A gross violation of human rights gives rise to a set of state obligations, including that of providing remedies to the victims. Among such remedies is the duty to establish the true circumstances surrounding the violation and ensuring the identification and punishment of those responsible for it. The mass killings of 9/11 were, apart of being a huge crime, also a gross violation of the right to life of approximately 3,000 people. Yet legal literature has not dealt with this event from that perspective. Thus, the right of the victims to have the truth established and the perpetrators identified and punished has not been subject to scrutiny. This study is meant to remedy this failure by applying existing human rights norms to the investigation of 9/11 by the U.S. authorities and assessing, more generally, the adequacy of these norms.
Since 11 September 2001 the human rights community has faced a new challenge, namely the assault on individual freedoms in Western democracies in the name of the “war on terror”. Every day governments introduce new challenges to individual freedoms, including police powers to monitor private communications, mass surveillance methods and broadened search and detention powers. These attacks on human rights have been extensively analysed and denounced by the legal community. Yet, the event invoked by governments as a justification for all these attacks on human rights, commonly designated as a terrorist act or as an act of war – the mass killings of 9/11 – was equally a gross violation of human rights, giving rise to specific state obligations. It was thus the duty of the government where this event took place to investigate this violation, establish the truth of this violation and bring those responsible to justice. Impunity arises when a state fails to meet these obligations.1 To date, nobody has been brought to trial for participation or complicity in the mass killings of 9/11.2 This fact alone warrants an appraisal of the investigation of this gross violation and the norms applicable to such an investigation.
According to the official account, all 19 alleged perpetrators of the mass killings of 9/11 died in the crashes of aircraft they allegedly had hijacked. Consequently, they were not prosecuted and their guilt was not determined in accordance with the rule of law. Designated by the political class and by world media as the embodiment of evil, no one dared to stand to their defence. Muslims around the world either condemned their action as contrary to Islam or rejected the allegations but did not undertake any legal action to vindicate the suspects’ rights to a fair hearing. A part of this article can be regarded as a belated attempt to provide a defence to the 9/11 suspects, a right to which they are entitled. Readers of this article may consider themselves as members of the jury.
Before embarking upon an appraisal of the investigations of 9/11, a review of the applicable norms is in order.
1. The right to truth as a collective right
In 2005, the U.N. Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) adopted an Updated Set of Principles to Combat Impunity. The first subset of principles is entitled the Right to Know and includes the following principles3 :
Principle 2: The inalienable right to the truth
Every people has the inalienable right to know the truth about past events concerning the perpetration of heinous crimes and about the circumstances and reasons that led, through massive or systematic violations, to the perpetration of those crimes. Full and effective exercise of the right to the truth provides a vital safeguard against the recurrence of violations.
Principle 5: Guarantees to give effect to the right to know
States must take appropriate action, including measures necessary to ensure the independent and effective operation of the judiciary, to give effect to the right to know. Appropriate measures to ensure this right may include non-judicial processes that complement the role of the judiciary. Societies that have experienced heinous crimes perpetrated on a massive or systematic basis may benefit in particular from the creation of a truth commission or other commission of inquiry to establish the facts surrounding those violations so that the truth may be ascertained and to prevent the disappearance of evidence. Regardless of whether a State establishes such a body, it must ensure the preservation of, and access to, archives concerning violations of human rights and humanitarian law.
The above principles reflect states’ recognition that societies, as collectivities, possess the right to know the truth about past gross violations to human rights.
2. The right to the truth as a form of individual remedy
The first detailed study on the right to the truth was issued by the U.N. Commission on Human Rights in 2006. The study concludes
that the right to the truth about gross human rights violations and serious violations of human rights law is an inalienable and autonomous right, linked to the duty and obligation of the State to protect and guarantee human rights, to conduct effective investigations and to guarantee effective remedy and reparations. This right is closely linked with other rights and has both an individual and a societal dimension and should be considered as a non-derogable right and not subject to limitations.
The study provides a useful historical overview of the right to the truth, which developed from specialised provisions of international humanitarian law to the current recognition of this right as an inalienable and autonomous human right.
Although international human rights treaties do not explicitly refer to the right to the truth, this right has been referred to by human rights courts and in documents adopted by various bodies of the United Nations.4 This right is also regarded as implicit in existing provisions of human rights treaties,5 such as Article 8, 11, 14 and 25 of the American Convention of Human Rights.6
In 1989, the United Nations adopted the U.N. Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-Legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions7 (hereafter: UN Principles) and in 1991 a manual on the implementation of these principles.8 According to paragraph 9 of the UN Principles, “the broad purpose of an inquiry is to discover the truth about the events leading to the suspicious death of a victim.”
In 2005, the U.N. General Assembly affirmed the duty of states to provide victims of human rights violations with “full and effective reparation… which include[s]… where applicable… [v]erification of the facts and full and public disclosure of the truth” and “[i]nclusion of an accurate account of the violations that occurred in international human rights law and international humanitarian law training and in educational material at all levels.”9
The Inter-American Court for the Protection of Human Rights (IACtHR) has through its jurisprudence given substance to the concept of the right to truth: “[T]he right to the truth is subsumed in the right of the victim or his next of kin to obtain clarification of the events that violated human rights and the corresponding responsibilities from the competent organs of the State, through the investigation and prosecution that are established in Articles 8 and 25 of the Convention.”10 In 1998, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has for first time recognised that the right to truth belongs to members of society at large as well as to the families of victims of human rights violations.11
In its 2007 report on the right to the truth, the Human Rights Council linked this right with the need to combat impunity, to achieve justice and to provide remedy to victims.12
3. The duty to investigate: A derivative of the right to truth
States are, under international human rights law, under the duty to investigate within their respective jurisdictions “all cases of killing and other suspicious death, whether the perpetrators were private persons or State agents or are unknown.”13 The Basic Principles (2005) set out the specific obligation to investigate violations in the context of the overall obligation to ensure respect for human rights: “The obligation to respect, ensure respect for and implement international human rights law and international humanitarian law… includes, inter alia, the duty to… [i]nvestigate violations effectively, promptly, thoroughly and impartially and, where appropriate, take action against those allegedly responsible in accordance with domestic and international law.”14
Before the adoption of the Basic Principles (2005), the U.N. Human Rights Committee (UNHRC), in its General Comment no. 31, pointed out that states are under the duty to protect individuals subject to their jurisdiction,
not just against violations of the [ICCPR] by [their] agents, but also against acts committed by private persons or entities that would impair the enjoyment of Covenant rights… There may be circumstances in which a failure to ensure Covenant rights..would give rise to violations by States Parties of those rights, as a result of States Parties’ permitting or failing to take appropriate measures or to exercise due diligence to prevent, punish, investigate or redress the harm caused by such acts by private persons or entities.15
Part III of the United Nations Manual on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-Legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions, based on a Model Protocol for a Legal Investigation drafted by the Minnesota Lawyers International Human Rights Committee (hence, “The Minnesota Protocol”),16 lists desirable procedures of an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding a suspicious death. These include, inter alia, specific tasks to be accomplished at the crime scene, the processing of evidence, avenues of investigation and identification and interviews of witnesses. The ‘Minnesota Protocol’ also provides a guideline for the establishment of independent commissions of inquiry and the performance of autopsies. States can, therefore, avail themselves of such guidelines, if they desire to fulfill in good faith their international obligations.
4. Standards of investigation
While states are under the obligation to investigate violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, they sometimes attempt to avoid investigations which might embarrass or implicate high officials. In order to cover up official complicity, states sometimes stage an investigation designed to fail. The IACtHR explicitly warned against this eventuality: “[T]he State has the duty to commence ex officio and without delay, a serious, fair, and effective investigation which is not undertaken as a mere formality condemned in advance to be fruitless.”17
The notion, that failure to effectively investigate arbitrary killings could itself be a violation of human rights, has been confirmed in numerous judgements by the ECtHR. In its judgements the court addressed five to six criteria which allow a relatively objective evaluation of the effectiveness of an investigation, namely: promptness, thoroughness, impartiality (or objectivity), independence and transparency.
4.1 Effectiveness of investigations
The requirement of effectiveness of investigations has been addressed by the ECtHR in numerous court judgements. A review of these judgements reveals that the Court uses the terms “effective” and “adequate”interchangeably. While the term “effective” is sometimes used to imply an obligation of result,18 the Court also refers to it as an obligation of means.19 The Court thus considered that “the nature and degree of scrutiny which satisfies the minimum threshold of [an] investigation’s effectiveness depends on the circumstances of the particular case. It must be assessed on the basis of all relevant facts and with regard to the practical realities of investigation work. It is not possible to reduce the variety of situations which might occur to a bare check-list of acts of investigation or other simplified criteria.”20 In determining whether effective investigations of alleged violations of human rights had taken place, the Court examines whether these investigations had been prompt, thorough, impartial (or objective), independent and sufficiently transparent.
While human rights courts generally avoid implying that ineffective investigations of human rights violations represent deliberate obstruction or a cover-up by the state, the ECtHR expressed its view in Musayev and Others v Russia that “the astonishing ineffectiveness of the prosecuting authorities… can only be qualified as acquiescence in the events.”21
The ECtHR has also considered that a violation by a government of the right to life can be inferred from the failure by the government to provide “a plausible explanation… as to the reasons why indispensable acts of investigation have not been performed.”22
4.2 Promptness of investigations
The necessity of promptly investigating an alleged violation of the right to life “may generally be regarded as essential in maintaining public confidence in their adherence to the rule of law and in preventing any appearance of collusion in or tolerance of unlawful acts.”23 The passage of time “inevitably erode[s] the amount and quality of the evidence available and the appearance of a lack of diligence will cast doubt on the good faith of the investigative efforts, as well as drag out the ordeal for the members of the family.”24 A substantial delay in the investigation may, therefore, constitute “a breach of the obligation to exercise exemplary diligence and promptness.”24
4.3 Thoroughness of investigations
A crucial feature for an adequate investigation of human rights violations is its thoroughness. According to paragraph 9 of the UN Principles:
There shall be thorough, prompt and impartial investigation of all suspected cases of extra-legal, arbitrary and summary executions, including cases in which complaints by relatives or other reliable reports suggest unnatural death in the above circumstances…. The Purpose of the investigation shall be to determine the cause, manner and time of death, the person responsible, and any pattern or practice, which may have brought about that death.25
The ECtHR inferred the lack of thoroughness from a garden-variety of omissions by the investigating authorities, such as failure to take reasonable steps to secure evidence;26 ignorance of obvious evidence (failure to “connect the dots”);27 failure to collect all the evidence that could have clarified the sequence of events;28 failure to report troubling facts;28 failure to interrogate certain people or to ask certain questions in interrogations;29 failure to ascertain possible eye-witnesses and failing to search for corroborating evidence;30 failure to ascertain whether certain reported documents in fact existed;31 failure to clarify important inconsistencies;32 failure to consider alternative hypotheses for unnatural death;33 lack of explanations for irregularities;34 failure to preserve evidence at the scene (of the crime) and taking all relevant measurements;35 and failure to inquire about motives.36
4.4 Independence of investigations
The U.N. Human Rights Committee emphasises the need that investigations be carried out “through independent and impartial bodies.”37
The U.N. Principles specify that
[g]overnments shall pursue investigations through an independent commission of inquiry or similar procedure. Members of such a commission shall be chosen for their recognised impartiality, competence and independence as individuals. In particular, they shall be independent of any institution, agency or person that may be the subject of the inquiry. The commission shall have the authority to obtain all information necessary to the inquiry and shall conduct the inquiry as provided in these principles.38
The ECtHR also mentioned the necessity “for the persons responsible for and carrying out the investigation to be independent from those implicated in the events”.39 The Court added: “This means not only a lack of hierarchical or institutional connection but also a practical independence.”39
4.5 Impartiality of investigations
Impartiality, according to the ECtHR, requires that investigators, with an open mind, examine all relevant evidence, including evidence that contradicts their “firm conviction”40 and include in the scope of their investigation the possibility of official involvement in the crime, particularly when they are put on notice about suspicious activities by official entities.41 The obligation of impartiality can also be violated by judiciously restricting an investigative mandate to predefined outcomes.
In order to ensure the impartiality of an investigation, witnesses “shall be protected from… any… form of intimidation”42 , particularly by state officials.
4.6 Transparency of investigations
According to paragraph 16 of the UN Principles “[f]amilies of the deceased and their legal representatives shall be informed of, and have access to, any hearing as well as to all information relevant to the investigation, and shall be entitled to present other evidence.”43
The reporting requirements of an investigation are also spelled out in the UN Principles:
A written report shall be made within a reasonable period of time on the methods and findings of such investigations. The report shall be made public immediately and shall include the scope of the inquiry, procedures and methods used to evaluate evidence as well as conclusions and recommendations based on findings of fact and on applicable law. The report shall also describe in detail specific events that were found to have occurred and the evidence upon which such findings were based, and list the names of witnesses who testified, with the exception of those whose identities have been withheld for their own protection. The Government shall, within a reasonable period of time, either reply to the report of the investigation, or indicate the steps to be taken in response to it.44
The ECtHR explicitly related the need for transparency of investigations to the democratic right of official accountability:
Remedies must be effective in practice, not just in theory, with a sufficient element of public scrutiny to ensure true accountability. In particular, alleged violations of the right to life deserve the most careful scrutiny. Where events lie wholly or largely within exclusive knowledge of the authorities…strong presumptions of fact will arise in respect of injuries and death, which occur. Indeed, the burden of proof may be regarded as resting on the authorities to provide a satisfactory and convincing explanation.45
5. The mass killings of 11 September 2001: A gross violation of the right to life
The mass killings of 11 September 2001 (“9/11″) were a gross violation of the right to life of approximately 3,000 human beings. It follows that the United States, as state party to the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, is under the obligation to provide an “effective remedy” to the victims of 9/11,46 including their right to an effective investigation of these violations.
To the extent that these mass killings were also a crime against humanity, the United States government has, by U.N. resolution 3074 (XXVIII) of 1973, pledged to investigate such crimes. And by voting for U.N. Security Council Resolution 1368 (2001), the United States also pledged “to work together [with other states] urgently to bring to justice the perpetrators, organizers and sponsors” of the crime of 9/11.
Violations by the United States of international treaties to which it is party, such as the failure to investigate violations of human rights committed within its jurisdiction, are not at this point enforceable against the United States in any international court. The lack of international enforcement does not, however, void the international responsibility of the United States for its violations of obligations under international law47 nor relieve the U.S. authorities of their moral responsibility to establish the truth on 9/11.
6. The official account of 9/11
On September 11, 2001, the entire world witnessed on television the impact of an aircraft crashing on the South Tower of the World Trade Center in New York, the ensuing fires and the subsequent and sudden disintegration of both towers. Television and other media provided non-stop coverage about rescue efforts and presented live testimonies of survivors, eyewitnesses, rescue workers, fire fighters and law enforcement personnel. In addition to what was shown live on television, numerous people witnessed and experienced the events in person. After seeing a second aircraft impacting the World Trade Center, it was evident that this was no accident, but a deliberate attack aimed to destroy and kill.
Approximately 20 minutes after being informed that a second aircraft had crashed into the World Trade Center, President George W. Bush, exiting a school class, announced to the world that the United States was under attack.48 In his TV address he said: “Two airplanes have crashed into the World Trade Center in an apparent terrorist attack on our country.”49 Such wording was not self-evident: Neither at that moment nor later, did President Bush or his aides possess any evidence that the aircraft seen crashing on the WTC had come from abroad.
On 12 September 2001, the U.S. Congress adopted by acclaim a resolution that contained the following factual assertions:
• The events of the previous day had been “attacks against” the United States;
• Terrorists had “hijacked and destroyed” four civilian aircraft;
• The attacks “destroyed both towers of the World Trade Center”; and
• The attacks were intended “to intimidate our Nation and weaken its resolve.”50
There was nothing extraordinary for the Congress to condemn the mass-murder of the previous day, express its sympathy to the victims and their families and commend the valiant efforts of rescue teams and first responders. Numerous governments and international bodies did so immediately without suggesting how, by whom and why the mass-murder was executed.51 What distinguished the congressional resolution from numerous similar resolutions was the specificity of the factual allegations it included. Despite ample time for debates, Congress members displayed a surprising lack of curiosity about the actual events of the previous day. No member of Congress demanded concrete evidence in support of the allegations he or she was asked to endorse. Instead, one after the other rose to pledge his or her unreserved support for the President, designate the events as an act of war and call for foreign military operations against the unidentified aggressors and their alleged hosts. Some members of Congress actually warned against treating the events as a crime because, as Senator Jeff Sessions, explained, “As a Federal prosecutor, I know about the difficulties that have to be overcome to prosecute a person and convict them beyond a reasonable doubt. You don’t have that burden when you are in war.”52
Already from the first hour, mass media published horrid details about the events – partly based on leaks from unidentified public and airline officials – and had talking heads speculating about the identities of the perpetrators and their masterminds. On 14 September the main features of the official account on 9/11 were finalised prior to any investigation and remained since that day engraved in stone. These can be summarised in a few sentences:
Nineteen Arab Muslim fanatics boarded four aircraft in the morning of 11 September 2001. Five of them boarded flight AA11 that departed from Boston; five boarded UA175 that also departed from Boston; five boarded flight AA77 that departed from Dulles Airport, Washington, D.C.; and four boarded flight UA93 that departed from Newark International Airport. These four terrorist teams, each led by a trained pilot, hijacked the aircraft in mid-air with knives, removed the pilots of the aircraft from their seats and flew the aircraft into buildings, killing themselves, the passengers and the crew. They flew the aircraft designated as flight AA11 into the North Tower, flight UA175 into the South Tower, flight AA77 into the Pentagon and attempted to crash flight UA93 into the White House but did not succeed to carry out their plan due to the uprising of the passengers. That aircraft then crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The hijackers were swiftly identified as having links to al-Qa’ida. Osama bin Laden later admitted to have personally selected them for these specific attacks.
Public authorities are, despite thorough investigations, sometimes unable to identify perpetrators or determine the circumstances of a crime. In the case of 9/11, U.S. authorities swiftly named the suspects,53 designated the tools of the crime as the aircraft assigned to flights AA11, AA77, UA175 , and UA93, and presented a detailed narrative of the circumstances surrounding the events. Due to the traumatic nature of the events, few noticed at the time the absence of hard evidence in support of these allegations. Even as the U.S. went to war against Afghanistan, the U.S. government failed to provide hard evidence to the United Nations which would link that country to the events of 9/11. In its letter to the Security Council, John D. Negroponte, the representative of the United States wrote: “[M]y Government has obtained clear and compelling information that the Al-Qaeda organization, which is supported by the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, had a central role in the attacks. There is still much we do not know. Our inquiry is in its early stages. We may find that our self-defense requires further actions with respect to other organizations and other States.”54 In a confidential wire sent by the State Department on October 1, 2001 to all U.S. embassies around the world, embassy officials were informed that “the United States is not obliged in any way to make any kind of showing as a prerequisite or precondition to the exercise of its right of self-defense under Article 51 of the U.N. Charter, whether now or in the future”.55 As these lines are being written in late 2012, the United States has failed to produce evidence linking Afghanistan to the events of 9/11.
7. No urgency to investigate
On 12 September 2001 U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft announced in a press conference that the Department of Justice “has undertaken perhaps the most massive and intensive investigation ever conducted in this country.”56 Yet, while making this announcement, he paradoxically added that the investigation was not an FBI priority. The Washington Post described Ashcroft’s caveat as follows:
FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III began to describe the investigation underway to identify those responsible for hijacking the four airplanes the day before. Mueller said it was essential not to taint any evidence gathered so that if accomplices were arrested, they could be convicted. But Attorney General John D. Ashcroft interrupted him. Let’s stop the discussion right here, he said. The chief mission of U.S. law enforcement, he added, is to stop another attack and apprehend any accomplices or terrorists before they hit us again. If we can’t bring them to trial, so be it.57
While Ashcroft and Mueller held their press conference, Press Secretary Ari Fleischer held a press gaggle at the White House, during which he declared that the risks of another attack were “significantly reduced”. He explained to the baffled attendance – citing unidentified intelligence sources – that “the perpetrators have executed their plan”.58 Fleischer’s statement, implying that the White House knew the planned scope of the attacks, was included in an Associated Press news report and reported in some media outlets59 but the transcript of this press gaggle, originally found on the website of the Department of State,58 is, for unknown reasons, not posted on the White House’s website.
As if Ashcroft’s statement of 12 September was not sufficiently clear, on 9 October 2001 – merely four weeks after the events – the New York Times revealed that John Ashcroft and Robert Mueller had actually “ordered [FBI] agents to drop their investigation of the attacks or any other assignment any time they learn of a threat or lead that might suggest a future attack.” A law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said to the paper: “The investigative staff has to be made to understand that we’re not trying to solve a crime now.”60 Note that FBI agents were not asked to drop their 9/11 investigation only when a genuine and grave threat existed, but when they learn of any threat or lead that might suggest a future attack. Indeed, a new threat came soon to replace 9/11 in the minds of many Americans.
On 18 September 2001, letters laced with deadly anthrax began appearing in the U.S. mail. Five Americans were killed and 17 were sickened in what became the worst biological attacks in U.S. history.61 This campaign prompted the FBI to start a new investigation, dubbed Amerithrax, designated by the FBI as “one of the largest and most complex in the history of law enforcement.”61 The FBI downplayed the fact that the unidentified mailer had included in the mailing the messages “Death to America”, “Death to Israel” and ”Allah is Great”.62 After initially toying with the temptation to attribute the mailings to Iraq, U.S. authorities finally admitted that the anthrax originated from a unique pool of spore preparations maintained at U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, Maryland.63 Initially a scientist by the name of Dr. Hatfill was maligned as the main suspect for these mailings. Eventually a certain Dr. Bruce Ivins, who was about to be charged for mailing these anthrax samples, was said to have committed suicide.64 His alleged suicide relieved the U.S. authorities from the burden to prove his guilt and reveal his motives and accomplices. The anthrax story then disappeared from the news.
Interest in the 9/11 investigation disappeared. Americans focussed on the war. While Osama bin Laden was on everyone’s lips on 9/11, he soon disappeared from presidential speeches. In March 2002, President Bush, asked by a journalist why he rarely mentions Osama bin Laden, answered: “Who knows if he’s hiding in some cave or not; we haven’t heard from him in a long time… You know, I just don’t spend that much time on him, Kelly, to be honest with you.”65 In 2006 the FBI admitted that the agency has no hard evidence connecting Osama bin Laden to 9/11.66
8. Omitted investigations
We begin by listing some investigations that should have been, but were not, carried out.
8.1 No aircraft crash investigation
Mary Schiavo, former Assistant Secretary of Labor and former Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Transportation, highlighted in her testimony before the 9/11 Commission the failure of conducting an investigation of the aircraft crashes that occurred on 9/11:
In every other aviation disaster, including those precipitated by terrorism or aviation crimes or piracy, the National Transportation Safety Board [NTSB] examined the tragedy and issued technical, operational and policy recommendations to our government, the airlines, airports, and others. The NTSB does this to enable us to correct the lapses that permitted the tragedy to occur. (…) No such NTSB investigation occurred nor is forthcoming to examine the 9/11 crashes.67
The NTSB explains on its website why it did not conduct an aircraft crash investigation regarding 9/11:
The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 are under the jurisdiction of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Safety Board provided requested technical assistance to the FBI, and this material generated by the NTSB is under the control of the FBI. The Safety Board does not plan to issue a report or open a public docket.68
Two years before 9/11, the Statutory Code of the NTSB was amended by an Act of Congress, which empowered the Attorney General to shift investigative priority from the NTSB to the FBI when an aircraft crash is suspected to have been caused by an intentional criminal act.69 The FBI, contrary to the NTSB, does not hold public hearings, is not required by statute to conduct investigations, and is not obliged to publish reports on its investigations.
8.2 No investigation of air defence failures
According to the official account, four large passenger aircraft, allegedly hijacked on the morning of 9/11, deviated from their planned flight paths,70 switched off their transponders (thus concealing their identities and altitudes from air traffic control)71 and flew unobserved for varying durations without being intercepted by air defences.72 The explanation provided by the authorities for this failure was that that the multiple hijackings had confused air defences. Yet interceptions of deviating aircraft had been a routine procedure. In the year 2000 this routine was carried out 129 times without hitch.73 Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld confirmed to the Senate Committee on Armed Services in 2004 that the Department of Defense did not conduct an “after-action review” regarding the apparent failure to intercept the allegedly hijacked aircraft.74
Part of the confusion derived undoubtedly from the fact that air traffic controllers had to contend with far more than four suspected hijackings on the morning of 9/11. According to the 9/11 Commission, there were “multiple erroneous reports of hijacked aircraft in the system” over the course of the morning of 9/11.75 According to the Daily Telegraph, “as many as nine aircraft may have been part of the original plot”.75
NORAD Major General Larry Arnold declared that, on the morning of 9/11, a total of 21 planes had been identified as possible hijackings.76 He reiterated this statement later in an interview with the 9/11 Commission, which did not mention it in its Final Report.77 Colonel Robert Marr, the NEADS battle commander, said he was informed that “across the nation there were some 29 different reports of hijackings.”78 Apart from the four aircraft designated as the “death flights”—AA11, AA77, UA175 and UA93— the following flight numbers were reported as suspected hijackings at some point during September 11, 2001: AAL2247, USA41, DAL89, DAL1989, NWA197, UAL641, UAL57, USA633,79 UAL163,80 UAL177,81 Continental 321,82 AA189,83 and KAL85.84 This list is far from exhaustive. In at least three cases (flights Continental 321, KAL85 and USA930 [or USA937]), the suspected aircraft emitted a hijacking code, for which no explanation was given. No interviews of the pilots of these flights could be found and their identities are suppressed.
