JULES NAUDET'S FIRST PLANE SHOT WAS STAGED
A Clue to the Truth about 9/11 ?



Appendix 7 : 9/11 observations

These general ideas about 9/11 are not directly related to the Naudet film, and some of them have been well rehearsed elsewhere — some have not — but they are complementary to it, in demonstrating that there are still many questions unanswered about what happened that day, and about the lies we have been offered instead of answers by the American and British governments, and their ventriloquists' dummies in the media. Nine years later, new questions can still be added to the list by going back to the original events and trying to use new thinking, looking at what did not happen, or could, or should have happened : we are often too close to the proverbial wood to see the simplest, most obvious things. We do not need new information, we do not need degrees in physics and we do not need to wait for signed confessions. A lot of people seem to have given up caring about 9/11, after prolonged beating of heads against brick walls : it should be easy to sympathise with 9/11 fatigue, but that would be exactly what the perpetrators wanted, and this writer for one has not the remotest intention of giving them that satisfaction. The effort to win "hearts and minds" continues ; I am not going away, and nor are the questions. They were valid in 2001 — they still are, and, like the questions about the Naudets, they demand answers.

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Eleven days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 (which brought two countries into World War II, not just the USA, as often implied), 17 years before Hawaii even became a state, Franklin Roosevelt appointed the Roberts Commission to investigate possible "derelictions of duty or errors of judgment on the part of United States Army or Navy personnel" and "who were responsible therefor." Within less than two months the careers of the commanders at Pearl Harbor, General Walter Short and Admiral Husband Kimmel, were finished. In June 1944, the US Congress told the Secretaries of War and the Navy to carry out new investigations, which were completed before the year's end, although the results were not made public ; the Secretaries then conducted new one-man secret inquiries. Finally, because of what were described by the author of the Resolution as "contradictions and inconsistencies" in the "confusing and conflicting" previous reports, a Joint Congressional Committee of the Senate and House was created in September 1945, and reported in July 1946.

After 9/11, by contrast — an attack on the USA itself, not an island territory 2,400 miles off its west coast — the first inquiry was set up in February 2002, five months later, not eleven days, and was carried out by the Congressional Select Committees on Intelligence (one of them co-chaired by future CIA Director, and former CIA operative, Porter Goss), with a charter limited to "what the Intelligence Community knew or should have known." Just before they produced their findings in December 2002, the US Congress and George Bush created the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States — the Kean Commission — whose July 2004 report, frankly admitting in its preface "our aim has not been to assign individual blame," was widely regarded as a waste of good paper — not just the 567-page paperback, but hundreds of pages of Staff Statements, Monographs and transcripts of 19 days of Public Hearings, with 160 witnesses. There has been no investigation by the Department of Defense into its worst failure since it was created in 1947 — in fact, ignoring a Pacific territory, the worst failure to defend its territory and people in the country's entire 225-year history. Worse than that, not only has there been no Pentagon inquiry, the subject has never even been raised — yet the attacks were described as a declaration of war. The response had to come from the military, but somehow the attacks themselves had nothing to do with the military's failure to prevent them. This is utter nonsense, and the military officers responsible for that failure should have been court martialled within days of 9/11, starting with the Chief of Staff of the US Air Force.

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Which raises the next subject : who was the Chief of Staff ? General John Jumper had taken over from General Michael Ryan only five days before 9/11. Eighteen days before it, Bush nominated Air Force General Richard Myers as the new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to replace Army General Henry Shelton : 9/11 happened during the transition, while Myers, then Vice-Chairman, was still going through a process of farcical, grovelling "confirmation" by the Senate ; he finally took over on 1 October. On 5 July 2001, Robert S. Mueller was nominated Director of the FBI to replace Louis J. Freeh ; Mueller took office seven days before 9/11. One day before 9/11, the Director of the National Military Command Center (liaison between the Federal Aviation Administration and the military) at the Pentagon, General Montague Winfield, arranged for his Deputy, Captain Charles Leidig, to take over the next day — which he did, for two hours, leaving office just after the collapse of the North Tower ; Leidig had only been Deputy Director for two months and had only qualified to act as Director in August. When Benedict Sliney went to work on 11 September, it was his first day as National Operations Manager for the FAA at its Herndon, Virginia, Air Traffic Control System Command Center; he later (allegedly — the claim is disputed) ordered the first complete shutdown of the USA's airspace — no takeoffs, everybody down, "except for military and essential emergency flights" — on his first day. The fact that all these job changeovers, in jobs related to the air defence of the USA, happened at around the same time as a major crisis in the air defence of the USA is, of course, the merest coincidence : nothing to do with buck-passing, and nothing to do with trying to cobble together some pathetic excuse for the "confusion" and "chaos" that allowed the attacks to be so ludicrously easily carried out.

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American Airlines Flight 11 took off at 7:59 that day — but had been scheduled to take off at 7:45 : late by 14 minutes. United Airlines Flight 175 took off at 8:14, but had been set for 7:58 : late by 16 minutes. AA Flight 77 took off at 8:20 : late by 10 minutes. UA Flight 93 sat on the runway at Newark for 41 minutes before taking off at 8:42 : it had been set to take off at 8:01, which would have made it the third plane in the plot, not the fourth — as very few people seem to have noticed. The significance is that the original plan may have been changed on the day — or at least the part played by Flight 93. If all four teams were not completely independent, and knew at least something about each other's role and timing and target, the Newark team would have known the first target would have been hit (assuming success) some time around 8:45, and from then on the Air Force would have been alerted ; there might even have been a regional or national shutdown of all flights — in fact, maybe the first target had already been hit, and that was the reason their plane still had not taken off.

They were still sitting on the runway at 8:42, knowing their time could be running out ; they had already been the third team of the four — they were now the last — the least likely to succeed ; they had to take off before the first target was hit. In the event, they did — by a whole four minutes — but why would they have imagined that they could carry on and take part as if it was irrelevant when the plane finally took off, let alone when they would reach their target (probably not until about 10.20, as it happens — which suggests their attack should have been at about 9.40, almost the same time as the one at the Pentagon — another point overlooked by most), or as if they somehow knew it would take all morning, or for ever, for the Air Force to get its act together ?

They would not even need to know whether the other hijackers had succeeded, or be in contact with them to find out : even if they were acting independently — even if they thought they were the only hijackers — they would know for a fact they were 41 minutes late. In those 41 minutes, the plane could have been boarded and the hijackers arrested — or they could have blown the plane up on the runway — but their part in the conspiracy would and should have ended at that airport. If you are 41 minutes late for a bank robbery, you do not go ahead and join in anyway as if you were on perfect time : why would participants in the biggest attack on the USA in 60 years ? Another point : our only source that the plane was headed for the Capitol or the White House when it crashed in Pennsylvania at 10:03 — in fact, our only source for rather a lot of what allegedly happened on 9/11 and who was involved in it — is a group of alleged terrorists who have yet to be put on trial, and have probably been subjected to torture under interrogation. Without that highly questionable evidence, all we know is that the plane might have been headed roughly towards Washington, but it was more than 100 miles away when the flight ended, too far away to identify any particular building as the intended target — and that target might have changed from the one originally planned, because of the delayed take-off and the switch in plane order. And yet, nine years later, people still repeat it as if it is established fact.

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Government Exhibit P200056T 01-455-A (ID) is a transcript released on 12 April 2006 of the cockpit voice recorder aboard Flight 93 : the actual tape, which included things not in the transcript, was played to jurors at the "trial" of Zacarias Moussaoui (the relatives had heard it in April 2002), but was not released to the public. The dialogue starts at 9:31:57 and ends at 10:03:09 — 31 minutes and 12 seconds. Of that time, 18 minutes and 24 seconds (59%) are totally silent, excluding the time taken (well under one minute) to speak the very brief dialogue in the following listing (nearly all originally in Arabic, including presumably the unintelligible parts — only the words in italics were in English) — on a hijacked plane, with an alleged passenger rebellion going on before the plane crashed. And the list includes only silences of at least 30 seconds, of which there are 18 :

Time dialogue starts — Time of next entry ; Interval in seconds ; Dialogue starting at first time given
9:35:57-9:37:06     69    No.
9:37:06-9:37:36     30    That's it. Sit down.
9:37:36-9:38:36     60    Everything is fine. I finished.
9:38:36-9:39:11     35    Yes.
9:40:17-9:40:52     35    Ahhh.
9:41:15-9:41:56     41    [Unintelligible]
9:41:56-9:44:18   142    Oh man.
9:44:18-9:45:13     55    This does not work now.
9:45:25-9:45:57     32    Inform them, and tell him to talk to the pilot. Bring the pilot back.
9:45:57-9:47:31     94    In the name of Allah. In the name of Allah. I bear witness that there is no other God but Allah.
9:47:40-9:48:15     35    Allah knows.
9:48:38-9:49:37     59    Set course.
9:49:37-9:51:27   110    [Unintelligible]
9:52:31-9:53:20     49    [Unintelligible]
9:54:11-9:55:06     55    [Unintelligible]
9:55:06-9:56:15     69    You are ... One ...
9:56:15-9:57:55   100    [Unintelligible]
9:57:59-9:58:33     34    Yeah ?

How do you stretch the English word "no" to 69 seconds, or the Arabic for "yes" (naam) to 35 ?

The plane took off at 8.42, nearly 50 minutes before the transcript even starts, and since the hijack was during that 50 minutes — about 9.28, according to the Kean Report — we have no way of answering one of the many key questions of 9/11 : how the hijackers actually accomplished taking over the planes. This is because Flight 93's particular model of CVR used a looped tape only long enough to record about half an hour, the legal minimum (some can record two hours, digitally), before starting to tape over the previous recording. When the plane crashed, the recording must have ended (although that is not inevitable), with the result that only the last 31 minutes of the flight were recorded. The transcript, in short, is less than impressive : only half an hour of an 81-minute flight captured, no recording of the takeover, and 18 silences of up to nearly two and a half minutes in the cockpit of a hijacked plane. Not even "unintelligible" — a word that appears in 37 of the 208 entries. The word "silence" appears in none of them, as if they would want to advertise what rubbish the whole thing was.

Two weeks after the release of the transcript, the feature film "United 93" was given its world premiere (26 April) at the Tribeca Film Festival ; it went on general release two days later, six days before Moussaoui was given his life sentence. The timing was either yet another complete coincidence or yet another example of the deliberate confusion between fiction and reality in the 9/11 story. Another film on the same subject, for TV only, "Flight 93," had first been shown only three months before its almost-namesake, on 30 January. There have also been at least two alleged documentaries — see Appendix 2. Perhaps one day we will find out some of what actually happened on that plane, or in its cockpit, and how faint the resemblance is to the various versions passed off as fact since 2001 — "Let's roll" and the rest of it. Frankly, no-one — and certainly not Oliver Stone, whose "World Trade Center" was unwatchable — has any business making fictional or quasi-fictional films about any aspect of 9/11 until we find out what really happened that day.

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From "102 Minutes," by Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn :

"Mom, I'm not calling to chat," Feeney said. "I'm in the World Trade Center and it's been hit by a plane."
"Please tell me you are below it," his mother said.


