Thursday, December 16, 2010


The 9/11 Conspiracy: Was the U.S. Government Behind It?

The 9/11 Conspiracy: Was the U.S. Government Behind It?
Osama bin Laden (Getty Images)

The Questions of 9/11

September 11, 2001. A disaster so profound that its name is derived not from the horrifying events that took place that day, but by the date alone—as though what happened was so unspeakable that the only way to properly encompass the enormity of it is to invoke when it happened; a date that, to paraphrase Franklin Roosevelt's description of Pearl Harbor Day, truly lives in infamy. When Al-Qaeda operatives struck at the heart of America's financial and military might—the World Trade Center (WTC) in New York City and the Pentagon just outside of Washington, DC—killing more than 3,000 Americans, our country was changed forever. In the aftermath came two wars and passage of the Patriot Act, which redefined how the U.S. could spy on its own citizens.
But after nine years, most Americans have as many questions about the details and aftermath of the savage attacks as they do about the motives of the monsters behind it. Why did some at Ground Zero claim to hear explosions before the first plane even hit? How could two planes crash in a major metropolis and not a single flight data recorder be found? Why did WTC Tower Seven collapse when it was not hit by either of the two airliners? And why won't the government admit that some tests have found traces of explosives in the wreckage from the towers?
While some are merely puzzled, or unworried about these questions, others track down answers like bloodhounds, subjecting themselves to the scorn and ridicule of many who feel that these questions shouldn't be asked. Commissions have been formed, reports issued and books written, but these questions and others like them remain unanswered by the federal government, leading to much speculation that perhaps the U.S. government had advance knowledge of—or even helped plan—the attacks.

The 9/11 Conspiracy: Was the U.S. Government Behind It?

A 9/11 Timeline

In the early morning of September 11, nineteen Al-Qaeda terrorists boarded planes in Boston, Newark, NJ and Washington, D.C. American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 departed Boston at 7:59 a.m. and 8:14 a.m., respectively. American Airlines Flight 77 left Dulles International Airport outside of D.C. at 8:20 a.m. United Airlines Flight 93 was the last to take off, departing from Newark at 8:42 a.m. after a nearly 40-minute delay on the tarmac. Each airliner was bound for California, its tanks filled with tens of thousands of gallons of jet fuel for the transcontinental trip. At 8:46 a.m., Flight 11 crashed into the north facade of the World Trade Center's Tower One. Many assumed the collision was the result of pilot or mechanical error. It was not until Flight 175 slammed into Tower Two, 17 minutes later, that many Americans' worst fears were realized—that this was a coordinated attack on America and her people.
But the assault was not yet finished. At 9:37 a.m., Flight 77 ploughed into the western side of the Pentagon and, at 10:03 a.m., Flight 93 came down in a field near Shanksville, PA, after its passengers stormed the cockpit. Its unreached target was thought to be either the Capitol Building or the White House in Washington, D.C.
After burning for 56 minutes, Tower Two collapsed at 9:59 a.m. Tower One fell shortly thereafter at 10:28 a.m. World Trade Center Building Seven (7 WTC), though not struck by the planes, had caught fire and toppled completely by 5:21 p.m. The thick plume of black smoke that billowed to the south and east over Brooklyn and moved out across the Atlantic Ocean was visible from space. The flames at the Pentagon were not contained until 6 p.m. the following day.
Nearly 3,000 people died that day—aboard the planes, in the towers, on the streets below and inside the Pentagon. It was the deadliest terrorist attack in American history.
The Aftermath
Reactions to this massacre were swift. All commercial flights in the U.S. were grounded for three days. Fighter jets patrolled Manhattan. Wall Street stock exchanges were closed for six days, an unheard-of suspension for the lifeblood of American finances. All the while, Ground Zero smoldered as rescue workers and volunteers frantically combed through the wreckage in a search for survivors that, tragically, would be almost completely for naught.
But while the United States grieved, the world rallied around it in an unprecedented show of solidarity. French newspaper Le Monde declared, "We Are All Americans Now." Ireland held a national day of mourning, while Canada's flags flew at half-mast for a month in commiseration. Even foes of the U.S.—including North Korea, Cuba, Libya and Iran—denounced the attacks, and the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution declaring that the United States had a right to defend itself. The world at large seemed to be standing squarely with America.
President George W. Bush's approval ratings soared to 86 percent in the days after September 11, and American flags began appearing on bumpers, porches, windows and lapels. As the US attempted to rally, on October 24, Congress passed the U.S.A. Patriot Act, aimed at rooting out terrorists at home and abroad. It greatly expanded the power and purview of American intelligence and law-enforcement agencies. Due to the actions of 19 terrorists on an early September morning, the world had changed forever.
Questions Still Remain
Nearly a decade has passed. The Pentagon has been repaired. Construction of a new World Trade Center Freedom Tower has begun. But we are still living with the repercussions of September 11. Children who were in elementary school that day are now fighting in one of the two wars spawned by the attacks. The Patriot Act, passed in the fervor of the moment, still gives the government the right to listen to our conversations without a warrant, and to delve into our financial and medical records with little oversight. The power of the federal government has grown exponentially.
Yet while the aftershocks linger, many questions about the events of 9/11 remain, questions that the government either cannot or will not answer. This lack of transparency has led to suspicions, with more than a third of Americans believing the government was either complicit in the attacks or knew about them beforehand and refused to act.

