Will America Face the Truth About 9/11?
By Mark H. Gaffney
02/24/07 "ICH" -- - -In
June 1, 2001 the US Joint Chiefs of Staff issued a new order
regarding cases of aircraft piracy, i.e., hijackings. The
new order (CJCSI 3610.01A), signed by Vice Admiral S. A.
Fry, Director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, canceled the
existing order (CJCSI 3610.01) that had been in effect since
July 1997. When I learned about this, recently, I became
intrigued. The date of the new order, just three months
prior to 9/11, seemed too near that fateful day to be mere
coincidence. I should mention that I have always been
skeptical of the official 9/11 narrative. The June 2001
order was like a red flag drawing attention to an insistent
question: Why did the US military alter its hijack policy a
few months before 9/11? Why, indeed?
When I first examined the
document, which, by the way, is still posted on the
internet, my excitement increased.
The order states that when hijackings occur the military’s
operational commanders at the pentagon and at the North
American Aerospace Command (NORAD) must contact the
secretary of defense for approval and further instruction.
At that time, of course, this was Donald Rumsfeld. Was the
new order, therefore, evidence of a policy change made for
the purpose of engineering a stand-down on 9/11? This was
plausible, assuming that a group of evildoers within the
Bush administration wanted a terrorist plot to succeed for
their own twisted reasons. And what might those reasons be?
Well, obviously, to create the pretext for a much more
aggressive US foreign policy that the American people would
not otherwise support. We know, for instance, that the plans
to invade Afghanistan were already sitting on President
Bush’s desk on 9/11, awaiting his signature.
Did the US military achieve
a stand-down on 9/11 by means of an ordinary administrative
memo? Several prominent 9/11 investigators had already drawn
this conclusion, including Jim Marrs, who is a very capable
journalist. Marrs discussed the June 1, 2001 pentagon order
in his fine book, The Terror Conspiracy. Filmmaker
Dylan Avery is another. He mentioned the order in a similar
context in his popular video, Loose Change (Second
Edition). A third investigator, Webster Griffin Tarpley,
did likewise in his book, 9/11 Synthetic Terror, one
of the deepest examinations of 9/11 in print.
Although initially I agreed with their conclusion, after
studying the document more closely I found reason to change
my mind. Fortunately, the previous July 1997 order is still
available for download via the internet.
Close inspection of the two
documents, side by side, shows that the previous order also
required notification of the secretary of defense in cases
of hijackings. In fact, there was almost no change in the
language on this point. Obviously, the basic policy remained
in effect, and can be summarized as follows: Although
operational commanders have the authority to make decisions
of the moment in cases of hijackings, they are also required
to notify the secretary of defense, who must be kept in the
loop, and who may chose to intervene at any time.
Side by side, the two
documents are almost identical. But there is one difference.
The new order includes an extra passage in the policy
section that mentions two new kinds of airborne vehicles,
“unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)” and “remotely operated
vehicles (ROVs).” The order states that these are to be
regarded as “a potential threat to public safety.” But why
did two new categories of aerial vehicles require the
drafting of a new order, especially since the basic policy
did not change? I puzzled over this for some time, until I
stumbled upon a news story about the Global Hawk, prompting
further investigations. These have convinced me that the
June 1, 2001 pentagon order could be one of the keys to what
happened on 9/11.
As we shall see, the answer
is not obvious. The technology I will now describe certainly
was not on my radar screen. Like most Americans I had no
clue. I went about my affairs blithely unaware that
technological advances were altering our world nearly beyond
recognition. While it is true that technology holds amazing
potentials to improve our lives, and to free us from
drudgery, make no mistake, it can just as easily enslave us.
Nor are technology’s most hopeful possibilities likely to be
realized so long as its cutting edge remains shrouded in
secrecy for reasons of national security–––in my opinion one
of the most abused expressions in our language. It’s become
clear to this writer that if ordinary citizens do not
awaken, and soon, to the insidious dangers that new
technologies pose to our freedoms, the faceless individuals
and nameless puppeteers who command them will carry the day.
In that case the experiment in self-government that began
with the drafting of the US Constitution more than 200 years
ago will have come to a dark end.
of the Global Hawk
On April 22-23, 2001, just
weeks before the pentagon issued the new hijack order, an
unmanned aircraft, the RQ-4A US Global Hawk, completed its
maiden 7,500 mile flight from Edwards AFB in southern
California to Edinburgh AFB in South Australia.
