Eva Bartlett, The Electronic Intifada, 15 February 2010
One of many destroyed water wells in Gaza’s border regions.
“If we didn’t get the wheat planted today, we would not have had crops this year,” says Abu Saleh Abu Taima, eyeing the two Israeli military jeeps parked along the border fence east of Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip. Although his land is more than 300 meters away, technically outside of the Israeli-imposed “buffer zone,” Abu Taima has reason to be wary.
“They shot at us yesterday. I was here with my wife and nephews.”
Like many farmers along Gaza’s eastern and northern borders, Abu Taima has been delayed planting by the absence of water and the threat from Israeli soldiers along the border.
With most of Gaza’s border region wells, cisterns and water lines destroyed by Israeli forces during last winter’s attacks, farmers have been largely left with no option but to wait for heavier rains.
“Israeli soldiers started intensively bulldozing the land in 2003. But they finished the job in the last war on Gaza,” says Hamdan Abu Taima, owner of 30 dunams (1 dunam is approximate to 1,000 square meters) dangerously close to the buffer zone.
Nasser Abu Taima has 15 dunams of land nearby. Another 15 dunams lie inaccessibly close to the border, rendered off-limits by the Israeli military. “My well was destroyed in the last Israeli war on Gaza. Five years ago I had hothouses for tomatoes, a house here, many trees. It’s all gone. Now I just plant wheat if I can. It’s the simplest.”
Nasser points out the rubble of his home, harvests some ripe cactus fruit and shakes his head. “Such a shame. Such a waste. I knew every inch of this area. Now, I feel sick much of the time because I cannot access my land. And I’ve got 23 in my family to provide for.”
Israel imposed the “buffer zone” along Gaza’s side of the internationally-recognized “Green Line” boundary nearly ten years ago. Israeli bulldozers continue to raze decades-old olive and fruit trees, farmland and irrigation piping, and demolish homes, greenhouses, water wells and cisterns, farm machinery and animal shelters.
Extending from Gaza’s most northwestern to southeastern points, the unclearly-marked buffer zone annexes more land than the 300 meters flanking the border. Israeli authorities say anyone found within risks being shot at by Israeli soldiers. At least 13 Palestinian civilians have been killed and 39 injured in border regions in and outside of the buffer zone since the 18 January end of Israel’s attacks last year, among them children and women.
A sector destroyed
Farmers in southeastern Gaza take shelter from bullets fired by Israeli soldiers at the border nearly one kilometer away.
The United Nations agency OCHA reports that roughly one-third of Gaza’s agricultural land lies within the buffer zone, its width varying from half a kilometer to two kilometers.
Ahmed Sourani, of the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committee (PARC), told the Guardian newspaper: “It is indirect confiscation by fear. My fear is that, if it remains, it will become de facto.”
According to PARC, the fertile farmland in and next to the buffer zone was not long ago Gaza’s food basket and half of Gaza’s food needs were produced within the territory.
In 2008, the agricultural sector employed approximately 70,000 farmers, says PARC, including 30,000 farm laborers earning approximately five dollars per day.
One of the most productive industries some years ago, farming now yields the least and has become one of the most dangerous sectors in Gaza, due to Israeli firing, shelling and aggression against people in the border regions.
Of the 175,000 dunams of cultivable land, PARC reports 60 to 75,000 dunams have been destroyed during Israeli invasions and operations. The level of destruction from the last Israeli war on Gaza alone is vast, with 35 to 60 percent of the agricultural industry destroyed, according to the UN and World Health Organization. Gaza’s sole agricultural college, in Beit Hanoun, was also destroyed.
Oxfam notes that the combination of the Israeli war on Gaza and the buffer zone renders around 46 percent of agricultural land useless or unreachable.
More than 35,000 cattle, sheep and goats were killed during the last Israeli attacks, as well as 1 million birds and chickens, according to a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) September 2009 report.
Even before Israel’s last assault, PARC reported on the grave shortage of agricultural needs due to the Israeli siege on Gaza: “saplings, pesticides and fertilizers, plastic sheets for greenhouses and hoses for irrigation are no longer available,” reads its 2008 report.
A March 2009 OCHA report lists nylon, seeds, olive and fruit tree seedlings, plastic piping and valves, fertilizers, animal feed, livestock and many other items as scarce, many of which are “urgently” needed.
The dearth of agricultural goods, combined with Israel’s policies of destruction and aggression in the buffer zone, has meant that farmers have changed practice completely, planting low-maintenance wheat and rye where vegetables and orchards once flourished, or not planting at all.
Water sources were particularly hard hit during Israel’s attack on Gaza last winter.
A UNDP survey following the attacks found that nearly 14,000 dunums of irrigation networks and pipelines have been destroyed, along with 250 wells and 327 water pumps completely damaged, and another 53 wells partially damaged by Israeli bombing and bulldozing. This is excluding the many destroyed cisterns and irrigation ponds.
Farmers now either hand deliver water via plastic jugs or wait for the heavy rains in order to salvage some of their crops. Many others have given up working their land.
Ahmed al-Basiouni: “Now when I water my remaining trees, I do it by hand, tree by tree.”
Farming under fire
Mohammed al-Ibrim, 20, of Benesuhela village near Khan Younis was injured by Israeli shooting in the border region.
“On 18 February 2009, I was working with other farm laborers on land about 500 meters from the border. We’d been working for a couple of hours without problems, and the Israelis had been watching us. Israeli soldiers began shooting from the border as we pushed our pickup truck which had broken down. I was shot in the ankle.”
His injury came just weeks after cousin Anwar al-Ibrim was martyred by an Israeli soldier’s bullet to the neck. Anwar al-Ibrim leaves behind a wife and two infants.
Meanwhile, in Gaza’s north, Ali Hamad, 52, has 18 dunams of land roughly 500 meters from the border east of Beit Hanoun.
“The Israelis bulldozed my citrus trees, water pump, well and irrigation piping in the last war. No one can come here to move the rubble of my well — everyone is afraid of the Israeli soldiers at the border. So now we are just waiting for the winter rains.
All but one well and pump have been destroyed in this region.
“I haven’t watered my few remaining trees since the war. I used to water them once a week, three to four hours per session. Now, they are dehydrated, the lemons and oranges are miniature.”
Mohammed Musleh, 70, lives east of Beit Hanoun, roughly 1.5 kilometers from the border, and owns the only working well and pump in his region.
“There used to be many birds in this area, because it was so fertile, until the Israelis started bulldozing all of the trees, including mine. When people replanted them, the Israelis began destroying the water sources instead.”
Ahmed al-Basiouni, 53, owned the first well established in the east Beit Hanoun area, built in 1961.
“My brothers and I have 60 dunams of land. Many people took water from our well. It was destroyed in 2003, and again in the last Israeli war. Now when I water my remaining trees, I do it by hand, tree by tree.”
In its September 2009 report, the UNEP warned that Gaza’s aquifer is in “serious danger of collapse,” noting that the problem has roots in the “rise in salt water intrusion from the sea caused by over-extraction of ground water.” According to the report, the salinity and nitrate levels of water are far above WHO-accepted levels. Between 90 and 95 percent of the water available to Palestinians in Gaza is contaminated and hence “unfit for human consumption,” according to WHO standards.
Water has been further contaminated by chemical agents used by the Israeli army during its war on Gaza. More contamination from destroyed asbestos roofing, the toxins produced by the bodies of thousands of animal carcasses, and waste sites which were inaccessible and damaged during and after the attacks on Gaza exacerbates the situation.
Further up the lane, Hassan al-Basiouni, 54, says he has lost a quarter of a million dollars to the Israeli land and well destruction.
“My brothers and I have 41 dunams. Our well was destroyed once before this last war. The materials to make a new well aren’t available in Gaza. The 180 people who earned a living off this land are out of work.”
According to Bassiouni, it costs $200 to raise just one fruit tree to fruit bearing maturity.
“We had 1,500 citrus trees, some destroyed in random Israeli shelling and the rest destroyed during the last Israeli war on Gaza. The few remaining trees are only one year old and produce nothing.”
“This water we’re using,” says Basiouni, referring to the contamination, “actually dehydrates the trees.”
Sena and Amar Mhayssy deliver water by hand after Israel destroyed the water sources on their land.
Weathering the storm
In eastern Gaza’s Shejaiye area, Sena, 74, and Amar Mhayssy, 78, are devastated. “Our land has been bulldozed four times. We have nine dunams of land in the buffer zone which we can’t access because the Israelis will shoot at us. We have 10 dunams of land over 500 meters from the border fence. Our olive trees, over 60 years old, were all bulldozed by the Israeli army.”
They persevere in the face of danger and futility.
“Now we’re growing okra and have replanted 40 olive trees. But they will take years before they produce many olives. We need to water the new trees every three days, but our water source was destroyed. So we bring containers to water them. There are 13 people in our family, with four in university. Aside from farming, we have no work.”
In al-Faraheen village, east of Khan Younis, Jaber Abu Rjila now can only work his land on a small scale.
“My chicken farm — over 500 meters from the border — as well as 500 fruit and olive trees and 100 dunams of wheat and peas of my and my neighbors’ land were destroyed in May 2008 by Israeli bulldozers. My cistern, the pump and motor and one of my tractors were destroyed. The side of our house facing the border is filled with bullet holes from the Israeli soldiers. Now, because of the danger we rent a home half a kilometer away. I’ve lost my income, how can I pay for rent?”
Since the first constraints of the siege on Gaza were imposed nearly four years ago, the destruction of Gaza’s agricultural sector and potential to provide produce and economy to a severely undernourished Strip has dramatically worsened.
With Palestinians in Gaza now largely dependent on the expensive Israeli produce that is inconsistently allowed into Gaza, the plight of the farmers reverberates throughout the population.
All images by Eva Bartlett.
Eva Bartlett is a Canadian human rights advocate and freelancer who arrived in Gaza in November 2008 on the third Free Gaza Movement boat. She has been volunteering with the International Solidarity Movement and documenting Israel’s ongoing attacks on Palestinians in Gaza. During Israel’s recent assault on Gaza, she and other ISM volunteers accompanied ambulances and documenting the Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip.
A Survey of Attitude Change in 2009-2010
by Elizabeth Woodworth | Global Research | February 15, 2010
In the past year, in response to emerging independent science on the 9/11 attacks, nine corporate, seven public, and two independent media outlets aired analytic programs investigating the official account.
