Monday, September 30, 2002

If you think about the total amount of money that must have been required to operate the September 11 hijacking operation - millions of dollars - the $100,000 that Atta supposedly received from Omar Saeed Sheikh, who apparently was passing along money received from Lt. Gen. Mahmud Ahmed of Pakistan's ISI, comes into perspective. $100,000 would barely cover the expenses for Atta's 'lingerie model' girlfriend, lap dances and bar tabs. Why then is so much made of it? It obviously connects Omar Saeed Sheikh to Atta, and thus provides a connection between Atta and Islamic fundamentalism and even to bin Laden himself. It also connects the September 11 terrorism to the Pakistani ISI. I have said before that I find this extremely odd. Why would the ISI have used a British Islamic fundamentalist living in Pakistan to transfer money to Atta? Why wouldn't they have transferred the money directly, and used a method that couldn't be traced back to them? How in fact do we know that Omar Saeed Sheikh obtained the money from the ISI (I'm not suggesting he didn't, but would like to know how the Indians and the FBI, supposedly using knowledge of Sheikh's cell phone number, managed to make the connection unless it was fed to them by someone in the Pakistani government who wanted them to make the connection)? If we consider the relative unimportance of the amount of money, the whole transaction smells like a set up. It was enough money to be noticeable and was conveniently traceable by the FBI back to a known Islamic fundamentalist who could be connected to al-Qaeda, but wasn't necessary for the terrorist operation as it is clear that it was receiving a lot of funding from another source. Omar Saeed Sheikh became famous when he was arrested for the murder of Daniel Pearl, but may have even been set up by the ISI to take the rap for the Pearl murder in order to further his reputation as an Islamic fundamentalist. This is all too neat, particularly if you regard the ISI as simply being the local branch of the CIA. Given the recent history of arrests of fundamentalists in Pakistan, the ISI seems to be prepared to sacrifice prominent people in order that the Pakistani government continue its good and prosperous relations with the United States. When you think how all this has worked itself out, even given the 'embarrassment' of the discovery of the involvement of Lt. Gen. Mahmud Ahmed in the payment to Atta, both the ISI and the Pakistani elites have done very well for themselves, and the Islamic fundamentalists have been played for fools.
Here is another account of the timing of the planes sent from Langley to Washington. The Official Story is that the planes were scrambled at 9:24 and in the air at 9:30. The Pentagon crash occurred at 9:41. Langley AFB is about 130 miles from Washington, and the planes arrived at the Pentagon at about 15 minutes after the crash, or about 9:56. That means it took them around 26 minutes to fly 130 miles. That means they flew at an average speed of somewhere around 300 mph. In referring to the planes headed from Cape Cod to New York City, the article states: "Flying supersonically, the F-15s were still 8 min. from Manhattan when United Airlines Flight 175 smashed into the WTC's south tower." If the Cape Cod planes were flying at least 700 mph, why were the Langley planes flying at a speed less that half that? The article goes on to say: "[NORAD's Northeast Air Defense Sector] controllers put F-16s at Langley AFB, Va., on battle-stations alert at 9:09 a.m., prepared to back up the F-15s over New York." I still have to wonder if the Langley planes were actually sent to New York and then brought back to Washington, for otherwise I cannot understand why the Langley planes were so slow in arriving at the Pentagon. If that is so, and the Langley planes scrambled shortly after 9:09 and headed for New York City, why don't they just admit it? What are they trying to cover up? The timing on this is extraordinarily critical. If they could have averaged slightly over 700mph, even leaving Langley at 9:30 they could have arrived at the Pentagon just before whatever hit the Pentagon at 9:41. I don't know if they could have averaged 700 mph given that Langley AFB is so close to Washington, but they should have been able to average significantly more than 300 mph. I can't help but feel that someone is lying here, and this whole issue cries out for investigation.

Sunday, September 29, 2002

The prosecution in the Moussaoui case wants to be able to play at his trial the tapes of the cockpit conversations of Flight 93. As Moussaoui was not near Flight 93, and almost certainly was not one of the September 11 hijackers, this seems to be a method of providing the jury with prejudicial material that has nothing to do with Moussaoui and has no evidentiary value in his case. Now the prosecution is asserting that a business card found in the wreckage of Flight 93 provides the link between the 19 hijackers and Moussaoui, in that it belonged to the hijacker Ziad Jarrah and had a phone number written on it that Moussaoui had called. The prosecution also says that the cockpit voice recordings are relevant as they identify Jarrah by his voice, which one of Jarrah's classmates at a Florida flight school can identify. I guess the argument is that the seemingly prejudicial and irrelevant voice recordings should be played at Moussaoui's trial because they allow the prosecution to identify Jarrah as being the pilot of Flight 93, and the phone number on the card then ties the hijackers of Flight 93 to Moussaoui. I have some comments:

  1. How can they prove that the card belonged to Jarrah? Actually, the amount of documentary material relating to Jarrah found in the wreckage is starting to get very suspicious. They have apparently found the German work permit of Jarrah's cousin (although why Jarrah would be carrying this has never been explained), a fragment of his passport, and an Arabic-language prayer guide (all this and a phone number scrawled on a business card is a lot to carry for someone who is going to kill himself). All this material was found despite the fact that the wreckage was scattered over a large area, and the flight was probably blown out of the sky, either by a U. S. fighter jet or by a bomb which the hijackers brought onto the plane (the continued failure of the U. S. government to confirm or deny whether a U. S. fighter took down Flight 93 may relate to the fact that they don't want to provide evidence to anyone who might want to sue the airline and the airport security if a bomb was brought on the plane).

  2. The identification of Jarrah based on the testimony of someone who last heard his voice six months before and who has to compare his memory of it to a confused and low quality and possibly damaged cockpit recording isn't going to stand up to proper cross-examination.

  3. It is interesting that the prosecution is now taking the position that they have to produce a witness to prove that Jarrah was on Flight 93. This has been an accepted fact up until now, doubted only by a few nuts on the internet.

  4. In fact, the original Ziad Jarrah from Lebanon, who became a student in Germany and later studied flying in Florida, is almost certainly not the man who piloted Flight 93. We know that someone calling himself 'Ziah Jarrah' was in Dubai at the same time the original Ziad Jarrah was studying flying in Florida. The personality of the original Ziad Jarrah was also as far from religious fundamentalist as you could imagine. It is fairly obvious that the identity of the original Ziad Jarrah was stolen and used by some operative who called himself 'Ziad Jarrah' and left a paper trail through the United States and onto Flight 93. Since the Jarrah who studied flying in Florida was the original Jarrah, I wonder about any evidence that purports to identify the pilot of Flight 93 based on a recollection of how the Jarrah who studied in Florida sounded.

  5. Even if the prosecution managed to prove all it wants to prove, all the phone number on the card could possibly demonstrate is that Moussaoui and Jarrah may have had a common acquaintance. If that is the best evidence that the prosecution has to implicate Moussaoui in the September 11 hijackings, it should be clear that the prosecution cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Moussaoui was part of the hijacking group. Unless thay have other, independent evidence, the playing of the Flight 93 recordings is simply an effort to get some prejudicial material in front of the jury.

I continue to have the feeling that prosecution efforts to convict Moussaoui are going to lead to areas that the prosecution would rather leave hidden.
One of the facts which points to the complexity of the September 11 hijacking is the amount of money supposedly received by the hijackers. Based apparently on bank records and records of transfers of money to the United States from supposed al-Qaeda financiers, investigators believe that the hijackers had access to a total of $500,000 to $600,000. There are 19 known hijackers, and no doubt some support terrorists we don't even know about. Even for the 19 hijackers, that amounts to about $30,000 each. While some hijackers lived quite frugally, others, particularly the Florida hijackers around Atta, did not (Atta seemed to like to flaunt his money by flashing a big roll of bills, and, oddly for an Islamic fundamentalist angry at the U. S. for its wicked ways, spent a lot of money in bars and strip clubs and on his Florida girlfriend). The $30,000 barely covers the flight training that most of the hijackers took. When we consider the motel rooms, the rental cars, the plane trips (including probably first class tickets on flights accross the country to do test runs), and the cost of living, not to mention the high life that Atta seemed to live, it should be clear that the money supposedly received from al-Qaeda was not even close to being sufficient to covering the expenses of the hijackers. The chief of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's unit conducting the financial inquiry of the September 11 plot stated: "We believe they had another source of funding". Where did this funding come from? As I've stated before, the nature of the two basic types of hijackers, one group from fundamentalist Islamic background, and the other probably a group of hired mercenaries of decidedly unreligious ways, indicates that September 11 was a joint operation of al-Qaeda, or another Islamic fundamentalist group, and an intelligence or military agency of a large government. The vast majority of the funding would have come from that agency.

