What we know and don’t know about 9/11
Paul Craig Roberts
Clearing House" -- -- I received a number of intelligent responses from readers of my
August 14 column, “Gullible
Americans,” The letters deserve a reply.
Moreover, some contain important points that should be shared with a
wider audience. Pundits such as myself are not the only people who
have interesting things to say. Considering the number of letters
and the time it would require to respond individually, I am replying
instead in this column.
Most readers from whom I heard understand the difference between
loyalty to country and loyalty to a government. They understand that
to support a political party or a government that is destroying the
US Constitution and America’s reputation in the world is, in fact,
an act of treason. Therefore, I did not have to read the usual
drivel about how doubting “our government” is un-American.
Among the issues raised are:
How could the complicity of the US government, or some part of it,
in the events of 9/11 be kept a secret? For the most part, this
question comes from Americans who believe the government must have
been, to some extent, complicit in the attacks on the WTC and the
How can we differentiate between the real facts, the 9/11
Commission’s reporting of the facts, and “conspiracy theories”?
What about the role of suicide flyers led by M. Atta?
What about the Popular Mechanics article and the TV documentary that
debunk the skeptics and support the official explanation of 9/11?
What about the role of the US media in propagandizing Americans with
the official explanation instead of examining the explanation,
especially with regard to such truncated hatchet-job interviews with
9/11 skeptics such as the hatchet jobs presided over by Donny
Deutsch on CNBC and by neocon Tucker Carlson on MSNBC?
Why are so many Americans hostile to holding the Bush regime
accountable for its obvious and documented lies, lies that have
misled America to war and gratuitously slaughtered and maimed tens
of thousands of people, including our own troops?
I will begin by stating what we know to be a solid incontrovertible
We know that it is strictly impossible for any building, much less
steel columned buildings, to “pancake” at free fall speed.
Therefore, it is a non-controversial fact that the official
explanation of the collapse of the WTC buildings is false.
We also know for a fact that the Air Force somehow inexplicably
failed to intercept the alleged hijacked airliners despite the fact
that the Air Force can launch jet fighters to 29,000 feet in 2.5
minutes. We also know that the two co-chairmen of the 9/11
Commission have just written a book that reveals that the US
military lied to the Commission about its failure to intercept the
There are various explanations for this second fact. The military
could have lied to cover up complicity or to cover-up its
incompetence. However, no investigation has been made to ascertain
the true explanation for the failure.
This leaves us with the incontrovertible fact that buildings cannot
“pancake” at free fall speeds.
The only explanation known to science for the free fall collapse of
a building, especially into its own footprint, is engineered
demolition, which removes the supports for each floor of the
building at split second intervals so that the debris from above
meets no resistance on its fall. To call this explanation a
“conspiracy theory” is to display the utmost total ignorance. Any
physicist or engineer who maintains that buildings can “pancake” at
free fall speed has obviously been bought and paid for or is a total
The WTC buildings are known to have collapsed at free fall speed
into their own footprints.
This fact does not tell us who is responsible or what purpose was
Since the damning incontrovertible fact has not been investigated,
speculation and “conspiracy theories” have filled the void. Some of
the speculation is based on circumstantial evidence and is
plausible. Other of the speculation is untenable, and it is used to
protect the official explanation by branding all skeptics
“conspiracy theorists.” I would not be surprised if some of the most
far-out “conspiracy theories” consist, in fact, of disinformation
put out by elements in the government to discredit all skeptics. But
I do not know this to be the case.
How could government complicity be kept a secret? It can be kept a
secret, because so many Americans are scientifically ignorant and
emotionally weak. They are incapable of realizing the contradiction
in the government’s claim that the WTC buildings “pancaked” at free
fall speed, and they are emotionally incapable of confronting the
evil of the Bush regime. Many Christians think that Bush is “a man
of God” who is protecting American morality from homosexuals and
abortionists. Others who wear their patriotism on their sleeves
think Bush is standing up for America and innocent Israel, and that
they must not let anti-American anti-war protesters cause America to
lose another war and repeat the Vietnam experience. Americans are
both ignorant and full of resentments against the left. This makes
them easily manipulated by the neoconservatives who dominate the
Bush regime and the media.