Increasingly, the issue is treated as a scientific controversy worthy of debate, rather than as a “conspiracy theory” ignoring science and common sense.
This essay presents these media analyses in the form of 18 case studies.
Eight countries – Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Russia – have allowed their publicly-owned broadcasting stations to air the full spectrum of evidence challenging the truth of the official account of 9/11.
This more open approach taken in the international media – I could also have included the Japanese media – might be a sign that worldwide public and corporate media organizations are positioning themselves, and preparing their audiences, for a possible revelation of the truth of the claim that forces within the US government were complicit in the attacks – a revelation that would call into question the publicly given rationale for the military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
The evidence now being explored in the international media may pave the way for the US media to take an in-depth look at the implications of what is now known about 9/11, and to re-examine the country’s foreign and domestic policies in the light of this knowledge.
Until 2009, doubts about the official 9/11 story were briefly entertained by the mainstream media on each anniversary of the event, allowing the independent research community only a fleeting moment once a year to publicly voice its findings.
But after crucial scientific evidence emerged in April 2009 to challenge the official story of how the towers fell, a spate of European media reports followed. The news coverage of this evidence seems to have opened the door to more serious reflection on all aspects of the 9/11 issue in the major media.
The first paper in my series, “The Media Response to 9/11,” dealt with the New Statesman’s grudging recognition of Dr. David Ray Griffin, the world’s “top truther” (as it dubbed him), placing him number 41 among “The 50 People Who Matter Today.”1 Since this admission in September 2009, the issue has gathered increasing momentum.
The collective content issuing from this new momentum is presented here in the hope that it will embolden other major media to take up the pivotal controversy concerning 9/11, and pursuing the truth wherever it may lead.
Observations on the Analysis
While carrying out my analysis, I observed five new features in the media treatment of the 9/11 issue that developed as 2009 progressed. They are listed here, so that readers might look for them in the case studies that follow below:
1. The 9/11 issue is increasingly framed not as conspiracy theories versus hard science, but as a legitimate controversy resting on unanswered questions and a search for truth.
2. News reports and television programs examining these controversies have become longer and more balanced.
3. Major media outlets have begun to present the claims of the truth movement first, followed by counter-arguments from defenders of the official story.
4. Major media outlets have begun to include, and even to introduce, extensive evidence to support the claims of the 9/11 truth community.
5. The media treatments increasingly suggest the possibility of a re-investigation into the events of September 11, 2001.
The first part of this essay deals with the crucial scientific evidence that emerged in early 2009, the significance of this evidence in relation to the official story of 9/11, and the immediate news coverage it received.
II. Scientific Paper Finds Nano-thermite Explosives in World Trade Center Dust, April 3, 2009
A peer-reviewed paper published in the Open Chemical Physics Journal on April 3, 2009,2 reported that a little known high-tech explosive called nano-thermite was found throughout the World Trade Center dust.
These physicists and chemists involved in this study discovered “distinctive red/gray chips in significant numbers”3 in four samples of dust collected from the area. The presence of aluminum and iron oxide in the red material provided one of the signs that it might be nano-thermite, which is a high explosive (whereas ordinary thermite is an incendiary.)
Another clue was provided when putting a flame to the chips produced an explosive reaction.
On the basis of these and other observations, the team concluded that “the red layer of the red/gray chips we have discovered in the WTC dust is active, unreacted thermitic material, incorporating nanotechnology, and is a highly energetic pyrotechnic or explosive material.”4
The article’s first-named author, Dr. Niels Harrit – a University of Copenhagen chemistry professor who specializes in nano-chemistry5 –explained on Danish TV2 News:
“Thermite itself dates back to 1893. It is a mixture of aluminum and rust-powder, which react to create intense heat. The reaction produces iron, heated to 2500 degrees Centigrade. This can be used to do welding. It can also be used to melt other iron.
“So in nano-thermite, this powder from 1893 is reduced to tiny particles, perfectly mixed. When these react, the intense heat develops much more quickly. Nano-thermite can be mixed with additives to give off intense heat, or serve as a very effective explosive. It contains more energy than dynamite, and can be used as rocket fuel.
“You cannot fudge this kind of science. We have found it: unreacted thermite.”6
What was the significance of this sophisticated material?
Reported Evidence that Nano-thermite is a Military Substance
In a German interview in May 2009, Dr. Harrit said: “There are no experts on nano-thermite without connections to the military…. This stuff has only been prepared under military contracts in the USA and probably in bigger allied countries. This is secret military research…It was not prepared in a cave in Afghanistan.”7
Chemist Kevin Ryan, another co-author, had reported in an earlier article that explosive nano-thermite, which may be painted onto surfaces, was developed by US government scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories.8
A United States Department of Defense special publication confirms that work on these “energetic materials” has long been “performed in laboratories within all military services.”9
According to a June 2009 statement by Britain’s prestigious Institute of Nanotechnology,10 the Harrit study “provides indisputable evidence that a highly engineered explosive called nano-thermite was found in the dust of all three buildings that came down on 9/11 2001 in New York city. [sic] This advanced explosive incorporating nanotechnology is only available to sophisticated military labs.”11
It thus became known by mid-2009 that explosives of military origin, probably in the United States, had been involved in the World Trade Center collapses.
Early Coverage of the Nano-thermite Finding in the European Mainstream Press
Although the new scientific evidence against the official story of 9/11 was not reported in the mainstream British or North American media, it did receive attention in continental Europe.
The day the article was published, a thorough essay in the Danish journal Videnskab (Science) examined both sides of the controversy about controlled demolition.12
The same issue of Videnskab also carried an interview with Professor Harrit, who answered pointed questions about the peer-review history of the article, and the military nature of nano-thermite.13
The following day, Denmark’s politiken.dk reported the scientific nano-thermite paper in an article called (in Danish) “Conspiracy theories about 9/11 get new life.”14
Then, the day after Professor Harrit’s April 6 interview Danish TV2 News, he was featured on the popular talk show, “Good Morning Denmark”, on which he said:
“The material we found is super hi-tech frontline military research. It’s not a mixture of random chemicals. It’s an advanced material which is difficult to get information on. But some conference papers and internal reports have been published…There has to be a normal forensic investigation of this attempt. Our research is high-level forensic work. We have provided technical evidence that can be used in the future investigation.”15
On April 13, an online Croatian political newspaper posted the Danish TV2 video interview with Harrit along with an article titled “VIDEO: 9/11 No Longer Taboo Topic in Denmark”.16
Russia also took notice. On July 9, Laura Emmett, the London correspondent for RT, interviewed Dr. Niels Harrit for over 10 minutes. (RT, previously known as Russia Today, is a globally broadcast English-language channel sponsored by the state-owned news agency RIA Novosti. It reaches 1.5 million people monthly, including half a million Americans.) Stating that “the evidence for controlled demolition is overwhelming”, Harrit reported that the nano-thermite reaction produced pools of molten iron beneath the rubble and inextinguishable fires that lasted for months.17
I turn now to ways that the mainstream news coverage of the case against the official story has changed since the appearance of the nano-thermite paper.
III. The Changing Mainstream Media Treatment of 9/11 Evidence from early 2009 to early 2010: 18 Case Studies
Two February 2009 news items illustrate the wary mainstream attitude towards conspiracy theorists early in the year. A New York Times article said about actor Daniel Sunjata:
The second episode of “Rescue Me’s” fifth season, starting in April, may represent the first fictional presentation of 9/11 conspiracy theories by a mainstream media company…Mr. Sunjata’s character delivers a two-minute monologue…describing a “neoconservative government effort” to control the world’s oil, drastically increase military spending and “change the definition of pre-emptive attack.”
Mr. Sunjata surprised some of the TV reporters when he said that he “absolutely, 100 percent” supports the assertion that “9/11 was an inside job.”18
Fox News was somewhat less constrained, saying:
An upcoming episode of the drama “Rescue Me” is about 9/11 being an inside job. The actor who spews the theories on camera, Daniel Sunjata, actually believes in it too.
Look, the fact is, actors who barf this crap are doing it for their own egos. It makes them feel smart, because for once they’re spouting something provocative instead of puerile. Never mind that it’s an insidious insult to the victims of 9/11 – as it is to the rest of us, who may or may not be guilty, according to Sunjata’s theory.19
However, things started to change after the appearance of the nano-thermite paper on April 3, as may be seen from the following case studies of media reports, each of which is identified as having corporate, public, or independent ownership.
The case studies reveal the evidence which has been introduced into public consciousness during the past year.
Case Study 1: The Dutch TV Mock Trial of Osama bin Laden, April 25, 2009
On April 8, 2009, a popular TV program called “Devil’s Advocate” held a mock trial of Osama bin Laden with lawyers arguing before a politically balanced civil jury of five people.
The case against bin Laden was argued by two real-world opponents: former American correspondent Charles Groenhuijsen, and Dutch-American Glenn Schoen of a US security firm. Real-world lawyer Gerald Spong acted as bin Laden’s defense attorney.20
Spong presented new evidence from a videotape of Professor Emeritus of Islamic Studies Gernot Rotter, saying that the American translators who transcribed the bin Laden tapes of the November 9, 2001 “confession video” have “clearly added things in many places – things that are not there even when listening multiple times.”21
Spong won. Although the jury found bin Laden to be a terrorist, it said there was no proof that he had ordered the 9/11 attacks.
Through this method, this program on AVRO – the Dutch public broadcasting organization – presented evidence, not previously seen in the major media, against the likelihood that bin Laden ordered the attacks.
On April 15, Fox News reported the Dutch jury findings in a long and unusually balanced article, in which former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani was quoted six times, saying that bin Laden’s exoneration sent a “disturbing message” to the world and fueled conspiracy theories. Giuliani variously called this message “bizarre,” “dangerous,” “aberrational,” “irrational,” and “unfortunate.”22
However, referring to Spong as a “well-known yet controversial attorney,” Fox mentioned him 10 times, and more substantively, reporting his evidence that the bin Laden videos seemed inauthentic, as well as his point that the FBI has not indicted bin Laden for the attacks.
Concluding Comment: (AVRO is publicly owned, but Fox News is corporate.) Neither of these two mainstream treatments of doubts about the official story was broadcast on the customary anniversary date, and both reached millions of people.