There was a good reason for the above confusion, although this was not reported at the time: On the morning of 9/11, the U.S. Military scheduled multiple war games (or exercises, or drills) in the very air space where the actual crashes took place. At least one of these exercises included a live-fly hijacking exercise.85 The Final Report of the 9/11 Commission mentions such an exercise in passing, in connection with a notification received by NEADS at 8:37:52, saying that flight AA11 “had been hijacked”. The following conversation is quoted by the Commission:
FAA: Hi. Boston Center TMU (Traffic Management Unit), we have a problem here. We have a hijacked aircraft headed towards New York, and we need you guys to, we need someone to scramble some F-16s or something up there, help us out.
NEADS: Is this real-world or exercise?
FAA: No, this is not an exercise, not a test.86
As part of these exercises, electronic blips representing simulated hijacked aircraft appeared on the radars of air traffic controllers, leading them to wonder whether the blips they saw moving on their screens belonged to phantom aircraft, real aircraft participating in the exercises or ordinary commercial aircraft. Similar exercises had been conducted just days prior to 9/11, all working with the scenario of terrorists hijacking a London to New York flight with plans to detonate explosives over New York.86
Upon receiving notification from Boston regarding the possible hijacking of flight AA11 NEADS commander Col. Robert Marr asked if the notification was part of the exercise. Lt. Col. Dawne Deskins also received word of the possible hijacking from Boston. She, too, initially assumed it must be part of the exercise. Thinking the reported hijacking was part of the exercise, Major Kevin Nasypany reportedly said, “[t]he hijack’s not supposed to be for another hour.”87 Even Major General Arnold said later that, when he first heard of the hijacking, his first thought was to ask, “Is this part of the exercise?”88
Upon observing his personnel reacting to the news of the hijacking, Col. Marr reportedly thought the day’s exercise was “kicking off with a lively, unexpected twist.” Even after a colleague informed him of the situation – “real life, not part of the exercise” – he continued to believe his colleague was playing a part in the exercise by attempting to mislead him. Marr said he thought that “this is an interesting start to the exercise. This ‘real-world’ mixed in with today’s simex [simulated exercise] will keep [my staff members] on their toes.”89 The expression “real-world exercises”, is actually a military expression referring to exercises using real objects, weapons and people, as distinct from table-top, office, exercises. It does not refer to genuine attacks.90 Even more surprising is that inside the command centre at NEADS, “there was no sense that the attack was over with the crash of United 93; instead, the alarms go on and on. False reports of hijackings… continue well into the afternoon.” No explanation has been given for these continuing alarms.
No investigation was carried out to determine the relationship between these multiple “real-world” hijacking exercises and the deadly events. None of the following questions were asked by media or addressed by the 9/11 Commission: Who coordinated the exercises? What were the scenarios on 9/11? Which airlines and which aircraft participated in the hijacking exercises? Who played the role of hijacked passengers in these exercises?
8.3 No investigation of WTC pulverisation
Of approximately 2,700 people who died at the World Trade Center, no trace has been found of more than 1,100 victims, “not even a fragment of bone”.91 The mother of Michael Ragusa, a victim at Ground Zero, could not fathom that there is “no trace of so many people. It can’t happen that way… People don’t just disappear.”92
According to Dr. Charles Hirsch, the Chief Medical Examiner of New York City, many bodies had been “vaporized” and were beyond identification.93 Ellen Borakove, his spokesperson, said he meant that bodies were consumed by blazing fuel from the two crashed airliners, or “rendered into dust” when the skyscrapers collapsed.93 Dr. Hirsch refused to comment upon that statement. He later offered an explanation that left much unsaid: “[I]f reinforced concrete was rendered into dust, then it wasn’t much of a mystery as to what would happen to people.”94
Virtually all non-metallic parts of the towers and their contents were converted to microscopic dust particles or small unrecognisable fragments. According to the Scientific American,
[t]he collapse of the Twin Towers pulverized and then scattered into the air millions of tons of cement, steel, drywall, window glass and other building materials. It also crushed and incinerated95 thousands of computers as well as mile after mile of items such as electrical cable and heating and cooling ducts. Finally, the dust contained the remains of the 2,753 people killed in the attack,96 along with the hair and skin cells shed by those who worked in the World Trade Center over the decades.97
Eyewitnesses indeed expressed their surprise that they did not observe in the rubble of the WTC evidence of file cabinets, desks, chairs, telephones, office furniture and even glass that filled the buildings.98 Each of the Twin Towers had a total of eight electrical substations and each substation had four air-cooled transformers.99 Nothing was ever found of this equipment in the WTC rubble.
The pulverisation of the buildings was so immense and widespread that according to the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), 20,000-30,000 residences in Lower Manhattan were still in 2003 eligible to have private contractors hired by New York City clean all hard surfaces, rugs, carpets, curtains, drapes, upholstered furnishings, air conditioner units, exterior balconies and terraces, exterior window ledges and window guards. By January 2003 only 6,700 had been cleaned.100
While the dust particles may contain the key for determining the proximate cause of death of 1,100 human beings, no investigation was carried out to find out what energy source could have caused the massive, total and instantaneous pulverisation of the Twin Towers101 and their contents into such microscopic dust.102
9. Inadequate investigations
Some investigations or inquiries regarding 9/11 were conducted and funded by the U.S. authorities. Only those which purported to examine the actual events of 9/11 will be considered here.103 The 9/11 Commission’s investigative records are meanwhile stored at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. (NARA), but the majority of these records are still sealed.104 Those released are not easily accessible online but have been posted in an accessible form on a private website. They will be mentioned in this study by their folder (Team and Box number).105
9.1 FBI’s criminal investigation (PENTTBOM)
When federal crimes occur, such as on 9/11, the main investigative entity in the United States is the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Notwithstanding the low priority assigned to the investigation, as mentioned earlier, the FBI took upon itself to investigate the events of 9/11 as a crime and dubbed its investigation PENTTBOM. The precise mandate given to FBI supervisors and agents for their investigation is not known.
9.1.1 The lack of FBI independence
Organisationally, the FBI reports to both the attorney general and the director of national intelligence. FBI’s Director since 9/11 has been Robert S. Mueller, III, who was appointed by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the Senate. The FBI is, therefore, constitutionally, part and parcel of the executive branch. To the extent that elements of the U.S. executive branch were suspected to be involved in the crime of 9/11, the FBI could not act as an independent investigator. Reasons to consider the U.S. government as one of the suspects arose early on for numerous reasons, such as the unusual speed of “identifying the perpetrators”, drafting and adopting the PATRIOT Act, initiating a global “war on terrorism”, attacking Afghanistan, and opposing an investigation of the crime. Such suspicions grew with time. According to a July 2006 poll conducted by Scripps News Service, no less than one-third of Americans suspected that the Bush administration either facilitated the 9/11 attacks or allowed them to happen in order to provide a pretext for wars in the Middle East.106 In the light of such extensive suspicions of the Bush administration, an independent investigation of 9/11 could not have been adequately conducted by an agency dependent on the U.S. government.
9.1.2 The lack of transparency
On 18 April 2002, the FBI invited victims’ families to listen to the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) from Flight UA93. The recording was supposed to contain the voices of the alleged hijackers after they took over the control of the aircraft, as well as voices of crew members. Department of Justice prosecutors “exhorted families not to describe the tapes’ contents because they will be played as evidence in the terrorism conspiracy trial of Zacarias Moussaoui.”107 FBI agents “asked the relatives to surrender all cell phones, palm pilots and pagers to prevent the recording of any of the day’s proceedings.”107 After the session, the family members left “under the escort of New Jersey state troopers and federal agents, who walked them to their cars and shielded them from reporters.”107 The CVR recording was played during the Moussaoui trial at the specific request of the prosecution in order to emotionally affect the jury.108 The trial judge decided, upon the request of an unidentified family member, to reseal the recording after it was played. While an alleged transcript of this CVR recording was released by the U.S. authorities, the recording itself was not released. It is, therefore, not possible to verify the authenticity of the transcript.
In 2004, the FBI agreed to play recordings of some phone calls from the aircraft to victims’ families. They had to “sign nondisclosure agreements and were not permitted to take notes. Civil attorneys and the media were barred. FBI agents filled the halls of the hotel [where the presentation took place] and took any camera or recording equipment before people were admitted to the (presentation). Those who left the three-and-a-half-hour session to relieve themselves were accompanied into rest rooms by agents.”109
According to published accounts, the FBI possesses recordings of phone calls made from the aircraft by five callers.109 The only recordings released to the public were four minutes of a lengthy phone call reportedly made by flight attendant Betty Ong from flight AA11110 and a short phone call by flight attendant CeeCee Lyles.111
Until the year 2006, the FBI refused to release video evidence in its possession that would document flight AA77 impacting on the Pentagon. At first the FBI claimed that it did not possess such documents. Later the Department of Justice admitted it did possess such documents but refused to release them, claiming that this “could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings”112 On 16 May, 2006, the Pentagon released two videos that American media described as “the first video images of American Airlines Flight 77 crashing into the Pentagon.” It is, with the best will, impossible to distinguish an aircraft from this video, let alone to identify it. The Pentagon still refuses to release 83 other videos from security cameras surrounding the building.113
The FBI appears to pursue a policy of denying systematically Freedom of Information (FOIA) requests for 9/11-related documents, even those which have been released previously. For example, on 16 April 2012, the FBI denied FOIA requests for copies of documents 302-1880 and 302-3005, which are already publicly available from the National Archives (NARA),114 claiming that their release “could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings.” FBI’s denial was affirmed on appeal by the Office of Information Policy of the Department of Justice and signed by Janice Galli McLeod, Associated Director and Anne D. Work, Senior Counsel.114
Whereas the FBI failed to issue a public a report describing PENTTBOM,115 mass media demonstrated a surprising lack of interest in the investigation. Only a single report on PENTTBOM was published by a major media, and this was in 2004.116 The following paragraph is all what the FBI has released to the public about the investigation it had designated as the largest in the agency’s history:
Our… investigation of the attacks of 9/11 – code-named “PENTTBOM” – was our largest investigation ever. At the peak of the case, more than half our agents worked to identify the hijackers and their sponsors and, with other agencies, to head off any possible future attacks. We followed more than half-a-million investigative leads, including several hundred thousand tips from the public. The attack and crash sites also represented the largest crime scenes in FBI history.117
9.1.3 No prosecutions
One of the goals of an effective investigation is to identify those responsible for a gross violation of human rights and bring them to trial. According to the CIA, its “officers worked with foreign intelligence services to detain more than 2,900 al-Qa’ida operatives and associates in over 90 countries” in the aftermath of 9/11.118 Yet as of this writing, not a single “al-Qa’ida operative”, or anyone else for that matter, has been prosecuted, anywhere, for organising or participating in the mass killings of 9/11. The striking paucity of 9/11 prosecutions was duly noted by prominent lawyer Helen Duffy.119
The only person convicted in the United States in relation to the events of 9/11 is a mentally disturbed French national by the name of Zacarias Moussaoui. Although he was not accused to have participated in planning, organising, funding or facilitating 9/11, and although he helped relieve the U.S. government from the burden to prove its 9/11 account by stipulating the truthfulness of this account, he was thanked for his help by being sentenced to life imprisonment without parole.120
9.2 The first investigation of the WTC demise (FEMA-BPAT)
On 12 September 2001, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its contractor, Greenhorne and O’Mara, Inc., established a Building Performance Assessment Team (BPAT) to conduct a formal analysis of what they predetermined as the “progressive collapses” of the buildings.121 The involvement of FEMA in this investigation was not self-evident. The traditional mission of the agency was to help “State and local governments… alleviate the suffering and damage which result from… disasters.”122 In February 2001, President Bush nominated Joe M. Allbaugh, formerly director of his election campaign and one of his inner circle of advisors, as Director of FEMA.123 After nominating his friend Allbaugh to head FEMA, President Bush announced that FEMA would expand its responsibility to include government response to terrorist attacks.124 In the wake of the 9/11 events, Allbaugh appointed Dr. W. Gene Corley of Construction Technologies Laboratories to head the BPAT team.125 Dr. Corley had previously served as the principal investigator of the bombing of the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City,125 another criminal event still marred by unanswered questions and suspicions of an official cover-up.126
The deployment of the FEMA-BPAT team was delayed for three weeks, during which a “significant amount of steel debris – including most of the steel from the upper floors – was removed from the rubble pile, cut into small sections, and either melted at the recycling plant or shipped out of the U.S.”127 According to some members of the team, they had been “prevented… from interviewing witnesses, examining the disaster site and requesting crucial information such as recorded distress calls to the police and fire departments.”128 Members of the team were also threatened with dismissal if they spoke to the press.128
The final report of the FEMA-BPAT investigation was released in May 2002.129 Bill Manning, chief editor of Fire Engineering, called the FEMA-BPAT investigation “a half-baked farce that may already have been commandeered by political forces whose primary interests, to put it mildly, lie far afield of full disclosure.”130
The FEMA-BPAT investigation left many questions regarding the demise of the buildings unanswered, and ignored most signs of the use of explosives. It started with a predetermined conclusion, namely that the buildings underwent a “progressive collapse” and fit its findings to that conclusion.
9.3 The second investigation of the WTC demise (NIST)
A thorough investigation of the demise of the World Trade Center buildings was called for because of two distinct reasons:
(a) In view of the criminal nature of the events, it was necessary to establish what led to the deaths of approximately 2,700 people, and most particularly the complete disappearance of approximately 1,100 people.
(b) Due to the unprecedented demise of high-rise steel-reinforced buildings, it was extremely important for the structural engineering community to determine what caused the structural failure on a single day of three such buildings, including one that was not hit by an aircraft (WTC no. 7).
NIST (The National Institute of Standards and Technology) was founded in 1901, as a federal agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce.131 NIST directors are presidential nominees. NIST is no academic institution but part and parcel of the Executive Branch of the U.S. government, involved even in national security issues.132
On August 21, 2002, NIST announced the initiation of its building and fire safety investigation of the World Trade Center (WTC) disaster. This investigation was then conducted under the authority of the National Construction Safety Team (NCST) Act, which was signed into law on October 1, 2002.133
While the investigation by NIST was funded by the Government and was promoted as a scientific effort, no part of any report resulting from NIST’s investigation was to be admitted as evidence or used in any suit or action for damages. Additionally, NIST employees involved with these investigations were not permitted to serve as expert witnesses.134
A draft summary report of the NIST investigation into the demise of the Twin Towers was released on June 23, 2005. Dr. Hratch Semerjian, Acting Director of NIST, presenting this report, characterised NIST’s investigation as “thorough, open, independent.”135
According to the official account, as presented in the Final Reports of the Federal Building and Fire Investigation of the World Trade Center Disaster conducted by NIST,136 the Twin Towers collapsed due to structural failure caused by the fires and the damage from the aircraft’s impact. The $16 million study by NIST, released in September 2005, represents the official position of the U.S. government regarding the demise of the Twin Towers.
Because NIST was not an independent body, but an agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, its official findings had to be approved by a Presidential appointee.
NIST’s investigation was relatively transparent because it invited public comments to its draft reports and published voluminous findings of its investigation. However, not everyone viewed NIST’s investigation as transparent. Sally Regenhard, Chairperson of Skyscraper Safety Campaign, a Project of Parents and Families of Firefighters and WTC Victims,137 said in her Statement to the House Committee on Science in 2005:
The relative secrecy of the [NIST] investigation, and the withholding of all materials and documents used by NIST to arrive at the study’s conclusions is very disturbing. These materials should be made available to professionals for further study and analysis, to question and/or duplicate the findings, according to the scientific method, and should not be locked away in the National Archives or anywhere else.138
Was NIST’s investigation thorough?
The scope of NIST’s investigation was limited to the circumstances leading to the buildings’ demise. What occurred during the demise remained outside the scope of NIST’s investigation. This was by no means an oversight. The Draft Report published in June 2005 explicitly says that the report “covers the characterization of the conditions of the WTC towers before the attacks, their weakening due to the aircraft impacts, the response of the structural systems to the subsequent growth and spread of fires, and the progression of local failures that led ultimately to the total collapse of both towers.”139 NIST’s report does not, therefore, contain an examination of the actual demise, let alone the puzzling observations and testimonies that accompanied that demise, described as collapse. Already in this respect, NIST’s investigation must fail the test of thoroughness.
Jim Hoffman, who compared the Draft Report and the Final Report of NIST, provides a fine-grained analysis of NIST’s deceptive efforts. In a section of his study entitled ‘Circumscribing the Investigation’ he wrote: “The Report explicitly limits its scope to the time between the jet impact and the start of the collapse of each Tower… The extent of NIST’s explanation for the totality of the collapses and their many demolition-like features is simply that the total collapse was ‘inevitable’ once a collapse event was ‘initiated’.”140
Hoffman points out that the main difference between the Draft and the Final Report “is the addition in the Final Report of Section 6.14.4, Events Following Collapse Initiation, which consists of five paragraphs filling half a page.” In order to explain why it did not investigate the actual ‘collapse’, the Final Report explains: “Since the stories below the level of collapse initiation provided little resistance to the tremendous energy released by the falling building mass, the building section above came down essentially in free fall, as seen in videos. As the stories below sequentially failed, the falling mass increases, further increasing the demand of the floors below, which were unable to arrest the moving mass.”141
Leaving readers wondering how NIST came to the above conclusion, let alone whether such an explanation is compatible with the laws of physics, let us examine how NIST addressed the following facts, observed by numerous witnesses, that strongly indicate the use of explosives to demolish the buildings:
1. Witnesses reported that ground shaking preceded the demise of the towers;142
2. Observers, including television news anchors, reported that the demise visually resembled to controlled demolitions;143
3. The demise of the towers started suddenly rather than after gradual sagging144
4. More than 120 firefighters and first responders testified to have heard, seen or experienced multiple explosions that preceded and accompanied the demise of the Twin Towers145)
5. Large parts of the Twin Towers and their human contents turned instantaneously into dust in mid-air (what has been referred to as ‘pulverisation’);146
6. Heavy steel beams were ejected forcefully and horizontally from the Twin Towers;147
7. The Twin Towers and WTC no. 7 disintegrated symmetrically;148
8. WTC no. 7 fell at virtually free-fall speed;149
9. Pools of molten steel were discovered below Ground Zero and remained very hot for weeks;150
10. Unreacted thermitic material incorporating nanotechnology was discovered in the WTC dust.151
NIST investigators (and before them FEMA-BMAT) did not deny the above facts. They simply ignored them.
NIST’s ignorance of the above 10 characteristics of a controlled demolition proves that its investigation was neither professional nor thorough.152 Such ignorance constituted, in fact, a misprision of felony, i.e. the concealment of a felony committed by others. Misprision of felony is a federal offence punishable by a fine or imprisonment up to three years.153 NIST’s unprofessional investigation has prompted the establishment of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, an international organisation, that has meanwhile got more than 1,700 professional members.154 The mission of the organisation is “to research, compile, and disseminate scientific evidence relative to the destruction of the three World Trade Center skyscrapers, calling for a truly open and independent investigation and supporting others in the pursuit of justice.”154 No aspect of the 9/11 official account challenges professional expertise and physical law as much as the official explanation for the demise of the Twin Towers and WTC no. 7. According to a new study, it emerged that the International Code Council (ICC)’s International Building Code (IBC), did not adopt building code changes to increase structural resistance as a result of the demise of the WTC buildings and NIST’s findings.155 It clearly did not take seriously the findings of NIST regarding the demise of the World Trade Center.
9.4 The investigation by the 9/11 Commission
9.4.1 Government opposition to a public investigation
While public inquiries into past national calamities, such as the attack on Pearl Harbor, the sinking of the Titanic, the assassination of President Kennedy and the explosion of the Shuttle Challenger, were established within less than 10 days,156 the U.S. government opposed for more than a year a public inquiry of 9/11, or in today’s terminology, a Truth Commission.
On the first anniversary of 9/11, Jim Dwyer of the New York Times highlighted the difference between the reactions of the respective governments to 9/11 and to the sinking of the Titanic:
[F]indings on the sinking of the Titanic entered the public record after the Carpathia docked at the Chelsea piers in Manhattan on April 18, 1912, with the 705 survivors plucked from the North Atlantic. Starting the next morning at the Waldorf-Astoria, the barely dry witnesses provided a rich body of facts about the accident, the Titanic, and maritime practices to the United States Senate Commerce Committee, which held 18 days of hearing (…). No inquiry remotely similar in scope, energy or transparency has examined the attacks of last Sept. 11 … A handful of tightly focused reviews have taken place mostly in secret, conducted by private consultants, or by Congressional committees. One year later, the public knows less about the circumstances of 2,801 deaths at the foot of Manhattan in broad daylight than people in 1912 knew within weeks about the Titanic, which sank in the middle of an ocean in the dead of night.157
Patrick Martin of the World Socialist Web Site noted that “[d]espite its public show of sympathy for the victims and their families, the Bush administration is denying them what is their most basic right: a thorough investigation into the causes of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and the circumstances in which they took place… This official stonewalling is the most staggering fact about September 11, one largely ignored by the American media.”158 He added that “there is no innocent explanation for the Bush administration’s [refusal of a public inquiry]. There are no national security secrets to protect about the details of the hijackings… Bush, Cheney & Co. conduct themselves like men with something to hide. Their methods of cover-up and provocation indicate a consciousness of guilt and fear of exposure.”158 These words were written in 2002.
According to Philip Shenon, whose book The Commission was reviewed in the New York Times in 2008, Dick Cheney called Tom Daschle, then the Senate majority leader, in January 2002 to warn him that a proper investigation of 9/11 would be a “very dangerous and time-consuming diversion for those of us who are on the front lines of our response today.”159
9.4.2 The establishment of a sham investigation
Due to pressure by victims’ families, supported by media and some members of Congress, President Bush relented and grudgingly permitted the establishment of a National Commission of Inquiry. On 15 November 2002 the U.S. Congress established the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, whose mandate was to “examine and report on the facts and causes relating to the September 11th terrorist attacks” and “make a full and complete accounting of the circumstances surrounding the attacks.”160 By its very title – “Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States” – the Commission’s work was to predicate upon the theory of a foreign attack.
In order to limit the Commission’s resources, it was initially accorded $3 million,161 a derisory sum in comparison with the $40 million price tag of the Kenneth Starr investigation into President Clinton’s relation with Monica Lewinsky162 or the $112 million spent by NASA to investigate the Columbia space shuttle tragedy in which seven people died.163 When asked for an additional $8 million for the 9/11 Commission’s work, President Bush initially refused the request.164
Under its mandate, drafted by Congress, the Commission were asked to “ascertain… facts and circumstances surrounding the attacks” developed by other agencies (paragraph 2 of Section 602), while at the same time “build[ing] upon the investigations of other entities”, such as the FBI, CIA, NSA, NTSB, FAA, NORAD, and “avoid unnecessary duplication” (paragraph 3). By this little noted device, the Commission could later justify its reliance on these agencies’ findings and avoid verifying their findings.
9.4.3 The 9/11 Commission’s lack of independence
Most members of the 9/11 Commission had a conflict of interest.165 The Commission’s Executive Director, Philip D. Zelikow, appointed by President Bush, had huge conflicts of interest that prompted the Family Steering Committee (a group of victims’ families) to repeatedly demand his removal.166 He managed the Commission’s staff, decided whom to interview and served as a gate-keeper between his staff and the Commissioners.167
Commissioner Tim Roemer discovered by chance that Zelikow had made a secret agreement with the Department of Justice to cut Commissioners’ access to documents from the Joint Congressional Inquiry168 until the White House was able to review them. Roemer was reportedly furious and asked: “Why is our executive director making secret deals with the Justice Department and the White House? He is supposed to work for us.”169
According to another secret agreement between the Zelikow and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the Commission was required to advise DOJ in case it intends to interview individuals who appear on a list provided by the Government.170 The list, published as Annex X to the agreement, included persons who received phone communications from any passenger during the alleged hijacking of flights AA11, UA175, AA77, UA93; family members of victims of 9/11; a select group of crime scene witnesses, whose choice is not explained; medical examiners who worked on 9/11 victims/matters; American Airlines personnel who worked at Dulles [Airport] on 9/11 (but not AA personnel who worked at Logan Airport); instructors, owners, students, or employees of more than a dozen flight schools, who had contact with any of the hijackers; family members of Ziad Jarrah (but not of Mohamed Atta); [m]embers of the Islamic community in Hamburg, Germany, who had contact with Atta, al-Shehhi, Jarrah, Binalshibh, Essabar, Bahaji, El-Motassadeq; and many others. It was not explained why the Commission had to inform the Government about its intention to interview these particular individuals.
9.4.4 The 9/11 Commission’s partiality
As mentioned earlier, the very title of the Commission manifested its predetermined conclusion that the conspiracy of 9/11 originated outside the United States. By March 2003, before the Commission began its actual work, Executive Director Zelikow and his former professor Ernest May had already prepared a detailed outline of the final report, complete with chapter headings, subheadings, and sub-subheadings.171 Zelikow showed this outline to Chairman Kean and Vice-Chairman Hamilton, who were “worried that the outline would be seen as evidence that they – and Zelikow – had predetermined the report’s outcome.”171 May said that he and Zelikow agreed that the outline should be “treated as if it were the most classified document the commission possessed.”172 As summed by Prof. David Ray Griffin, the work of the 9/11 Commission began with “Kean and Hamilton conspiring with Zelikow and May to conceal from the [Commission’s] staff members… that their investigative work would largely be limited to filling in the details of [predetermined] conclusions.”173
9.4.5 The 9/11 Commission’s lack of thoroughness
A brief review below presents evidence that the 9/11 Commission did not conduct a thorough investigation and did not even intend to do so.
