9/11 Truth Movement questions our new day of infamy


Richard Moore

From: •••@••.•••
Date: Thu, 18 Nov 2004 23:55:29 EST
Subject: Fwd: The 9/11 Truth Movement questions our new day of infamy 

From: "Robert Lederman" <•••@••.•••>
To: "Robert Lederman" <•••@••.•••>
Subject: The 9/11 Truth Movement questions our new day of infamy 
Date: Sun, 24 Oct 2004 06:37:38 -0400

(FORWARDED article from Boulder Weekly)


True believers
The 9/11 Truth Movement questions our new day of infamy

by Joel Warner (•••@••.•••)

Tim Gale became a believer one day last January. He was
prowling the Internet when he came across a video of one of
the World Trade Center towers collapsing on Sept. 11, 2001. It
was likely a video Gale had seen before, but this footage was
in slow motion. As Gale watched the tower's 110 floors begin
to crumble, he noticed something unusual.

Right before the tower dropped into a cloud of debris, the
windows on the upper levels of the towers blew outwards, one
floor at a time, like clockwork. That wasn't caused by the
plane slamming into the tower or the ensuing fire, Gale told

There were bombs in the World Trade Center.

"It blew my head off," says Gale. "I started searching like

What Gale found, in countless websites, books and films, was a
vast network of information questioning the official story of
what happened on Sept. 11. The 42-year-old Boulder resident
was inundated with decades-old memos, foreign newspaper
clippings, engineering studies and national-defense policies.
And he discovered the collapse of the World Trade Center was
just the beginning-he believes he's witnessing the collapse of
the American society.

"I was being confronted with the raw fact that the U.S.
government was complicit in the mass murder of its own
citizens for geopolitical purposes," says Gale. "It's too much
to bear in the confines of your mind."

Gale began spending six to eight hours a day cross-checking
evidence he found online or in publications. He wrote a
40-page paper, just to organize and process all the
information. He began spouting words like "shadow government,"
"false flag" and "black ops." Then he met up with other people
in the Denver-Boulder area who were asking the same questions
he was, and they decided to form the Colorado chapter of the
9/11 Visibility Project. Now they're hosting film screenings
and discussions, spreading the word that there's a whole lot
more to 9/11 than we've been led to believe.

Gale and his local compatriots are not alone. Across the
nation and the world, a growing number of people are joining
what's called the 9/11 Truth Movement. These people say
there's enough evidence-or enough holes in the official
record-to suggest that government officials allowed the Sept.
11 terrorist attacks to occur, if not had a hand in them.
While the movement has attracted the support of several
notable figures, it also faces the risk of being associated
with fringe theories of the Twilight Zone variety and has
received the cold shoulder from most of the progressive press
and the peace movement. Plus, there's the fact that some say
the 9/11 Truth Movement has no basis in reality whatsoever.

Gale doesn't necessarily mind being labeled a conspiracy

"To have a conspiracy all you need is a couple facts that
don't match up," he says, adding that in the case of 9/11,
there's more than enough questionable facts. "Until you've
read three or four books about it, don't tell me I'm quirky,
because you have no grasp. You go into this stuff, and it's a
freaking journey."

The new Pearl Harbor

At 8:21 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001, 20 minutes after it leaves
Logan Airport in Boston, Mass., stewardesses on American
Airlines Flight 11 use airphones to report their plane has
been hijacked. It's expected that officials on the ground will
jump into action. They don't.

Once a hijacking is confirmed, it's standard protocol for the
aerospace officials to quickly get military escort aircraft
into the air to follow the plane. In the previous year,
fighter jets had been scrambled 67 times to escort planes that
had moved off course or lost radio contact, a process that
usually takes 10-20 minutes. But on Sept. 11, protocol does
not go as planned.

Two fighter jets are eventually scrambled to intercept Flight
11-but by this point, nearly half an hour has passed. At the
very moment the jets take off from a Massachusetts base,
Flight 11 strikes the North Tower 200 miles away.

By this point United Airlines Flight 175, which also departed
from Logan, has moved off course. With the fighter jets in the
air over Massachusetts, they should be able to intercept
Flight 175. They don't. At 9:03 a.m., Flight 175 hits the
South Tower. The fighter jets are still 70 miles away.

