity and sentenced to prison for aiding in the murder of inmates according to German law. Only in the Lincoln case are they called conspirators and convicted. There are distinctions and these distinctions make a difference. An interesting broadening of the concept of conspiracy in a legal sense is that of the 1970 RICO Act. Here it is the intent to participate in an illegal activity as defined by the act that is considered to be a conspiracy. Perhaps in the RICO Act the definition of conspiracy has been given its penultimate modern meaning.

This is from the web site dedicated to explaining and commenting on the act. LLC
Jeffrey E. Grell, Esq.

Conspiracy – 1962(d)

A RICO claim is broad but a RICO conspiracy claim is even broader. Anyone who agrees or conspires to pursue the same criminal objective can be held liable for a RICO violation. Salinas v. United States, 522 U.S. 52, 63-64 (1997). “If conspirators have a plan which calls for some conspirators to perpetrate the crime and others to provide support, the supporters are as guilty as the perpetrators.” Id. at 64. A conspirator must simply intend to further an endeavor which, if completed, would satisfy all elements of a civil RICO claim. Id. at 65. Thus, there are two ways to effectively defend against a RICO conspiracy claim: 1) the defendant must prove he never intended to further the criminal endeavor; or 2) the defendant must prove that the endeavor did not satisfy the elements of a civil RICO claim. Because the first defense is fact based, it is seldom an appropriate defense to raise in a dispositve motion. The best way to undermine a claim for conspiracy on a dispositive motion is to undermine the legal sufficiency of the allegations supporting the substantive offense. See Howard v. American Online Inc., 208 F.3d 741, 751 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 531 U.S. 828 (2000) (a claim under section 1962(d) may not stand unless the plaintiffs can sustain a viable claim under another subsection of section 1962).

Mr. Grell does a yeoman’s job of explaining the act and how to defend against the charge of conspiracy under the act. Interestingly the act which was originally intended to go after Mafia figures has become mostly used against political activists, white collar criminals and others as he indicates in his introduction:

The purpose of this website is to serve as a resource for attorneys, clients, the media, and any member of the public with an interest in the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1961-1968. When it was passed in 1970, Congress’ goal was to eliminate the ill-effects of organized crime on the nation’s economy. Today, although seldom used against the Mafia, RICO is a common claim in federal courts, usually asserted by the purported victims of white collar crimes, such as mail and wire fraud.

RICO Act Used Against Tree Sitters

RICO Act used against Environmentalists

The most common defendant to a civil RICO claim is not the stereotypical godfather figure, but is instead the CEO of a corporation, the controlling shareholder of a closed-corporation, the trustee of an estate or trust, or the leader of a political protest group. Even the Catholic Church has been named as a RICO defendant.

Perhaps Jack is right on some of this, certainly there are good reasons to suspect the government of coverups. The various events listed show the very political nature of each of these cases, where there are issues at stake that go way beyond the specifics of each case into defining and determining the direction of the flow of future events. Conspiracy or simply people acting in reaction to events? The case is still out, and I will concede that in specific instances there is a definite attempt to adjust the flow of events in one direction or another, but there are so many factors, more than I suspect even the most sophisticated computer modeling to date can account for, and even if a sufficiently sophisticated model was devised, to intervene successfully to determine the flow of events is so fraught with unpredictable variables that it would seem to be a hopeless and counterproductive task. That does not deny that there are constant attempts on multiple levels to do so. But look at weather forecasting, that is, for all the science and technology involved still a very imperfect science, and certainly far, far from intelligent weather modification, despite attempts otherwise. I won’t even go into the whole 9/11 morass as that needs more time to be worked out and it goes into the matter of defining enemy combatants, was Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda at war with the USA, and was the attack an act of war? Did the government stage the operation as some sort of conspiracy to reduce American citizens freedoms and impose a national security state? All this is going to take us into another blog posting, as it is this one has covered more ground than I initially intended.

Chicago Eight and then Seven conspiracy trial Federal Justice Center link

Martin Luther King Assassination information link
Operation Fortitude and D-Day diversion link

Der Spiegel Link to article on recent German push to convict Nazi crimes

Iran Contra article link

Lincoln conspiracy trial link

RICO Act information site link

My Food Of The Day, August 2nd If that Hanging business hasn’t destroyed your appetite

Images are from sites above or Google Images.

On to a more appetizing subject, this is my breakfast this morning. I made a summer tortilla meal with one chopped El Serrano pepper, half a chopped salad tomato, about four ounces of cubed sharp cheddar, a medium slice of onion, four pieced of chopped garlic, cilantro and lime slices. These were placed on a plate without cooking. On the griddle I placed a third of a soy chorizo, half a dozen chopped mushrooms, a sliced pre-baked potato with oregano, basil, cumin and some thyme, and a hand full of nopale slices. Then I microwaved 8 corn tortillas, and split everything with my buddy Jack, visiting from Mexico. I had made poached eggs but forgot them and had to throw them out in the evening when I went to make dinner. Wasted protein. This made a fresh and tasty breakfast to which was added New Mexico style salsa, hot sauce and black pepper.

This evening Jack and I collaborated on making pasta. Mostly it was my job. I chopped up a couple of cloves of garlic and half an onion, put about half in a pan with olive oil. After they had been sauteed for long enough to change the onion color, I added a can of peeled Italian style tomato and a can of tomato paste. I also added rosemary, thyme, basil, oregano and bay leaf to the sauce and leftovers from the last pasta sauce.

The other half Jack put in the frying pan, with a little olive oil, a full green pepper, chopped fine, about seven or eight mushrooms, chopped, and an El Serrano pepper. He pre-cooked about four strips of pork bacon, poured off the grease chopped it up, with about two dozen black grapes chopped in half, sauteed the veges, added two pieces of skinless chicken breast which I spiced with turmeric, white pepper, and basil. I also added basil, oregano and thyme to the rest of the sauteed vegetables, and after the chicken had mostly cooked I added in the bacon and grapes.

I boiled a box of whole wheat spaghetti, with a little salt. Drained the spaghetti, placed on plates with sauteed veges and chicken then poured the sauce on top with grated Monterrey Jack cheese. Later I added a slice of toast. This was split between two persons with some sauce and pasta left over.

Both meals were good, although I might have added beans to the breakfast and a simple lettuce and tomato salad to the dinner if I had to change either.

Patriot Act Again, Conspiracy, Immanence And Arizona Migrant Law Upheld.

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

The Senate and Congress have voted to continue the Patriot Act for four more years. This act has no purpose. If it was to get Osama then it should have been ended. It is an abrogation of our civil liberties as citizens and should never have passed in the first place. Now the power to invade our privacy has been continued without a rational reason other than the simple aggrandizement of power into the hands of the security apparatus.

I am no conspiracy nut. I spent quite a bit of time studying the Kennedy assassination twenty years ago and read a lot of material. Thirty years ago I studied the whole UFO phenomena. Twenty odd years ago I was reading about occult cabals, mind control experiments etc. After years of study, I came to the conclusion that reality was fairly subjective and a product of our collective unconsciousness. We create it together, and have for thousands of years. But there has to be a base, an atomic level structure that holds what we call reality together. This basic reality is the repetition of pattern, as far as I can tell. Molecular repetition, out of habit, inertia, or design I don’t know. If it were by design then there would have to be a creator. If by inertia or habituation, then there could be a random factor, and a tendency to repetition. I am no scientist, so these speculations are simply the meanderings of a semi-intelligent human. I guess I have a somewhat Hegelian belief in the immanence of the historical process, although I am not sure I understand it. I prefer that to a cyclical process or one of continuous fractal divergence.

Back to the day to day reality; today the Supreme Court allowed the Arizona migrant laws stand. The Senate has rejected the Ryan health care plan to gut Medicare and turn it into a State run program. The people have spoken in upstate New York electing a Democrat in a heavily Republican district, Kathy Hochul won. This may indicate that the American people although concerned about the budget deficits are not willing to sacrifice important programs like Medicare and Social Security. After all the people get very little for their tax dollars in the USA compared to Europeans. If this little is taken away, what exactly would we be paying taxes for, other than supporting the military and big business interests?
The tide may be turning back to the left after the right wing reaction last year. It may be that the Tea Party has overextended itself and people are beginning to realize that Obama is not so bad after all. That is the main stream, but for those of us on the left, Obama has been a big disappointment. Guantanamo is still there, now the Patriot Act has been continued. The US wants to keep a force in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan continues. US interference keeps Yemen a boiling pot of conflict and Bahrain repressed its citizens with America turning a blind eye. Libya where a form of socialism existed has been turned into a war zone and Syria is on the verge of becoming one. There are good and bad signs but what we really need is a left party in the USA and until the Democratic Socialists here break with the Democratic party and form a real third party, we will have more of the same, a mixed bag with most benefit going to the moneyed interests.


From Alternet

Maverick Media / By Greg Guma Truth Decay: Conspiracy Theories and Hoaxes Are Blurring Reality
How about some accountability for the false prophets, gross opportunists, and irresponsible rumor-mongers who threaten society with truth decay?
May 25, 2011 | LIKE THIS ARTICLE ?
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TAKE|Get Widget|Start an Online Petition � After his End Times prediction failed last week millionaire radio prophet Harold Camping eventually came up with an excuse. During his show “Open Forum” in Oakland on May 23, he explained that the world will still end in October. It’s a process and we’re just getting started. That’s a relief. At first I thought millions of people had just wasted days of time and energy fussing over some hairbrained idea.

There are so many theories out there. Obama is a secret Muslim – millions of people believe that, secular humanists want to repress religion, and liberals are plotting to confiscate people’s guns and push a “gay agenda.” At the opposite end of the political spectrum, there’s the assertion that 9/11 was an inside job and all that this entails. No offense meant. I’ve been called a “conspiracy nut” myself, specifically for saying that we should know more about the attack on the Twin Towers. Still, a modern-day Reichstag fire at multiple locations does qualify as a radical conclusion.

I usually resist the urge to challenge the controversial theories of fellow travelers, at least in mixed company. The other night, for example, during a discussion about Al-Qaeda after Osama, a speaker casually asserted that President Roosevelt knew about the attack on Pearl Harbor in advance and let it happen. No one said a word. I considered questioning the notion but let it pass.

Anything’s possible, right? Why be rude? But some theories and predictions are too important. They are widely accepted as indisputable and part of an overall world view, usually linked with an anti-establishment ideology. They have practical consequences for social action, can spark deep divisions, and influence how people see and treat others. In some groups, if you question the conclusions of a prevailing theory you’re either a dupe or a collaborator.

Deep skepticism is often at the root, a good thing in general. After all, so much of what we once believed has turned out to be a lie, or at least a very selective version of reality. But still, shouldn’t there be standards? Also, why do some theories get all the attention while others, perhaps more credible ones, get buried? And can’t we at least call people to account when their claims repeatedly lead down false trails?

In 2004, when friends claimed that George W. Bush would invade someplace – probably Cuba – before the election, I was skeptical but said nothing. Four year later, when colleagues embraced the idea that either a) there would be a pre-election invasion – Syria this time, or b) federal troops would be used to install Bush as dictator and block Obama’s election – in short, Martial Law was imminent – I took bets.

Last October word spread in activist circles that the rise in US Drone strikes and NATO helicopter attacks inside Pakistan were harbingers of something bigger. The war was going to be extended into Pakistan with the ultimate goal of seizing that nation’s nuclear weapons. Turns out they went after Osama, although many people believe that is also a lie and bin Laden was killed years earlier. These death conspiracies sound like the classic one about a fake moon landing – we never went there, right? – including phony video and a staged photo of the National Security brain trust looking at…what? Seal Team Six on a Top Secret movie set?