Several categories of persons were not invited to testify before the Commission. These include witnesses to a second, mysterious, aircraft above the crash site in Pennsylvania; witnesses who had reported explosions and other indications of a controlled demolition prior or during the demise of the Twin Towers; air traffic controllers confused by the military exercises on the morning of 9/11; individuals who met the alleged terrorist Mohamed Atta at various locations in the United States; airline employees who witnessed the boardings of the four aircraft; FBI officials responsible for the crash sites; personnel responsible for security at the World Trade Center; and many other eyewitnesses who possessed knowledge that would have undermined the official account.
According to the guidelines included in the “Minnesota Protocol,”174 a commission of inquiry established to investigate gross human rights violations “shall assess all information and evidence it receives to determine its relevance, veracity, reliability and probity.”175 In the case at hand, the Commission should have objectively determined the relevance, veracity, reliability and probity of allegations and findings presented by the various government agencies.
The 9/11 Commission, instead, relied heavily, as can be gauged from its Final Report, on irrelevant, unreliable and unverifiable information provided by the CIA, the FBI, the FAA and the Military. The Commission acknowledges that its “access to [al-Qa’ida detainees] has been limited to the review of intelligence reports based on communications received from the locations where the actual interrogations take place.” The Commission wrote that it “submitted questions for use in the interrogations, but had no control over whether, when, or how questions of particular interest would be asked.” Commission members were “[not] allowed to talk to the interrogators… to better judge the credibility of the detainees and clarify ambiguities in the reporting.”176 It appears that the 9/11 Commission engaged in good faith efforts to obtain access to the detainees and met stiff resistance by the government.177 Ultimately, however, entire chapters in the Final Report were based on these dubious sources.
The Commission did not verify FBI claims regarding the identification of the alleged hijackers of 9/11; neither did it request or obtain authenticated passenger lists or other documents that would have proven the identities of the alleged hijackers. This led, for example, to the claim by the Commission that Waleed Al-Shehri, one of the alleged hijackers, had stabbed a flight attendant aboard flight AA11 before dying in the crash.178 Yet Al-Shehri was kicking and alive in Morocco after 9/11, surprised to be designated as a terrorist.179 This was by no means a case of a simple mix-up: Al-Shehri acknowledged that he attended flight training school at Daytona Beach in the United States, and was indeed the same Waleed Al-Shehri to whom the FBI has been referring.179 He was actually not the only alleged hijacker who emerged alive after 9/11 in another country, and claimed no connection to the crime. The numerous press reports about these “living suicide hijackers” were not acknowledged or verified by the Commission.
The Commission also didn’t seek forensic evidence about the identities of the crashed aircraft. The Commission thus took on faith FBI claims that debris found at the alleged crash sites belonged to aircraft assigned to flights AA11, AA77, UA175 and UA93. It transpired later, thanks to a civil action instituted by Aidan Monaghan, a concerned citizen, at the Nevada District U.S. Court, that the FBI did not at all conduct a forensic identification of the wreckage. Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick A. Rose, representing the FBI, attempted to justify this omission by claiming in a written submission to the court: “The identities of the airplanes hijacked in the September 11 attacks was (sic) never in question.”180 Apart from the falsity of this statement181 and the admission that the FBI did not consider itself bound to formally identify the tools of a mass-murder, this incredible failure by the FBI was not reported to and by the 9/11 Commission, nor by U.S. media, leaving the public believing that such identification had certainly taken place.182
In a book specifically analysing the Final Report of the 9/11 Commission, Prof. David Ray Griffin lists over 100 relevant facts omitted from that report, because their inclusion would have prompted doubts about the official account on 9/11.183 As for the thoroughness of the 9/11 Commission’s work, he wrote with subtle irony: “The report’s lack of thoroughness is, in fact, one of its outstanding characteristics.”184 I must concur.
9.5 Ineffective investigation: The perpetrators were not identified
The U.S. government has officially accused the following nineteen individuals as being the perpetrators of the mass killings of 9/11 (flight numbers in parentheses): Satam M.A. Al Suqami, Waleed M. Alhehri, Wail M. Alshehri, Mohamed Atta, and Abdulaziz Alomari (AA11); Khalid Almihdhar, Majed Moqed, Nawaf Alhazmi, Salem Alhazmi, and Hani Hanjour (AA77); Marwan Alshehhi, Fayez Rashid Ahmed Hassan Al Qadi Banihammad, Ahmed Alghamdi, Hamza Alghamdi, and Mohand Alshehri (UA175); Saeed Alghamdi, Ahmad Ibrahim A. Al Haznawi, Ahmed Alnami and Ziad Samir Jarrah (UA93).
British and Arab media reported in September 2001 that at least five of the above individuals (Abdulaziz Alomari, Wail al-Shehri, Salem al-Hamzi, Saeed al-Ghamdi and Ahmed al-Nami) were still living.185 FBI Director Robert S. Mueller admitted twice on CNN (20 and 27 September 2001) that there is “no legal proof to prove the identities of the suicidal hijackers”.186 The FBI, however, still maintains on its website the names and photographs of the above 19 individuals as those “believed” to have committed the mass killings, adding for good measure that “attempts to confirm the true identities of these individuals are still under way.”187 While the FBI, as the official voice of the executive branch maintains this ambiguity until today, the 9/11 Commission, purporting to provide “the fullest possible account of the events surrounding 9/11,”188 did not hesitate to present these individuals throughout its Final Report as the definite perpetrators.
Leaving aside whether the four alleged suicide-pilots possessed the motive to kill themselves and the skill to steer large passenger aircraft at 500 miles per hour into buildings,189 there exists no evidence that they and their alleged 15 companions boarded these aircraft in the first place. Here is a brief summary of the absence of such evidence.190
9.5.1 No authenticated passenger lists
It is widely believed that the U.S. authorities have released passenger lists for the four allegedly hijacked flights of 9/11. This belief is mistaken. The U.S. authorities have until now persistently refused, despite numerous appeals, to produce authenticated passenger lists of these flights in order to confirm their allegations. When I asked American Airlines to merely confirm the presence of Arabic names on the passenger list of flight AA77, an official of the airline wrote to me that their names had been redacted, providing no explanation.
9.5.2 No authenticated CCTV
It is widely believed that recordings from security cameras (CCTV) document the presence of alleged hijackers at the respective airports on the morning of 9/11. This belief is based on deception. Two CCTV recordings have been widely shown on television with the intent to convince viewers this evidence exists. One of these recordings shows two men, claimed to represent Mohamed Atta and Abdulaziz Alomari, passing security control at Portland Airport, before they boarded on a connecting flight to Boston from where they allegedly left with flight AA11 on the way to their creator.191 No CCTV exists, however, from Logan Airport in Boston. The video from Portland is grainy and does not permit a positive identification of the men.192 The other CCTV, released by the prosecution in the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, shows several men passing an alleged security checkpoint at Dulles Airport. The 9/11 Commission claimed that this video depicts the hijackers of flight AA77.193 The recording was not released by the government, but by a private law firm. It can be viewed on youtube.com.194 It is not only grainy, but lacks the attributes of an authentic security video, particularly a time stamp and the camera number. Without such data, a security video has no probative value. It is, therefore, unknown when and where the recording was made.
Airport security manager Ed Nelson of Dulles Airport told authors Susan and Joseph Trento, that shortly after arriving at the airport on the morning of 9/11, FBI agents played to him a security tape from a checkpoint through which they told him that the alleged hijackers had passed before boarding the plane. He expressed his astonishment that the FBI agents could within that short time pick out “the hijackers” on the security tape from hundreds of others passengers. He said: “So fast. It didn’t make sense to me.”195 The FBI has not allowed any agent to testify on this matter. The 9/11 Commission did not mention the dubious nature of this recording.
9.5.3 No eyewitnesses
Did any airport or airline employee perhaps recall having checked-in or boarded Mohamed Atta or any of the other alleged suicide-pilots? Starting on the very day of the events, FBI interviewed dozens of airport and airline employees. According to the Final Report of the 9/11 Commission, no security personnel at the respective airports recalled to have seen any of the alleged hijackers.196 Surprisingly, the FBI possessed already on the very day of 9/11 photographs of some of the alleged hijackers, as discovered by Ed Nelson at Dulles Airport (mentioned in the previous section) and as revealed to the media by Tony Amos, manager of Shuckum’s bar in Hollywood, Florida, to whom an FBI agent showed on the very day of 9/11197 a photograph of Mohamed Atta.198 One must, therefore, presume that when questioning airline employees, FBI agents would have asked them to identify photographs of suspects that they might have seen. Yet, no employee has testified to have checked-in or boarded any of the alleged suicide-pilots.
9.5.4 No identified bodies
It is widely believed that the alleged hijackers died at the known crash sites. Yet, there is no evidence to support this belief. According to official statements, their bodies were identified by means of exclusion. What does that mean? Chris Kelly, spokesman of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP), where the identification of victims’ remains from flights AA77 and UA93 took place, explained: “The remains that didn’t match any of the samples were ruled to be the terrorists”.199 Somerset County coroner Wallace Miller said that the “death certificates [for the suspected hijackers] will list each as ‘John Doe’”.200 A spokeswoman for the New York Medical Examiner’s Office, where the identification of the WTC victims took place, said that the centre received from the FBI in February 2003(!) “profiles of all 10 hijackers… so their remains could be separated from those of the victims… No names were attached to these profiles.”201 Howard Baum of the New York medical examiner’s forensic unit, told Newsweek in 2009: “We had no idea where the profiles came from or how they were developed.”202
Under a ruling issued on 11 October 2001 by a Somerset County judge, everyone who died aboard flight UA93 “except the terrorists” would get death certificates. At the “insistence of the FBI, the terrorists won’t be getting [death certificates] because investigators aren’t sure of their identities.”203 So!
According to the General Comment drafted by the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances of the U.N. Human Rights Council,
The right to know the truth about the fate and whereabouts includes… the right of the family to have the remains of their loved one returned to them, and to dispose of those remains according to their own tradition, religion or culture. The remains of the person should be clearly and indisputably identified, including through DNA analysis. The State, or any other authority, should not undertake the process of identification of the remains, and should not dispose of those remains, without the full participation of the family and without fully informing the general public of such measures.204
The U.S. authorities, claiming that Muslim hijackers died at the crash sites, failed to invite their families to participate in the identification of their remains,205 failed to “clearly and indisputably identif[y]” their remains and did not return these to the families for burial. It thus failed its international obligations towards the families of these 19 young men, who should be counted among the 9/11 victims.
10. Proactive measures to suppress the truth
In its jurisprudence regarding states’ obligations towards victims of human rights violations, the ECtHR invoked numerous times failures by State parties to conduct adequate or effective investigations. Failures to establish the truth on gross violations of human rights are not, however, limited to acts of omission, such as inadequate investigations. They may also include acts of commission, such as concealing, destroying and planting of evidence, as well as inducing witnesses and victims to keep silent by bribes or intimidation. Examples of such conduct can be observed in the case of 9/11, as reported below.
10.1 Concealing evidence
The U.S. authorities, aware that a substantial proportion of Americans suspect them of covering-up the truth on 9/11, would appear to have an incentive to dispel such suspicions by producing all the evidence they possess to prove their allegations. Yet, despite increasing suspicions, they prefer to conceal evidence from the public (if it exists), including documents which would simply confirm what is already known to the public. Among suppressed records are the original passenger lists of the four flights, video recordings depicting the impact of an aircraft on the Pentagon, documentation of the retrieval of the aircraft wreckage from Shanksville, audio recordings of the cockpit voice recorder from flight UA93, audio recordings of phone calls for which transcripts had been released, and other such documents, the release of which can neither endanger national security or interfere with law-enforcement efforts and privacy.
The determination of the U.S. authorities to conceal these documents suggests that their release would seriously embarrass them or incriminate high officials in various types of criminal conduct. It is, however, equally possible that these documents do not exist at all.
10.2 Destroying evidence
When a crime occurs, it is a legal obligation, including in the United States, to safeguard the crime site. Destruction of criminal evidence raises a presumption of guilt against the person who participated in such destruction. Paul Rea, author of Mounting Evidence, formulates four useful questions when evidence is systematically suppressed or destroyed206 :
• Who is doing this?
• What are they most interested in covering up?
• Why are these areas so sensitive?
• What do these sensitive areas imply about what really went on?
10.2.1 The destruction of the WTC steel
The demise of the Twin Towers remains a unique event in the history of high-rise, steel-reinforced buildings. Such demise never occurred before or after 9/11, even after wider, longer and fiercer fires. In order for structural engineers to understand what caused such demise, it was crucial to preserve the steel beams from the buildings. In addition to this professional interest, the site of the Twin Towers was evidently a crime scene that had to be preserved. An examination of the steel that remained on the site could have helped explain what precisely caused the deaths of over 2,000 people.
Yet, most of the steel from the crime scene was not only swiftly removed from the site, but sold to scrap metal dealers, who shipped it for recycling to China,207 India,208 South Korea,209 Malaysia,210 and reportedly to other destinations. Hugo Neu Corporation, a company dealing with scrap metal, said it handled 250,000 tons of World Trade Center scrap steel and shipped it to 11 countries, including Malaysia, China, South Korea and Japan.210 The company’s general manager, Bob Kelman, said debris from the twin towers was sliced into pieces with industrial guillotines or blow torches and thrown in with other scrap before being shipped.210
Some might argue that removing steel from the site was necessary to facilitate rescue operations. This explanation is, however, not compelling. The steel was also removed from the site of WTC no. 7, which was evacuated seven hours before its collapse.211 The steel from that building was removed, unmarked, and also shipped overseas, leaving not a single beam for a forensic examination of the demise of that building. WTC no. 7, let us recall – a building of 47 floors– was not hit by an aircraft, was not subject to widespread and fierce fires, and yet collapsed at free-fall speed at 5:20 p.m. on 9/11, prompting numerous experts to conclude that it was a classical case of controlled demolition. An examination of the steel beams from that building would have made it possible to verify this hypothesis.
In an attempt to downplay the significance of the removal and destruction of most WTC steel, Gene Corley, mentioned earlier, told the U.S. House of Representatives in 2002, that “there is no indication that having access to each piece of steel from the World Trade Center would make a significant difference to understanding the performance of the structures.”212 Yet, the steel was considered important enough to equip the trucks removing it from the site with GPS locators, at a cost of $1000 apiece, so that the movements of the trucks could be monitored.213
Bill Manning, editor-in-chief of the magazine Fire Engineering, blasted the ongoing destruction of the WTC steel in the magazine’s editorial of January 2002:
For more than three months, structural steel from the World Trade Center has been and continues to be cut up and sold for scrap. Crucial evidence that could answer many questions about high-rise building design practices and performance under fire conditions is on the slow boat to China, perhaps never to be seen again in America until you buy your next car. Such destruction of evidence shows the astounding ignorance of government officials to the value of a thorough, scientific investigation of the largest fire-induced collapse in world history. I have combed through our national standard for fire investigation, NFPA 921, but nowhere in it does one find an exemption allowing the destruction of evidence for buildings over 10 stories tall. […] The destruction and removal of evidence must stop immediately.214
The U.S. authorities did not heed Bill Manning’s admonition and refused to disclose under whose authority the WTC steel was swiftly removed, sold to scrap dealers, and shipped overseas, in violation of criminal law.
10.2.2 The destruction of testimonies made by air traffic controllers
A group of six air traffic controllers working at the FAA center in Nashua recorded on tape what they had observed in the morning of 9/11. Their tape was destroyed by a supervisor without anyone making a transcript or even listening to it. The supervisor “crushed the cassette in his hand, shredded the tape and dropped the pieces into different trash cans around the building”215 The controllers who recorded their stories were never identified or asked to re-record their impressions.
10.2.3 The destruction of recordings documenting interrogations of al-Qa’ida detainees
CIA director General Michael Hayden confirmed that his agency destroyed videotapes taken during the interrogations of two al-Qa’ida suspects soon after 9/11. He said that to keep these tapes posed a security risk: they could expose the CIA interrogators shown on them to al-Qa’ida reprisals. Really? Did the CIA not learn about pixelisation?216 The CIA’s claim that it destroyed the video tapes to protect the interrogators’ identity is false, because it could have released the transcripts of these interrogations and redacted the names of the interrogators. Destroying the tapes and concealing the transcripts even from the 9/11 Commission suggests that the U.S. government was hiding evidence of malfeasance, transcending alleged torture.
The co-chairmen of the 9/11 Commission, Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton, blasted in the New York Times the destruction of these recordings: “Those who knew about those videotapes — and did not tell us about them — obstructed our investigation. More strikingly still, they explicitly include the White House at the top of their list of guilty parties.”217
10.2.4 The destruction of evidence regarding an FBI investigation of al-Qa’ida
On 29 May 2002, CBS News revealed that the FBI destroyed evidence gathered in an investigation involving Osama bin Laden’s al-Qa’ida network in early 2000.218 The episode was described in documents made public through a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a Washington advocacy group. FBI officials refused to comment upon this investigation.
10.3 Planting evidence
10.3.1 At the alleged crash site of flight UA93
The U.S. authorities have claimed that documents allegedly belonging to the suspected hijackers of flight UA93 were found at that flight’s alleged crash site in Somerset County, Pa. Among these documents were the passport of Al-Ghamdi,219 Alnami’s Florida driver’s license,220 his Saudi Arabian Youth Hostel Association ID card,221 a visa page from Ziad Jarrah’s passport,222 and a business card of Jarrah’s uncle.223 Local inhabitants who went to the alleged crash site within minutes of hearing an explosion and seeing smoke, told media that they did not see any human bodies, blood, or even a hint of an aircraft crash at the site.224 The site was swiftly taken over by the FBI, which kept activities within the site secret. Lisa Beamer, the celebrated widow of UA93 passenger Todd Beamer, wrote in her book:
[Arriving to the crash site of UA93 six days after the events] federal authorities wouldn’t allow us to get too close to the actual spot where the plane had struck the ground, but they took great care to describe it for us and to answer any questions about how they believed the plane had come down… I didn’t see a single piece of airplane anywhere.225
That’s how the lack of debris was explained to her:
Little could be found. Because of the reclaimed strip mine, the ground was softer than other surrounding areas. The plane had pierced the earth like a spoon in a cup of coffee: the spoon forced the coffee back, and then the coffee immediately closed around the spoon as though nothing had troubled the surface. Anything that remained of Flight 93 was buried deep in the ground.225
Merely 12 days after 9/11, the FBI announced to have recuperated 95 per cent of the aircraft wreckage, and handed it to United Airlines. No journalist was, however, allowed to document the recovery of the aircraft and photograph the recovered wreckage. We only have FBI’s word that such recovery had occurred.
10.3.2 At Logan Airport, Boston
According to the 9/11 Commission, Mohamed Atta and Abdulaziz Alomari, two of the persons named as participating in the hijacking of flight AA11 from Boston, had driven on 10 September 2001 from Boston to Portland, Maine, from where they reportedly returned on the very morning of 9/11 to Boston with an early connecting flight, before allegedly boarding flight AA11. The 9/11 Commission said it could not explain why they went to Portland,226 and thereby risked – had their connecting flight been delayed – disrupting their “attack upon the United States” that they had allegedly planned for years.227 However, this detour meant that their luggage had to be manually transferred between the flights. Only Atta’s bags failed to be loaded into flight AA11. They remained in Boston, to be swiftly discovered by the authorities.228
Amongst the items allegedly found in Atta’s bags were a hand-held electronic flight computer, a simulator procedures manual for Boeing 757 and 767 aircraft, a slide-rule flight calculator, a copy of the Qur’an and a handwritten testament written in Arabic.229 According to FBI Special Agent Fitzgerald, Abdul Aziz Alomari’s passport was also found in one of the bags.230 According to an FBI document, the bags also contained three English grammar books, a perfume bottle, anti-dandruff hair dressing, a check book, photographs, and a handkerchief.231 When Dieter Snell, Senior Counsel of the 9/11 Commission, addressed the Commission at its 12th Public Hearing, he said that Atta and Omari’s luggage had also contained, amongst other items, “correspondence from the university Atta attended in Egypt and Omari’s (sic) international driver’s license.232
The owner of the bags seemed to have vanished: No one apparently saw him at Boston airport, let alone boarding flight AA11. It is also not known who flew from Portland to Boston under the names of Mohamed Atta and Abdulaziz Alomari.
Leaving aside the question of identification, one may ask why a future hijacker would pack pepper spray and a knife into his luggage if these weapons were intended to be used in the hijacking, and why he would pack his testament in the luggage, knowing that it would burn in the crash. Did the alleged hijacker intend the luggage, with its comprehensive incriminating items, to be found? But if so, how could he foresee or ensure that it would remain in the airport? Did someone ensure that it would not be loaded onto flight AA11? It appears so, as suggested below.
It was revealed in 2009 that Atta’s luggage discovered in Boston carried a “covert marking that indicated that the suitcases belonged to a passenger, [who] was a security issue”.233 This observation was made by baggage expediter Philip A. DePasquale (“The two suitcases had a covert tag from US Airways to warn that Atta and his luggage were a security issue”).233 The presence of such a marking indicates that an employee of US Airways in Portland, from where the passenger came, had made this mark. Who was this employee, and on what grounds did he consider Atta a “security issue” before the events? The 9/11 Commission did not pursue these questions. Was this covert marking perhaps a signal to employees in Boston not to load these bags onto flight AA11?
For lack of evidence that the owner of the bags, allegedly Mohamed Atta, had boarded an aircraft at Logan Airport, it must be presumed that the bags had been planted there to be found.
The Guardian commented at the time with wry irony: “The finds are certainly very fortunate, though some might think them a little too fortunate.”234
10.4 Buying the silence of witnesses and victims’ relatives
A person is guilty of bribing a witness if he or she offers, confers, or agrees to confer any benefit upon… a person whom he or she has reason to believe may have information relevant to a criminal investigation… with intent to… (b) Induce that person to avoid legal process summoning him or her to testify; or… (d) Induce that person to refrain from reporting information relevant to a criminal investigation…235
10.4.1 Buying the silence of victims’ relatives
Shortly after 9/11, the Congress established the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund for victims’ families, as a part of the Air Transportation Safety and System Stabilization Act (ATSA).236 The compensation fund was administered by Kenneth Feinberg, appointed by Attorney General John Ashcroft, as the “Special Master” of the fund.237 In order to apply for compensation, they had to waive their “right to file a civil action… in any Federal or State court for damages sustained as a result of the terrorist-related aircraft crashes of September 11, 2001.”238 Feinberg confirmed that this provision was intended to deter victims’ families from suing the airlines, although ATSA demands that they waive their right to sue anyone, including security firms, the New York Port Authority, the U.S. Government, or any other domestic entity.
Ninety-six families opted not to apply to the government compensation fund. Their motives varied. Some were seeking larger settlements than the compensation fund was likely to offer them. But many who sued hoped to use the litigation process to compel disclosure of a fuller picture of what the airlines did – and left undone – on 9/11 and before. Tim Harper of the Toronto Star explained some of the motives:
For some, it’s blood money, a repugnant payoff they feel they have no choice but to accept… But as many as 73 families239 see the process of U.S. government compensation as an attempt to protect those who should be held accountable for what they believed was mass murder.240
Monica Gabrielle, who lost her husband in the WTC attack, was amongst those who rejected the government compensation offer. She told Tim Harper: “This is about mass murder. I want to know who was responsible. No one has been fired. No one has been demoted. The same people who are guarding us today on an elevated security alert are the same people who were working that day.”240
Those who chose not to apply for this compensation brought a cause of action against the airlines and security firms in order to force them to reveal what went wrong. But they did not count with the hurdles the government had established. ATSA limited their forum choice to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York,241 where they had to face Judge Alvin Hellerstein. Hellerstein, as evidenced throughout these cases, endeavoured to protect defendants from disclosure. He also decided to reverse the traditional judicial procedure where liability is determined before damages are discussed in the hope that more cases might settle out of court “once families get a sense of how much money they are likely to get from a jury”, as he explained to the media.242 And indeed, 95 of the families who initially refused to apply to the Compensation Fund and wanted to know “who was responsible” for 9/11, gave in to Hellerstein’s pressure, by settling out of court. They received far more than what they would have received from the Fund.243 Collectively they received $500 million, making the average pay-out slightly greater than $5 million. The court has prohibited the families to reveal how much money they received.244 What the defendants ultimately disclosed to the families in court was not revealed publicly. These secret settlements were made at the expense of the public’s right to know the truth.
These compensations had, indeed, the desired effect. From approximately 3,000 families of 9/11 victims, only a single person, Ellen Mariani, remains determined – against heavy odds – to establish the truth through court procedures.245 In an open letter, she described what she has been through until 2007. It includes, in her own words, “emotional abuse, harassment, lawyers’ misguidance, and… the prospect of financial ruin.”246 By their conduct, “Special Master” Feinberg and Judge Hellerstein, representing respectively the Executive and the Judicial Branches of the United States, intentionally and successfully thwarted the initial quest by families of 9/11 victims to establish the truth on the mass killings of 9/11.