Friday, September 27, 2002

A few random thoughts about the Pentagon crash:

  1. I think it is a mistake to lump conspiracy theories about the WTC crashes and the Pentagon crash together. I know everyone has their own personal degree of paranoia, but to me Pentagon crash conspiracy theories seem relatively straightforward and easy to accept compared to some of the wild ideas I've read about the WTC crashes. The main difference, of course, is that we have the WTC crashes on film, while the Pentagon crash, with the exception of the one odd video which doesn't show anything, remains very mysteriously unfilmed. Combining crazy theories about the WTC crashes with the Pentagon crash serves, intentionally or not, to make conspiracy theories about the Pentagon less credible. The WTC towers fell down because they were negligently constructed by Mafia contractors using mobbed up union labor and inspected by corrupted building inspectors, and were intentionally built by the Port Authority to escape normal New York City building regulations. The fact that there are thousands of other buildings in the United States with the same deficiencies should be more of a conspiracy than the unnecessary idea that bombs were planted in the two towers to bring them down. We know that fundamentalist Islamic terrorist operations had planned for a number of years to hijack airplanes and use them as weapons against the United States. We know that there was a cadre of operatives training as pilots in the United States, who assembled into groups to hijack planes on September 11. We know that the WTC had already been a target of Islamic fundamentalist groups. Why, then, do we need to add to all this the thesis that the planes were somehow flown by remote control? I am sure that such a thing is technically feasible (it is already used by 'smart' bombs and cruise missiles), but why would a strategic planner, armed with hijackers including a group of pilots who were prepared to kill themselves for a cause, use some complicated system that could fail when the low-tech system was available to him? The whole remote control thesis seems to have been created to explain away the incomprehensible fact that people are prepared to kill themselves for a cause, a fact that may be incomprehensible to Americans, but which is proved with every Palestinian suicide bomber. (I also don't believe that the WTC towers were taken down by Mossad agents in UFO's.)

  2. Physical evidence always trumps eyewitness evidence. There are so many cases of people being convicted and punished, even executed, on the basis of the certainty of eyewitnesses, that I don't know why so much emphasis is placed on such evidence. Every study of the reliability of eyewitnesses comes up with almost laughable conclusions about how mixed up they are. The eyewitnesses are all over the map, all of them were effectively coached by their knowledge of the Official Theory, and it would have been relatively easy to produce some sort of missile that resembled Flight 77, particularly given the size of a Boeing 757 relative to the odd proportions of the Pentagon. The only reason we hear so much about the eyewitness evidence is that a few of the eyewitnesses are the only evidence which supports the Official Story, and in fact all the other evidence makes it clear that the Official Story is not even close to being possible. It is also extremely easy, and a normal part of the trade of deception, for conspirators to plant a few 'ringers', i. e., paid 'eyewitnesses' who completely support the Official Story.

  3. The apologists for the Official Story seem to be vacillating between asserting with absolute certainty that: 1) the plane crashed on the lawn first, and then went into the Pentagon, and; 2) the plane went directly into the Pentagon without hitting the ground first. There are eyewitnesses which support both theories (which should tell you something about eyewitnesses). The first assertion gets around the problem that the hole that the plane is supposed to have gone through is too small, as presumably the plane lost much of its size when it hit the ground. Unfortunately, if the plane hit the ground in front of the Pentagon, pieces of it, large pieces, should be all over the lawn (and pretending to see the remnants of the plane in the tiny amount of debris on the lawn is just silly). As such large pieces obviously aren't on the lawn, the theory that the plane crashed into the lawn first must be wrong. It is also difficult to see how a Boeing 757 could have crashed on the Pentagon lawn, leaving it looking like the 18th green at Augusta National Golf Club. If we go back to the second theory, we hit insurmountable problems with the hole in the Pentagon. It is not just too small, it is approximately one third to one half the size it ought to have been, and there is no evidence of marks on the wall where the wings and tail would have hit and, presumably, been sheared off (not to mention no evidence of wings or tail!). That leaves us with the fact that David Copperfield must have been involved to get that large a plane through that small a hole. There is simply no way to get around the physical evidence that exists in the wall of the Pentagon and in the lawn in front of it.

  4. When we go inside the Pentagon things get even weirder. We're supposed to believe that the plane completely disappeared, vaporized, in the heat of the fire, including the engines, but that sufficient DNA was found at the site to identify all but one of the passengers. All but one. The people who make these lies must laugh and laugh when they write them. They could have said that the fire destroyed all DNA evidence except for that of three passengers. That would be hard to believe, but at least wouldn't be an insult to our intelligence. They know that the members of the public will accept unquestioningly any crap they are fed, so they tell us that they were unable to identify one passenger. We not only have to eat the excrement of the liars, but we have to tell them how delicious it is.

  5. Since they had the hijacked Flight 77 available, why didn't they just use it to crash into the Pentagon? Why would they have to use another form of missile? The answer to this is that we are not sure that Flight 77 was available. The supposed pilot, Hani Hanjour, was so incompetent a pilot that a few weeks before he was unable to land a small plane without assistance. It's impossible to believe that Hani Hanjour could have performed this perfect landing into the Pentagon. Even more impossible to believe is that the planners of this attack, if it was an inside job, would have entrusted Hanjour to hit the right part of the Pentagon. Rumsfeld and a lot of generals were in the building at the time of the crash. What if Hanjour had overshot the mark and hit the other side of the building? No one could have taken the chance that an incompetent like Hanjour wouldn't have killed someone truly important. A missile provides the kind of control required to safely destroy part of the Pentagon with a picturesque explosion, while leaving the better class of people safe and sound.

  6. If the planners of the Pentagon attack had foreknowledge of the WTC attacks, why would they need the Pentagon attack? The answer to this is that no one could know how successful the WTC attacks would be. At best, they could have counted on the planes hitting the towers and the towers not collapsing, leaving perhaps 500 people dead. This would not have been enough to justify the war on Afghanistan, the war on Iraq, the world-wide war on terror, the destruction of the U. S. Constitution, the massive increase in military spending, the resurrection of Bush's political carreer, and the new extra-strength Bush doctrine of American dictatorial rule over all the assets of the world. There were also supposed attacks on the White House (with smoke pouring out of it), and at the State Department (a bomb), both of which have been officially forgotten. There were probably other 'attacks' ready if they were required. Enough of the attacks would be used to create sufficient excuse for the many plans of the Bush junta. The Pentagon attack occurred after both WTC towers had been hit, but before either had fallen. If one or both of the WTC towers had fallen earlier, we may not have seen the Pentagon attack. Similarly, the attacks on the White House and State Department were no longer necessary once the WTC towers fell, and thus were forgotten.

  7. What happened to Flight 77? I don't know, but it was almost certainly shot down in an area where the wreckage wouldn't be seen. The timing becomes crucial here again. No planes were allowed to take off from U. S air space after 9:26 a. m. Since a plane was needed to take the blame for the Pentagon damage, it would be necessary to shoot down a plane already in the air at that time, which had not yet landed, and which was over a deserted area where the wreckage could be covered up. I remember television reports on the morning of September 11 that a plane had been shot down over Colorado, and that might very well have been Flight 77. It may have been originally planned to use Flight 93 as the patsy plane, but the fact that the shooting down of Flight 93 was noticed meant that another plane had to be selected, one of the few that was still in the air that late in the morning.

  8. It is even possible, though unlikely, that Flight 77 wasn't hijacked at all. Remember that Hani Hanjour's name wasn't on the passenger manifest of Flight 77. I assume that the FBI included him as the pilot as he was known to associate with the other members of the hijacking group, and he was the only even remotely qualified pilot available on that flight. What if Hanjour's handlers told him not to get on the flight, or he chickened out? The other hijackers would then be left without a pilot, and would simply have had to abort the hijacking and fly to the west coast. It would be very ironic if they then ended up being shot down as Flight 77 was chosen as the Pentagon patsy plane.

  9. Don't forget about the complete implausibility of the Pentagon assertion that it was not defended against air attacks, and the unbelievable absence of any video of that side of the building except for one video which strangely doesn't show Flight 77 (if you squint you can see something, but nothing the size of Flight 77). Also don't forget the bizarre assertion that, in the absence of any other plane, the C-130 was sent after Flight 77. An unarmed, slow C-130 transport plane would be useless if the intent was to stop Flight 77, but would make an excellent platform from which to shoot 'home movies' of a very successful operation (these people like to film their exploits).

  10. Failure to accept the obvious is not without costs. Ever since the assassination of JFK we have seen a constant escalation of the boldness of the attacks on the United States by parts of the U. S. government. The failure to ever call to task those responsible for so many outrages just leaves the same people more confident of their ability to continue to fool the American people. Unfortunately, the Bush Administration may need a new dramatic excuse to begin its war on Iraq, and I fear that more people are going to die who might not have needed to die if proper attention was paid to the faked crash of Flight 77.

Thursday, September 26, 2002

Hamid Mir is a Pakistani journalist. He interviewed bin Laden on November 7, 2001 (an interesting interview in that bin Laden does not take credit for September 11 and claims not to have gone to Dubai for medical treatment). Hamid Mir has now written an article on the connection of the war in Afghanistan and the American desire to control petrochemicals in Central Asia (a connection that is now being denied by some 'progressive' American writers). What caught my eye is the following:

"I am the last journalist, who interviewed Osama bin Laden after September 11 in Afghanistan. After the interview, while we were sipping Arabian tea in his hideout near Kabul, he asked me a question about Zalmay Khalilzad. I showed ignorance about the person. He informed me that they are going to vacate big cities of Afghanistan in coming days for a long guerrilla war and after that Zalmay Khalilzad will play the shots in Kabul, Northern Alliance will get nothing."