Case Study 2: Architect Richard Gage in Canada’s “Financial Post”, April 25, 2009
One of Canada’s top four English-language newspapers, the conservative National Post, publishes its business section as the Financial Post.
Three weeks after the nano-thermite story broke, Jonathan Kay, a National Post columnist and editor with degrees in both engineering and law, wrote an article about Richard Gage, the “lucid” San Francisco architect who heads up the 1,000-strong “Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth.”23
Kay, who himself endorses the official story of 9/11, described Gage as a “respectable-looking middle-aged” architect, “complete with suit and tie, and receding hairline,” and reported that Gage’s organization “scored a booth at the upcoming American Institute of Architects conference from April 30 to May 2.”
In the midst of references to thermite reactions and iron-oxide-based explosives, Kay wrote of controlled demolitions:
“As radical as Gage’s theory may sound to readers, it’s surprisingly popular. The ’9/11 Truth Movement’…has millions of adherents across the world. Many believe that the World Trade Center was destroyed on Sept. 11 through controlled demolition set in motion by officials within America’s own government and military.”
Gage’s presentation was also described as “effective”:
“In one particularly effective segment, he puts up shots of the localized fires that broke out in the lower floors of WTC Building 7 hours before it collapsed. Seconds later, he shows footage of Beijing’s Mandarin Oriental hotel – which suffered an epic top-to-bottom conflagration in 2009…and remained standing.”
Concluding Comment: (Corporate). Besides reporting Gage’s evidence without any attempted refutation, this corporate-press writer remarked that “no major media outlet has done a truly comprehensive profile or investigation of the Truther movement.” He thereby seemed to be suggesting that it is now time to take the 9/11 truth movement seriously.
Case Study 3: Norwegian State Radio’s Public Debate on 9/11 Truth, May 21, 2009
Professor Harrit, who was lecturing in Norway in late May 2009, was interviewed by public radio program “Here and Now”,24 on NRK (the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation).
Harrit presented the findings of the nano-thermite paper, which were then discussed by three Norwegian scientists who did not support his conclusions.
Following the radio program, an extended email debate continued between Dr. Ola Nilsen, who teaches chemistry at the University of Oslo, and Dr. Steven Jones, a co-author of the nano-thermite paper who formerly taught physics at Brigham Young University. This debate, during which Nilsen somewhat modified his original view, was posted to a Norwegian blogsite in English.25
Concluding Comment: (Public). Although NRK in this April program challenged the findings of the Harrit paper, this was to change by late summer, as we shall see below.
Case Study 4: Architect Richard Gage on Fox News, May 28, 2009
The hosts of Fox News on KMPH in Fresno, California, began their 7-minute interview by saying, “He’s an architect experienced in steel structures. Now Richard Gage is…here to show us why he’s calling for a more thorough investigation into the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings.”26
These two anchors actively encouraged Gage’s discussion of the ten key features of controlled demolition. He was allowed to explain the free-fall acceleration of WTC 7 (shown on his two video frames as dropping at the same rate as a second building felled by controlled demolition) and the “uncanny” failure of 40,000 tons of structural steel columns that were designed to resist its collapse.
Although normal office fires were said to have caused the collapses, he explained, various firefighters had reported large pools of molten iron at ground level.
“What produced all that molten iron?” he asked.
The answer, he said, was found in the inches of dust covering lower Manhattan. “The by-product of thermite is molten iron and it’s dispersed throughout all this dust…and there are small chips of unignited thermite as well. This is very high-tech thermite – nano-thermite. It’s not found in a cave in Afghanistan; it’s produced in very sophisticated defense department contracting laboratories…[its] particles are one-thousand times smaller than a human hair.”
Asked whether bin Laden might have had access to the buildings, Gage said probably not – that someone else who had access to nano-thermite, and to the buildings’ security systems, would need to be investigated. Someone who had access to the elevator modernization, which was going on nine months earlier and was “immediately adjacent to the core columns and beams in the building.”
Concluding Comment: (Corporate). This Fox News show began by asking Gage about his credentials, saying “We ask that for clarification so that as we get into this, we want people to make sure that you’re not just someone with a wacky idea…you come with some science to you.” The program ended with a sincere thank-you to Gage for “opening up a lot to think about,” and an announcement that there is “a great deal of information” on the KMPH.com website. In short, Gage was treated with the respect due to any serious participant in an important and controversial issue.
The next major mainstream event was the Russia Today program of July 9, 2009, which was covered above, so we will move directly to the anniversary period of September 2009, when further evidence of the impact of the nano-thermite discovery became apparent.
Case Study 5: The National Geographic Documentary, “9/11: Science and Conspiracy”, August 31, 2009
In late August, 2009, the National Geographic Channel (NGC) aired a two-hour documentary, “9/11: Science and Conspiracy,” which sought to answer several questions, “What caused the collapse of the Twin Towers? Was it from the fires, or were explosives placed inside the buildings, causing them to implode? Did a missile, rather than a commercial airline jet, strike the Pentagon?”27
This “NatGeo” program purported to explore evidence about controlled demolition presented by the 9/11 truth movment. It interviewed Dylan Avery (the maker of the “Loose Change” films), Richard Gage, David Ray Griffin, and Steven Jones. But in reality this NatGeo program was entirely devoted to debunking their claims by using pseudo-scientific demonstrations to refute claims that none of these men have made.
For example, in order to refute the claim that nano-thermite could have brought down the buildings, NatGeo used ordinary thermite (with the narrator explaining that they had no access to nano-thermite). Moreover, instead of using the thermite to make shaped charges, which can cut through steel, the NatGeo experimenter simply placed a bag of thermite next to a steel column and lit it. When the burning thermite (entirely predictably) did not melt the column, the narrator concluded, triumphantly, that science had disproved the claim of the conspiracy theorists.
A review in Media Life Magazine, while not fully exposing the phoniness of the program’s claim to represent “science,” did point out some shortcomings, saying:
Some of the issues raised by the truthers, however, aren’t addressed, or are addressed in brief asides. This leaves this documentary open to charges of picking and choosing which points to cover. “9/11: Science and Conspiracy” spends too much time discussing the psychology behind conspiracy theories – which isn’t really a hard science.28
A review in the New York Post quoted Sander Hicks, a journalist who is openly a member of the 9/11 truth community, as saying that its representatives on the program “come off as careful and professional, unemotional, but compassionate about the truth,” and that the program, in spite of its faults, shows “that the topic is still relevant and that the case isn’t closed.”29
Concluding Comment: (Corporate). This program by National Geographic provides a good reminder of how the 9/11 truth issue has generally been handled by the corporately-controlled media. But it also demonstrates the fact that the controversy is very much alive in the major media.
Case Study 6: Germany’s Weekly TV Guide, “TV Hören und Sehen,” August 31, 2009
“TV Hören und Sehen”, with a paid circulation of nearly a million copies, is owned by the Bauer Media Group, which publishes 308 magazines in 14 countries. The TV magazine features interviews and articles by prominent German authors.30
It is therefore significant that on August 31, 2009, this magazine published “Die Geheimakten von 9/11″ (“The Secret Files of 9/11″) as a full double-page spread, continuing with photos on two subsequent pages. It opened by saying: “9/11 is officially the largest criminal case in history – but classified documents and witness accounts are surfacing, that speak against the official versions of the CIA and Pentagon.”31
It then asks what force could pulverize 200,000 tons of steel in 11.4 seconds, quoting US engineer Neel Ginson: “In order to bring down this kind of mass in such a short period of time, the material must have been artificially exploded outwards.” Ginson added that, looking closely, one can see small explosions in the Twin Towers always occurring before the floors are reached by the collapse line. The fact that the towers were the first steel-frame buildings in the world to collapse because of fire, he added, was even admitted by NIST (the National Institute of Science and Technology, the government agency that produced the official reports).
Among many other questions, the article raises the issue of adjacent World Trade Center 7, the 47-storey steel-frame building with a base the size of a football field that collapsed at 5:20 PM the same day: “But the official 9/11 investigation never mentions the building once.”
With reference to the Pentagon, this article asks: How were the victims identified by their fingerprints, when even the airplane steel had melted?
Concluding Comment: (Corporate). Although this article does not specifically mention nano-thermite, it clearly suggests that artificial explosions brought down the buildings. By not defending the official story at all, this large-chain corporate media outlet was among the first to give an open hearing to the independent 9/11 research community.
Case Study 7: Two California Newspapers Review the Role of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, September 2009
In September 2009, Metroactive (Silicon Valley’s number-one weekly magazine) and the Santa Barbara Independent, each published slightly different versions of a long article on the controversy surrounding the WTC building collapses.32
The Independent article – entitled “Twin Towers, Twin Myths?” – begins:
“One of the crucial technical disputes in American history, perhaps second only to global warming, is underway. It pits hundreds of government technicians who say the World Trade Center buildings were brought down by airplane impact against hundreds of professional architects and building engineers who insist that the Twin Towers could never have collapsed solely due to the planes and are calling for a new independent investigation. It is a fight that is not going away and is likely to get louder as more building trade professionals sign on to one side or the other.”33
The version in MetroActive – called “Explosive Theory” – says “[E]ight years after 9/11, a growing organization of building trades professionals suspect that there was more to the event than the government will admit.” It then gives a short history of Gage’s now 1,000-strong organization, Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth (AE).34
Deputy Director Michael J. Heimbach of the FBI’s counter-terrorism division, this article adds, had recently acknowledged in a letter to the organization that Gage’s presentation is “backed by thorough research and analysis.”
One local AE member was quoted as saying “it takes too much energy” – energy that was not there – to collapse the buildings at free-fall speed, given the resistance that steel offers. This was borne out, this member continued, by a team of scientists “working at technical laboratories in the United States and Denmark [who] reported in April that analysis of dust …gathered at the World Trade Center found evidence of the potent incendiary/explosive ‘super thermite,’ used by the military.”
Almost half of this article deals with the controversy over whether nano-thermite was used, with most of the space allotted to evidence supplied by the 9/11 Truth Movement. Near the end, however, spokesman Michael Newman is brought in to defend NIST’s research, saying there was “no need” to test the dust for thermite.
But the last word was given to engineer Ed Munyak of AE, who said:
“The fact is that the collapses don’t resemble any fire-induced behavior of structures, but it exactly mimics a controlled demolition, so why not investigate that? It’s all very suspicious and that’s why an independent investigation is needed so we can all learn from this.”
