An Interview with David Ray Griffin
September 7, 2008
On September 11, I entertained a couple of house guests, senior journalists from Scandinavia. I remember watching in horror and disbelief the unfolding drama, as the United States was being subjected to multiple deadly attacks on-screen. I turned to the international affairs editor of a major Danish paper and told her “This could not have been done by al-Qaida.” I am an Israeli and, as such, I have a fair “sixth sense” as to the capabilities of terrorists and their potential reach.
Enter David Ray Griffin. I was introduced to him by a mutual acquaintance. He is emeritus professor of philosophy of religion and theology at Claremont School of Theology and Claremont Graduate University. He has published over 30 books, including eight about 9/11, the best known of which is “The New Pearl Harbor Revisited: 9/11, the Cover-Up, and the Exposé.”
On the face of it, his credentials with regards to intelligence analysis are hardly relevant, let alone impressive. But, to underestimate him would be a grave error. Being a philosopher, he is highly trained and utterly qualified to assess the credibility of data; the validity and consistency of theories (including conspiracy theories); and the rationality and logic of hypotheses. These qualifications made him arguably the most visible and senior member of what came to be known as the 9/11 Truth Movement.
In our exchange, he proved to be tolerant of dissenting views, open to debate, and invariably possessed of rigorous thinking. Still, while the 9/11 Truth Movement has succeeded to cast doubts on the official version of the events of September 11 (correctly labeled by Griffin: “the official conspiracy theory”), it failed, in my view, to present a compelling case in support of the alternative conspiracy theory much favored by many of its members: that the Bush administration was behind the attacks, one way or the other. Judge for yourselves.
The Incompetence Theory
Q: This administration demonstrated incredible incompetence with Hurricane Katrina, the governing of occupied Iraq, and the subprime mortgage crisis. Why should September 11 and the months leading to that fateful day be any exception?
DRG: It was not an exception: The planning and the execution were terribly flawed, resulting in so many problems in the official story, including both internal contradictions and the obvious contravening of basic laws of physics, that if Congress and the press had carried out even the most superficial investigation, the fact that 9/11 was an inside job would have been quickly exposed. I will give nine examples (in giving these, I cite places in my books where the issues are discussed more fully):
First, President Bush was in a classroom in Florida when the second of the Twin Towers was struck. Although the first strike had been dismissed as an accident, this second one was taken as evidence that America was “under attack,” as Andrew Card, Bush’s chief of staff, reportedly whispered in his ear. Back in the White House, the Secret Service took Vice President Cheney down to the bunker under the White House. But the Secret Service agents with Bush allowed him to stay in the classroom for another 10 minutes, as shown by a video that was included in Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11.” If the attacks had really been, as they seemed, surprise attacks by terrorists going after high-value targets, the Secret Service agents would have feared that a hijacked airliner was bearing down on the school at that very minute. Their failure to hustle Bush away thereby implied that they knew that Bush was in no danger because they knew who was in control of the planes. The White House’s apparently belated recognition of this implication was manifested a year later (before the video had emerged on the Internet), when it started telling a different story, claiming that Bush left the classroom within seconds after being told about the second strike on the Twin Towers (“9/11 Contradictions,” Ch. 1).
Second, the White House and the Pentagon also later found it necessary to distort the truth about where Vice President Cheney, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, and General Richard Myers were between 9 and 10 AM that morning. Richard Clarke reported in his book, “Against All Enemies” that Myers and Rumsfeld were in the Pentagon’s teleconferencing studio participating in his White House video conference, but Myers and Rumsfeld both claimed that they were elsewhere. Although Clarke and Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta reported that Cheney was down in the bunker before 9:20, the 9/11 Commission claimed that he didn’t enter it until almost 10:00 (20 minutes after the attack on the Pentagon and just before the crash of Flight 93). And although Clarke reported that he received the shootdown order from Cheney by 9:50 (at least 13 minutes before Flight 93 went down), the Commission claimed that Cheney did not issue this authorization until after 10:15 (“9/11 Contradictions,” Chs. 2-7).