The Missing Black Boxes

The flight data recorder—or black box—is integral to the investigation of any plane crash. No less so in the case of the 9/11 attacks. A recovered black box could provide crucial information about the last moments in the cockpit, such as: What language were the hijackers speaking? Did they have any contact with associates on the ground? What were their motivations? What group was directing their actions?
Titanium-reinforced and engineered to survive intense fire, flight data recorders are highly resistant to damage. They are painted bright orange, despite their black-box nickname, and equipped with both radio and sonar beacons. Thanks to this design, they have survived and been recovered even after the most dire of crashes. TWA Flight 800, for example, exploded in a gigantic fireball off of Long Island, NY, and the flight recorder was still recovered in less than a week more than 100 feet down on the ocean floor.  Yet despite this durability, the government claims that no flight recording device from either plane was ever recovered from Ground Zero.
(Getty Images)The government insists that the devices were destroyed in the initial impact or melted in the conflagration that followed. Yet somehow the passport for Satam al-Suqami, one of the hijackers, survived this hellish inferno and was found days later on the street below.  Miraculously, this passport flew from either a pocket or a bag, escaped the licking flames and floated nearly entirely intact to the ground below.
There is an eyewitness, however, who contradicts the official report. He asserts that the flight data recorders actually survived and that he saw rescue officials carting off one from the World Trade Center site.
Mike Bellone was a volunteer at Ground Zero, where he performed recovery and rescue work for 257 straight days. One evening, as Bellone was working, he saw the FBI combing through the rubble for the recorders and watched as they discovered one of the planes' black boxes. "They had found one [flight recorder] that I know of," Bellone stated definitively. "That I actually physically saw." Speaking later that night to an FBI agent whom he had befriended, Bellone learned that the FBI had found two more flight recorders, three of the four that would have been on the two planes.
Award-winning investigative journalist Dave Lindorff claims he has a source at the National Transportation and Safety Administration who corroborates the recovery of the supposedly obliterated flight data recorders from Ground Zero. Lindorff recounted asking his contact what had happened to the black boxes: "And he said, 'Do you want the real answer or the official answer?' Of course I want the real answer. And he said, 'Well, the real answer is, we got all four of them. And that they are now in the possession of the FBI, which took them away from us.'"
Given that the black boxes were recovered, what motive could the government possibly have to deny their discovery? Some conspiracy theorists believe these "missing" flight recorders may contain evidence linking the Bush administration to the attacks.

Incendiary Discoveries

Explosion Before Impact
Mike Bellone wasn't the only eyewitness who has information that flies in the face of the official government report.
William Rodriguez was a maintenance worker in Tower Two and was one of the last people out of the building before it collapsed. Rodriguez testified behind closed doors to the 9/11 Commission but found his testimony was stricken from the record. He says that from his position near the ground floor, he felt the building vibrate up due to an explosion that occurred—before and separate from the impact of the plane. Remembering the fateful day, Rodriguez explained: "All the walls shake. They cracked. The false ceiling fell on top of us. The sprinkler system got activated. Water started spewing everywhere. Everybody's screaming in horror...this is before the plane hitting the tower."
The initial explosion Rodriguez felt was enough to cause noticeable physical damage seven or eight seconds before the definitive pow! That, Rodriguez states, was the building being hit by Flight 175. But, if Rodriguez is right about an earlier explosion, wouldn't there be some telltale residue from chemicals used in the alleged munitions? Yes, and there is.
Explosive Residue at Ground Zero
When Professor Steven Jones of Brigham Young University conducted tests on dust from the World Trade Center, he found traces of the highly flammable explosive super-thermite, also known as nano-thermite. A combination of powdered iron oxide and aluminum, super-thermite burns at 2,500 degrees Celsius when ignited—much, much hotter than even jet fuel.
The presence of super-thermite residue in the ashes of Ground Zero might also explain another mystery of September 11: the destruction of World Trade Center Building Seven.
Though not hit by either plane, 7 WTC was struck by debris from the collapsing Twin Towers, causing fires to erupt. In seven hours, 7 WTC collapsed completely. Suspiciously, it is the only skyscraper, before or since, known to have collapsed primarily from uncontrolled fire.  But the presence of a highly flammable explosive could account for how such a large building, kindled by the odd bit of burning debris, could simply fold in on itself as if professionally demolished. Interestingly, the Twin Towers also both collapsed almost directly into their own footprints. "We have good evidence for the use of explosives," Professor Jones says. "True, they were hit by planes. I'm not challenging that. But I'm saying that's not the full story."
So, how did this supercharged explosive find its way into the dust at Ground Zero? Did it help feed the flames that could not have eaten away at the steel-reinforced infrastructure of the World Trade Center buildings alone? Or did it bring down the towers by itself, leaving the fires as a scapegoat? And did the government know about the explosives—or perhaps even order them planted?