What's intriguing about this is that bin Laden was absolutely right. Zalmay Khalilzad, who had been an oil consultant, and had even done some work for Unocal, was indeed appointed by Bush as a special envoy to Afghanistan, an appointment which was announced on December 31, 2001. If bin Laden was showing off his knowledge of the internal workings of U. S. politics, where did he get such specific knowledge? In early November, somewhere in the wilds of Afghanistan, he showed accurate foreknowledge of the future importance of Zalmay Khalilzad. How many people in the United States would have such knowledge? Not only did bin Laden know about Khalilzad, if Khalilzad was going to 'play the shots in Kabul,' bin Laden presumably also knew that the Taliban and his forces in Afghanistan would be defeated. You'd almost think that bin Laden was part of a larger plan involving the domination of Afghanistan by American puppets. It remains to be seen what the Northern Alliance will get.

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

The debate about whether Flight 77 or something else hit the Pentagon takes on a new meaning if we consider the possible use of a missile containing depleted uranium. There is quite a lot of debate on the issue, but depleted uranium is probably relatively safe unless it catches fire. It has a tendency to catch fire on impact, and the burning seems to make it more effective as a piercing weapon. Depleted uranium is sometimes used in commercial aircraft (but apparently not in the Boeing 757), but is really put to extensive use in bombs and cruise missiles. When it makes contact with its target and catches fire, the uranium turns into an aerosol, which is likely to be extremely toxic if inhaled. The use of depleted uranium in Serbia, Bosnia and Iraq has probably caused increased rates of cancer and birth defects (needless to say, NATO and the U. S. government dispute this). Depleted uranium may even be the culprit behind Gulf War Syndrome. There are campaigns to ban the use of depleted uranium in bombs and missiles. One of the reasons it is so popular is that its use in weapons provides a cheap way to dispose of nuclear waste, killing, as it were, two birds with one stone. Of course, the fact that depleted uranium tends to burn on contact with its target may explain why no debris was found in the Pentagon (and the ability of DU to provide punching power through even the toughest materials may explain how the missile penetrated into the Pentagon as far as it did). The possible presence of depleted uranium aerosol raises an important safety issue, an issue ignored by those who are certain that it was Flight 77 that hit the Pentagon. Were the people who put out the fire, cleaned up the damage, and rebuilt the Pentagon properly protected? Were the people working in the Pentagon near the crash site subjected to dangerous levels of a toxic substance? Were proper protections not taken because to do so would have alerted people to the fact that DU was present, and the presence of DU would contradict the Official Story (for if DU is not present in Boeing 757's, there would be no reason for it to be in the Pentagon)? Here are some problems and questions:

  1. "Rescue workers take a breath of fresh air near an entrance to the crash site at the Pentagon"

  2. Is this enough protection?

  3. Where did the possibly contaminated building materials and refuse removed from the Pentagon go?

  4. Dust and firefighters

  5. Properly protected?

  6. No protection

  7. A rescue team

  8. From some PentaPropaganda on the renovation: "Q: How are breathing conditions down there? I see them wearing OBAs (oxygen breathing apparatus). Are they --

    Mitchell: Well, they're not wearing OBAs, they're wearing respirators. We had to, in order to go in, we had to suit up just like they did in order to go into this area. Now, once they've cleared the area and make sure all the bodies are out, they go in with a bobcat and they're moving -- removing metal and everything they can as fast as they can to get in."

People who ignore what seems to me to be very good evidence that Flight 77 did not crash into the Pentagon may be inadvertently allowing a cover-up of extreme health dangers to those who worked in the Pentagon, to those who put out the fires, to those who cleaned up the site, and to those who may come into contact at some future date with the debris from the site. Continued failure to come to grips with the truth may actually lead to unnecessary tragedy. Blind faith in your betters is usually a costly luxury.

Monday, September 23, 2002

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's governing coalition narrowly won the German parliamentary election. Just a few weeks ago Schroeder was significantly behind in the polls, and had been given up for dead. He deftly managed to shift the focus of the voters from the economy to Germany's reaction to the coming American war on Iraq, and in effect managed to transform the German election into a referendum on the new unilateralism of the American Hegemon. The release of Bush's scary new doctrine on the eve of the German election may actually have decided the issue (do you think the American junta wanted Schroeder to win, did they not care, or are they just stupid to release such a doctrine right before the German election?). Comparing Bush to Hitler appears to have gone over well with the Germans, if not with the American junta (Bush's similarity to Hitler is his disdain for all norms of international law and relations, and his insistence on using war for the sole purpose of obtaining the selfish goals of his gang of thugs at the expense of the destruction of understandings and laws between nations that have taken hundreds of years to create). Has there been another case where an election in a developed country was so clearly a rejection of the United States and its rulers?

Saturday, September 21, 2002

The New York Post has published an article which cleverly misrepresents what happened at the school in Florida when George Bush apparently first heard from Andrew Card that the second plane had hit the second WTC tower. This was the point when it should have been clear that the United States was under terrorist attack, and that more attacks were quite possible. The relevant paragraphs in the article, referring to and quoting a teacher at the school, state:

"President Bush had been presiding over her reading class last 9/11, when a Secret Service agent interrupted the lesson and asked, 'Where can we get to a television?'

'The president bolted right out of here and told me: 'Take over,'' Daniels told The Post yesterday. 'I knew something serious had happened, and then a short while later he came back and said, 'What we thought was an airline accident turned out to be a terrorist hijack.'"

The way this article is structured, it gives the impression that the Secret Service agent informed Bush of the attack, and Bush immediately 'bolted right out'. By having Bush inform the students of the terrorist hijack when he returns to the classroom, the article completely confuses the fact that Bush already knew that it was a terrorist attack, and hides the fact that Bush spent a considerable amount of time after he knew about the terrorist attack reading along with the children. You can see what happened from a video (you can also see the video here) of the incident. It was Andrew Card who originally told Bush of the second attack (which you can see from the photograph in the article, which is presumably included so you will conflate the original informing by Card with the informing by the Secret Service agent described in the article), and Bush went nowhere for about 6 minutes, when he did indeed leave for a few minutes (see this visual account of Bush's 'interesting day'). I have a few comments on the video:

  1. Doesn't Bush, in his mannerisms rather than his appearance, resemble the comedian Tommy Smothers? Tommy Smothers uses the various twitches and double takes to portray someone who is stupid, while Bush . . . .

  2. Andrew Card might have been expected to say something like, "Mr. President, another plane has hit the other tower of the WTC, and it appears that America is under terrorist attack." From the amount of time he spent, however, it appears he said something like, "It has happened." Bush claims that Card said: "A second plane has hit the tower, America is under attack." Card confirms this (and then lies himself by saying that Bush, on hearing Card's whispered information, "just excused himself very politely to the teacher and to the students, and he left." - another instance of the recreation of history!) Card spent so little time informing Bush that it appears that Bush must have been aware of what was going to happen. Card apparently didn't even expect a reaction from Bush, and pulled away so quickly that you'd think he was afraid of catching something. It was as if Card assumed that Bush only needed confirmation of what he knew was going to happen, and would not need to give any instructions.

  3. We don't see the whole reading exhibition, but from what we see, Bush was the calmest person in the world. He'd just been told that America was under terrorist attack, and he exhibited not the slightest sign of concern. He didn't leave the room until after the reading exhibition was completely over, and therefore it is another lie to suggest that he had to cut the reading short to leave the room. The story of the Secret Service agent, if true, must have occurred after the conclusion of the reading.

  4. We know that the timing is absolutely critical. The second plane hit the WTC at 9:03. Even by NORAD's rather suspicious account, NORAD was aware that Flight 77 had probably been hijacked at 9:24. We've been told that the President has to authorize the shooting down of an aircraft, an authorization which Bush gave only after the Pentagon explosion. In fact, Bush did absolutely nothing during the early critical moments except read along with the children. He got around to making a speech about the terrorist attack at 9:30, and in fact made his speech before he did anything about the terrorist attacks themselves (in other words, his handlers ensured he looked presidential for the television cameras before he did anything to act presidential). The critical fact in all this, even more critical that the complete lack of a sense of priorities in staying for the reading exhibition, is the fact that neither he nor his supposedly top-notch aides did anything to make the order to shoot down another terrorist attack plane until after the Pentagon attack. What could they possibly have been thinking unless they knew that the only true terrorist attacks had concluded and that the Pentagon attack was an inside job, one which they did not want to prejudice by sending jets to Washington which could have shot down whatever it was that crashed into the Pentagon?

  5. One of the most striking problems with Bush's school visit is that he remained in the presumably vulnerable school even after it was completely apparent that the country was under terrorist attack. Why didn't he do anything to protect himself and the office of the Presidency? Did he know that he was safe because he had exact foreknowledge of the nature and extent of the attack?

