9/11: 80 Minutes of Unilateral Disarmament

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What
happened on 9/11, and why? Answers swirl in confusion and mystery
two-and-a-half years later. Yet the events of that day and their
aftermath are the pivot point of the 21st century, the
linchpin of U.S. foreign policy and the principal reason our President
offers for the merit of his reelection. There can be no more compelling
political events to understand.

Unfortunately,
the administration's behavior repeatedly demonstrates that it does
not want any serious, objective inquiry into the facts of 9/11.
Curious, isn't it? Consistent obstruction would make Columbo suspicious,
and it ought to make us suspicious too. In the land of the (fractionally)
free and home of the brave, some are brave enough to think outside
the government box, and these inquiring minds want to know. Set
yourself free, throw off the federal blinders and follow the evidence.
This is the opposite of the "conspiracy theory" approach.

Before
the necessary descent in details, let's look at the big picture
first: How could such a horrific crime against the homeland succeed?
The answer has got to be: "It takes a lot." That's true
whether you favor the "grand incompetence" theory or the
"government complicity" theory. Whatever, it takes a lot
of stuff working together.

Nineteen
young Arab men reportedly armed with some really, really sharp razor
blades wreak mass destruction in the homeland – that's what
government wants us to buy into. My reaction: you've got to be kidding!
Your evidence had better be good, very, very good. Nineteen guys
from the Middle East (I'll abstain from gratuitous insults against
these guys for the sake of their families) up against our Goliath
Department of Defense with all its fancy hardware and (pretty damned
capable!) personnel and the score? David 100, Goliath zip. Total
humiliation for our military. C'mon! Goliath stutters and stumbles
around for 80 minutes, doing his best Hamlet, and never gets it
together? The skies over America totally undefended? In the biggest
assault on the United States since Pearl Harbor? Even at Pearl,
a couple of guys got up in the air, didn't they? Agreed, government
is incompetent but, pardon my prejudice, nineteen low-tech losers
did all this? Really!? It's quite a story. And yet it's sacrilege
to ask any challenging question about this story, government's involvement
or its holy war on terror, consecrated by the lives lost on 9/11.

Ask
and you're in the cross hairs of the Bush slime machine. Ask former
Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, former ambassador Joseph Wilson,
or former counter-terrorism chief Richard A. Clarke, the latest
in a growing line of former, now-critical government officials,
what a nasty bunch this Bush group is. Therefore, I come to praise
David Ray Griffin, a professor of philosophy of religion at Claremont
School of Theology in southern California, for his enormous courage
in writing The
New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions about the Bush Administration
and 9/11
.

Most
importantly, The New Pearl Harbor puts all the tough issues
into a dispassionate, scientific package. It follows the evidence
where it leads and to put it mildly, finds the shifting government
explanations wanting, preposterous for the most part. It's a rare
book that can make a major difference in history. Yes, Griffin builds
on the work of hundreds of other investigators but he is the first
to put it all together in a coherent and well-written analysis.

Strong
evidence contradicts virtually all of the official account, opaque
as it is, but here's my top six:

  • Fact:
    Authorities abstained from standard operating procedures to
    respond to hijackings for a crucial 80 minutes.
  • Fact:
    Collapses of the World Trade Center Towers and WTC 7 building
    could not have been caused by the two airliner crashes and subsequent
    jet fuel fires, leaving demolition (controlled explosions) as
    the best explanation. Further, government officials prevented
    a forensic examination of the debris, especially the steel,
    suggesting a cover-up.
  • Fact:
    Photographic evidence shows that the hole in the Pentagon façade
    was 18 feet in diameter, tops, and there is no
    evidence of wreckage from a Boeing 757.
    A large plane like
    the Boeing 757, as asserted by government, could not fit in
    such a hole, and related physical evidence and eyewitness testimony
    suggests a much smaller aircraft like a guided missile caused
    the death and destruction at the Pentagon.
  • Fact:
    Passenger cell phone conversations, crash site debris and government
    deletion of the last three minutes of the cockpit voice tape
    suggest authorities ordered Flight 93 shot down over Pennsylvania
    after learning that passengers were gaining control and might
    return with live hijackers.
  • Fact:
    Not one employee at the FAA, Defense, WMCC, NORAD or any other
    culpable civilian or military branch of government has been
    reprimanded or dismissed for incompetence. The official fable
    is that indecisive employees, both civilian and military, stood
    around and dithered, wondering what to do, thereby creating
    an unprecedented systemic failure. Remember Payne Stewart, professional
    golf champion? The Air Force went up to check his fatal Lear
    jet flight on 25 October 1999. Routine. Turning off a transponder
    is illegal, much less calls from flight attendants at 8:21 a.m.
    confirming the hijack of Flight 11, fully 25 minutes before
    that first collision with a WTC Tower at 8:46 a.m., plenty of
    time to intercept it far from New York City.
  • Fact:
    High
    officials in the Bush government openly expressed their wish
    for a "new Pearl Harbor"
    because of all the benefits
    it would bring, and got their wish within 12 months.