Third, much of the evidence that the planes had been hijacked was provided by people who reported that they had received cell phone calls from relatives or crew members on board the planes. About a dozen cell phone calls were reported from Flight 93 alone. But after the 9/11 Truth Movement publicized the fact that cell phone calls from high-altitude airliners had not been technologically possible in 2001, the FBI changed its report, saying that the only cell phone calls from any of the four airliners were two that occurred when Flight 93 had descended to 5,000 feet (at which altitude they would have been at least arguably possible). This change of story meant, among other things, that the FBI, having stated in an affidavit in 2001 that American 11 flight attendant Amy Sweeney had made a 12-minute cell phone call, needed to fabricate a very implausible tale to support its revised claim that she had actually used an onboard phone (“The New Pearl Harbor Revisited” [henceforth NPHR], Chs. 3 & 6).
Fourth, the military’s original explanation as to why it was unable to intercept the first three flights before they hit their targets was so obviously problematic that it needed to be changed. Members of the 9/11 Truth Movement had shown that, even if the FAA had been as slow in notifying the military as NORAD claimed in 2001, there had still been sufficient time for the flights to have been intercepted, especially Flights 175 and 77. So the 9/11 Commission in 2004 simply created a new timeline, claiming, wholly implausibly, that the FAA had not notified the military at all about those two flights (“9/11 Contradictions,” Chs. 10 & 11).
Fifth, after considerable evidence was publicized by the 9/11 Truth Movement that Flight 93 had been shot down, the 9/11 Commission created a completely new story about it. Although the military had stated that the FAA had notified it about this flight and even that fighter jets were tracking it, the 9/11 Commission claimed that the FAA had not notified the military about Flight 93 until after it had crashed. Also, as I pointed out above, the 9/11 Commission claimed that Cheney did not issue the shootdown order until about 10:15, even though Richard Clarke reported that he had received this order at about 9:50 (“9/11 Contradictions,” Chs 12-13).
Sixth, the FBI first told reporters that proof of al-Qaeda’s responsibility for the attacks was incriminating material, including Mohamed Atta’s last will and testament, that was found in a Mitsubishi rented by Atta and left in the parking lot at the Boston airport. The FBI also reported that two other members of al-Qaeda who were on Flight 11, Adnan and Ameer Bukhari, drove a rented Nissan on September 10 from Boston to Portland, where they stayed overnight and then took a commuter flight back to Boston the next morning in time to catch Flight 11. On September 13, however, the FBI realized that neither of the Bukhari brothers had died on 9/11: one was still alive and the other had died the year before. So the FBI simply changed the story, saying that Atta and another al-Qaeda operative, Abdul al-Omari, had driven the Nissan to Portland. The incriminating materials were now said not to have been found in the Mitsubishi in the parking lot but in Atta’s luggage, which had failed to make the transfer from the commuter plane to Flight 11. One problem with this new story, besides the fact that it did not get fully formed until September 16, is that it made no sense, because it implied that Atta had planned to take his will on a plane that he intended to fly into the World Trade Center (“9/11 Contradictions,” Ch. 16).
Seventh, the official story about the attack on the Pentagon said that the pilot of Flight 77, which was a Boeing 757, executed an amazing maneuver in order to strike the first floor of Wedge 1. But the authorities also claimed that this pilot was Hani Hanjour, who could not, as was reported by several stories in the mainstream press, safely fly even a single-engine plane. The identification of the incompetent Hanjour as the pilot was evidently a last-minute decision, because his name was even not on the FBI’s first list of al-Qaeda operatives on Flight 77 (NPHR Chs. 2 & 6).
Eighth, eyewitness accounts by journalists and Pentagon employees, along with photographs and videos taken right after the attack on the Pentagon, reveal that there was no sign that the Pentagon had been hit by a giant airliner. Although about 30 people claimed to see an airliner strike the Pentagon, their testimonies were often in contradiction with each other and the physical facts (“NPHR Ch. 2).