The first thing that occurs to her is something that most 9/11 researchers — and others, for more obvious reasons — have totally ignored : that if he had been below it, which he was not, he would have had more chance of getting out, because the likelihood would be that the plane would cut off everyone above it. Which raises the simple question that if this victim's mother realised that simple fact as fast as she did, why would terrorists who had spent months planning this operation have aimed their plane at a point 1,200 feet up the North Tower or 1,000 feet up the South ? If they wanted to kill as many as possible, and where the plane hit the building was of crucial importance in achieving that, to strand as many as possible above the impact, why not aim as low as possible ? Virtually everyone above the impact died and well over 90% below it didn't, for perfectly obvious, predictable reasons — mainly, that fire tends to burn upwards : why would that fact not have occurred to people who were brilliant enough to get the planes from Boston to New York, outsmarting the entire US air defence system ? Why would they not plan where to hit the buildings, if they ever reached them ?

If hitting near the top was deliberate, were they trying to knock over the towers sideways, or just knock the top off ? Stupid westerners raised on a diet of cartoons, Steven Spielberg and "Independence Day" might fall for that one, but not dedicated terrorists who knew a thing or two about engineering and architecture. Or maybe the "pancake" collapses downwards were intended, and the height was part of that plan, to collapse a few floors, then the ones above them, whose collapse would then bring down the whole towers : but that would work no matter where the impact was, and no-one has ever demonstrated the collapses were meant to happen that way ; we do not even know why they happened.* Perhaps it was to make the sight visible — but not if that would conflict with the alleged intention of maximum death. Or maybe it was aesthetic, to turn the towers into giant cigars, or to trigger subliminal memories of the chimneys at Auschwitz, or, with the 1997 film still drawing in the millions, the funnels on the Titanic, although there were four of those — all rather unlikely. There must be some other explanation.

Nobody was going to be able to survive jumping 100 feet, never mind twelve times that or more, so why not aim for the lower height, and kill thousands more in the process ? And why allow a 16-minute interval between the first and second planes to allow thousands to be evacuated, which they were ? And why not have simultaneous attacks on both towers, as low as possible ? And why not have them later in the day, when the towers had thousands more people working in them ? The death toll on 9/11 could have been ten times what it was, and if people who wanted maximum slaughter were responsible, that was not how to go about it : it makes no sense from their alleged point of view. The implication from all these elements is that those responsible were trying to contain, not maximise, the deaths. The National Institute of Standards and Technology estimated in 2004 that there were between 16,400 and 18,800 people in the Twin Towers when the first plane struck, of whom about 2,100 were later killed : about 1,500 in the North Tower, 600 in South. That makes a difference of some 15,000 — or, in percentage terms, an 88% survival rate; to the hijackers, if they wanted to kill everybody in both towers and allow no-one to escape, 88% failure. Alternatively, and more credibly, to folk who only wanted a couple of thousand — the Pentagon's death actuaries, with their 1941 model (Navy 2,000 (exactly), Army 239, Marines 111, civilians 59 = 2,409) giving a rough idea of how many it takes to justify getting the USA into a major war — a 100% success.

* Another point very few folk make is that the collapses had nothing to do with the death toll above the impacts : those people would have died regardless. The impacts themselves killed hundreds, but the rest would have been burned or choked to death anyway, whether the buildings collapsed or not ; their inevitable deaths were just a matter of time : especially, that is, if we accept the explanation of how Seven WTC collapsed — that a fire was deliberately left to burn out of control. If that fire brought down Seven, the fires in One and Two would presumably also have kept burning, and eventually killed everyone above them. There is evidence that shortly before the South Tower collapsed, firefighters reached the impact zone and radioed that the fires had died down and were containable — but we only have one source for that claim ; there is also the fact that some people managed to escape from above the fire zone in that tower, and others may have found the same route to safety — if it had been accessible for longer. With no possibility of helicopter rescue, no stairways, no elevators, no fire escapes, no parachutes, no 1,200-foot ladders and no other way of getting out, the collapses were not per se responsible for the deaths.

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If the terrorists had really wanted to make an impact, they need not have attempted to hit the Trade Center towers at all, separately or simultaneously, high, low or medium. About 35 miles north of Lower Manhattan, near Buchanan, on the Hudson River, and near the flight path of at least one of the planes from Boston — it could have been both — sat, and still sits, Indian Point "Energy Center," i.e. nuclear power station (see above). Five days before 9/11 — yet another of these coincidences — its No. 3 unit was sold to Entergy, who had acquired No. 2 only in November 2000 ; after 9/11, Entergy insisted the plant was never vulnerable, but the same assurances had been given for years about the World Trade Center, before and after the 1993 bombing. What we can be sure of is that if Flight 11 had been deliberately crashed into Indian Point with enough force to breach its defences, the death toll on 9/11 might not have been quite as spectacularly telegenic as the collapses of two skyscrapers, but a hell of a lot more people than 3,000 would have died over the following weeks, months, years and quite possibly centuries. Why would hijackers with an avowed intention of killing as many people as possible prefer targets like the Twin Towers and the Pentagon to a potential American Chernobyl, or worse ? Again it appears that either certain people failed to do their homework, or they are not the certain people we are told were responsible for 9/11, and maximum death was never the intention. That, on the evidence of what happened — and what did not happen — is a maximum lie : that, and the fatuous anthrax story that got shoved under the carpet and forgotten about — even by 9/11 researchers.

From a 2002 study carried out for the Nuclear Energy Institute : "The assumed speed of the aircraft is 350 miles per hour, which is approximately the speed at which a jetliner struck the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, based on reported flight recorder data and analysis of security camera video that captured the impact." What "security camera video" ? In 2002, none of the rest of us had had the privilege of seeing any video film of the impact at the Pentagon : only five stills, four of which showed an explosion after the impact, but no sign of what caused it. The study claims "precision flying close to the ground at speeds greater than 350 miles per hour is extremely difficult" — but obviously not impossible, because the actual speed on impact, according to the official National Transportation Safety Board report, Flight Path Study - American Airlines Flight 77, was "approximately 460 knots (530 miles per hour)" — which roughly matches Flight 11's impact speed of about 450 miles an hour, and Flight 175's of about 545. How did the NEI-EPRI team get a speed understated by more than 50%, and when are they going to set up a new computer model of what a fully laden plane flying at the true speed, 530 miles an hour, would do to Indian Point's facilities ?

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In Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's alleged "confession" from Guantαnamo he is recently reported to have regretted the deaths of the children. This is a complete list of the child victims of 9/11 : David Brandhorst (3), Christine Hanson (2), Juliana McCourt (4); Bernard Brown, Asia Cottom and Rodney Dickens (all 11), and the Falkenbergs, Zoe (8) and Dana (3). That's the list : total, eight. The first three were on the South Tower plane, the other five on the Pentagon plane. There were none on the North Tower plane and none on Flight 93 ; there were none inside or outside the Trade Center and none at the Pentagon ; neither the Department of Defense nor any of the WTC's tenants use child labour, illegal as it is. Why Mohammed's conscience should be troubled by the eight victims out of 3,000 who happened to be under 18, when the other 99.73% of them were above, is entirely unclear. A possible explanation is that some bulletheaded moron in military uniform simply invented this rubbish — like the Flight 93 transcript — in the knowledge that his audience of even bigger morons would simply take for granted that hundreds of children died, if he so much as implied it. Why would they doubt the word of a 7-foot 30-stone gorilla in US combat gear ?

The 9/11 targets — all three of them office buildings — the Pentagon being the world's biggest, not a military base — contained zero children ; the Pentagon attack killed zero employees of the Air Force, military or civilian ; not one Congressman died on 9/11 — not one Senator died — not one company director from oil, or aerospace, or weapons, or the nuclear industry — there were no attacks on a single military base, or the CIA or NSA or the Stock Exchange, or any of the major banks, or court buildings or embassies, the Israeli or any other — no judges or diplomats died — no newspaper editors died — etc etc etc : in fact, if it was supposed to be an indiscriminate attack on the people who run the USA — if that isn't a contradiction, considering how tiny a minority they are — it has to be accounted a complete and utter failure. Now, Hiroshima and Nagasaki : that's indiscriminate. But Arabs didn't do those — official.

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Ever since 9/11, we have had constant warnings about anniversary attacks by al-Qaeda — which, of course, never take place — and probably not just because those anniversaries would be meaningless to people who use a totally different calendar. The date 9/11 has no significance in Britain (we call it 11/9), let alone the Muslim world, or the parts of it that use the Muslim calendar — which happen to include the countries of origin of most of the hijackers, primarily (15 out of 19) Saudi Arabia, where 11 September 2001 was the 23rd day of the 6th month (Jumada II) of the year 1422. Why would fanatical Arab, Saudi, Wahhabi, Muslims be so brainless as to attempt to pull off an anniversary attack, when the Good Guys had predicted it and were waiting to catch them red-handed ? And why would they do it anyway, on a date that had no significance in their calendrical system ? Our Gregorian year is 365 days long (366 in leap years) ; the Muslim year is 354 days (355 in leap years, which come round in years 2, 5, 7, 10, 13, 16, 18, 21, 24, 26 and 29 of a 30-year cycle).

If 9/11/01 had no significance to Saudi Arabians — being a combination of the USA's emergency phone number and the first year of the 21st century of the Christian Era — why would 9/11/02, or 9/11/03 or any other 9/11, to people whose year is 11 days shorter than ours ? Again, stupid westerners — particularly Americans, whose knowledge of the world outside (or even inside) the USA is minimal — might swallow this ignorant hogwash, and they are the obvious audience, but most of the rest of us know better. How many people described what happened at the World Trade Center as like something out of a film ? Most of the hijackers, to repeat, were from Saudi Arabia — a country with no cinemas (or theatres, or elections, or parties, or democracy, or constitution, or trades unions, or public non-Muslims, etc etc). Was a cinematic spectacle like 9/11 more likely to have been designed by nationals of a country with no cinematic tradition or one like the USA ? Why would Saudi Arabians use American techniques — or the American calendar ?

They wouldn't, because they are not as stupid as people who believe in predictable, preventable anniversary attacks — or who accept the argument, proposed in all seriousness by the likes of Condoleezza Rice — the woman who had an oil tanker named after her (the Pathological Liar) — that none of the warnings received before 9/11 were specific enough to take action on : i.e. that if he had had any decency, Bin Ladin would have let them know in advance exactly when, where and how he was going to strike, as most common burglars, murderers, arsonists etc do (thus the expression "Curses ! Foiled again.") He didn't appear on Afghan TV and tell them "September 11, 08:46, hijacked plane into North Tower, World Trade Center ; 09:03, South Tower ; 09:37, Pentagon, west side ; 10:[unintelligible]." What a rude man, having them playing guessing games and making it hard for them. Why didn't the Commissioners laugh in her face when she said this, and warn her to stop wasting their time ?

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For almost half a century it was an article of faith that if the USSR ever launched a nuclear attack on the USA, the response would be virtually instantaneous and devastating : it would be a matter of seconds, and the chances of survival for the USA and the rest of western civilisation depended on it. On 9/11, at 8.19 am, Flight 11 attendant Betty Ong started a 25-minute phone call to American Airlines in North Carolina telling them the plane had been hijacked : for 27 minutes — not 2.7 seconds, not 27 seconds, not 2 minutes and 7 seconds — 27 minutes — the US Air Force did nothing. In fact, from 8.19, when her call started, until 10.03, when the fourth hijacked plane crashed — 104 minutes — the US Air Force did nothing. Fortunately, the USSR had died, or been put out of its misery, ten years before, because if it had still been around, one wonders how the US air defence system would have dealt with a full-scale nuclear strike by its only global rival, if they were incapable of dealing with four hijacked jets. One wonders, too, why with the rest of the world watching its only remaining "superpower" reduced to the status of a headless chicken, totally helpless and wide open to attack, all its alleged enemies and rivals did not grab their opportunity to join the hijackers and stick the knife in, while they still could : maybe it was because they were living in the real world, and knew there was something very unreal, very wrong, and very suspect, about what was going on.