Similar irregularities are occurring to the south. At 8:56
American Airlines Flight 77 disappears off radar. Twenty
minutes later United Airlines Flight 93 is presumed hijacked.
But fighter jets don't take off until 9:30. The jets don't
make it to Flight 77 before it hits the Pentagon, nor do they
reach Flight 93, which crashes in the Pennsylvania

This series of events is the clearest example for Janice
Matthews that the U.S. government is hiding the truth about

"It was automatic procedure to send out fighter jets after
planes that go off course. It's been standard operating
procedure basically forever. And only our government or our
military can interrupt standard operating procedures. Al Qaeda
does not have the power to intervene in our military
procedures. So that's the clearest example of how they allowed
it to happen," says Matthews.

Mathews is the co-founder the 9/11 Visibility Project.
Matthews and several other concerned citizens started the
organization last fall to advocate for a complete and
unobstructed investigation into 9/11. The group now has
chapters in 40 cities-including the Boulder chapter-and five
other countries, not to mention a website,
www.septembereleventh.org, which receives millions of

The 9/11 Visibility Project isn't the first group to question
what happened on Sept. 11, but it's the first to try to fuse
voices of dissent worldwide into a viable movement.

"There was research going on all over the world, but nobody
was actually doing any activism," says Matthews. "So our goal
was to become an activism-oriented group, start getting the
information out to people and start doing everything we could
to push for a real investigation as a way of supporting the
9/11 victims' families."

Matthews and her compatriots believe they've collected a
wealth of documentation proving that U.S. government officials
were at least complicit in the terrorist attacks.

For one thing, members of the 9/11 Truth Movement say the U.S.
government had extensive intelligence suggesting how and when
terrorist were planning on striking the United States. They
note that Pentagon officials had discussed the possibility of
plane attacks since the 1980s. In the months leading up to
Sept. 11, U.S. officials received repeated warnings from other
countries and internal sources that al Qaeda was planning to
attack the country in the foreseeable future. And then there
was the now-famous Aug. 2001 report titled "Bin Laden
Determined to Strike in U.S."

As for additional evidence that key U.S. players knew
beforehand about the attack, members of the 9/11 Truth
Movement note that there was an unusually large amount of
"put" options purchased by unknown investors on United
Airlines, American Airlines and Morgan Stanley Dean Witter &
Co. in the days before Sept. 11. This type of investment only
pays off if stock prices for the companies unexpectedly
drop-as they did when these companies were impacted by 9/11.

Aside from spotty air defense, there are other things about
the events on Sept. 11 that don't sit well with some
people-most significantly, the collapse of the World Trade

"The fact that the towers were detonated versus falling down.
that's pretty well accepted by most everyone [in the 9/11
Truth Movement]," says Matthews. "Independent investigators
have proven through physics and fire studies, etc., that the
buildings could not have fallen the way that they were."

Matthews and others point to a 2002 editorial in Fire
Engineering magazine that states, "The structural damage from
the planes and the explosive ignition of jet fuel in
themselves were not enough to bring down the towers."

9/11 Truth Movement members say there are a variety of other
issues that need to be addressed about Sept. 11. There are
reports that a CIA agent met with Osama bin Laden in summer of
2001, that the United States was associated with payoffs to al
Qaeda members, and that President Bush blocked investigations
into connections between the bin Laden family and the White

And then there's Vigilant Guardian. This was one of several
air-defense mass-casualty exercises occurring the morning of
Sept. 11, say 9/11 Truth Movement members, possibly involving
simulated hijackings and false blips on radar screens. Some
wonder if these exercises were scheduled on purpose to confuse
ground-control officers.

Matthews says that most people in the movement believe the
government allowed 9/11 to happen, rather than caused it.
While even the idea of the U.S. government condoning the
killing of 3,000 American citizens may be hard to swallow,
Matthews says it's far from impossible.

For one thing, say 9/11 Truth Movement members, the Bush
administration was looking for a reason to invade Afghanistan
to build an oil pipeline through the region. The terrorist
attacks provided them with the perfect opportunity.

