Stop Belittling the Theories About
by Bill Christison
However horrendous the crimes of two of
the world's great liars and terrorists in Gaza and Lebanon, it
is imperative that we not let the deeds of Ehud Olmert and George
W. Bush distract us from another recent event.
The U.S. alliance with Israel and the
power of the lobby that lets Israel so easily influence U.S. foreign
policy have been major factors in allowing the monstrous slaughter
of innocent civilians in Gaza and Lebanon. What is happening in
these lands may also encourage Olmert and Bush to start new hostilities
in Syria and heavy, possibly nuclear, bombings in Iran -- and
this entire mess of neocon pottage may lead to a new World War
and clashes of civilizations and religious fundamentalisms that
these two wretched politicians seem quite literally to want to
impose on the rest of us. It's a tough case to make that anything
else going on in the world -- anywhere -- could possibly be of
But on July 29 and 30, and then again
on August 1, something else happened that increasing numbers of
people believe is of equal importance. On these dates C-SPAN rebroadcast
a panel discussion, held originally in late June, sponsored by
an organization called the American Scholars' Symposium to discuss
what really happened on September 11, 2001. Held in Los Angeles,
the meeting lasted two days, and the C-SPAN rebroadcast covered
one almost two-hour wrap-up session. The meeting was attended
by 1,200 people interested in hearing something other than the
official story of 9/11. The TV audience was evidently large enough
to spur C-SPAN to broadcast the panel discussion five separate
times in four days.
Even a month late, this is a lot of airtime
for stories that many people call conspiracy theories -- and for
which many others use nastier descriptions. It is possible that
the head of C-SPAN, Brian Lamb, so strongly disbelieves the conspiracy
theories that he felt giving them ample publicity would discredit
them further. It is equally possible, however, that Lamb, who
seems honestly to believe in presenting various sides of most
issues as fairly as he can (although not always giving every side
equal time), tried to do exactly that on the many legitimate questions
raised about what actually happened on September 11. In any event,
C-SPAN has made a major effort to bring information on the principal
theories about 9/11 to the mainstream U.S. media. Lamb cannot
be blamed for the coincidence that recent heavy military activity
in Gaza and Lebanon is nearly drowning out his efforts.
Let's address the real issues here. Why
is it important that we not let the so-called conspiracy theories
surrounding 9/11 be drowned out? After spending the better part
of the last five years treating these theories with utmost skepticism,
I have devoted serious time to actually studying them in recent
months, and have also carefully watched several videos that are
available on the subject. I have come to believe that significant
parts of the 9/11 theories are true, and that therefore significant
parts of the "official story" put out by the U.S. government
and the 9/11 Commission are false. I now think there is persuasive
evidence that the events of September did not unfold as the Bush
administration and the 9/11 Commission would have us believe.
The items below highlight the major questions surrounding 9/11
but do not constitute a detailed recounting of the evidence available.
ONE: An airliner almost certainly did
not hit The Pentagon. Hard physical evidence supports this conclusion;
among other things, the hole in the Pentagon was considerably
smaller than an airliner would create. The building was thus presumably
hit by something smaller, possibly a missile, or a drone or, less
possibly, a smaller manned aircraft. Absolutely no information
is available on what happened to the original aircraft (American
Airlines Flight 77), the crew, the "hijackers," and
the passengers. The "official story," as it appeared
in The 9/11 Commission Report simply says, "At 9:37:46, American
Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon, traveling at approximately
530 miles per hour. All on board, as well as many civilians and
military personnel in the building, were killed." This allows
readers to assume that pieces of the aircraft and some bodies
of passengers were found in the rubble of the crash, but information
so far released by the government does not show that such evidence
was in fact found. The story put out by the Pentagon is that the
plane and its passengers were incinerated; yet video footage of
offices in the Pentagon situated at the edge of the hole clearly
shows office furniture undamaged. The size of the hole in the
Pentagon wall still remains as valid evidence and so far seems
TWO: The North and South Towers of the
World Trade Center almost certainly did not collapse and fall
to earth because hijacked aircraft hit them. A plane did not
hit Building 7 of the Center, which also collapsed. All three
were most probably destroyed by controlled demolition charges
placed in the buildings before 9/11. A substantial volume of evidence
shows that typical residues and byproducts from such demolition
charges were present in the three buildings after they collapsed.
The quality of the research done on this subject is quite impressive.