  6. I assume the excuse for the time wasted in the reading exhibition was that his aides needed the time to get Rice and Cheney on the phone, and that there was no need to interrupt his reading until they were on the line. It shows how pathetic Bush's Presidency is that he is unable to do anything until his handlers tell him what to do and say. Even more remarkable is the fact that they appeared to have forgotten about him as he read with the children, and had to send a Secret Service agent in to remove him from the room so the stupidity of his reading children's stories while the country literally burned didn't become too obvious. The voters might not feel too happy about such a passive Commander-in-Chief.

  7. Bush later told a lie about how he saw the first crash on television before he entered the classroom, an impossibility as the first crash wasn't broadcast on television until after the second crash had occurred, and he was in the classroom when the second attack occurred (the only way his story is possible is if Bush saw some special government satellite feed from a camera specifically set up to view the WTC with foreknowldge of the attacks). I wonder if he told this lie to bolster the idea that he did not have foreknowledge in that he, like everybody else, first became aware of the attacks from television.

The video has been edited, presumably for innocent reasons, and doesn't show what happened after the reading exhibition was over (there must be a lot of video of this event, as you can see many cameras in the classroom in the video). It is likely that a Secret Service agent did come in to fetch Bush. The important thing is that Bush already knew about the terrorist attack when the agent came in, and spent a considerable amount of time (the fact that we don't know exactly how much time is suspicious in itself) doing nothing while he knew the country was under attack, and, presumably, still under threat of further attack. The article has been written to confuse the whole issue of Bush's failure to act in a timely way, and to give a completely false impression of Bush's actions by making it appear that he 'bolted' from the room to rush into action to save the country, when in fact he did no such thing (Card's lie attempts to make the same point). In fact, if he did bolt, it was completely a stage-managed trick by his aides to make him appear to be doing something when he was simply waiting for smarter people to do something. The fact that the New York Post article was written as it was betrays the fact that the Administration feels very vulnerable about this whole issue. I wonder if Rove phoned Murdoch and specifically asked for such an article (I wonder if it was actually written by the White House). Of course, while the reading exhibition problem looks bad, the real crime is the complete failure by Bush and his Administration to protect the country or the office of the Presidency in the face of a terrorist attack. This is particularly terrible given the fact that we know that the Administration had numerous and detailed warnings of just such an attack. The gross dereliction of duty evidenced in this Florida school will probably be the first article of impeachment, and showing this video at the hearing will make excellent theatre.

Sunday, September 15, 2002

Some people believe that Flight 77 had to have hit the Pentagon because of the sheer number of witnesses there were around the Pentagon at the time. An explosion like that in broad daylight and at rush hour would have been visible to hundreds, perhaps thousands, of witnesses. Why then is it so hard to find anyone who actually saw it happen? If you critically (the same article is also here) examine the witness statements, you will see that extremely few people of those interviewed actually saw the full crash of Flight 77 (to be fair, here is a list of people who did see the crash and another here; you will notice inconsistencies if you read them carefully). Some of those had obvious Pentagon connections, and some were probably planted by the conspirators. Some, after being told what the Official Story was, probably actually believed they saw Flight 77 crash into the Pentagon. Something did cause the explosion. The size of a real Boeing 757, and the odd dimensions of the Pentagon (note that the height of the plane, from the ground to the top of the tail, is over 44 feet, but the Pentagon is just over 71 feet high), make it easy to make a mistake, particularly if you already knew what the authorities (who of course never lie) said had happened. Actually, the huge number of potential witnesses compared to the tiny number who actually saw Flight 77 crash into the Pentagon is evidence that Flight 77 did not crash into the Pentagon. I'd like to show the witnesses a picture of the hole in the Pentagon wall, the height of one floor of the building, and ask them how they thought Flight 77, over 44 feet high, managed to get through it (of course the height includes the undercarriage, but why did it leave no mark on the ground?). The Boeing 757 is over 24 feet wide from wheel to wheel. How did it squeeze through the hole? If you consider the size of the plane and the size of the hole it is immediately apparent that it is not even close to being possible. Where are the wings? Where is the tail? Where is the damage to the wall where the wings and tail must have hit and been sheared off? Where is the damage to the ground? Then I'd like to show them a picture of a cruise missile and ask them if they thought that could have gone through the hole. Could a cruise missile, painted to look like it had windows and in American Airlines colors, be what they saw? Of course, no one would be allowed to ask such impertinent questions.

Friday, September 13, 2002

In my last posting I surmised that the odd timing discrepancies, particularly the inordinately long time it took to fly the jets from Langley AFB to the Pentagon, could be explained by the fact that the three planes were sent to New York City, and then redirected back to Washington. Why would they do this? At 9:30 a. m. they officially had plenty of warning that Flight 77 was headed back to Washington, and thus notice that all important Washington targets were at risk of a fate like the World Trade Center. Two planes from Cape Cod were already in the New York City airspace, and successfully were directing planes away. The reason the planes were sent to New York City was to provide a cover should anyone ask later why Washington wasn't protected. The general excuse given for the official actions on September 11 is mass confusion, and no one could fault the authorities for trying to protect New York City in the light of the WTC attacks. If they simply held the Langley planes back, the intentional act of not protecting Washington would be obvious. If they let the Langley planes fly directly to Washington, they ran the risk that the pilots might have seen something suspicious, i. e., whatever it was other than Flight 77 that actually caused the Pentagon attack, or even - heaven forbid! - have been able to do something to stop it. By sending the planes to New York City, and then, when enough time had passed for the Washington attack to have occurred, sending the planes back to Washington in time to be safely late, they cover up the treason of September 11. That eerie picture to be hung on the walls of the Pentagon may have two meanings. To most people, it represents the regret of the pilot who is too late to stop the attack. To those in the know, it may have a secret meaning, that all the pilots were late because of a scheme successfully carried out at the highest levels of the Pentagon.

Thursday, September 12, 2002

This is an excellent summary of the massive amount of foreknowledge and warning the United States government had about September 11 (much of the same material is in an article by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed; also see this article by Patrick Martin), and the evidence that the U. S. government had involvement in the plot. To add a few more anomalies:

  1. As well as Willie Brown, Salman Rushdie also received warning not to fly on September 11 (odd when you realize that Rushdie isn't exactly the favorite of Islamic fundamentalists).

  2. As well as the Germans and Israelis, many many other countries, including even the Taliban in Afghanistan, also warned the U. S. government of an impending terrorist attack.

  3. The supposed intercepting aircraft for Flight 77 took off from Langley AFB at 9:30, according to NORAD. The NORAD timetable puts the time of the Pentagon crash as 9:37, when it was actually 9:41. This is a rather important fudging of the record, as the planes were supposedly 105 miles or 12 minutes from the crash site at the time of the crash (at the same time, NORAD claims that planes were directed from New York to Washington and travelled that 130 miles in 14 minutes, an important admission as we shall see). It is obviously impossible for 12 minutes to be the equivalent of 105 miles, as that would mean that the planes could only fly at 525 mph, while NORAD itself claims a 1500 mph maximum flying speed for the F-16. Langley AFB is near Hampton, Virginia, which is only about 133 miles from Washington, meaning that even on the NORAD timing of the crash the planes managed to fly but 28 miles in 7 minutes. The 130 miles they had to travel, at, say, an average speed of 1000 mph, would take around 8 minutes. You can therefore instantly see why NORAD fudged the time of the crash, as 8 minutes from 9:30 is 9:38, too late on NORAD's time of the crash to intercept Flight 77, but with 3 minutes to spare if the crash occurred at 9:41. If the planes had headed directly to Washington, on NORAD's timing they still would probably have been too late. But this isn't the whole of the story. The planes actually arrived about 15 minutes after the Pentagon crash. What appears to have happened is that the three (an odd number, as there were only supposed to be four planes available for the whole northeastern U. S., and two are accounted for headed to New York from Cape Cod) were initially directed to guard New York City, and then were redirected to Washington. It is impossible that planes scrambled from Langley AFB at or slightly before 9:30 would only arrive at 9:56 (26 minutes to cover 130 miles is ridiculous), and I believe that those planes headed to New York City, only to turn around when they got there and rather slowly head back to Washington. I suspect they've fudged the numbers and left a confusing trail as they don't want to admit that NORAD left Washington completely unguarded while the attack on the Pentagon was supposedly taking place, and in fact sent planes too late to guard New York at a time that NORAD had to have known Washington itself was under attack (of course, if they were aware that Flight 77 was not going to attack the Pentagon, this makes perfect sense).

  4. Look at this rather eerie painting of the late-arriving F-16 over the burning Pentagon. This is on a U. S. Department of Defense site, and they are apparently proud of it. Of course, the reason the plane is poignantly late is not explained. It is supposed to be an F-16 from North Dakota, which is itself odd as the Pentagon is still very much on fire and the fire was put out surprisingly early. If it takes almost 30 minutes to fly 130 miles, how long does it take to fly from North Dakota?

