Bedtime Stories From Your 9/11 Commission

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In
1962 the Joint Chiefs of Staff drafted a plan to commit widespread
acts of so-called Cuban terrorism in order to "place the United
States in the position of suffering justifiable grievances,"
thereby inciting rage in the American public and world opinion.
That, in turn, would justify a U.S.
attack on Cuba
to get rid
of Fidel Castro
. The plan included hijacking planes, blowing
up a U.S. ship with consequent loss of U.S. military life, and even
developing "a Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami
area, other Florida cities and even Washington." The top-secret
scheme was intended to "focus all efforts on the objective
of justification for US military intervention in Cuba." The
memo had the written approval of all the Joint Chiefs and its chairman,
Eisenhower-appointee General Lyman L. Lemnitzer, who presented the
scam to defense secretary Robert McNamara in March 1962, but it
apparently was rejected by the civilian leadership and then went
undiscovered for 40 years.

In
view of these chilling facts, we are entirely justified in asking
a "sacrilegious" question: Could 9/11, a godsend for the
war plans of Bush and company, have been arranged by the U.S. government?
Well, yes, as a matter fact, the attacks could have been. A disturbing
thought, I agree. But such a conspiracy is actually more plausible
than the official account of 9/11. The behavior of government decision-makers
on that fateful September day, from the President on down, otherwise
remains puzzling to this day.

But
let's slow down and proceed step by step. Extraordinary claims demand
extraordinary proof. Yes, we're entertaining a conspiracy theory.
Worried about that? A conspiracy is merely "an agreement to
perform together an illegal, treacherous, or evil act" (my
American Heritage Dictionary, Houghton Mifflin). Whoever
did what on that fateful day, there were surely a dozen or more
people involved. "Now, I'm not into conspiracy theories, except
the ones that are true," as filmmaker Michael Moore says. The
real question is, what theory best explains the events of 9/11?
In truth, there are only two overarching theories, A) massive governmental
incompetence, or, B) governmental complicity of one sort or another.

The
government's 9/11 Commission
says that it knows what happened, and (surprise!), it chooses theory
A, government had a bad day. It was all a blameless bunch of confusion,
communication failures and bureaucratic indecision goin' on. Yup,
no firings, trials or punishments for (in)actions that day are needed.
The Report supposedly gives we suffering taxpayers "the fullest
possible account of the events surrounding 9/11" (p. xvi) and
strives "to provide the most complete account we can of the
events of September 11, what happened and why" (p. xvii). That's
absurd. The Report does no such thing, nor, really, did anybody
believe that the Commissioners would, going in, did they? The Report
shuns the possibility of government complicity – wouldn't want to
offer the internuts the slightest sliver of respectability – and therefore
hard questions raised by ugly facts are totally ignored. No, there
was too much at stake. That's why the Bush administration resisted
the Commission right to the end, giving us probable cause to suspect
consciousness of guilt. As Sophocles wrote, "Truly, to tell
lies is not honorable; But when the truth entails tremendous ruin,
To speak dishonorably is pardonable."

To
avoid tremendous ruin to Bush, the war party, and public confidence
in the gigantic federal government itself, the 9/11 Report lies,
evades and spins. Mostly it evades. The mainstream media, averting
their eyes as usual, even admit as much with the euphemism that
the bipartisan Commission arrived at the "lowest common denominator."
The Report never confronts 9/11 skeptics on any issue, like, say,
a
Boeing 757 (American Airlines Flight 77) allegedly crashing into
the first floor of the Pentagon and completely disappearing without
a trace
on the lawn through a hole in the wall no bigger than
18 feet in diameter. The tail on a Boeing 757 is 40 feet tall and
the wingspan is 125 feet, with two huge outboard, steel engines.
How could that happen? Look in vain at the Commission Report for
an answer. Challenging questions don't exist in the Commission's
world.

Even
on elementary issues, the Report is woeful. Minor shortcomings abound.
On Flight 11, which allegedly struck the World Trade Center's North
Tower at 8:46 after departing Boston's Logan airport, the Report
tells us that alleged hijackers "stabbed the two unarmed flight
attendants" (p. 5). With what? Knives apparently, but how did
they get them on board? Did hijackers smuggle them past screeners?
Or was it an inside job, with knives smuggled on board earlier by
someone? If so, by whom? The Commission never asks, so we get no
answers. The incurious narrative skates by difficult questions throughout
chapters 1 and 9, the only material submitted about the events of
9/11 itself.

The
Flight 11 hijackers supposedly "sprayed Mace, pepper spray
or some other irritant in the first-class cabin." Where'd passengers
gain access to that? Again, no explanation offered. Nor does the
Commission "know exactly how the hijackers gained access to
the [locked] cockpit." Pretty amazing. Nearly three years after
9/11 and this is the best government's apologists can do?

The
Commission believes that the Flight 11 "hijacking began at
8:14 or shortly thereafter," then supposedly a flight attendant
notified American Airlines via telephone of the hijacking at 8:19
while the transponder was turned off at 8:21. Despite the mayhem
aboard, no crew member ever punched in the universal four-digit
code available at multiple locations for a hijack in progress. In
fact, it never happened on any of the four alleged flights. How'd
that happen?