Four hijacked jets : almost the same as the number, we were later told with a straight face, of fighter aircraft on alert status available to the entire north-east sector of the USA, holding almost half the country's population : two at Otis Air Force Base in Massachusetts and three at Langley AFB in Virginia — 130 million Americans being protected by five pilots, justifying every penny of the billions of dollars of their taxes going towards the Department of Defense's budget every year — a budget massively increased in the wake of 9/11, when it should have been slashed to nothing for their total incompetence — and/or their total effrontery, in expecting sane people to believe this colossal crap. A hijacked plane is flown into the Pentagon, 78 minutes after the start of Betty Ong's phone call, while an air force base with as many employees as the Pentagon itself — 25,000 — a base charged with protecting the country's capital city, deliberately sited just a few miles outside it — did — again — nothing. One hopes that the idea of a split-second reaction to a Soviet attack might have had some relation to truth, but it is entirely possible that it might have been crap as colossal as the 9/11 story, making even more of an argument for the total abolition of the Department of Defense and the lying idiots who run the place, military and civilian.

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The whole idea of a group of fanatical Islamists even dreaming of doing what was achieved on 9/11 — something no leader of the USSR would ever have contemplated — is itself an insult. What self-respecting terrorist would have wanted anything to do with someone who suggested flying planes from Boston to targets in New York, 200 miles away, and then flying another one into the Pentagon itself, with someone as right-wing, arrogant and belligerent in office as George Bush ? They would have run a mile from someone trying to sell that proposition : it would be painfully obvious he was some kind of agent provocateur. And who among them, even if they had been stupid enough to allow themselves to be conned into taking part, would have dreamed that in nine years' time, not one person would have been convicted of direct involvement in the conspiracy, as if the only people who knew about it were the suicides themselves ? Why are Americans so easy to convince that the most powerful country in the world is a basket case — a sitting target for every anarchist, Communist, or jihadist on the planet ? Twenty years ago, when he still had brains and some dignity, Noam Chomsky used to ridicule Lyndon Johnson's idea of the USA being "easy prey to any yellow dwarf with a pocket-knife" — "as he engagingly put it" ; these days, Chomsky himself buys the idea of the USA being easy prey to turbanned hijackers with boxcutters — and should be ashamed of himself for doing it.

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In "The Cell : Inside The 9/11 Plot, And Why The FBI And CIA Failed To Stop It," by John Miller and Michael Stone, with Chris Mitchell, we were told that the top speed of the F-16 jets at Langley mentioned above was 600 miles an hour, as part of an "explanation" for the failure of the USAF to respond to the hijacks. Unfortunately, it explains nothing of the kind, because the top speed of an F-16 is in fact Mach 2.05 — 1,321 miles an hour — more than twice as fast as claimed by these authors, and whoever supplied their information, which should have taken five minutes to check, and refute. The South Tower plane, one designed to take a full crew and at least 150 passengers, was flying at almost 550 miles an hour when it hit the building : did it never occur to Miller that there was something inherently unlikely about a one-man supersonic military fighter aircraft being able to fly only slightly faster than a commercial jet ? I wrote to him in June 2006 and pointed out this major error, assuming it was innocent, but — fairly typically — never got an acknowledgement out of him. Maybe it was a misprint ; maybe he genuinely thinks it doesn't matter ; or maybe he's just a liar — part of the 9/11 disinformation industry.

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The stereotypical hijacker used to tell the pilot "Take this plane to ..." — and the pilot then did it, with instructions from the air traffic controllers on the ground. On 9/11, in a rare if not unprecedented departure from the clichι, the hijackers not only took over the controls themselves but brilliantly flew the planes for hundreds of miles — if we can believe the much-reproduced but little-questioned flight path maps (compiled by a private company, Flight Explorer of Fairfax, Virginia) — across the north-eastern USA, without any help from ATC and with apparently not the slightest worry that they might meet up with (a) the same Air Force that within 26 days would be bombing Afghanistan (showing how devastating 9/11 was to American military power), or (b) another passenger jet, putting a sudden and premature end to their lovingly-crafted conspiracy. Strangely enough, their bizarre confidence turned out to be justified : neither happened. But how did they seem to know it wouldn't ? Why would they go ahead with it as if they did know ? Is this a credible scenario ?

To be credible, "could" and "would" both have to be satisfied : in this case, we know they could do it, because they did. But would they have done it ? They could have used Logan Airport in Boston, and allegedly did, but would it not have been easier to use JFK in New York ? Why make it hard for themselves ? If they could walk through Boston's security, why not New York's ? Using JFK would have meant shorter flights and gaining the element of surprise : why use Boston ? But if 9/11 was internal, why would those behind it use Boston, any more than alleged hijackers ? To make it look ridiculous, maybe, or insane : people might be readier to believe Arabs would pick the hard way. Why would suicidal maniacs like them care ? Who would imagine professionals of the US Armed Forces would do it the way it was done ?

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The breakdown of the deaths at the Pentagon — all 125 of them, out of a workforce of about 200 times that size :

                        Total  male  female
Dept. of the Army         61    23      38
US Army                   22    19       3
Dept. of the Navy          9     7       2
US Navy                   33    31       2
Dept. of the Air Force     0     0       0
US Air Force               0     0       0
Totals                   125    80      45
Civilian                  70    30      40
Military                  55    50       5

Note the total number of Air Force dead, civilian and military : the Air Force offices were based, as were those of SecDef Rumsfeld and JCS Chairman Myers, on the opposite side of the building, but it is still curious that no Air Force personnel were killed, even by accident, especially given the boasts about the miles of corridors allowing folk to get from any point in the building to any other, on foot, within seven minutes. Matthew Engel of The Guardian wrote about seeing the funerals of "Generals" — plural — killed at the Pentagon : a fairly typical example of the acres of dishonest drivel written about 9/11 over the years. Of the 55 military fatalities, more than half, 30, were officers, but there was only one — singular — Lieutenant-General, Timothy Maude. The full breakdown :

Army : General 0, Lt-Genl 1, Major-Genl 0, Brigadier 0, Colonel 0, Lt-Col 7, Major 6, Captain 0, 1st/2nd Lieutenant 0
Navy : Admiral 0, Vice-Adml 0, Rear-Adml 0, Captain 3, Commander 4, Lt-Cdr 6, Lieutenant 2, Lt(jg) 1, Ensign 0

By comparison, on 23 October 1983, in the biggest loss of life suffered by the US military in one attack since VietNam in 1968, a suicide bomber drove a truck into the HQ of the US 8th Marine Battalion at Beirut airport and killed 241, nearly twice as many as the Pentagon total (of which more than half were civilians). But there were also, ironically, many resemblances to 9/11 : the officer commanding the Marines, Colonel Timothy Geraghty, survived the attack because his offices were 200 yards north of the barracks — just as the vast majority of the senior ranks at the Pentagon were well away from any danger on 9/11, if not as far away as Bush, Cheney and company — and just as almost 90% of the WTC's occupants survived, so did 85% of the 1,600 US servicemen based in Beirut 18 years earlier. The day before the blast, a man called Reginald Bartholomew arrived in Lebanon : the day of the bombing was his first day in office as the new US Ambassador — just like Charles Leidig taking over the NMCC on 9/11, and all the other changeovers around that time.

From Thomas Friedman's report in the next day's New York Times : "Whoever carried out the attacks ... seemed to have had detailed knowledge of both the layout of their compounds and their mode of operation" — just as the 9/11 hijackers seemed to find it incredibly easy to carry out their attacks, as if they had inside assistance. We have to ask : was the Beirut bombing an earlier, smaller-scale version of 9/11, but for a different purpose ? The next day, the USA retaliated by invading ... Iran ? Syria ? Libya ? No — Grenada in the Caribbean, in total violation of international law, but with the full backing of an American public slavering for revenge for Beirut. Whether or not he had had anything to do with the bombing, on 8 March 1985, a gigantic car bomb went off at the headquarters of Ayatollah Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah in Beirut, killing 80 and wounding 200 ; the attack was commonly attributed to US, Lebanese and Saudi intelligence. Fadlallah himself survived, and later became respectable enough to be one of the twelve world religious leaders interviewed in the Naudet brothers' film — sometimes referred to as "the CBS film" — "In God's Name."

One other 9/11 connection : on 11 September 1983, six weeks before the Marine HQ atrocity, Reagan and Weinberger issued authorisation (hidden from Congress and the public) for US troops to take offensive action in support of the Lebanese Armed Forces, thus making "peacekeepers" belligerents in a civil war and positively inviting a response from the LAF's opponents. Or possibly, by the Machiavellian nature of these things, to create an excuse for a bombing that was actually organised by the USA itself : as a cover for Grenada, and/or for getting out of Lebanon, which is what in fact happened over the next few months. Or maybe the truck driver, like the 9/11 hijackers, just got lucky — unbelievably, ludicrously, stupendously lucky.

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From the Kean Commission Report : "they had hijacked the four planes and turned them into deadly guided missiles. Why did they do this?" "They were planning to hijack these planes and turn them into large guided missiles." Again and again, not just in the Kean Report, we encounter this completely fatuous argument — that the 9/11 attackers succeeded because no-one knew how to respond to this unprecedented concept of using planes as suicide weapons — an argument that asks us to ignore the existence of the Japanese words kamikaze and baka and ohka and kaiten, and the 5,000 Americans who were killed just in the battle for Okinawa by methods like those. It asks us, moreover, to ignore the question as to exactly when a plane becomes a missile : the kamikaze planes may all have been intended to be missiles, but they only actually became that when they hit their targets, which many never did. The 9/11 planes did not become missiles when they were hijacked, because the hijacks might have been reversed — or the planes shot down — or the targets missed. It was hitting their targets that made them missiles : up to that point, they were only potential missiles — in fact, hijacked commercial airliners, that could and should have been dealt with as such, like any other hijack cases — in fact, just airliners. The question is not "Why did they do this ?" but "How did they do this, and why are we being given this nonsense ?" How did they turn planes into "deadly guided missiles" — and when and where did this magical transformation happen ? Correct answer : at 8.46, at 9.03 and at 9.37, respectively.

Time and again, we hear the word "hindsight" used as an excuse for the failure to act : yet this "missile" argument is a perfect example of hindsight, or to call it by another name, post-justification (like the ones we have heard after the invasion of Iraq, that supposedly justify doing it), or to use another phrase — properly, for a change — begging the question — circular reasoning. Nobody knew at the time the planes were going to be used as weapons, so the "explanation" fails. Nobody knew the first plane was going to be used as a weapon until 8.46, and since even then it could have been an accident, it was only at 9.03, when the second plane hit, that the weapon argument becomes available. Yet, American Airlines were informed of Flight 11's hijacking at 8.19, and Boston Air Traffic Control at 8.25. Even if we accept that Otis was the nearest alert station the military had, in the minimum of 21 minutes between 8.25 and 8.46, the fighters at Otis could have flown 500 miles : they could have intercepted a hijacked plane in Virginia or Ohio, never mind one heading for New York. So why were the existing hijack procedures not put into action ?