Ninth, WTC 7 was evidently supposed to come down at about 10:45 in the morning, shortly after the collapses of the Twin Towers. A massive explosion occurred in the basement at about 9:15, which would have been 90 minutes before the explosions that were supposed to bring the building down (which would have been the same time-interval as that between the 8:46 explosion in the basement of the North Tower, as reported by janitor William Rodriguez, and the explosions that brought the building down at 10:28). But evidently most of the explosives that were supposed to go off at 10:45 failed to do so. As a result, the building did not come down until late in the afternoon, at which time the collapse was captured on several videos, which show the collapse to have been identical to typical implosions caused by pre-set explosives. This fact necessitated trying to keep most people in the dark about the collapse of WTC 7 as long as possible: Videos of WTC 7′s collapse were never again (after 9/11 itself) shown on mainstream television; the 9/11 Commission did not even mention this collapse; and the National Institute of Standards and Technology repeatedly delayed its report on this building, finally issuing it only late in 2008, shortly before the Bush administration was to leave office.
As shown by these and many other problems, almost every aspect of the 9/11 operation revealed incompetence. If any of the resulting problems had been pursued by Congress or the press, the 9/11 hoax would have been quickly exposed.
Q: Did the US Government possess in-house the expertise necessary to control-demolish WTC 7? Surely they didn’t sub-contract or farm out the demolition?
DRG: Apart from an investigation, we have no way to know for certain. But the planners probably did hire someone: As explained by ImplosionWorld.com, true implosions, which cause a building to come straight down into its own footprint (as WTC 7 clearly did), are “by far the trickiest type of explosive project, and there are only a handful of blasting companies in the world that possess enough experience . . . to perform these true building implosions” (“Debunking 9/11 Debunking,” Ch. 3). If the point of your statement that they “surely” would not have farmed out the demolition is that they would have feared that doing so would result in someone spilling the beans, this is an unrealistic assumption. No one would have been brought into the operation who could not be trusted to keep quiet. And why would someone confess to having participated in a project that killed thousands of fellow citizens?
Q: Why didn’t the conspirators wait until a few hours after the attacks and then publicly demolish all three buildings as hazards to the public and for public safety reasons?
DRG: Again, apart from an investigation, in which people are induced to talk by subpoenas and threats of prison, we cannot know why they made the various decisions they made. We can, however, make reasonable guesses in some cases. In this case, the desire to demolish these particular buildings was surely a secondary motive, important to only a few of the conspirators. The main purpose was surely to create a traumatizing spectacle—the planes hitting the buildings and then the buildings coming down shortly thereafter, killing thousands of people—in order to get the American people and Congress psychologically prepared to support attacks on Muslim countries, starting with Afghanistan (against which a war had already been planned), and to accept restrictions on our constitutional rights (the PATRIOT Act). This spectacle could then be replayed endlessly on television to reinforce the public’s fury and readiness to support the Bush administration’s “war on terror,” which could be morphed to attack Iraq (a war against which had also been planned in advance) and, assuming that the wars in those first two countries would go well, some of the other countries on the administration’s “hit list,” which has been reported by General Wesley Clark and neocon Michael Ledeen (NPHR Ch. 7).
Q: Why was WTC7 targeted and not other WTC buildings which suffered worse damage from debris and fires?
DRG: Again, we could learn the answer to this question easily enough through a genuine investigation, in which the usual types of inducements are used to get people to talk. Because that has not happened, some people have offered theories. One theory is that the building contained records that some authorities wanted destroyed. Another theory is that Giuliani’s Emergency Operations Center on the 23rd floor had equipment for drawing the two planes into the Twin Towers, which meant that the building needed to be totally demolished in order to destroy all the evidence. I myself do not speculate about this, as I do not try to develop a complete theory as to what happened that day. I concentrate instead on the various types of evidence that the official story is false, which is all that is needed to point out that another—a real—investigation is in order.
Q: The conspiracy at the government level, according to the 9/11 Truth Movement, involved a stand-down order: an instruction to the military not to interfere with the hijacked aircraft and to allow them to crash into their targets. If so, why was UA 93 the exception? Why was it shot down (according to the Truth Movement)?
DRG: Let me begin by correcting your first statement. Many, perhaps most, people in the 9/11 Truth Movement do not believe there were any hijackers on board and hence do not believe that there were any “hijacked aircraft” that were simply “allowed” strike their targets. I at least do not believe this (I’ve explained why at great length in NPHR) and assume, instead, that the whole operation was carried out by the White House and the Pentagon, with Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Myers being three of the central figures.
