A conspiracy is defined as “a secret plan made by two or more people to do something that is harmful or illegal.” Since nobody doubts that the infamous acts of violence and destruction carried out in Manhattan and Arlington VA on September 11, 2001 were planned by two or more people, it follows that, strictly speaking, no one really doubts that a conspiracy was carried out on that fateful day. This is worth repeating: everyone is a conspiracy theorist (at least in this one sense) with respect to the events of 9/11. Accordingly, the intense and vitriolic debates over 9/11 that have taken place in the last 12 years are mischaracterized and misunderstood when they are described as debates between rational individuals on the one hand and “conspiracy theorists” on the other. In fact, the most important debates surrounding 9/11 have been about, not whether there was a conspiracy, but exactly who was involved in it.
Broadly speaking there are two positions one can take on the question of who was involved in the 9/11 conspiracy. On the one hand, there is the official view, espoused by US government officials and many others, according to which the conspiracy carried out on 9/11 was orchestrated by a group of al-Qaeda terrorists acting on their own without the support of any government officials foreign or domestic. On the other hand, there are those who, for a variety of reasons, doubt the official view. The debate can thus be described as one between BELIEVERS (those who believe or are inclined to believe the official view) and SCEPTICS (those who doubt or are inclined to reject the official view). To call the SCEPTICS “conspiracy theorists” is not only misleading for the reason mentioned above (i.e. everyone is a conspiracy theorist with respect to 9/11), it is also pernicious. The term “conspiracy theorists,” with its negative connotations, is used in this context not to accurately describe a group of individuals, but rather to dismiss them. It is a rhetorical device used to silence critics of the official view of 9/11 in much the same way that the label “anti-Semite” is used to silence critics of the policies of the state of Israel. The rhetorical move in both cases is entirely bogus. There are very good reasons for opposing the immoral and illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories, and one need not be an anti-Semite or a self-hating Jew in order to do so. Similarly, there are very good reasons for opposing the official view regarding responsibility for 9/11.
9/11 SCEPTICS come in a variety of colours. Some are sure that the official theory is false; some merely think that there is insufficient evidence to believe that it is true. Some, but not all SCEPTICS, put forward alternative theories of the events of that day and who carried them out. Dick Cheney, the CIA, the NSA, the ISI, Mossad, the House of Saud, Prince Bandar, Osama Bin-Laden, al-Qaeda, and various combinations of the foregoing have all been variously accused of being involved in the events of 9/11. Furthermore, among those who believe that US officials had a hand in the events of 9/11, there are those who think US agents actively participated in the attacks (perhaps in collusion with foreign terrorist groups) and others who believe that US agents simply failed to prevent the attacks even though they had advance knowledge of them. Recent developments shed a good deal of light on many of these issues and help reasonable people form beliefs about what is the most reasonable position to adopt on the question of responsibility for 9/11.
Among the various questions that SCEPTICS have considered and discussed in the last 12 years, three important ones have recently received definitive and affirmative answers by former or current US officials in the know. They are the following.
1. Were any foreign governments involved in the terrorist acts carried out on 9/11?
2. Did the Bush administration attempt to cover up information concerning the involvement of any foreign governments in the events of 9/11?
3. Did the US intelligence agencies have foreknowledge of the attacks that they failed to act on?
In this recent article in the New York Post, Paul Sperry points to some crucially important information with respect to the first two of these questions. The article begins as follows:
After the 9/11 attacks, the public was told al Qaeda acted alone, with no state sponsors.
But the White House never let it see an entire section of Congress’ investigative report on 9/11 dealing with “specific sources of foreign support” for the 19 hijackers, 15 of whom were Saudi nationals.
It was kept secret and remains so today.
President Bush inexplicably censored 28 full pages of the 800-page report. Text isn’t just blacked-out here and there in this critical-yet-missing middle section. The pages are completely blank, except for dotted lines where an estimated 7,200 words once stood (this story by comparison is about 1,000 words).