If the judgments made on Points ONE and
TWO above are correct, they raise many "Who done it"
questions and strongly suggest that some unnamed persons or groups
either inside or with ties to the government were actively creating
a "Pearl Harbor" event, most likely to gain public support
for the aggressive foreign policies that followed -- policies
that would, first, "transform" the entire Middle East,
and second, expand U.S. global domination.
These first two points provide the strongest
evidence available that the "official story" of 9/11
is not true. If the government could prove this evidence false,
and its own story on these points correct, all the other data
and speculation supporting the conspiracy theories would be undermined.
It has provided no such proof and no answers to growing questions.
Other, less important points supporting
the theories include the following.
THREE: For at least one hour and 45 minutes
after the hijacking of the first aircraft was known, U.S. air
defense authorities failed to take meaningful action. This strikes
some "conspiracy theorists" as valid evidence that the
U.S. Air Force was deliberately restrained from acting. Maybe
so, but my own skepticism tells me that the inefficiency of U.S.
defense forces is likely to be just as plausible an explanation.
FOUR: Some of the theorists believe that
the 19 named hijackers were not actually the hijackers. One claim
is that the names of the hijackers were not on the manifests of
any of the four aircraft.
FIVE: None of the 19 hijackers' bodies
were ever autopsied (since they were allegedly totally destroyed
in the crashes, including even the people in the Pennsylvania
SIX: At least five of the alleged hijackers
(or persons with identical names) have since turned up alive in
the Middle East. Nonetheless, the FBI has never bothered to re-investigate
or revise the list of hijackers. Does this suggest that the FBI
knows that no one in the administration is interested in reopening
any further investigations?
SEVEN: Numerous pilots have allegedly
told the theorists that none of the 19 hijackers could have flown
the airliners well enough to hit the World Trade Center towers
and the Pentagon with as much accuracy as was displayed. The
debate on this issue simply raises more doubt about the government's
charge that the people it has named as hijackers are the real
EIGHT: No one, except possibly government
investigators who are not talking, has seen the plane that went
down in Pennsylvania. Some of the conspiracy theorists suggest
that it was deliberately destroyed before it hit the ground; others
suggest that the plane actually landed in Cleveland and that passengers
then were whisked away to some unknown destination. What happened
to them at that point is simply a large question mark that makes
it more difficult to believe this particular scenario.
NINE: Machinations in the U.S. stock market
in the days before 9/11 suggest that some inside players in the
market knew or suspected that United and American Airlines stock
would soon drop. Two of the four of the aircraft involved in 9/11
were, or course, United planes and the other two were American
It should be reemphasized that these items
do not make up a complete list of all the charges made by the
theorists, but they are a good sample. Anyone interested in perhaps
the best summary of these charges should watch the video "Loose
To repeat, points ONE and TWO above are
the most important. If something other than an airliner actually
did hit the Pentagon on 9/11, and if the North and South Towers
of the World Trade Center actually were dropped to the ground
by controlled demolitions rather than by anything connected to
the hijackings, the untrue stories peddled by The 9/11 Commission
Report are clearly susceptible of being turned into major political
A Scripps Howard News Service/Ohio University
poll taken from July 6 to 24, 2006 concluded that "more than
a third [36 percent] of the American public suspects that federal
officials assisted in the 9/11 terrorist attacks or took no action
to stop them, so that the United States could go to war in the
Middle East." The poll also found that "16 percent of
Americans speculate that secretly planted explosives, not burning
passenger jets, were the real reason the massive twin towers of
the World Trade Center collapsed."
A poll done by the Zogby polling organization
two months earlier, between May 12 and 16, 2006, and using questions
worded somewhat differently, suggested even more strongly that
the issue could become a "big one" if aggressively publicized.
This poll concluded that 42 percent of Americans believed there
had indeed been a cover-up of the true events of 9/11, and an
additional 10 percent of Americans were "unsure." The
co-author of the poll, W. David Kubiak, stated that, "despite
years of relentless media promotion, whitewash, and 9/11 Commission
propaganda, the official 9/11 story still can't even muster 50
percent popular support."
Whichever of these polls is closer to
the truth, it would seem that there is considerable support for
making a major political issue of the subject.
This should be worked on at two different
levels. At the first level, the objective should be long-term,
centered on making a maximum effort to find out who the individuals
and groups are that carried out the attacks in New York and Washington.