As to what happened to Flight 93, we will probably never know unless there is an investigation. There is indeed strong evidence that a plane was shot down near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. And this could have been the original plan, in order to have a basis for fabricating the story about the heroic passengers foiling the intention of the evil Arab Muslims to strike another target (such as the White House or the US Capitol building), so that this story could be used by Bush as the beginning of the “war on terror,” in which the American victims would strike back against the Muslim terrorists and “the countries that harbor them.” But we have no way of knowing for sure.
We can, however, say one thing with certainty: that the official story—according to which there was no wreckage at the site because the plane, headed down at 580 miles per hour, buried itself completely in the ground, although a red headband (like those allegedly worn by the hijackers) and the passport of the al-Qaeda pilot were found on the ground—is not true. For one thing, that description of the plane’s descent does not fit what any of the eyewitnesses reported. Also, different eyewitnesses of an airliner flying over the area reported it as going in two different directions, and then two crash sites were cordoned off. From the evidence, therefore, it’s very hard to figure out much beyond the fact that the official story is a lie (NPHR Ch. 3).
Q: In your book, “9/11 Contradictions”, you accept a purported phone call from the aircraft to a fixed line as a fact (pp. 116-7). Why, then, do you reject the veracity and existence of the other phone calls, allegedly made from other aircraft?
DRG: Actually, you misunderstood. I did not accept the purported call from Tom Burnett as a fact. What I accepted is that Deena Burnett “received a phone call that she believed to be from” her husband, Tom Burnett. The passage to which you refer is from Chapter 12 of “9/11 Contradictions.” If you look at Chapter 17, you’ll see that I used the calls received by Deena Burnett as a central part of the evidence that the calls were faked. Here’s why: She reported that she was certain that the calls were from Tom, because she had recognized his cell phone number on her Caller ID. But when the FBI changed its story to get rid of all claims about high-altitude cell phone calls, it said that the calls from Tom Burnett were made on an onboard phone (even though the FBI report written on 9/11 had cited Deena’s assertion that Tom had used his cell phone to make the calls). If one accepts this new FBI report (which was presented at the Moussaoui trial in 2006), how does one explain the fact that Deena reported seeing his cell phone number on her caller ID? Surely, given the fact that she reported this to the FBI that very day, we cannot assume that she was mistaken. And surely we cannot accuse her of lying. But an explanation becomes possible once we become aware of technology that can fake people’s phone numbers as well as their voices. The conclusion that these calls were faked is also supported by internal problems in the statements purportedly made by Tom Burnett.
Once we realize that the cell phone calls were faked, moreover, we must assume that calls reportedly made using onboard phones were also faked: If hijackers really surprised everyone by taking over the planes, why would have people been ready to make fake cell phone calls reporting the existence of hijackers on the planes? (NPHR Chs. 3 & 6).
Al-Qaida and Atta
Q: Why would the FBI and the 9/11 Commission endorse a fallacious timeline regarding Atta’s whereabouts and activities throughout 2001? They admit that they cannot explain his movements. They do not use this timeline to support the official history.
DRG: I explained above that the FBI did have a reason for giving a false account of Atta’s movements on September 10 and 11: The story about two Flight 11 hijackers having driven a Nissan to Portland had become so well known that, when the FBI discovered that the Bukharis had not died on 9/11, it evidently felt that the best solution was to say that Atta had taken the Nissan to Portland. This revised account did become part of the official story.
With regard to the FBI’s timeline for Atta in the early months of 2001, part of the motive for saying that he had left Venice, Florida, never to return, was evidently to cover up the fact that during March and April of 2001 he had lived with a stripper, Amanda Keller, which many people in Venice knew (especially the people who rented the apartment to them). Another motive, suggested by investigative reporter Daniel Hopsicker, is that Atta—who, according to Keller, took cocaine, which he would obtain from Huffman Aviation, where he was supposedly taking flight lessons (although Keller reported that he was already an expert pilot)—was perhaps involved in a drug-smuggling operation headquartered at Huffman. In these respects, therefore, the denial that Atta was in Venice in 2001 evidently did serve to support the official story.