9/11 Truth Movement members also point to a disturbing report
titled "Rebuilding America's Defenses," by the Project for the
New American Century, a neoconservative think tank involving
the likes of Jeb Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul
Wolfowitz. The report predicts the ascension of global U.S.
military dominance. The report states, ".the process of [this]
transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is
likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and
catalyzing event-like a new Pearl Harbor."

Some say the Sept. 11 attack was the neocons' ready-made Pearl
Harbor. After all, they say, it wouldn't be the first time the
U.S. government has condoned or sponsored an attack on its
citizens to generate public support for war. They point to
historical events like the sinking of the U.S.S. Maine, the
sinking of the Lusitania, the attack on the U.S.S. Maddox and
the attack on Pearl Harbor as circumstances that appear to be
orchestrated by the government for hawkish purposes.

The 9/11 Truth Movement's theories are gaining popularity. The
9/11 Visibility Project counts among its supporters the former
National Defense Minister of Canada Paul Hellyer, Jim
Hightower, Howard Zinn, the National Green Party and family of
9/11 victims. The movement has held public forums in San
Francisco and Toronto, and members have presented their
findings to United Nations delegates. The Denver County
Democratic Assembly passed a resolution calling for a new 9/11
investigation after they heard some of the theories. And
according to a Zogby International poll this summer, half of
New Yorkers believe U.S. leaders had foreknowledge of 9/11.

"It's not just crazy longhairs going after this," says Gale.
"There's a cadre of really intelligent people who believe this
is happening."

The fringe

The questions started soon after 9/11. Why did American
Airlines Flight 77 disappear off radar screens over Ohio on
Sept. 11, only to reappear over Washington 40 minutes later?
How did the cumbersome Boeing 757 execute exceedingly
complicated maneuvers to perfectly hit the Pentagon,
especially when it was piloted by a hijacker who allegedly did
terribly in flight school? And why did commuters near the
Pentagon say they heard the shrill sound of a fighter jet
overhead, not the noise of a commercial airliner? And why do
some early photos of the attack site show little damage or
debris other than a single 15-foot hole in the Pentagon-even
though the plane had a 125-foot wingspan?

These concerns have led some to suggest that the Pentagon
wasn't hit by Flight 77, but instead by a fighter plane or
missile. It's the subject of a video called 9/11: Pentagon
Strike, that's been making its way around the Internet. It is
one of a handful of controversial theories that some in the
9/11 Truth Movement say could give their movement a bad name.

Another contentious hypothesis is that the planes that hit the
World Trade Center weren't typical passenger planes. Some
interpret the video evidence to suggest these planes were
camouflaged jets that fired missiles into the towers before
crashing into them. But if the airliners didn't crash into the
Pentagon or the World Trade Center, what happened to the

"That's the part of the 9/11 thing that's really speculative,"
says Gale. "People are going through gymnastics trying to
figure out that."

Some have gone so far to say that all the missing passengers
were loaded onto United Airways Flight 93, which was then shot
down over Pennsylvania. Another theory is that the passengers
have become secret wards of the government.

Some 9/11 Truth Movement members try to steer clear of these
sort of theories, or go out of their way to debunk them.

"I think it all should be investigated, but some of this is
pretty hard to present to people right away," says Fran Shure,
a member of the Colorado chapter of the 9/11 Visibility
Project. "We have to be careful about what we present to the
public. And I think as long as we have hard facts, documented
facts, we can feel safe presenting it to the public."

These fringe theories may be one of the reasons the 9/11 Truth
Movement has been hard-pressed to obtain significant U.S.
media coverage, even from progressive news outlets. Matthews
says the national liberal radio program Democracy Now has yet
to report on their concerns, despite numerous requests from
9/11 Truth Movement members. The peace movement has also been
slow to jump on the 9/11 skeptic bandwagon.

"I think the people in the peace movement are afraid of being
labeled conspiracy theorists, fringe elements, nuts, crazies,"
says Carolyn Bninski, member of the Boulder-based Rocky
Mountain Peace and Justice Center. While Bninski says she
believes the 9/11 Truth Movement brings up valid questions,
she is quick to note that's her personal opinion, not that of
the Peace Center.

