Paul Craig Roberts
August 18, 2006What we know and don't know about 9/11
"Holding the Bush regime accountable for its obvious & documented lies"
Paul Craig Robert
August 18, 2006
I received a number of intelligent responses from readers of my August 14 column, "Gullible Americans," The letters deserve a reply. Moreover, some contain important points that should be shared with a wider audience. Pundits such as myself are not the only people who have interesting things to say. Considering the number of letters and the time it would require to respond individually, I am replying instead in this column.
Most readers from whom I heard understand the difference between loyalty to country and loyalty to a government. They understand that to support a political party or a government that is destroying the US Constitution and America's reputation in the world is, in fact, an act of treason. Therefore, I did not have to read the usual drivel about how doubting "our government" is un-American.
Among the issues raised are:
How could the complicity of the US government, or some part of it, in the events of 9/11 be kept a secret? For the most part, this question comes from Americans who believe the government must have been, to some extent, complicit in the attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon.
How can we differentiate between the real facts, the 9/11 Commission's reporting of the facts, and "conspiracy theories"?
What about the role of suicide flyers led by M. Atta?
What about the Popular Mechanics article and the TV documentary that debunk the skeptics and support the official explanation of 9/11?
What about the role of the US media in propagandizing Americans with the official explanation instead of examining the explanation, especially with regard to such truncated hatchet-job interviews with 9/11 skeptics such as the hatchet jobs presided over by Donny Deutsch on CNBC and by neocon Tucker Carlson on MSNBC?
Why are so many Americans hostile to holding the Bush regime accountable for its obvious and documented lies, lies that have misled America to war and gratuitously slaughtered and maimed tens of thousands of people, including our own troops?
I will begin by stating what we know to be a solid incontrovertible scientific fact.
We know that it is strictly impossible for any building, much less steel columned buildings, to "pancake" at free fall speed. Therefore, it is a non-controversial fact that the official explanation of the collapse of the WTC buildings is false.
We also know for a fact that the Air Force somehow inexplicably failed to intercept the alleged hijacked airliners despite the fact that the Air Force can launch jet fighters to 29,000 feet in 2.5 minutes. We also know that the two co-chairmen of the 9/11 Commission have just written a book that reveals that the US military lied to the Commission about its failure to intercept the hijacked airliners.
There are various explanations for this second fact. The military could have lied to cover up complicity or to cover-up its incompetence. However, no investigation has been made to ascertain the true explanation for the failure.
This leaves us with the incontrovertible fact that buildings cannot "pancake" at free fall speeds.
The only explanation known to science for the free fall collapse of a building, especially into its own footprint, is engineered demolition, which removes the supports for each floor of the building at split second intervals so that the debris from above meets no resistance on its fall. To call this explanation a "conspiracy theory" is to display the utmost total ignorance. Any physicist or engineer who maintains that buildings can "pancake" at free fall speed has obviously been bought and paid for or is a total incompetent fool.
The WTC buildings are known to have collapsed at free fall speed into their own footprints.
This fact does not tell us who is responsible or what purpose was served.
Since the damning incontrovertible fact has not been investigated, speculation and "conspiracy theories" have filled the void. Some of the speculation is based on circumstantial evidence and is plausible. Other of the speculation is untenable, and it is used to protect the official explanation by branding all skeptics "conspiracy theorists." I would not be surprised if some of the most far-out "conspiracy theories" consist, in fact, of disinformation put out by elements in the government to discredit all skeptics. But I do not know this to be the case.
How could government complicity be kept a secret? It can be kept a secret, because so many Americans are scientifically ignorant and emotionally weak. They are incapable of realizing the contradiction in the government's claim that the WTC buildings "pancaked" at free fall speed, and they are emotionally incapable of confronting the evil of the Bush regime. Many Christians think that Bush is "a man of God" who is protecting American morality from homosexuals and abortionists. Others who wear their patriotism on their sleeves think Bush is standing up for America and innocent Israel, and that they must not let anti-American anti-war protesters cause America to lose another war and repeat the Vietnam experience. Americans are both ignorant and full of resentments against the left. This makes them easily manipulated by the neoconservatives who dominate the Bush regime and the media.