In NPHR, incidentally, I reported still more evidence that the FBI timeline on Atta is false. Although this timeline claimed that Atta first arrived in the United States in June 2000, several credible individuals, including a Justice Department official, reported that Atta was in the country much earlier in 2000, as did the military intelligence operation known as Able Danger. It was clearly very important to the authorities to maintain otherwise, as shown by the fact that the Pentagon’s inspector general went to great lengths to get Able Danger members to change their stories or, when they would not, to defame them (NPHR Ch. 6). But why it was so important, I do not know. Perhaps the FBI and Pentagon simply felt that, having strongly insisted that Atta did not arrive in the United States until June 3, 2000, they had to stick with it. But it may have also been motivated by the concern to keep his real activities during that period secret.
Q: If al-Qaida were not involved, how do you explain Project Bojinka as well as multiple warnings (by the foreign minister of Afghanistan, various agents, and the intelligence services of countries from Russia to Israel), all of them pointing the finger at Usama bin-Laden? How do you account for multiple intercepted communications that clearly point the finger at al-Qaida and bin-Laden?
DRG: I have never claimed that al-Qaeda was “not involved” at all. I claim only that there is no evidence that al-Qaeda operatives hijacked the planes. They appear to have been involved as paid assets to provide plausible people on whom to blame the “hijackings.” The White House and the 9/11 Commission, for example, went to great lengths to cover up the fact that both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia funneled money to them (NPHR Chs. 6, 8).
Q: Everyone al-Qaida operative Abu Zubaydah mentioned in his testimony had died shortly thereafter. Why has Abu Zubaydah survived? How come he hasn’t been liquidated as well?
DRG: I would not presume to know. And perhaps this is a good time to respond explicitly to your apparent assumption that, to challenge the official conspiracy theory, one must have an alternative theory of equal specificity, with answers to all the questions that could conceivably be raised about it. But this is not true. Let’s say that you were accused by the authorities of murdering Bill Jones. You would assume that, to get the case dismissed, all you and your lawyer had to do was to prove that you could not possibly have killed Jones. But imagine that, after you had done so, the judge then declared: “Sorry, that’s not good enough. You must also tell us who did kill Jones, how the murder was committed, and why.” You would surely consider that unreasonable. By analogy, the 9/11 Truth Movement has provided abundant evidence that the 9/11 attacks could not have been carried out by al-Qaeda terrorists. We need not also specify exactly who did organize and carry out the attacks, all their motives, and why they handled each part of the operation and the cover-up as they did. So there is simply no need for us to try to explain why Zubaydah was not liquidated.
Q: The removal of Mahmoud Ahmad from office (as head of Pakistan’s ISI) – ostensibly in order to silence him – could have actually provoked him to spill the beans and reveal what he knows. Alternatively, if he were being punished, at the behest of the CIA, for his collaboration with the 9/11 hijackers, this would seem to prove that the Bush Administration has not been complicit in the attacks.
DRG: I do not find it plausible that because Ahmad was removed, he would have been likely to spill the beans. People, especially long-time professionals like Ahmad, usually do not, out of spite, confess to participation in mass murder. And he was probably rewarded handsomely to resign quietly.
Government and Other Institutions
Q: Americans are prone to distrust their government and to attribute to it the worst motives, intentions, and conduct (consider, for instance, the conspiracy theories whirling around the Kennedy Assassination). Isn’t the Truth Movement another instance of this brand of “anti-establishment” paranoia?
DRG: Like other a priori charges against the 9/11 Truth Movement, this one fails to fit the facts. If this characterization, according to which we joined the movement because we suspected the worst of the Bush administration (rather than because we became convinced by good evidence), were true, most of us would have started calling 9/11 an inside job the very first week. But if you look at the histories of most of the leading members of the movement, they joined much later. I myself first heard the inside-job theory near the end of 2002 and, when the advocate of this theory sent me what he considered good evidence, I did not find it convincing. It was not until I learned of Paul Thompson’s “9/11 Timeline” in March 2003 that I started moving in that direction. To give two more examples, Steven Jones, our leading physicist, did not become involved until 2005, and Richard Gage, who started Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, until 2006.