Then, these people should be tried in an international court and,
if possible, convicted and punished for causing so many deaths.
Such a trial, accompanied by actual change in U.S. policies, would
show that some people on this globe are at least trying to move
closer to more just and decent behavior in human relationships
around the world.
At the second level, the short term, the
task should be to immediately set to work as hard as is humanly
possible to defeat in this year's congressional election any candidate
who refuses to support a no-holds-barred investigation of 9/11
by the Congress or a high-level international court. No more evidence
than is now available is needed in order to begin this process.
A manageable volume of carefully collected
and analyzed evidence is already at hand on both items ONE and
TWO above. Such evidence should be used right now to buttress
charges that elements within the Bush administration, as well
as possibly other groups foreign or domestic, were involved in
a massive fraud against the American people, a fraud that has
led to many thousands of deaths.
This charge of fraud, if proven, involves
a much greater crime against the American people and people of
the world than any other charges of fraud connected to the run-up
to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. It is a charge that we
should not sweep under the rug because what is happening in Lebanon,
Gaza, Iraq, Syria, and Iran seems more pressing and overwhelming.
It is a charge that is more important because it is related to
all of the areas just mentioned -- after all, the events of 9/11
have been used by the administration to justify every single aspect
of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East since September 11.
It is a charge that is more important also because it affects
the very core of our entire political system. If proven, it is
a conspiracy, so far successful, not only against the people of
the United States, but against the entire world. Finally, it is
a charge too important to ignore simply because the U.S. government
refuses to discuss it. We must force the Bush administration to
Discussions aggressively pushed day after
day about what really happened on 9/11 will be one of the most
important tasks between now and early November. Such discussions
can, one hopes, provide progressives with a way to jolt voters
out of their apathy and inchoate willingness to support the status
quo that they think gives them security -- and encourage more
voters to stop supporting Bush, the Republicans, and the wobbly
Democratic politicians who might as well be Republicans. A major
issue like this, already supported by many voters, may prove particularly
important in a congressional election year when new uncertainties
in the Middle East, new possibilities of terrorism against the
U.S. in retaliation for recent large-scale acts of Israeli/U.S.
terrorism in Gaza and Lebanon, and the corrupt almost-single-party
U.S. political system combine to make it more likely that supporters
of Bush will retain their majority this November.
In terms of electoral impact, it would
not matter whether heavy publicity did in fact force the administration
to accept a new high-level investigation of the 9/11 events. Initially,
the principal goal would be to contribute heavily to the defeat
of both Republicans and Democrats who refuse to support wholeheartedly
a major new investigation by Congress or an international court.
This might result in the defeat of more Republicans than Democrats
in November, but ultimately the hoped-for goal should be the end
of a system in which Democrats are barely different from Republicans,
along with cutbacks in the political power of wealth and the foreign
and domestic lobbies paid for by wealth. These are the dominant
features of our system today that have practically eliminated
meaningful democracy in the U.S. This failure of democracy has
happened before in U.S. history, but this time it is likely to
last longer -- at least until U.S. policies begin to pay as much
attention to the needs of the world as they do to selfish or thoughtless
needs of the U.S. and of its military-industrial complex. Attacks
on the criminal events surrounding 9/11 might speed this process.
Virtually no members of Congress, Democratic
or Republican, will relish calling for a further investigation
of 9/11. For right now, in addition to other motives, the issue
should be used to go after those political prostitutes among elected
office-holders who should also be defeated because they are so
easily seduced by money and power to vote for immoral wars against
At the Los Angeles meeting of the American
Scholars' Symposium, one of the main speakers, Webster Tarpley,
summarized his own views on the events of 9/11. He emphasized
that "neocon fascist madmen" had perpetrated the 9/11
"myth." He went on to say, "The most important
thing is that the 9/11 myth is the premise and the root of the
Afghanistan War and the Iraq War and the coming attack on Iran.
... We must ... deprive [the myth's perpetrators] of the ability
to stampede and manipulate hundreds of millions of people [with
their] ... cynically planned terrorist events."
Let's give Webster Tarpley and other mistakenly
labeled conspiracists who have labored in the wilderness for so
long three cheers.
Bill Christison is a former senior official
of the CIA. He was a National Intelligence Officer and the Director
of the CIA's Office of Regional and Political Analysis before
his retirement in 1979. Since then he has written numerous articles
on U.S. foreign policies. He can be reached at: email@example.com.