People were also predicting last year that Billionaire Mayor Mike Bloomberg would run for president (as an independent) in 2012, peeling off enough votes and states to hang the electoral college and deliver the White House to Sarah Palin. But while we now know that the prediction about Bloomberg’s run (and Palin’s victory) was based on nothing people can still plausibly claim that the US is preparing to invade Pakistan. Unfortunately, too many rumors of war begin to sound like crying wolf. On the other hand, by next year who will remember?

It’s easy for an extreme, often paranoid theory to circulate these days. In January, for example, the Federal Aviation Administration issued a press release to pilots saying that the Department of Defense would be testing the GPS system off the southern Atlantic coast. Cyberspace soon erupted with rumors that the Defense Department was hiding something, perhaps maritime war games, scientific experiments in the Bermuda triangle, or a plot to make GPS more accurate for government to track people in cars.

What actually happened? GPS is an outgrowth of space exploration and became public in 1983. The Defense Department remains in charge of software upgrades and satellite maintenance, and the Air Force has experienced some signal losses. The tests were part of an upgrade and took 45 minutes, followed by a 15-minute blackout. That’s basically it. Yet for some it was evidence of a secret government plot.

Speaking of plots, depopulation has been getting some attention lately, specifically related to the use of covert technology to allegedly cause earthquakes and tsunamis. The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program, known as HAARP, is a joint military program involved in classified experiments involving the ionosphere. The basic claim is that it has been involved for decades in developing various types of weather-based and environmental warfare capabilities. It doesn’t help that the military has a name for this kind of thing – weather modification.

Still, using HAARP to cause earthquakes, wipe out regions and thin the herd is something else. Supporters of the depopulation theory say Haiti was a transparent example, claiming as evidence that a US task force was ready to invade before the earthquake occurred. Before that came the Indian Ocean tsunami, where people weren’t warned as soon as possible. Afterward came Fukushima, a full-scale assault not only on Japan, but on the oceans and atmosphere.

“The established pattern, with disasters and invasions, is incremental escalation,” explains a friend who supports the theory. Nuclear reactors in the US are therefore sitting ducks, just waiting for a HAARP attack. “And they have made it clear that an 80% reduction in world population is their goal,” he writes. Who made it clear? The overseers of the New World Order. Oh, Them.

Just before last Thanksgiving came news that China had briefly hijacked the Internet. I was skeptical at first, maybe burned out by too many theories and rumors. But there was evidence that the People’s Republic had cyber attack capabilities. No less than The Christian Science Monitor had reported that a Chinese group was linked to attacks on several US oil companies. The companies themselves didn’t realize the severity of the problem at first. The hijack rumor came from a report to Congress that said 15 percent of global Internet traffic had been briefly routed through Chinese servers earlier in the year. This included encrypted government mail.

Dmitri Slperovitch, a threat analyst at McAfee, called it “one of the biggest” hijacks ever. Somehow, for a brief period, all that digital information was re-routed at a small Chinese ISP and passed on to China Telecom. Nothing definite yet on how, why, or if it matters. For some reason, however, this story didn’t have legs, perhaps not resonating sufficiently with the current narrative of either the Right or the Left. Maybe it’s too abstract a problem, or too scary to consider for long.

Early in 2011 a rumor began circulating that Wikileaks is a CIA plot. The idea was that the leaks actually supported the US imperial agenda around the world. In short, Wikileaks was a big US intelligence con job that would be used to crack down on the Internet and advance a long-standing anti- civil liberties agenda. Evidence used to support this idea included the shutting down of Wikileaks servers in the US and the 2009 introduction of S. 773, The Cybersecurity Act, which if passed would give the president the power to disconnect private-sector computers from the Internet.

The problem here is that, while the Wikileaks-CIA plot looks like a distraction, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has begun to seize and shut down web domains without due process or trial. The initial focus has been sites that supposedly “violate copyrights” but the risk is that cyber censorship may be extended to, let’s say, combat alleged cyber terrorism. It’s a slippery slope.

Last Monday, after several more websites were shut down, DHS held a hearing on the move to give the President more authority over the Internet during an emergency. Senate Homeland Security Committee Chair Joe Lieberman noted that China “can disconnect parts of the Internet in case of war and we need to have that here too.” Similar discussions are underway in Europe. In this context, the Wiklieaks-CIA story was most likely an attempt at disinformation, one that didn’t go viral.

In early February the FCC voted to require that TV and radio stations, cable systems and satellite TV providers participate in a test involving the receiving and transmitting of a live code including an alert message by the president. It’s part of an update of the Emergency Alert System and complements other warning systems, including FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert System and a Commercial Mobile Alert System. In the future people will be able to get alerts through smart phones, blackberries, and so on. Personally not a priority, but many people want to be informed in the event of real crises.

For some, however, the test is proof positive that the President will soon commandeer every phone any time he wants, and for any reason the government deems necessary. If they want to scare us about a bombing, goes the logic, someone will call your cell phone or appear on your TV, no matter what you are watching. It boils down to this: Do you believe that Obama (or the National Security State, if you prefer) is “taking over” the Internet?

Here’s some background: The Broadcast Message Center, created by Communications company Alcatel-Lucent, will allow government agencies to send cell phone users information in the event of an emergency. Under the Mobile Alert System phones will apparently receive emergency alerts. Meanwhile, the FCC is looking at how wireless broadband can enhance emergency announcements. Does that represent a government plan to break into computers and wireless devices at will? In the end, the answer depends mostly on your level of distrust.

Perhaps the strangest development lately is Homeland Security’s “If you see something, say something” campaign. It’s a new public-private partnership between DHS and hundreds of Walmart outlets around the country. Seriously. What’s worse, it sounds ominously like asking people to inform on each other. There you have it – a big government, big business surveillance merger, and worse yet, a giant threat, the Walmart-Intelligence Complex. I’m kidding, but not entirely.

In short, some theories may be distractions or even deliberate deceptions, but others are worth considering, as long as we stipulate that they aren’t necessarily facts and resist exaggeration. The problem is that it’s becoming more difficult to tell the difference in an era when facts have been devalued. There are so many possibilities, the standard of proof appears to be getting lower, and theories tend to evolve, expand and mutate rapidly in unexpected ways as they circulate through cyberspace. As yet, there is little follow up to see whether new facts reinforce or discredit a particular idea or prediction. Corruption of truth meanwhile contributes to social division and civic decay. Yet there are apparently no consequences for stoking paranoia, intentionally confusing speculation with fact, or perpetrating a premeditated hoax.

So, how about some accountability for the false prophets, gross opportunists, and irresponsible rumor-mongers who threaten society with truth decay? Here’s a suggestion: Call them out publicly, post their names on some Wall of Shame, and then stop listening – it only encourages them.

This is adapted from Greg Guma’s Rebel News Round Up, broadcast live on The Howie Rose Show at 11 a.m. Fridays on WOMM (105.9-FM/LP – The Radiator) in Burlington. Greg lives in Vermont and writes about politics and culture on his blog, Maverick Media (http://muckraker-gg,


Huffington Post

Patriot Act Extension Passes Senate, Rand Paul Amendments Fail

AP/The Huffington Post First Posted: 05/26/11 05:39 PM ET Updated: 05/26/11 06:29 PM ET

The Senate voted 72-23 Thursday to extend the government’s Patriot Act powers to search records and conduct roving wiretaps in pursuit of terrorists. The House was expected to quickly approve the legislation for President Barack Obama’s signature.

The action comes a month after intelligence and military forces hunted down Osama bin Laden. Facing a midnight deadline when three terror-fighting tools would expire, the Senate struggled to find a way to stage a final vote in the face of continued resistance from a single senator, Republican freshman Rand Paul of Kentucky. Paul’s amendment, which would restrict law enforcement from accessing firearm receipts, failed to pass the Senate on Thursday afternoon.

The Senate vote extends two provisions of the 2001 USA Patriot Act, one allowing for roving wiretaps and the other allowing searches of business records in the pursuit of terrorist threats. A third provision gives the government power to watch non-American “lone wolf” suspects with no certain ties to terrorist groups. All three provisions are viewed as valuable tools by law enforcement officials but are opposed by some who say they can lead to privacy right abuses.

The roving wiretaps and access to business records are small parts of the USA Patriot Act that was enacted after the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001. But unlike most of the act, which is permanent law, those provisions must be periodically renewed because of concerns that they could be used to violate privacy rights. The same applies to the “lone wolf” provision, which was part of a 2004 intelligence act.

Renewal this time was pushed up against the midnight deadline by Paul, who argued that in the rush to meet the terrorist threat in 2001 Congress enacted a Patriot Act that tramples on individual liberties. He had some backing from liberal Democrats and civil liberties groups who have long contended the Patriot Act gives the government authority to spy on innocent citizens.

Paul also proposed an amendment that would restrict national security officials from examining gun dealer records in their efforts to track potential terrorists. Senate Democrats initially refused to consider the amendment, which threatened to let the Patriot Act provisions expire. But Democrats relented Thursday morning and agreed to allow a vote on the measure, in order to expedite passage of the Patriot Act provisions. Paul’s amendment failed 85-10.


Supreme Court upholds Arizona immigration law targeting employers
The high court ruling allows the state, and others, to penalize businesses that hire illegal immigrants.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents detain suspected illegal immigrants in Phoenix. A Supreme Court ruling will allow the state to revoke business licenses for those who hire undocumented workers. (Nick Oza, AP / May 26, 2011)

By David G. Savage, Washington Bureau

May 26, 2011, 5:59 p.m.
Reporting from Washington— The Supreme Court gave a big boost to proponents of stricter state laws against illegal immigration by upholding Arizona’s “business death penalty” for employers who repeatedly hire undocumented workers.

The 5-3 ruling gives more states a green light to target those who employ illegal immigrants. And because it rejected the contention that the state was interfering with the federal government’s authority over immigration, the decision also encouraged supporters of Arizona’s even more controversial immigration law. That law, which requires police to check the immigration status of people they lawfully stop and who they suspect are in the country illegally, will soon come before the court.

Opinion: Immigration: You can’t rely on E-Verify
The ruling said Arizona could deny employers a business license after a second violation of its Legal Arizona Workers Act of 2007. Also upheld was Arizona’s requirement that employers check with the federal E-Verify program before hiring workers.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said Arizona’s licensing law “falls well within the confines of the authority Congress chose to leave to the states,” rebuffing challenges from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Obama administration and civil rights groups.

The ruling on the employment question sets the stage for a high court showdown as early as next year in the even bigger battle over Arizona’s mandate for police detention of people they suspect are in the U.S. illegally, known as SB 1070.

Last summer, the Obama administration sued Arizona to block that law. A federal judge and the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the administration that it interfered with federal enforcement prerogatives and put the law on hold.

Opponents and proponents of that law had dueling interpretations of the significance of Thursday’s ruling.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said she was “hopeful and optimistic” the high court would hear the state’s appeal later this year and revive SB 1070.

The law won Arizona nationwide fame as well as infamy. Brewer’s popularity skyrocketed, and polls showed SB 1070 widely popular statewide. But the law also prompted noisy protests, a recall drive against the bill’s author and boycotts that, by some estimates, cost the state millions of dollars.

Peter Spiro, a Temple University law professor, said the outcome did not guarantee Arizona’s police measure would be upheld. “SB 1070 pushes the envelope. It’s a different case,” he said. “But this is definitely a victory for those who are pushing restrictive immigration measures in state houses.”

Immigrant rights lawyers called the court’s decision disappointing but narrow.

“State legislators considering this decision a free pass to enact legislation targeting immigrants are gravely mistaken,” said Linton Joaquin, general counsel for the National Immigration Law Center.