False Flag Operation

Missing Video of Pentagon Attack It's not only at the World Trade Center where nagging questions remain. Why is it that there are a dozen angles of footage of the Twin Towers being stuck by airliners, and not a single one of the Pentagon? After the Pentagon was hit, the FBI immediately mobilized and commandeered security-camera footage from nearby private businesses. For years, the FBI denied that they had confiscated anything and the only footage that existed was recorded by two grainy security cameras from the Pentagon itself. Eventually, after years of Freedom of Information Act requests, the FBI released two videotapes—one from a local hotel, the other from a nearby gas station. They revealed nothing. Why did the government refuse to admit it had additional tapes in its possession? Did they somehow alter the footage they eventually released in order to cover up something?
Operation Northwoods
Collating all the facts, it is possible to come to a chilling possible conclusion: The attacks of September 11 may have been a false-flag operation; that is, a covert operation designed to appear as if it were carried out by another nation or group. This tactic has been used by many regimes throughout history to justify war or domestic oppression. Some suspected cases of false-flag operations include the 1898 explosion that sunk the USS Maine in Havana Harbor and served as a protest for the U.S. declaration of war against Spain; and the 1933 Reichstag fire that brought the Nazis to power.
More recently there was Operation Northwoods. Submitted by the Head of the Joint Chiefs in 1962, it proposed that the CIA and military attack certain U.S. cities and American citizens under the guise of Cuban agents. They believed this falsely attributed act of belligerence would justify an American invasion of Cuba and ensure the public's support. Fortunately, President Kennedy nixed the proposal and the insidious, treasonous operation was never carried out.
NORAD Stand-Down
Certainly the U.S. Air Force's failure to intercept any of the hijacked planes on 9/11 could be evidence that the government wanted the attack to proceed unimpeded. Lt. Jeff Dahlstrom, a Vietnam veteran who served in the Air Force, has revealed that just months prior to the attack, hijacking protocols were changed to disallow military commanders from issuing orders to shoot down hijacked commercial airliners. After May 2001, sole permission lay with civilian authorities, such as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Vice President Dick Cheney and President George W. Bush. Transportation Secretary Norman Minetta testified to the 9/11 Commission that he overheard Vice President Cheney reiterate his stand-down order to NORAD (the North American Aerospace Defense Command).
Further, NORAD claimed that it was unable to scramble any fighters to intercept the hijacked September 11 flights, even though systems are in place to intercept in just 15 minutes. And in 2000, they were able to investigate errant airplanes in that time frame 129 separate times. On September 11, they failed four times. How did NORAD explain this fiasco? With misinformation. Obfuscation was so severe that the 9/11 Commission considered referring the matter to the Justice Department for criminal investigation.
False Flag Revealed?
9/11 Commission (Getty Images)Lt. Dahlstrom pointed to a possible motive to this false-flag theory: the passage of the Patriot Act and the undeclared war against Iraq and Afghanistan. The Patriot Act severely curtailed many individual freedoms and greatly expanded the power of the federal government, nominally in the service of fighting terrorism. The bill was designed to be temporary but was renewed in 2004 and is still in use today.
September 11 may also have offered the casus belli that many in the government sought to justify an invasion of the oil-rich Middle East. Much as Operation Northwoods was ultimately designed to foment support for war with Cuba, a 9/11 false-flag operation may have been executed by some rogue elements in the U.S. government to give it an excuse for a new war in Iraq and beyond.
It may be decades before the true story of the attacks on September 11 is revealed. But much as Operation Northwoods eventually came to light, thanks to constant and diligent pressure by concerned patriots, so too may the truth of that terrible day be uncovered by those who are unwilling to accept pat government answers at face value. The ranks of those who have refused to swallow the government's line on 9/11 are deep and varied—theologian David Ray Griffin, architect Richard Gage, physicist Steven E. Jones, actors Ed Asner and Charlie Sheen, Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, journalists Thierry Meyssan and Robert Fisk, and many others. As Time magazine noted in regard to 9/11 conspiracy theories, "This is not a fringe phenomenon. It is a mainstream political reality."

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