Other payments to victims’ families constitute “college scholarships estimated to meet about 70 percent of the financial need of all 4,500-4,700 children of victims”.247 Those promised such scholarships would most probably refrain from undermining the future of their children by demanding evidence about 9/11 or expressing in public doubts about the government’s account.
10.4.2 Pampering victims’ families
Much effort was spent by the U.S. authorities and media to create and nurture the story of a heroic struggle by passengers on Flight 93 to reclaim control over the aircraft. Whether the story has any relation to reality is beyond the scope of this paper. It ensured, however, that passengers’ families felt proud and gracefully accepted official invitations and media encounters. It is evident that people enjoying to be feted will hardly have the temerity to accuse their well-wishers of deception or complicity in the murder of their beloved ones. Effectively, none of the relatives of passengers from flight UA93 has publicly expressed doubts about the official account regarding that flight.
Lisa Beamer and Deena Burnett, widows of two passengers on flight UA93, wrote books about their experiences. In Lisa Beamer’s book, she describes the thrill she felt to become a national celebrity, being interviewed on ABC’s Good Morning America and CNN’s Larry King Live shows,248 “privileged” to meet and talk with Mayor Giuliani who “made a point to hug me and to express how proud he was of the heroes aboard Flight 93”249 and invited to the Congress, which “rose to its feet in one motion” to celebrate her and her deceased husband.250 She sums it up: “[T]his was America’s statement to the world that we were indeed the United States. It was an incredible, historic experience, and I felt so honored to be there on behalf of Todd and all the other passengers, crew, and families of Flight 93.”251
President Bush then invited all of the surviving family members of Flight 93 to come to the White House for a private meeting on 24 September 2001. Beamer:
“First, President Bush spoke kindly and compassionately to the entire group in the East Room of the White House. He used no notes and spoke from the heart, almost conversationally. Then he and his wife, Laura, moved to an adjacent room, where they took time to meet with each family individually… The president and first lady met with our family for about eight to ten minutes252 … In preparation for us, the White House staff had lined both sides of the hall in a sort of makeshift honor guard, clapping their hands for us as we walked by.”253
When the Flight 93 victims’ families met with President Bush at the White House two weeks after 9/11, the President also spoke with [Deena] Burnett and kissed her on both cheeks.254 Later, she received a certificate signed by President Bush. The certificate stated that the United States honoured her husband and that the document was “awarded by a grateful nation in recognition of devoted and selfless consecration to the service of our country in the Armed Forces of the United States.”254 In her book, Mrs. Burnett confirms that she shook hands with both President Bush and his wife and that the President kissed her on the cheek.255 She also confirms that Tom received a military funeral, which was in her view, a “great honor”.256
Deena Burnett also described a cryptic pledge made to her on the very morning of 9/11 by a police representative who introduced himself to her as Chris Stangle:
Officer Stangle came over, knelt down in front of me, and took my hand… Then he looked at me and said, ‘First of all, you’re not going to have to sell this house and here’s why. It sounds like your husband had a good job. I’m sure he has a financial plan in place to take care of you and the children. Because of the way he died, you’re going to have enough people helping, that you will be able to stay in this house and raise your children the way you want to. You’re not going to have to worry about any of that right now. And if none of that comes through, I am personally going to make sure you can stay in this house. If that’s what you want. The police have wonderful resources. We can help you. You don’t have to worry about anything.’257
Who was Officer Stangle who had the authority to make a personal pledge to Mrs. Burnett on the morning of 9/11 and tell her “We can help you”?
10.4.3 Promoting military officials who did not defend the United States on 9/11
According to the official version of 9/11, the United States was successfully attacked on 9/11 by 19 amateur terrorists, who only used simple knives and relied on their luck to defeat the world’s most powerful military and intelligence machinery. The 9/11 Commission stated that U.S. officials were “in every respect” unprepared to stop the attacks and that the agencies responsible for air defence, particularly NORAD and FAA had “struggled, under difficult circumstances, to improvise a homeland defense against an unprecedented challenge they had never encountered and had never trained to meet.”258 These failures were blamed on confusion, lack of imagination and bureaucracy.259 According to this view, the U.S. military, endowed with a budget larger than the combined military of all other countries, had never conceived of anyone using planes to crash on the World Trade Center or on the Pentagon.260 If such gross incompetence had been the case, one would have expected top military officials to be named, demoted, fired or even court-martialled. The absence of such sanctions was noted by some members of Congress.261 In fact, the nation’s top military officials were later honoured or even promoted.
General Richard B. Myers, for example, was Acting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff(JCS) on 9/11, pending his upcoming confirmation as Chairman of the JCS. He claimed that on the morning of 9/11 he was on Capitol Hill meeting with Senator Cleland to discuss his confirmation hearings.262 In an interview with the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service, he said that no one disturbed him during that meeting to inform him that both Twin Towers of the WTC had been hit. When he came out of the meeting, he learned about the second hit: “Then right at that time somebody said the Pentagon has been hit.” He immediately talked to Gen. Eberhart and then “jumped in the car, ran back to the Pentagon.”263 According to his account, he set out for the Pentagon after it had been hit at 9:37 a.m. Assuming that he told the truth, his assistants must have grossly failed their duty to alert him immediately to what was perceived as an “attack on our nation”. According to counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke, however, who directed a video conference of all top U.S. leaders on the morning of 9/11, Myers took part in that conference from about 9:10 a.m. until after 10:00 a.m. Which version is true?
In the confirmation hearings, conducted on Capitol Hill on 13 September 2001, General Myers was asked by Senator Levin whether “the Defense Department contacted the FAA or the FBI or any other agency after the first two hijacked aircraft crashed into the WTC, prior to the time that the Pentagon was hit”. Myers answered: “Sir, I don’t know the answer to that question.” Senator Nelson then asked: “You said earlier in your testimony that we had not scrambled any military aircraft until after the Pentagon was hit. And so, my question would be: Why?” Myers: “I’d have to go back and review the exact timelines.” Is it conceivable that the highest military commander of the United States forgot these crucial details within two days and came unprepared to a Congressional hearing?
Cynthia McKinney, member of the House Armed Services Committee for the 108th Congress, asked General Myers at the budget hearing for FY2006, who was in charge of the war games conducted on 9/11. He avoided to answer her question. Instead he claimed that the war games had improved the ability of the U.S. to respond to the “attacks”. This was of course absurd, for it is impossible to improve an omission.264 In October 2005, President Bush presented Myers the Presidential Medal of Freedom.265
General Ralph E. Eberhart, was on 9/11 Chief Commander of NORAD and thus responsible for the failure of the military to intercept the allegedly hijacked aircraft on 9/11. During his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on 25 October 2001, this top military man manifested a surprising uncertainty about the identities of the aircraft that crashed on 9/11: “The first flight I think was American flight 11… I think it’s 77 that crashed into the Pentagon… I think it’s United flight 93 [that crashed] in Pennsylvania.”266 What made him so uncertain? In May 2002, he was promoted by President Bush to lead the newly created U.S. Northern Command.267
Brigadier-General Montague Winfield, commander of the National Military Command Center (NMCC), the Pentagon’s emergency response centre, requested on 10 September 2001 his deputy, Captain Charles Leidig, to replace him on the morning of 9/11 for approximately two hours. Leidig replaced Winfield throughout the 9/11 crisis until about 10:30 a.m. Winfield never explained the reason for his absence during the crisis. Yet both Leidig and Winfield were later promoted: In May 2003, Winfield was promoted to the rank of Major General.268 Also in 2003, Captain Charles J. Leidig was appointed to the rank of 80th commandant of midshipmen, responsible for the day-to-day activities of 4,000 midshipmen.269
What prompted the U.S. government to honour and promote leading military officials who failed to ensure the protection of the U.S. capital and the Pentagon against an attack by a group of amateurs?
10.5 Intimidation to ensure silence
10.5.1 Intimidating private witnesses
Various persons who reported to have seen Mohamed Atta, the alleged team-leader of the 19 alleged hijackers, were specifically warned not to talk to journalists. These include employees at Walmart and Pizza Hut in Portland, Maine, who were told by the FBI not to mention what Atta had bought;270 residents of Venice, Florida, were warned not to talk to journalists about Atta’s non-Islamic conduct;271 Amanda Keller, a former stripper, was warned not to talk about her affair with Atta;272 and Johnelle Bryant, was warned by “authorities” not to speak about her bizarre meeting with Atta,273 but decided, nevertheless, to accord a mind-blowing interview to ABC News about her encounter.274 Both Amanda Keller and Johnelle Bryant vanished.
10.5.2 Intimidating witnesses to the 9/11 Commission
The Government has also insisted in having its officials accompany witnesses who appeared before the 9/11 Commission or its staff. Most often they were attorneys of the respective agencies. These “minders” were “reporting to their respective agencies on Commission staff’s lines of inquiry and witnesses’ verbatim responses”, occasionally “answering questions directed at witnesses”. They also “positioned themselves physically and… conducted themselves in a manner that [staff members] believe intimidate[d] witnesses from giving full and candid responses.”275 The issue of “minders” was raised in a Press Release by 9/11 Citizens Watch. The group demanded greater transparency and accountability from the 9/11 Commission, including the prohibition of “minders” and that testimonies be made under oath.276 An example of the effects of such minders is an interview by 9/11 Commission staffers of air traffic controller Greg Dukeman on 2 October 2003. The interview was attended by Michael McKinley, an FAA attorney. Throughout the interview Dukeman claimed forgetfulness, provided vague answers or played dumb.277
10.5.3 Intimidating first responders and firefighters
A perfidious method of intimidation was revealed by the Huffington Post on 21 April 2011. As described above, numerous first responders and firefighters reported having heard, seen or experienced explosions before and during the demise of the Twin Towers. Some also reported molten steel at Ground Zero. These testimonies constitute the most serious challenge to the official account on 9/11 and strongly suggest that the buildings were demolished with explosives. For the U.S. administration, it was important to silence these witnesses. As many first responders got ill from the toxic dust and needed expensive health services, a 9/11 Health and Compensation Law was passed by Congress. At the last moment, an Amendment was added to the law requiring those who wish to get treatment for the ailments that they suffer as a result of their work at Ground Zero, to have their names “run through the FBI’s terrorism watch list.”278 The declared rationale for this amendment was “to ensure that no terrorists get these benefits.” The list, which includes between 400,000279 and one million names,280 is classified, meaning that individuals cannot know whether they are included on the list. Due to the large size of this list, it is likely that most individuals included on this list have no connection whatsoever to terrorism. First responders, including firefighters, who intend to apply for health benefits, will now think twice before giving interviews about the explosions they witnessed at the World Trade Center.
The aforementioned examples of pressure, harassment and intimidation manifest a clear intent by the U.S. administration to suppress the truth on the events of 9/11.
11. Establishing the truth on human rights violations: Prescriptions and proscriptions
As presented previously, the corollary to the right to truth are state obligations to conduct adequate (or effective) investigations into alleged violations of human rights. We submit that this standard does not fully ensure the fulfillment of the right to truth. The standard of an adequate (or effective) investigation essentially encompasses positive obligations, those of thoroughness, independence, impartiality, transparency and promptness. States are, however, also apt to undertake measures intended to cover-up the truth regarding violations of human rights. Such active measures are not adequately addressed by prescriptive standards. We submit that in order to ensure the “right to the truth”, states should be required to strive in good faith to establish the truth, rather than merely conduct an adequate investigation. Establishing the truth derives directly and logically from a right to know the truth and encompasses both prescriptions and proscriptions, such as refraining from destroying, fabricating or planting evidence, refraining from inducing or intimidating individuals to keep silent about the events, and refraining from attributing guilt to innocent persons for the violations (or crime). I, therefore, submit that the obligation to provide remedy to victims of gross human rights violations be formally extended to good faith efforts to establish the truth.
The primary purpose of this study was to apply criteria developed by the case-law of the ECtHR to the investigations into 9/11, a crime against humanity that affected in some way most inhabitants of the world.
Paraphrasing the ECtHR,281 I can sum up the above findings by stating that even if the failings of some U.S. authorities would not alone warrant a finding of the inadequacy of the investigation, their cumulative effect are more than sufficient for such a finding. Indeed, I am struck by how the different agencies and branches of the U.S. administration acted in concert in preventing the establishment of the truth regarding this gruesome mass-murder.
The ECtHR has in the past identified numerous methods by which states seek to ensure the impunity of violators of the right to life. Due to the case at hand, this study was able to identify more types of state conduct leading to impunity: (a) The political predetermination of facts, prior to investigation; (b) Overt opposition to a public inquiry; (c) Destruction of forensic evidence; (d) The planting of evidence; (e) Bribing victims and suspects to ensure their silence; (f) Intimidating witnesses. In examining State investigations of gross violations of human rights, international and regional bodies are urged to stay alert to these various forms of conduct.
States must, under international law, comply in good faith with their treaty obligations. As a State party to the ICCPR – an international treaty – the United States must in good faith protect the right to life of those found within its jurisdiction. This obligation entails the duty to undertake an adequate investigation of a gross violation of that right. The Human Rights Committee, which monitors the implementation of the ICCPR by State parties, might wish to avail itself of the findings presented herein in its examination of the United States’ periodical report in order to call the State party to task for its gross violation of the aforementioned obligation.
Concerned citizens in various countries, including members of several parliaments, have called for the establishment of an independent, international commission of inquiry on the events of 9/11, possibly modeled on the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), set up to try the alleged murderers in 2005 of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri.282
Within the United States, a large truth-seeking movement has emerged, composed of eminent personalities from all walks of life, including former administration and military officials. Their common demand is for a new, truly independent, investigation of 9/11. Some of these personalities have established functional groups, such as Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth (an association with more than 2,000 members),154 Firefighters for 9/11 Truth,283 Lawyers for 9/11 Truth,284 Medical Professionals for 9/11 Truth,285 Military Officers for 9/11 Truth,286 Pilots for 9/11 Truth,287 Political Leaders for 9/11 Truth,288 Religious Leaders for 9/11 Truth,289 Scholars for 9/11 Truth and Justice,290 and Scientists for 9/11 Truth.291 Local and regional chapters have also emerged in the United States,292 Canada, Australia, and European countries.293
While the demand for a truly independent investigation appears to me justified, I doubt whether this can be accomplished under the current political situation. The reason for my doubt is that the refusal to establish the truth on 9/11 extends to the entire political class of Western societies. Such refusal cannot plausibly be ascribed to ignorance. The Western alliance needs to maintain the perception of an enemy294 that threatens our well-being and is capable of mounting deadly operations such as 9/11, in another words, a unifying myth: “[I]n the absence of believable myths, coherent public action becomes very difficult to improvise or sustain.”295 The perception of a common enemy provides Western governments with the justification for eroding democratic rights at home and resuscitating neo-colonialist policies abroad.
Those who have given thought to the implications arising from the findings presented in this paper may have realised the depth of the abyss revealed by investigating 9/11. Those mustering the courage to face this abyss with open eyes may be rewarded by overcoming fear and discovering that the emperor is naked.
- Updated Set of principles for the protection and promotion of human rights through action to combat impunity, Commission on Human Rights, 8 February 2005, UN Doc. No. E/CN.4/2005/102/Add.1, Principle I: General Obligations.
- One person, Zacarias Moussaoui, has been tried by a U.S. court in relation to 9/11. He was not, however, charged as accomplice to the crime. He was accused to have known about the plans for 9/11 and not reporting his alleged knowledge to the authorities after he was arrested a few weeks before 9/11. There is no evidence, however, that he possessed such foreknowledge. A collection of articles on Moussaoui’s trial can be found here.
- Updated Set of principles to combat impunity, supra note 1.
- For an overview of references to the right to truth, see Yasmin Naqvi, ‘The right to the truth in international law: fact or fiction?’ (2006) 88 International Review of the Red Cross 862. (Cached).
- Bámaca-Velásquez v Guatemala, IACtHR, Judgment of 25 November 2000, Series C 70, Separate Concurring Opinion of Judge Hernán Salgado Pesantes. (Cached).
- American Convention of Human Rights, O.A.S.Treaty Series No. 36, 1144 U.N.T.S. 123, entered into force July 18, 1978.
- ECOSOC Res. 1989/65, UN Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-Legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions, 24 May 1989 (hereafter “UN Principles”).
- Manual on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-Legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions, U.N. Doc. E/ST/CSDHA/.12 (1991) (includes the “Minnesota Protocol”) (Cached).
- UN General Assembly Res. 60/147, Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law, 16 December 2005, Articles 18 and 22. (Cached).
- Chumbipuma Aguirre et al. v Peru (Barrios Altos Case), IACtHR, Judgment of 14 March 2001, para. 48. (Cached).
- The Right to the Truth. Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, IACHR. (Cached).
- Human Rights Council, Right to the truth: Report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, 7 June 2007, UN doc. A/HRC/5/7, paras. 9–10. (Cached).
- Enukidze and Girgvliani v. Georgia, European Court of Human Rights, Judgment of 26 April 2011, Application no. 2509/07, para. 241. (Cached).
- UNCHR Res. 2005/35, Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law, U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/2005/ L.10/Add.11 (19 April 2005), Article 3; also GA Res. 60/147, supra note 10. (Cached).
- UNHRC, General Comment No. 31. Nature of the General Legal Obligation Imposed on States Parties to the Covenant. UN Doc. CCPR/C/21/Rev.1/Add.13 (26 May 2004) para. 8. (Cached).
- United Nations Manual on the Effective Prevention and Investigation (…), supra n. 8.
- Ximenes-Lopes v Brazil, IACtHR, Judgment of 4 July 2006, para. 148. (Cached).
- In Enukidze, supra note 13, for example, the Court held that the “investigation must be effective in the sense that it is capable of leading to the establishment of the relevant facts and the identification and punishment of those responsible.” (para. 242).
- See, for example, Kelly and Others v. the United Kingdom, no. ECtHR, Application no. 30054/96, Judgment of 4 May 2001, para. 96-97 (Cached); and Anik and Others v. Turkey, ECtHR, Application no. 63758/00, Judgment of 5 June 2007, para. 72 (Cached).
- Toteva v Bulgaria, ECtHR, Application no. 42027/98, Judgment of 19 May 2004, para. 80 (Cached).
- Musayev and Others v Russia, ECtHR, Applications nos. 57941/00, 58699/00 and 60403/00, Judgment of 26 July 2007, para. 164. (Cached).
- Toteva, supra note 20, para. 82.
- Adali v Turkey, ECtHR, Application no. 38187/97, Judgment of 31 March 2005, para. 224. (Cached).
- Trubnikov v Russia, Application no. 49790/99, Judgment of 5 July 2005, para. 92. (Cached).
- UN Principles, supra note 7, para. 9.
- Ahmet Özkan and Others v Turkey, ECtHR, Application no. 21689/93, Judgment of 6 April 2004, para. 312. (Cached).
- Ülkü Ekinci v Turkey, ECtHR, Application no. 27602/95, Judgment of 16 July 2002. (Cached).
- Nachova v Bulgaria, ECtHR, Applications nos. 43577/98 and 43579/98, Judgment of 26 February 2004, para. 138. (Cached).
- Toteva, supra note 20, para. 79.
- Aydin v Turkey, ECtHR, Applicaton no. 57/1996/676/866, Judgment of 25 September 1997, para. 106. (Cached).
- Buldan v Turkey, ECtHR, Application no. 28298/95, Judgment of 20 April 2004, para. 86. (Cached).
- Sergey Shevchenko v Ukraine, ECtHR, Application no. 32478/02, Judgment of 4 April 2006, para. 67; Nachova, supra note 30, para. 140. (Cached).
- Ognyanova and Choban v Bulgaria, ECtHR, Application no. 46317/99, Judgment of 23 February 2006, paras. 109-112. (Cached).
- Anguelova v Bulgaria, ECtHR, Application no. 38361/97, Judgment of 13 June 2002, paras. 142-145. (Cached).
- Nachova, supra note 29, para. 132.
- Adali v Turkey, supra note 23, para. 231.
- Human Rights Committee, General Comment no. 31, supra note 15, para. 15(d).
- UN Principles, supra note 78, para. 11 (emphasis added).
- Adali, supra note 23, para. 222.
- Kaya v Turkey, ECtHR, Application no. 158/1996/777/978, Judgment of 19 February 1998, para. 90 (Cached); Semsi Önen v Turkey, ECtHR, Application no. 22876/93, Judgment of 14 May 2002, para. 88. (Cached).
- Tepe v Turkey, ECtHR, Application no. 27244/95, Judgment of 9 May 2003, paras. 179-180 (Cached); Buldan supra note 33, para. 86; Finucane v United Kingdom, ECtHR, Application no. 29178/95, Judgment of 1 July 2003 (Cached); Kaya, supra note 43, para. 88, Semsi Önen, supra note 43.
- UN Principles, supra note 7, para. 15.
- UN Principles, supra note 7, para. 16.
- UN Principles, supra note 7, para. 17.
- Hugh Jordan v The United Kingdom, ECtHR, Application No. 24746/94, Judgment, 4 May 2001, para. 109 (Cached).
- Article 2(3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Cached).
- Article 2 of the Draft articles on Responsibility of States for internationally wrongful acts, adopted by the International Law Commission at its fifty-third session (2001). (Cached).
- Remarks by President George W. Bush at Emma Booker Elementary School, Federal News Service, 11 September 2001 (Cached).
- Transcript of George W. Bush’s address to the nation, CNN, 11 September 2001, (Cached).
- Joint Resolution 61 (by the Senate and House of Representatives), 12 September 2001, (Cached).
- On 12 September 2001, the G-7 Ministers of Finance and Central Bank Governors condemned the “appalling terrorist attacks carried out in the United States”; the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council condemned these “brutal and senseless atrocities”; the U.N. General Assembly condemned the “terrorist attacks in the United States of America”, and so forth (emphasis added).
- Congressional debates, 12 September 2001, (Cached).
- FBI Announces List of 19 Hijackers, FBI National Press Office, 13 September 2001, (Cached).
- John D. Negroponte Letter to U.N. Security Council President, 7 October 2001, (Cached).
- ‘Declassified wire from the U.S. Department of State to U.S. embassies around the world’, 1 October 2001, No. 170698, Subject: ‘September 11: Working together to fight the plague of global terrorism and the case against al-Qa’ida’ (Cached).
- John Ashcroft, Media Briefing, 12 September 2001. Available at <www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/sept_11/ashcroft_briefing01.htm>.
- Bob Woodward and Dan Balz, ‘We Will Rally the World’ [A review of the events of 12 September 2001], Washington Post, 28 January 2002. (Cached).
- Ari Fleischer, White House Morning Briefing, 12 September 2001, 9:57 AM. The transcript of this press briefing was removed from the White House website.
- St. Petersburg Times (Flordia), for example, carried this AP report on its 12 September 2001 issue. (Cached) Another source for Fleischer’s statement is Keith Koffier, ‘President ratchets up rhetoric, terms attacks ‘acts of war’‘, on Government Executive Com, a “government’s business news daily and the premier website for federal managers and executives”, 12 September 2001 (Cached).
- Phil Shenon and David Johnston, ‘F.B.I. Shifts Focus to Try to Avert Any More Attacks’, New York Times, 9 October 2001 (Cached).
- Amerithrax or Anthrax Investigation, FBI (Cached).
- See FBI photo of message (Cached).
- Science Briefing on the Anthrax Investigation, Opening Statement by Dr. Vahid, Majidi, 18 August 2008 (Cached).
- David Willman, ‘Apparent suicide in anthrax case’, Los Angeles Times, 1 August 2008 (Cached).
- Press Conference of President George W. Bush, The White House, 13 March 2002 (Cached).
- No hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11”’, Information Clearing House, 18 June 2006 (Cached).
- Mary Schiavo, Statement to the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, 23 May 2003 (Cached).
- NTSB Identification DCA01MA060 (Cached).
- National Transportation Safety Board Amendments Act of 1999. 30 September 1999. Amendment to Section 1131, Paragraph 2(B). (Cached).) This Amendment was applied for the first time on the case of 9/11. It allowed the U.S. government to prevent an investigation of the crashes, which would have occurred, had it been conducted by the NTSB.) ((The NTSB may conduct public hearings and publishes detailed reports regarding its investigations of aircraft crashes. See, The Investigative Process at NTSB, (Cached).
- Flight AA11 deviated from its flight path at 8:28 (official crash time 8:46); flight UA175 deviated from its flight path at 8:58 (official crash time 9:03); flight AA77 deviated from its flight path at 8:54 (official crash time 9:37); flight UA93 deviated from its flight path at 9:41 (official crash time 10:03) (Source: Final Report of the 9/11 Commission). (Cached).
- Flight AA11 turned off its transponder at 8:21 (official crash time 8:47); flight UA175 changed twice its transponder code at 8:47 (official crash time 9:03); flight AA77 turned off its transponder at 8:56 (official crash time 9:37); flight UA93 turned off its transponder at 9:41 (official crash time 10:03) (Source: Final Report of the 9/11 Commission). (Cached).
- Flights AA77 and UA93 were in the air for more than 30 minutes after it was known that the Twin Towers had been struck, and after these two aircraft had been designated as hijacked.
- Linda Slobodian, ‘Norad on Heightened Alert: Role of air-defense agency rapidly transformed in wake of Sept. 11 terrorist attacks’, The Calgary Herald, 13 October 2001. (Cached).
- Hearings before the Committee on Armed Services, United States Senate, 16-17 August 2004, para. 39. (Cached).
- 9/11 Commission, Staff Report Nr. 17, 17. June 2004 (Cached).