A pair of lawmakers who recently read the redacted portion say they are “absolutely shocked” at the level of foreign state involvement in the attacks.
Reps. Walter Jones (R-NC) and Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) can’t reveal the nation identified by it without violating federal law. So they’ve proposed Congress pass a resolution asking President Obama to declassify the entire 2002 report, “Joint Inquiry Into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001.”
Some information already has leaked from the classified section, which is based on both CIA and FBI documents, and it points back to Saudi Arabia, a presumed ally.
Whether the foreign government involved in the events of 9/11 is or includes Saudi Arabia is not yet clear. However, what is clear is that two members of the US Congress who had privileged access to the redacted portions of the official report of the “Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks on September 2001” have expressed shock at the level of involvement of foreign governments in the events of 9/11 and have, as a result, put forward a House resolution asking President Obama to make the entire report available to the public. The text of the motion put forward by Reps. Jones and Lynch can be viewed here. The document specifically states that President Bush’s decision to redact 28 pages of that report “prevents the people of the United States from having access to information about the involvement of certain foreign governments in the terrorist attacks of September 2001.” As the text speaks of “foreign governments” there is the suggestion (not proof) that more than one country was involved in the attacks. However, what these two members of US Congress do prove, in the most credible way, is that at least one foreign government was involved in the attacks of 9/11.
This revelation is significant for many reasons. In the first place, it proves that the SCEPTICS were right all along not to trust the official view concerning who carried out the attacks on 9/11. Put differently, it shows that those who were inclined to accept the official story, despite all the questions surrounding it, were unjustifiably gullible (or just intellectually lazy). In the second place, it must be remembered that one of the justifications that the Bush administration provided for its illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq was the alleged connection between Saddam Hussein and the al-Qaeda terrorists who allegedly carried out the attacks on 9/11. Not only was there never any evidence of such a connection–indeed Bush himself was eventually forced to distance himself from such an allegation–but it now emerges that there is evidence of a connection between the al-Qaeda suspects and other foreign government(s). Furthermore, it is clear that this connection was known by the Bush administration at least as early as December 2002 and most likely earlier.
So not only have 9/11 SCEPTICS been proven right on one crucial point in the debates over 9/11, it is now clear that there was, not one conspiracy carried out on 9/11, but at least three and possibly four. First, 9/11 was a conspiracy in the technical sense that a number of people conspired to carry out the attacks. Second, as we now know thanks to Reps. Jones and Lynch, 9/11 was a state-sponsored conspiracy. Thirdly, there was a conspiracy among officials of the Bush administration to conceal the truth about the identities of those foreign governments they knew were involved in the events of 9/11. Fourthly, there may also have been a conspiracy among top-ranking officials at the NSA to withhold key information regarding the attacks prior to September 11, 2001. On this last point, William Binney and group of three other former senior officials at NSA recently published an open letter to President Obama in which they make it clear that by early 2001 the NSA had produced a “critical long-term analytic report unraveling the heart of al-Qaeda and associated movements.” The authors of this open letter emphasize the following in bold type: “Make no mistake. That data and the analytic report could have, should have prevented 9/11.” And while Binney himself was originally tasked with preparing a report for the congressional investigation concerning what the NSA knew about 9/11 prior to the attacks, he was later removed from that task when NSA senior leaders realized that he “would not take part in covering up how much the NSA knew but did not share.” So four former senior officers at the NSA are now on record stating that the NSA withheld information on 9/11 that could have prevented those attacks and that, when requested by Congress to explain what they knew about 9/11 prior to the attacks, the NSA attempted to conceal the truth. This open letter is solid evidence that there was at least a conspiracy among the leaders of the NSA in 2002 to withhold the truth concerning what they knew about 9/11 prior to the attacks, but it also suggests that there may have been a conspiracy among the NSA leaders prior to 9/11 to withhold essential intelligence that could have thwarted the attacks.