“Explosive Theory” also focuses pointedly on the growing number of professional organizations and retired officials calling for a new investigation, including:
…two dozen retired U.S. military brass and eight former U.S. State Department officials, along with a number of Republicans who have served in high federal positions since President Reagan, including former Assistant Treasury Secretary Paul Craig Roberts and former Reagan administration Assistant Defense Secretary (and retired Marine Corps colonel) Ronald D. Ray.
The version in the Santa Barbara Independent concludes with an unusually candid observation:
And how would America deal with such an investigation against the backdrop of suppositions that some officials in government were complicit? This idea is virtually unthinkable to most of the public, much less something the American political system can handle…The forces of denial, in the system and in most of our minds, are innately powerful and probably sufficient to mitigate against a reopened investigation. Despite this, [Richard] Gage [of AE] sees his role as provoking a better investigation.
Concluding Comment: (Independent). The authors of this article, rather than referring to “conspiracy theorists,” present the 9/11 issue as a “technical dispute” of historic importance. Both versions of the article represent a 180-degree turnaround in American newspaper reporting, providing a useful introduction to the long-ignored research by independent professionals. The Santa Barbara Independent, curious about public opinion rather than seeking to hide it, published a local poll asking if conspiracy was behind the collapses: 75% of respondents answered “yes”.35
Case Study 8: Dr. Niels Harrit on NRK1′s “Schrödinger’s Cat,” September 10, 2009
NRK1 is the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation’s main TV channel. It’s program “Schrödinger’s Cat”, which is about scientific research and technology, comes on every Thursday following the evening news. It has won several awards, and averages 487,000 viewers.
For the September 10 program, Dr. Harrit was interviewed for about ten minutes in his office and laboratory at the University of Copenhagen Nano-Science Center, where he demonstrated the magnetic quality of a WTC dust sample. He also showed videotape of molten iron flowing from the upper South Tower, which was iron, not aluminum (which melts at a much lower temperature than steel or iron). Emphasizing that an office fire, even if fed by jet fuel, could not possibly get hot enough to melt steel, thereby producing iron, he concluded that the flowing iron had to have been caused by something such as nano-thermite, which produces “an enormous amount of heat”, and molten iron is created in the process, with a temperature of 4530 F.36
Although Harrit did not know who placed the explosives, he said, he had no doubt that a crime had occurred.
In the final third of the program, three other people were asked for comments. Two of the people tried to cast doubt on Harrit’s conclusions, but their comments were weak, even absurd. An architect argued that the energy from the airliners brought the Twin Towers down and then Building 7 came down because the collapse of the towers acted like an earthquake to weaken the ground. American buildings are weak, he explained, because they don’t use reinforced concrete.
Finally, Dr. David Ray Griffin has stated that “for scientists and people who study the facts, the official story about the Twin Towers is completely ludicrous, but for the general public it has seemed plausible. Jet fuel fires – they seem so hot. Jet fuel’s just kerosene.”
Concluding Comment: (Public). This prime-time coverage by Norway’s largest TV channel was quite a turnaround from the earlier NRK radio coverage in May. Most of the time was given to Drs. Harrit and Griffin; the content was groundbreaking; and the opposing views were obviously insubstantial. Considering Norway’s NATO membership and military participation in the US-led operations in Afghanistan, the program could prove to be significant.
Case Study 9 : London’s “Daily Mail” asks whether Osama bin Laden is Dead, September 11, 2009
This long and detailed article opens with the menacing bin Laden audiotape of June 3, 2009, timed to coincide with Barack Obama’s arrival on his Middle East tour, and then moves to the new Anglo-American offensive to “hunt and kill” the al Qaeda leader.
But, the Daily Mail asks, what if bin Laden isn’t alive?
What if everything we have seen or heard of him on video and audio tapes since the early days after 9/11 is a fake – and that he is being kept ‘alive’ by the Western allies to stir up support for the war on terror?
Incredibly, this is the breathtaking theory that is gaining credence among political commentators, respected academics and even terror experts.37
Professors Angelo Codevilla of Boston University and Bruce Lawrence of Duke University point out that the early, verifiable videotapes of bin Laden do not match the tapes that have emerged since 2002 – and even one in late 2001.
Telltale distinguishing features include a changed facial structure and increasing secularism in the content of the messages.
The article then presents the findings of Dr. Griffin’s book on the topic – Osama bin Laden: Dead or Alive? – as “provoking shock waves”.
This book presents evidence that bin Laden died, probably due to kidney failure, in mid-December 2001, which would mean that his taped messages since then have been faked to “stoke up waning support for the war on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Perhaps the most controversial of all the tapes was released by the Pentagon on December 13, 2001, claiming that it had been found in a home in Jalalabad. Prior to this tape, bin Laden had, while praising the 9/11 attacks, consistently denied responsibility for them. But the bin Laden of this tape boasts about having planned them.
President Bush, the Blair Government, and the mainstream media all hailed this message as offering conclusive proof of bin Laden’s guilt.
The Daily Mail, however, points to various reasons provided in Griffin’s book to believe that the man in this video was an imposter. It refers to the existence of a “highly sophisticated, special effects film technology to morph together images and vocal recordings.”
And it quotes Griffin as saying: “The confession tape came exactly when Bush and Blair had failed to prove Bin Laden’s responsibility for 9/11 and both men were trying to win international public support, particularly in the Islamic world, for the anti-terrorist campaign.”
Far from seeking to ridicule Griffin’s book, the Daily Mail concluded thus: “[T]he Bin Laden tapes have emerged with clockwork regularity as billions have been spent and much blood spilt on the hunt for him. Bin Laden has been the central plank of the West’s ‘war on terror’. Could it be that, for years, he’s just been smoke and mirrors?”
Concluding Comment: (Corporate). This 2400-word article is the first serious mainstream coverage the evidence that Osama bin Laden is dead – and has been for many years.
Case Study 10. The New Statesman announces Dr. David Ray Griffin as No. 41 in “The Fifty People who Matter Today,” September 24, 2009
Two weeks after the Daily Mail article, a second corporate British publication put Griffin in 41st place in a list of people who “matter today.”38
Because this article was discussed in my earlier paper, Part I of this series, it is mentioned here only as a significant milepost, one that gave (grudging) recognition to the fact that the movement challenging the official account of 9/11 can no longer be ignored.
Its impact on the media is shown by the fact that the New Statesman placed Dr. Griffin (who scores 200,000 results when googled) above Venezuela’s President, Hugo Chavez, (who scores over 11 million results) on its list of influential people.
Concluding Comment: (Corporate). Although the New Statesman called the movement represented by Dr. Griffin “pernicious”, its evaluation of his importance represents a point of no return in the media coverage of 9/11 – as we shall see.
Case Study 11: Jean-Marie Bigard on France 2 Public Television, October 28, 2009
Back in September 2008, Jean-Marie Bigard, France’s most popular stand-up comedian, was led to apologize for claiming 9/11 was orchestrated by the US government.39 But by July 2009, Bigard had started to post humorous videos on his website ridiculing the official account of the September 11 attacks.
In October 2009, Bigard and award-winning French filmmaker Mathieu Kassovitz appeared for an hour in a debate on France 2, the publicly owned French national television channel.40
The hosts, who had refused to include the scientist who was originally supposed to be on the show (Dr. Niels Harrit) attempted to center the debate on “straw man” theories that neither Bigard nor Kassovitz held. This led to arguments, which then allowed Le Figaro, France’s second largest newspaper, to dismiss the debate as “noisy sophistry”.41
Concluding Comment: (Public). Although this program was aimed at debunking the 9/11 movement, as shown by its refusal to include a scientist, the fact that it was aired on this state-owned network was a breakthrough, ending the era in which 9/11 questioning was ignored in France.
Case Study 12: “The Unofficial Story”, by CBC’s The Fifth Estate, November 27, 2009
On November 26, 2009, Canada’s largest newspaper, The Globe and Mail, noting in an objective review42 that the 9/11 truth movement is “gathering steam,” reported that a documentary airing that evening “follows up on some fairly startling public-opinion polls of late.”
It was referring to “The Unofficial Story”,43 a program in the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s weekly award-winning investigative series, The Fifth Estate.44
Host Bob McKeown, himself a recipient of multiple awards45, opened by saying that eight years after the “most scrutinized day in history”, there may be “more questions than ever”, and that an increasing number of people now believe the US government was behind the 9/11 attacks. “Incredibly”, he adds, “public opinion polls now show that a majority of Americans believe the Bush Administration had advance knowledge of those attacks, and one way or another allowed them to happen, and polls show that one Canadian in three believes that, too.”
“The Unofficial Story” then allows leading members of the 9/11 truth community to present a spectrum of evidence on various issues:
Architect Richard Gage on how the towers were brought down by controlled demolition
Canadian scientist A.K. Dewdney on the impossibility of cell phone calls at high altitude
David Ray Griffin on the FBI’s 2006 admission that, although US Solicitor General Ted Olson had reported receiving two calls from his wife, CNN commentator Barbara Olson on Flight 77, the evidence indicates that she attempted only one call and that it was “unconnected” and hence lasted “zero seconds”
Dr. Griffin and Canadian media commentator Barrie Zwicker on the military’s explanation of why it did not intercept the airliners
9/11 documentary filmmaker Craig Ranke on the fact that footage of the Pentagon attack is virtually unavailable to the public in spite of many cameras trained on the building
Dewdney on evidence that Flight 93 was shot down by the US military
Richard Gage on the presence of nano-thermite in the World Trade Center dust
In response, defenders of the official account, such as Johnathan Kay (of Canada’s National Post) and 9/11 Commission counsel John Farmer, focus more on why the American public is susceptible to conspiracy theories, than on the disputed evidence itself 46 – although Kay does credit Richard Gage for being involved in a serious quest for truth.
Jim Meigs, Editor-in-Chief of Popular Mechanics, also directs comments against the skeptics themselves rather than their evidence. Conspiracy theorists, he says, are deluded by “the myth of hyper-competence” in relation to the failure of the US Air Force to intercept the planes.
However, Brent Blanchard, presented as a demolition expert, argues against the controlled demolition theory by producing seismographs showing the absence of spikes that, he says, would have been produced by explosions.
He also expressed concern that people around the world, by reporting US government complicity in 9/11 “as fact”, are affecting how people view America.