Was the fourth plane a "deadly guided missile," since it crashed before reaching its intended target, whatever that might have been, 100 miles away ? Did it go back to being just a plane again when it crashed ? Or was it just a potential missile ? In which case, so were all the others, until their flights ended : while they were still in flight, being "guided" by human pilots, they were planes, not missiles, and even missiles can fail, or be shot down. The USA had plenty of experience in responding to missiles and potential ones of all kinds, including planes flown by suicide pilots — and the far deadlier intercontinental ballistic type. The "missile" proposition is a pathetic excuse and an insult to the intelligence, and we should call those who offer it liars, to their faces : that is what they are. The only mystery is why, when the massed brains of the US intelligence community and the military (with input from Hollywood and others) could presumably have come up with better defences, we get this rubbish instead : maybe the effrontery is the defence. Would the guilty lie as blatantly and insultingly ? Yes they would.

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Talking of pathetic excuses, try this, again from the Kean Report : "At several points in our inquiry, we asked, "Who is responsible for defending us at home?" Our national defense at home is the responsibility, first, of the Department of Defense and, second, of the Department of Homeland Security. They must have clear delineations of responsibility and authority. We found that NORAD, which had been given the responsibility for defending U.S. airspace, had construed that mission to focus on threats coming from outside America's borders. It did not adjust its focus even though the intelligence community had gathered intelligence on the possibility that terrorists might turn to hijacking and even use of planes as missiles. We have been assured that NORAD has now embraced the full mission. Northern Command has been established to assume responsibility for the defense of the domestic United States."

The Department of Homeland Security did not exist on 9/11 : the primary responsibility at the time was the Department of Defense's, and the question — yet again, the Commission asks the wrong one — is "Who was responsible — on 9/11 ?"

"NORAD's mission is set forth in a series of renewable agreements between the United States and Canada. According to the agreement in effect on 9/11, the "primary missions" of NORAD were "aerospace warning" and "aerospace control" for North America. Aerospace warning was defined as "the monitoring of man-made objects in space and the detection, validation, and warning of attack against North America whether by aircraft, missiles, or space vehicles." Aerospace control was defined as "providing surveillance and control of the airspace of Canada and the United States."" NORAD, by those definitions, did not construe its mission as dealing only with external threats : its Commander in Chief from February 2000 to April 2002, General Ralph Eberhart, also CINC of the (now defunct) US Space Command and Commander of Air Force Space Command, was simply following the lead of the man he succeeded in all those posts : Richard Myers, on his way to becoming Vice-Chairman of the JCS.

Extracts from his sworn testimony to the Kean Commission, 12th Public Hearing, 17 June 2004, to illustrate the difficulty of getting him to explain where the external threat strategy originated :

Myers : "First, our military posture on 9/11, by law, by policy and in practice, was focused on responding to external threats, threats originating outside of our borders."

Commissioner (Ms) Jamie Gorelick : "So if you go back and you look at the foundational documents for NORAD, they do not say defend us only against a threat coming in from across the ocean, or across our borders ... To me that air sovereignty concept means that you have a role which, if you were postured only externally you defined out of the job ... by what process was it decided to only posture us against a foreign threat ?"

Myers : "The law is pretty clear on Posse Comitatus and that is whether or not the military should be involved in domestic law enforcement."

Gorelick : "Posse Comitatus says, you can't arrest people. It doesn't mean that the military has no authority, obligation, or ability to defend the United States from attacks."

Myers : "We'll leave that to the lawyers, because my view is, I don't know if there's lack of clarity, but there's probably a plethora of opinions on it ... But, certainly our job today in the military, and my job, is to look at the current threat assessment, and now that we have an organization such as Northern Command to do the same, to look at how we can better defend this country against threats that are not traditional. Again, at the time terrorism was viewed as a criminal act. And we have changed that, I think, in our government, and view it a little more broadly now, which I personally think is absolutely right. But, that view has persisted for over 10 years, as I read back through all the policy documents. So certainly our job today is to look at the threat assessment and figure out how we in the military can help protect this country, and this is something that I spend a lot of time on, I know that General Eberhart does, and we're looking at ways that are beyond -- if we need legislation, if we need policy change, we are looking at ways to do that, because we think that's our responsibility, clearly. Did I answer both questions?"

Gorelick : "Yes, and no, and my time has expired."

Myers : "Mr. Chairman, I really need to -- I apologize, but I really need to get to the next venue up in New York."

Clear as mud — and what was this "next venue" that was more important than a mere investigation into 9/11 ?

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From the Kean Report, again :
"On 9/11, the defense of U.S. air space depended on close interaction between two federal agencies: the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). Existing protocols on 9/11 were unsuited in every respect for an attack in which hijacked planes were used as weapons. What ensued was a hurried attempt to improvise a defense by civilians who had never handled a hijacked aircraft that attempted to disappear, and by a military unprepared for the transformation of commercial aircraft into weapons of mass destruction." More pathetic excuses : first, the weapons argument raises its ugly, stupid head again. Secondly, "attempted" to disappear — but none of them succeeded. Switching off radio contact with ground control does not make a plane disappear — it just raises another question to replace the one it supposedly answers : how could they fly the planes without help from the ATC controllers ? Switching off the transponder does not make a plane disappear, either : it might make it more difficult for ATC to identify it on the radar screen, but it would still have been on that screen.

A radar system with a 200-mile range that can record birds and rain, and identify them as such, is more than capable of detecting and identifying a Boeing 767 jet, and tracking its flight all the way from Boston to New York, which of course had its own ATC centre. If every other plane in the area still had its transponder on, identifying it by flight number on the radar screens, the one with no transponder should have been easy to pick out — and identify as Flight 11. You cannot make a Boeing 767 "disappear" : ironically — if it is ironic, and not just yet another deliberate insult — there are aircraft specifically designed to evade radar detection, that use "stealth" technology, and they are partly built by ... Boeing, the world's biggest aerospace company ; and they are built for an Air Force that failed to deal with four hijacked passenger jets that had supposedly become invisible, throwing the entire US air defence system into total confusion — they had never heard of such a thing. The first stealth fighter, the Lockheed F117-A, went into service — with this US Air Force that had never heard of vanishing planes — in 1983, and of course the country's air traffic controllers still knew absolutely nothing about their existence 18 years later : 70 years and more after radar was first developed, they were still reliant on looking out the window, and messages delivered by the Pony Express. These people were perfectly familiar with vanishing planes, they knew that it was impossible for Boeing 767s and 757s to do it, and that they did not, in fact, do it on 9/11. The only thing doing a disappearing act, after about two minutes of examination, is this pathetic excuse for 9/11 inaction.

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Another excuse : that they only had four planes and couldn't change the status of any of the other hundreds of fighters they had at their disposal, with plenty of time to do it. Eberhart, to the Kean Commission's 12th Public Hearing : "And it was, again, a question of dollars: How much was it going to cost, even though the airplanes were already there, to have them on alert, have them armed, have them not available to go to fight Iraq in the first war, not have them available in Bosnia, Kosovo, et cetera? There was this debate, because there was an attendant cost. The good news is that we had the airplanes on alert that day, and we were able to be flexible and put more aircraft on alert. The bad news is that we only had 14 airplanes on alert, seven alert sites." What exactly was the "attendant cost" of having 14 planes on alert to defend the entire continental United States, what fraction of the budget of the Department of the Air Force (or the Department of Defense) would that figure represent, and how many fighter planes in total were available — on alert, on standby, on their tea-break, covered in cobwebs, whatever — to the Northeast Air Defense Sector of NORAD that day ?

More to the point, what kind of drivel are we getting from Eberhart here — and the Kean Commission — when in October 1999, less than two years before, no fewer than six US Air Force fighter jets were somehow available to escort golf champion Payne Stewart's Learjet when it flew off course for 1,500 miles across the USA before crashing in South Dakota, killing Stewart and his five passengers ? From the CNN report : "An Air Force spokesman says two US Air Force F-15s from Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, intercepted the plane shortly after it lost contact with aircraft controllers, and followed it to Missouri ... Over Missouri, four F-16s from an Air National Guard unit based in Fargo, North Dakota, took over the escort mission ... The Air Force says additional F-16s were also scrambled from the Oklahoma Air National Guard unit in Tulsa, but were not used because the Fargo planes arrived first ... Two other F-16s on "strip alert" at Fargo, North Dakota, were armed, but never took off ... At 11.10 pm CDT the Northeast Air Defense sector estimated the Learjet would run out of fuel in one hour."

That is the same NEADS, and the same models of fighter jet, that failed so totally on 9/11 to find, let alone intercept, a single one of four hijacked Boeings, far bigger than Stewart's plane, and not flying at 40,000 feet. Plenty of planes available for a golfer's private jet, but less than two years later, what do we get ? "How much was it going to cost ?" — from the NORAD commander, on oath. The Stewart case does get mentioned in the Kean Report, in two footnotes — the first to do with authority to shoot down planes — nothing to do with fighter availability, and a total irrelevance when the failure to intercept is the question — Stewart's plane was not shot down — and the second comparing NORAD response times — again, nothing to do with fighter availability. "We have concluded there is no significant difference in NORAD's reaction to the two incidents."

Yes there is : six fighters were scrambled for Stewart, and if they were not on alert status at the time, their status must have been changed fast enough. But less than two years later Eberhart insists there were only 14 to cover the entire continental USA — a fixed, totally unchangeable, unnegotiable 14 — and we were lucky they even had that many : "And so, again, there were great debates during the '90s, and we came close to having zero airplanes on alert during this debate." In fact, why bother having an Air Force at all, or a General Eberhart, or a General Myers ? After all, with the Soviet Union gone, why didn't they just pack it all in and take up golf, like Payne Stewart ? In fact, why didn't they pack it in after 9/11, when we found out what a complete waste of money they all were ?

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From the Kean Commission's Staff Statement No. 17 :

At 9:46 and again two minutes later, Command Center updated FAA headquarters that United 93 was now “twenty-nine minutes out of Washington, DC.” A minute after that, at 9:49, 13 minutes after getting the question from Cleveland Center about military help, Command Center suggested that someone at headquarters should decide whether to request military assistance:

FAA Headquarters: They’re pulling Jeff away to go talk about United 93.
Command Center: Uh, do we want to think about, uh, scrambling aircraft?
FAA Headquarters: Uh, God, I don’t know.
Command Center: Uh, that’s a decision somebody’s gonna have to make probably in the next ten minutes.
FAA Headquarters: Uh, ya know everybody just left the room.

I have been waiting for years, and am still waiting, to hear this FAA Headquarters speaker identified, and to find out whether he was ever fired, because the above transcription does no justice to his blasι, almost yawning, almost "Who the hell cares ?" tone. The Commission made no attempt to find out who he was : has anyone else ? "Everybody just left the room" : the feeblest, most insulting excuse he can come up with, and we still don't know who this idiot was.