Some 9/11 Truth Movement members say the media blackout on
their activities is caused by the corporate control of the
media, or maybe even by shadowy CIA control of left-wing
pundits. But Shure, who's a psychotherapist, thinks otherwise.

"I think any time information comes to us that is outside of
our world view, outside of our cultural understanding, it's
extremely frightening to let this come in," she says. "This is
a thought that is very difficult to let into our psyche. The
implications of it, the implications that our government would
be complicit in such a horrible attack, are huge."

Deconstructing 9/11

As the construction manager for the World Trade Center,
University of Colorado civil engineering professor Hyman Brown
gets a call every three weeks or so from someone who has a new
theory about 9/11. Some of these theories are hard for Brown
to dispute, he says, but debunking the central World Trade
Center theories embraced by 9/11 Truth Movement is easy.

"It is correct that the towers did not collapse because of the
airliners hitting it. But we do know how it collapsed and it
has nothing to do with conspiracy," says Brown. "What caused
the building to collapse is the airplane fuel and the
fire-suppression system that we now have, which basically
blocks off five-floor blocks, so the fire can't go up and the
fire can't go down. You now have a fire confined to a
five-floor area, burning at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The
steel in that five-floor area melts. All the tonnage above the
five-floor area comes straight down when the steel melts. That
broke all the connections, and that caused the building to

Just-released preliminary findings from a National Institute
of Standards and Technology study of the World Trade Center
collapse support Brown's theory.

Brown isn't the only one who doubts the claims of the 9/11
Truth Movement members. Some say these theories of a 9/11
conspiracy are just that-unfounded conspiracy theories.

"Basically they are inflating a mystery out of nothing. I find
a lot of this doesn't even get off the ground, as far as an
argument. It's kind of frustrating and shameless that you have
people out there that are promoting this stuff," says Kevin
Christopher, public relations director for SciCop, the
Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the

Just like 9/11 Truth Movement members are posting their
intricate theories online, skeptic organizations like SciCop
are posting detailed deconstructions of these hypotheses. But
some say the most damning refute of the 9/11 Truth Movement
comes from the bipartisan National Commission on Terrorist
Attacks Upon the United States, also known as the 9/11
Commission, which released its public report in July 2004.

"We believe the record is laid out authoritatively in the 9/11
Commission report," says Mike Hurley, a former senior council
and team leader on the 9/11 Commission and now senior director
for the 9/11 Public Discourse Project, which was formed in the
wake of the commission to educate the public on terrorism. "I
think we conducted the broadest and deepest investigation of
our government perhaps in the history of the United States."

The 9/11 Commission's report concluded that the government
"failed across the board" to prepare for the terrorist threat,
says Hurley, but the investigation found no evidence of
government involvement in the attacks.

"We didn't answer everything, in terms of our investigation.
We answered what we believe are the most important questions.
But there are so many things out there, and I mean I hate to
say it, but you almost don't want to dignify them with answers
because there are just so many bizarre theories and things
like that," says Hurley. "Certainly it's rather easy to weave
these sinister theories by picking up an odd thread here and
there, but when we track these things down, we would find
there was no substance to them."

According to Hurley, many of the circumstances on Sept. 11
that 9/11 Truth Movement members link to government complicity
are actually examples of mistakes. For example, fighter jets
weren't purposely obstructed from tracking the hijacked
airliners, says Hurley. Instead, thanks to miscommunication
between different government agencies and the pilots, the
fighter jets were delayed or had trouble locating the hijacked

Many members of the 9/11 Truth Movement aren't buying the 9/11
Commission's story. They say leading members of the commission
maintain disturbingly close ties to the Bush administration
(Phillip Zelikow, executive director of the commission,
co-authored a book with National Security Advisor Condoleeza
Rice), and that a true independent citizens' investigation
into 9/11 needs to take place.

"[The commission report's] given us more to report on," says
Shure. "Most people think that it is such a wonderful report,
but when they find out about how there's other information
that hasn't been investigated at all, the 9/11 Commission at
least has the appearance of being nothing more than a white
wash or a cover-up."

Quest for meaning

U.S. District Judge John Tunheim knows a thing or two about
conspiracy theories. After all, he chaired the Assassination
Record Review Board in the 1990s, which was charged with
releasing classified information on the John F. Kennedy
assassination-a job that put Tunheim right in the middle of
the mother of all conspiracy theories.