But actor Daniel Sunjata (of “Rescue Me”) ponders the price of not asking the hard questions: “Sometimes boils need to be lanced. Sometimes poison needs to be brought to the surface in order for real healing to take place.”
McKeown concludes: “We did it not to promote one side or the other, but to shine some light on some of those unresolved issues and unanswered questions.”
And indeed, the program website published links to both sides of the issue.47
Concluding Comment: (Public). This hour-long documentary was the first truly fair opportunity in North America for advocates of the “unofficial story” of 9/11 to present some of their case on mainstream television. Representatives of the “official story” were also given time to speak, but their case was patently weaker. This imbalance was allowed by the producers, and indeed by the Canadian government, to stand. Aired several times across Canada, this program drew unusually high viewer commentary.
Case Study 13: New Zealand TV’s “Close Up” hosts Architect Richard Gage, November 27, 2009
The same day “The Unofficial Story” was broadcast by the CBC, Richard Gage appeared on New Zealand TV’s popular public affairs program, Close-Up, for a six-minute interview.48
“WTC 7 was never hit by a plane but it still came down,” the host begins, “and that’s what troubles internationally respected architect Richard Gage.”
Gage is then allowed to explain that the building fell straight down in 6.5 seconds, and that NIST, the agency tasked with explaining the collapse, admitted that it had come down in absolute free-fall for the first hundred feet or so. “That means the structure had to have been removed,” says Gage. “There is evidence of very high-tech explosives in all the dust throughout lower Manhattan – nanothermite.”
Normal office fires, Gage added, would start “a large, gradual deformation – the building would tip over – it wouldn’t go straight down through the path of greatest resistance.”
This is why 1,000 engineers and architects around the world are demanding a real investigation that includes all of the evidence at the crime scene, not just the planes and the fires, says Gage.
“In the nine months prior to 9/11, we had the largest elevator modernization in history going on inside the towers…We’re looking for an investigation that includes elevator companies, security companies, etcetera.”
Concluding Comment: (Public). New Zealand’s national television station allowed open and unopposed discussion, by the founder of the world’s largest professional organization calling for a new 9/11 investigation, of the claim that nano-thermite was used in a controlled demolition of the World Trade Center. The coincidence that this program and the CBC’s “The Unofficial Story” both aired on the same day may prove to be a turning point in media coverage of the 9/11 issue.
Case Study 14 : “9/11 Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura,” TruTV, Premiere December 9, 2009
TruTV is an American cable television network owned by Time Warner through its subsidiary, Turner Broadcasting. Historically, its has given live homicide trial coverage and other criminal justice programming, though it has recently expanded into more caught-on-video reality, which it calls “actuality” television.
“Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura” premiered December 2, 2009, to an audience of 1.6 million television viewers.
The former Governor of Minnesota has good cause to look into conspiracies, as seen in his December 29 episode, which shows personal experience that the “secret state” holds more power than the senior elected representatives of the people:
“About a month after I was elected governor, I was requested into the basement of the capitol to be interviewed by 23 members of the Central Intelligence Agency, the CIA…And I said to them, “look before I answer any of your questions, I want to know what you’re doing here.” Because in the CIA mission statement it says that they’re not to be operational inside the United States of America. Well, they wouldn’t really give me an answer on that. And then I said, “I want to go around the room, and I want each one of you to tell me your name and what you do.” Half of them wouldn’t. Now isn’t that bizarre? I’m the governor, and these guys won’t even answer questions from me.”49
Ventura made the 9/11 documentary after being approached by Donna March O’Connor, whose daughter died in the World Trade Center and wanted “every American exposed to the questions” about 9/11.50
Ventura’s documentary contained interviews with the following people:
Janitor William Rodriguez, the last man out of the North Tower and who was decorated for heroism by President Bush, who reported enormous explosions in the basements just before the plane hit up above, and whose testimony to the 9/11 Commission was ignored
Physicist Steven Jones, formerly of Brigham Young University, who isolated super-thermite from the enormous dust clouds of the Twin Towers and Building 7, after which he was contacted by a consultant engineer from the Department of Homeland Security, who warned Jones that, if he published his findings “the pain would be great.”
Explosives expert Van Romero, of the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, demonstrating how super-thermite can be painted onto a steel beam, causing it to burn through
Ground Zero rescue worker Mike Mallone, who reported seeing one of the four black boxes removed from the site, and was told of two others – and who was told by the FBI that if he talked about it, “there would be a problem.”
Investigative journalist Dave Lindorff, who was told “off the record” by a contact in the National Transportation Safety Board, which investigated the boxes, that all four had been recovered by the FBI and taken away, though officially, the contact said, this would be denied
Air crash investigator Dale Leppard, who said that the bright orange heat-resistant boxes are never lost
Yet the 9/11 Commission Report claimed that the boxes from American 11 and United 175 were never found.
Ventura concluded by asking: “If everything they told us was true, then why would they need to stonewall us?”
Concluding Comment: (Corporate). By calling his series “Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura”, he openly declares that conspiracies do exist, and that they are a legitimate subject to investigate. According to TruTV, the first episode drew 1.6 million viewers, a record for a new series on this network.
Case Study 15: German Federal Judge Dieter Deiseroth Questions the Official 9/11 Investigation, December 15, 2009
Heinz Heise is a German publishing house, which publishes Europe’s most popular computer and technology journals. It also owns Heise Online (heise.de), which is a top-50 site in Germany, and a top-1000 website in the world as a whole.
On December 15 2008, Heise Online carried an interview with German Federal Judge Dieter Deiseroth on the legality of the Afghanistan war and the question of whether the attacks were adequately investigated in the US.51
In his response, Deiseroth made the following points:
The 9/11 Commission consisted of Bush Administration officials who were very close to the military industrial complex.
Now, over eight years after 9/11, no independent court has applied legal procedures to review the available evidence on who was responsible for the attacks.
It is not acceptable for a constitutional state to dispense with the necessary steps in identifying suspects and instead to declare war, bomb a foreign country where suspects reside, and place it under military occupation.
Having made the claim that bin Laden was responsible for the terrorism of 9/11, the United States was under burden of proof, and yet America’s own FBI admits that it has no evidence presented in court of Osama bin Laden’s responsibility for the 9/11 attacks.
Concluding Comment: (Corporate). This “top-50” online journal exposed many German people to the illegal and unconstitutional responses to the 9/11 attacks – which were the underpinning for the subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq – and even to questions about the truth of the official account of 9/11 itself.
Case Study 16: Germany’s “Focus Money” says: “We Do Not Believe You!” January 8, 2010
With 450,000 to 720,000 readers, Focus Money is the second most popular German weekly business magazine. In January 2010, it published a 5-page, highly detailed, and comprehensively researched glossy feature, “We do not believe you!”52
The article first looks at the many professional 9/11 groups, as well as a 2,000-strong list of prominent and qualified people who question the 9/11 Commission Report at the Patriots Question 9/11 website.
It quotes Richard Gage saying: “The towers accelerated without interruption in free fall…as if the lower 90 floors of the building did not exist. The only way to bring them down like that is controlled demolition.”
The article weighs Gage’s list of ten features of a controlled demolition, which were exemplified in the World Trade Center collapses, against the three features of a fire-caused destruction, which were absent.
Focus Money also explores the case of Barry Jennings, a former Deputy Director of Emergency Services in New York’s Housing Authority, who reported being trapped in WTC 7 after massive explosions in this building occurred in the morning – before the Twin Towers fell. Focus Money also reported that Jennings, aged 53, died mysteriously just days before NIST’s report on WTC-7 was to be released in August 2008.
The article recommends films that challenge the official report, including “Loose Change”, which has been seen 125 million times on Google video alone, “9/11 Mysteries,” and “Zero” – all available online.
Regarding the Pentagon, experienced commercial pilots are cited as maintaining that no one, let alone a Cessna pilot, could fly the route that Flight 77 allegedly took to hit the building.
The article pointed out the lack of debris to support the official story: “There was no tail, there were no wings, no confirmation of the crash of a Boeing 757.” And there were no titanium engines, which would have survived the crash.
Also cited was Sergeant Lauro Chavez of the US Central Command in Florida, who was involved in exercises the morning of 9/11 to hijack planes and fly them into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the White House. He asks why, when it became clear that the attacks were real, were the rogue planes not intercepted?
Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta’s testimony to the 9/11 Commission, in which he reported a conversation between Dick Cheney and a young officer prior to the strike on the Pentagon, supports Chavez’ conviction that there had been a stand-down order.
Concluding Comment: (Corporate). This 5,400-word article presented strong evidence against the official 9/11 account to Germany’s economic and political decision-makers.
Case Study 17: Televised documentary, “The BBC’s Conspiracy Files: Osama bin Laden – Dead or Alive?” January 10, 2010
In January 2010, a BBC News article53 summarized evidence supporting both sides of the question stated in the title of its upcoming documentary, “Osama bin Laden – Dead or Alive?” – a title taken from the David Ray Griffin book that was previously discussed in a Daily Mail article.54
The documentary, which was part of the BBC Conspiracy Files series, opened by presenting evidence that bin Laden has long been dead, including the following points:
Bruce Riedel, chair of President Obama’s policy review on Afghanistan and Pakistan, says the bin Laden trail is cold, “frozen over,” meaning that there has been no intelligence on bin Laden since Tora Bora, either by sightings or intercepted communications.
Various lines of evidence suggest that bin Laden was suffering from advanced kidney disease: CBS News reported, for example, that he was being treated in the kidney ward of a hospital in Pakistan the night before the 9/11 attacks, and the last of the undoubtedly authentic videotapes showed him frail and gaunt, with a whitish beard.
There were reports of his funeral in mid-December 2001 in Pakistani and Egyptian newspapers.
Former CIA agent Robert Baer, who believes bin Laden to be dead, reported that none of his friends in the CIA could state for certain that bin Laden was still alive.
Colonel Iman, Pakistan’s former troop trainer, also believes him to be dead.
The only proof of bin Laden’s continuing existence is the audio and videotapes, and Dr. Griffin has presented evidence (about the structure of bin Laden’s face and hands, and the secular content of his messages)that some of them are clearly faked, leading to the suspicion that they all are.
Pakistan’s former Lieutenant General Hamid Gul, who knew bin Laden, supports this conclusion with regard to the alleged confession video.