Also, many anti-war and anti-Bush online sites are scared of being called "crazy conspiracy kooks." They protect their sites by staying away from the 9/11 issue, just as so many Americans are scared to death of being called "anti-semitic" and thereby do not dare criticize Israel no matter the heinous war crimes that state routinely commits. Of all the online subscribers to my column, only vdare.com and NewsMax had the courage to post my column. Realizing that even antiwar sites would serve as de facto gatekeepers for the neocons, I offered the column to ICH, whose editor cannot be intimidated.
The Popular Mechanics article and the TV documentary are obviously false since they both endorse the official explanation that the WTC buildings "pancaked" at free fall speed, an obvious scientific impossibility. Whether the false reporting by Popular Mechanics and television are due to incompetence or to complicity in a government cover-up, I do not know.
We know nothing about alleged suicide flyers led by M. Atta except what the government has told us, a government that has lied to us about everything else, such as Iraq's alleged WMD and alleged links to Osama bin Laden, and Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program, a program for which the International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors cannot find evidence.
According to reports, the BBC has found 6 of the alleged suicide hijackers alive and well in their home countries. I do not know if the report is true, but I do know that the report has been ignored and there has been no investigation. Both the US government and the US media have turned a blind eye. We have no way of knowing if Atta and his named accomplices hijacked the planes, or, if they did, whether they were dupes of intelligent services that pretended to be a terrorist cell and organized the cover for the engineered demolition.
The fact that we do not know any of these things, and the fact that the 9/11 Commission co-chairmen now tell us that their report is flawed, are good indications that we have no documented information of who was behind the plot, why it occurred, or how it operated.
With regard to the role of the US media, if it is indeed a media rather than a propaganda ministry, one reader cited remarks by the distinguished investigative reporter, John Pilger, made in an address at Columbia University on 14 April 2006:
"During the Cold War, a group of Russian journalists toured the United States. On the final day of their visit, they were asked by their hosts for their impressions. 'I have to tell you,' said their spokesman, 'that we were astonished to find after reading all the newspapers and watching TV, that all the opinions on all the vital issues were by and large, the same. To get that result in our country, we imprison people, we tear out their fingernails. Here, you don't have that. What's the secret? How do you do it?'"
This quote is probably apocryphal, but it is well used to make a valid point. The answer to the Russian's question is that during the cold war the American public viewed the Soviet Union as a dangerous adversary and were amenable to reports to that effect. The fact that the Soviets were a potentially dangerous adversary made Americans blind to the roles of the US military-industrial complex, which benefited financially from cultivating the adversary relationship, and the US government, which benefited politically from cultivating the adversary relationship, in keeping the adversarial relationship alive.
The uniformity of the US media has become much more complete since the days of the cold war. During the 1990s, the US government permitted an unconscionable concentration of print and broadcast media that terminated the independence of the media. Today the US media is owned by 5 giant companies in which pro-Zionist Jews have disproportionate influence. More importantly, the values of the conglomerates reside in the broadcast licenses, which are granted by the government, and the corporations are run by corporate executives--not by journalists--whose eyes are on advertising revenues and the avoidance of controversy that might produce boycotts or upset advertisers and subscribers. Americans who rely on the totally corrupt corporate media have no idea what is happening anywhere on earth, much less at home.
Despite the dark days in which we live, some readers find optimism in recent polls that show more than one-third of the US public now disbelieve the official account of 9/11 despite the Bush regime's propaganda faithfully trumpeted by the US media. Bush's own rock-bottom polls show that Americans, like the Russians of the Soviet era, can read between the lines of the propagandistic US media. Many Americans can still spot a liar and a cheat when they see one.
Key Ronald Reagan advisor Hon. Paul Craig Roberts: "Gullible Americans have been duped by the 9/11 Hoax... Wise up -- the World is laughing at you."