- ‘Conversation with Major General Larry Arnold’, One Magazine, January 2002 (Cached).
- Interview with Maj. Gen. Arnold and Leslie Filson, 9/11 Commission, 11 September 2002. Team 8, Box 22, p. NCT0068077 (20. page in the file) (Cached).
- Robert A. Baker, ‘Commander of 9/11 Air Defenses Retires’, Newhouse News Service, 31 March 2005 (Cached).
- 9/11 Commission Team 7, Box 7, ‘Other Flights 911 Fdr- Suspect Aircraft of 9-11’ (Cached).
- Ben Fenton, “More planes may have been targeted”, Daily Telegraph (UK), 20 September 2001 (Cached).
- MFR 03009986. October 8, 2003. Interview with Mark Randol, TSA Federal Security Director, Missoula MT, p. 5. (Cached).
- Transcript of East NTMO tape, prepared by Miles Kara (9/11 Commission staff), 4 November 2003 (Cached).
- FBI 302-22919. September 11, 2001. Interview with Donald A. Robinson, Jr. (p. 14 in file) (Cached).
- Wikipedia: Korean_Air_Flight_85; see also Zaz Hollander, “High Alert”, Anchorage Daily News, 8 September 2002. (Cached).
- “Live-fly” exercises mean exercises using real aircraft, not table-top simulations.
- 9/11 Commission Final Report, p. 20.
- Michael Bronner, ‘9/11 Live: The NORAD Tapes’, Vanity Fair, August 2006 (Cached).
- ‘Major General Larry Arnold’s Testimony’, Public Hearing, 9/11 Commission, 23 May 2003 (Cached).
- Lynn Spencer, Touching History: The Untold Story of the Drama That Unfolded in the Skies Over America on 9/11 (Simon & Schuster, New York, 2008), p. 26.
- See the common use of the expression “real-world exercises” on military webpages (1) (Cached); (2) (Cached); and more.
- Anemona Hartocollis, ‘Connecting with lost loved ones, if only by the tips of fingers’, The New York Times, 11 September 2011 (Cached).
- Rick Hampson and Martha T. Moore, ‘Closure from 9/11 elusive for many’, USA Today, 3 September 2003, (Cached).
- ‘Some WTC victims were “vaporized”’, USA Today, 4 December 2001 (Cached).
- Dan Barry, ‘At morgue, ceaselessly sifting 911 traces’, The New York Times, 14 July 2002 (Cached).
- There is no evidence that the computers and other items were “crashed and incinerated”. Visual evidence suggests rather that they were transformed into dust as the building was disintegrating downwards.
- This is obviously wrong. The number of bodies apparently “pulverised” is approximately 1,100, namely those persons for whom no trace was found.
- David Biello, ‘What Was in the World Trade Center Plume?’, Scientific American, 7 September 2011, (Cached).
- H. Meyers in D. Smith, Report from Ground Zero: The Heroic Story of the Rescuers at the World Trade Center (Penguin Putnam, New York, 2002), p. 163.
- WTC Primary and Emergency Electrical Power, 1993 NFPA Fire Investigation Report, New York, 26 February 1993, pp. 14-18, (Cached).
- Tom Seessel, ‘Reponding to the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks: Lessons from Relief and Recovery in New York City’, Thomas Edison State College, A Report Prepared for the Ford Foundation, May 2003, pp. 36-37 (Cached).
- Such pulverisation did not occur at building WTC no. 7.
- Random office fire and aircraft fuel cannot produce a constant high temperature sufficient for body cremation.
- Among the main investigations not considered here, are the Joint Inquiry Into Intelligence Community Activities Before the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001 and an investigation about suspected inside trading, the results of which have not been published.
- 9/11 Commission Records, National Archives at http://www.archives.gov/research/9-11, last visited 2 October 2012.
- 9-11 Commission Records are posted in accessible form at <www.911myths.com/index.php/9-11_Commission_Records>.
- Thomas Hargrove, ‘Third of Americans suspect 9-11 government conspiracy’, Scripps Howard News Service 1 August 2006 (Cached).
- Phil Hirschkorn and David Mattingly, ‘Families say Flight 93 tapes prove heroism’, CNN, 19 April 2002 (Cached).
- United States of America v Zacarias Moussaoui, Government submission regarding relevance of cockpit voice recorders (Cached).
- Gail Sheehy, ‘9/11 Tapes Reveal Ground Personnel Muffled Attacks’, New York Observer, 20 June 2004, (Cached).
- “9/11 commission hears flight attendant’s phone call”, CNN, 27 January 2004 (Cached).
- Search “CeeCee Lyles” on youtube.com.
- Suppression of Video Footage of the Pentagon Attack, 9-11 Research (undated) (Cached).
- See, for example, ‘Video of 9/11 plane hitting Pentagon is released’, NBC Online, 16 May 2006 (Cached); see, however, Steve Watson, ‘FBI Withholding 84 More Tapes of Pentagon on 9/11’, 17 May 2006 (Cached).
- Private correspondence of the author with the FBI.
- FBI 9/11 Investigation (PENTTBOM); Press Release of 27 September 2001 (Cached).
- Dan Eggen, ‘FBI’s 9/11 Team Still Hard at Work’, Washington Post, 14 June 2004, (Cached).
- FBI 9/11 Investigation (PENTTBOM), supra note 128.
- George J. Tenet (Director of CIA), ‘Testimony Before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’, 6 February 2002: Support to the War on Terrorism and Homeland Security, (Cached).
- Helen Duffy, The ‘War on Terror’ and the Framework of International Law (Cambridge University Press, 2005), p. 119, 122.
- A list of court documents regarding Moussaoui’s case is found on the website of FindLaw.
- Committee on Science, U.S. House of Representatives, Hearing Charter: Learning from 9/11: Understanding the Collapse of the World Trade Center, 6 March 2002, (Cached here and here) The formulation “progressive collapses” predetermined the conclusions of the investigation.
- Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, as amended, and Related Authorities, 30 October 2000.
- Nomination of Joe M. Allbaugh, Hearing before the Committee on Governmental Affairs, United States Senate, 13 February 2001 (Cached).
- James Gerstenzang, ‘Bush puts FEMA in charge of domestic terrorism response’, Los Angeles Times, 9 May 2001 (Cached).
- FEMA WTC Building Performance Study (May 2002) (Mirror of the PDF’s comprising FEMA’s 2002 Report).
- James Ridgeway, ‘Did the FBI Bury Oklahoma City Bombing Evidence?”, Mother Jones, 21 July 2011 (Cached).
- ‘Learning from 9/11 – Understanding the Collapse of the World Trade Center’, Hearing Before the Committee on Science, House of Representatives, 6 March 2002, p. 14.
- James Glanz and Eric Lipton, ‘Experts Urging Broader Inquiry in Towers’ Fall’, New York Times, 25 December 2001 (Cached).
- FEMA WTC Building Performance Study, supra note 138.
- Bill Manning, ‘$elling out the investigation’, Fire Engineering, 1 January 2002 (Cached).
- NIST General Information (Cached).
- ‘Computer professionals call for public debate on new government encryption initiative’, Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR), 16 April 1993, (Cached).
- About NIST World Trade Center Investigation (Cached).
- NIST, ‘Questions and Answers about the Overall NIST WTC Investigation’, 19 September 2011, no. 14 (Cached).
- Hratch Semerjian, ‘NIST World Trade Center Investigation Report Press Briefing’, NIST, 23 June 2005 (Cached).
- Final Reports from the NIST Investigation of the WTC Disaster, September 2005.
- Skyscraper Safety Campaign, a Project of Parents and Families of Firefighters and WTC Victims, (Cached).
- Sally Regenhard, ‘Address to the Committee on Science of the House of Representatives’, 26 October 2005, p. 46.
- J. L. Gross and T. P. McAllister, ‘Structural Fire Response and Probable Collapse Sequence of the World Trade Center Towers’, NIST NCSTAR 1-6 (Draft), September 2005. (emphasis added) (Cached).
- Jim Hoffman, ‘Building a better mirage: NIST’s 3-year $20 million cover-up of the crime of the century’, 8 December 2005 (Cached).
- Final Report on the Collapse of the World Trade Center Towers, NIST NCSTAR 1, September 2005, p. 146 (Cached).
- The Sept. 11 Records (“Oral Reports”), New York Times (undated). File 9110369, Interview of Fire Patrolman Paul Curran, December 18, 2001, p.11 (Cached); File. 9110200, Interview with EMT Joseph Fortis, November 9, 2001, p. 7 (Cached); File. 9110203, Interview with EMT Lonnie Penn, November 9, 2001, p. 3 (Cached); File 9110194, Interview with EMT Lieutenant Bradley Mann, November 7, 2001, p. 3 (Cached); File 9110431, Interview with Battalion Chief Brian O’Flaherty, January 9, 2002, p. 3 (Cached); Graeme MacQueen, ‘Did the earth shake before the South Tower hit the ground’, 9 July 2009, Journal of 911 Studies, Vol. 29, July 2009 (Cached).
- Among witnesses are Reporter John Bussey (Wall Street Journal), Dan Rather (CBS), Deputy Fire Commissioner Thomas Fitzpatrick, Assistant Fire Commissioner Stephen Gregory and Firefighter Richard Banaciski.
- FEMA-BPAT, ‘World Trade Center Building Performance Study’, Section 1.3, pp. 1-8 (Cached). It can also be observed with the naked eye on videos of the “collapses”.
- Graeme MacQueen, ‘118 Witnesses: Firefighters’ Testimony to Explosions in the Twin Towers’, Journal of 9/11 Studies, August 2006 (Cached); On 12 September 2001 Senator Mary Landrieu (Louisana) referred to “explosions which brought down skyscrapers” (Congressional Debates, September 12, 2001, p. S9306, (Cached) and Senator Olympia Snowe (Maine) referred to the “sounds of blasts [which] echoed across Manhattan and our Nation’s Capital.” (Ibid.
- ‘Damage to Buildings Near WTC Caused by Falling Debris and Air Pressure Wave, Not by Ground Shaking’, The Earth Institute, Columbia University, 16 November 2001 (Cached) (“The fall of the towers was similar to that of a pyroclastic flow down a volcano”); See an excellent but ominous video documentary on Youtube (9/11 Debris: Investigation of Ground Zero, Pt. 1) which provides testimonies of eyewitnesses who corroborate the puzzling absence of office equipment, furniture and other human artifacts from the rubble of Ground Zero.
- ‘World Trade Center Disaster’, RMS Special Report, 18 September 2001, p. 5, 7 (Cached); ‘The Environmental Impacts of the World Trade Center Attacks’, NRDC, February 2002, p. 18 (Cached).
- Visual observations from video recordings.
- David Chandler, ‘Freefall and Building 7 on 9/11’, Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, 22 December 2010 (Cached).
- Jennifer Lin, ‘Recovery worker reflects on months spent at Ground Zero’, Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, 29 May 2002 (Cached); M. H. Gaffney, The 9/11 Mystery Plane (Trine Day LLC, Walterville, OR, 2008), p. 129, 132-136; ‘Mobilizing Public Health – Turning Terror’s Side with Science’, Johns Hopkins Public Health, Late Fall 2001 (Cached).
- Niels H. Harrit, et al, ‘Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe’, Open Chemical Physics Journal (2009, 2), p. 7-31 (Cached).
- David R. Griffin points out that while in its Draft Report, NIST qualified its calculations of the fall of the 18 top floors of WTC 7 as “consistent with physical principles”, this reference to “physical principles” was not included in its Final Report.
- 18 USC § 4 – Misprision of felony, Cornell University Law School, Legal Information Institute.
- Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth.
- Kevin Ryan, ‘Are Tall Buildings Safer As a Result of the NIST WTC Reports?”, Foreign Policy Journal, 10 September 2012 (Cached).
- ‘The 9/11 Commission Report, One Year Later. A Citizens’ Response: Did the Commission Get It Right?”’, 22 July 2005 (Cached).
- Jim Dwyer, ‘Investigating 9/11: An Unimaginable Calamity, Still Largely Unexamined’, New York Times, 11 September 2002 (Cached).
- Patrick Martin, ‘One year after the terror attacks: still no official investigation into September 11’, World Socialist Web Site, 12 September 2002 (Cache).
- Jacob Heilbrunn, ‘A lack of intelligence’, New York Times, April 13, 2008 (Cached).
- Public Law 107-306, 107th Congress, Title VI.
- Scot J. Paltrow, ‘White House Hurdles Delay 9/11 Commission Investigation’, Wall Street Journal, July 8, 2003 (Cached).
- Terry Frieden, ‘Price tag for Starr investigation: $40 million plus’, CNN, 1 February 1999 (Cached).
- Paul Recer, ‘NASA: Columbia Cleanup Cost Nears $400M’, NewsDay.com, 11 September 2003 (Cached).
- Cf. David R. Griffin, The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions (Olive Branch Press, Northampton, 2005), p. 284, n. 12.
- “The Kean Commission: The Official Commission Avoids the Core Issues”, 9-11 Research (Cached); also “Conflicts Of Interest On Sept. 11 Panel? 6 of 10 Panel Members Allegedly Have Ties To Airline Industry”, CBS News, 5 March 2003 (Cached).
- David R. Griffin, supra note 181, at 8.
- See, particularly, Philip Shenon, The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation (Twelve publisher, 2008).
- Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001, U.S. Government Printing Office, H. Rept. 107-792, December 31, 2001.
- Ibid, p. 90.
- The agreement takes the form of a letter from the Department of Justice of 11 July 2003 to the 9/11 Commission’s Executive Director Philip Zelikow. It is found in NARA SK B9 Tier A-B Interviews 1 of 2 Folder – Letters re Minders. (Cached).
- P. Shenon, The Commission, supra note 184, p. 388-9.
- Ibid, p. 389.
- David R. Griffin, The New Pearl Harbor Revisited (Olive Branch Press, Northampton, 2008), p. 239.
- ‘Minnesota Protocol’, supra note 8.
- ‘Minnesota Protocol’, supra note 8, Article 14.
- Final Report og the 9/11 Commission, p. 146 (box).
- Letter by 9/11 Commissioners Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton to Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and DCI George J. Tenet, 14 January 2004; Memorandum from 9/11 Commission Executive Director Philip Zelikow to Alberto Gonzalez, Scott Muller and Steve Cambone, 15 January 2004; letter by Attorney General John Ashcroft, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and DCI George J. Tenet to 9/11 Commissioners Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton of 16 January 2004 (posted by ACLU) (Cached).
- Final Report of the 9/11 Commission, p. 5.
- “Hijack ‘suspects’ alive and well”, BBC, 23 September 2001 (Cached).
- Aidan Monaghan, ‘FBI Counsel: No Records Available Revealing ID Process of Recovered 9/11 Plane Wreckage’, 911Blogger.com, 17 March 2008 (Cached).
- The huge confusion which existed on 9/11 because of the military exercises, prevented the authorities and the airlines to determine which of the dozens aircraft that had been suspected as hijacked, had been real as opposed to phantom, simulated aircraft. See interview of Col. Robert Marr Jr. in R. A. Baker, ‘Commander of Air Defenses Retires’, Newshouse News Service, 19 May 2005 (Cached).
- Who would even suspect that such forensic identification might not have taken place?
- David R. Griffin, ‘The 9/11 Commission Report: A 571-Page Lie’, 22 May 2005, 911Truth.Org (Cached).
- David R. Griffin, supra note 181, p. 12.
- Collection of articles regarding the identities of the “living hijackers.”
- Cited by Timothy W. Maier, ‘FBI Denies Mix-Up Of 9/11 Terrorists,’ Insight on the News, 11 June 2003 (Cached).
- FBI, Press Release, supra note 128.
- The 9/11 Commission Final Report, Preface, p. xvi.
- One of these alleged suicide-pilots by the name of Hani Hanjour is officially alleged to have flown a Boeing 757 (flight AA77) horizontally into the first floor of the Pentagon at over 450 mph. According to his flight instructors, he could hardly control a single-engine Cessna. Professional pilots say they themselves would have difficulty in maintaining a Boeing 757 horizontally at twenty feet above the ground while flying at 450 mph.
- For a comprehensive examination of these issues, see Elias Davidsson, ‘There is no evidence that Muslims committed the crime of 9/11’, 10 January 2008 (Cached).
- A still from this security video is available on the website of Zacarias Moussaoui’s trial. Exhibit FO07021 (Cached) No video recording could be found on the internet. The still image contains two different times and is very unclear.
- See, “Point Video-1: The Alleged Security Videos of Mohamed Atta during a Mysterious Trip to Portland, Maine, September 10-11, 2001” The 9/11 Best Evidence Panel (Cached).
- The Final Report of the 9/11 Commission, p. 2-4 and notes 11, 14 and 15 (p. 452).
- Alleged security video from Dulles Airport, September 11, 2001. Youtube-1, Youtube-2.
- Susan B. Trento and Joseph J. Trento, Unsafe at any Altitude: Failed Terrorism Investigations, Scapegoating 9/11, and the Shocking Truth about Aviation Security Today (Steerforth Press, 2006), p. 37.
- Final Report of the 9/11 Commission, Note 2 to Chapter I, p. 2-4.
- Barry Klein, Wes Allison et al, ‘FBI seizes records of students at flight schools’, St. Peterburg Times, 13 September 2001 (Cached); also Dana Canedy and David E. Sanger, ‘Hijacking Trail Leads F.B.I. to Florida Flight School’, New York Times, 13 September 2001 (Cached).
- It was never explained how the FBI knew by the afternoon of 9/11 that Atta and al-Shehhi had frequented bars, let alone a specific bar in Hollywood, Florida. There are approximately 48,000 bars in the United States and roughly 4,000 bars in Florida alone.
- ‘Remains Of Nine Sept. 11 Hijackers Held’, CBS, 17 August 2002 (Cached); also Tom Gibb, ‘FBI ends site work, says no bomb used’, Post-Gazette News, 25 September 2001 (Cached).
- Tom Gibb, ‘Flight 93 remains yield no evidence’, Post-Gazette News, 20 December 2001 (Cached).
- Paul D. Colford, ‘9/11 parts split by good and evil’, NY Daily News, 12 October 2005 (Cached).
- Eve Conant, ‘Terror: The Remains of 9/11 Hijackers’, Newsweek, 2 January 2009 (Cached).
- Tom Gibb, ‘Judge OKs certificates of death in Flight 93’, Post-Gazette, October 12, 2001 (Cached).
- Human Rights Council, ‘Report of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances’, 26 January 2011, UN doc. A/HRC/16/48 (General Comment, para. 6) (Cached).
- Chris Kelly, spokesman of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP), where the identification of the victims’ remains from flights AA77 and UA93 took place, said about the alleged hijackers’ bodies: “We are not quite sure what will happen to them, we doubt very much we are going to be making an effort to reach family members over there.” (D. Whitworth, ‘Hijackers’ bodies set Bush grisly ethical question’, The Times (U.K.), 6 October 2001 (Cached).
- Paul W. Rea, ‘Appendix C: Suppression or Destruction of Evidence Pertaining to 9/11’, in Mounting Evidence: Why We Need a New Investigation into 9/11 (iUniverse Publishers, 2011).
- “Baosteel Will Recycle World Trade Center Debris”, China.Org, 24 January 2002 (“Baosteel Group, [China’s] largest steel firm, has purchased 50,000 tons of the scrap steel from ‘Ground Zero’”) (Cached); also Ching-Ching Ni, ‘Mangled WTC steel bought by China’, Chicago Tribune, 27 January 2002 (Cached).
- “On WTC debris, these Indian buildings stand”, Rediff India, 14 September 2006 (“The Indian Steel Alliance […] estimates that scrap processing companies across India […] imported nearly 50,000 tonnes of the WTC steel wreckage.”) (Cached).
- Danielle Watson, ‘60,000 Tons of WTC Steel Recycled’, WASTE360.COM, 31 January 2002 (“Approximately 60,000 tons of steel from the WTC have been shipped to recyclers around the world, mostly to South Korea and certain U.S. cities.”) (Cached).
- “WTC scrap melted near al-Qaida site”, Associated Press (the Enquirer), 10 September 2002 (“Company executives and government officials confirmed that Megasteel [Malaysia] took delivery last month of a 35,000-ton shipment of scrap metal that included some World Trade Center steel”) (Cached).
- Final Report on the Collapse of World Trade Center Building 7, NIST NCSTAR 1A, p. 16 and 56 (Cached).
- Testimony of Dr. W. Gene Corley, Senior Vice-President, CT Engineering, Chicago, IL, On behalf of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Before the Subcommittee on Environment, Technology and Standards & Subcommittee on Research, Committee on Science, U.S. House of Representatives, March 6, 2002, p. 6.
- Jacqueline Emigh, ‘GPS on the job in a massive World Trade Center clean-up’, Security Solutions, 1 July 2002 (Cached).
- B. Manning, supra note 145.
- Matthew L. Wald, ‘F.A.A. Offficial Scrapped Tape of 9/11 Controllers’ Statements’, New York Times, 6 May 2004 (Cached); also ‘Cassette Tape of 9/11 Controllers’ Recollections Destroyed’, Air Safety Week, 17 May 2004.
- Adam Brookes, ‘CIA Chief Faces Credibility Test’, BBC, 7 December 2007 (Cached).
- Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton, ‘Stonewalled by the CIA’, New York Times, 2 January 2008 (Cached).
- Francie Grace, ‘Memo Reveals FBI E-Mail Snafu’, CBS News, May 29, 2002 (Cached).
- Moussaoui trial exhibit PA00108.
- Moussaoui trial exhibit PA00110.
- Moussaoui trial exhibit PA00102.
- Moussaoui trial exhibit PA00105.08.
- Moussaoui trial exhibit GX-PA00109 (cannot anymore be found, 2015).
- Robb Frederick, ‘The day that changed Amereica’, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 11 September 2002 (Cached).
- Lisa Beamer, Let’s Roll (Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton, 2002), p. 231.
- Final Report of the 9/11 Commission; note 1 to chapter 1, p. 451.
- Had flight AA11 not hit the North Tower of the WTC, no TV camera would be recording the aircraft impact on the South Tower. Osama bin Laden and his bosses would not have been able to present the world with a real-time, visual evidence, of a plane crash on the World Trade Center.
- United States of America v Zacarias Moussaoui, U.S. District Court, Alexandria Division. Cross-examination of FBI Special Agent James M. Fitzgerald. March 7, 2006, 10:00 A.M. Transcript p. 222 (Cached).
- Application and Affidavit of FBI Special Agent James K. Lechner, September 12, 2001 (see also following pages).
- United States of America v Zacarias Moussaoui, supra note 133.
- FBI document 302-1306, in NARA-documents of the 9/11 Commission, Team 7, Box B17 (FBI 302s of interest Flight 11) (Cached).
- Dieter Snell, Senior Counsel of the 9/11 Commission, addressing the 9/11 Commission at its 12th Public Hearing, June 16, 2004 (Cached).
- FBI 302-46163, quoted in MFR04016228 of February 10, 2004, prepared by Quinn John Tamm, Jr. of the 9/11 Commission’s staff (Cached).
- Brian Whitaker, ‘Chilling document hints at ‘Armageddon’, The Guardian, 1 October 2001 (Cached).
- RCW 9A.72.090 (Perjury and interference with judicial proceedings), Washington State Legislature (Cached).
- Air Transportation Safety and System Stabilization Act (ATSA), 107th Congress (2001-2002), H.R.2926 (Cached).
- Robert L. Rabin, ‘September 11 through the prism of victim compensation’ (Abstract), Columbia Law Review, March 2006, Vol. 106, No. 2, p. 464 (Cached).
- Joe Taglieri, ‘9-11 Lawsuits: Saudis, Airlines, Bush Face Litigation’, From the Wilderness, 27 August 2002 (Cached); also Walter Gilberti, ‘Bush administration moves to stifle discovery in 9/11 lawsuits’, World Socialist Web Site, 2 August 2002 (Cached).
- The number was actually 96. See Susan Edelman, ‘Final 9/11 holdout kin fight on for ‘truth’ trial’, New York Post, January 20, 2010 (Cached).
- Tim Harper, “Families Sue U.S., Reject 9/11 ‘Bribe’”, Toronto Star, 23 December 2003 (Cached).
- ATSA, supra note 259, Section 408, para. (3) (Jurisdiction).
- ‘Jury Can Hear Part of Flight 93 Tape’, CBS News, February 11, 2009 (Cached).
- Benjamin Weiser, ‘Family and United Settle Last 9/11 Wrongful-Death Lawsuit’, New York Times, 19 September 2011 (Cached).
- Anemona Harocollis, ‘More 9/11 Lawsuits Are Settled’, New York Times, 18 September 2007 (Cached).
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, Motion for Order Authorizing Appellant to Supplement Record, in Ramseier v. UAL Corporation et al., Case number 11-175, document 363-1, 19 April 2012 (Cached http://aldeilis.net/truth/179.pdf).
- ‘An open letter from Ellen Mariani’, 15 February 2007 (Cached).
- T. Seessel, supra note 109, p. 7.
- Lisa Beamer, supra note 246, p. 240-241.
- Ibid. p. 241.
- Ibid. p. 247-8.
- Ibid. p. 249.
- Ibid. p. 255-6.
- Ibid, p. 256.
- Susan Sward, ‘The voice of the survivors: Flight 93, fight to hear tape transformed her life’, San Francisco Chronicle, 21 April 2002 (Cached).
- Deena Burnett, Fighting Back (Advantage Books, 2006), p. 153.
- Deena Burnett, p. 214.
- Deena Burnett, p. 78.