Professor Bruce Lawrence of Duke University, a student of the bin Laden tapes, also declared it a fake, especially because bin Laden always loved the spotlight. He asks why bin Laden has been seen so infrequently on video and why his contemporary, Ayman al-Zawahiri is seen so often.55
The BBC narrator says that only six of bin Laden’s 40 messages were videotapes, and only two have appeared since Tora Bora in 2001.
Dr Griffin says the first video appeared conveniently just before the 2004 US election, which helped Bush to win; and the second appeared in 2007, showing a very black beard, which had formerly been almost white.56
CIA agent Robert Baer confirmed that the alleged bin Laden audio and video tapes could have been faked through digital manipulation.
The BBC program also presented evidence that is believed by some to show that the US may not have been intent on capturing or killing bin Laden:
Dalton Fury, commander of the secret Delta Force, says it was “odd” that Washington denied him nearby troops and artillery when he had bin Laden trapped at Tora Bora in December 2001.
Mike Scheuer, formerly of the CIA bin Laden Unit, said the US had ten chances to easily kill bin Laden between May 1998 and May 1999. Each time the CIA briefed the White House of the opportunity, the decision was made not to shoot.
In the final third of the program, the BBC provided rather weak evidence against “the theory that Osama bin Laden died 8 years ago and the US government is keeping him alive, faking videos, and sending troops to battle and allowing them to die in pursuit of an imaginary foe.” However, a reviewer for the TV and Radio section of the The Independent, one of London’s leading newspapers, complained that this rebuttal was too little, too late, saying:
“The Conspiracy Files film about Osama Bin Laden was a dubious affair, which gave regrettable amounts of air time to an obsessive 9/11 “truther” called David Ray Griffin. . . . Griffin only got the airtime, as it turned out, so that Conspiracy Files could systematically work their way through his claims and dismiss them. But I think they grievously overestimated the capacity of common sense to mop up the pollution of paranoid fantasy that they actively helped to spread around in the first 45 minutes of the film.”57
This seemed to be the commentator’s way of saying that the BBC’s show probably increased the number of people who believe that bin Laden is probably dead.
Concluding Comment: (Public). This program attempts to neutralize the evidence that bin Laden has been dead for 8 years, which if true would mean that fabricated tapes are helping to justify a continuing Western offensive in the Middle East. That the program was made at all shows how seriously the BBC is taking the growing challenge to the official story of 9/11.
Case Study 18 : An American Union Paper Calls for a New Probe, February 1, 2010
The New Hampshire Union Leader is a daily union newspaper seen by 143,000 people per month in the United States.
Beth Lamontagne Hall of the Union Leader wrote in February 2010 that “Keene resident Gerhard Bedding doesn’t buy the government’s version of what happened on Sept. 11, 2001, so he’s working on a statewide campaign calling for another investigation into the terrorist attacks.58
Bedding and others, she reported, are petitioning New Hampshire’s congressional delegates to push for an independent investigation into “all the evidence and unanswered questions” pertaining to the 9/11 attacks.
Quoting Bedding’s statement that a new investigation is needed “in light of new evidence that has appeared in the last two years,” she pointed out that he mentioned, in particular, the report that scientists had found traces of explosives at the World Trade Center.
Concluding Comment: (Independent). This article in a daily union newspaper is a significant indicator, more than eight years after the attacks, of the broadening concern over the truth about 9/11, and is another example of the widespread influence of the nano-thermite paper published by Dr. Harrit and his co-authors.
IV. Summary and Concluding Observations
1. In the past year, in response to emerging independent science on the 9/11 attacks, nine corporate, seven public, and two independent media outlets aired examinations of the issue, which were all – with the exception of the National Geographic special – reasonably objective, examining the issue as a legitimate scientific controversy worthy of debate (not as “conspiracy theorists” vs. science and common sense).
2. Eight countries – Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, and Russia – have allowed their publicly-owned broadcasting stations to air the full spectrum of evidence challenging the truth of the official account of 9/11.
3. These developments may reflect a relaxation in the international media following the change in the US and British leaderships.
4. These developments definitely reflect, in any case, the fact that scientists in the 9/11 Truth Movement have recently succeeded in getting papers, such as the nano-thermite paper, published in peer-reviewed journals.
5. These developments surely also reflect the general professionalism of the 9/11 Truth Movement, as exemplified by the emergence of not only Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth but also Firefighters, Intelligence Officers, Lawyers, Medical Professionals, Pilots, Political Leaders, Religious Leaders, Scholars, and Veterans for 9/11 Truth.
6. These developments seem to reflect, moreover, an increased recognition of the importance of the 9/11 Truth Movement, which is demonstrated by two honors given to its most influential member, Dr. David Ray Griffin, that would have been unthinkable only a few years ago: the choice by Publishers Weekly of one of his books as a “Pick of the Week,” and his inclusion in the New Statesman’s list of the most important people in the world today.
This more open approach taken in the international media – I could also have included the Japanese media – might be a sign that worldwide public and corporate media organizations are positioning themselves, and preparing their audiences, for a possible revelation of the truth of the claim that forces within the US government were complicit in the attacks – a revelation that would call into question the publicly given rationale for the military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
The evidence now being explored in the international media may pave the way for the US media to take an in-depth look at the implications of what is now known about 9/11, and to re-examine the country’s foreign and domestic policies in the light of this knowledge.
Elizabeth Woodworth is a retired professional health sciences librarian, and a freelance writer. She is the author of two published books and many articles on political and social justice issues.
1 “The 50 People Who Matter Today,” New Statesman, September 24, 2009 (http://www.newstatesman.com/global-issues/2009/09/world-fashion-gay-india-church ). Note that Part I of this series, entitled “The Media Response to the Growing Influence of the 9 /11 Truth Movement: Reflections on a Recent Evaluation of Dr. David Ray Griffin,” was published by Global Research, December 12, 2009 (http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=16505)
2 Niels H. Harrit, Jeffrey Farrer, Steven E. Jones, Kevin R. Ryan, Frank M. Legge, Daniel Farnsworth, Gregg Roberts, James R. Gourley, Bradley R. Larsen, “Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe,” Open Chemical Physics Journal, Vol. 2 (April 3, 2009): 7-31 (http://www.bentham.org/open/tocpj/openaccess2.htm)
3 Ibid., p. 29.
4 Ibid., p. 29.
5 Dr. Harrit is Associate Professor of the Department of Chemistry, and has been a faculty member at the Nano-Science Center at the University of Copenhagen since this Center started in 2001. (http://nano.ku.dk/english/ )
6 “Danish Scientist Niels Harrit on Nano-thermite in the WTC Dust (English subtitles),” TV2 News, Denmark, April 6, 2009 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_tf25lx_3o).
7 By Lars Sobiraj, May 24, 2009,”Germany’s gulli.com (link obsolete now) Interviews Dr. Niels Harrit on Nanothermite at the WTC,” Sunday May 24th, 2009 1:28 PM, http://911truth.org/article_for_printing.php?story=20090525150347423
8 Kevin R. Ryan, “The Top Ten Connections Between NIST and Nano-Thermite,” July 2, 2008, (http://www.journalof911studies.com/volume/2008/Ryan_NIST_and_Nano-1.pdf )
9 Dr. Andrzej W. Miziolek, “Nanoenergetics: An Emerging Technology Area of National Importance,” In: US Department of Defense. “Special Issue: DOD Researchers Provide a Look Inside Nanotechnology,” Amptiac Quarterly, Vol. 6, No. 1, Spring 2002, p. 44 (http://www.p2pays.org/ref/34/33115.pdf ) The article reports that, “Very simply, nanoenergetics can store higher amounts of energy than conventional energetic materials and one can use them in unprecedented ways to tailor the release of this energy so as to maximize the lethality of the weapons.” p. 43.
10 See the IoN Advisory Group at http://www.nano.org.uk/aboutus/ukboard.htm
11 My italics. [News]: “Active Thermitic Material Confirmed in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe,” June 15, 2009 (http://www.nano.org.uk/news/jun2009/latest1881.htm)
12 Thomas Hoffmann, “Danish scientist: an explosive nano material found in dust from the World Trade Center”, Videnskab.dk, April 3, 2009 (http://www.videnskab.dk/composite-1945.htm )
13 Thomas Hoffmann, “Niels Harrit: Scientific evidence of long-time knowledge of 9/11,” Videnskab.dk, April 3, 2009 (http://www.videnskab.dk/composite-2019.htm )
14 Milla Mølgaard, April 4, 2009, (http://politiken.dk/indland/article684567.ece )
15 “Niels Harrit presents evidence for nano-thermite in WTC, on GoodMorning Denmark,” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zAUUKPfdeQA )
17 “Did nano-thermite take down the WTC?” (http://rt.com/Best_Videos/2009-07-09/Did_nano-thermite_take_down_the_WTC.html , and
http://rt.com/Politics/2009-07-09/Did_nano-thermite_take_down_the_WTC.html?fullstory ) . Also available on youtube as “Dr. Niels Harrit on Russia Today – We need a real 9/11 investigation,” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVbF1ndquZI&feature=PlayList&p=4B3A9D67894B7184&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=20 )
18 Brian Stelter, “The Political Suspicions of 9/11,” New York Times, February 1, 2009 (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/02/business/media/02fx.html?_r=2&ref=business )
19 Fox News, “‘Rescue Me’ From 9/11 Conspiracy Theories,” February 4, 2009, http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,487906,00.html )
20 The mock trial is available on youtube in 4 parts: “911 Devil’s Advocate – English subs – Part 1 of 4″, starts at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOdlA_eu-Lw
21 This is said at the beginning of “911 Devil’s Advocate – English subs – Part 2 of 4″, at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJX-rIaAbA4&feature=related. See also, Craig Morris, “Mistranslated Osama bin Laden Video – the German Press Investigates,” December 23, 2001 (http://dc.indymedia.org/newswire/display/16801 )
22 Joshua Rhett Miller, “Dutch TV Show Feeds Conspiracy Theories on Bin Laden’s Role in 9/11,” Fox News, April 25, 2009 (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,516195,00.html )
23 Johanthan Kay, “Richard Gage: 9/11 truther extraordinaire,” Financial Post, Saturday, April 25, 2009 (http://www.financialpost.com/scripts/story.html?id=f54cf9ee-4637-44de-8819-19d918b3241b&k=21893 )
24 The radio program may be heard at this link, in Norwegian, without subtitles http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHZHGUd82wc )
25 Norwegian State Radio initiates public debate on 9/11 Truth (update), (http://zelikow.wordpress.com/2009/05/22/norwegian-state-radio-initiates-public-debate-on-911-truth/ )
26 Richard Gage interviewed by Kim Stephens and Kopi Sotiropulos on KMPH Fox 26 in Fresno, CA, May 28, 2009 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oO2yT0uBQbM&feature=related )
27 “9/11: Science and Conspiracy”, (http://www.shallownation.com/2009/08/31/national-geographic-9-11-science-and-conspiracy-video-photos/). National Geographic Channel is a joint venture of National Geographic Television & Film and Fox Cable Networks.