The
Report claims that American Flight 77 out of Dulles airport had
U-turned and traveled undetected for 36 minutes on a course heading
due east for Washington, DC. Even I don't believe government is
that incompetent, yet the Commission sticks to its scrubbed-up version
of the official story throughout. The alleged hijacker-pilot of
Flight 77, Hani Hanjour, who even the Commission could not disguise
as anything but "a terrible pilot" whose work was "well
below standard" according to his instructors, comes in at 7,000
feet and then does a "330-degree turn. At the end of the turn,
it was descending through 2,200 feet…Flight 77 crashed into the
Pentagon, traveling at approximately 530 miles per hour." Very
impressive flying for a beginner behind a big Boeing, wouldn't you
say? I wonder if the Commissioners have ever driven a car or motorcycle
over 120 mph? They only have one engine but things sure speed up,
I can testify, compressing decision-making times drastically. You'd
better be quick at good decisions or you lose control in a hurry.
How could a guy like Hanjour pull this off? He couldn't. Impossible.

According
to the Commission's account, Flight 77's transponder had been turned
off at 8:56. Hey guys, that's a felony, and under routine FAA and
NORAD procedures, an unresponsive aircraft would have warranted
a fighter interceptor immediately. But somehow that September day
was different and the plane reportedly was never intercepted and
supposedly crashed into the Pentagon 41 minutes later, leaving not
a trace after slithering through an 18 foot hole in the wall. Not
even the merest scrape on the lawn. That's the Commission's story
and they're sticking to it. Uh huh. Despite a fallen Pentagon façade,
even the photo shown on p. 313 of the Report offers little support
for the "Flight (of fancy) 77" theory (for a thorough
refutation, see
chapter two here)
. Hanjour flew miraculously and then suspended
the laws of physics too!

Suppose
you're an establishment type and you've got shifting, inconsistent
explanations from various government agencies. You can primarily
blame one agency, the FAA or NORAD, for an unprecedented collapse
in national defense. Who would it be? The FAA, naturally. The Report
heaps responsibility on the FAA, claiming that it failed to notify
NORAD in a timely fashion in three of four hijackings, the exception
being Flight 11, and there NORAD only had a nine-minute warning.
This cover story allows the credulous to believe that there was
no "stand down" by the air force or any such thing, even
though the attacks were ongoing from 8:14 a.m. forward that morning.
Don't bother your patriotic little heads with doubts about our civilian
and military leadership. NORAD's fighters had routinely intercepted
aircraft over a hundred times a year, but communications suddenly
broke down for a few hours on 9/11. Sure.

One
of the interesting things in the Report is how the Commission concocts
an "improved" air defense timeline to smooth over hiccups
and absolve the military from the suspected shootdown over Pennsylvania,
among other desired effects. In public testimony in May before the
Commission, NORAD claimed it had notice of hijacked flights 93 and
77 – for example, it had a Flight 93 hijack report at 9:16, 47 minutes
before the alleged crash. No go, declares the Commission on p. 34:
"This statement was incorrect. There was no hijack report at
9:16." Simple as that, flushed down the memory hole. NORAD
officials also testified in May and made earlier public statements
that "fighters were scrambled to respond to notifications about
American 77, United 93, or both." Oops. Wrong, asserts the
Commission: "These statements were incorrect as well…the scramble
[was] prompted by the mistaken information about American 11…[NORAD
NEADS] was notified at 9:34 that American 77 was lost." So
supposedly the military only had one or two minutes to react to
American 77. The military was in the dark the whole morning, that's
the Commission's cover story.

Despite
having FAA radar screens? Wow. Then there's the mystery of Flight
93. Oddly enough, the photo of the Shanksville, PA, crash site shown
on the Report's page 313 displays no fuselage and almost no debris.
A rather unconventional crash, huh? Debris scattered over 8 miles,
eyewitness testimony, seismic evidence on the time of the crash
and government deletion of the last three minutes of the cockpit
voice tape suggest that Flight 93 (or whatever plane it may have
been) crashed at 10:06, not at 10:03, and was "holed,"
likely shot down by a U.S. warplane. Despite such evidence, the
Commission denies any military involvement. Of course we have no
National Transportation Safety Board investigation of this crash
or the other three. College football recruiting scandals get more
attention.

What
about the collapses of the World Trade Center Towers and the WTC
7 building? These could not have been caused by airliner crashes
and subsequent jet fuel fires because steel melts at 1500 degrees
centigrade and jet fuel peaks at 800 degrees centigrade (pp.
12–16 here
). Demolition (controlled explosions) is the
best explanation for such "neat," 10-second collapses
of each building into its own footprint. You'd never know about
these problems from the Commission. And why did the South Tower
collapse 29 minutes earlier than North Tower, despite being hit
17 minutes later? No explanation. Likely answer: the fire was rapidly
burning out in the motionless, stable structure, so it had to be
blown early. And how could the buildings collapse in 10 seconds?
Silence. Only demolition explains the facts, including how 100,000
tons of concrete could have been vaporized into dust blown horizontally
a couple hundred feet, a feat demanding tremendous explosive energy.
Demolition also explains why government officials hastily prevented
forensic examination of the debris, especially the steel, suggesting
a cover-up.

And
go on we could. Suffice it to say that the 9/11 Commission's yarns
spun on behalf of a massive lie are unsatisfactory. For a more satisfactory
analysis, check out The
New Pearl Harbor
. Unfortunately, the world still lacks a
credible, complete rendering of what happened and why on 9/11. With
an arrogant, belligerent U.S. government afoot in the world fomenting
war against practically anybody who's "not with us," we
need a no-holds-barred, truth-rich account more desperately than
ever.

August
14, 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.

Morgan
Reynolds Archives

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