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In Section 8, I asked of General (retired) Richard Myers "What can we know from a photograph — or an official Pentagon biog that doesn't even give his date of birth ?" Well, the date of birth — but not from his Pentagon biography — is 1 March 1942. His wife's maiden name is Mary Jo Rupp, and they have two daughters and one son. Fascinating. What's he been up to lately ? On 9 November 2005, six weeks after retiring as JCS Chairman, Myers was awarded (with luminaries such as Muhammad Ali, Carol Burnett, Robert Conquest, Aretha Franklin, Alan Greenspan, Jack Nicklaus, etc) the Presidential Medal of Freedom, "for his dedication to duty and country and for his contributions to the freedom and security of our Nation." What was that contribution on 9/11 ? He "played a central role in our Nation's defense" : doing what, precisely, with no command responsibilities ? In 2006, General Myers became a part-time Professor of Military History at Kansas State University, his alma mater in 1965, and his home state ; he also — typically and predictably, through the revolving doors between government service and private industry, especially busy for retiring military officers — joined the Boards of Directors of Northrop Grumman and United Technologies Corporation. Northrop Grumman is one of the world's biggest defence contractors, builder of, among many others, the B-2 stealth bomber (see under "disappearing planes" above) and a major supplier to Boeing, maker of all four planes used on 9/11. UTC started in 1928 as Boeing Airplane & Transport Corporation, and later included United Airlines, owner of two of the 9/11 planes, and Pratt & Whitney, maker of those two planes' engines. Even in retirement, he just can't get away from that subject : you might say he was up to his neck in it.

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Number of hijack cases in USA 1978-2001 (* prior to 9/11) :

2001  0*   1993  0    1985  4
2000  0    1992  0    1984  5
1999  0    1991  1    1983 17
1998  0    1990  1    1982  9
1997  0    1989  1    1981  7
1996  0    1988  1    1980 21
1995  0    1987  3    1979 11
1994  0    1986  2    1978  7

The last hijacking — of a commercial aircraft — carried out on US territory before 9/11 was on 10 February 1991, when a man aboard Southwest Airlines Flight 335 from Oakland to San Diego claimed he had explosives and demanded millions of dollars and a trip to Cuba ; he was later arrested. The single hijack in each of the three previous years in the listing above also involved the classic "Take this plane to Cuba" formula. On 9/11, in one day, the USA had as many hijacks as in the previous 13 years : why was this ? Why was there not a single hijacking in Bill Clinton's entire 8-year term of office, for all the efforts made after 9/11 to dump at least part of the blame on him ? He had the first World Trade Center bombing in February 1993, just a month after his inauguration, and the Oklahoma City bombing in April 1995, the USA's worst ever terrorist act for the next six years, but not one hijacked aircraft. Had any of the political issues associated with previous cases gone away ? Cuba ? Palestine ? Not that you'd notice. Could it be that the precautions taken in response to previous incidents had just made hijacking impractical ? Or maybe it just went out of fashion ? There must be some reason for it dwindling from 21 cases in 1980 alone to nil for an entire decade : what is that reason, and what explains its spectacular comeback, to fashion or feasibility, in September 2001 ?

The nearest thing — involving a commercial aircraft — happened on 11 February 1993, a fortnight before the first WTC bomb, when a Lufthansa Airbus on a flight from Frankfurt to Addis Ababa via Cairo was taken over by a teenaged Ethiopian and diverted back to Hanover, before ending up at JFK in New York, where the gunman surrendered. There were no casualties, but one of the passengers was foreign correspondent and defence analyst Eric Margolis, who wrote this about his experience : "We were convinced the hijacker, who faced an automatic 20 years in prison under US law, intended to crash the plane into Manhattan ... I longed for the aircraft to be stormed and the hijacker shot dead. I was ready to duck and take my chances rather than endure hours more torture, or risk becoming part of a kamikaze finale."

That was written on 13 February 2000. On 17 June 2004, General Richard Myers told the Kean Commission : "it did not fit the scenario at the time. But, the use of aircraft as a weapon, as a missile, other than World War II and the Kamikaze situation, I'm not aware, and I've tried to research this, and the best information I get, I am not aware that an aircraft has ever been used as a weapon. Now, there have been landings on the White House lawn, there was a landing in Red Square, there have been lots of stupid things. There was talk about crashing airplanes into the CIA. But, in most of that threat reporting leading up to 9/11, it was hijacking an airplane and in the normal hijack mode, not in the mode of a weapon. Now, there were some talks about in post hijack situations where they talked to about people over the demands were made that they were going to crash, one instance, into the Eiffel Tower, but even the work that was done and the hijackings that were planned for the Philippines, which is a well-known plot, they planned to hijack the airplanes and blow them up primarily. So, no, the threat perception, there was not -- the intelligence did not point to this kind of threat, and I think that explains our posture." I would beg to differ. If there are historical precedents — and Myers actually quotes "the Kamikaze situation" and others — whether or not the intention became a reality — it means no-one, including him, has any right to claim the use of planes as weapons was utterly inconceivable, had never occurred to US air defence planners, and that explains their failure to plan for 9/11 : it does nothing of the kind.

The above qualifications exclude what would be classed as a hijacking if it had involved a commercial aircraft, but Federal Express 705 on 7 April 1994, during the first Clinton term, was an internal flight from Memphis to San Jose, and the man who took it over, Auburn Calloway, was a FedEx employee about to lose his job. His plan was to take over the DC-10 and fly it into the Memphis Superhub, destroying FedEx's headquarters — and he very nearly succeeded. If a man with a grudge against his employer could use one of their planes as a weapon, it provides a precedent for terrorists hijacking a commercial plane with the same intention. So does an incident five months after Calloway's aborted suicide : in the early hours of 12 September 1994, Frank Corder was killed after crashing a stolen Cessna P150 onto the lawn of the White House — the case mentioned by Myers — again, not classed as a hijack because it was a private plane, with neither crew nor passengers. But as a precedent for an attack on the White House, using a plane as a weapon, it fits the bill, and it gets rid of Myers' argument that there was no such threat.

Some people — some sane people — might argue that the likelihood of a nuclear attack against the USA by the Soviet Union was so infinitesimal that it would be ridiculous to spend outrageous amounts of money and effort preparing for something that was effectively never going to happen, and would be an act of national suicide if it ever did. But the implications of a man actually succeeding in breaching the White House air exclusion zone and committing suicide by crashing a plane into the grounds (and it did hit the building) somehow escaped the geniuses at the Pentagon. (An alternative target, he had told friends, was the dome of the Capitol — just like Flight 93 seven years later).

So did yet another incident in 1994 (24-26 December) — also another one mentioned by Myers — involving an Air France Airbus, Flight 8969. Hijackers from the GIA had taken over the plane in Algiers and had it flown to Marseilles, where their plan to fly on to Paris ended in a gun battle with French special gendarmes. They had earlier demanded 27 tons of fuel — 10 would have got them to Paris — and it was alleged their intention was to either blow up the plane in the air above or crash it into the city — or, specifically, the Eiffel Tower. In what way is that not a precedent for what happened on 9/11 ? That the plot was aborted ? That it happened in France ? Muslim extremists actually hijacking a commercial plane and planning to commit suicide and mass murder by using it as a weapon — but the Kean Report a decade later can still say "In the years before 9/11, the FAA perceived sabotage as a greater threat to aviation than hijacking." Why ? "No domestic hijacking had occurred in a decade." And no nuclear attack by the USSR had ever occurred — but the USA spent 40 years preparing for one.

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When Frank Corder died at the White House, Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton were living at Blair House across the street while the White House was being renovated, so even if he intended it, they were never in danger from his plane. Curiously, while it is well known that the part of the Pentagon hit by Flight 77 on 9/11 was being renovated at the time, there has been almost no attention paid to the fact that the White House, too, had recently been receiving yet another of its periodic "facelifts," and the work may still have been ongoing on 9/11. When the 40 projects began in August 2001 — roadworks, pillars, painting, etc — George Bush and family moved out to his ranch in Crawford, Texas. Did that renovation include anything resembling what was done at the Pentagon ? Because, given that the damage there was minimised by the changes, it might suggest that damage was also expected at the White House ; but not to Bush, of course, because like Clinton in 1994, he wasn't there — he was at a school in Florida, making children and teachers alike targets for an al-Qaeda version of Frank Corder. But this, of course, is nonsense : (a) al-Qaeda is a fiction, (b) neither Bush nor anyone else at the school was ever in any danger, and (c) the people around him were the ones in charge, being well aware of his difficulties in, as that other President from Texas put it — engagingly, to use Chomsky's word — breaking wind [euphemism] and chewing gum at the same time.

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But back to the renovations in Wedge 1 of the Pentagon — a story that suits the official version, suggesting they were lucky, because it could have been much worse (just as they were lucky at the Trade Center, getting so many evacuated — when luck had nothing to do with it — it was designed that way, with the planes hitting higher than was logical ; and they were lucky with the passenger rebellion on Flight 93 — when it should never have been taken over, if the hijackers had behaved logically, for folk 40 minutes late for a crime supposedly planned down to the last detail) — but it also suits both lazy and fake proponents of the inside job theory : the renovations show that they were trying to reduce the casualties. Wrong : you need to go one step further. We are told that on 9/11 the builders were just five days from completion, after three years of work — only "the final touchups" were needed : yet of the 4,500 staff who would normally have been working in that area, there were only 800 that day, and only 125 of those were killed. Why had so few been moved back in ? Why, with only "final touchups" left to do, were more than 80% of the employees in that section still presumably not yet hired, or on leave or taking up space elsewhere in the building, causing inconvenience to themselves and everybody else ? What kind of "final touchups" kept nearly 4,000 Pentagon employees — one in six of the entire workforce — from moving back into the wing they should have been working in ? Why would contractors leave something that would cause that kind of disruption to the last five days, and why would the DoD let them, even given their reputation for wasting time and money ? If 800 could move back, why not all 4,500 ?

It was not the renovations that kept the casualties down, and it wasn't luck at all — it was, again, design — the decision to keep all those folk out of that wing, for no good reason. The renovation story is an excuse more than an explanation — a fallback position — and the "five days" thing is what exposes that : once again, they just couldn't help spoiling the story by overdoing it — they were so close to finishing, and just had to start all over again. But if they were so close, why was the wing 80% empty ? And why do so many 9/11 researchers fail to ask that question, and miss the significance of the five days ? If 9/11 was designed by the Pentagon, they would not have wanted to kill too many of their own — and having 99.5% surviving the attack would fit that requirement, however big a bang the jet fuel made — as in the famous five stills. But it wasn't building work that kept the figure down — it was a decision that only those running the place could have taken. Only the owners of the building knew how many folk were in that wing, and would have been able to predict a rough death toll — just as only the management of the Trade Center, with employees having to produce an ID card to get in, would have known how many folk were in the top 18 floors of No. 1 and the top 32 floors of No. 2.

The main street of the small village of 5,000 this writer lives in has more CCTV cameras than the massive headquarters building of the United States Department of Defense — or so we have been asked to believe. We are asked to believe, too, that 9/11 is the best documented event in human history — a ludicrous claim, when you consider the gaping holes in this documentation : no murder convictions, for a start, and no trials ; no film of the Pentagon attack (which does not, for the record, mean there was no plane — but it is simply unthinkable that the attack was not filmed, so there must be some highly dubious reason for never having released the film) ; no film of the hijackers boarding the planes ; no film of the planes' flights until the last seconds, and those only for the first two ; no military inquiry ; no public release of the tapes from the planes' recorders ; no identification of hundreds of the deceased ; the remains of the Trade Center carted off and sold as scrap ; and so on, and so on, ad nauseam. In fact, the only people who advance the "best documented" argument are those like the Kean Commission who want us to accept that all the questions have been answered, and that's that — not an invitation anyone with any dignity should entertain.