28 Tom Conroy. “’9/11: Science and Conspiracy’ not quite,” Media Life Magazine, August 31, 2009 (http://www.medialifemagazine.com/artman2/publish/TV_Reviews_21/9_11_Science_and_Conspiracy_not_quite.asp )
29 Maxine Shen, “The Story Behind 9/11: Hit or Myth? Taking on the Truthers,” New York Post, September 2, 2009 (http://www.nypost.com/p/entertainment/tv/item_tPXUgMFRZVQywHJg28ON7J;jsessionid=5113BAC6DC385827B1486E60DAA759A8#ixzz0eY7F97Dx)
30 The website for this publication is http://www.tvhus.de/home/home.html
31 Hannes Wellmann, “Die Geheimakten von 9/11,” TV Hören und Sehen, August 31, 2009. The article and its English translation have been downloaded to http://www.911video.de/news/020909/
32 Whereas the article focuses primarily on Bay-Area resident Richard Gage, Santa Barbara is the home of David Ray Griffin, so the Independent version gave more space to him, even including his photo.
33 Jay Levin and Tom McKenzie, “Twin Towers, Twin Myths?” Santa Barbara Independent, September 17, 2009 (http://www.independent.com/news/2009/sep/17/twin-towers-twin-myths/ )
34 Jay Levin and Tom McKenzie, “Explosive Theory,” MetroActive, September 9, 2009, (http://www.metroactive.com/metro/09.09.09/cover-0936.html)
35 “Is conspiracy behind the World Trade Center’s collapse?” (http://www.independent.com/polls/2009/sep/wtc09/results/ )
36 “Norwegian TV examines 911 part 1,” September 10, 2009, (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlHuYt_u-kI ) The TV program was followed by a written account of it: Lars Ole Skjønberg, “World Trade Center ble sprengt” (“World Trade Center was Blown Up,”) September 10, 2009, http://www.nrk.no/programmer/tv/schrodingers_katt/1.6769275 ). Further information and partial transcripts are available at “Norwegian State Television presents 9/11 Truth (en subs), (update)
37 Sue Reid, “Has Osama Bin Laden been dead for seven years – and are the U.S. and Britain covering it up to continue war on terror?” Daily Mail, September 11, 2009 (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1212851/Has-Osama-Bin-Laden-dead-seven-years–U-S-Britain-covering-continue-war-terror.html )
38 New Statesman, “The 50 People who Matter Today.”
39 “French comedian apolgises for claiming 9/11 was orchestrated by the US government,” Belfast Telegraph, September 10, 2008 (http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/world-news/french-comedian-apologises-for-claiming-911-was-orchestrated-by-the-us-government-13968453.html )
40 “L’objet du scandale, 11 septembre, Bigard, Kassovitz,” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uc4Mb9rF0c The program is also available with English subtitles, at http://world911truth.org/911-debate-with-kassovitz-and-bigard/ . The debate was originally intended to include journalist Éric Laurent and Prof. Niels Harrit, but apparently France 2 could not find anyone to debate them. See “France 2 backs away from real debate, censors Niels Harrit and Éric Laurent,” October 24, 2009, http://world911truth.org/france-2-backs-away-from-real-debate-censors-niels-harrit-and-eric-laurent/ .
41 Hervé de Saint Hilaire, «L’objet du scandale» : sophismes bruyants, Le Figaro, 30 octobre 2009 (http://www.lefigaro.fr/programmes-tele/2009/10/30/03012-20091030ARTFIG00348-l-objet-du-scandale-sophismes-bruyants-.php )
42 Andrew Ryan, “Was 9/11 a conspiracy? ‘Truthers’ make their case: CBC’s fifth estate airs The Unofficial Story,” The Globe and Mail, November 26, 2009
43 CBC. The Fifth Estate. “The Unofficial Story”, November 27, 2009 (http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/2009-2010/the_unofficial_story/ )
44 The Fifth Estate has won 243 awards, including an Oscar for best documentary, three international Emmy Awards, and 31 Geminis.
45 McKeown’s awards include two Emmys, two Geminis, two Edward R. Murrow awards, two Gracies, two National Headliner awards and a National Press Club award. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_McKeown )
46 It is worth noting that attempts to derail critics of the official story have often framed the issue as “conspiracy theorists” vs. “the science” or vs. “the facts.” But as the current essay illustrates, the debate is now increasingly being framed in the media as science on one side of the issue vs. science on the other side.
47 The Fifth Estate, at http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/2009-2010/the_unofficial_story/links.html
48 “Richard Gage AIA on New Zealand National Television,” November 27, 2009 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2INIOXe_WI )
49 “Conspiracy Theory Episode 4 Big Brother with Jesse Ventura,” December 29, 2009 (http://conspiracytheoryjesseventura.com/forums/index.php?board=2.0 )
50 “9/11 Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura,” TruTV, Premiere Wed, December 9 at 10PM (http://www.conspiracytheoryjesseventura.com/2009/12/watch-episode-2-911-conspiracy-theory-jesse-ventura/ ) Also at “Conspiracy theory with Jesse Ventura – 9/11 part 1,” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Uw5Bz-oL3w )
51 Marcus Klöckner, “Das schreit geradezu nach Aufklärung,” December 15, 2009 (http://www.heise.de/tp/r4/artikel/31/31729/1.html ). The English Google translation is at http://translate.google.ca/translate?js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=1&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.heise.de%2Ftp%2Fr4%2Fartikel%2F31%2F31729%2F1.html&sl=de&tl=en )
52 Oliver Janich, Focus Money, No. 2/2010, January 8, 2010 (http://www.focus.de/finanzen/news/terroranschlaege-vom-11-september-2001-wir-glauben-euch-nicht_aid_467894.html ). For English Google translation, see http://translate.google.ca/translate?js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=1&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.focus.de%2Ffinanzen%2Fnews%2Fterroranschlaege-vom-11-september-2001-wir-glauben-euch-nicht_aid_467894.html&sl=de&tl=en . For English introduction and commentary, see http://www.911video.de/news/080110/en.html .
53 Mike Rudin, “The Conspiracy Files,” BBC News, January 9, 2009 (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8444069.stm )
54 David Ray Griffin, “Osama bin Laden: Dead or Alive?” Interlink Books, 2009. The documentary, “The BBC’s Conspiracy Files: Osama bin Laden – Dead or Alive?” January 10, 2010, is now periodically available on BBC stations throughout the world, and presently available on youtube:
“BBC: Osama Bin Laden; Dead or Alive (1/6),” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cpqg9SF2x50&feature=related ).
55 A Wikipedia article lists 34 videos of Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri that have been released since May 2003. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Videos_of_Ayman_al-Zawahiri)
56 Frames from the 2004 and 2007 videos may be seen side by side in the online article: David Ray Griffin, “Osama bin Laden: Dead or Alive?” Global Research, October 9, 2009 (http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=15601 )
57 Tom Sutcliffe, “Last Night’s Television: By The People: The Election of Barack Obama, Sat, BBC2; Conspiracy Files: Osama Bin Laden – Dead or Alive?, Sun, BBC2,” The Independent, January 11, 2010 (http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/reviews/last-nights-television-by-the-people-the-election-of-barack-obama-sat-bbc2brconspiracy-files-osama-bin-laden-ndash-dead-or-alive-sun-bbc2-1863741.html )
58 Beth Lamontagne Hall, “NH group cites need for new 9/11 probe,” New Hampshire Union Leader, February 1, 2010 (http://www.unionleader.com/article.aspx?articleId=c2822a9b-f0c3-4f03-b8c3-09c3e0765b2f&headline=NH+group+cites+need+for+new+9%2f11+probe )
By Tom Fawthrop | Al Jazeera | February 15, 2010
Among the many donor nations helping Haiti, Cuba and its medical teams have played a major role in treating earthquake victims.
Public health experts say the Cubans were the first to set up medical facilities among the debris and to revamp hospitals immediately after the earthquake struck.
However, their pivotal work in the health sector has received scant media coverage.
“It is striking that there has been virtually no mention in the media of the fact that Cuba had several hundred health personnel on the ground before any other country,” said David Sanders, a professor of public health from Western Cape University in South Africa.
The Cuban team coordinator in Haiti, Dr Carlos Alberto Garcia, says the Cuban doctors, nurses and other health personnel have been working non-stop, day and night, with operating rooms open 18 hours a day.
During a visit to La Paz hospital in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince, Dr Mirta Roses, the director of the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) which is in charge of medical coordination between the Cuban doctors, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and a host of health sector NGOs, described the aid provided by Cuban doctors as “excellent and marvellous”.
La Paz is one of five hospitals in Haiti that is largely staffed by health professionals from Havana.
Haiti and Cuba signed a medical cooperation agreement in 1998. Before the earthquake struck, 344 Cuban health professionals were already present in Haiti, providing primary care and obstetrical services as well as operating to restore the sight of Haitians blinded by eye diseases.
More doctors were flown in shortly after the earthquake, as part of the rapid response Henry Reeve Medical Brigade of disaster specialists. The brigade has extensive experience in dealing with the aftermath of earthquakes, having responded to such disasters in China, Indonesia and Pakistan.
“In the case of Cuban doctors, they are rapid responders to disasters, because disaster management is an integral part of their training,” explains Maria a Hamlin Zúniga, a public health specialist from Nicaragua.
“They are fully aware of the need to reduce risks by having people prepared to act in any disaster situation.”
Cuban doctors have been organising medical facilities in three revamped and five field hospitals, five diagnostic centres, with a total of 22 different care posts aided by financial support from Venezuela. They are also operating nine rehabilitation centres staffed by nearly 70 Cuban physical therapists and rehab specialists, in addition to the Haitian medical personnel.