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

This is a good article on the attempted American-sponsored coup in Venezuela and its aftermath, and a good antidote to the usual mendacious American press coverage. Chavez and democracy are still in great danger in Venezuela. It will be interesting to see if Chavez can succeed in staving off another attempted coup by the American thugs and their local thug allies by using the argument that Chavez actually represents stability of oil supply to the U. S. His argument would be: 1) the pusillanimous group who ran the last attempt aren't capable of pulling it off again; 2) the opposition is divided on just how anti-democratic it wants to be; 3) when forced to make a choice the majority of the people, and possibly the majority of the military, would support Chavez; and 4) another failed coup actually may lead to the danger of an interruption in the oil supply to the U. S. The American Empire's need to get rid of Chavez is largely based on the 'domino theory' of democracy, the fear that reforms made by Chavez might infect other South American countries, thus making them less exploitable by U. S. business (see Palast on why he is so dangerous). On the other hand, if the local Venezuelan thugs aren't up to the challenge of cleanly removing Chavez, the American thugs may opt for the stability of oil supply over the delights of 'regime change'.

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

Odds and ends on September 11:

  1. Some people are convinced that they saw Flight 77 crash into the Pentagon. I note that the nature of our usual viewing of aircraft, seeing them in the air or far away at an airport with nothing to compare them to except similarly sized aircraft, makes it difficult for us to properly gauge the size of an aircraft. Even when we see them land, we don't have anything to compare them with except other aircraft. Loading gates mean that we never really see them up close. If you ever stand beside an aircraft like a Boeing 757, you realize that these planes are much larger than you imagined. On top of that, the Pentagon is a weird building, being relatively short but immensely long on each of its sides. A real Boeing 757, coming down to crash into the Pentagon, would appear to be unnaturally huge. A small missile or jet aircraft, with some appropriate colors painted on the sides, might well resemble what we would imagine a larger plane to look like as it approaches a building like the Pentagon.

  2. This site makes good fun of the absurdity of Flight 77 crashing into the Pentagon, leaving the lawn beside the Pentagon completely undisturbed.

  3. Congressional investigators (i. e., not the FBI or the CIA, who are presumably busy with some more pressing task) have uncovered the fact that an FBI informant was living in the same house as Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar (this is just coming out now, although it is rather old news). He was a Muslim cleric named Abdussattar Shaikh (it is interesting that the new report does not name the informant), who befriended the men and rented them a room in his house for a few months starting in September 2000 (Almihdhar stayed about six weeks; Alhazmi stayed until December 2000). The FBI case agent was aware that Saudis were renting from the informant, but didn't ask about them. If was only after September 11 that the informant recognized the hijackers' names and informed the FBI. Of course, the two men were on a 'watch list', occasioned by the fact that the CIA had information that they were at a meeting in January 2000 in Kuala Lumpur with a suspected al-Qaeda member. The CIA then tracked at least one of them to Los Angeles, but did nothing more. The CIA only notified the FBI about these men being on the list in August 2001, and the FBI began the manhunt on August 21 but did not request help from its field office in San Diego until a day or two before September 11. Why did the CIA wait so long to tell the FBI about these men (not to mention the State Department, who renewed Almihdhar's visa in June 2001, although by then the CIA had linked Almihdhar to one of the suspected bombers of the USS Cole)? Why did the CIA decide to tell the FBI in August 2001 (although I note that the CIA claims that the FBI already knew that these men were on a watch list)? Even if they only involved the San Diego office of the FBI in the few days before September 11, why did the local office not inform the FBI that there had been two Saudis living in San Diego at the home of an FBI informant?

  4. One of the oddities about Hani Hanjour is that his name does not appear upon the passenger manifest of Flight 77. Some feel that this might be an indication that he was somehow replaced by a hijacker who was a competent pilot, able to have done the flying required to crash Flight 77 into the Pentagon. On the other hand, if he was replaced by someone else, wouldn't that person end up on the manifest? If the manifest itself was corrupted, wouldn't the people corrupting it leave Hanjour's name on it? Not having his name on the list seems to draw unnecessary attention to him. The whole issue of the manifests is still very mysterious (even Moussaoui can't figure it out!). How did the FBI identify the hijackers just from the lists? They claim they had some information from the calls received from the planes, but that does not explain how they identified all the hijackers. It also does not explain how they identified all the hijackers so quickly. As I noted above, two of the hijackers were living with an FBI informant in September 2000, supposedly completely unbeknownst to the FBI. Another FBI informant claims to have notified the FBI about Hani Hanjour, a fact which the FBI denies (but why would the informant lie about this?). Moussaoui seems quite convinced from his court pleadings that both he and the 19 hijackers were being surveilled by the FBI (Moussaoui makes the clever argument that he was arrested, and not Hanjour, as the FBI knew that Hanjour's arrest would tip off the other 18 that they were being watched, while Moussaoui's arrest was safe as he was not part of the group of 19 hijackers). Is it possible that the FBI could so quickly identify the hijackers, and place Hani Hanjour as the pilot of Flight 77 even though his name isn't on the manifest, because the FBI had the whole lot of them under surveillance before September 11? Of course, given what happened, the FBI wouldn't be keen to admit this and admit that they did nothing to stop the tragedy of September 11.

  5. The newest laugh comes from the fact that we now know that even the Foreign Minister for the Taliban attempted to warn the Bush Administration about the imminent attack on the U. S. by al-Qaeda (the warning actually went to the consul general, with another US official present possibly from the intelligence services, but we are supposed to believe these officials kept the great Taliban secret to themselves). He warned them because he was afraid that the American retaliation for this attack would destroy Afghanistan. We're only finding out about this warning now, and I guess we are not supposed to be smart enough to realize the importance of the fact. The whole rationale for the American attack on the Taliban was that they were harboring the terrorist enemies of the U. S., al-Qaeda. How can the U. S. possibly justify attacking the Taliban on that logic if a high Taliban official attempted to warn them of the very attack for which they are retaliating? Even better, and further proof that the Bush Administration realizes that they can make any statement and no one will dare to criticize them for it, they claim that they ignored the Taliban warning because they were suffering from 'warning fatigue'! In other words, they ignored the warning because they were worn out with the immense effort of ignoring all the many other warnings they had received (notice how the commentary on the fatigue is from anonymous 'sources', who are crafting the Administration spin on this potentially embarrassing issue). Isn't this argument based on 'warning fatigue' similar to the argument made by the child who kills both his parents and then wants leniency because he is an orphan? Their fatigue is the fatigue of an Administration that doesn't want to be warned because it will foul up its plans to allow the attacks to happen.

Monday, September 09, 2002

This answers all the questions about the last U. S. election. Gore won, unambiguously. On top of that, Florida hasn't done anything to stop Jeb from fixing the next election that takes place in Florida. Do you think 9-11 would have happened if neurotic policy wonk Al Gore had received all those reports of imminent attack on the U. S., rather than Bush, who was too busy to read them as he was relaxing in Texas?
As we approach the anniversary of September 11, some of the writing on it is becoming extremely sophisticated. This article by Chaim Kupferberg is a good example of what fine attention to detail can create (see also this article). I can't say that I agree with all his conclusions, but I like the type of analysis he is doing. I note the following:

  1. Trying to figure out the deep politics of 9-11 is both hampered and helped by the various agendas of various sources of information. We're getting a combination of information and disinformation from various parties, all trying to put their own spin on the facts. Besides the U. S. government, which itself speaks with many tongues, we have Pakistani, Indian and other sources. Of course, if one country can't keep the stories straight, many countries provide a good source of anomalies which we can exploit in trying to ferret out the truth. It is interesting to contemplate just how easy it is for intelligence agencies to manipulate press coverage by selective planting of various lies, leaving the general stupidity and laziness of journalists to do the rest. Journalists are so dependent on their 'sources' that they are easily manipulated by them, and of course often share the same ideological slant of the intelligence agencies anyway, not to mention the ones who are on intelligence agency payrolls.

  2. The identification of suspects by name provides a huge area for obfuscation. It is an old trick to use variations on a name, different spellings, mixing of first and last names, etc., to deliberately confuse anyone trying to discover the truth. The confusion is particularly useful for intelligence agencies, who want to keep a full set of files but be able to say semi-truthfully that their files don't contain a certain name (they keep the files on key people using a second name, a misspelling, or a nickname). This confusion is even easier when the name has to be transcribed from a language which doesn't use the Roman alphabet, particularly Arabic, where there are numerous methods of determining the English equivalent of a name originally in Arabic (think of all the English spellings for the leader of Libya). It is amusing that various identity problems, including the complete inability of either the CIA or the FBI to keep track of the terrorists or properly identify them, are blamed on the fact that so many Arabs have the same name, as if that wasn't also the case with 'normal' people in the United States (this is part of the general tendency of Americans to be completely boggled by furrin' names).