Of
course, there is lots more than these six facts, especially specific
intel government ignored pre-9/11 and its continual obstruction
of field investigators. In mid-August, for example, FBI headquarters
denied Minneapolis FBI agents a search warrant for Zacarias Moussaoui's
computer and other possessions, despite a damning French intelligence
report that showed him to be a threat. Frenzied agents were blocked
at every path. But the same happened to FBI agents in Phoenix, Chicago,
and New York and on and on.

But
let's just amplify on the first two facts above. Second only to
the loss of 3,000 innocent lives and its associated property damage
is the paramount fact about 9/11, namely, there was an 80-minute
"outage" in standard response. Airliners or, indeed general
aviation, running around willy-nilly are a threat to public safety.
So flying in authorized "channels" was strict policy before
9/11, not just after. FAA regulations had instructed air traffic
controllers that an aircraft emergency exists when "there is
unexpected loss of radar contact and radio communications with…any
aircraft…If…you are in doubt that a situation constitutes an emergency
or potential emergency, handle it as though it were an emergency."
Any deviation from plan and non-response is considered a real emergency.

The
FAA manual specified what happens at the intercept of an totally
unresponsive plane, quoting Griffin: "Rocking wings…conveys
the message: u2018You have been intercepted.' The commercial jet is
then supposed to respond by rocking its wings to indicate compliance,
upon which the interceptor performs a u2018slow level turn, normally
to the left, on to the desired heading.' The commercial plane then
responds by following the escort." Non-response, according
to standard procedures, risks a shoot down. Marine Corps Major Mike
Snyder, a NORAD spokesman, told the Boston Globe that NORAD’s "fighters
routinely intercept aircraft" and explained, "Eventually,
it can fire tracer rounds in the airplane's path, or, under certain
circumstances, down it with a missile."

According
to military regulations, a hijacking meant that the National Military
Command Center "will be notified by the most expeditious means
by the FAA. The NMCC will, with the exceptions of requests needing
an immediate response…forward requests for DoD assistance to the
Secretary of Defense for approval." Immediate response means
that many people in the line of command would have had the authority
to prevent AA Flight 11 from slamming into WTC North. Anybody who
believes that highly-trained military commanders, the guys in the
killing and maiming business, sit around and dither over a potential
loss of civilian life during a military emergency, paralyzed, even
with well-established procedures in place, needs to get back in
touch with planet earth.

The
Secretary of Defense was at the Pentagon the morning of 9/11, busy
discussing terrorism with Congressman Christopher Cox, pleading
for more money and impressing him with his predictive powers. At
8:44 a.m., according to AP, Rumsfeld said, "There will be another
event. There will be another event." Two minutes later, AA
Flight 11 slammed into WTC North. Watching television at 9:35 a.m.,
Rumsfeld wowed Cox again by saying, "Believe me, this isn't
over yet. There's going to be another attack, and it could be us."
A few moments later, at 9:38, the Pentagon was hit. Attacks in New
York? No fighters were put over Washington.

I
remember watching both wounded WTC Towers on television and my first
reaction was, "Those buildings won't fall." When they
did, I couldn't believe it. After the airliners penetrated and jet
fuel was burning (that couldn't last long), the buildings were quiet,
motionless, and stable. Photos show that the fires were small and
the dark smoke indicated that they were suffocating. Such fires
could never bring the temperature up enough to melt steel. That's
why no steel-framed building before the alleged 9/11 exception has
ever collapsed solely because of fire.

Further,
the South Tower was struck 17 minutes later than the North Tower,
yet collapsed 29 minutes earlier. This is suspicious in view of
the fact that the South Tower fire was much smaller (the plane hit
the corner and dumped most of its fuel outside). The only explanation
that fits all the physical facts is controlled demolition: internal
explosions at various levels shattered the three buildings and rapidly
collapsed them within 10 seconds, including the "mysterious"
collapse of the 47-story, steel-framed WTC 7. The physical facts
support a "politically-incorrect, engineering theory,"
if there ever was such a thing, at every turn. For example, rather
than collapsing into broken pieces, 100,000 tons of concrete in
the floors were vaporized into the dust we saw in the air and on
fleeing people. That takes an enormous amount of energy. We're supposed
to believe that a suffocating hydrocarbon fire high up in each Tower
caused this? Physically impossible.

But
where's that Boeing 757 that was AA Flight 77 if it didn't crash
into the Pentagon? Danged if I know. There were unconfirmed reports
of a plane crash in Ohio and Kentucky but it's unexplained. And
how could any group even contemplate such a conspiracy? Ever since
the 1898 Spanish-American war, the dossier of foreign policy betrayals
is thicker than you might think. The Gulf of Tonkin incident, for
example, was completely bogus but perceived as real enough at the
time to boost lucky Lyndon into a "war president."

Well,
that's enough for now. Facts are stubborn things. Read the book.
Educate yourself and others. Prepare
to be regaled by government's investigation of itself, courtesy
of the 9/11 Commission this July
. Failing to ask disturbing
questions about physical evidence or anything else, its report on
the parade of Kabuki artists lying before it will make for some
"fantastic" reading.

March
26, 2004

Morgan
Reynolds [send him mail],
retired professor of economics at Texas A&M University and former
chief economist, US Department of Labor, lives in Hot Springs Village,
Arkansas.


        
        

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