In his majority opinion, Roberts noted that eight other states had passed laws similar to Arizona’s that punish employers for hiring illegal workers. They are Colorado, Mississippi, Missouri, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

The ruling may revive a local ordinance in Hazleton, Pa., that would take away business licenses from landlords who rented to illegal immigrants. The measure was struck down by a federal appeals court in Philadelphia, but an appeal is pending in the Supreme Court.

The heart of Thursday’s decision centered on a few words in a 1986 federal immigration law. It said states and localities could not impose “criminal or civil sanctions (other than through licensing and similar laws) upon those who employ … authorized aliens.”

Shortly after then-Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano signed in 2007 what she called the “business death penalty” for employers who hired illegal workers, civil rights groups and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce sued. They argued its provisions were sanctions and, therefore, were barred by federal law. But they lost before a federal district court and the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Supreme Court affirmed those decisions Thursday in Chamber of Commerce vs. Whiting.

Roberts said there was a “high threshold” for striking down a state law on the grounds that it conflicted with a federal law, a passage welcomed by Arizona’s top officials. Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. joined to form the majority.

In dissent were Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor. They said the majority’s interpretation overrides the 1986 provision barring sanctions against employers. It could also permit “discrimination [against] legal workers who look or sound foreign,” Breyer said. Justice Elena Kagan recused herself from the case.

Robin Conrad, executive vice president of the National Chamber Litigation Center, the legal arm of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said the decision would lead to a “growing patchwork” of immigration laws across the country, creating obstacles for those conducting business across state lines.

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, plans to introduce a bill that would require all U.S. employers to use the Web-based verification system E-Verify during the hiring process.

“I will introduce legislation soon to expand E-Verify and make it mandatory across the United States,” Smith said in a statement Thursday.

In the course of drafting the law, Smith has held meetings with the business community and plans to include a safe-harbor provision that would protect employers who have made a good faith effort to use the federal database. The bill could also phase in the requirement for small businesses.

More than 250,000 employers currently use the federal immigration database on a voluntary basis, and approximately 1,300 new employers enroll in the program each week. Use of E-Verify is required for all companies that receive federal contracts.

Times staff writers Brian Bennett in Washington and Stephen Ceasar in Los Angeles contributed to this report.,0,5623472.story

9/11 Truth Or Consequences

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

I don’t know what to make of this stuff, I mean it is like the Kennedy Conspiracy stuff. it might be true, but what can you do about it. I guess it is worth a read. I mean, the guy went through a lot of effort to document this stuff.

Was America Attacked by Muslims on 9/11?

By David Ray Griffin
David Ray Griffin is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy of Religion at Claremont School of Theology and Claremont Graduate University.

09/09/08 “ICH” — - Much of America’s foreign policy since 9/11 has been based on the assumption that it was attacked by Muslims on that day. This assumption was used, most prominently, to justify the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is now widely agreed that the use of 9/11 as a basis for attacking Iraq was illegitimate: none of the hijackers were Iraqis, there was no working relation between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, and Iraq was not behind the anthrax attacks. But it is still widely believed that the US attack on Afghanistan was justified. For example, the New York Times, while referring to the US attack on Iraq as a “war of choice,” calls the battle in Afghanistan a “war of necessity.” Time magazine has dubbed it “the right war.” And Barack Obama says that one reason to wind down our involvement in Iraq is to have the troops and resources to “go after the people in Afghanistan who actually attacked us on 9/11.”

The assumption that America was attacked by Muslims on 9/11 also lies behind the widespread perception of Islam as an inherently violent religion and therefore of Muslims as guilty until proven innocent. This perception surely contributed to attempts to portray Obama as a Muslim, which was lampooned by a controversial cartoon on the July 21, 2008, cover of The New Yorker.

As could be illustrated by reference to many other post-9/11 developments, including as spying, torture, extraordinary rendition, military tribunals, America’s new doctrine of preemptive war, and its enormous increase in military spending, the assumption that the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were attacked by Muslim hijackers has had enormous negative consequences for both international and domestic issues.1

Is it conceivable that this assumption might be false? Insofar as Americans and Canadians would say “No,” they would express their belief that this assumption is not merely an “assumption” but is instead based on strong evidence. When actually examined, however, the proffered evidence turns out to be remarkably weak. I will illustrate this point by means of 16 questions.

1. Were Mohamed Atta and the Other Hijackers Devout Muslims?

The picture of the hijackers conveyed by the 9/11 Commission is that they were devout Muslims. Mohamed Atta, considered the ringleader, was said to have become very religious, even “fanatically so.”2 Being devout Muslims, they could be portrayed as ready to meet their Maker—as a “cadre of trained operatives willing to die.”3

But this portrayal is contradicted by various newspaper stories. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Atta and other hijackers had made “at least six trips” to Las Vegas, where they had “engaged in some decidedly un-Islamic sampling of prohibited pleasures.” These activities were “un-Islamic” because, as the head of the Islamic Foundation of Nevada pointed out: “True Muslims don’t drink, don’t gamble, don’t go to strip clubs.”4

One might, to be sure, rationalize this behavior by supposing that these were momentary lapses and that, as 9/11 approached, these young Muslims had repented and prepared for heaven. But in the days just before 9/11, Atta and others were reported to be drinking heavily, cavorting with lap dancers, and bringing call girls to their rooms. Temple University Professor Mahmoud Ayoub said: “It is incomprehensible that a person could drink and go to a strip bar one night, then kill themselves the next day in the name of Islam. . . . Something here does not add up.”5

In spite of the fact that these activities were reported by mainstream newspapers and even the Wall Street Journal editorial page,6 the 9/11 Commission wrote as if these reports did not exist, saying: “we have seen no credible evidence explaining why, on [some occasions], the operatives flew to or met in Las Vegas.”7

2. Do Authorities Have Hard Evidence of Osama bin Laden’s Responsibility for 9/11?

Whatever be the truth about the devoutness of the hijackers, one might reply, there is certainly no doubt about the fact that they were acting under the guidance of Osama bin Laden. The attack on Afghanistan was based on the claim that bin Laden was behind the attacks, and the 9/11 Commission’s report was written as if there were no question about this claim. But neither the Bush administration nor the Commission provided any proof for it.

Two weeks after 9/11, Secretary of State Colin Powell, speaking to Tim Russert on “Meet the Press,” said he expected “in the near future . . . to put out . . . a document that will describe quite clearly the evidence that we have linking [bin Laden] to this attack.”8 But at a press conference with President Bush the next morning, Powell reversed himself, saying that although the government had information that left no question of bin Laden’s responsibility, “most of it is classified.”9 According to Seymour Hersh, citing officials from both the CIA and the Department of Justice, the real reason for the reversal was a “lack of solid information.”10

That same week, Bush had demanded that the Taliban turn over bin Laden. But the Taliban, reported CNN, “refus[ed] to hand over bin Laden without proof or evidence that he was involved in last week’s attacks on the United States.” The Bush administration, saying “[t]here is already an indictment of Osama bin Laden” [for the attacks in Tanzania, Kenya, and elsewhere],” rejected the demand for evidence with regard to 9/11.11

The task of providing such evidence was taken up by British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who on October 4 made public a document entitled “Responsibility for the Terrorist Atrocities in the United States.” Listing “clear conclusions reached by the government,” it stated: “Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaeda, the terrorist network which he heads, planned and carried out the atrocities on 11 September 2001.”12

Blair’s report, however, began by saying: “This document does not purport to provide a prosecutable case against Osama Bin Laden in a court of law.” This weakness was noted the next day by the BBC, which said: “There is no direct evidence in the public domain linking Osama Bin Laden to the 11 September attacks. At best the evidence is circumstantial.”13

After the US had attacked Afghanistan, a senior Taliban official said: “We have asked for proof of Osama’s involvement, but they have refused. Why?”14 The answer to this question may be suggested by the fact that, to this day, the FBI’s “Most Wanted Terrorist” webpage on bin Laden, while listing him as wanted for bombings in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, makes no mention of 9/11.15

When the FBI’s chief of investigative publicity was asked why not, he replied: “The reason why 9/11 is not mentioned on Usama Bin Laden’s Most Wanted page is because the FBI has no hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11.”16

It is often claimed that bin Laden’s guilt is proved by a video, reportedly found by US intelligence officers in Afghanistan in November 2001, in which bin Laden appears to report having planned the attacks. But critics, pointing out various problems with this “confession video,” have called it a fake.17 General Hamid Gul, a former head of Pakistan’s ISI, said: “I think there is an Osama Bin Laden look-alike.”18 Actually, the man in the video is not even much of a look-alike, being heavier and darker than bin Laden, having a broader nose, wearing jewelry, and writing with his right hand.19 The FBI, in any case, obviously does not consider this video hard evidence of bin Laden’s responsibility for 9/11.

What about the 9/11 Commission? I mentioned earlier that it gave the impression of having had solid evidence of bin Laden’s guilt. But Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, the Commission’s co-chairs, undermined this impression in their follow-up book subtitled “the inside story of the 9/11 Commission.”20

Whenever the Commission had cited evidence for bin Ladin’s responsibility, the note in the back of the book always referred to CIA-provided information that had (presumably) been elicited during interrogations of al-Qaeda operatives. By far the most important of these operatives was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), described as the “mastermind” of the 9/11 attacks. The Commission, for example, wrote:

Bin Ladin . . . finally decided to give the green light for the 9/11 operation sometime in late 1998 or early 1999. . . . Bin Ladin also soon selected four individuals to serve as suicide operatives. . . . Atta—whom Bin Ladin chose to lead the group—met with Bin Ladin several times to receive additional instructions, including a preliminary list of approved targets: the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the U.S. Capitol.21

The note for each of these statements says “interrogation of KSM.”22

Kean and Hamilton, however, reported that they had no success in “obtaining access to star witnesses in custody . . . , most notably Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.”23 Besides not being allowed to interview these witnesses, they were not permitted to observe the interrogations through one-way glass or even to talk to the interrogators.24 Therefore, they complained: “We . . . had no way of evaluating the credibility of detainee information. How could we tell if someone such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed . . . was telling us the truth?”25

An NBC “deep background” report in 2008 pointed out an additional problem: KSM and the other al-Qaeda leaders had been subjected to “enhanced interrogation techniques,” i.e., torture, and it is now widely acknowledged that statements elicited by torture lack credibility. “At least four of the operatives whose interrogation figured in the 9/11 Commission Report,” this NBC report pointed out, “have claimed that they told interrogators critical information as a way to stop being “-tortured.’” NBC then quoted Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, as saying: “Most people look at the 9/11 Commission Report as a trusted historical document. If their conclusions were supported by information gained from torture, . . . their conclusions are suspect.”26

Accordingly, neither the White House, the British government, the FBI, nor the 9/11 Commission has provided solid evidence that Osama bin Laden was behind 9/11.

3. Was Evidence of Muslim Hijackers Provided by Phone Calls from the Airliners?

Nevertheless, many readers may respond, there can be no doubt that the airplanes were taken over by al-Qaeda hijackers, because their presence and actions on the planes were reported on phone calls by passengers and flight attendants, with cell phone calls playing an especially prominent role.

The most famous of the reported calls were from CNN commentator Barbara Olson to her husband, US Solicitor General Ted Olson. According to CNN, he reported that his wife had “called him twice on a cell phone from American Airlines Flight 77,” saying that “all passengers and flight personnel, including the pilots, were herded to the back of the plane by . . . hijackers [armed with] knives and cardboard cutters.”27

Although these reported calls, as summarized by Ted Olson, did not describe the hijackers so as to suggest that they were members of al-Qaeda, such descriptions were supplied by calls from other flights, especially United 93, from which about a dozen cell phone calls were reportedly received before it crashed in Pennsylvania. According to a Washington Post story of September 13,

[P]assenger Jeremy Glick used a cell phone to tell his wife, Lyzbeth, . . . that the Boeing 757’s cockpit had been taken over by three Middle Eastern-looking men. . . . The terrorists, wearing red headbands, had ordered the pilots, flight attendants and passengers to the rear of the plane.28

A story about a “cellular phone conversation” between flight attendant Sandra Bradshaw and her husband gave this report:

She said the plane had been taken over by three men with knives. She had gotten a close look at one of the hijackers. . . . “He had an Islamic look,” she told her husband. 29

From these calls, therefore, the public was informed that the hijackers looked Middle Eastern and even Islamic.