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If the Pentagon and other government buildings in the USA were covered by insurance policies, we could assume the same kind of long-drawn-out (mostly by Larry Silverstein) wrangling that accompanied the claims over the World Trade Center buildings : the insurers might want to know, for example, why there was no film of whatever caused the damage, or why Andrews Air Force Base failed to stop it getting anywhere near the place — given that Andrews was built where it was for the very purpose of protecting the capital city's buildings (in view of its failure to stop the Pentagon attack, one wonders what other practical function Andrews might have these days, or why it has not been simply shut down). Unfortunately, those issues were not to be gone into, or not by insurance companies, because the Pentagon (like government buildings in the UK) is not insured : damages are simply paid for out of the defence budget, which is where they stuck the $2 billion cost of the Phoenix Project to rebuild the section destroyed on 9/11 — and the $83 million the original building cost in 1943. Of course, even the World Trade Center was not in private hands, since it was only on lease to Silverstein, and that only for the previous few weeks (in fact, the lease actually came into effect only days before 9/11) : it was still the property of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. If any of the buildings targeted on 9/11 had been genuinely private, not public, property, and had not been run by people who were complicit in the attacks, the ensuing litigation, by genuinely innocent victims, might have uncovered more of the truth. That may be one reason — one of the many — for the selection of those particular targets.

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The timings of the hijackings :

                Take-off      Gap before    Last radio/  Flight time     Hit
           Scheduled  Actual    hijack       hijack      left (total)   target
Flight 11     7:45     7:59      15          8:14         32     (47)    8:46
Flight 175    7:58     8:14      28-32       8:42-46      17-21  (49)    9:03
Flight 77     8:10     8:20      31-34       8:51-54      43-46  (77)    9:37
Flight 93     8:01     8:42      45-46       9:27-28      52-53? (98?)  10:20?

How to interpret these figures ? The only element that makes any sense is that the first plane was hijacked at about the same time the second plane took off, and the second plane in turn was hijacked at about the same time the plane that was meant to be third took off — except that it was 40 minutes late. The plan would have been much more effective with four simultaneous attacks on the various targets, so the take-off times and hijack times might not have been important, as long as the times of arrival were all synchronised : there could have been two attacks at the Trade Center, one at the Pentagon and one at the Capitol, all at 9 a.m. Why have a sequence of planes, taking off in sequence, being hijacked in sequence and hitting their targets in sequence, least of all with the third plane missing its turn and with the four attacks spread over an hour ? Why the increasing gap between take-off and hijack, from 15 minutes on the first plane to 45 on the last ? Why would three of the planes be hijacked with more than half their flying time left ? Would it not make more sense to leave the hijack to the last few minutes, when the more time there was left, the more chance the crew or passengers might have to regain control, as we are assured happened on Flight 93 ? And yet somehow this shambolic, illogical, confused, screwed-up plan miraculously succeeded in hitting three out of four targets — and the only explanation on offer is an even more shambolic, illogical, confused, screwed-up response from the FAA and NORAD — but somehow not so shambolic, etc, it resulted in a single resignation, firing or court martial.

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Two shots from the UK ITN News, Wednesday 12 September 2001. On the left : already, less than 24 hours later, the Naudet first plane shot is being broadcast, though without any attribution : it will be shown many more times over the next nine years. On the right, the caption claims that "up to 800" have died at the Pentagon — curiously, the actual total number of employees working in the affected section, although it should have been known by the Wednesday that more than 80% of them had survived and the true number of fatalities was far lower, at just 125. It should also have been known that the vast majority of occupants of the Twin Towers had been safely evacuated, but media coverage consistently exaggerated the number of deaths for days and weeks afterwards. Two weeks later, the total was given by the New York authorities as 6,700 : it was only in January 2002 that they lowered that official figure to nearer 3,000. One week after 9/11, the UK Government was still estimating British deaths at 300* — "roughly 6%," which would put total deaths at 5,000 : the actual figure turned out to be 67, just over 2% — of 3,000.

It can fairly be assumed that one of the reasons the Trade Center was chosen as a target was that workers of many different nationalities were employed there, allowing Blair, using the inflated UK figures, to immediately claim "This was in a very real sense an attack on all of us," and Canadian PM Chrιtien to echo that with "The world has been attacked," with an alleged Canadian figure of "between 45 and 70" — the actual figure being 24. For some reason this had not been the response after the deaths of hundreds of non-Americans at the US Embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in August 1998, but the response was a nonsense, anyway. The overwhelming majority — 90% — of the victims of 9/11 were Americans, more than 75% from just two states, New York and New Jersey, and the crime — not act of war — was committed in US jurisdiction. An attack on the world is legally as worthless a concept as an act of war perpetrated by anyone other than a state, and those perversions of fact were as unjustifiable as the exaggerated death statistics that accompanied them. It should also be pointed out, but rarely is, that the whole concept of retaliation is completely illegal : you do not respond to a crime by committing another one.

* Actually almost the total number of all non-US victims, almost half of them from just four countries. As usual, the "international community" turned out to consist of 1. G.W. Bush, 2. A.C.L. Blair and 3. whoever else they could con, bribe or intimidate into supporting them — rather fewer than all 192 members of the UN, the real international community, including the countries less appreciated by Washington. The breakdown of all 334 : 67 UK; 28 S Korea; 26 Japan; 24 Canada; 17 Colombia; 16 Jamaica, Mexico, Philippines; 11 Australia, Germany; 10 Italy; 7 Malaysia; 6 Bangladesh, Ireland; 5 Israel, Peru; 4 Argentina, China; 3 Brazil, Ecuador, Guyana, Lebanon, Portugal, 2 Chile, Congo (DRC), Ghana, Haiti, Jordan, New Zealand, Panama, South Africa, Switzerland; 1 Belarus, Belgium, Bermuda, Cτte d'Ivoire, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, France, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Lithuania, Moldova, Netherlands, Nigeria, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Venezuela ; plus, of course, the ones that tend to be excluded from the figures — the hijackers : 15 Saudi Arabia, 2 UAE, 1 Egypt, 1 Lebanon (in addition to the 3 above). If there had been synchronised attacks on New York, London, Paris, Moscow, Beijing, Delhi, Jakarta, Mexico City and Tokyo, the "world attack" case might be more plausible ; but then, al-Qaeda itself might be more plausible if it had ever carried out a single operation in Israel, one of its alleged worst enemies — yet another point rarely made

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In August 1967, demolition work started on the building in the left photograph above, the 612-foot Singer Building, on Liberty Street in Manhattan : when it was completed in 1908 it was the tallest building not just in New York, but the world — for a year, before being overtaken by the Metropolitan Life Building on Madison Avenue. But the Singer had a longer-lasting distinction : it was, until 2001, the tallest building ever demolished. When it finally disappeared in 1968, to be replaced by the 743-foot One Liberty Plaza, seen in the photograph above right (still one of the city's two dozen tallest), the two latest title holders — although their reign was just as short as the Singer's — were being built only two blocks away to the west : the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.

The tallest building ever demolished until 2001 was located two blocks away, on the same street, as one of the two buildings that broke that record, and the demolition of the first one happened as the construction of the second one was under way. There must be many people living or working in Manhattan who remember the one-time tallest building in the world being taken down on Liberty Street 33 years before another one-time tallest building in the world came down, also on Liberty Street (Four WTC, built in 1977, and also demolished on 9/11, was between Two WTC and where the Singer used to stand). Apart from that irony, given that many believe the Twin Towers (and No. 7) were the subjects of controlled demolition, it might be instructive to compare it to the next tallest example, and see exactly how the Singer came down — a building less than half the height of the Twins, but still impressive. Presumably the Singer, unlike the WTC, was not brought down all at once, in a matter of seconds, but how exactly was it achieved, with no damage to people or neighbouring properties ?

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One of the most debated scenes from the whole highly debatable day. What was he thinking ? Why did he react the way he did ? All the questions fly straight past the central issue, which is that the whole situation is as fake and manufactured and manipulative as the Naudet first plane shot. To the people who produced it, the point is to demonstrate that this is "When President Bush Was Told The News" : have you got that, folks ? And look at that reaction : he doesn't get hysterical — he doesn't have an underwear accident — he doesn't hit the drink again — above all, he doesn't do anything that might frighten the kids. He just sits there radiating quiet dignity, staying cool and calm and working out how to respond. That's how we're meant to read it, and that is how most folk do read it — if they don't just ignore whatever doesn't fit their brain's "distinctive" version of logic : they don't care why, to some of us, he just sits there like a zombie, with a vacant expression. They don't care that his retinue don't immediately get him out of that school. Why should they care ? They voted for this idiot.

For an event like 9/11, just as there has to be a shot of the first plane (the shot Bush later claimed, several times, to have seen that morning), there has to be a Presidential reaction shot. We have to see him being told the news, and reacting, because the folk in charge of this exercise — and it's pretty obvious Bush wasn't one of them — think we are a bunch of morons who have to have it spelled out to them. We are as much schoolchildren as the ones in the picture — oh, the irony — again : aren't the folk behind this just screamingly funny, and clever ? We would have to be as innocent as schoolchildren to accept that when the President's staff know the USA is under attack, but he doesn't, the way to inform him is to have his Chief of Staff whisper it to him, pantomime-style, in front of a room full of press cameras. This is a complete and utter insult, and why intelligent adult 9/11 researchers have been prepared to swallow it for nine years is a mystery. Are you people stupid ? Why are you buying the whispering act ? Do you seriously think this laughable charade is how it would be done ? Do you believe George Bush does "quiet dignity" ?

What we are being asked to believe is that the staff heard about the second impact immediately before Card told it to Bush, and he just had to be told there and then, in front of the class and the cameras : but why should we believe this when there are umpteen different versions of who knew what, when — or even exactly when this picture was taken ? Why should we accept the one version of the timing that makes any sense of the picture, when they offer nothing to back it up ? And even if they had just found out themselves, and it was absolutely essential to tell Bush immediately, they could, and would, have told him after removing him from the room — in private, not in public. They did it like this because the scene is fake : a piece of theatre for an audience of lobotomies.

Not only that, this wasn't even the first time they'd used the idea : years before, it was used with another President who barely knew where he was half the time. And someone out there has a copy of that picture, where the convenient official cameraman — there's always one around (except, of course, when the First Citizen is having his head blown off) — captures Reagan's expression when his staff tell him whatever the news was that time — paraphrasing his own words, I can't remember. The Russians shooting down KAL 007 ? The Beirut bombing ? Whatever it was, the point was the same : propaganda. When the President hears the news — and he could never find out by himself, because he only knows what his staff tell him — there's always a camera there to capture the moment, so that we can see him horrified, or awe-struck, or sad, or happy, and share in his emotion, like good patriotic types who have no emotions (or brains, or lives) of their own, or whose emotions are of no importance if they're not about something like 9/11. Joseph Goebbels would have regarded the Florida classroom scene as a perfect example of his craft. What it establishes is that those running the programme that day think most of us are gullible idiots, and a surprising number of us seem to be doing everything we can to justify that belief. Not me. Andrew Card — you are the idiot, and a liar. Who do you think you're kidding with this rubbish ? Who wrote this script, and your part in it ?