- ‘Panel: U.S. unprepared ‘in every respect’ on 9/11’, CNN, 18 June 2004 (Cached).
- See, for example, the Statement of Dr. James R. Schlesinger, former Secretary of Defense, before the Senate Committee on Armed Services, 16-17 August 2004 (“The Commission has rightly observed that the events leading up to September 11 represented a failure of imagination”) (Cached).
- Independent investigators swiftly unearthed publicly available documentation exposing this claim as a lie.
- J. Tapper, ‘Senate report: FBI still unprepared’, Salon.com, 4 March 2003 (Cached).
- General Richard B. Myers’ biography (Cached).
- ‘Interview with General Richard B. Myers with Petty Officer Quinn Lyton, USN’, Armed Forces Radio and Television Service, 17 October 2001 (Cached).
- See ‘Cynthia McKinney confronts Richard Myers on 9/11 issues’, House Hearing on FY06 Dept. of Defense Budget, March 11, 2005 (Cached).
- Jim Garamone, “General Myers receives Presidential Medal of Freedom”, American Forces Press Service, 10 November 2005 (Cached).
- Senate Armed Services Committee Holds Hearing on Role of Defense Department in Homeland Security, 25 October 2001 (Cached).
- Gerry J. Gilmore, ‘Eberhart Tabbed to Head U.S. Northern Command’, U.S. Department of Defense News, 8 May 2002 (Cached).
- General Officer Announcements, Department of Defense, News Release No. 320-03, 13 May 2003 (Cached).
- ‘Naval Academy appoints midshipmen commandant’, The Baltimore Sun, 29 August 2003 (Cached).
- Pam Belluck, ‘The Night Before: A Mundane Itinerary on the Eve of Terror’, New York Times, 5 October 2001 (Cached).
- D. Hopsicker, Welcome to Terrorland (The Madcow Press, Oregon, 2004), p. 62, 65 (he names at least two persons, Stephanie Frederickson and Charles Grapentine, who told him they were warned by the FBI not to talk about their encounter with Mohamed Atta. Frederickson told him she received regular visits of FBI agents for six months, eager to ensure she kept silent).
- D. Hopsicker, p. 89.
- R. Weiss and J. Blum, ‘Suspect May Have Wanted to Buy Plane; Inquiries Reported On Crop-Duster Loan’, Washington Post, 25 September 2001 (Cached).
- Interview by Brian Ross with Johnelle Bryant, ABC News, 6 June 2002. Transcript Part I (Cached); Transcript Part II (Cached).
- ‘Memorandum concerning Executive Branch minders’, by Kevin Scheid, Col. Lorry Fenner and Gordon Lederman, staff members of the 9/11 Commission, to Commission counsel Dan Marcus and Steve Dunne, 2 October 2003 (9/11 Commission, Team 2, Box 6 folder) (Cached).
- ‘9/11 Families and Investigators Demand Transparency and Accountability, Question Conflicts of Interest, Support Local Resolutions, 9/11 Citizens Watch, 13 October 2003 (9/11 Commission, Team 2, Box 15 folder) (Cached).
- MFR 04017312. Interview of Greg Dukeman, 2 October 2003 (Cached).
- M. McAuliff, ‘9/11 Responders To Be Warned They Will Be Screened by FBI’s Terrorism Watch List’, Huffington Post, 21 April 2011 (Cached).
- ‘Who’s on the FBI’s Terrorist Watchlist?’, Parade, 3 January 2010 (Cached).
- Patrick Martin, ‘FBI terrorist watch list hits 1 million entries’, World Socialist Web Site, 12 March 2009 (Cached).
- Enukidze, supra note 13, para. 276.
- See Security Council resolution 1757 (2007) authorizing the establishment of a special tribunal to try suspects in [the] assassination of Rafiq Hariri, 30 May 2007.
- Firefighters for 9/11 Truth.
- Lawyers for 9/11 Truth.
- Medical Professionals for 9/11 Truth.
- Commissioned and Non-comnmissioned Military Officers for 9/11 Truth.
- Pilots for 9/11 Truth.
- Political Leaders for 9/11 Truth Statement.
- Religious Leaders for 9/11 Truth.
- Scholars for 9/11 Truth and Justice.
- Scientists for 9/11 Truth.
- 9/11 Questions Meetups (as of July 20, 2015) declare the existence of 64 groups in 51 cities, 7 countries, with 11,450 members.
- 9/11 Truth Europe (the list represents the status in 2007).
- In the Introduction to his book A Search for Enemies, author Ted Galen Carpenter wrote in 1992, for example: “Consistent with international relations theory and history, Cold War era solidarity has begun to dissolve now that there is no longer a credible common threat to promote cohesion among the ‘free world’ allies.” (p. 2). Professor John Lewis Gaddis equally referred to the consequences of the demise of the Soviet bloc: “[T]o an extent, coherence in an alliance structure, and consensus in foreign policy, does depend on a sense of threat out there.” (Interview by Harry Kreisler with John Lewis Gaddis at the Institute of International Studies at Berkeley, ‘Origins of the Cold War’, 8 May 1989.
- W. H. McNeill, ‘The Care and Repair of Public Myth´, Foreign Affairs, Fall 1982 (Cached).
Elias Davidsson is a scholar in international law and human rights and an activist for global peace and justice. He is an Icelandic citizen and lives now in Germany. He can be reached through his webpage.
An impressive coalition has formed to oppose a new surveillance bill masquerading as cybersecurity legislation.
Privacy and civil liberties organizations, free market groups, and others from across the political spectrum are joining this week in a common chorus call: Stop CISA.
Proponents of CISA — the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act — claim the Senate bill would help prevent cyber-crimes by improving information sharing between the government and the private sector. But in reality, CISA only succeeds in expanding government surveillance and weakening privacy while making Americans less secure online. The bill as drafted would have done nothing to stop the high-profile breaches at Sony, Anthem, and, most recently, the Office of Personnel Management, which holds terabytes of sensitive information about millions of government employees.
For several years, certain elements of the business community and national security hawks in Congress have pressed for legislation like CISA. In April, the House passed a package of similar cybersecurity information sharing bills, which were opposed by the ACLU and bevy of other privacy and civil liberties groups, but were in some ways dramatically better than the bill now pending in the Senate.
CISA’s vague language and expansive definitions will give the government new ways to collect and use the personal information and communications of innocent Americans, all without a warrant or any review by an independent court or overseer. CISA would allow companies to share information with the government relating to a “cybersecurity threat,” a term defined so broadly in the bill that it could include huge swaths of emails and text messages. The handover of user information under CISA would be permitted even if otherwise prohibited by existing data privacy laws, like the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. The law would also give companies broad legal protections even if they improperly share consumer data.
And, perhaps unsurprisingly, the information shared by companies would automatically be forwarded to numerous intelligence, military, and law enforcement agencies, including the NSA and FBI.
Once in the government’s hands, CISA allows for the shared information to be used in garden-variety law enforcement cases that have nothing to do with cybersecurity. For example, the government could use private emails and messages received from communications providers like Comcast, Facebook, Google, or Verizon to investigate and prosecute whistleblowers who report serious misconduct to the press. That’s a serious concern given that the Obama administration has already prosecuted more national security whistleblowers than all other administrations combined.
As an added bonus for government snoopers, CISA also includes a new exemption to the Freedom of Information Act, which will make it harder for groups like the ACLU to obtain documents from the government to determine how it is using — or misusing — the shared information. That means, for example, that it could be nearly impossible for us to find out how much private information is flowing from companies to the government or how the government is using it.
And despite CISA’s promise to open the floodgates for private information to flow to the government without any privacy protections, it fails at actually delivering better cybersecurity. As we learned with the hack at the OPM, the government is not a reliable guarantor of data security. Hackers were able to access the personal information of millions of Americans — including Social Security numbers, birthdates, and records about citizens’ finances, health, associations, and even sexual orientation—that applicants for security clearances must disclose to the government. All that additional information would make the government an even more desirable target for cybersnoops and cybercrooks.
CISA is more than just a bad solution to a serious problem. It would actually make cybersecurity worse while compromising basic democratic protections for personal privacy. The Senate must reject this surveillance bill. But if it decides to send this travesty to the president, he should veto the bill, consistent with his past threats against similarly atrocious bills.
Do your part to Stop CISA.
NSA spying scandals are being discussed by the public now, said Elsa Rassbach, anti-war activist from Code Pink. And this is a positive step towards throwing out the remains of having been occupied, she added.
WikiLeaks has published an intercept suggesting that the National Security Agency kept an eye on German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and many other senior German officials for years.
RT: Do you believe the NSA spying scandals have a significant effect on relations between Germany and the US?
Elsa Rassbach: I think the very fact that they are being discussed shows a huge shift, because this spying has been going on heavily during the whole Cold War. But the thing is that it continued after Germany supposedly received its sovereignty through the Two plus Four Agreement in 1990 and 91. Germany has allowed this whole time this spying, and has known about it, and has also allowed the bases here to be used for wars that Germany has said that they did not agree with, I mean the US military bases. The fact that now it’s even being discussed is already a very positive step.
RT: So why do you think the German government’s outrage publicly hasn’t been greater?
ER: I think that the new story that “Oh [Angela] Merkel’s cell phone was being listened to,” was really a ploy. It’s well known what the NSA was doing the whole time, and was set up to do, was to spy broadly on everyone around the world, except US citizens. What they changed in 2001 after the attack on the World Trade Center is that they decided, or four people decided: President [George] Bush, Vice President [Dick] Cheney, and the heads of the CIA and the NSA, that they would throw out the US Constitution and allow also the spying upon US citizens.
I’m absolutely certain that Adenauer’s [Konrad Adenauer, the first post-war Chancellor of Germany from 1949 to 1963] staff, his telephones, and all were spied upon. But at that time Germany was occupied. My question is: Why has it taken so long since Germany achieved sovereignty and was reunified in 1991; why has it taken so long since then? There are some reasons for it, but still think that the way the things are now, it’s almost like an anachronism and Germany does need to throw off the remains of having been occupied.
RT: How much pressure is Merkel under because of these revelations? Does it have an effect on the domestic politics in Germany?
ER: We do see that even some members of the CDU [Christian Democratic Union, Merkel’s party] are making comments and making demands. I think that a lot of the pressure is a big shift in public opinion in Germany. There was recently a Pew study in 2008 where they were asking many countries in Europe: “What’s your opinion of the freedoms that the US gives its citizens. Germans said in 2008, 70 percent had a positive view of this. In 2013, just prior to the Snowden revelations, Germans were 80 percent in favor of their view of the US attitude toward personal freedoms.
It’s now plunged to 43 percent in the last two years, which is the lowest number of any of the major European countries. So there is a big shift on the ground. There is a peace movement, there is a lot of talk now about Ramstein [US Air Force base situated in south-west Germany], drones, and that this surveillance has to end. This was not happening two years ago, or three years ago in the peace movement here. How much that will ultimately relay into sufficient parliamentary pressure and so forth on Chancellor Merkel to do something, I don’t know. And I also wonder whether there would be any pressure from the different corporations who have also been spied upon, whether they will also put pressure on the government about this.
A 2014 Turkish Foreign Ministry session, which featured high-level Turkish officials discussing how Turkey could start a war with Syria, was reportedly recorded and leaked by the US National Security Agency (NSA).
German weekly magazine Focus attributed the leakage to the NSA, reporting on the security meeting among former Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, National Intelligence Organization (MİT) head Hakan Fidan, Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu and Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaşar Güler.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was prime minister at the time, banned the video-sharing website YouTube after the leakage, which caught Fidan saying he would send four men from Syria to attack Turkey to “make up a cause of war.” Güler is heard saying in response, “What you’re going to do is a direct cause of war.”
Currently serving as Turkish prime minister, Davutoğlu said on July 3 that his country would not hesitate to launch a military intervention in Syria in case of what he referred to as a potential threat to Turkey’s “security.”
The Turkish newspaper Hürriyet Daily also reported last Sunday that the Turkish military had called on all troop commanders stationed along its border with Syria to be present at a meeting aimed at discussing a possible intervention in the crisis-hit country.
Erdogan has accused Syrian Kurds of trying to establish a state in Syria’s north, saying Ankara will leave no stone unturned to prevent such an establishment near its borders.
Ankara has long been engaged in a conflict with the Turkish Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region inside Turkey since the 1980s.
Turkey has also been one of the main supporters of the militancy against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, with reports showing that Ankara actively trains and arms militants operating in Syria.
“Should war break out in the Middle East again,… or should any Arab nation fire missiles against Israel, as the Iraqis did, a nuclear escalation, once unthinkable except as a last resort, would now be a strong probability.” Seymour Hersh(1)
“Arabs may have the oil, but we have the matches.” Ariel Sharon(2)
With between 200 and 500 thermonuclear weapons and a sophisticated delivery system, Israel has quietly supplanted Britain as the World’s 5th Largest nuclear power, and may currently rival France and China in the size and sophistication of its nuclear arsenal. Although dwarfed by the nuclear arsenals of the U.S. and Russia, each possessing over 10,000 nuclear weapons, Israel nonetheless is a major nuclear power, and should be publicaly recognized as such.
Since the Gulf War in 1991, while much attention has been lavished on the threat posed by Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, the major culprit in the region, Israel, has been largely ignored. Possessing chemical and biological weapons, an extremely sophisticated nuclear arsenal, and an aggressive strategy for their actual use, Israel provides the major regional impetus for the development of weapons of mass destruction and represents an acute threat to peace and stability in the Middle East. The Israeli nuclear program represents a serious impediment to nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation and, with India and Pakistan, is a potential nuclear flashpoint. (prospects of meaningful non-proliferation are a delusion so long as the nuclear weapons states insist on maintaining their arsenals,) Citizens concerned about sanctions against Iraq, peace with justice in the Middle East, and nuclear disarmament have an obligation to speak out forcefully against the Israeli nuclear program.
Birth of the Israeli Bomb
The Israeli nuclear program began in the late 1940s under the direction of Ernst David Bergmann, “the father of the Israeli bomb,” who in 1952 established the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission. It was France, however, which provided the bulk of early nuclear assistance to Israel culminating in construction of Dimona, a heavy water moderated, natural uranium reactor and plutonium reprocessing factory situated near Bersheeba in the Negev Desert. Israel had been an active participant in the French Nuclear weapons program from its inception, providing critical technical expertise, and the Israeli nuclear program can be seen as an extension of this earlier collaboration. Dimona went on line in 1964 and plutonium reprocessing began shortly thereafter. Despite various Israeli claims that Dimona was “a manganese plant, or a textile factory,” the extreme security measures employed told a far different story. In 1967, Israel shot down one of their own Mirage fighters that approached too close to Dimona and in 1973 shot down a Lybian civilian airliner which strayed off course, killing 104.(3)
There is substantial credible speculation that Israel may have exploded at least one, and perhaps several, nuclear devices in the mid 1960s in the Negev near the Israeli-Egyptian border, and that it participated actively in French nuclear tests in Algeria.(4) By the time of the “Yom Kippur War” in 1973, Israel possessed an arsenal of perhaps several dozen deliverable atomic bombs and went on full nuclear alert.(5)
Possessing advanced nuclear technology and “world class” nuclear scientists, Israel was confronted early with a major problem- how to obtain the necessary uranium. Israel’s own uranium source was the phosphate deposits in the Negev, totally inadequate to meet the need of a rapidly expanding program. The short term answer was to mount commando raids in France and Britain to successfully hijack uranium shipments and, in1968, to collaborate with West Germany in diverting 200 tons of yellowcake (uranium oxide).(6) These clandestine acquisitions of uranium for Dimona were subsequently covered up by the various countries involved. There was also an allegation that a U.S. corporation called Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation (NUMEC) diverted hundreds of pounds of enriched uranium to Israel from the mid-50s to the mid-60s.
Despite an FBI and CIA investigation, and Congressional hearings, no one was ever prosecuted, although most other investigators believed the diversion had occurred(7)(8). In the late 1960s, Israel solved the uranium problem by developing close ties with South Africa in a quid pro quo arrangement whereby Israel supplied the technology and expertise for the “Apartheid Bomb,” while South Africa provided the uranium.
South Africa and the United States
In 1977, the Soviet Union warned the U.S. that satellite photos indicated South Africa was planning a nuclear test in the Kalahari Desert but the Apartheid regime backed down under pressure. On September 22, 1979, a U.S. satellite detected an atmospheric test of a small thermonuclear bomb in the Indian Ocean off South Africa but, because of Israel’s apparent involvement, the report was quickly “whitewashed” by a carefully selected scientific panel kept in the dark about important details. Later it was learned through Israeli sources that there were actually three carefully guarded tests of miniaturized Israeli nuclear artillery shells. The Israeli/South African collaboration did not end with the bomb testing, but continued until the fall of Apartheid, especially with the developing and testing of medium range missiles and advanced artillery. In addition to uranium and test facilities, South Africa provided Israel with large amounts of investment capital, while Israel provided a major trade outlet to enable the Apartheid state avoid international economic sanctions.(9)
Although the French and South Africans were primarily responsible for the Israeli nuclear program, the U.S. shares and deserves a large part of the blame. Mark Gaffney wrote (the Israeli nuclear program) “was possible only because (emphasis in original) of calculated deception on the part of Israel, and willing complicity on the part of the U.S..”(10)
From the very beginning, the U.S. was heavily involved in the Israeli nuclear program, providing nuclear related technology such as a small research reactor in 1955 under the “Atoms for Peace Program.” Israeli scientists were largely trained at U.S. universities and were generally welcomed at the nuclear weapons labs. In the early 1960s, the controls for the Dimona reactor were obtained clandestinely from a company called Tracer Lab, the main supplier of U.S. military reactor control panels, purchased through a Belgian subsidiary, apparently with the acquiescence of the National Security Agency (NSA) and the CIA.(11) In 1971, the Nixon administration approved the sale of hundreds of krytons(a type of high speed switch necessary to the development of sophisticated nuclear bombs) to Israel.(12) And, in 1979, Carter provided ultra high resolution photos from a KH-11 spy satellite, used 2 years later to bomb the Iraqi Osirak Reactor.(13) Throughout the Nixon and Carter administrations, and accelerating dramatically under Reagan, U.S. advanced technology transfers to Israel have continued unabated to the present.
The Vanunu Revelations
Following the 1973 war, Israel intensified its nuclear program while continuing its policy of deliberate “nuclear opaqueness.” Until the mid-1980s, most intelligence estimates of the Israeli nuclear arsenal were on the order of two dozen but the explosive revelations of Mordechai Vanunu, a nuclear technician working in the Dimona plutonium reprocessing plant, changed everything overnight. A leftist supporter of Palestine, Vanunu believed that it was his duty to humanity to expose Israel’s nuclear program to the world. He smuggled dozens of photos and valuable scientific data out of Israel and in 1986 his story was published in the London Sunday Times. Rigorous scientific scrutiny of the Vanunu revelations led to the disclosure that Israel possessed as many as 200 highly sophisticated, miniaturized thermonuclear bombs. His information indicated that the Dimona reactor’s capacity had been expanded several fold and that Israel was producing enough plutonium to make ten to twelve bombs per year. A senior U.S. intelligence analyst said of the Vanunu data,”The scope of this is much more extensive than we thought. This is an enormous operation.”(14)
Just prior to publication of his information Vanunu was lured to Rome by a Mossad “Mata Hari,” was beaten, drugged and kidnapped to Israel and, following a campaign of disinformation and vilification in the Israeli press, convicted of “treason” by a secret security court and sentenced to 18 years in prison. He served over 11 years in solitary confinement in a 6 by 9 foot cell. After a year of modified release into the general population(he was not permitted contact with Arabs), Vanunu recently has been returned to solitary and faces more than 3 years further imprisonment. Predictably, The Vanunu revelations were largely ignored by the world press, especially in the United States, and Israel continues to enjoy a relatively free ride regarding its nuclear status. (15)
Israel’s Arsenal of Mass Destruction
Today, estimates of the Israeli nuclear arsenal range from a minimum of 200 to a maximum of about 500. Whatever the number, there is little doubt that Israeli nukes are among the world’s most sophisticated, largely designed for “war fighting” in the Middle East. A staple of the Israeli nuclear arsenal are “neutron bombs,” miniaturized thermonuclear bombs designed to maximize deadly gamma radiation while minimizing blast effects and long term radiation- in essence designed to kill people while leaving property intact.(16) Weapons include ballistic missiles and bombers capable of reaching Moscow, cruise missiles, land mines (In the 1980s Israel planted nuclear land mines along the Golan Heights(17)), and artillery shells with a range of 45 miles(18).
In June, 2000 an Israeli submarine launched a cruise missile which hit a target 950 miles away, making Israel only the third nation after the U.S. and Russia with that capability. Israel will deploy 3 of these virtually impregnable submarines, each carrying 4 cruise missiles.(19)
The bombs themselves range in size from “city busters” larger than the Hiroshima Bomb to tactical mini nukes. The Israeli arsenal of weapons of mass destruction clearly dwarfs the actual or potential arsenals of all other Middle Eastern states combined, and is vastly greater than any conceivable need for “deterrence.”
Israel also possesses a comprehensive arsenal of chemical and biological weapons. According to the Sunday Times, Israel has produced both chemical and biological weapons with a sophisticated delivery system, quoting a senior Israeli intelligence official,
“There is hardly a single known or unknown form of chemical or biological weapon . . . which is not manufactured at the Nes Tziyona Biological Institute.”)(20)
The same report described F-16 fighter jets specially designed for chemical and biological payloads, with crews trained to load the weapons on a moments notice. In 1998, the Sunday Times reported that Israel, using research obtained from South Africa, was developing an “ethno bomb; “In developing their “ethno-bomb”, Israeli scientists are trying to exploit medical advances by identifying distinctive a gene carried by some Arabs, then create a genetically modified bacterium or virus… The scientists are trying to engineer deadly micro-organisms that attack only those bearing the distinctive genes.” Dedi Zucker, a leftist Member of Knesset, the Israeli parliament, denounced the research saying, “Morally, based on our history, and our tradition and our experience, such a weapon is monstrous and should be denied.”(21)
Israeli Nuclear Strategy
In popular imagination, the Israeli bomb is a “weapon of last resort,” to be used only at the last minute to avoid annihilation, and many well intentioned but misled supporters of Israel still believe that to be the case. Whatever truth this formulation may have had in the minds of the early Israeli nuclear strategists, today the Israeli nuclear arsenal is inextricably linked to and integrated with overall Israeli military and political strategy. As Seymour Hersh says in classic understatement ; “The Samson Option is no longer the only nuclear option available to Israel.”(22) Israel has made countless veiled nuclear threats against the Arab nations and against the Soviet Union(and by extension Russia since the end of the Cold War) One chilling example comes from Ariel Sharon, the current Israeli Prime Minister,
“Arabs may have the oil, but we have the matches.”(23)
(In 1983 Sharon proposed to India that it join with Israel to attack Pakistani nuclear facilities; in the late 70s he proposed sending Israeli paratroopers to Tehran to prop up the Shah; and in 1982 he called for expanding Israel’s security influence to stretch from “Mauritania to Afghanistan.”)
In another example, Israeli nuclear expert Oded Brosh said in 1992,
“…we need not be ashamed that the nuclear option is a major instrumentality of our defense as a deterrent against those who attack us.”(24)
According to Israel Shahak,
“The wish for peace, so often assumed as the Israeli aim, is not in my view a principle of Israeli policy, while the wish to extend Israeli domination and influence is.”
“Israel is preparing for a war, nuclear if need be, for the sake of averting domestic change not to its liking, if it occurs in some or any Middle Eastern states…. Israel clearly prepares itself to seek overtly a hegemony over the entire Middle East…, without hesitating to use for the purpose all means available, including nuclear ones.”(25)
Israel uses its nuclear arsenal not just in the context of deterrence” or of direct war fighting, but in other more subtle but no less important ways. For example, the possession of weapons of mass destruction can be a powerful lever to maintain the status quo, or to influence events to Israel’s perceived advantage, such as to protect the so called moderate Arab states from internal insurrection, or to intervene in inter-Arab warfare.(26)
In Israeli strategic jargon this concept is called “nonconventional compellence” and is exemplified by a quote from Shimon Peres; “acquiring a superior weapons system(read nuclear) would mean the possibility of using it for compellent purposes- that is forcing the other side to accept Israeli political demands, which presumably include a demand that the traditional status quo be accepted and a peace treaty signed.”(27)
From a slightly different perspective, Robert Tuckerr asked in a Commentary magazine article in defense of Israeli nukes, “What would prevent Israel… from pursuing a hawkish policy employing a nuclear deterrent to freeze the status quo?”(28) Possessing an overwhelming nuclear superiority allows Israel to act with impunity even in the face world wide opposition. A case in point might be the invasion of Lebanon and destruction of Beirut in 1982, led by Ariel Sharon, which resulted in 20,000 deaths, most civilian. Despite the annihilation of a neighboring Arab state, not to mention the utter destruction of the Syrian Air Force, Israel was able to carry out the war for months at least partially due to its nuclear threat.
Another major use of the Israeli bomb is to compel the U.S. to act in Israel’s favor, even when it runs counter to its own strategic interests. As early as 1956 Francis Perrin, head of the French A-bomb project wrote “We thought the Israeli Bomb was aimed at the Americans, not to launch it at the Americans, but to say, ‘If you don’t want to help us in a critical situation we will require you to help us; otherwise we will use our nuclear bombs.’”(29) During the 1973 war, Israel used nuclear blackmail to force Kissinger and Nixon to airlift massive amounts of military hardware to Israel.