Another consideration is that paranoid people are usually not very good at weighing evidence carefully. If you look at the writings of people such as Kevin Ryan (a chemist formerly employed at Underwriters Laboratories), Rob Balsamo (founder of Pilots for 9/11 Truth), A. K. Dewdney (former columnist for Scientific American), Robert Bowman (former head of the “Star Wars” program), as well as Jones and Gage, you will see that they exemplify careful, empirical observations, not paranoid thinking. The claim that the leading members of the 9/11 Truth Movement are paranoid is a purely a priori charge, not supported by empirical observation.
Q: Previous false flag operations did not take place on American soil and involved a minimal number of casualties. Not so September 11. Why the change in MO? Wouldn’t the mere destruction of the Twin Towers (at night, let’s say and with explosives) been enough? Why the enormous – and easily avoidable – toll in lives (for instance, in the Pentagon)?
DRG: My answer to this would be much the same as my response to your second question under the WTC 7 (which actually dealt with the Twin Towers as well), namely, that the spectacle of the planes hitting the buildings and then the buildings collapsing (which would be replayed endlessly on television), along with the toll in lives, was surely considered essential to get the American people, and our representatives in Congress, fired up to give the administration carte blanche to do as it wanted.
With regard to your observation that no previous false-flag operation had taken place on American soil, that is true only because President Kennedy vetoed Operation Northwoods. The Pentagon’s joint chiefs of staff all signed off on plans to kill American citizens in 1962 in order to have a pretext for a war to regain control of Cuba (“The New Pearl Harbor,” Ch. 7).
Q: If not al-Qaida operatives, then who flew the planes? Who were the suicide pilots? Surely not Americans?
DRG: I doubt if anyone was flying the planes that struck the Twin Towers and whatever it was that hit the Pentagon. They were most likely all flown remotely. The evidence suggests that the Pentagon, besides having bombs go off inside, was struck by a missile or some small airplane (which could have been flown by remote control). And the planes that hit the Twin Towers might have been taken out of the pilots’ control by means of a technological override. Or, more likely, drones may have been substituted for them when their transponders went off near the Air Force base at Rome, New York (hence exemplifying one of the scenarios suggested in Operation Northwoods). In any case, I do not assume that there were any American pilots who volunteered to commit suicide.
Q: If a missile hit the Pentagon, then where is or was flight 77?
DRG: I have never argued that a missile hit the Pentagon. I reported in my first book (The New Pearl Harbor) that Thierry Meyssan argued this case. But I also mentioned that his main point was that there is no good evidence that a Boeing 757 hit the Pentagon and some evidence that it was a missile or a small military plane. That still leaves, of course, your question: If Flight 77 did not hit the Pentagon, what happened to it?
I never cease being amazed at how many people think that, unless those who deny that Flight 77 hit the Pentagon can answer this question, our claim is discredited. But that is simply the most prevalent example of the assumption that, to provide a convincing argument against the official theory, one must provide a fully detailed alternative theory—in this case explaining what happened to Flight 77. But that does not follow. There are many possible things that could have happened to it. It might, for example, have been the airliner that reportedly crashed on the Ohio-Kentucky border; or it could have been taken to a US Air Force base. But apart from an investigation, there is no way for those of us not involved in the operation to know what really did happen to it. And there is no need for us to have an answer, just as you, to prove you didn’t kill Bill Jones, would not have to be able to say who did it and how.