The nonstop 8,600 mile passage across the Pacific took only
22 hours and set an endurance record for an unmanned
vehicle. In early June, after a dozen joint-exercises with
the Australian military, the drone returned to California.
The previous year the Global Hawk made a similar
transatlantic run to Europe, where it participated in NATO
You are probably thinking:
So what? What is so special about the Global Hawk? And how
does it relate to 9/11? I’ll get to the second question in a
moment. Rod Smith, the Australian Global Hawk manager,
answered the first when he said: “The aircraft essentially
flies itself....from takeoff, right through to landing, and
even taxiing off the runway.”
The drone follows a preprogrammed flight plan, although
ground controllers monitor it and remain in control. The
jet-powered craft is 44 feet long, has a wingspan the
equivalent of a Boeing 737, and can remain aloft for 42
hours. It flies at extremely high altitudes, up to 65,000
feet, and has a range of 14,000 nautical miles. The name
Global Hawk is not a misnomer. The drone truly has a global
reach. Its cruising speed is nothing special, about 400 mph,
but its ability to reconnoiter vast areas of geography is
amazing. In a single flight the bird can surveil an area the
size of Illinois: more than 50,000 square miles. It comes
equipped with advanced radar, infrared and electro-optical
sensors, i.e., cameras that can return up to 1,900
high-resolution images during a single flight.
No doubt, these impressive
vitals explain why the US military immediately drafted the
Global Hawk for intelligence gathering purposes. The bird
flew during Operation Enduring Freedom, i.e., Bush’s October
2001 invasion of Afghanistan; and it subsequently saw wide
use in Iraq. During the last year alone Global Hawk drones
flew at least 50 combat missions over Iraq and Afghanistan
and logged 1,000 hours of flight time. During the summer of
2006 the Israelis used similar technology during their
aerial campaign against Lebanon. In fact, the Israelis
pioneered the use of drones in 1982 during a previous
invasion of their northern neighbor. The US first employed
drones in 1983 when Ronald Reagan ordered the invasion of
Grenada, a small island nation in the Caribbean. According
to various reports, Global Hawk surveillance of Iran is
ongoing as I write.
Development of the Global
Hawk began in 1995, with the first air trials at Edwards AFB
in 1998. But ROV technology originated long before this.
Dylan Avery’s excellent 9/11 film Loose Change (Second
Edition) includes a video segment from a NASA flight
test carried out in 1984, also at Edwards AFB. During the
16-hour exercise ground pilots remotely controlled a Boeing
720, guiding it through 10 successful takeoffs, numerous
approaches, and 13 landings. The test ended with a
pre-planned crash. In fact, there is ample evidence the US
military began experimenting with radio-controlled aircraft
as early as the 1950s. The military’s use of drones for
target practice in war games and military exercises is well
known, and has been standard practice for many years.
When Was the Beginning?
In late September 2001, just
weeks after the 9/11 attack, George W. Bush mentioned ROV
technology while discussing ways to improve airline safety.
In a public statement reported by the New York Times
Bush promised federal grants for stronger cockpit doors, new
transponders that cannot be turned off, and video cameras
that will allow a pilot to monitor the passenger section of
a commercial jetliner. Notably, Bush also hinted that new
technology one day would make it possible for air traffic
controllers to land hijacked planes by remote-control. He
implied that this helpful technology belonged to the future.
Yet, there is evidence it
may already have existed when Bush spoke, and even before
9/11. Shortly after the September 11, 2001 attack a small
Arizona-based high-tech company named KinetX, together with
another firm named Cogitek, proposed such a system to the
Federal Aviation Authority (FAA). In a white paper the two
firms claimed that their National Flight Emergency Response
System (NFERS), as they called it, would prevent 9/11-style
hijackings in the future. They insisted that a prototype
could be up and running within a year. The white paper
described NFERS as “the integration of existing technology
for the purpose of transferring cockpit operations to a
secure ground station in case of an emergency.” The paper
states: “It is important to note that the essential
technology exists now.”
According to the KinetX web site, the FAA never responded to
their proposal. However, in January 2006 the Boeing company
announced the patent for a similar system.