  3. I've long felt that the whole money flow from the ISI to Saeed to Atta is itself intended to confuse. If the ISI wanted to send money to Atta, why didn't it directly send money to Atta using a means that couldn't be traced back to the ISI? Why involve Saeed at all, and why make a big deal of how he used the 'untraceable' hawala system when the trail of money obviously was traced? How did all this get leaked to an Indian newspaper? Of course, if the whole point of the exercise was to connect Atta and thus the 9-11 terrorism to al-Qaeda and even back to 'rogue' Islamic fundamentalists in the ISI, 'rogues' who have now been cleaned out by America's new friend Musharraf (thus turning what seemed like a disaster for Pakistan into a public relations victory), the whole scheme makes perfect sense. In fact, in the absense of any real evidence tying Atta to al-Qaeda (the Americans were going to produce some to justify the war on Afghanistan, but found they didn't need to as the American desire for revenge made evidence unnecessary), the $100,000 payment to Atta, was, and remains, the only hard evidence to prove that 9-11 was an al-Qaeda operation. The essential connection between Atta and al-Qaeda was made using the payment, it was 'leaked' to the Indian press, and the Indians were only too glad to publish anything which seemed to implicate Pakistan in anything bad. Later, the Indians, perhaps realizing that they had been duped into publishing information that had actually improved Pakistan's position with the U. S., were no longer interested in emphasizing Saeed's connection to the ISI (an additional factor may have been manipulation of Indian reporting in an attempt by Indian 'doves' to diffuse tension with Pakistan at a time when nuclear war with Pakistan was likely). As Saeed was the busiest man in Pakistan, he could fulfil the triple role of funding Atta, being involved in terrorism in India and Kashmir, and killing Pearl. Depending on what propaganda point you wish to make, you can combine these roles as you like, and forget those combinations which you find inconvenient. Initially, the ISI/Saeed/Atta connection ties al-Qaeda and ISI to 9-11. Then, when the 'rogues' are removed from ISI and Pakistan is an ally in the 'war on terrorism', you can use the ties of Saeed to Islamic terrorism in India and Kashmir to further strengthen the ties between al-Qaeda and 9-11, and forget the ties of Saeed to the ISI. Finally, blaming Saeed for the spectacular death of Daniel Pearl: 1) further ties al-Qaeda to terrorism; 2) since Pearl was Jewish, allows Israel to depict itself as in the same victim status as the United States in the 'war on terrorism' (a point that played a major role in U. S. media coverage of the murder); and 3) gives Pakistan a good excuse to execute a possibly inconvenient witness.

  4. There is a familiar pattern in the case of Saeed. In many cases the person blamed for acts of terrorism is someone who came from a Western background (Saeed and Reid are British; Padilla, Lindh and Hamdi are American) who then plunged into a completely different context in Pakistan or Afghanistan. These people were completely unprepared to deal with the change, and were easily manipulated by those with complicated agendas.

  5. The last ten paragraphs of the article, on the creation of the legends of Atta and the other hijackers, expresses what I've been trying to say in many postings. Our built-in predisposition to see personal identities as immutable leaves us open to being deceived whenever an intelligence operative plays the role of someone with a pre-existing identity. We are so programmed to see personal identity as continuing unchanged and unchangeable that we ignore anomalies and combine even large changes in personality or characteristics into one composite identity. The hijackers were noticably unafraid of being conspicuous, tended to use their own names and favored leaving a paper identity trail, had numerous encounters with figures in authority, made sure they would be remembered by being loud or odd or rude, and made every effort to cement the actors playing the roles to the names assumed by the hijackers. The stolen identities were chosen to add the taint of Islamic fundamentalism, which is of course essential to the plan to create a new crusade.

  6. Writers are becoming increasingly bold in making connections concerning the events of September 11, what Chaim Kupferberg calls: "The Implication That Dare Not Speak Its Name - that General Ahmad's ISI were the operational commanders of the 9/11 hijackers, acting themselves as proxies for the U.S. government/U.K./EU (i.e., the coalition spearheading the War On Terrorism)." My version of it might replace "EU" by "Israel". I generally think that Kupferberg is too easy on Israel, which benefitted hugely from the events of September 11 and which probably played some sort of role in the 9-11 operation, if not the major role that many feel it played (in the cui bono sweepstakes, U. S. and Israeli extreme right-wingers, along with certain Pakistani elites, benefitted greatly from 9-11; most of the Arab world, including the Saudis, did not). I also find the idea that the ISI were the "operational commanders" of the terrorists unlikely, and the suspicion remains that ISI itself has been framed here, perhaps willingly. It is in fact almost as unlikely that the ISI would be running an American terrorist operation than that bin Laden was. In any event, we're well beyond the rather simplistic idea that a guy in a cave in Afghanistan directed a bunch of middle-class Arab losers to commit the most sophisticated and devastating terrorist act in recent history.

Friday, September 06, 2002

A few comments on Hani Hanjour and the alleged crash of Flight 77 into the Pentagon:

  1. Hani Hanjour was the most peripatetic of the hijackers, spending ten years wandering between San Diego, Tuscon, Phoenix (where an FBI informant may have tried to warn the FBI about Hanjour), Scottsdale, Florida, Maryland, and New Jersey, with occasional trips back home to Saudi Arabia (he was from a well-to-do family; here is a lot of background and some psychobabble). He was involved in the odd incident obtaining driver's licences in Virginia for many of the hijackers. He is striking because he appears to actually have been who he is supposed to have been. He doesn't appear to have used a stolen identity. He seemed to suffer no great sudden personality shifts. He appeared to be constantly attempting to learn how to fly, never learned to speak English well, and probably was never replaced by any mercenary (although there may be just a little doubt about that). My feeling is that he became involved in al-Qaeda as a means of continuing his pilot training, as he seems not to have shown any great interest in fundamentalism.

  2. The most striking and important thing about Hanjour, and one of the most important facts about September 11, was that Hanjour, despite years of training, was utterly and completely incompetent as a pilot. He actually managed to obtain a U. S. commercial pilot's licence, a requirement at the time for flying for a commercial airline in Saudi Arabia. He failed in obtaining a job as a pilot in Saudi Arabia, presumably when they saw how incompetent he was, and returned to the U. S. for more training. We can only speculate, but if he had managed to become a Saudi commercial pilot, we might never have heard of him. When he returned to Arizona, he was so bad that his instructors couldn't believe that he had obtained a commercial pilot's licence and they notified the FAA, who noticed his language and skill problems but seemed content to merely confirm that he did have a licence (wasn't the FAA remarkably negligent about this? - I suppose we could see this as part of the series of brushes with authorities that the hijackers had, all without inconvenience, or as part of the era of deregulation, where all regulators are afraid of interfering with the workings of the perfect capitalist market). Neither his English language skills nor his technical flying ability were close to what should have been required. Peggy Chevrette, the manager for the flight school, said: "I couldn't believe he had a commercial license of any kind with the skills that he had." As late as mid-August 2001, he attempted to rent a small plane in Maryland. In order to rent the plane, he had to fly with an employee of the rental company to ensure that he was sufficiently competent to take the plane out alone. He was such a bad pilot, having trouble controlling and landing the aircraft, that they would not let him rent the plane without a rental company employee to accompany him! Anne Greaves, in answering questions on Atta's flying abilities, said:

    "A lot of people have said to us in Cairo they simply don't believe it was Mohamed Atta because they don't believe that he could have had those piloting skills in that short period of time.

    I think it is very possible. You see what I cannot be specific about is as to the skills of Mohamed Atta when he came to Huffman Aviation. For him to have progressed as rapidly as he seemed to have done at Huffman he must have had flying skills before he came to Huffman Aviation. In order to progress onto a multi-engine aircraft you have to first have your private pilot license. Then you have to fulfil certain amount of hours because hours count in aviation. Flight experience. Then you have to do a course in instrument rating and then pass the exam and fulfil a certain amount of hours before you are then allowed to fly a multi-engine aircraft. However a talented or shall I say a determined person could certainly teach themselves the rudiments of flying a jet aircraft and as we now know it had taken off the aircraft. Now we have a specific code on the transponder that allows the tower to track your path, your flight path. Now anyone in aviation knows that if you don't want to be tracked you just switch the transponder off and they must have done that so in other words the aircraft had taken off so the difficult part was over. They had climbed out to a certain height so that to take over the controls then having established the aircraft in flight… I'm not saying it's easy but it doesn't take particular skill I don't think to do what we now know happened.

    And to hit a specific target?

    And to hit a specific target. You just aim for it."

  3. Marcel Bernard, of the airport in Maryland, said, speaking of Hanjour: "There's no doubt in my mind that once that [hijacked jet] got going, he could have pointed that plane at a building and hit it." Of course, both Greaves and Bernard hit the nail right on the head. It is relatively easy once the plane is in the air to steer it into a building like the WTC. The critical point is that Hanjour wasn't one of the pilots who ran a plane into the WTC. He had to perform a difficult maneuver to bring his plane around 270 degrees, and effectively land it right at the point where the Pentagon building meets the ground, and apparently did it so well that he hit the building at exactly ground level, without even leaving a mark on the earth in front of the hole. This is a fellow who in mid-August was rejected to rent a small aircraft in part because he had trouble landing it. A few weeks later his landing was a spectacular feat. The best pilots in the world would have trouble doing what Hanjour did. Even if you accept the impossible and believe he did that, why would the terrorists, with four available pilots, pick the absolutely worst one to do the hardest job? Even if they were short an experienced pilot, why didn't Atta or al-Shehhi take the Pentagon flight? It makes no sense. Hanjour simply did not fly Flight 77 into the Pentagon.