The Israeli Ambassador, Simha Dinitz, is quoted as saying, at the time,
“If a massive airlift to Israel does not start immediately, then I will know that the U.S. is reneging on its promises and…we will have to draw very serious conclusions…”(30)
Just one example of this strategy was spelled out in 1987 by Amos Rubin, economic adviser to Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, who said
“If left to its own Israel will have no choice but to fall back on a riskier defense which will endanger itself and the world at large… To enable Israel to abstain from dependence on nuclear arms calls for $2 to 3 billion per year in U.S. aid.”(31)
Since then Israel’s nuclear arsenal has expanded exponentially, both quantitatively and qualitatively, while the U.S. money spigots remain wide open.
Regional and International Implications
Largely unknown to the world, the Middle East nearly exploded in all out war on February 22, 2001. According to the London Sunday Times and DEBKAfile, Israel went on high missile alert after receiving news from the U.S. of movement by 6 Iraqi armored divisions stationed along the Syrian border, and of launch preparations of surface to surface missiles. DEBKAfile, an Israeli based “counter-terrorism” information service, claims that the Iraqi missiles were deliberately taken to the highest alert level in order to test the U.S. and Israeli response. Despite an immediate attack by 42 U.S. and British war planes, the Iraqis suffered little apparent damage.(32) The Israelis have warned Iraq that they are prepared to use neutron bombs in a preemptive attack against Iraqi missiles.
The Israeli nuclear arsenal has profound implications for the future of peace in the Middle East, and indeed, for the entire planet. It is clear from Israel Shahak that Israel has no interest in peace except that which is dictated on its own terms, and has absolutely no intention of negotiating in good faith to curtail its nuclear program or discuss seriously a nuclear-free Middle East,”Israel’s insistence on the independent use of its nuclear weapons can be seen as the foundation on which Israeli grand strategy rests.”(34) According to Seymour Hersh, “the size and sophistication of Israel’s nuclear arsenal allows men such as Ariel Sharon to dream of redrawing the map of the Middle East aided by the implicit threat of nuclear force.”(35) General Amnon Shahak-Lipkin, former Israeli Chief of Staff is quoted “It is never possible to talk to Iraq about no matter what; It is never possible to talk to Iran about no matter what. Certainly about nuclearization. With Syria we cannot really talk either.”(36) Ze’ev Shiff, an Israeli military expert writing in Haaretz said, “Whoever believes that Israel will ever sign the UN Convention prohibiting the proliferation of nuclear weapons… is day dreaming,”(37) and Munya Mardoch, Director of the Israeli Institute for the Development of Weaponry, said in 1994, “The moral and political meaning of nuclear weapons is that states which renounce their use are acquiescing to the status of Vassal states. All those states which feel satisfied with possessing conventional weapons alone are fated to become vassal states.”(38)
As Israeli society becomes more and more polarized, the influence of the radical right becomes stronger. According to Shahak, “The prospect of Gush Emunim, or some secular right-wing Israeli fanatics, or some some of the delerious Israeli Army generals, seizing control of Israeli nuclear weapons…cannot be precluded. … while israeli jewish society undergoes a steady polarization, the Israeli security system increasingly relies on the recruitment of cohorts from the ranks of the extreme right.”(39) The Arab states, long aware of Israel’s nuclear program, bitterly resent its coercive intent, and perceive its existence as the paramount threat to peace in the region, requiring their own weapons of mass destruction. During a future Middle Eastern war (a distinct possibility given the ascension of Ariel Sharon, an unindicted war criminal with a bloody record stretching from the massacre of Palestinian civilians at Quibya in 1953, to the massacre of Palestinian civilians at Sabra and Shatila in 1982 and beyond) the possible Israeli use of nuclear weapons should not be discounted. According to Shahak, “In Israeli terminology, the launching of missiles on to Israeli territory is regarded as ‘nonconventional’ regardless of whether they are equipped with explosives or poison gas.”(40) (Which requires a “nonconventional” response, a perhaps unique exception being the Iraqi SCUD attacks during the Gulf War.)
Meanwhile, the existence of an arsenal of mass destruction in such an unstable region in turn has serious implications for future arms control and disarmament negotiations, and even the threat of nuclear war. Seymour Hersh warns,
“Should war break out in the Middle East again,… or should any Arab nation fire missiles against Israel, as the Iraqis did, a nuclear escalation, once unthinkable except as a last resort, would now be a strong probability.”(41) and Ezar Weissman, Israel’s current President said “The nuclear issue is gaining momentum(and the) next war will not be conventional.”(42)
Russia and before it the Soviet Union has long been a major (if not the major) target of Israeli nukes. It is widely reported that the principal purpose of Jonathan Pollard’s spying for Israel was to furnish satellite images of Soviet targets and other super sensitive data relating to U.S. nuclear targeting strategy. (43) (Since launching its own satellite in 1988, Israel no longer needs U.S. spy secrets.) Israeli nukes aimed at the Russian heartland seriously complicate disarmament and arms control negotiations and, at the very least, the unilateral possession of nuclear weapons by Israel is enormously destabilizing, and dramatically lowers the threshold for their actual use, if not for all out nuclear war. In the words of Mark Gaffney, “… if the familar pattern (Israel refining its weapons of mass destruction with U.S. complicity) is not reversed soon- for whatever reason- the deepening Middle East conflict could trigger a world conflagration.” (44)
Many Middle East Peace activists have been reluctant to discuss, let alone challenge, the Israeli monopoly on nuclear weapons in the region, often leading to incomplete and uninformed analyses and flawed action strategies.
Placing the issue of Israeli weapons of mass destruction directly and honestly on the table and action agenda would have several salutary effects. First, it would expose a primary destabilizing dynamic driving the Middle East arms race and compelling the region’s states to each seek their own “deterrent.” Second, it would expose the grotesque double standard which sees the U.S. and Europe on the one hand condemning Iraq, Iran and Syria for developing weapons of mass destruction, while simultaneously protecting and enabling the principal culprit. Third, exposing Israel’s nuclear strategy would focus international public attention, resulting in increased pressure to dismantle its weapons of mass destruction and negotiate a just peace in good faith. Finally, a nuclear free Israel would make a Nuclear Free Middle East and a comprehensive regional peace agreement much more likely. Unless and until the world community confronts Israel over its covert nuclear program it is unlikely that there will be any meaningful resolution of the Israeli/Arab conflict, a fact that Israel may be counting on as the Sharon era dawns.
1. Seymour Hersh, The Samson Option: Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy, New York,1991, Random House, p. 319 (A brilliant and prophetic work with much original research)2
2. Mark Gaffney, Dimona, The Third Temple:The Story Behind the Vanunu Revelation, Brattleboro, VT, 1989, Amana Books, p. 165 (Excellent progressive analysis of the Israeli nuclear program)
3. U.S. Army Lt. Col. Warner D. Farr, The Third Temple Holy of Holies; Israel’s Nuclear Weapons, USAF Counterproliferation Center, Air War College Sept 1999 <www.fas.org/nuke/guide/israel/nuke/farr,htm (Perhaps the best single condensed history of the Israeli nuclear program)
4. Hersch, op.cit., p. 131
5. Gaffney, op.cit., p. 63
6. Gaffney, op. cit. pp 68 – 69
7. Hersh, op.cit., pp. 242-257
8. Gaffney, op.cit., 1989, pps. 65-66 (An alternative discussion of the NUMEC affair)
9. Barbara Rogers & Zdenek Cervenka, The Nuclear Axis: The Secret Collaboration Between West Germany and South Africa, New York, 1978, Times Books, p. 325-328 (the definitive history of the Apartheid Bomb)
10. Gaffney, op. cit., 1989, p. 34
11. Peter Hounam, Woman From Mossad: The Torment of Mordechai Vanunu, London, 1999, Vision Paperbacks, pp. 155-168 (The most complete and up to date account of the Vanunu story, it includes fascenating speculation that Israel may have a second hidden Dimona type reactor)
12. Hersh, op. cit., 1989, p. 213
13. ibid, p.198-200
14. ibid, pp. 3-17
15. Hounman, op. cit. 1999, pp 189-203
16. Hersh, 1989. pp.199-200
17. ibid, p. 312
18. John Pike and Federation of American Scientists, Israel Special Weapons Guide Website, 2001, Web Address http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/israel/index.html (An invaluable internet resource)
19. Usi Mahnaimi and Peter Conradi, Fears of New Arms Race as Israel Tests Cruise Missiles, June 18, 2000, London Sunday Times
20. Usi Mahnaimi, Israeli Jets Equipped for Chemical Warfare October 4, 1998, London Sunday Times
21. Usi Mahnaimi and Marie Colvin, Israel Planning “Ethnic” bomb as Saddam Caves In, November 15, 1998, London Sunday Times
22. Hersh, op.cit., 1991, p. 319
23. Gaffney, op.cit., 1989, p. 163
24. Israel Shahak, Open Secrets: Israeli Nuclear and Foreign Policies, London, 1997,Pluto Press, p. 40 (An absolute “must read” for any Middle East or anti-nuclear activist)
25 ibid, p.2
26. ibid, p.43
27. Gaffney, op.cit., 1989, p 131
28. “Israel & the US: From Dependence to Nuclear Weapons?” Robert W. Tucker, Novenber 1975 pp41-42
29. London Sunday Times, October 12, 1986
30. Gaffney, op. cit. 1989. p. 147
31. ibid, p. 153
32. DEBKAfile, February 23, 2001 WWW.debka.com
33. Uzi Mahnaimi and Tom Walker, London Sunday Times, February 25, 2001
34. Shahak, op. cit., p150
35. Hersh, op.cit., p. 319
36. Shahak, op. cit., p34
37. ibid, p. 149
38. ibid, p. 153
39. ibid, pp. 37-38
40. ibid, pp 39-40
41. Hersh, op. cit., p. 19
42. Aronson, Geoffrey, “Hidden Agenda: US-Israeli Relations and the Nuclear Question,” Middle East Journal, (Autumn 1992), 619-630.
43 . Hersh, op. cit., pp. 285-305
44. Gaffney, op. cit., p194
IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW how sausages are made, don’t start reading Visas for Al Qaeda: CIA Handouts That Rocked the World by Michael Springmann. The sausages in this case: the string of too-easily-swallowed accounts of bloody events in the “global war on terror,” served up daily with relish by the mainstream media. In reality these sausages are filled with tainted meat that’s making everyone sick.
Springmann is a brave whistle blower living in Washington, D.C. He’s written an accessible book, safe to digest, highlighting details of the corruption of the American Empire (and its accomplices, including Canada) as he experienced them from the inside during his years with the U.S. State Department.
While he served as a visa officer in the U.S. consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, for instance, he was obliged under threat of dismissal to issue visas to persons hired clandestinely by the CIA to become trained-in-the-USA terrorists. Most of these psychopathic thugs were clearly and legally unqualified to be issued visas. There is every reason to believe the “Visas for Terrorists” program remains fully operative today. It takes a lot of expendable terrorists to run a global terrorism op.
Springmann places his experiences both within the context of the historical roots of the U.S. Empire and within its current ongoing global destabilization project.
“This tale,” the author states near the beginning, “is a sordid sketch of backstabbing, disloyalty, double crosses, faithlessness, falsity, perfidy, sellouts, treachery, and betrayal.”
And that only covers the bureaucratic aspect. Even more sobering is his sketch of human rights violations: torture, assassinations, massacres including bombings of markets, invasions and occupations of countries, destabilization of nations and regions.
Then there’s the financial side: widespread criminality, resource theft, bribery, diversion of funds, illicit drug dealing and more.
Not to mention the flouting of international laws. This dimension includes gross infringements on national sovereignty, the casual violation of treaties and ho-hum everyday general lawlessness, risking even the threat of nuclear annihilation.
All this before taking into account the moral dimension, in which trashing the Ten Commandments is just an opening trifle.
“My story shows how things really work,” Springmann writes, correctly. In the book’s 250 pages he names names, dates, times and places – presumably opening himself up to lawsuits, should there be anything here that the individuals named deem libelous. They might think twice, however, since Springmann is a lawyer by profession and knows his way around the Empire’s capital – as well as some of its outlying ramparts such as Stuttgart, New Delhi and especially Jeddah.
Stinging in itself, Springmann’s book also can be read as an authenticating companion to Michel Chossudovsky’s Towards a World War III Scenario (2012) and The Globalization of War: America’s “Long War” Against Humanity (2015). Along the way, both authors deal, to one extent or another, with the ideological, hubristic and increasingly bellicose role of the Harper government as handmaiden to the American Empire, including military involvements in Libya, Serbia and the Ukraine. Springmann necessarily refers very little to Canada, but to read his account of the cowardly and unnecessary rain of death inflicted on Libya, for instance, is to be obliged as a Canadian to think of Harper’s enthusiasm and pride in having this country share in the slaughter and destabilization carried out under the Orwellian “responsibility to protect” notion.
Springmann quotes Maximilian C. Forte who notes that before the attack Libya enjoyed the highest Human Development Index (a UN measurement of well-being) in all Africa. “After Western military forces destroyed the country the Index only records the steep collapse of all indicators of well-being. More Libyans were killed with intervention than without. It was about control, about militarizing Africa,” Forte argues.
What Springmann brings uniquely to the table is his firsthand knowledge of precisely how the USA recruits terrorists (no quotation marks needed), sends them to the USA for training and then deploys them to carry out murders, torture, bombings and more. The bloody mayhem carried out by these thousands of paid mercenaries – ostensibly beheading-habituated “jihadists” fighting against democracy, decency and the USA and its “allies – is planned, organized and funded by none other than the same USA and its allies. It’s a global false flag operation – the largest by far in history.
As Springmann on page 65 writes of the “Visas for Terrorists Program:”
This was not an ad hoc operation, conceived and carried out in response to a specific foreign policy issue. Rather, it was another of too many CIA efforts to destroy governments, countries, and politicians disfavored by the American “establishment” in its “bipartisan” approach to matters abroad. Whether it was opposing the imaginary evils of communism, the fictitious malevolence of Islam, or the invented wickedness of Iran, America and its intelligence services, brave defenders of “The City Upon A Hill,” sought out and created fear and loathing of peoples and countries essentially engaged in efforts to better their lives and improve their political world. Along the way, Agency-sponsored murders, war crimes, and human rights violations proved to be good business. Jobs for the Clandestine Service (people who recruit and run spies), sales of weapons and aircraft, as well as the myriad items needed to control banks, countries and peoples all provided income for and benefits to American companies.
That the American Empire has been able to carry out such a massive illegal program for so long is the saddest of commentaries on how deep the rot is, how effective the secrecy, how complicit the media.
As to the span of dangerous widespread deception, Springmann notes that Rahul Bedi wrote in Jane’s Defence Weekly on September 14, 2001 that beginning in 1980 “thousands [of mujahideen] were … brought to America and made competent in terrorism by Green Berets and SEALS at US government East Coast facilities, trained in guerilla warfare and armed with sophisticated weapons.”
The point is made repeatedly that Al Qaeda and now ISIS/ISIL/the Islamic State are essentially “Made in USA” entities, brought into being and organized for the Empire’s purposes. Among the elements that make possible such a vast fraud are deception, compartmentalization and secrecy. Springmann quotes attorney Pat Frascogna, “a man with FOIA expertise,” about secrecy and its purpose:
Thus whether it be learning the dirty and unethical business practices of a company or the secrets of our government, the same deployment of denials and feigning ignorance about what is really going on are the all-too-common methods used to keep the truth from the light of day.
Langley recruited the Arab-Afghans so clandestinely that the terrorists didn’t know they had been recruited. They thought that they had found a battlefield on their own, or through the Internet or through Twitter or through television…
Frascogna’s observation intersects with Springmann’s on-the-job experiences as a visa officer in Jeddah starting in 1987. Springmann was repeatedly overruled when he turned down disqualified applicants for U.S. visas. He writes:
As I later learned to my dismay, the visa applicants were recruits for the war in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union’s armed forces. Further, as time went by, the fighters, trained in the United States, went on to other battlefields: Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, and Syria. They worked with the American intelligence services and the State Department to destabilize governments the United States opposed. While it’s no secret, most knowledgeable people still refuse to talk about this agenda.
As Springmann learned, “the average percentage of intelligence officers to real diplomats at a given Foreign Service post is about one in three. My experience in Jeddah, Stuttgart, and New Delhi might place it higher—at least 50 percent, if not more.” According to the Anti-CIA Club of Diplomats: Spooks in U.S. Foreign Service [sic], a twelve-page, 1983 Canadian publication (see namebase.org), the percentage is 60 percent.
“At Jeddah,” Springmann writes, “to the best of my knowledge, out of some twenty US citizens assigned to the consulate, only three people, including myself, worked for the Department of State. The rest were CIA or NSA officials or their spouses.” Elsewhere Springmann suggests that essentially the CIA runs the State Department, and that this is true of many other U.S. government departments and agencies as well. It seems that it’s almost impossible to over-estimate the reach of the CIA’s tentacles or the overweening treason of its nonstop black ops and unconstitutional operations domestically.
Springmann toward the end of the book refers to the beginnings of the CIA. It’s interesting for this reviewer to think that he was 13 years of age in 1947 when U.S. president Harry Truman agreed with the National Security Council (NSC) to secretly create the CIA and NSA. I remember that in my teenage years a few of my peers said there “was something” called “the CIA.” This was around the time a few people also said there “was something” called “the Mafia.” The consensus was that both ideas were very far-fetched.
In 1948 Truman approved yet another NSC initiative, providing for “propaganda, economic warfare; preventive direct action, including sabotage, antisabotage,
demolition and evacuation measures; subversion against hostile states, including assistance to underground resistance movements, guerillas, and refugee liberation groups, and support of indigenous anti-Communist elements in threatened countries of the free world.” That’s a tabula rasa if there ever was one: a license for lawlessness.
The CIA’s twisted hits have just kept coming. It’s worth noting that Truman didn’t singlehandedly initiate this monstrosity. The dark recesses of the Deep State, as Peter Dale Scott calls it, are where the demonic entity was spawned. Ever since, Frankenstein’s monster has been a harmless schoolboy by comparison.
To read of the rape of Libya with active Canadian military complicity makes for difficult reading. The lies are piled as high as the bodies, and these two categories are insuperably paired.
Equally sordid, especially in light of Stephen Harper’s enthusiasm for expanding the war on Russia (the economic sanctions and the diplomatic exclusion of Russia from the G8 are forms of warfare, not to mention decades of covert* military incursion by the West onto the territory of the former USSR and now the Russian Federation, as described in Visas for Al Qaeda) is to read some of the history of the Ukraine. “The West’s” meddling in the Ukraine has a long illicit pedigree. As Springmann writes:
It seems that the CIA had problems [in the immediate post World War II period] distinguishing between underground groups and above-ground armies. Langley used Marshall Plan money to support a guerrilla force in the Ukraine, called “Nightingale.” Originally established in 1941 by Nazi Germany’s occupation forces, and working on their behalf, “Nightingale” and its terrorist arm (made up of ultranationalist Ukrainians as well as Nazi collaborators) murdered thousands of Jews, Soviet Union supporters, and Poles.
Even relatively recently, since the so-called Orange revolution in the Ukraine made events there eminently newsworthy, I can’t remember seeing in the mainstream media a single substantial article dealing with the historical relationships between the Ukraine and Russia going back to World War II, nor such an article laying out the history of the involvement –overt or covert – of “the West” in the Ukraine.
Instead, we see the surreal ahistorical likes of the top headline in The New York Times International Weekly for June 13-14, “Russia is Sowing Disunity,” by Peter Baker and Steven Erlanger. They report breathlessly in the lead paragraph: “Moscow is leveraging its economic power, financing European political parties and movements, and spreading alternative accounts of the Ukraine conflict, according the American and European officials.
True to the narrative of “the West” as a pitiful giant facing a powerful and expansionist Russia, the writers posit that the “consensus against Russian aggression” is “fragile.
The drift of this NYT yarn, typical of Western propaganda across the board, is that there remains in effect a behemoth “Soviet empire” surreptitiously shipping “Moscow gold” to dupes in “green movements” and so on. Even a former American national intelligence officer on Russia, Fiona Hill, now at the Brookings Institution, told the writers: “The question is how much hard evidence does anyone have?
Maybe this NYT propaganda, like its clones across the mainstream media, is not ahistorical after all. The story comes across rather as an historical relic of the Cold War – found in a time capsule in a fallout shelter – that the NYT editors decided to publish as a prank. A sausage.
* Military action by “the West” has not always been covert. Springmann notes that American and Japanese soldiers were dispatched to Russia in 1917 to squelch the fledgling Russian revolution. The soldiers were part of what was called the Allied Expeditionary Force. Winston Churchill for his part said: “We must strangle the Bolshevik baby in its crib.” Springmann might have noted that Canadian soldiers were part of the AEF.
Does Ed Snowden Really Trust Apple?
In the wake of Congress passing the USA Freedom Act Ed Snowden composed an editorial piece that appeared in the New York Times. There are aspects of this article that may surprise those who’ve followed events since Snowden first went public two years back.
For example, Ed referred to the bill as a “historic victory” though there are skeptics in the peanut gallery like your author who would call it theater. That is, an attempt to codify otherwise expired measures which have been of little use according to their stated purpose. The USA Freedom Act provides the opportunity for elected officials in Washington to do a victory lap and boast that they’ve implemented restructuring while former American spies, with a knowing wink, understand that what’s actually been instituted is “hardly major change.”
Moving onward through his laudatory communiqué, Ed warns that hi tech companies “are being pressured by governments around the world to work against their customers rather than for them.” He opted not to say who was being leaned on.
But wait, he did mention a name. It’s just that, in this specific case, it was in the context of a product placement for one of the world’s largest technical companies. Here’s the excerpt:
“Basic technical safeguards such as encryption — once considered esoteric and unnecessary — are now enabled by default in the products of pioneering companies like Apple, ensuring that even if your phone is stolen, your private life remains private”
Let’s consider for a moment the underlying assumptions inherent to this narrative. The messaging scheme at work is one which allows business leaders to channel public outrage by depicting corporations as unwilling partners who’ve every intention of protecting the privacy of their users instead of knowingly cavort with spies.
CEO’s like Tim Cook have gone so far as to publicly scold their industry for monetizing user data. Specifically, in a speech delivered at an event hosted by the Electronic Privacy Information Center Cook stated:
“They’re [tech companies] gobbling up everything they can learn about you and trying to monetize it. We think that’s wrong. And it’s not the kind of company that Apple wants to be.”
Hold it right there.
Keep in mind that Apple is a colossal multinational company. It has no qualms about collecting information on users, using slave labor to save a buck, stockpiling profits overseas to avoid paying taxes, giving companies like Google unencumbered access to its user base, participating in a wage-fixing cartel, or cooperating with the NSA when executives (who chatted up spymasters on a first-name basis) thought that they could get away with it.
Can a profit-driven monolith like Apple be trusted to do the right thing when it’s just as easy to secretly continue doing otherwise? If we’ve learned anything from the Snowden revelations it’s that intelligence services exist primarily to pursue the interests of private capital. Why not have their cake and eat it too? Assuage the public with encryption marketing pitches and then bury their collusion even deeper. Issues like “trust” in the corridors of the C-suites are usually viewed as a mere public relations issue.
Apple wouldn’t lie to us again, right?
Bill Blunden is a journalist whose current areas of inquiry include information security, anti-forensics, and institutional analysis. He is the author of several books, including “The Rootkit Arsenal” and “Behold a Pale Farce: Cyberwar, Threat Inflation, and the Malware-Industrial Complex.” Bill is the lead investigator at Below Gotham Labs.
Director of the US spy agency CIA John Brennan has reportedly made a secret visit to Israel to brief the regime’s officials over the ongoing nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 states.
Brennan traveled to Israel on June 4 and met with high-ranking Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and one of his advisers Yossi Cohen, to discuss the developments in the talks between Iran and the six world powers, Haaretz quoted two senior Israeli officials as saying on Tuesday.
The officials, who asked not to be named, said the CIA chief also held meetings with the head of Israel’s spy agency Mossad Tamir Pardo and the regime’s military intelligence chief Major General Herzl Halevi.
It is unclear whether Brennan conveyed a message from US President Barack Obama to Netanyahu about a possible comprehensive agreement over Tehran’s nuclear program.
The CIA has not yet commented on the report of Brennan’s trip.
Diplomatic efforts aimed at reaching a final agreement over Iran’s nuclear program have drawn angry reactions from Israel. The Tel Aviv regime has been lobbying intensely to thwart such a deal.
Brennan’s visit to Israel came at a sensitive juncture, less than a month ahead of the June 30 deadline set by Tehran and its negotiating sides to finalize a deal, which seeks to end the Western dispute over Tehran’s nuclear case.
A few days before his visit to Israel, Brennan told the US-based CBS network that Washington and Tel Aviv are closely cooperating on the issue of Iran’s nuclear negotiations.
“The CIA, NSA (the US National Security Agency) and other intelligence community entities are working very close with their Israeli … counterparts” regarding the talks, Brennan said.
Iran and the P5+1 states– Russia, China, France, Britain, the US and Germany — have been working on the text of the final deal since they reached mutual understanding on key parameters of such an accord in the Swiss city of Lausanne on April 2.
Russian Foreign Chief Sergey Lavrov has made remarks on the situation in Macedonia stressing the involvement of outside actors. According to him, there was a connection between the events in Macedonia “unfolding against the background of the Macedonian government’s refusal to join sanctions against Russia and an active support from Skopje for the plans to build the Turkish Stream pipeline, to which many in Brussels and across the Atlantic are opposed.”