Still more specific information was reportedly conveyed during a 12-minute cell phone call from flight attendant Amy Sweeney on American Flight 11, which was to crash into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.30 After reaching American Airlines employee Michael Woodward and telling him that men of “Middle Eastern descent” had hijacked her flight, she then gave him their seat numbers, from which he was able to learn the identity of Mohamed Atta and two other hijackers.31 Amy Sweeney’s call was critical, ABC News explained, because without it “the plane might have crashed with no one certain the man in charge was tied to al Qaeda.”32

There was, however, a big problem with these reported calls: Given the technology available in 2001, cell phone calls from airliners at altitudes of more than a few thousand feet, especially calls lasting more than a few seconds, were not possible, and yet these calls, some of which reportedly lasted a minute or more, reportedly occurred when the planes were above 30,000 or even 40,000 feet. This problem was explained by some credible people, including scientist A.K. Dewdney, who for many years had written a column for Scientific American.33

Although some defenders of the official account, such as Popular Mechanics, have disputed the contention that high-altitude calls from airliners were impossible,34 the fact is that the FBI, after having at first supported the claims that such calls were made, withdrew this support a few years later.

With regard to the reported 12-minute call from Amy Sweeney to Michael Woodward, an affidavit signed by FBI agent James Lechner and dated September 12 (2001) stated that, according to Woodward, Sweeney had been “using a cellular telephone.”35 But when the 9/11 Commission discussed this call in its Report, which appeared in July 2004, it declared that Sweeney had used an onboard phone.36

Behind that change was an implausible claim made by the FBI earlier in 2004: Although Woodward had failed to mention this when FBI agent Lechner interviewed him on 9/11, he had repeated Sweeney’s call verbatim to a colleague in his office, who had in turn repeated it to another colleague at American headquarters in Dallas, who had recorded it; and this recording—which was discovered only in 2004—indicated that Sweeney had used a passenger-seat phone, thanks to “an AirFone card, given to her by another flight attendant.”37

This claim is implausible because, if this relayed recording had really been made on 9/11, we cannot believe that Woodward would have failed to mention it to FBI agent Lechner later that same day. While Lechner was taking notes, Woodward would surely have said: “You don’t need to rely on my memory. There is a recording of a word-for-word repetition of Sweeney’s statements down in Dallas.” It is also implausible that Woodward, having repeated Sweeney’s statement that she had used “an AirFone card, given to her by another flight attendant,” would have told Lechner, as the latter’s affidavit says, that Sweeney had been “using a cellular telephone.”

Lechner’s affidavit shows that the FBI at first supported the claim that Sweeney had made a 12-minute cell phone call from a high-altitude airliner. Does not the FBI’s change of story, after its first version had been shown to be technologically impossible, create the suspicion that the entire story was a fabrication?

This suspicion is reinforced by the FBI’s change of story in relation to United Flight 93. Although we were originally told that this flight had been the source of about a dozen cell phone calls, some of them when the plane was above 40,000 feet, the FBI gave a very different report at the 2006 trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called 20th hijacker. The FBI spokesman said: “13 of the terrified passengers and crew members made 35 air phone calls and two cell phone calls.”38 Instead of there having been about a dozen cell phone calls from Flight 93, the FBI declared in 2005, there were really only two.

Why were two calls still said to have been possible? They were reportedly made at 9:58, when the plane was reportedly down to 5,000 feet.39 Although that was still pretty high for successful cell phone calls in 2001, these calls, unlike calls from 30,000 feet or higher, would have been at least arguably possible.

If the truth of the FBI’s new account is assumed, how can one explain the fact that so many people had reported receiving cell phone calls? In most cases, it seems, these people had been told by the callers that they were using cell phones. For example, a Newsweek story about United 93 said: “Elizabeth Wainio, 27, was speaking to her stepmother in Maryland. Another passenger, she explains, had loaned her a cell phone and told her to call her family.”40 In such cases, we might assume that the people receiving the calls had simply mis-heard, or mis-remembered, what they had been told. But this would mean positing that about a dozen people had made the same mistake.

An even more serious difficulty is presented by the case of Deena Burnett, who said that she had received three to five calls from her husband, Tom Burnett. She knew he was using his cell phone, she reported to the FBI that very day and then to the press and in a book, because she had recognized his cell phone number on her phone’s Caller ID.41 We cannot suppose her to have been mistaken about this. We also, surely, cannot accuse her of lying.

Therefore, if we accept the FBI’s report, according to which Tom Burnett did not make any cell phone calls from Flight 93, we can only conclude that the calls were faked—that Deena Burnett was duped. Although this suggestion may at first sight seem outlandish, there are three facts that, taken together, show it to be more probable than any of the alternatives.

First, voice morphing technology was sufficiently advanced at that time to make faking the calls feasible. A 1999 Washington Post article described demonstrations in which the voices of two generals, Colin Powell and Carl Steiner, were heard saying things they had never said.42

Second, there are devices with which you can fake someone’s telephone number, so that it will show up on the recipient’s Caller ID.43

Third, the conclusion that the person who called Deena Burnett was not her husband is suggested by various features of the calls. For example, when Deena told the caller that “the kids” were asking to talk to him, he said: “Tell them I’ll talk to them later.” This was 20 minutes after Tom had purportedly realized that the hijackers were on a suicide mission, planning to “crash this plane into the ground,” and 10 minutes after he and other passengers had allegedly decided that as soon as they were “over a rural area” they must try to gain control of the plane. Also, the hijackers had reportedly already killed one person.44 Given all this, the real Tom Burnett would have known that he would likely die, one way or another, in the next few minutes. Is it believable that, rather than taking this probably last opportunity to speak to his children, he would say that he would “talk to them later”? Is it not more likely that “Tom” made this statement to avoid revealing that he knew nothing about “the kids,” perhaps not even their names?

Further evidence that the calls were faked is provided by timing problems in some of them. According to the 9/11 Commission, Flight 93 crashed at 10:03 as a result of the passenger revolt, which began at 9:57. However, according to Lyzbeth Glick’s account of the aforementioned cell phone call from her husband, Jeremy Glick, she told him about the collapse of the South Tower, and that did not occur until 9:59, two minutes after the alleged revolt had started. After that, she reported, their conversation continued for several more minutes before he told her that the passengers were taking a vote about whether to attack. According to Lyzbeth Glick’s account, therefore, the revolt was only beginning by 10:03, when the plane (according to the official account) was crashing.45

A timing problem also occurred in the aforementioned call from flight attendant Amy Sweeney. While she was describing the hijackers, according to the FBI’s account of her call, they stormed and took control of the cockpit.46 However, although the hijacking of Flight 11 “began at 8:14 or shortly thereafter,” the 9/11 Commission said, Sweeney’s call did not go through until 8:25.47 Her alleged call, in other words, described the hijacking as beginning over 11 minutes after it, according to the official timeline, had been successfully carried out.

Multiple lines of evidence, therefore, imply that the cell phone calls were faked. This fact has vast implications, because it implies that all the reported calls from the planes, including those from onboard phones, were faked. Why? Because if the planes had really been taken over in surprise hijackings, no one would have been ready to make fake cell phone calls.

Moreover, the FBI, besides implying, most clearly in the case of Deena Burnett, that the phone calls reporting the hijackings had been faked, comes right out and says, in its report about calls from Flight 77, that no calls from Barbara Olson occurred. It does mention her. But besides attributing only one call to her, not two, the FBI report refers to it as an “unconnected call,” which (of course) lasted “0 seconds.”48 In 2006, in other words, the FBI, which is part of the Department of Justice, implied that the story told by the DOJ’s former solicitor general was untrue. Although not mentioned by the press, this was an astounding development.

This FBI report leaves only two possible explanations for Ted Olson’s story: Either he made it up or else he, like Deena Burnett and several others, was duped. In either case, the story about Barbara Olson’s calls, with their reports of hijackers taking over Flight 77, was based on deception.

The opening section of The 9/11 Commission Report is entitled “Inside the Four Flights.” The information contained in this section is based almost entirely on the reported phone calls. But if the reported calls were faked, we have no idea what happened inside these planes. Insofar as the idea that the planes were taken over by hijackers who looked “Middle Eastern,” even “Islamic,” has been based on the reported calls, this idea is groundless.

4. Was the Presence of Hijackers Proved by a Radio Transmission “from American 11″?

It might be objected, in reply, that this is not true, because we know that American Flight 11, at least, was hijacked, thanks to a radio transmission in which the voice of one of its hijackers is heard. According to the 9/11 Commission, the air traffic controller for this flight heard a radio transmission at 8:25 AM in which someone—widely assumed to be Mohamed Atta—told the passengers: “We have some planes. Just stay quiet, and you’ll be okay. We are returning to the airport.” After quoting this transmission, the Commission wrote: “The controller told us that he then knew it was a hijacking.”49 Was this transmission not indeed proof that Flight 11 had been hijacked?

It might provide such proof if we knew that, as the Commission claimed, the “transmission came from American 11.”50 But we do not. According to the FAA’s “Summary of Air Traffic Hijack Events,” published September 17, 2001, the transmission was “from an unknown origin.”51 Bill Peacock, the FAA’s air traffic director, said: “We didn’t know where the transmission came from.”52 The Commission’s claim that it came from American 11 was merely an inference. The transmission could have come from the same room from which the calls to Deena Burnett originated.

Therefore, the alleged radio transmission from Flight 11, like the alleged phone calls from the planes, provides no evidence that the planes were taken over by al-Qaeda hijackers.

5. Did Passports and a Headband Provide Evidence that al-Qaeda Operatives Were on the Flights?

However, the government’s case for al-Qaeda hijackers on also rested in part on claims that passports and a headband belonging to al-Qaeda operatives were found at the crash sites. But these claims are patently absurd.

A week after the attacks, the FBI reported that a search of the streets after the destruction of the World Trade Center had discovered the passport of one of the Flight 11 hijackers, Satam al-Suqami.53 But this claim did not pass the giggle test. “[T]he idea that [this] passport had escaped from that inferno unsinged,” wrote one British reporter, “would [test] the credulity of the staunchest supporter of the FBI’s crackdown on terrorism.”54

By 2004, when the 9/11 Commission was discussing the alleged discovery of this passport, the story had been modified to say that “a passer-by picked it up and gave it to a NYPD detective shortly before the World Trade Center towers collapsed.”55 So, rather than needing to survive the collapse of the North Tower, the passport merely needed to escape from the plane’s cabin, avoid being destroyed or even singed by the instantaneous jet-fuel fire, and then escape from the building so that it could fall to the ground! Equally absurd is the claim that the passport of Ziad Jarrah, the alleged pilot of Flight 93, was found at this plane’s crash site in Pennsylvania.56 This passport was reportedly found on the ground even though there was virtually nothing at the site to indicate that an airliner had crashed there. The reason for this absence of wreckage, we were told, was that the plane had been headed downward at 580 miles per hour and, when it hit the spongy Pennsylvania soil, buried itself deep in the ground. New York Times journalist Jere Longman, surely repeating what he had been told by authorities, wrote: “The fuselage accordioned on itself more than thirty feet into the porous, backfilled ground. It was as if a marble had been dropped into water.”57 So, we are to believe, just before the plane buried itself in the earth, Jarrah’s passport escaped from the cockpit and landed on the ground. Did Jarrah, going 580 miles per hour, have the window open?58 Also found on the ground, according to the government’s evidence presented to the Moussaoui trial, was a red headband.59 This was considered evidence that al-Qaeda hijackers were on Flight 93 because they were, according to some of the phone calls, wearing red headbands. But besides being absurd for the same reason as was the claim about Jarrah’s passport, this claim about the headband was problematic for another reason. Former CIA agent Milt Bearden, who helped train the Mujahideen fighters in Afghanistan, has pointed out that it would have been very unlikely that members of al-Qaeda would have worn such headbands:

[The red headband] is a uniquely Shi’a Muslim adornment. It is something that dates back to the formation of the Shi’a sect. . . . [I]t represents the preparation of he who wears this red headband to sacrifice his life, to murder himself for the cause. Sunnis are by and large most of the people following Osama bin Laden [and they] do not do this.60

We learned shortly after the invasion of Iraq that some people in the US government did not know the difference between Shi’a and Sunni Muslims. Did such people decide that the hijackers would be described as wearing red headbands?