The Cuban team has been assisted by 100 specialists from Venezuela, Chile, Spain, Mexico, Colombia and Canada and 17 nuns.
Havana has also sent 400,000 tetanus vaccines for the wounded.
Eduardo Nuñez Valdes, a Cuban epidemiologist who is currently in Port-au-Prince, has stressed that the current unsanitary conditions could lead to an epidemic of parasitic and infectious diseases if not acted upon quickly.
However, in reporting on the international aid effort, Western media have generally not ranked Cuba high on the list of donor nations.
One major international news agency’s list of donor nations credited Cuba with sending over 30 doctors to Haiti, whereas the real figure stands at more than 350, including 280 young Haitian doctors who graduated from Cuba. The final figure accounts for a combined total of 930 health professionals in all Cuban medical teams making it the largest medical contingent on the ground.
Another batch of 200 Cuban-trained doctors from 24 countries in Africa and Latin American, and a dozen American doctors who graduated from Havana are currently en route to Haiti and will provide reinforcement to existing Cuban medical teams.
By comparison the internationally-renowned Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF or Doctors without Borders) has approximately 269 health professionals working in Haiti. MSF is much better funded and has far more extensive medical supplies than the Cuban team.
But while representatives from MSF and the ICRC are frequently in front of television cameras discussing health priorities and medical needs, the Cuban medical teams are missing in the media coverage.
Richard Gott, the Guardian newspaper’s former foreign editor and a Latin America specialist, explains: “Western media are programmed to be indifferent to aid that comes from unexpected places. In the Haitian case, the media have ignored not just the Cuban contribution, but also the efforts made by other Latin American countries.”
Brazil is providing $70mn in funding for 10 urgent care units, 50 mobile units for emergency care, a laboratory and a hospital, among other health services.
Venezuela has canceled all Haiti debt and has promised to supply oil free of charge until the country has recovered from the disaster.
Western NGOs employ media officers to ensure that the world knows what they are doing.
According to Gott, the Western media has grown accustomed to dealing with such NGOs, enabling a relationship of mutual assistance to develop.
Cuban medical teams, however, are outside this predominantly Western humanitarian-media loop and are therefore only likely to receive attention from Latin American media and Spanish language broadcasters and print media.
There have, however, been notable exceptions to this reporting syndrome. On January 19, a CNN reporter broke the silence on the Cuban role in Haiti with a report on Cuban doctors at La Paz hospital.
When the US requested that their military plans be allowed to fly through Cuban airspace for the purpose of evacuating Haitians to hospitals in Florida, Cuba immediately agreed despite almost 50 years of animosity between the two countries.
Cuban humanitarian aid in Indonesia [Tom Fawthrop]
Josefina Vidal, the director of the Cuban foreign ministry’s North America department, issued a statement declaring that: “Cuba is ready to cooperate with all the nations on the ground, including the US, to help the Haitian people and save more lives.”
This deal cut the flight time of medical evacuation flights from the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay on Cuba’s southern tip to Miami by 90 minutes.
According to Darby Holladay, the US state department’s spokesperson, the US has also communicated its readiness to make medical relief supplies available to Cuban doctors in Haiti.
“Potential US-Cuban cooperation could go a long way toward meeting Haiti’s needs,” says Dr Julie Feinsilver, the author of Healing the Masses – a book about Cuban health diplomacy, who argues that maximum cooperation is urgently needed.
Rich in human resources
Although Cuba is a poor developing country, their wealth of human resources – doctors, engineers and disaster management experts – has enabled this small Caribbean nation to play a global role in health care and humanitarian aid alongside the far richer nations of the west.
Cuban medical teams played a key role in the wake of the Indian Ocean Tsunami and provided the largest contingent of doctors after the 2005 Pakistan earthquake. They also stayed the longest among international medical teams treating the victims of the 2006 Indonesian earthquake.
In the Pakistan relief operation the US and Europe dispatched medical teams. Each had a base camp with most doctors deployed for a month. The Cubans, however, deployed seven major base camps, operated 32 field hospitals and stayed for six months.
Bruno Rodriguez, who is now Cuba’s foreign minister, headed the mission – living in the mountains of Pakistan for more than six months.
Just after the Indonesian earthquake a year later, I met with Indonesia’s then regional health co-coordinator, Dr Ronny Rockito.
Cuba had sent 135 health workers and two field hospitals. Rockito said that while the medical teams from other countries departed after just one month, he asked the Cuban medical team to extend their stay.
“I appreciate the Cuban medical team. Their style is very friendly. Their medical standard is very high,” he told me.
“The Cuban [field] hospitals are fully complete and it’s free, with no financial support from our government.”
Rockito says he never expected to see Cuban doctors coming to his country’s rescue.
“We felt very surprised about doctors coming from a poor country, a country so far away that we know little about.
“We can learn from the Cuban health system. They are very fast to handle injuries and fractures. They x-ray, then they operate straight away.”
A ‘new dawn’?
The Montreal summit, the first gathering of 20 donor nations, agreed to hold a major conference on Haiti’s future at the United Nations in March.
Some analysts see Haiti’s rehabilitation as a potential opportunity for the US and Cuba to bypass their ideological differences and combine their resources – the US has the logistics while Cuba has the human resources – to help Haiti.
Feinsilver is convinced that “Cuba should be given a seat at the table with all other nations and multilateral organisations and agencies in any and all meetings to discuss, plan and coordinate aid efforts for Haiti’s reconstruction”.
“This would be in recognition of Cuba’s long-standing policy and practise of medical diplomacy, as well as its general development aid to Haiti,” she says.
But, will Haiti offer the US administration, which has Cuba on its list of nations that allegedly “support terrorism”, a “new dawn” in its relations with Cuba?
In late January, Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, thanked Cuba for its efforts in Haiti and welcomed further assistance and co-operation.
In Haiti’s grand reconstruction plan, Feinsilver argues, “there can be no imposition of systems from any country, agency or institution. The Haitian people themselves, through what remains of their government and NGOs, must provide the policy direction, and Cuba has been and should continue to be a key player in the health sector in Haiti”.
By Zuhair Andrew | Al-Quds Al-Arabi | February 14, 2010
A survey conducted by the Israeli Knesset channel shows that 75 percent of Israeli Jews are in favour of deporting Israeli-Arab citizens to a future Palestinian state as part of any deal between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority. Almost seven hundred people representing a sample of the Jewish public in Israel were asked if it could be justified to demand the deportation of Arab citizens of the Zionist state as part of a peace agreement with the Palestinians. Twenty-five percent rejected the idea outright; of the 75 percent who agreed with deportation, 28 percent said all Arabs should be deported, 19 percent preferred deportation only from certain areas, while 28 percent said that deportation should be based on a “loyalty test”.
On issues of identity, 50 percent of the Jews surveyed said that they believe that the Arabs in Israel relate first and foremost to Palestinian identity and then identify themselves as Israelis. Forty percent said that Israeli-Arabs relate only to a Palestinian identity, and 1 percent said that they believe that Arab citizens of Israel think of themselves only as Israelis.
While the majority of the Jews who took part in the survey said that Arab citizens’ right to stay in their homes is not a given, 52 percent believe that the Israeli authorities do not discriminate against Israeli-Arabs; 43 percent said that they do discriminate.
The demography of the state of Israel is a major issue and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regards his Arab citizens as a demographic time bomb. In an effort to boost his popularity ratings while those of his political rivals tumble, Netanyahu has launched a media campaign to convince Israelis of his important role in reducing the birth rate among Israeli-Arabs. He believes that this is essential to preserve Israel as a Jewish state. During interviews with a number of television channels, Netanyahu told viewers that when he was finance minister in the Sharon government (2003 – 2005), he reduced state social security benefits to families with many children in an effort to persuade Israeli-Arabs that there was no financial benefit from having large families and so to cut their birth rate. Netanyahu claims that this was a successful move.
He added that research conducted by his ministry showed that the difference between the birth rates of Israeli-Arabs and Israeli-Jews went down from 3% to 1% in two years. Netanyahu said that when he was the Minister of Finance, the ratio of Israeli-Arab births to Israeli-Jewish births was 4 children to 1; when he resigned, he said, the ratio was 4.1 to 3.1 children.
Moreover, Netanyahu stressed that his policy represents one of the most important responses to the demographic danger of Jews losing their majority in the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean, and he emphasised further his policy’s contribution to reducing social security payouts, thereby increasing the amount of money available for other public services across Israel.
However, economist Avraham Tal from Haaretz newspaper said that Prime Minister Netanyahu is wrong to claim credit for this birth rate reduction. According to Mr. Tal, the reduction took place in 2000, three years before Netanyahu became the Minister of Finance. Tal attributes the decrease to lifestyle changes influenced by western values, pointing to a similar reduction in a number of Arab countries. Reducing social security payments did not have a serious effect on Israel-Arab fertility levels, said Tal and, in any case, the Central Bureau of Statistics in Israel shows that there is a slow decline in the number of Jews living in Israel. The latest statistics show that Jews make up 76 percent of the total population, compared to 76.2 percent in the previous year surveyed. Israeli-Arabs now constitute 16.3 percent of the population, a rise of 0.2 percent; by 2025, the Bureau predicts that this figure will have risen to 30 percent of the population of the Jewish state.
By Jason Ditz | February 14, 2010
The Battle of Marjah was supposed to be the centerpiece of the Obama escalation, showcasing NATO’s firepower against the farming community while emphasizing strategic changes designed to limit civilian casualties.
This has failed on both fronts, with troops encountering heavy resistance and making slow progress in occupying the town, and even more importantly an embarrassingly high profile mishap involving US forces.
According to NATO, the US was attempting to use its High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HiMARS) to attack some nearby insurgents. The rockets fired from the HiMARS “missed” their targets, and instead hit a crowded home 300 meters away, killing at least 12 Afghan civilians.
Officials were quick to apologize, and the HiMARS has been temporarily barred from service, but after US forces papered the region with leaflets urging civilians to “stay put” during the invasion, the killings have once again drawn uncomfortable attention to the inaccuracy of war inside a town.
Despite the killings and the fighting, officials insist that the invasion is “going to plan.” Those paying attention over the past month however will recall repeated predictions of a quick victory with little battle, and the reality has been anything but.