An extremely nervous reaction followed betraying uneasy conscience. The West says another conflict is incited in the region and Russia is the one to blame. According to it, Moscow wants to partition Macedonia. This plan meets its great power ambitions. The statement by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that there was talk of dividing up Macedonia and giving parts to Bulgaria and Albania was “highly irresponsible,” Bulgarian Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov said adding that his country was not involved. Zoran Zaev, the political leader of the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) flatly refused the idea of partition or federalization. But nobody is going to take his opinion into account. Besides, Sergey Lavrov said the same thing. Lavrov’s statement did not contain direct accusations against the United States. For all that, US ambassador to Macedonia, Jess Baily, said the Russian Minister’s remarks were absurd and put the blame for the growing tensions on Moscow.
In reality, it’s all different. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made his remarks during Government Hour at the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly, Moscow, May 20, 2015. The recording shows him saying the Macedonian events were influenced from outside. According to him, the outside interference pursues the goal of toppling Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski to punish him for refusing to join the anti-Russian sanctions and the stated intent of Macedonia to become part of the Turkish Stream project with the pipeline going through the territory of the country. The Albanian factor has an important role to play here. There is enough evidence to make many Western media outlets agree that these are the real reasons for deterioration of the situation in the Balkans.
Sergey Lavrov believes that the ideas to “federalize” Macedonia or turn it into a sort of “flexible federation” or “confederation” are fraught with danger. “The idea even has been expressed why not divide up (what is) an artificially-established state – to give part to Bulgaria, and some to Albania”, Lavrov said, going on to say that the Albanian prime minister spoke of “Greater Albania.” The Russian Foreign Minister made his remarks against the background of European policy. For instance, the European Union has already insisted on giving Albanians the rights that Russian minorities in other states are deprived of. According to Lavrov, “…in our discussions with the EU, we raised the issue of rights of Russians and Russian-speaking people in Estonia and Latvia, we asked, “Why did you support the Ohrid Agreement and provide Albanians in Macedonia with a substantial scope of rights but you can’t do the same for Russians in Estonia and Latvia?” There was no answer. However, the conflict in Macedonia was settled at the time. The Russian Minister said that “without reference to Macedonia, the Prime Minister in Tirana is generally declaring slogans of Greater Albania.” Is it not enough to admit the existence of plans to divide Macedonia?
Obviously their implementation would also entail the partition of neighboring Serbia and Montenegro. There was no response from Brussels and Washington on the statement of Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama about Greater Albania, no matter it was explosive enough being done at the time of acute crisis in a neighboring country. The European Union and the United States have no objections. The West openly displays its permissive parenting attitude towards Albanian politicians who are forgiven anything they say or do. How can this approach be explained? Is it part of the West’s traditional policy aimed at dividing Slav people?
The Albanian Mafia, especially those who come from Kosovo, have been in control of European drug trafficking for several years. Where has money gone? With the FIFA scandal in full swing, wouldn’t it be expedient to check the activities of Western structures responsible for Balkans policy? I’m sure that a lot of interesting facts would surface.
Families of the terrorists arrested in the Macedonian town of Kumanovo organized protests in front of the government of Kosovo in Pristina asking for their relatives to be released from arrest in Macedonia. They complained about “harsh treatment of prisoners.” It proves the fact that the militants were not Macedonians. They came from Kosovo. Macedonia handed over to Pristina the bodies of nine ethnic-Albanian gunmen killed in clashes with police earlier this month. The procession carrying nine metal coffins was honored in silence by hundreds of Kosovars holding national flags. Many high standing officials attended the funeral, including the members of parliament. No reaction followed from the West. The same way the statement of Edi Rama was not condemned by either the government of Bulgaria, nor the Macedonian opposition led by Zaev. But it’s not Lavrov who actually calls for the partition of Macedonia, but the Albanian Prime Minister. The Russian Minister plainly spoke against the idea to divide the country. How can the West prove it its opposition to such plans?
A lot of sinister things take place behind the scenes in the Macedonian scenario. The West, Bulgaria and the Macedonian opposition join in chorus to affirm that the incumbent Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski was behind the actions of Albanian terrorists invading the territory of Macedonia near Kumanovo. According to them, it was done to take the people’s attention away from internal problems. The Kosovo news agency KOHA is normally cited as the information source, no matter it failed to come up with anything like solid evidence to support the version that sounds rather strange. Nobody cares much about evidence in the conditions of ongoing hybrid war. For all that, experts pay attention to the fact that the terrorist group routed in Kumanovo was formed in the municipality of Vitino (Kosovo) near the US military base Bondstill. There is no way that 80 armed men coul pass by the facility unnoticed with all the detection means used by the US military to provide surveillance in the area.
Misha Jurkovic of Institute for European Studies, Belgrade, says there have been “orange revolutions” style coup attempts staged in 30 countries during the recent 15 years.
It all started with protests organized by the Serbian youth resistance movement Otpor. Its leaders, Slobodan Đinović and Srđa Popović, became professional international revolutionaries. Paid by the US, they move from one country to another organizing protest actions. Srđa Popović was seen in Skopje before the events in question. It should be noted that US Ambassador to Macedonia Jess Baily was Deputy Chief of Mission in Ankara at the time in which the US-supported the Taksim Square protests in an attempt to topple Recep Erdogan. Who else can do a better job opposing the plans to build the Turkish Stream across the Balkans? It’s not a coincidence that Baily came out in support of protesters as soon as they hit the streets of Skopje. He is dry behind the ears in making “popular” protest movements look right in the eyes of the public.
The Macedonian opposition has a powerful sponsor lending a helping hand. Suffice it to remember the 6-months-old wire-tap scandal sparked by revelations that came to light thanks to the efforts undertaken by patriots. An almost surreal scandal involving 700 thousands of secretly recorded conversations caught top government officials discussing everything from rigging votes to covering up killings. Opposition Social Democrat leader Zoran Zaev said the tapes were made illegally by the government as part of mass surveillance operation targeting 20,000 allies and opponents alike. They were leaked to him by a whistleblower. With so many recorded conversations everyone is free to make guesses and conclusions to his heart’s content. The government is accused of illegal spying against opposition. But total control over the government is a real tall order. One can hardly imagine anybody in Macedonia being equal to the task. Willy-nilly one gets the impression that the powerful US National Security Agency with the spying capabilities provided by PRISM program (a clandestine surveillance program under which the United States National Security Agency (NSA) collects internet communications of foreign nationals) has a hand in it. Perhaps, the Agency decided that the time is right to forget the damage inflicted by Edward Snowden, an American computer professional who leaked classified information from the National Security Agency, and put to good use the information gathering capabilities acquired by NSA at huge expense. There is solid ground to believe that that the National Security Agency acted together with the Bundesnachrichtendienst or BND (German Federal Intelligence Service directly subordinated to the Chancellor’s Office) to make amends for US spying on German politicians.
Nikola Gruevski knows exactly what Macedonian national intelligence can do. According to him, there is no room for doubt that the recordings were given to the opposition by “a foreign intelligence agency.” Zoran Zaev, the opposition leader, often says that the Prime Minister is not a patriot because he has discussed with his accomplices the possibility ceding to Western pressure and renaming the Republic of Macedonia the “Upper Republic of Macedonia” or the “Northern Republic of Macedonia.” Athens is adamant in its insistence on the name change. Citing historical and territorial concerns resulting from the ambiguity between the Republic of Macedonia, the adjacent Greek region of Macedonia and the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedonia which falls mostly within Greek Macedonia, Greece opposes the use of the name “Macedonia” by the Republic of Macedonia without a geographical qualifier, supporting a compound name such as “Northern Macedonia” for use by all and for all purposes. Until now Greece has been hindering the process of Macedonia’s membership in international organizations. The recorded text that became public domain testifies to the fact that Gruevski has been informed about ideas initiated from outside, but he never supported them and expressed doubts it would be acceptable to the people of the country. It proves that all accusations against him hold no water.
According to recent news from Skopje, Nikola Gruevski said he would join the Turkish Stream and let it pass across the country’s territory only on the condition the plan is approved by European Commission. As soon as he said that, the criticism against him began to die down. EU Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn is expected to visit the country on June 1. Together with US Ambassador Jess Baily (his participation gives an idea of who in reality controls the situation) they will try to act as intermediaries in an effort to make peace between the government and the opposition. The whole country was brought to the verge of civil war and dozens of people were sacrificed to serve mercantile interests.
“The ultimate goal of the NSA is total population control.”—William Binney, NSA whistleblower
We now have a fourth branch of government.
As I document in my new book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, this fourth branch came into being without any electoral mandate or constitutional referendum, and yet it possesses superpowers, above and beyond those of any other government agency save the military. It is all-knowing, all-seeing and all-powerful. It operates beyond the reach of the president, Congress and the courts, and it marches in lockstep with the corporate elite who really call the shots in Washington, DC.
You might know this branch of government as Surveillance, but I prefer “technotyranny,” a term coined by investigative journalist James Bamford to refer to an age of technological tyranny made possible by government secrets, government lies, government spies and their corporate ties.
Beware of what you say, what you read, what you write, where you go, and with whom you communicate, because it will all be recorded, stored and used against you eventually, at a time and place of the government’s choosing. Privacy, as we have known it, is dead.
The police state is about to pass off the baton to the surveillance state.
Having already transformed local police into extensions of the military, the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department and the FBI are preparing to turn the nation’s soldier cops into techno-warriors, complete with iris scanners, body scanners, thermal imaging Doppler radar devices, facial recognition programs, license plate readers, cell phone Stingray devices and so much more.
This is about to be the new face of policing in America.
The National Security Agency (NSA) has been a perfect red herring, distracting us from the government’s broader, technology-driven campaign to render us helpless in the face of its prying eyes. In fact, long before the NSA became the agency we loved to hate, the Justice Department, the FBI, and the Drug Enforcement Administration were carrying out their own secret mass surveillance on an unsuspecting populace.
Just about every branch of the government—from the Postal Service to the Treasury Department and every agency in between—now has its own surveillance sector, authorized to spy on the American people. Then there are the fusion and counterterrorism centers that gather all of the data from the smaller government spies—the police, public health officials, transportation, etc.—and make it accessible for all those in power. And of course that doesn’t even begin to touch on the complicity of the corporate sector, which buys and sells us from cradle to grave, until we have no more data left to mine.
The raging debate over the fate of the NSA’s blatantly unconstitutional, illegal and ongoing domestic surveillance programs is just so much noise, what Shakespeare referred to as “sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
It means nothing: the legislation, the revelations, the task forces, and the filibusters.
The government is not giving up, nor is it giving in. It has stopped listening to us. It has long since ceased to take orders from “we the people.”
If you haven’t figured it out yet, none of it—the military drills, the surveillance, the militarized police, the strip searches, the random pat downs, the stop-and-frisks, even the police-worn body cameras—is about fighting terrorism. It’s about controlling the populace.
Despite the fact that its data snooping has been shown to be ineffective at detecting, let alone stopping, any actual terror attacks, the NSA continues to operate largely in secret, carrying out warrantless mass surveillance on hundreds of millions of Americans’ phone calls, emails, text messages and the like, beyond the scrutiny of most of Congress and the taxpayers who are forced to fund its multi-billion dollar secret black ops budget.
Legislation such as the USA Patriot Act serves only to legitimize the actions of a secret agency run by a shadow government. Even the proposed and ultimately defeated USA Freedom Act, which purported to restrict the reach of the NSA’s phone surveillance program—at least on paper—by requiring the agency to secure a warrant before surveillance could be carried out on American citizens and prohibiting the agency from storing any data collected on Americans, amounted to little more than a paper tiger: threatening in appearance, but lacking any real bite.
The question of how to deal with the NSA—an agency that operates outside of the system of checks and balances established by the Constitution—is a divisive issue that polarizes even those who have opposed the NSA’s warrantless surveillance from the get-go, forcing all of us—cynics, idealists, politicians and realists alike—to grapple with a deeply unsatisfactory and dubious political “solution” to a problem that operates beyond the reach of voters and politicians: how do you trust a government that lies, cheats, steals, sidesteps the law, and then absolves itself of wrongdoing to actually obey the law?
Since its official start in 1952, when President Harry S. Truman issued a secret executive order establishing the NSA as the hub of the government’s foreign intelligence activities, the agency—nicknamed “No Such Agency”—has operated covertly, unaccountable to Congress all the while using taxpayer dollars to fund its secret operations. It was only when the agency ballooned to 90,000 employees in 1969, making it the largest intelligence agency in the world with a significant footprint outside Washington, DC, that it became more difficult to deny its existence.
In the aftermath of Watergate in 1975, the Senate held meetings under the Church Committee in order to determine exactly what sorts of illicit activities the American intelligence apparatus was engaged in under the direction of President Nixon, and how future violations of the law could be stopped. It was the first time the NSA was exposed to public scrutiny since its creation.
The investigation revealed a sophisticated operation whose surveillance programs paid little heed to such things as the Constitution. For instance, under Project SHAMROCK, the NSA spied on telegrams to and from the U.S., as well as the correspondence of American citizens. Moreover, as the Saturday Evening Post reports, “Under Project MINARET, the NSA monitored the communications of civil rights leaders and opponents of the Vietnam War, including targets such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Mohammed Ali, Jane Fonda, and two active U.S. Senators. The NSA had launched this program in 1967 to monitor suspected terrorists and drug traffickers, but successive presidents used it to track all manner of political dissidents.”
Senator Frank Church (D-Ida.), who served as the chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence that investigated the NSA, understood only too well the dangers inherent in allowing the government to overstep its authority in the name of national security. Church recognized that such surveillance powers “at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide.”
Noting that the NSA could enable a dictator “to impose total tyranny” upon an utterly defenseless American public, Church declared that he did not “want to see this country ever go across the bridge” of constitutional protection, congressional oversight and popular demand for privacy. He avowed that “we,” implicating both Congress and its constituency in this duty, “must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.”
The result was the passage of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), and the creation of the FISA Court, which was supposed to oversee and correct how intelligence information is collected and collated. The law requires that the NSA get clearance from the FISA Court, a secret surveillance court, before it can carry out surveillance on American citizens. Fast forward to the present day, and the so-called solution to the problem of government entities engaging in unjustified and illegal surveillance—the FISA Court—has unwittingly become the enabler of such activities, rubberstamping almost every warrant request submitted to it.
The 9/11 attacks served as a watershed moment in our nation’s history, ushering in an era in which immoral and/or illegal government activities such as surveillance, torture, strip searches, SWAT team raids are sanctioned as part of the quest to keep us “safe.”
In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, George W. Bush secretly authorized the NSA to conduct warrantless surveillance on Americans’ phone calls and emails. That wireless wiretap program was reportedly ended in 2007 after the New York Times reported on it, to mass indignation.
Nothing changed under Barack Obama. In fact, the violations worsened, with the NSA authorized to secretly collect internet and telephone data on millions of Americans, as well as on foreign governments.
It was only after whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations in 2013 that the American people fully understood the extent to which they had been betrayed once again.
What this brief history of the NSA makes clear is that you cannot reform the NSA.
As long as the government is allowed to make a mockery of the law—be it the Constitution, the FISA Act or any other law intended to limit its reach and curtail its activities—and is permitted to operate behind closed doors, relying on secret courts, secret budgets and secret interpretations of the laws of the land, there will be no reform.
Presidents, politicians, and court rulings have come and gone over the course of the NSA’s 60-year history, but none of them have done much to put an end to the NSA’s “technotyranny.”
The beast has outgrown its chains. It will not be restrained.
The growing tension seen and felt throughout the country is a tension between those who wield power on behalf of the government—the president, Congress, the courts, the military, the militarized police, the technocrats, the faceless unelected bureaucrats who blindly obey and carry out government directives, no matter how immoral or unjust, and the corporations—and those among the populace who are finally waking up to the mounting injustices, seething corruption and endless tyrannies that are transforming our country into a technocrized police state.
At every turn, we have been handicapped in our quest for transparency, accountability and a representative democracy by an establishment culture of secrecy: secret agencies, secret experiments, secret military bases, secret surveillance, secret budgets, and secret court rulings, all of which exist beyond our reach, operate outside our knowledge, and do not answer to “we the people.”
What we have failed to truly comprehend is that the NSA is merely one small part of a shadowy permanent government comprised of unelected bureaucrats who march in lockstep with profit-driven corporations that actually runs Washington, DC, and works to keep us under surveillance and, thus, under control. For example, Google openly works with the NSA, Amazon has built a massive $600 million intelligence database for the CIA, and the telecommunications industry is making a fat profit by spying on us for the government.
In other words, Corporate America is making a hefty profit by aiding and abetting the government in its domestic surveillance efforts. Conveniently, as the Intercept recently revealed, many of the NSA’s loudest defenders have financial ties to NSA contractors.
Thus, if this secret regime not only exists but thrives, it is because we have allowed it through our ignorance, apathy and naïve trust in politicians who take their orders from Corporate America rather than the Constitution.
If this shadow government persists, it is because we have yet to get outraged enough to push back against its power grabs and put an end to its high-handed tactics.
And if this unelected bureaucracy succeeds in trampling underfoot our last vestiges of privacy and freedom, it will be because we let ourselves be fooled into believing that politics matters, that voting makes a difference, that politicians actually represent the citizenry, that the courts care about justice, and that everything that is being done is in our best interests.
Indeed, as political scientist Michael J. Glennon warns, you can vote all you want, but the people you elect aren’t actually the ones calling the shots. “The American people are deluded … that the institutions that provide the public face actually set American national security policy,” stated Glennon. “They believe that when they vote for a president or member of Congress or succeed in bringing a case before the courts, that policy is going to change. But … policy by and large in the national security realm is made by the concealed institutions.”
In other words, it doesn’t matter who occupies the White House: the secret government with its secret agencies, secret budgets and secret programs won’t change. It will simply continue to operate in secret until some whistleblower comes along to momentarily pull back the curtain and we dutifully—and fleetingly—play the part of the outraged public, demanding accountability and rattling our cages, all the while bringing about little real reform.
Thus, the lesson of the NSA and its vast network of domestic spy partners is simply this: once you allow the government to start breaking the law, no matter how seemingly justifiable the reason, you relinquish the contract between you and the government which establishes that the government works for and obeys you, the citizen—the employer—the master.
Once the government starts operating outside the law, answerable to no one but itself, there’s no way to rein it back in, short of revolution. And by revolution, I mean doing away with the entire structure, because the corruption and lawlessness have become that pervasive.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch says that USA Patriot Act dragnet spy powers must be extended or else the terrorists will get us.
Lynch said Friday the country would be “less safe” if Congress fails to renew surveillance programs included in the Patriot Act.
Lynch joined other top Obama administration officials, who are urging the Senate to pass the USA Freedom Act, which would reform the National Security Agency’s (NSA) bulk phone records collection program while renewing other key parts of the post-Sept. 11 law.
“Our biggest fear is that we will lose important eyes on people who have made it clear that their mission is to harm American people here and abroad,” Lynch told CBS News in her first interview since becoming attorney general.
If NSA’s phone metadata program expires completely, Lynch said the U.S. government would lose “important tools” to identify terror threats.
“I think that we run the risk of essentially being less safe,” Lynch added. “I think that we lose the ability to intercept these communications, which have proven very important in cases that we have built in the past. And I am very concerned that the American people will be unprotected if this law expires.”
Lynch didn’t marshal any evidence to support her claims about the connection between dragnet spying and public safety. That’s because there isn’t one. Even the Department of Justice has acknowledged as much, writing in an Inspector General report that FBI agents interviewed couldn’t identify “any major case developments” tied to Section 215 of the Patriot Act, the provision the FBI claims enables dragnet spying.
Surveillance boosters have never been able to point to a circumstance—even one example—that proves dragnet surveillance is vital in stopping terrorism. Some insiders in the security state have observed that the bigger the haystack, the more difficult it is to successfully use intelligence information to identify and track threatening people. More information is not better. Better information is better, they say.
Loretta Lynch says she fears that if the Patriot Act isn’t reauthorized, “we will lose important eyes on people who have made it clear that their mission is to harm American people here and abroad.” That’s total nonsense. Anyone who “makes it clear” that they want to kill Americans is someone a judge would authorize targeted surveillance against. The government should leave the rest of us out of it.
Just about every recent terrorist attack on US and European soil has been committed by someone known to law enforcement. That’s true for the Garland, Texas shooter and for Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who blew up the Boston Marathon in April 2013. The government doesn’t need to spy on you and me in order to track people it already suspects of being up to no good.
You might be wondering: If dragnet spying doesn’t stop terrorism, and most terrorists are known to law enforcement, why do the FBI and the new Attorney General insist on renewing the Patriot Act’s worst provisions? It’s an important question, with a depressing answer.
The reason Lynch’s claims about dragnet spying don’t add up is because they are based on a perversion of the true purpose served by society wide surveillance. While the Patriot Act doesn’t stop terrorism, it’s quite good at enabling social and political control, and finding people who are vulnerable and may be easily coerced into becoming FBI informants.
If surveillance boosters were honest about why they want these powers, you might hear them talking less about terrorism and more about power. Add your voice: take action now to tell congress to reject dragnet surveillance.
Three provisions of the Patriot Act expire on June 1 and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is trying to delay taking action on the issue by calling for a two month or 5-year reauthorization of Section 215—the provision of the Patriot Act the NSA relies on to collect millions of Americans call records.
Before June 1 we expect to see plenty of fear-mongering from intelligence officials and national security hawks. Last year, the Wall Street Journal began the foray with an op-ed by Former NSA Director General Mike Hayden and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey—key architects of many of the NSA’s unlawful activities. This time, the mongering started with op-eds by John Yoo, Senator Marco Rubio, and Senator Tom Cotton.
Here are the top excuses officials will use to continue spying on Americans calling records and why they’re wrong:
Congress Needs Time to Debate
“I don’t know how we have the kind of fulsome debate that is going to be required on NSA without passing a temporary extension,” —Sen. John Cornyn
Congress has had two full years to publicly debate the NSA’s use of Section 215. Indeed, the debate has been vigorous and thoughtful. While Congress didn’t create a separate investigative committee, it was still able to hold over a dozen hearings where Section 215 was discussed. The hearings, which called upon officials like the Attorney General, Director of National Intelligence, and Director of the NSA, included hours of testimony on the programs, what they collect, and their effectiveness.
Congress has also debated Section 215 via Senator Patrick Leahy and Jim Sensenbrenner’s reform bill called the USA Freedom Act. Last year, the House passed a gutted bill of the USA Freedom Act, but debated the legislation for days. This year, the House debated a stronger version of the USA Freedom Act and passed it 338 to 88.
The Senate has also debated the legislation. Last year, after two days of debate, the Senate failed to advance a stronger version of the USA Freedom Act by two votes. Congress has had more than enough time to discuss these authorities and must act.
The Section 215 Program is Effective
“This has been a very important part of our effort to defend the homeland since 9/11.” —Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
There’s one problem: there’s no evidence to support that. Two independent commissions concluded the calling records program was not effective and has not been used to stop a terrorist attack. The first, called the President’s Review Group on Signals Intelligence, concluded “Our review suggests that the information contributed to terrorist investigations by the use of section 215 telephony meta-data was not essential to preventing attacks.”
Like the President’s Review Group, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board also concluded:
Based on the information provided to the Board, including classified briefings and documentation, we have not identified a single instance involving a threat to the United States in which the program made a concrete difference in the outcome of a counterterrorism investigation. Moreover, we are aware of no instance in which the program directly contributed to the discovery of a previously unknown terrorist plot or the disruption of a terrorist attack.
The quotes speak for themselves.
Fixing Section 215 Puts the Nation at Risk
“[The USA Freedom Act] would be rolling [the nation] back to exactly where we were pre-9/11. —Sen. Richard Burr
The Attorney General, Director of National Intelligence, and House Intelligence Chair and Ranking Members do not think reforming the Section 215 program will harm national security. Attorneys General Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper wrote letters (.pdf) to Congress noting that Section 215 reform would preserve both “vital national security authorities” and “essential Intelligence Community capabilities.”
The Program is “Lawful”
“Contrary to irresponsible rumors, the [bulk surveillance] program is lawful, carefully monitored, and protects personal privacy. The program does not conduct mass surveillance of American citizens—or any surveillance at all.” —Sen. Cotton and Rep. Mike Pompeo
Apparently, one of the “irresponsible rumors” Sen. Tom Cotton and Rep. Mike Pompeo reference is a decision by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. (The circuit courts are the federal courts directly below the Supreme Court). The Second Circuit held that the NSA’s telephone records program went far beyond what Congress authorized when it passed Section 215 of the Patriot Act in 2001. The court rejected the government’s secret reinterpretation of Section 215 that has served as the basis for the telephone records collection program. The Second Circuit’s opinion stands as a clear sign that the courts are ready to step in and rule that mass surveillance is illegal.
In addition, the program is “surveillance.” As we’ve repeatedly said: the collection of metadata matters. It reveals a host of information and context about a person’s habits, traits, and beliefs. The Circuit Court opinion explained that metadata is often a proxy for the content of the communication, and that phone records can “reveal a startling amount of detailed information” about callers. The court also recognized that aggregation of calling records matters because collection of large amounts of metadata plus the application of sophisticated data processing technologies gives the government access to even more revealing portraits of individuals and groups.
Congress Must Say No to a Short-Term Reauthorization
In the next few days, Congress will begin to debate whether or not they should vote for a short-term reauthorization of Section 215. The answer is clearly no. Join us now in telling your lawmaker to vote against any short-term reauthorization.