6. Did the Information in Atta’s Luggage Prove the Responsibility of al-Qaeda Operatives?

I come now to the evidence that is said to provide the strongest proof that the planes had been hijacked by Mohamed Atta and other members of al-Qaeda. This evidence was reportedly found in two pieces of Atta’s luggage that were discovered inside the Boston airport after the attacks. The luggage was there, we were told, because although Atta was already in Boston on September 10, he and another al-Qaeda operative, Abdul al-Omari, rented a blue Nissan and drove up to Portland, Maine, and stayed overnight. They caught a commuter flight back to Boston early the next morning in time to get on American Flight 11, but Atta’s luggage did not make it.

This luggage, according to the FBI affidavit signed by James Lechner, contained much incriminating material, including a handheld flight computer, flight simulator manuals, two videotapes about Boeing aircraft, a slide-rule flight calculator, a copy of the Koran, and Atta’s last will and testament.61 This material was widely taken as proof that al-Qaeda and hence Osama bin Laden were behind the 9/11 attacks.

When closely examined, however, the Atta-to-Portland story loses all credibility.

One problem is the very idea that Atta would have planned to take all these things in baggage that was to be transferred to Flight 11. What good would a flight computer and other flying aids do inside a suitcase in the plane’s luggage compartment? Why would he have planned to take his will on a plane he planned to crash into the World Trade Center?

A second problem involves the question of why Atta’s luggage did not get transferred onto Flight 11. According to an Associated Press story that appeared four days after 9/11, Atta’s flight “arrived at Logan . . . just in time for him to connect with American Airlines flight 11 to Los Angeles, but too late for his luggage to be loaded.”62 The 9/11 Commission had at one time evidently planned to endorse this claim.63 But when The 9/11 Commission Report appeared, it said: “Atta and Omari arrived in Boston at 6:45″ and then “checked in and boarded American Airlines Flight 11,” which was “scheduled to depart at 7:45.”64 By thus admitting that there was almost a full hour for the luggage to be transferred to Flight 11, the Commission was left with no explanation as to why it was not.

Still another problem with the Atta-to-Portland story was the question why he would have taken this trip. If the commuter flight had been late, Atta, being the ringleader of the hijackers as well as the intended pilot for Flight 11, would have had to call off the whole operation, which he had reportedly been planning for two years. The 9/11 Commission, like the FBI before it, admitted that it had no answer to this question.65

The fourth and biggest problem with the story, however, is that it did not appear until September 16, five days after 9/11, following the collapse of an earlier story.

According to news reports immediately after 9/11, the incriminating materials, rather than being found in Atta’s luggage inside the airport, were found in a white Mitsubishi, which Atta had left in the Boston airport parking lot. Two hijackers did drive a blue Nissan to Portland and then take the commuter flight back to Boston the next morning, but their names were Adnan and Ameer Bukhari.66 This story fell apart on the afternoon of September 13, when it was discovered that the Bukharis, to whom authorities had reportedly been led by material in the Nissan at the Portland Jetport, had not died on 9/11: Adnan was still alive and Ameer had died the year before.67

The next day, September 14, an Associated Press story said that it was Atta and a companion who had driven the blue Nissan to Portland, stayed overnight, and then taken the commuter flight back to Boston. The incriminating materials, however, were still said to have been found in a car in the Boston airport, which was now said to have been rented by “additional suspects.”68 Finally, on September 16, a Washington Post story, besides saying that the Nissan had been taken to Portland by Atta and al-Omari, specified that the incriminating material had been found in Atta’s luggage inside the Boston airport.69

Given this history of the Atta-to-Portland story, how can we avoid the conclusion that it was a fabrication?

7. Were al-Qaeda Operatives Captured on Airport Security Videos?

Still another type of evidence for the claim that al-Qaeda operatives were on the planes consisted of frames from videos, purportedly taken by airport security cameras, said to show hijackers checking into airports. Shortly after the attacks, for example, photos showing Atta and al-Omari at an airport “were flashed round the world.”70 However, although it was widely assumed that these photos were from the airport at Boston, they were really from the airport at Portland. No photos showing Atta or any of the other alleged hijackers at Boston’s Logan Airport were ever produced. We at best have photographic evidence that Atta and al-Omari were at the Portland airport.

Moreover, in light of the fact that the story of Atta and al-Omari going to Portland was apparently a late invention, we might expect the photographic evidence that they were at the Portland Jetport on the morning of September 11 to be problematic. And indeed it is. It shows Atta and Omari without either jackets or ties on, whereas the Portland ticket agent said that they had been wearing jackets and ties.71 Also, a photo showing Atta and al-Omari passing through the security checkpoint is marked both 05:45 and 05:53.72

Another airport video was distributed on the day in 2004 that The 9/11 Commission Report was published. The Associated Press, using a frame from it as corroboration of the official story, provided this caption:

Hijacker Khalid al-Mihdhar . . . passes through the security checkpoint at Dulles International Airport in Chantilly, Va., Sept. 11 2001, just hours before American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon in this image from a surveillance video.73
However, as Rowland Morgan and Ian Henshall have pointed out,

a normal security video has time and date burned into the integral video image by proprietary equipment according to an authenticated pattern, along with camera identification and the location that the camera covered. The video released in 2004 contained no such data.74

The Associated Press notwithstanding, therefore, this video contains no evidence that it was taken at Dulles on September 11.

Another problem with this so-called Dulles video is that, although one of the men on it was identified by the 9/11 Commission as Hani Hanjour,75 he “does not remotely resemble Hanjour.” Whereas Hanjour was thin and had a receding hairline (as shown by a photo taken six days before 9/11), the man in the video had a somewhat muscular build and a full head of hair, with no receding hairline.76

In sum: Video proof that the named hijackers checked into airports on 9/11 is nonexistent. Besides the fact that the videos purportedly showing hijackers for Flights 11 and 77 reek of inauthenticity, there are no videos even purportedly showing the hijackers for the other two flights. If these 19 men had really checked into the Boston and Dulles airports that day, there should be authentic security videos to prove this.

8. Were the Names of the “Hijackers” on the Passenger Manifests?

What about the passenger manifests, which list all the passengers on the flights? If the alleged hijackers purchased tickets and boarded the flights, their names would have been on the manifests for these flights. And we were told that they were. According to counterterrorism coordinator Richard Clarke, the FBI told him at about 10:00 that morning that it recognized the names of some al-Qaeda operatives on passenger manifests it had received from the airlines.77 As to how the FBI itself acquired its list, Robert Bonner, the head of Customs and Border Protection, said to the 9/11 Commission in 2004:

On the morning of 9/11, through an evaluation of data related to the passenger manifest for the four terrorist hijacked aircraft, Customs Office of Intelligence was able to identify the likely terrorist hijackers. Within 45 minutes of the attacks, Customs forwarded the passenger lists with the names of the victims and 19 probable hijackers to the FBI and the intelligence community.78

Under questioning, Bonner added:

We were able to pull from the airlines the passenger manifest for each of the four flights. We ran the manifest through [our lookout] system. . . . [B]y 11:00 AM, I’d seen a sheet that essentially identified the 19 probable hijackers. And in fact, they turned out to be, based upon further follow-up in detailed investigation, to be the 19.79

Bonner’s statement, however, is doubly problematic. In the first place, the initial FBI list, as reported by CNN on September 13 and 14, contained only 18 names.80 Why would that be if 19 men had already been identified on 9/11?

Second, several of the names on the FBI’s first list, having quickly become problematic, were replaced by other names. For example, the previously discussed men named Bukhari, thought to be brothers, were replaced on American 11’s list of hijackers by brothers named Waleed and Wail al-Shehri. Two other replacements for this flight were Satam al-Suqami, whose passport was allegedly found at Ground Zero, and Abdul al-Omari, who allegedly went to Portland with Atta the day before 9/11. Also, the initial list for American 77 did not include the name of Hani Hanjour, who would later be called the pilot of this flight. Rather, it contained a name that, after being read aloud by a CNN correspondent, was transcribed “Mosear Caned.”81 All in all, the final list of 19 hijackers contained six names that were not on the original list of 18—a fact that contradicts Bonner’s claim that by 11:00 AM on 9/11 his agency had identified 19 probable hijackers who, in fact, “turned out to be. . . the 19.”

These replacements to the initial list also undermine the claim that Amy Sweeney, by giving the seat numbers of three of the hijackers to Michael Woodward of American Airlines, allowed him to identify Atta and two others. This second claim is impossible because the two others were Abdul al-Omari and Satam al-Suqami,82 and they were replacements for two men on the original list—who, like Adnan Bukhari, turned up alive after 9/11.83 Woodward could not possibly have identified men who were not added to the list until several days later.84

For all these reasons, the claim that the names of the 19 alleged hijackers were on the airlines’ passenger manifests must be considered false.

This conclusion is supported by the fact that the passenger manifests that were released to the public included no names of any of the 19 alleged hijackers and, in fact, no Middle Eastern names whatsoever.85 These manifests, therefore, support the suspicion that there were no al-Qaeda hijackers on the planes.

It might appear that this conclusion is contradicted by the fact that passenger manifests with the names of the alleged hijackers have appeared. A photocopy of a portion of an apparent passenger manifest for American Flight 11, with the names of three of the alleged hijackers, was published in a 2005 book by Terry McDermott, Perfect Soldiers: The 9/11 Hijackers.86 McDermott reportedly said that he received these manifests from the FBI.87 But the idea that these were the original manifests is problematic.

For one thing, they were not included in the evidence presented by the FBI to the Moussaoui trial in 2006.88 If even the FBI will not cite them as evidence, why should anyone think they are genuine?

Another problem with these purported manifests, copies of which can be viewed on the Internet,89 is that they show signs of being late creations. One such sign is that Ziad Jarrah’s last name is spelled correctly, whereas in the early days after 9/11, the FBI was referring to him as “Jarrahi,” as news reports from the time show.90 A second sign is that the manifest for American Flight 77 contains Hani Hanjour’s name, even though its absence from the original list of hijackers had led the Washington Post to wonder why Hanjour’s “name was not on the American Airlines manifest for the flight.”91 A third sign is that the purported manifest for American Flight 11 contains the names of Wail al-Shehri, Waleed al-Shehri, Satam al-Suqami, and Abdul al-Omari, all of whom were added some days after 9/11.

In sum, no credible evidence that al-Qaeda operatives were on the flights is provided by the passenger manifests.

9. Did DNA Tests Identify Five Hijackers among the Victims at the Pentagon?

Another type of evidence that the alleged hijackers were really on the planes could have been provided by autopsies. But no such evidence has been forthcoming. In its book defending the official account of 9/11, to be sure, Popular Mechanics claims that, according to a report on the victims of the Pentagon attack by the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology: “The five hijackers were positively identified.”92 But this claim is false.