One interesting dimension to the recent revelations by Reps. Jones and Lynch is that, aside from the article in the New York Post mentioned above, one would search in vain trying to find any coverage of this important issue in the mainstream media. What is more, as is pointed out in this piece in Veterans Today, there are reasons to be sceptical about Paul Sperry’s credibility and intentions in singling out Saudi Arabia as the country named in the 28 pages that Bush redacted from report. Sperry may still be correct–perhaps Saudi-Arabia is the only country named in those missing pages–but it is also entirely plausible that the missing portions of the document point instead to Israeli involvement in 9/11 and that Sperry is writing primarily to deflect attention away from Israel. Or perhaps both of these countries were involved in 9/11. One cannot know until or unless the full report is made public.
In the last 12 years, 9/11 SCEPTICS have been consistently dismissed and disparaged, even by people whom one would expect to be more critical of the official view, including Michael Shermer (founder of the Skeptics Society and editor of Skeptic magazine), Julian Assange (founder and editor of Wikileaks), and Noam Chomsky (one of America’s great political dissidents and a prolific critic of American foreign policy). Chomsky has consistently dismissed the 9/11 truth movement, and in one of his most recent public statements on the topic, he explains why he wouldn’t bother wasting his time looking into the various details that supposedly challenge the official view on 91/11. He suggests in that talk that the official view of 9/11 is most likely true because it fails to provide any logical support for the main foreign policy agenda that the Bush administration had at that time, namely, to invade Iraq. If the Bush administration were involved in some way with 9/11 and they wanted to use that event as a pretext for invading Iraq, then why on earth, Chomsky wonders aloud, would they blame it on Saudis? Furthermore, he asks who benefited from the official view according to which the attacks on 9/11 were carried out by Saudi terrorists. The only two people he can imagine that benefited were Saddam Hussein and Osama bin-Laden. Therefore, he concludes it’s a waste of time to try to uncover evidence to prove that the official view is wrong.
This is bad reasoning and the recent revelations of Reps. Jones and Lynch demonstrate in a vivid way just how bad it is. These two members of Congress have stated, on the basis of full access to a US congressional report into the intelligence surrounding 9/11, that certain unnamed foreign governments were involved in the events of 9/11. Quite obviously, then, those foreign governments, which were never attacked or brought to justice in any way, benefited a great deal from the official view attributing 9/11 solely to a group of Saudi terrorists linked to al-Qaeda. Furthermore, in light of the revelations of William Binney and other senior NSA officials, there may well have been passive complicity in the events of 9/11 on the part of the most senior leaders of the NSA, who had specific foreknowledge of 9/11 which they inexplicably never shared outside the NSA even though it could have, in the words of Binney et. al., prevented the attacks on 9/11. It is possible that this failure to share the information was just an oversight, but there is simply no reason at this point to rule out the possibility that it was deliberate. And if it were deliberate, then those responsible for it, in the upper echelons on the US intelligence service and possibly other government officials, would be another group who would have benefited enormously from the official view attributing guilt solely to a group of al-Qaeda terrorists. To fail to see these possibilities takes real effort, and it is surprising to see Chomsky of all people making such an effort.
In the last 12 years 9/11 SCEPTICS have doggedly pursued questions that the official view of 9/11 fails to answer satisfactorily and many of them have suffered a good deal of abuse for their efforts. There never was any good reason to dismiss the SCEPTICS as “conspiracy theorists,” but recent revelations effectively prove that they were right all along in doubting the official view, which has survived as long as it has only because key government officials have deliberately withheld crucially relevant information from the public. However, a number of other government officials, including Reps. Jones and Lynch, as well as William Binney and other senior officers at the NSA, have recently come forward to try to lift the veil of secrecy surrounding official knowledge of 9/11. The official view is, finally, beginning to crumble, and these few brave individuals deserve credit for what they have done. One of the retorts that 9/11 BELIEVERS have made so often in the last 12 years is that “If 9/11 really were a conspiracy, there must be a number of people out there with important information about it. So why has no one from the inside spoken out about it yet?” That rhetorical question never was a good one, but recent revelations have answered it once and for all: insiders have spoken.