Tunheim and his colleagues spent five years delving into the
myriad JFK theories, releasing six million documents. Still,
Tunheim is sure die-hard conspiracy theorists will never be
satisfied, no matter how exhaustive the investigation.

"People want to believe that events happen for a profound
reason, and that's why it's difficult for a lot of people who
have interest in the assassination to believe that a troubled
nut like Lee Oswald could have done it by himself. It just
seems implausible to them that an event that rocked the
country in such a major way and had a profound impact on world
events could have been brought about by a 23-year-old nut,"
says Tunheim. "They want to believe that it happened for a
more profound reason, and the CIA orchestrating the
assassination would be a far more profound reason in the view
of a lot of people."

According to Mark Fenster, author of Conspiracy Theories:
Secrecy and Power in American Culture, this type of obsession
with conspiracy is part of the American way of life, from
elaborate notions involving Masons, bankers and Communists to
Hillary Clinton claiming there's a right-wing plot to take
down her husband.

"The point is that there's a long American tradition of
populism. Of fear and loathing of centralized positions of
power. And oftentimes utilizing a populist argument will lend
itself to implications of conspiracy. That is, the government
is working to take my property. Or is conspiring to achieve a
certain goal," says Fenster. "Not all populist arguments are
conspiracy theories, but all conspiracy theories are at their
core populist."

Fenster says that a large segment of the American public
probably believes in some form of a conspiracy theory. While
he's not sure if conspiracy theories are becoming more common
today, he does feel that the Internet has led to the rapid
proliferation of new theories. According to the BBC, an
estimated 36,000 Princess Diana conspiracy theory websites
were created after her death.

"The technology of the Internet is such that one can quickly
and easily and virtually costlessly type something up and put
it on a website or put it on an electronic bulletin board and
spread the idea really quickly," says Fenster. "Whereas 10
years ago it would require you to either meet face to face
with people or put it in print and circulate that physically."

The Sept. 11 attacks' dramatic unfolding, extensive live
coverage and global ramifications would seem to be the perfect
recipe for widespread conspiracy theories. But both Fenster
and Tunheim doubt the extent of the 9/11 conspiracy theories
will reach the level of the JFK conspiracies. They say the
spottiness of the original JFK assassination investigation,
and general Cold War-fueled secrecies and skepticism, led to
the public questioning the official record. On the other hand,
they say, the 9/11 Commission's thorough, open and
user-friendly investigation (some say the commission's report,
which reads like a Robert Ludlum novel, is more exciting than
the conspiracy theories) is less likely to encourage

"It'll be interesting to see what happens in the near term, as
to whether more and more people believe in a 9/11 conspiracy
theory," says Fenster. "My guess would be that if additional
[terrorist] events occur, and especially if Bush gets
re-elected, then there would be more significant numbers
believing in this, just like I think how the percentage of
people who believed in conspiracy theories went up with each
additional assassination in the '60s."

Some say conspiracy theories corrode historical events and
encourage greater cynicism and alienation from society. But
Fenster believes that, as long as they're kept within healthy
bounds, conspiracy theories can be good for the country.

"If one assumes that the American populist tradition is a good
tradition, and I'll say that it is, then the populist aspect
of conspiracy is also a good thing," he says. "It helps us to
recognize that it's a perfectly acceptable thing to question
what our leaders tell us."

Matthews at the 9/11 Visibility Project agrees. She says most
of the people in the 9/11 Truth Movement don't claim to know
what actually happened on Sept. 11; they just believe there
are enough disturbing questions remaining about the event to
warrant a much more thorough investigation of America's new
day of infamy.

"Nineteen people, none of whom were airliner pilots, with
boxcuters got into our airplanes, shut down our military
system and bombed some of the most heavily protected airspace
in the world," says Matthews. "That's a conspiracy theory."

For more information on local 9/11 Visibility Project
activities, contact Tim Gale at •••@••.••• or Fran
Shure at •••@••.•••.

Respond: •••@••.•••


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Richard Moore (rkm)
Wexford, Ireland

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