We can add the fact that Hanjour didn't have the ability to crash Flight 77 into the Pentagon to the long list of reasons why it is impossible that Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon:

  1. The pictures of the hole in the wall of the Pentagon before the wall collapsed are conclusive evidence of the fact that Flight 77 couldn't have caused that damage. I've already been through this. The key to understanding the crash is to focus on the three pictures (one two three). The first picture shows you where the two vehicles (a car and a SUV) are parked with respect to the Pentagon (you can see the back of the SUV and the front of the car to the left of the fire). The second picture shows you the position of the hole in the wall of the Pentagon as it relates to the vehicles. The third picture shows the wall after it has collapsed over the hole (you can see the same car and SUV, now melted). (Here you can see the lack of damage to the ground). The hole isn't big enough, it is not high enough, there is no damage to the ground where there should be damage, there is no damage to the wall around and above the hole where there should have been damage caused by the wings and tail, and, of course, no wreckage of wings or tail on the ground. Flight 77 simply couldn't have gone through that hole.

  2. Except for a few tiny pieces, there was no plane wreckage found at the Pentagon. The fire is supposed to have burned so hot that the whole plane vaporized, including the engines! Yet they have the audacity to tell us that they obtained enough DNA from the site to identify all but one of the passengers on the plane! There's no wreckage because the plane didn't crash there!

  3. We're supposed to believe that the Pentagon had no anti-aircraft defense. We're also supposed to believe that with 55 minutes notice from the time of the first WTC attack neither of the two planes available to defend the Pentagon could fly the few miles from Andrews AFB or Langley AFB to get there on time. You'd even think that defending the Pentagon might be a priority. Of course, if Flight 77 wasn't headed for the Pentagon, there would be no reason to send a plane there.

  4. We're supposed to believe that there is but one video camera trained on that side of the Pentagon, and the only video released shows an explosion but no plane!

  5. Careful study of the witnesses shows that they are not helpful either way. Some saw a small plane, sone saw a missile, and some saw Flight 77. Some of the witnesses are obviously connected to the Pentagon, and we have to remember that in weighing their testimony. In short, the witness testimony is inconclusive.

Against all this, we have the word of the Pentagon brass that Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon. This is the same group responsible for the lies of the USS Maine, the Gulf of Tonkin, the USS Liberty, My Lai, the USS Iowa, Tailhook, and many others too numerous to mention, as well as the defalcation of billions of dollars out of the military budget. I generally take their assertion that something happened as tantamount to proof that it didn't happen. Flight 77 simply did not crash into the Pentagon. What does this mean?

  1. Flight 77 had to have been shot down and disposed of. In fact, Flight 77 may have been shot down only because the wreckage of Flight 93 had been seen, meaning that Flight 93 couldn't be blamed for the Pentagon damage, and a new patsy had to be found. The DNA that was studied to identify the passengers may have come from the actual crash site of Flight 77.

  2. A bomb, a missile, or a small plane, or a combination of these, caused the Pentagon damage.

  3. The attack was almost certainly an inside job. We can only speculate as to the reasons, but it may have been felt that the attacks on the WTC may not have succeeded, and certainly wouldn't have brought the towers down, so the Pentagon attack was engineered to provide enough of an excuse for the war on terror and all the benefits to the military-industrial complex that it has entailed.

  4. The Pentagon attack, in both its nature and timing, proves specific foreknowledge of the nature and timing of the hijacker attacks.

  5. The speed and certainty with which the Flight 77 story was provided to obscure the truth also proves specific foreknowledge, as well as guilt as to the real cause of the damage.

  6. The President's non-reaction to the WTC attacks, and particularly his complete failure to do anything to protect the country from further attack before the Pentagon attack, shows he or his advisors knew nothing needed to be done. Once the second WTC attack was over, America was only under attack from within.

It is possible that Bush himself was unaware of the plot until he had implicated himself by doing nothing on the morning of September 11. His initial reaction seems to be more confusion that celebration, and his aides may well have steered him into inactivity to use the inactivity against him later. Once he looks like he is involved in the plot, he is unable to either say anything about it, or deny the thugs anything they want to do. The most perfect coup is when the government is changed but looks exactly the same. I find it interesting that Rumsfeld apparently was beginning war planning against Iraq five hours after the Pentagon crash, despite the fact there was no evidence whatsoever that Iraq had anything to do with the events of September 11 (and there still is no such evidence, although I understand that Tony Blair, as part of his embarrassing love of the junta, has promised to have some manufactured).

Monday, September 02, 2002

The United States Department of War, but we can't scrape together any money to pay for any Defense proposes a budget of $396 billion for next year (a raise from the meagre $289 billion for the year 2000, a now obviously insufficient amount). The Department of War, and if it weren't for the fact that all our planes are tied up dropping bombs on Afghan wedding parties, Defense had 14 (f-o-u-r-t-e-e-n) planes to pretend to guard the whole United States when the 9-11 attacks occurred, despite the fact that the U. S. government had so many warnings from so many sources that any damn fool even George Bush should have been able to see that an attack was imminent. The U. S. government knew that al-Qaeda had it in for the World Trade Center, and knew that al-Qaeda had plans to crash hijacked airplanes into buildings, and yet had four (f-o-u-r) planes to defend the whole northeastern United States, the closest almost 200 (t-w-o h-u-n-d-r-e-d) miles from New York City. The planes defending Washington, D. C. were apparently too slow to reach the Pentagon in time despite the fact that from the time of the first crash into the WTC until the crash into the Pentagon (which, by the way was not caused by Flight 77; anyone knowing this would be in no particular hurry to send planes to the Pentagon) they had 55 (f-i-f-t-y f-i-v-e) minutes. Of course, no one did anything wrong, the 'country is strong', everyone got promotions and medals, no one was disciplined or fired, and George Bush's popularity went up. If you see any generals with tin cups soliciting donations so they can scrape together enough money so the Department of War, but it's all really just an excuse to transfer money from you taxpaying fools to give to the friends and family of George Bush, who couldn't give a %/^#*%g* about Defense can buy another plane (and isn't it, um, ironic that one of the planes that the U. S. uses every day to drop bombs on the civilians of Iraq to keep the price of oil up might have been used to stop the 9-11 attacks? - I'm positive that the families of the victims of 9-11 are behind the President 100% in his attempt to brutalize innocent Iraqi children teach that evil Saddam a lesson bring peace to the Middle East, and would never think to put the lives of their loved ones above the interests of a bunch of George Bush's incomprehensibly rich friends their country), please give generously.
We're just starting to see American progressives coming to grips with the fact that the 'election' of George Bush wasn't just politics as usual, an unfortunate turn to the right but nothing different than the elections of, say, Nixon or Reagan. This Bush junta (I keep using this word to signify a government by generals and big business as English really doesn't have a word for it, most English-speaking countries not having experienced it) represents a complete paradigm shift in American governance. It is not just a particularly right-wing government, it is really a new type of government entirely. To call it 'fascist' or even 'neo-fascist' really doesn't help us to understand it, although it certainly has similarities to past fascist governments. Try to imagine someone even as bad as Reagan getting away with the things that Bush gets away with every day. Even at his worst, Nixon couldn't imagine the kind of state that Bush and Ashcroft are heading toward, and he certainly couldn't imagine being able to do whatever he wanted without the slightest hint of criticism. If you read the transcripts of Nixon's tapes, his thought processes, though twisted, seem to come from an entirely different time. Bush's junta has been planned for years (and if saying that it has been expressly planned for years makes me a 'conspiracy theorist', I'd prefer to be so labelled than to be thought to be blindly stupid). It involves the complete control of all media outlets, the complete corruption of both political parties, the complete emasculation of progressive politics by the subtle corruption of identity politics until all progressive politics can sneeringly be labelled by the right as 'liberalism', the creation of complete forms of political philosophy generally called 'neo-conservatism' or even 'conservatism' (which it definitely is not) to provide the facade of legitimacy to a philosophy which is basically the celebration of psychotic worship of greed and selfishness, the promotion of political power in the hands of people who have insane views on religion (in what other country would the phrase 'born again', which appears to be an attempt to avoid guilt by mocking God and lying to yourself, be a term of praise?), and the complete control of the judiciary by an extremely aggressive and single-minded use of the ability to appoint and/or approve. As I have said before, it appears that those in power have decided that their ability to make money the old-fashioned way, by running businesses and making profits, is coming to an end, and the time has come to strip the country of all its portable assets and head for a no-tax island somewhere. The rest of the world is starting to see American foreign policy as simply the calculation of the extent to which various countries can be looted for the benefit of the junta. These calculations have reached their nadir in the case of Iraq, where the United States is apparently going to have a war and kill thousands of people, against the wishes of every other legitimate country in the world (Tony Blair appears to have lost his mind), simply to steal the oil of Iraq to line the pockets of American oiligarchs. Of course, all this change is going to lead to domestic unrest, and the AshKroftian security state is being created to deal with this unrest, Kamp by Kamp, with all opposition snowed under the fake 'war on terror' (and people who dream of Ashcroft being replaced will eventually have to face the nightmare that he's not going anywhere). I think the most characteristic aspect of the new 'American way' is its extraordinary aggressivity and single-minded pursuit of the selfishness of the tiny percentage of people which the junta represents, and the glee with which class warfare is being fought on their behalf. So what does this leave the opposition to all this evil to do? As Anis Shivani asks: "What is the role of the liberal opposition during a fascist dictatorship?" It seems to come down to two choices:

  1. You can leave. Of course, during the European bout with fascism many liberals fled to the United States, where they, particularly the liberal Jews, reinvented U. S. high and popular culture. Canada benefitted greatly from the influx of draft dodgers during the Vietnam debacle. Fleeing to Europe or Canada (though Canada may not be far enough away) may be the only option. It won't be that difficult a decision, for it won't be long before the U. S. simply isn't habitable for any one with a conscience.

