Saturday, June 21, 2003

It's getting on to almost two years since the events of September 11, and it is striking how little we know about what happened:

  1. We don't know the real names of any of the hijackers.

  2. We don't know what countries they came from.

  3. We don't know who planned and organized the terrorism.

  4. We don't know who financed it.

  5. We have no idea what actually happened at the Pentagon (but I know a Boeing 757 didn't go through this hole). Normal video tapes of and from the Pentagon building, which should have shown what happened, have never been released (except for one, which poses more questions than it answers). Eyewitnesses have never been properly interviewed. The remarkable lack of debris, both within and outside the building, has never been explained. The fact that the authorities claimed to identify all but one of the passengers using DNA samples found at the scene has never been reconciled with the fact that they maintain that the plane was vaporized in the extreme heat in order to explain the lack of debris.

  6. We really don't know anything about the timing of notification of the FAA and NORAD that something was seriously wrong. The official version of the timeline seems to be altered in order to make NORAD's inaction less suspicious. We don't have a firm answer on how the pilots managed to signal the control towers. Were all four transponders turned off? If so, how was that done, and why? Why did all the planes take such long routes in heading to their targets, when the more time spent in the air increased the chances of being intercepted?

  7. We have no explanation for how the FBI came up with the names of all 19 (initially 18, but they added Hani Hanjour to Flight 77 so there would be a half-plausible pilot on board) hijackers within two days. Were they tracking the hijackers prior to September 11? We've never seen a full set of passenger manifests.

  8. How could American officials be so certain so quickly that this was the work of bin Laden? What was the exact content of the briefing materials given to Bush and the Administration in the summer of 2001? Was American intelligence behind the decision of Ashcroft in July to no longer take commercial flights? Was it behind the decision of some Pentagon officials not to fly on the morning of September 11? Who told Willie Brown and Salman Rushdie not to fly?

  9. We don't know what weapons the hijackers actually used, how they got them on the planes, and how they actually took control of the planes.

  10. We have no idea what happened to Flight 93. Was it shot down? Did it crash as a result of a struggle in the cockpit? As a result of a bomb on the plane?

  11. We have no idea what NORAD was doing on September 11. Why were planes not sent up for such a long time? If they were sent up, where did they go? Why were they not sent at top speed?

  12. We don't know why Atta and Alomari went to Portland, Maine the day before the hijackings. We're so lacking in information that we don't actually know if any or all of the 19 identified hijackers were actually on the planes that crashed. We've never seen security video from any of the airports except Portland (authorities claim that Logan had no such video - can this be true, especially since the Logan parking lot was recorded?).

  13. There were a number of flights on the morning of September 11 where passengers acted oddly in trying to get off the planes. Were these also flights which were to be hijacked?

  14. Why were the bin Laden family members in the United States allowed to leave with essentially no interviews by American authorities?

  15. We really have no good explanation for why no timely investigation was done of Moussaoui, and why he was just allowed to sit in jail until the terrorist attacks occurred. In fact, we have no good explanation for many, many things that the FBI didn't do.

  16. We don't know how the hijackers had such remarkable success in dealing with such authorities as the FAA, the INS, the FBI, and local police. Did they have the equivalent of the privateer's 'letters of marque', which allowed them to roam freely through the bureaucracy? We've never heard the results of the investigation on how incompetent Hani Hanjour managed to obtain an American commercial pilot's license, perhaps because the explanation would make it clear how ridiculous it is to think he could have piloted Flight 77 into the Pentagon.

  17. We have no idea of the deep background of the mysterious flying schools in Florida that Daniel Hopsicker has been writing about so well, and no idea of the nature of the Florida companions of Atta. We still have no idea of what the Israeli 'art students' were up to, and how they had such detailed knowledge of where to be.

  18. A detailed investigation of the stock trading on and before September 11 would answer a lot of questions about who had foreknowledge of the attacks, and would probably break the case wide open. Why has this investigation not been done (or released?)? A similar investigation about the morning of November 22, 1963 was also not done, and it is quite clear why - investigating the deep power structure is never done.

  19. What is Senator Graham referring to when he prattles on about mysterious foreign involvement in September 11?

  20. We have no idea what was going on at the school in Florida, where George Bush acted so oddly. We don't know when he knew, and what he knew. We don't know why he continued to stay in a vulnerable spot after it was clear that the country was under attack. We have never been given an explanation for his repeated claim that he saw the first crash on television, when it wasn't televised until after the second crash. We have no sensible explanation for why he decided to spend the morning flying around the southeastern and midwestern United States (the excuse that his plane was in danger has since been denied). We have no explanation for why his plane was initially given no airforce protection.

Within this many months of all the major American conspiracies of the last forty years we were still confused, but we had some idea as to what was going on. This case is remarkable for the fact that we know almost nothing about what happened. The United States has embarked on two dreadful and unsuccessful wars based on the excuse of these attacks, and turned the country into a fascist security state. You would think there might be the slightest effort to answer some of these questions. The Bush Administration is stonewalling on even the most basic documents, and appears to have gotten away with one of the greatest cover-ups yet devised. The most striking thing is that most if not all of these issues could easily be resolved if the right people were forced to answer some rather simple questions.