According to a summary of this pathology report by Andrew Baker, M.D., the remains of 183 victims were subjected to DNA analysis, which resulted in “178 positive identifications.” Although Baker says that “[s]ome remains for each of the terrorists were recovered,” this was merely an inference from the fact that there were “five unique postmortem profiles that did not match any antemortem material provided by victims’ families.”93

A Washington Post story made even clearer the fact that this conclusion—that the unmatched remains were those of “the five hijackers”—was merely an inference. It wrote: “The remains of the five hijackers have been identified through a process of exclusion, as they did not match DNA samples contributed by family members of all 183 victims who died at the site” (emphasis added).94 All the report said, in other words, was that there were five bodies whose DNA did not match that of any of the known Pentagon victims or any of the regular passengers or crew members on Flight 77.

We have no way of knowing where these five bodies came from. For the claim that they came from the attack site at the Pentagon, we have only the word of the FBI and the military, which insisted on taking charge of the bodies of everyone killed at the Pentagon and transporting them to the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology.95

In any case, the alleged hijackers could have been positively identified only if samples had been obtained from their relatives, and there is no indication that this occurred. Indeed, one can wonder why not. The FBI had lots of information about the men identified as the hijackers. They could easily have located relatives. And these relatives, most of whom reportedly did not believe that their own flesh and blood had been involved in the attacks, would have surely been willing to supply the needed DNA. Indeed, a story about Ziad Jarrah, the alleged pilot of Flight 93, said: “Jarrah’s family has indicated they would be willing to provide DNA samples to US researchers, . . . [but] the FBI has shown no interest thus far.”96

The lack of positive identification of the alleged hijackers is consistent with the autopsy report, which was released to Dr. Thomas Olmsted, who had made a FOIA request for it. Like the flight manifest for Flight 77, he revealed, this report also contains no Arab names.97

10. Has the Claim That Some of the “Hijackers” Are Still Alive Been Debunked?

Another problem with the claim that the 19 hijackers were correctly identified on 9/11, or at least a few days later, is that some of the men on the FBI’s final list reportedly turned up alive after 9/11. Although Der Spiegel and the BBC claim to have debunked these reports, I will show this is untrue by examining the case of one of the alleged hijackers, Waleed al-Shehri—who, we saw earlier, was a replacement for Adnan Bukhari, who himself had shown up alive after 9/11.

In spite of the fact that al-Shehri was a replacement, the 9/11 Commission revealed no doubts about his presence on Flight 11, speculating that he and his brother Wail—another replacement—stabbed two of the flight attendants.98 But the Commission certainly should have had doubts.

On September 22, 2001, the BBC published an article by David Bamford entitled “Hijack “-Suspect’ Alive in Morocco.” It showed that the Waleed al-Shehri identified by the FBI as one of the hijackers was still alive. Explaining why the problem could not be dismissed as a case of mistaken identity, Bamford wrote:

His photograph was released by the FBI, and has been shown in newspapers and on television around the world. That same Mr Al-Shehri has turned up in Morocco, proving clearly that he was not a member of the suicide attack. He told Saudi journalists in Casablanca that . . . he has now been interviewed by the American authorities, who apologised for the misunderstanding.99

The following day, September 23, the BBC published another story, “Hijack “-Suspects’ Alive and Well.” Discussing several alleged hijackers who had shown up alive, it said of al-Shehri in particular: “He acknowledges that he attended flight training school at Daytona Beach. . . . But, he says, he left the United States in September last year, became a pilot with Saudi Arabian airlines and is currently on a further training course in Morocco.”100

In 2003, an article in Der Spiegel tried to debunk these two BBC stories, characterizing them as “nonsense about surviving terrorists.” It claimed that the reported still-alive hijackers were all cases of mistaken identity, involving men with “coincidentally identical names.” This claim by Der Spiegel depended on its assertion that, at the time of the reports, the FBI had released only a list of names: “The FBI did not release photographs until four days after the cited reports, on September 27th.”101 But that was not true. Bamford’s BBC story of September 22, as we saw, reported that Waleed al-Shehri’s photograph had been “released by the FBI” and “shown in newspapers and on television around the world.”

In 2006, nevertheless, the BBC used the same claim to withdraw its support for its own stories. Steve Herrmann, the editor of the BBC News website, claimed that confusion had arisen because “these were common Arabic and Islamic names.” Accordingly, he said, the BBC had changed its September 23 story in one respect: “Under the FBI picture of Waleed al Shehri we have added the words “-A man called Waleed Al Shehri…’ to make it as clear as possible that there was confusion over the identity.”102 But Bamford’s BBC story of September 22, which Herrmann failed to mention, had made it “as clear as possible” that there could not have been any confusion.

These attempts by Der Spiegel and the BBC, in which they tried to discredit the reports that Waleed al-Shehri was still alive after 9/11, have been refuted by Jay Kolar, who shows that FBI photographs had been published by Saudi newspapers as early as September 19. Kolar thereby undermines the only argument against Bamford’s assertion, according to which there could have been no possibility of mistaken identity because al-Shehri had seen his published photograph prior to September 22, when Bamford’s story appeared.103

The fact that al-Shehri, along with several other alleged hijackers,104 was alive after 9/11 shows unambiguously that at least some of the men on the FBI’s final list were not on the planes. It would appear that the FBI, after replacing some of its first-round candidates because of their continued existence, decided not to replace any more, in spite of their exhibition of the same defect.

11. Is There Positive Evidence That No Hijackers Were on the Planes?

At this point, defenders of the official story might argue: The fact that some of the men labeled hijackers were still alive after 9/11 shows only that the FBI list contained some errors; it does not prove that there were no al-Qaeda hijackers on board. And although the previous points do undermine the evidence for such hijackers, absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence.

Evidence of absence, however, is implicit in the prior points in two ways. First, the lack of Arab names on the Pentagon autopsy report and on any of the issued passenger manifests does suggest the absence of al-Qaeda operatives. Second, if al-Qaeda hijackers really were on the flights, why was evidence to prove this fact fabricated?

Beyond those two points, moreover, there is a feature of the reported events that contradicts the claim that hijackers broke into the pilots’ cabins. This feature can be introduced by reference to Conan Doyle’s short story “Silver Blaze,” which is about a famous race horse that had disappeared the night before a big race. Although the local Scotland Yard detective believed that Silver Blaze had been stolen by an intruder, Sherlock Holmes brought up “the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.” When the inspector pointed out that “[t]he dog did nothing in the night-time,” Holmes replied: “That was the curious incident.”105 Had there really been an intruder, in other words, the dog would have barked. This has become known as the case of “the dog that didn’t bark.”

A similar curious incident occurred on each of the four flights. In the event of a hijacking, pilots are trained to enter the standard hijack code (7500) into their transponders to alert controllers on the ground. Using the transponder to send a code is called “squawking.” One of the big puzzles about 9/11 was why none of the pilots squawked the hijack code.

CNN provided a good treatment of this issue, saying with regard to the first flight:

Flight 11 was hijacked apparently by knife-wielding men. Airline pilots are trained to handle such situations by keeping calm, complying with requests, and if possible, dialing in an emergency four digit code on a device called a transponder. . . . The action takes seconds, but it appears no such code was entered.106

The crucial issue was indicated by the phrase “if possible”: Would it have been possible for the pilots of Flight 11 to have performed this action? A positive answer was suggested by CNN’s next statement:

[I]n the cabin, a frantic flight attendant managed to use a phone to call American Airlines Command Center in Dallas. She reported the trouble. And according to “The Christian Science Monitor,” a pilot apparently keyed the microphone, transmitting a cockpit conversation.107

If there was time for both of those actions to be taken, there would have been time for one of the pilots to enter the four-digit hijack code.

That would have been all the more true of the pilots on United Flight 93, given the (purported) tapes from this flight. A reporter at the Moussaoui trial, where these tapes had been played, wrote:

In those tapes, the pilots shouted as hijackers broke into the cockpit. “Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!” a pilot screamed in the first tape. In the second tape, 30 seconds later, a pilot shouted: “Mayday! Get out of here! Get out of here!”108

According to these tapes, therefore, the pilots were still alive and coherent 30 seconds after realizing that hijackers were breaking into the cockpit. And yet in all that time, neither of them did the most important thing they had been trained to do—turn the transponder to 7500.

In addition to the four pilots on Flights 11 and 93, furthermore, the four pilots on Flights 175 and 77 failed to do this as well.

In “Silver Blaze,” the absence of an intruder was shown by the dog that didn’t bark. On 9/11, the absence of hijackers was shown by the pilots who didn’t squawk.

12. Were bin Laden and al-Qaeda Capable of Orchestrating the Attacks?

For prosecutors to prove that defendants committed a crime, they must show that they had the ability (as well as the motive and opportunity) to do so. But several political and military leaders from other countries have stated that bin Laden and al-Qaeda simply could not have carried out the attacks. General Leonid Ivashov, who in 2001 was the chief of staff for the Russian armed forces, wrote:

Only secret services and their current chiefs—or those retired but still having influence inside the state organizations—have the ability to plan, organize and conduct an operation of such magnitude. . . . . Osama bin Laden and “Al Qaeda” cannot be the organizers nor the performers of the September 11 attacks. They do not have the necessary organization, resources or leaders.

Mohamed Hassanein Heikal, the former foreign minister of Egypt, wrote:

Bin Laden does not have the capabilities for an operation of this magnitude. When I hear Bush talking about al-Qaida as if it was Nazi Germany or the communist party of the Soviet Union, I laugh because I know what is there.

Similar statements have been made by Andreas von Bülow, the former state secretary of West Germany’s ministry of defense, by General Mirza Aslam Beg, former chief of staff of Pakistan’s army, and even General Musharraf, the president of Pakistan until recently.109

This same point was also made by veteran CIA agent Milt Bearden. Speaking disparagingly of “the myth of Osama bin Laden” on CBS News the day after 9/11, Bearden said: “I was there [in Afghanistan] at the same time bin Laden was there. He was not the great warrior.” With regard to the widespread view that bin Laden was behind the attacks, he said: “This was a tremendously sophisticated operation against the United States—more sophisticated than anybody would have ascribed to Osama bin Laden.” Pointing out that a group capable of such a sophisticated attack would have had a way to cover their tracks, he added: “This group who was responsible for that, if they didn’t have an Osama bin Laden out there, they’d invent one, because he’s a terrific diversion.”110

13. Could Hani Hanjour Have Flown Flight 77 into the Pentagon?

The inability of al-Qaeda to have carried out the operation can be illustrated in terms of Hani Hanjour, the al-Qaeda operative said to have flown Flight 77 into the Pentagon.

On September 12, before it was stated that Hanjour had been the pilot of American 77, the final minutes of this plane’s trajectory had been described as one requiring great skill. A Washington Post story said:

[J]ust as the plane seemed to be on a suicide mission into the White House, the unidentified pilot executed a pivot so tight that it reminded observers of a fighter jet maneuver. . . . Aviation sources said the plane was flown with extraordinary skill, making it highly likely that a trained pilot was at the helm.111

But Hani Hanjour was not that. Indeed, a CBS story reported, an Arizona flight school said that Hanjour’s “flying skills were so bad . . . they didn’t think he should keep his pilot’s license.” The manager stated: “I couldn’t believe he had a commercial license of any kind with the skills that he had.”112 A New York Times story, entitled “A Trainee Noted for Incompetence,” quoted one of his instructors as saying that Hanjour “could not fly at all.”113

The 9/11 Commission even admitted that in the summer of 2001, just months before 9/11, a flight instructor in New Jersey, after going up with Hanjour in a small plane, “declined a second request because of what he considered Hanjour’s poor piloting skills.”114 The Commission failed to address the question of how Hanjour, incapable of flying a single-engine plane, could have flown a giant 757 through the trajectory reportedly taken by Flight 77: descending 8,000 feet in three minutes and then coming in at ground level to strike Wedge 1 of the Pentagon between the first and second floors, without even scraping the lawn.