  2. You can fight. But if you do decide to fight, you have to realize that the usual liberal niceties no longer apply. You can't negotiate with poisonous snakes. These people rightly perceive you as a pushover, and as a victim. They will stop at nothing to ensure that their greed and selfishness prevail. It is no longer possible to play around with identity politics. The supporters of the junta are fighting pure, unadulterated class warfare, and are fully aware that they are fighting class warfare.

I don't know what Americans feel about leaving, but it won't lead to any improvement in the United States itself. It should be fairly obvious that the political option won't work, as the whole system has been too corrupted for too long. I assume the war on Iraq will be timed to provide maximum political mileage to Bush, with voters expected to vote with patriotic spirit for the party of the Commander-in-Chief (and the body bags to start returning after the elections). There isn't going to be any mass protest, as the majority of the population is so innocent of the facts that it feels everything is going well. Even the old standby, civil disobedience, won't work unless the message of the civil disobedience is widely communicated, and the controlled media will ensure that the message will be hidden. It may seem crazy, but the only thing that will break the junta is the impeachment of Bush. Even if it didn't succeed, the operation of the impeachment process takes so much energy out of the President that it makes it difficult for him to do anything except try to manage the process (remember what it did to Nixon and Clinton). The only thing that will impeach Bush is the role of the junta in September 11, either the terrible negligence (or worse) in allowing it to happen, or, what is more likely but also more difficult to prove, actual involvement by part of the junta, with the tacit approval of the President (think of the odd relationship between Nixon and the Watergate burglars), in the events of September 11 in order to use the fact of the terrorist attacks for domestic and foreign goals of the junta and the people it works for. This isn't a hopeless case. New evidence and excellent analysis is coming out every day, and there is still much important work to do on the data we already have. I have three comments:

  1. Progressives have had an almost allergic reaction to so-called 'conspiracy theories', and have never wanted to have anything to do with them. This may be a reaction to the fact that the paranoid style in American politics has tended to be right-wing lunacy. I personally feel that if the system is run in a generally conspiratorial manner, it is dangerous to try to pretend that the conspiracy doesn't exist. Failure to come to grips with the conspiracies in the assassinations of JFK, RFK and MLK, and incidents like Watergate, the savings and loan scandal, and Iran-Contra, has played the major role in getting the system into the mess it is in today. I would go so far as to say that it is impossible to understand the class structure of society without the use of the tools of the conspiracy theorist. If you want to continue to believe in coincidences, perhaps you should move to Sweden.

  2. Remember it was Nixon's misuse of the office of the Presidency to attempt to cover up the role of his associates in the Watergate burglary (in particular, by attempting to manipulate the FBI and CIA), not the burglary itself, which led to his downfall. It also required the connivance of certain members of the elite, using The Washington Post as a weapon, to play the evidence out in such a way as to lead to the end of Nixon's Presidency (remember, Watergate was a right-wing coup). Progressives have to hope that there are still some members of the elites who hate the junta (and I think that there are signs that such people are beginning to operate).

  3. There are three areas of danger to Bush: 1) the non-reaction of the U. S. military to the attacks, which is either extraordinary incompetence, or intentional; 2) the fact - and it is a fact - that Flight 77 didn't crash into the Pentagon, which proves, in and of itself, detailed foreknowledge of the nature and the timing of the attacks, not to mention one hell of a cover-up (remember Nixon); and 3) at the deepest level, and the most difficult to prove, political connections between al-Qaeda and the junta, to the extent that we should see the events of September 11 as a joint operation of al-Qaeda and elements of the junta.

This is starting to sound like a manifesto, and maybe it is.

Sunday, September 01, 2002

At the time of the 9-11 attacks there were four fighter pilots on alert covering the northeastern United States. We know that two of those took off from Otis Air National Guard Base on Cape Cod, so that means that there were two other available planes. Some questions:

  1. The BBC interviewed "Duff', the pilot who took off at the same time as 'Nasty', the fellow interviewed by The Cape Cod Times. Duff stated: "For a long time I wondered what would have happened if we had been scrambled in time. We've been over the flight a thousand times in our minds and I don't know what we could have done to get there any quicker." Well, one thing that he could have done is not take off from a base that is almost 200 miles from New York City. If the northeastern U. S. is protected by only four airplanes, what are two of them doing tucked away in a place which only plausibly covers Boston? The only reason you would place them there is if you anticipated that the only attack would be by plane from Europe, a rather quaintly old fashioned view of air defence. It is even worse than that. The area covered is called the Northeast Air Defense Sector, stretching from Minnesota to Maine to Virginia. Why do you hide half your planes in one corner of this area? In The Cape Cod Times article, it is stated that they were 71 miles away from Manhattan when the second hijacked plane hit (and it appears that they had to dadle to be that far away). This reminds me of those signs that say "If you lived here you would be home by now". If they had started 150 miles closer to New York City they would have had plenty of time to intercept at least the second plane.

  2. Two unarmed F-16's were sent after Flight 93, but apparently Flight 93 crashed before they arrived on the scene. This means: 1) an admission that Flight 93 wasn't shot down by the U. S. military (for why send two unarmed planes after Flight 93 and agonize about what they are going to do if an armed plane was available to shoot Flight 93 down?); and 2) an admission that none of the two remaining armed planes were used to follow Flight 93 (for if an armed plane was in pursuit of Flight 93, why agonize about sending two unarmed planes?). If two other armed planes were available on September 11, what happened to them? Why weren't the other two planes scrambled when the two planes were scrambled from Cape Cod? NORAD claims that two F-16's were scrambled from Langley AFB at 9:30 (were these the other two available planes?), but were still 105 miles away when the Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon. The timing of this makes no sense unless they were flying at a ridiculously slow speed (I'd really like to hear an interview with the pilots of these two planes, and I don't think we'll be hearing from them soon). Why weren't the Cape Cod planes redeployed to assist the other two planes once the New York attacks had occurred?

  3. In the original interview of 'Nasty' in The Cape Cod Times, he makes a big deal out of the fact that even if they had managed to intercept the hijacked aircraft, they could not have done anything, as they were not permitted to shoot it down as only the President could make that decision and he was unavailable (reading about goats). Now we're getting information that Colonel Robert Marr, Commander of the North East Defence Sector, was considering sending unarmed planes as battering rams on suicide missions to take down any additional attacking hijacked planes. If even the armed planes couldn't do anything, and Bush didn't make a decision to shoot down planes until after Flight 77 had crashed around 9:41, how would unarmed planes have been allowed to be used to take down a hijacked plane? Is Marr working on the assumption that he has authority to take down planes without Presidential approval while the pilots from Cape Cod were working on the opposite assumption? Or does Marr already have the Presidential approval when he decides to divert the unarmed planes after Flight 93 (since Flight 93 is supposed to have crashed at 10:03, Marr's window of obtaining possible orders is only from around 9:41 or later until 10:03)? It would be very interesting to know the exact timing of the order to send the unarmed planes after Flight 93. It would also be interesting to know if all the parties involved were working off the same rules of engagement.

  4. We need a little context to understand what happened on September 11. I quote from an article in The Washington Post:

    "On July 5 of last year, a month and a day before President Bush first heard that al Qaeda might plan a hijacking, the White House summoned officials of a dozen federal agencies to the Situation Room.

    'Something really spectacular is going to happen here, and it's going to happen soon,' the government's top counterterrorism official, Richard Clarke, told the assembled group, according to two of those present. The group included the Federal Aviation Administration, along with the Coast Guard, FBI, Secret Service and Immigration and Naturalization Service.

    Clarke directed every counterterrorist office to cancel vacations, defer nonvital travel, put off scheduled exercises and place domestic rapid-response teams on much shorter alert. For six weeks last summer, at home and overseas, the U.S. government was at its highest possible state of readiness -- and anxiety -- against imminent terrorist attack."

    The same article goes on to say:

    "Director of Central Intelligence George J. Tenet had been 'nearly frantic' with concern since June 22, according to one frequent interlocutor, and a written intelligence summary for national security adviser Condoleezza Rice said on June 28: 'It is highly likely that a significant al Qaeda attack is in the near future, within several weeks.' By late summer, one senior political appointee said, Tenet had 'repeated this so often that people got tired of hearing it.'"

    Although this state of alert didn't last, in the context of U. S. government knowledge that al-Qaeda had plans to make an attack against buildings using hijacked planes, the obvious fact that the WTC had already been the target of an al-Qaeda attack, and with the extremely recent heightened state of alert, it is incredible that air defence for the whole northeastern U. S. was just four fighter planes.