Boeing’s “auto-land system” reportedly involves an onboard
processor. Once activated, it overrides the cockpit controls
and guides a hijacked plane to an emergency landing. The
auto-land system can be preprogramed into the plane’s
autopilot, or operated remotely by ground controllers. It
can be activated in several different ways, either directly
by the pilot during a hijacking in progress, or indirectly
by sensors installed in the cockpit door, which would be
tripped by forcible entry; or, lastly, by ground controllers
via a remote link.
Here’s my point: Was
Boeing’s auto-land system truly a new development in 2006?
Or: did the aircraft giant merely pull preexisting hardware
off the shelf, as KinetX proposed in 2001 with its NFERS
system? The pentagon order of June 1, 2001 strongly suggests
that from the standpoint of the US military ROV technology
had matured by the spring of 2001, even before 9/11. When
was the last time the US military developed a new technology
after private industry, or even simultaneously with
it? It’s well known that military research & development
programs always receive the best available resources and
expertise. For which reason the military generally leads the
way in technology, usually by at least ten years, sometimes
by much more. The emergence of the internet is an obvious
example. As we know, the US military developed cyberspace
many years before it exploded into the civilian sector. It
stands to reason ROV technology may have followed a similar
This raises disturbing
questions. Did George W. Bush wander off his crib sheet in
late September 2001 in his remarks about aircraft safety?
Did Bush blunder when he mentioned ROV technology in the
same breath with 9/11? Surely one does not need a Ph.D. in
rocket science to know that what holds for the goose is also
true for the gander. Could not the same ROV technology
designed to foil hijackers also be used to commit acts of
terrorism, such as, flying planes into tall buildings?
Certainly it could, depending on who is at the controls.
It’s tempting to wonder just how much (or how little) George
W. Bush knew (and knows) about September 11. It’s a fair
question, and here’s another: Did Bush come within a whisker
of giving the game away?
“back door” theory
According to an aeronautical
engineer named Joe Vialls, the technology to capture planes
via remote control has been around for a very long time. If
he is correct, the US military developed the technology as
far back as the mid 1970s–––in response to a sharp upsurge
in terrorist hijackings during this period. According to
Vialls the project involved two American multinationals in
collaboration with the Defense Advanced Research Projects
Agency (DARPA). The goal was to facilitate the remote
recovery of hijacked American aircraft. Vialls claimed the
effort succeeded brilliantly in developing the means, first,
to listen in on cockpit conversations in a target aircraft;
and, second, to take absolute control of the plane’s
computerized flight control system by means of a remote
channel. The aim was to cut the hijackers out of the control
loop, meanwhile, empowering ground controllers to return a
hijacked plane to a chosen airport, where police would deal
with the terrorists. To be “truly effective,” however, the
new technology “had to be completely integrated with all
onboard systems.” This could only be achieved by
incorporating the system into a new aircraft design. Vialls
charged this is exactly what happened. A high-level decision
was made and Boeing very quietly included a “back door” into
the computer designs for two new commercial planes then on
the drawing boards: the 767 and 757. Both planes went into
production in the early 1980s.
Vialls shocked even internet
users when he posted all of this on his web site in October
He contended that the system, although designed for the best
of intentions, fell prey to a security leak. Somehow the
secret computer codes fell into the hands of evildoers
within the Bush administration, who surreptitiously used the
remote channel on 9/11. Armed with the secret codes–––Vialls
charged–––the conspirators activated the hidden channel
built into the transponders and simply took over the flight
controls. Whether or not the alleged nineteen hijackers were
actually on board was uncertain. But the issue clearly was
of secondary importance since fanatical Muslims were not
flying the planes.
Crucially, on 9/11, not one
of the eight commercial pilots and copilots sent the
standard signal alerting FAA authorities that a hijacking
was in progress.
Sending this signal, or “squawking,” as it is called, takes
only a few seconds, and is done by activating a cockpit
device known as an ELT (emergency locator transmitter). A
pilot simply keys-in a four-digit code and the message “I
have been hijacked” flashes on the screen at ground control.