By Paul Craig Roberts Information Clearing House 08/14/06
I was in China when a July Harris Poll reported that 50 percent of Americans still believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when Bush invaded that country, and that 64 percent of Americans still believe that Saddam Hussein had strong links with Al Qaeda.
The Chinese leaders and intellectuals with whom I was meeting were incredulous. How could a majority of the population in an allegedly free country with an allegedly free press be so totally misinformed?
The only answer I could give the Chinese is that Americans would have been the perfect population for Mao and the Gang of Four, because Americans believe anything their government tells them.
Americans never check any facts. Who do you know, for example, who has even read the Report of the 9/11 Commission, much less checked the alleged facts reported in that document. I can answer for you. You don't know anyone who has read the report or checked the facts.
The two co-chairmen of the 9/11 Commission Report, Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, have just released a new book, "Without Precedent: The Inside Story of the 9/11 Commission." Kean and Hamilton reveal that the commission suppressed the fact that Muslim ire toward the US is due to US support for Israel's persecution and dispossession of the Palestinians, not to our "freedom and democracy" as Bush propagandistically claims. Kean and Hamilton also reveal that the US military committed perjury and lied about its failure to intercept the hijacked airliners. The commission even debated referring the military's lies to the Justice Department for criminal investigation. Why should we assume that these admissions are the only coverups and lies in the 9/11 Commission Report?
How do you know that 9/11 was a Muslim terrorist plot? How do you know that THREE World Trade Center buildings collapsed because TWO were hit by airliners? You only "know" because the government gave you the explanation of what you saw on TV. (Did you even know that three WTC buildings collapsed?)
I still remember the enlightenment I experienced as a student in Russian Studies when I learned that the Czarist secret police would set off bombs and then blame those whom they wanted to arrest.
When Hitler seized dictatorial power in 1933, he told the Germans that his new powers were made necessary by a communist terrorist attack on the Reichstag. When Hitler started World War II by invading Poland, he told the Germans that Poland had crossed the frontier and attacked Germany.
Governments lie all the time--especially governments staffed by neoconservatives whose intellectual godfather, Leo Strauss, taught them that it is permissible to deceive the public in order to achieve their agenda.
Some readers will write to me to say that they saw a TV documentary or read a magazine article verifying the government's explanation of 9/11. But, of course, these Americans did not check the facts either--and neither did the people who made the documentary and wrote the magazine article.
Scientists and engineers, such as Clemson University Professor of Engineering Dr. Judy Woods and BYU Professor of Physics Dr. Steven Jones, have raised compelling questions about the official account of the collapse of the three WTC buildings. The basic problem for the government's account is that the buildings are known to have fallen at freefall speed, a fact that is inconsistent with the government's "pancaking" theory in which debris from above collapsed the floors below. If the buildings actually "pancaked," then each floor below would have offered resistance to the floors above, and the elapsed time would have been much longer. These experts have also calculated that the buildings did not have sufficient gravitational energy to accommodate the government's theory of the collapse. It is certainly a known and non-controversial fact among physicists and engineers that the only way buildings can collapse at freefall speed into their own footprints is by engineered demolition. Explosives are used to remove the support of floors below before the debris from above arrives. Otherwise, resistance is encountered and the time required for fall increases. Engineered demolition also explains the symmetrical collapse of the buildings into their own foot prints. As it is otherwise improbable for every point in floors below to weaken uniformly, "pancaking" would result in asymmetrical collapse as some elements of the floor would give sooner than others.
Scientific evidence is a tough thing for the American public to handle, and the government knows it. The government can rely on people dismissing things that they cannot understand as "conspiracy theory." But if you are inclined to try to make up your own mind, you can find Dr. Jones' and Dr. Woods' papers, which have been formally presented to their peers at scientific meetings, on line at http://www.st911.org/
Experts have also pointed out that the buildings' massive steel skeletons comprised a massive heat sink that wicked away the heat from the limited, short-lived fires, thus preventing a heat buildup. Experts also point out that the short-lived, scattered, low-intensity fires could barely reach half the melting point of steel even if they burned all day instead of merely an hour.