Several pilots have said this would have been impossible. Russ Wittenberg, who flew large commercial airliners for 35 years after serving as a fighter pilot in Vietnam, says it would have been “totally impossible for an amateur who couldn’t even fly a Cessna” to fly that downward spiral and then “crash into the Pentagon’s first floor wall without touching the lawn.”115 Ralph Omholt, a former 757 pilot, has bluntly said: “The idea that an unskilled pilot could have flown this trajectory is simply too ridiculous to consider.”116 Ralph Kolstad, who was a US Navy “top gun” pilot before becoming a commercial airline pilot for 27 years, has said: “I have 6,000 hours of flight time in Boeing 757’s and 767’s and I could not have flown it the way the flight path was described. . . . Something stinks to high heaven!”117

The authors of the Popular Mechanics book about 9/11 offered to solve this problem. While acknowledging that Hanjour “may not have been highly skilled,” they said that he did not need to be, because all he had to do was, using a GPS unit, put his plane on autopilot.118 “He steered the plane manually for only the final eight minutes of the flight,” they state triumphantly119—ignoring the fact that it was precisely during those minutes that Hanjour had allegedly performed the impossible.

14. Would an al-Qaeda Pilot Have Executed that Maneuver?

A further question is: Even if one of the al-Qaeda operatives on that flight could have executed that maneuver, would he have done so? This question arises out of the fact that the plane could easily have crashed into the roof on the side of the Pentagon that housed Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and all the top brass. The difficult maneuver would have been required only by the decision to strike Wedge 1 on the side.

But this was the worst possible place, given the assumed motives of the al-Qaeda operatives: They would have wanted to kill Rumsfeld and the top brass, but Wedge 1 was as far removed from their offices as possible. They would have wanted to cause as much destruction as possible, but Wedge 1—and only it—had been renovated to make it less vulnerable to attack. Al-Qaeda operatives would have wanted to kill as many Pentagon employees as possible, but because the renovation was not quite complete, Wedge 1 was only sparsely occupied. The attack also occurred on the only part of the Pentagon that would have presented physical obstacles to an attacking airplane. All of these facts were public knowledge. So even if an al-Qaeda pilot had been capable of executing the maneuver to strike the ground floor of Wedge 1, he would not have done so.

15. Could al-Qaeda Operatives Have Brought Down the World Trade Center Buildings?

Returning to the issue of competence, another question is whether al-Qaeda operatives could have brought down the Twin Towers and WTC 7?

With regard to the Twin Towers, the official theory is that they were brought down by the impact of the airplanes plus the ensuing fires. But this theory cannot explain why the towers, after exploding outwards at the top, came straight down, because this type of collapse would have required all 287 of each building’s steel columns—which ran from the basement to the roof—to have failed simultaneously; it cannot explain why the top parts of the buildings came straight down at virtually free-fall speed, because this required that the lower parts of the building, with all of their steel and concrete, offered no resistance; it cannot explain why sections of steel beams, weighing thousands of tons, were blown out horizontally more than 500 feet; it cannot explain why some of the steel had melted, because this melting required temperatures far hotter than the fires in the buildings could possibly have been; and it cannot explain why many firefighters and WTC employees reported massive explosions in the buildings long after all the jet-fuel had burned up. But all of these phenomena are easily explainable by the hypothesis that the buildings were brought down by explosives in the procedure known as controlled demolition.120

This conclusion now constitutes the consensus of independent physicists, chemists, architects, engineers, and demolition experts who have studied the facts.121 For example, Edward Munyak, a mechanical and fire protection engineer who worked in the US departments of energy and defense, says: “The concentric nearly freefall speed exhibited by each building was identical to most controlled demolitions. . . . Collapse [was] not caused by fire effects.”122 Dwain Deets, the former director of the research engineering division at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center, mentions the “massive structural members being hurled horizontally” as one of the factors leaving him with “no doubt [that] explosives were involved.”123

Given the fact that WTC 7 was not even hit by a plane, its vertical collapse at virtually free-fall speed, which also was preceded by explosions and involved the melting of steel, was still more obviously an example of controlled demolition.124 For example, Jack Keller, emeritus professor of engineering at Utah State University, who has been given special recognition by Scientific American, said: “Obviously it was the result of controlled demolition.”125 Likewise, when Danny Jowenko—a controlled demolition expert in the Netherlands who had not known that WTC 7 had collapsed on 9/11—was asked to comment on a video of its collapse, he said: “They simply blew up columns, and the rest caved in afterwards. . . . [I]t’s been imploded. . . . A team of experts did this.”126

If the Twin Towers and WTC 7 were brought down by explosives, the question becomes: Who would have had the ability to place the explosives? This question involves two parts: First, who could have obtained access to the buildings for all the hours it would have taken to plant the explosives? The answer is: Only someone with connections to people in charge of security for the World Trade Center.

The second part of the question is: Who, if they had such access, would have had the expertise to engineer the controlled demolition of these three buildings? As Jowenko’s statement indicated, the kind of controlled demolition to which these buildings were subjected was implosion, which makes the building come straight down. According to, an implosion is “by far the trickiest type of explosive project, and there are only a handful of blasting companies in the world that possess enough experience . . . to perform these true building implosions.”127

Both parts of the question, therefore, rule out al-Qaeda operatives. The destruction of the World Trade Center had to have been an inside job.

16. Would al-Qaeda Operatives Have Imploded the Buildings?

Finally, we can also ask whether, even if al-Qaeda operatives had possessed the ability to cause the World Trade Center buildings to implode so as to come straight down, they would have done so? The answer to this question becomes obvious once we reflect upon the purpose of this kind of controlled demolition, which is to avoid damaging near-by buildings. Had the 110-story Twin Towers fallen over sideways, they would have caused massive destruction in lower Manhattan, destroying dozens of other buildings and killing tens of thousands of people. Would al-Qaeda have had the courtesy to make sure that the buildings came straight down?


All the proffered evidence that America was attacked by Muslims on 9/11, when subjected to critical scrutiny, appears to have been fabricated. If that is determined indeed to be the case, the implications would be enormous. Discovering and prosecuting the true perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks would obviously be important. The most immediate consequence, however, should be to reverse those attitudes and policies that have been based on the assumption that America was attacked by Muslims on 9/11.

1. On the ways in which torture, extraordinary rendition, government spying, and the military tribunals have undermined US constitutional principles, see Louis Fisher, The Constitution and 9/11: Recurring Threats to America’s Freedoms (Lawrence: Kansas University Press, 2008).

2. 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), 160 (henceforth 9/11CR).

3. 9/11CR 154.

4. Kevin Fagan, “Agents of Terror Leave Their Mark on Sin City,” San Francisco Chronicle, 4 October 2001 (click here

5. See ibid.; David Wedge, “Terrorists Partied with Hooker at Hub-Area Hotel,” Boston Herald, 10 October, 2001 (click here and Jody A. Benjamin, “Suspects’ Actions Don’t Add Up,” South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 16 September 2001 (click here

6. “Terrorist Stag Parties,” Wall Street Journal, 10 October 2001 (

7. 9/11CR 248.

8. “Meet the Press,” NBC, 23 September, 2001 (click here

9. “Remarks by the President, Secretary of the Treasury O’Neill and Secretary of State Powell on Executive Order,” White House, 24 September 2001 (click here

10. Seymour M. Hersh, “What Went Wrong: The C.I.A. and the Failure of American Intelligence,” New Yorker, 1 October 2001 (

11. “White House Warns Taliban: “-We Will Defeat You,’” CNN, 21 September 2001 (click here

12. Office of the Prime Minister, “Responsibility for the Terrorist Atrocities in the United States,” BBC News, 4 October 2001 (click here

13. “The Investigation and the Evidence,” BBC News, 5 October 2001 (

14. Kathy Gannon, “Taliban Willing to Talk, But Wants U.S. Respect,” Associated Press, 1 November 2001 (click here

15. Federal Bureau of Investigation, “Most Wanted Terrorists: Usama bin Laden” (

16. Ed Haas, “FBI says, “-No Hard Evidence Connecting Bin Laden to 9/11′” Muckraker Report, 6 June 2006 (

17. See my discussion in The New Pearl Harbor Revisited: 9/11, the Cover-Up, and the Exposé (Northampton: Olive Branch, 2008), 208-11.

18. BBC News, “Tape “-Proves Bin Laden’s Guilt,’” 14 December 2001 (

19. See “The Fake 2001 bin Laden Video Tape” (

20. Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton, with Benjamin Rhodes, Without Precedent: The Inside Story of the 9/11 Commission (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006).

21. 9/11CR 149, 155, 166.

22. See 9/11CR Ch. 5, notes 16, 41, and 92.

23. Kean and Hamilton, Without Precedent, 118.

24. Ibid., 122-24.

25. Ibid., 119.

26. Robert Windrem and Victor Limjoco, “The 9/11 Commission Controversy,” Deep Background: NBC News Investigations, 30 January 2008 (click here

27. Tim O’Brien, “Wife of Solicitor General Alerted Him of Hijacking from Plane,” CNN, 11 September 2001 (

28. Charles Lane and John Mintz, “Bid to Thwart Hijackers May Have Led to Pa. Crash,” Washington Post, 13 September 2001 (click here
29. Kerry Hall, “Flight Attendant Helped Fight Hijackers,” News & Record (Greensboro, N.C.), 21 September 2001 (click here

30. 9/11CR 6.

31. Gail Sheehy, “Stewardess ID’d Hijackers Early, Transcripts Show,” New York Observer, 15 February 2004 (

32. “Calm Before the Crash: Flight 11 Crew Sent Key Details Before Hitting the Twin Towers,” ABC News, 18 July 2002 (click here

33. A. K. Dewdney, “The Cellphone and Airfone Calls from Flight UA93,” Physics 911, 9 June 2003 ( For discussion of this issue, see The New Pearl Harbor Revisited, 112-14.

34. See Debunking 9/11 Myths: Why Conspiracy Theories Can’t Stand Up to the Facts: An In-Depth Investigation by Popular Mechanics, ed. David Dunbar and Brad Reagan (New York: Hearst Books, 2006), 83-86.

35. Lechner FBI Affidavit; available at Four Corners: Investigative TV Journalism (click here Woodward and Sweeney are not identified by name in the affidavit, which refers simply to the former as “an employee of American Airlines at Logan” and to the latter as “a flight attendant on AA11.” But their names were revealed in an “investigative document compiled by the FBI” to which Eric Lichtblau referred in “Aboard Flight 11, a Chilling Voice,” Los Angeles Times, 20 September 2001 (click here

36. 9/11CR 453n32.

37. Gail Sheehy, “9/11 Tapes Reveal Ground Personnel Muffled Attacks,” New York Observer, 24 June, 2004 (

38. Greg Gordon, “Prosecutors Play Flight 93 Cockpit Recording,” McClatchy Newspapers,, 12 April 2006 (click here The quoted statement is Gordon’s paraphrase of the testimony of “a member of the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force.”

39. See United States v. Zacarias Moussaoui, Exhibit Number P200054 (click here This graphics presentation can be more easily viewed in “Detailed Account of Phone Calls from September 11th Flights” at 9-11 Research (click here

40. “The Final Moments of United Flight 93,” Newsweek, 22 September 2001 (click here See “Interview with Deena Lynne Burnett (re: phone call from hijacked flight),” 9/11 Commission, FBI Source Documents, Chronological, September 11, 2001,, 14 March 2008 (click here Greg Gordon, “Widow Tells of Poignant Last Calls,” Sacramento Bee, 11 September 2002 (click here and Deena L. Burnett (with Anthony F. Giombetti), Fighting Back: Living Beyond Ourselves (Longwood, Florida: Advantage Inspirational Books, 2006), where she wrote: “I looked at the caller ID and indeed it was Tom’s cell phone number” (61).