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The "before" and "after" pictures : not directly to do with 9/11, but one of its consequences — the invasion of Iraq — these shots are another example, comparable to the Naudet shot of Flight 11, of a camera supposedly just happening to be in the right place at the right time. On the left, Kerbala, Tuesday, 2 March 2004 — the day of the Ashura festival, enormously important to Shi'a Muslims. On the right, the camera captures the moment of explosion of one of at least six bombs that killed more than 100 people on a day that also saw attacks in Baghdad and in Quetta, Pakistan. The piece of film these stills come from has been shown countless times around the world (these ones were shown in the UK the next day, 3 March) without ever identifying its source : when in December 2010 I put that question to ITN via my MP, their Head of Compliance, John Battle, on behalf of the Chief Executive, John Hardie, could only identify the source as "a news agency"; the BBC's Director General, Mark Thompson, also via my MP, repeatedly refused to even address the question, and said I only "suspected" the scene had been broadcast, when I had supplied him with the precise date and these stills — taken from the BBC's own report. I only made a civil request for information : why the evasion ? Why the lying ?

What was the point of filming the festival from this location, with palm trees obscuring the view ? Who was filming the scene on the left, and why were they doing it from there ? Was it a live cameraman ? Was it a TV camera, or a camcorder, or a CCTV camera ? Without the picture on the right, what is the point of filming from where this camera is ? You can't see the pilgrims properly, and you can't see the street processions : what use would it be for army or police purposes ? The only conceivable explanation is that the photographer knew a bomb was about to go off at the near end of the street in the mid-distance. Just as Naudet must have known the explosion on the face of One World Trade Center was about to happen within seconds, whoever filmed this must have known this explosion was about to happen, and must have been in collusion with whoever planted the bomb. Note that, like the Naudet film, the action happens right in the centre of the picture ; note also that, unlike Naudet, this camera does not even have to pan to capture that action — it is already pointing in the right direction, and already centred, looking right up the street where the bomb goes off. Note also, as with Naudet, the convenient height (and distance, come to that — not much chance of this photographer being blown to bits) : from a lower angle, and/or from further right, the palm to the front of that street would have hidden the explosion.

Are we supposed to believe Iraq is so littered with security cameras that there is nothing surprising about this bombing being filmed ? So why were the people who planted the bomb not filmed, preferably from rather closer ? Was this film shot by the US military, or someone linked to it ? If it was, we know who the bombers were, and still are — or who their paymasters are. How many more thousands of Iraqis are going to die in bombings like this one before these murdering liars in US uniform are exposed for what they are ? How much more worthless drivel about Zarqawi are they going to inflict on us — or whoever the latest video names as his latest successor — or cassette, or text, or fax, or hard drive, or document left conveniently lying around ? How much more bullshit about al-Qaeda or Iran or Syria, or how outrageous it is to have foreigners meddling in Iraq, spouted by foreigners meddling in Iraq? They are the only ones with a motive for provoking civil war in that country, as a pretext for their indefinite military occupation : the classic divide-and-rule tactic, and still they use it, and still they treat us as morons who have never heard of it, and know nothing about how they operate. The same story in Afghanistan — playing off Tajiks against Uzbeks against Pashtuns — the same rubbish about a "re-formed" al-Qaeda — "astonishing" film of "battles" that consist of a puff of smoke rising in the hills a mile away from the camera. Lies, lies and more lies : how else could they justify taking over two countries so important to their fuel greed, that they have no legitimate interest in being in, than by manufacturing an interest ?

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1. Operation Susannah (aka the Lavon Affair, or the "Unfortunate Affair"). In July 1954, British and American buildings in Cairo and Alexandria were bombed ; when in December, the Nasser government put a group of Egyptian Jews on trial (two were executed), there was outrage in Israel : the Egyptians were Nazis, and the bombings were obviously the work of the Muslim Brotherhood. The man who had been Israel's Defence Minister since only January 1954, Pinhas Lavon, was forced from office, only to be vindicated six years later when it emerged that documents had been forged, and the real mastermind was apparently none other than David Ben Gurion himself, both Prime Minister and Defence Minister for the first 15 years of Israel's existence — but for Moshe Sharett's premiership 1953-55 and Lavon's 13-month tenure at Defence. The Secretary-General at Defence was a Ben Gurion acolyte called Shimon Peres, a future Prime Minister himself and currently respected (by some) elder statesman : perhaps some day he will favour us with who knew what, since all the other principals are long dead — Sharett 1965, Ben Gurion 1973, Lavon 1976, etc.

2. Operation Cyanide. On 8 June 1967, the fourth day of the "Six Day War," the USS Liberty, an ELINT (electronic intelligence) ship, was attacked by Israel off the Sinai peninsula, but in international waters : 34 crewmen were killed, more than five times that number injured and the ship was very nearly sunk. Israel later insisted it was a case of mistaken identity, but many people believe it was entirely deliberate, and that the Johnson government colluded with the Israelis in a cover-up, betraying their own servicemen. Two points that would seem to support that view : the Liberty attack remains the only one in peacetime (to the USA) on an American ship not to be investigated by Congress, and the Liberty's captain remains the only recipient of the Medal of Honor not decorated in public by the President. The Six Day War started with a new Israeli government and a new Defence Minister, Moshe Dayan, another disciple of Ben Gurion's who had testified against Lavon 12 years earlier ; it also included the future Prime Minister and former leader, Menachem Begin, of the Irgun, the killers of, among others, 91 (including Jews) at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem in July 1946 and 254 Palestinian villagers at Deir Yassin in April 1947. A terrorist from the '40s and one from the '50s, still using the same technique, and still getting away with it, in the '60s — and later.

3. Operation Satanic. On 10 July 1985, in the harbour at Auckland, New Zealand, two mine explosions sank the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior, and a Portuguese crew member was killed. In November, two agents of the French foreign intelligence service, the DGSE, were sentenced to 10 years for manslaughter (which they never served). After initial denials by the French, the DGSE's Director since November 1982, Admiral Pierre Lacoste, was fired and Defence Minister Charles Hernu resigned. Exactly 20 years to the day after the bombing, Lacoste claimed the operation had been personally and explicitly authorised by Franηois Mitterrand, who had gone on to serve another decade as President before dying in January 1996, taking this and all his other lies and crimes with him. Would it be stretching credulity to suggest the Reagan government might not have been too upset to see a blow aimed at New Zealand's new premier, David Lange, whose own anti-nuclear policies were obviously not the standard campaign "rhetoric" (the standard euphemism) and a distinct inconvenience to Washington ? Would it be stretching credulity to suggest the two supposed rivals, France and the USA, in fact co-operated in the Auckland bombing, or that it might originally have been the CIA's idea ?

What is proved by all three of these "incidents" — another standard euphemism, for "conspiracy fact" — is that states commit terrorism, and that any definition of that contentious word that excludes that possibility is totally worthless. What is suggested is that, with so few examples of exposed conspiracies, and these are some of the best known ones, there must be many more that never are exposed (unless, of course, you buy the stupidest proposition on offer — that the exposed conspiracies are the only ones ever even conceived), and that, even if they were, the politicians involved would behave the way they did in these cases — the way most politicians usually do, when found out — with cowardice, lies, backstabbing and scapegoating, and self-preservation their main instinct.

Some have suggested Mossad was behind 9/11, but it is not Israel that is occupying Iraq and Afghanistan and building military bases all over the globe : in fact, both the Lavon Affair and the Liberty were attacks on the USA, the first indirectly, against the rapprochement between Eisenhower and Nasser, the second more directly, behind the denials. Lavon was, however, as a "false flag" operation, a demonstration of Israel perpetrating terrorism and falsely blaming Arabs for it ; with Northwoods eight years later, for "Arabs" read "Cubans." As for Auckland, if the DGSE had been less incompetent, they might have got away with it — but it raises the question of who they expected to take the blame, since France was the obvious suspect. Perhaps they simply intended to brass-neck their way out of it, with what we have had since 9/11 : it's all conspiracy-theory hogwash, unworthy of comment. The French Government — a socialist government — blowing up a ship in New Zealand ?! Are you out of your tiny mind ? What an outrageous suggestion. Well, the USA got away with it in Havana in 1898 (and the Maine was one of their own), so why not the French ? As if the French were new to terrorism, after what happened in their revolution (see under "Reign of Terror," September 1793-July 1794), not to mention what they did in Algeria in the 1950s (and later). Britain ? One need only mention a single example from a long history of obscenities : what Cromwell did in Drogheda in Ireland in September 1649 — to shorten the war, as they said about Hiroshima a mere three centuries later. Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Pinochet and the rest are not the only terrorist rulers : all five Permanent Members of the UN Security Council, and many other states, have practised terrorism, and been found out doing it — if they bothered trying to hide it in the first place. Rational discussion of whether the USA carried out 9/11 can immediately dispense with the case that for the USA or any other "civilised" state to commit terrorism is out of the question : it is an indisputable historical fact.

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The numbers game. The 3,000 victims of 9/11 were, of course, the only people in the USA, if not the world, who died premature deaths in 2001. This is — of course — complete nonsense. More Americans — 3,181 — were killed that year in motorcycle deaths alone (Bureau of Transportation Statistics), and that represented only 7.6% of the road death total of 42,116, almost half of them car occupants, but also including almost 5,000 pedestrians. Every one of those deaths was just as much a tragedy as every death at the Trade Center or the Pentagon or on Flight 93, and a lot of them could just as easily be classed as murder or homicide. Of which there were 20,000 in the USA in 2001, and 30,000 suicides — and yet we are supposed to treat 19 hijackers as the first suicides in history, the first use of a weapon never seen before, and the first mass suicide, from the country that in 1979 gave us the lunacy of Jonestown in Guyana, where 913 died, all in one day, all in one place.

Would 9/11 have been 9/11 — would it have produced the reaction it did — if the deaths had been spread out geographically and temporally, over 365 days and 50 states, like all those others ? Why should a death toll of 3,000 concentrated into 102 minutes and three locations be that much worse than over 102 hours or days ? 265 people died on the four 9/11 jets ; when PanAm Flight 103 crashed on Lockerbie (11 miles from where I was born) four days before Christmas 1988, 259 passengers on that one plane (a Boeing 747) died, as well as 11 people from the town ; when Korean Airlines Flight 007 was shot down near Sakhalin on 1 September 1983, 269 people on that one plane (another Boeing 747) were killed. Those were two of the worst airline disasters ever, although there have been far worse : the 9/11 planes do not feature in the Worst Ever lists, because they were spread over four planes, all of them flying well below their full capacity, for reasons still to be explained.