Don't ask me to tell you what happened on 9/11. All I know is that the official account of the buildings' collapse is improbable.
Now we are being told another improbable tale. Muslim terrorists in London and Pakistan were caught plotting to commit mass murder by smuggling bottles of explosive liquids on board airliners in hand luggage. Baby formula, shampoo and water bottles allegedly contained the tools of suicide bombers.
How do we know about this plot? Well, the police learned it from an "Islamic militant arrested near the Afghan-Pakistan border several weeks ago." And how did someone so far away know what British-born people in London were plotting?
Do you really believe that Western and Israeli intelligence services, which were too incompetent to prevent the 9/11 attack, can uncover a London plot by capturing a person on the Afghan border in Pakistan? Why would "an Islamic militant" rat on such a plot even if he knew of it?
More probable explanations of the "plot" are readily available. According to the August 11 Wayne Madsen Report, informed sources in the UK report that "the Tony Blair government, under siege by a Labor Party revolt, cleverly cooked up a new 'terror' scare to avert the public's eyes away from Blair's increasing political woes. British law enforcement, neocon and intelligence operatives in the US, Israel, and Britain, and Rupert Murdoch's global media empire cooked up the terrorist plot, liberally borrowing from the failed 1995 'Oplan Bjinka' plot by Pakistan- and Philippines-based terrorist Ramzi Ahmad Yousef to crash 11 trans-Pacific airliners bound from Asia to the US."
There are other plausible explanations. For example, our puppet in Pakistan decided to arrest some people who were a threat to him. With Bush's commitment to "building democracy in the Middle East," our puppet can't arrest his political enemies without cause, so he lays the blame on a plot.
Any testimony against Muslim plotters by "an Islamic militant" is certain to have been bought and paid for.
Or consider this explanation. Under the Nuremberg standard, Bush and Blair are war criminals. Bush is so worried that he will be held accountable that he has sent his attorney general to consult with the Republican Congress to work out legislation to protect Bush retroactively from his violations of the Geneva Conventions.
Tony Blair is in more danger of finding himself in the dock. Britain is signatory to a treaty that, if justice is done, will place Blair before the International Criminal Court in the Hague.
What better justification for the two war criminals' illegal actions than the need to foil dastardly plots by Muslims recruited in sting operations by Western intelligence services? The more Bush and Blair can convince their publics that terrorist danger abounds, the less likely Bush and Blair are ever to be held accountable for their crimes.
But surely, some readers might object, our great moral leaders wouldn't do something political like that!
They most certainly would. As Joshua Micah Marshall wrote in the July 7 issue of Time magazine, the suspicion is "quite reasonable" that "the Bush Administration orchestrates its terror alerts and arrests to goose the GOP's poll numbers."
Joshua Micah Marshall proves his conclusion by examining the barrage of color-coded terror alerts, none of which were real, and, yes, it all fits with political needs.
And don't forget the plot unearthed in Miami to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago. Described by Vice President Cheney as a "very real threat," the plot turned out to be nothing more than a few harmless whackos recruited by an FBI agent sent out to organize a sting.
There was also the "foiled plot" to blow up the Holland Tunnel and flood downtown New York City with sea water. Thinking New Orleans, the FBI invented this plot without realizing that New York City is above sea level. Of course, most Americans didn't realize it either.
For six years the Bush regime has been able to count on the ignorant and naive American public to believe whatever tale that is told them. American gullibility has yet to fail the Bush regime.
The government has an endless number of conspiracy theories, but only people who question the government's conspiracies are derided for "having a conspiracy theory."
The implication is even worse if we assume that the explosive bottle plot is genuine. It means that America and Britain by their own aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan, and by enabling Israel's war crimes in Palestine and Lebanon, have created such hatred that Muslims, who identify with Bush's, Blair's, and Israel's victims, are plotting retaliation.
But Bush is prepared. He has taught his untutored public that "they hate us for our freedom and democracy."
Gentle reader, wise up. The entire world is laughing at you.
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentionscontinua / continued