42. William M. Arkin, “When Seeing and Hearing Isn’t Believing,” Washington Post, 1 February 1999 (click here Although Brickhouse Security’s advertisement for Telephone Voice Changers (click here has been modified in recent years, it previously included a device called “FoneFaker,” the ad for which said: “Record any call you make, fake your Caller ID and change your voice, all with one service you can use from any phone.”

44. For Deena Burnett’s reconstruction of the calls, see click here

45. See The New Pearl Harbor Revisited, 122.

46. Lichtblau, “Aboard Flight 11, a Chilling Voice” (see note 34, above).
47. 9/11CR 4, 6.

48. See note 38, above.

49. 9/11CR 19.

50. Ibid.

51. “Summary of Air Traffic Hijack Events: September 11, 2001,” FAA, 17 September 2001 (click here

52. Frank J. Murray, “Americans Feel Touch of Evil; Fury Spurs Unity,” Washington Times, 11 September 2002 (click here

53. “Ashcroft Says More Attacks May Be Planned,” CNN, 18 September 2001 (click here “Terrorist Hunt,” ABC News (click here

54. Anne Karpf, “Uncle Sam’s Lucky Finds,” Guardian, 19 March 2002 (click here Like some others, this article mistakenly said the passport belonged to Mohamed Atta.

55. Statement by Susan Ginsburg, senior counsel to the 9/11 Commission, at the 9/11 Commission Hearing, 26 January 2004 (click here The Commission’s account reflected a CBS report that the passport had been found “minutes after” the attack, which was stated by the Associated Press, 27 January 2003.

56. Sheila MacVicar and Caroline Faraj, “September 11 Hijacker Questioned in January 2001,” CNN, 1 August 2002 (click here 9/11 Commission Hearing, 26 January 2004.

57. 9/11CR 14; Jere Longman, Among the Heroes: United 93 and the Passengers and Crew Who Fought Back (New York: HarperCollins, 2002), 215.

58. In light of the absurdity of the claims about the passports of al-Suqami and Jarrah, we can safely assume that the ID cards of Majed Moqed, Nawaf al-Hazmi, and Salem al-Hazmi, said to have been discovered at the Pentagon crash site (see “9/11 and Terrorist Travel,” 9/11 Commission Staff Report [click here 27, 42), were also planted.

59. For a photograph of the headband, see 9-11 Research, “The Crash of Flight 93″ (click here

60. Quoted in Ross Coulthart, “Terrorists Target America,” Ninemsn, September 2001 (click here

61. Lechner FBI Affidavit (see note 34, above).

62. Sydney Morning Herald, 15 September 2001; Boston Globe, 18 September, 2001.
63. The 9/11 Commission’s Staff Statement No. 16, dated 16 June 2004 (, said: “The Portland detour almost prevented Atta and Omari from making Flight 11 out of Boston. In fact, the luggage they checked in Portland failed to make it onto the plane.”

64. 9/11CR 1-2.

65. 9/11CR 451n1; FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, “Statement for the Record,” Joint Intelligence Committee Inquiry, 26 September 2002 (click here

66. “Two Brothers among Hijackers,” CNN Report, 13 September 2001 (click here

67. “Feds Think They’ve Identified Some Hijackers,” CNN, 13 September 2001 (click here

68. “Portland Police Eye Local Ties,” Associated Press, Portsmouth Herald, 14 September 2001 (click here

69. Joel Achenbach, “‘You Never Imagine’ A Hijacker Next Door,” Washington Post, 16 September 2001 (click here Rowland Morgan and Ian Henshall, 9/11 Revealed: The Unanswered Questions (New York: Carroll & Graf, 2005), 181.

71. David Hench, “Ticket Agent Haunted by Brush with 9/11 Hijackers,” Portland Press Herald, 6 March 2005 (

72. This photo can be seen at click here

73. Associated Press, 22 July 2004. The photo with this caption can be seen in Morgan and Henshall, 9/11 Revealed, 117-18, along with a genuine security video (with identification data), or at (scroll half-way down).

74. Rowland and Henshall, 9/11 Revealed, 118.

75. 9/11CR 452n11.

76. Jay Kolar, “What We Now Know about the Alleged 9-11 Hijackers,” in Paul Zarembka, ed., The Hidden History of 9-11 (New York: Seven Stories, 2008), 3-44, at 8 (emphasis Kolar’s).

77. Richard A. Clarke, Against All Enemies: Inside America’s War on Terror (New York: Free Press, 2004), 13.

78. “Statement of Robert C. Bonner to the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States,” 26 January 2004 (click here

79. Ibid.
80. “FBI: Early Probe Results Show 18 Hijackers Took Part,” CNN, 13 September 2001 (click here “List of Names of 18 Suspected Hijackers,” CNN, 14 September 2001 (click here

81. “List of Names of 18 Suspected Hijackers.”

82. Gail Sheehy, “Stewardess ID’d Hijackers Early, Transcripts Show,” New York Observer, 15 February 2004 (

83. Satam al-Suqami replaced a man named Amer Kamfar, and Abdulaziz al-Omari replaced a man with a similar name, Abdulrahman al-Omari; see Kolar, “What We Now Know,” 12-15.

84. Another problem with the claim that Woodward had identified these three men is that the seat numbers reportedly used to identify Atta and al-Omari (see Gail Sheehy, “Stewardess ID’d Hijackers Early”) did not match the numbers of the seats assigned to these two men (9/11CR 2).

85. All four passenger manifests can be found at click here

86. Terry McDermott, Perfect Soldiers: The 9/11 Hijackers: Who They Were, Why They Did It (New York: HarperCollins, 2005), photo section after p. 140.

87. This is stated at “The Passengers,” (

88. Although discussions on the Internet have often claimed that these manifests were included in the FBI’s evidence for the Moussaoui trial, several researchers failed to find them. See Jim Hoffman’s discussion at click here

89. To view them, see “Passenger Lists,” 9-11 Research (click here To download them and/or read cleaned-up versions, see “The Passengers,” (

90. “Hijackers Linked to USS Cole Attack? Investigators Have Identified All the Hijackers; Photos to Be Released,” CBS News, 14 September 2001 (click here Elizabeth Neuffer, “Hijack Suspect Lived a Life, or a Lie,” Boston Globe, 25 September 2001 (click here

91. “Four Planes, Four Coordinated Teams,” Washington Post, 16 September 2001 (click here

92. David Dunbar and Brad Reagan, eds., Debunking 9/11 Myths: Why Conspiracy Theories Can’t Stand Up to the Facts (New York: Hearst Books, 2006), 63.

93. Andrew M. Baker, M.D., “Human Identification in a Post-9/11 World: Attack on American Airlines Flight 77 and the Pentagon Identification and Pathology” (click here

94. Steve Vogel, “Remains Unidentified for 5 Pentagon Victims,” Washington Post, 21 November 2001 (click here See my discussion in Debunking 9/11 Debunking: An Answer to Popular Mechanics and Other Defenders of the Official Conspiracy Theory, revised & updated edition (Northampton: Olive Branch, 2007), 268-69.

96. “Ziad Jarrah,” Wikipedia, as the article existed prior to September 8, 2006. On that date, that passage was removed. However, the earlier version of the article, containing the passage, is available at

97. Thomas R. Olmsted, M.D. “Still No Arabs on Flight 77,”, 23 June 2003 (

98. 9/11CR 5.

99. David Bamford, “Hijack “-Suspect’ Alive in Morocco,” BBC, 22 September 2001 (click here

100. “Hijack “-Suspects’ Alive and Well,” BBC News, 23 September 2001 (click here “Panoply of the Absurd,” Der Spiegel, 8 September 2003 [click here

102. Steve Herrmann, “9/11 Conspiracy Theory,” The Editors, BBC News, 27 October 2006 (click here

103. Jay Kolar, “Update: What We Now Know about the Alleged 9-11 Hijackers,” Zarembka, ed., The Hidden History of 9-11: 293-304, at 293-94.

104. For discussion of some of these other men, see ibid., 295-98.

105. The story “Silver Blaze” is available at Wikisource (

106. “America Under Attack: How could It Happen?” CNN Live Event, 12 September 2001 (click here

107. Ibid. This was the “radio transmission” discussed earlier.

108. Richard A. Serrano, “Heroism, Fatalism Aboard Flight 93,” Los Angeles Times, 12 April 2006 (click here

109. All of these statements are contained in the section headed “Senior Military, Intelligence, Law Enforcement, and Government Officials” at Patriots Question 9/11 (

110. “9/12/2001: CIA Veteran Doubts Bin Laden Capable of 9/11 Attacks, Suspects Larger Plot,” Aidan Monaghan’s Blog, 11 March 2008 (

111. Marc Fisher and Don Phillips, “On Flight 77: “-Our Plane Is Being Hijacked,’” Washington Post, 12 September 2001 (click here

112. “FAA Was Alerted To Sept. 11 Hijacker,” CBS News, 10 May 2002 (click here

113. Jim Yardley, “A Trainee Noted for Incompetence,” New York Times, 4 May 2002 (click here 9/11CR 242.
115. Greg Szymanski, “Former Vietnam Combat and Commercial Pilot Firm Believer 9/11 Was Inside Government Job,” Arctic Beacon, 17 July 2005 (click here Email from Ralph Omholt, 27 October 2006.

117. Alan Miller, “U.S. Navy ‘Top Gun’ Pilot Questions 911 Pentagon Story,”, 5 September 2007 (click here Dunbar and Reagan, eds., Debunking 9/11 Myths, 6.

119. Ibid.

120. These problems and more are discussed in The New Pearl Harbor Revisited, Ch. 1.

121. For such people who have been willing to go public, see Patriots Question 9/11 (

122. Patriots Question 9/11 (

123. Stated at Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth (

124. For anyone aware of the facts, NIST’s report on the collapse of WTC 7, issued August 22, 2008, is laughable. For one thing, as I had predicted (Ch. 1 of The New Pearl Harbor Revisited), NIST simply ignored all the facts to which its fire theory cannot do justice, such as the melted steel, the thermite residue, and the reports of explosions in the building.

125. Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth (click here This interview can be seen at “Controlled Demolition Expert and WTC7″ ( A portion is contained in the film Loose Change Final Cut.

127. “The Myth of Implosion” (
David Ray Griffin is professor emeritus at Claremont School of Theology and Claremont Graduate University, where he taught philosophy of religion and theology, with special emphases on the problem of evil and the relations between science and religion, theology and ecology, religion and politics, and modernity and postmodernity. He has published 34 books, including seven about 9/11, most recently The New Pearl Harbor Revisited: 9/11, The Cover-Up, and the Exposé (Olive Branch, 2008). Dr. Griffin’s previous books about 9/11 include The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions about the Bush Administration and 9/11 (2004), The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions (2005), The American Empire and the Commonwealth of God (2005, co-authored with John B. Cobb, Jr., Richard Falk, and Catherine Keller), Christian Faith and the Truth about 9/11: A Call to Reflection and Action (2006), 9/11 and American Empire: Intellectuals Speak Out (2006, co-edited with Peter Dale Scott), Debunking 9/11 Debunking: An Answer to Popular Mechanics and Other Defenders of the Official Conspiracy Theory (2007), and 9/11 Contradictions: An Open Letter to Congress and the Press (2008).

There you have it. I am about to say ok, now what? Bush should be impeached, hell he should probably be shot. But what do I know.

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