We do, I might add, have strong evidence that the government used deception to convince us that Flight 77 hit the Pentagon. US Solicitor General Ted Olson—who had been instrumental in putting the Bush administration in power by successfully arguing that the US Supreme Court should stop the 2000 vote count in Florida—claimed on 9/11 that he had received two phone calls from his wife, TV commentator Barbara Olson, from Flight 77 shortly before the Pentagon was hit, during which she reported that the flight had been taken over by hijackers armed with knives and boxcutters. This was used as evidence that Flight 77 had been hijacked and that it had not crashed in the Mid-West. When the FBI presented its evidence about phone calls from the planes at the Moussaoui trial in 2006, however, it said this about Barbara Olson: She attempted one call, which was “unconnected,” and hence lasted “O seconds.” Accordingly, although the FBI is part of the Department of Justice, its report indicates that the story told by Ted Olson, the DOJ’s former solicitor general, was untrue—which implies either that Olson lied or that he was duped. In either case, the claim that Barbara Olson gave information about Flight 77 was based on deception. And such deception is one more piece of evidence that the whole story about Flight 77 and the attack on the Pentagon is false (NPHR Ch. 2).
Q: Can you please comment on the role of terrorist attacks in domestic politics in the US?
DRG: Clearly the 9/11 attacks played a major role in the elections of 2002 and 2004, helping the Republicans gain control of the Congress and the White House. This role was not, to be sure, sufficient to keep Bush and Cheney in the White House in 2004, as the Republicans also had to resort to distorting John Kerry’s war record and also to stealing the election through various means, most clearly in Ohio (see Mark Crispin Miller, Fooled Again). But there seems to be little doubt that the use of 9/11 to scare people into voting for Republicans played a role (even if irrationally, because the 9/11 attacks, if not either orchestrated or deliberately allowed by the Bush administration, were allowed by its incompetence).
By 2006, the 9/11-based appeal to fear had little effect, and thus far it is still weaker in 2008. This fact has not, however, prevented the Republicans from trying to use it one more time to scare people into voting for them, as the addresses to the Republican convention by Bush, Giuliani, and McCain illustrated.
Many people in the 9/11 community, however, fear that another false-flag attack, perhaps this time employing a nuclear weapon, will come before the 2008 elections, whether to help McCain win or, more fatefully, as a pretext for Bush to declare martial law and cancel the elections, allowing him, by the power he gave to himself in Presidential Directive 51, to assume unilateral control of the federal government. I am not saying that I expect this to happen. But I do not consider the fear unrealistic.
Q: In the days prior to September 11, the volume of put options on the stocks of firms involved in the attacks (mainly airlines and companies whose headquarters were in the WTC) soared. Do we know who bought these options and was it a case of insider trading?
DRG: It does appear to have been a case of insider trading (as I reported in “The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions,” citing the careful study by Allen Poteshman, who teaches finance at the University of Illinois).
But the 9/11 Commission, while assuring us that it was not a case of insider trading, refused to tell us who bought the extraordinary numbers of put options on these companies. In illustrating its purported evidence that all the purchases were innocent, it said that “[a] single U.S.-based institutional investor with no conceivable ties to al Qaeda purchased 95 percent of the UAL puts.” The Commission thereby employed circular logic. Beginning with the assumption that the attacks were planned and carried out entirely by al-Qaeda, with nobody else knowing about the plans, it argued that unless the put option purchasers were connected to al-Qaeda, the purchaser could not have had any inside information. But that argument begs the basic question at issue, which is precisely whether the attacks were planned by al-Qaeda, with no one else knowing about the plans (NPHR Ch. 5).
By not telling us who the investors were, the 9/11 Commission made it impossible for us to confirm its assurance that the purchases did not reflect insider information. We must simply take it on faith—which is difficult to do, given the dozens of lies of omission and distortion within the Commission’s report (“The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions”).
Sam, thanks for your questions, which have perhaps allowed me to reach a new audience with evidence that the official story about 9/11 is a lie. This evidence—only a small portion of which I have mentioned here—means that the policies that have been based on the assumption that America was attacked by Muslims on 9/11 need to be reversed. This point is especially germane in the light of Barack Obama’s argument that one reason to wind down our involvement in Iraq is to have the troops and resources to “go after the people in Afghanistan who attacked us on 9/11.” His position, which was stated repeatedly by speakers at the Democratic convention, is also reflected by the New York Times, which refers to the US attack on Iraq as a “war of choice” but the attack on Afghanistan as a “war of necessity,” and by Time magazine, which has dubbed the latter “the right war.” If we were not really attacked by Muslims on 9/11, these two wars were equally unjustified (as well as equally illegal under international law).