Also, many anti-war and anti-Bush online sites are scared of being
called “crazy conspiracy kooks.” They protect their sites by staying
away from the 9/11 issue, just as so many Americans are scared to
death of being called “anti-semitic” and thereby do not dare
criticize Israel no matter the heinous war crimes that state
routinely commits. Of all the online subscribers to my column, only
vdare.com and NewsMax had the courage to post my column. Realizing
that even antiwar sites would serve as de facto gatekeepers for the
neocons, I offered the column to
ICH, whose editor cannot be
The Popular Mechanics article and the TV documentary are obviously
false since they both endorse the official explanation that the WTC
buildings “pancaked” at free fall speed, an obvious scientific
impossibility. Whether the false reporting by Popular Mechanics and
television are due to incompetence or to complicity in a government
cover-up, I do not know.
We know nothing about alleged suicide flyers led by M. Atta except
what the government has told us, a government that has lied to us
about everything else, such as Iraq’s alleged WMD and alleged links
to Osama bin Laden, and Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program, a
program for which the International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors
cannot find evidence.
According to reports, the BBC has found 6 of the alleged suicide
hijackers alive and well in their home countries. I do not know if
the report is true, but I do know that the report has been ignored
and there has been no investigation. Both the US government and the
US media have turned a blind eye. We have no way of knowing if Atta
and his named accomplices hijacked the planes, or, if they did,
whether they were dupes of intelligent services that pretended to be
a terrorist cell and organized the cover for the engineered
The fact that we do not know any of these things, and the fact that
the 9/11 Commission co-chairmen now tell us that their report is
flawed, are good indications that we have no documented information
of who was behind the plot, why it occurred, or how it operated.
With regard to the role of the US media, if it is indeed a media
rather than a propaganda ministry, one reader cited remarks by the
distinguished investigative reporter,
John Pilger, made in an address at Columbia
University on 14 April 2006:
“During the Cold War, a group of Russian journalists toured the
United States. On the final day of their visit, they were asked by
their hosts for their impressions. ‘I have to tell you,’ said their
spokesman, ‘that we were astonished to find after reading all the
newspapers and watching TV, that all the opinions on all the vital
issues were by and large, the same. To get that result in our
country, we imprison people, we tear out their fingernails. Here,
you don’t have that. What’s the secret? How do you do it?’”
This quote is probably apocryphal, but it is well used to make a
valid point. The answer to the Russian’s question is that during the
cold war the American public viewed the Soviet Union as a dangerous
adversary and were amenable to reports to that effect. The fact that
the Soviets were a potentially dangerous adversary made Americans
blind to the roles of the US military-industrial complex, which
benefitted financially from cultivating the adversary relationship,
and the US government, which benefitted politically from cultivating
the adversary relationship, in keeping the adversarial relationship
The uniformity of the US media has become much more complete since
the days of the cold war. During the 1990s, the US government
permitted an unconscionable concentration of print and broadcast
media that terminated the independence of the media. Today the US
media is owned by 5 giant companies in which pro-Zionist Jews have
disproportionate influence. More importantly, the values of the
conglomerates reside in the broadcast licenses, which are granted by
the government, and the corporations are run by corporate
executives--not by journalists--whose eyes are on advertising
revenues and the avoidance of controversy that might produce
boycotts or upset advertisers and subscribers. Americans who rely on
the totally corrupt corporate media have no idea what is happening
anywhere on earth, much less at home.
Despite the dark days in which we live, some readers find optimism
in recent polls that show more than one-third of the US public now
disbelieve the official account of 9/11 despite the Bush regime’s
propaganda faithfully trumpeted by the US media. Bush’s own
rock-bottom polls show that Americans, like the Russians of the
Soviet era, can read between the lines of the propagandistic US
media. Many Americans can still spot a liar and a cheat when they
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the
Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street
Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review.
He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.