The total number of "coalition" deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, as of early June 2008, had reached 5,228 : 4,397 in Iraq (4,085 US) and 831 in Afghanistan (517 US). The number killed on 9/11 was overtaken in September 2006 by the victims of the War on Terror — or rather, the victims wearing US, or British, or Canadian, etc, uniform : the civilian ones don't count, and aren't counted — not officially. When British deaths in Afghanistan recently reached 100, the Chief of the Defence Staff pointed out that the hundredth was no more regrettable than the first : which presumably must mean that if only three people had been killed on 9/11, the USA and its "coalition" would have been justified in doing the same as they did in response to 3,000. Strangely, this logic seems not to apply : every death of a British soldier is an individual tragedy, but 9/11 was three thousand. When it's victims of terrorism — or British victims, or American, or Spanish — numbers are relevant. Maybe it's hypocrisy like this that helps lead to things like the 9/11 fatigue that set in long ago : that, and the constant political capitalisation on it. How much 9/11 can we take ? Can you really expect to shove it down folk's throats every day for nine years and more without inducing tedium ? Because of lies, if nothing else.

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We are presumably expected to see the article above left as an example of The Times fearlessly uncovering the dark side of politics, and Daniel McGrory and Richard Ford as campaigning investigative journalists : anyone who actually believes that can stop reading at the headline. The description "MI5 double agent" is a complete nonsense : there is no such thing. A double agent, by definition, is someone working for the other side, and MI5 would have to be staffed by totally incompetent idiots (which is, of course, unthinkable) to employ anyone like that. MI5 and MI6 employ agents. You can't be a double agent without being a single agent, and that is what Abu Qatada was exposed as : he was one of theirs, as far as MI5 were concerned. Whether his true allegiances lay elsewhere is another matter : McGrory and Ford are both abusing the English language and twisting logic to avoid addressing the issue, which is why MI5 would want to employ someone like Abu Qatada in the first place — a man alleged to be "one of al-Qaeda's most dangerous figures." The story was not even new, as demonstrated by the article above right, from The Guardian of 8 July 2002.

We are no closer to establishing the truth about Qatada, or Omar Mahmoud Othman, or whatever his real name is. He was allegedly arrested in August 2005, and held in Belmarsh ; in April 2008, he allegedly won his appeal against deportation to Jordan and on 8 May this "truly dangerous individual" was allegedly released on bail. The man who allegedly flew Flight 11 into One World Trade Center was allegedly an admirer of Abu Qatada, allegedly an MI5 agent and/or "al-Qaeda's spiritual ambassador in Europe" — not known to be a criminal offence. If Qatada was working as an MI5 agent — not double agent — in 2004, or 2002, or earlier — how do we know that is not still his function in 2008 ? How do we know he is not a British counterpart of Ali Mohamed (see Part 9) ? How do we know that even if he is ever put on trial in this country and convicted — of something more substantial than being a "spiritual ambassador" — he will not just be allowed to quietly disappear, possibly with a new face ?

Would it not be reasonable to suggest Qatada is, in fact, an agent provocateur ? The British state (among others) has been using police spies and troublemakers for centuries, pretending to be revolutionaries and terrorists to create real ones (or just scapegoats, involuntary or otherwise), provoking them into crimes and making it easy for them to carry them out — a method that may have been used with 9/11 and the bombings in London, Bali, Madrid, etc. In that sense, "double agent" might be an almost accurate description after all, except that Qatada's dupes and the rest of us are the ones being double-crossed, not MI5. They know perfectly well where his allegiances are, but they could never admit them, because they manufactured this threat, and they are the terrorists.

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Terror in New York City : the mangled remains of the city's tallest building after its complete collapse ... are seen on the left above. This is a still from a 1965 episode of the Gerry Anderson animation series "Thunderbirds" (spiritual ambassador for "Team America : World Police"), titled "Terror in New York City," in which the Empire State Building is destroyed during an abortive attempt to shift it elsewhere, to redevelop the area around it : it turns out the building has an underground river beneath it, weakening the foundations. And what point am I trying to make with this ostensibly tasteless comparison ? Quite simply, that one of the unspoken claims made for 9/11 is that it was not just the concept of planes being used as weapons that was totally unthinkable — false as that is — but the whole idea of a skyscraper collapsing, at all, for any reason. No-one could ever have imagined such a thing : so the picture on the left must be a fake, and it must be just a bizarre coincidence that Gerry Anderson's conception of a collapsed skyscraper looks so uncannily similar to the real thing — steel beams sticking out of piles of rubble and dust and debris. That must have been hard work in the creative department.

You would think so, judging by the frequency of images of the remains of the Trade Center framework, still standing (as on the front of the Naudet DVD box, and see below) : as if no-one had ever seen or imagined the like. This is a crude, puerile insult to the intelligence, but one entirely in keeping with the general presentation of 9/11. Like the cast of characters in a Gerry Anderson "supermarionation," 9/11 gives us nasty foreign men in turbans — boo ! — with a strange, foreign religion — boo ! — flying planes into symbols of American superiority, out of sheer envy — boo hiss ! — and reducing giant skyscrapers to heaps of scrap metal — boo hiss boo ! And like a load of children, we have to have it spelled out to us, with pictures, as if comics were our only way of understanding the world, and Virgil and Brains and Rumsfeld our only way of making it better. That is the point of my exercise : 9/11 and "Thunderbirds" are on the same intellectual level, and are designed for the same mentality.

Not even the idea that someone might demolish a skyscraper deliberately was a novelty, and people have been imagining what it would be like for one to fall down since the first ones were built in Chicago, after the great fire of 1871 destroyed four square miles of the city : in fact, what surprises me is that you never hear the accusation made that, considering how beneficial the fire was to the speculators and developers, that might have been done deliberately — and not by Daniel Sullivan. We are supposed to accept that, like 9/11, it was a case of taking advantage of an unfortunate, but completely accidental, reality. Who were the Larry Silversteins in the Chicago of 1871 ? Cui bono ? — the same question we ask about 9/11, Pearl Harbor, the Reichstag Fire and other convenient-to-some disasters. The ironies abound : the age of skyscrapers starting with greed and arson, and 130 years later we find the same elements in the end of two of the tallest ever built.

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The above photograph of the still-smoking remains was taken about ten days later from the Bankers Trust Building, whose shadow can be seen on the lower left : "A" marks what was left of the west and south walls of the South Tower, and "B" marks what was left of the north face of the North Tower, with 6 WTC beyond it, and the corner of the Verizon Building beyond that. How the base of each tower managed to stay standing after the rest of the building had collapsed around it is one question ; another one is why these remains were left like that for so long afterwards. Why were they not pulled down as soon as it was safe to do it ? They would hardly have been a danger to anyone left trapped, since virtually no-one survived the collapses, but they would surely have been a hazard for workers cleaning up the site, leaning over precariously, with steel columns sticking out at all angles. Could it be not only that they were deliberately left that way to preserve that ubiquitous iconic image of the Trade Center "skeleton," but that the collapses were deliberately designed so that the bases, or at least parts of them, stayed (almost) vertical ? How else could that have happened ? Not yet another example of pure chance ? Is it a common feature of collapsed or demolished high-rise buildings for the bottom floors to stay standing ? Why would any expert demolitionist want that to happen, when it would be highly dangerous ? They would want the whole structure completely flattened, right down to ground level. Why was that not done with the Twin Towers ?

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The not-so-subliminal message put out by these familiar images of Guantαnamo Bay inmates is that they must have been taken surreptitiously by brave journalists bringing us a truth denied us by the Department of Defense. This is as much nonsense as the suggestion, allowed to pass for several years longer than the 10 seconds it should have lasted, that the base was not American territory, so the detainees did not come under US jurisdiction — but somehow their guards did. The US military are in total control of the Guantαnamo Bay enclave, and have been since it became US property in the wake of the sinking of the Maine in 1898 and the Spanish American "War" that followed (a four-month skirmish with 385 US dead). If they wanted to prevent journalists from getting anywhere near the inmates housed there, they would be perfectly capable of arranging it. These pictures are the exact opposite of an exposι of the Defense Department: they are — and the fact was never disguised — propaganda shots for the Defense Department, publicised by Associated Press.

The one on the left, taken by Petty Officer Shane McCoy of the US Navy, allegedly shows a detainee being "escorted" to his cell during "in-processing." To the audience it was aimed at, of course — folk who had no interest in where the pictures came from — what it shows is one of the scum what dun 9/11 about to get what he deserves. And the picture on the right, by Lynne Sladky, no doubt shows another one after that process, rather than a detainee with war wounds allegedly acquired in Afghanistan before being shipped to Camp X-Ray (as was). We need to remember that not everyone is outraged by what happens, or used to happen, or what the DoD wants us to believe happens or used to, at either Guantαnamo or Abu Ghraib in Baghdad. Millions of Americans care as little about prisoners' rights or the Geneva Conventions as their government, and abusing and torturing prisoners is exactly what they want — as the Pentagon and the Bush Government are well aware.

That, after all, is how Bush was re-elected, by pandering to that ignorant, irrational, bigoted, lynch-mob mentality — people whose brains slid into a rut on 9/11 and are incapable of ever getting out of it — people who easily picked up that other not-so-subliminal message, that it was the Eye-Rackies and Sodom Who-Sane what dun it, and nothing will ever change their minds on that. On the other hand, the pictures are an illustration of the simple truth that it's perceptions that count, not facts, to which all of us are susceptible, to some extent : total objectivity is impossible. We all see what is convenient to see, or what we have been conditioned to see, or what is familiar, or what makes emotional if not logical sense. This article itself may be a victim of the process : people who, for whatever reason, do not want to see the Naudet Flight 11 shot as a set-up are never going to be persuaded by rational argument, without changing the whole way their minds work.

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The above left photograph of lower Manhattan was taken, within days of 9/11, by a photographic satellite, one of the countless examples launched over the last half-century for meteorological purposes, or cartographic, or military reconnaissance, etc etc. The picture of the Pentagon, above right, was taken by another one six months after 9/11, the original showing far more detail than this reproduction. These photographs demonstrate, although the folk who took them and publicise them never say so explicitly, that if buildings the size of the Twin Towers and the Pentagon can be photographed from miles up in space — they could be photographed if they were only a fraction of the size — so can the Boeing jets that were flown into them : provided, of course, that their speed was not a problem, but with the technology of 2001, it may not have been. From there, we can move on to the next step : perhaps there are satellite photographs of the 9/11 planes, either at Boston or JFK or Dulles, or en route to their targets, or hitting their targets. If there are, we are obviously not going to be seeing them, nine years later, any more than any film of the Pentagon plane, shot from the target — and possibly for the same reason, that they would show things we are not meant to see, or that contradict the official story.

Another question this raises is whether the planes' flights were traced not just on radar but also by satellite, and whether satellite photography could have played a part in intercepting the flights and preventing 9/11. When Saddam Hussein amassed an army on the border with Kuwait in August 1990, why did American (or Soviet) reconnaissance satellites apparently detect not one trace of it ? When Leopoldo Galtieri sent a large Argentinian invasion fleet to Las Malvinas in April 1982, why was nothing picked up by any of our global Big Brothers ? Battleships too small for them ? Obsessed with the USSR ? What a brilliant success reconnaissance satellites have been : the Falklands — failed ; Kuwait — failed ; 9/11 — failed ; just three examples. Or ... they didn't fail at all. The USA knew about the Falklands, because it was the USA, in the form of Vernon Walters, who instigated the invasion ; the USA knew about the invasion of Kuwait, again because it was the USA that wrote the script ; and the USA knew about 9/11 because that script, too, was authored at the Pentagon and at Langley. Is that too simplistic, or are there better interpretations of the unbelievable incompetence and uselessness involved, not to mention the waste of money and lives ?