The fact that none of the pilots or copilots transmitted
this standard SOS on 9/11 was suspicious, the first
indication to Vialls that the planes were being flown by
remote means. Vialls concluded that once the evildoers had
commandeered the transponders the pilots lost the ability to
transmit. Additional evidence turned up in a video of the
last seconds of Flight 175. According to Vialls, the
footage is anomalous because it shows the plane executing a
maneuver during its final approach that exceeds the normal
software limitations of a 767. Boeing jets are designed with
liability concerns in mind, as well as passenger safety.
Flight control software prevents a pilot from making steep
turns that pull substantial “g” forces. Such turns run the
risk of injuring passengers, especially the aged and infirm,
which could result in costly lawsuits. Since a pilot cannot
normally make such a maneuver, this was powerful evidence
that the plane was under remote control.
Debunkers, of course, had a
field day trying to discredit both Vialls and his 9/11
scenario. What is surprising is that, five years later, his
ideas continue to have traction despite the debunkers. Let
us now discuss the more thoughtful criticisms. Some pointed
out that the flight controls on Boeing 767s and 757s, while
fully computerized, are not fly-by-wire designs like newer
planes, including the Global Hawk. On the contrary, they are
mechanical beasts with hydraulically assisted cable and
pulley controls. Therefore, according to these critics, a
Boeing pilot always has the option of turning “off” the
autopilot and flying manually.
One anonymous critic who claims to be a Boeing maintenance
technician has argued that even in the worst case a 757 or
767 pilot could simply pull the electrical breakers,
shutting down the power supply to the onboard computers.
This would allow him to regain control and fly the old
fashioned way, that is, by the seat of his pants, though, no
doubt, with considerably more difficulty. Such criticisms, I
fully acknowledge, may well be correct. The problem is that
under the circumstances it’s impossible to evaluate them,
without additional information. Unfortunately, short of
hacking into Boeing’s corporate files there is no way to
determine whether the company did or did not engineer a
hidden override system into its 767s and 757s. Nor can
Vialls help us, unfortunately, since he passed on more than
a year ago.
The story has an intriguing
addendum. Vialls also contended that after taking delivery
of a fleet of Boeing jetliners in the 1990s officials at
Lufthansa airlines made a shocking discovery. By chance,
they stumbled onto the hidden ROV system, at which point,
according to Vialls, Lufthansa, concerned about the security
of its fleet, went to considerable trouble and expense to
remove the original flight control system, and replace it
with one of German design. Insofar as I know, the story
remains unconfirmed. On the other hand, it will not
die–––there is yet another twist. In 2003 Andreas von Buelow,
a former minister of research and technology in the German
government, authored a book, The CIA and September 11,
in which he discussed Joe Vialls’ remote control theory and
called for a new investigation. Von Buelow also made a
stunning charge of his own: that the 9/11 attack was not the
work of Islamic extremists, but was an inside job
orchestrated by the CIA. As a former high official in the
German defense ministry, was Von Buelow privy to the details
about Lufthansa’s experience with Boeing? At present,
unfortunately, there are many more questions than answers.
For which reason I call on Lufthansa and Boeing to come to
our assistance by disclosing their corporate records to an
independent team of inspectors.
In recent years Andreas von
Buelow has not backed away from the controversial opinions
expressed in his book. In radio interviews he has said that
the “hijacked” planes on 9/11 were most likely guided by
some form of remote control. He thinks 9/11 was a black
operation carried out by a small group within the US
intelligence community, numbering fewer than 50 people.[xii]
The Latency Period Issue
Other critics came at Vialls
from a different direction. They claimed that potential 9/11
conspirators would never use ROV technology because of the
so called latency period issue. In short, flying planes by
remote control involves a troublesome time delay, which
makes precision flying difficult if not impossible.
These critics have cited the astronomical accident rate for
drone aircraft–––100 times higher than for manned planes.
Take, for instance, another type of US
surveillance-and-attack drone known as the Predator. Out of
135 of these unmanned planes delivered and used in military
operations, at least 50 have crashed, and 34 others suffered
Obviously, such numbers do not inspire confidence. For this
reason, contend these critics, 9/11 conspirators would have
rejected ROV technology out of hand as too unreliable.
The argument sounds
plausible, but is easily refuted. A look at the
specifications for the Global Hawk shows that there are two
different ways to remotely control an aircraft, only one of
which involves a time delay. The first is via a remote link,
i.e., a communications satellite, which does indeed involve
a latency period. The second means of control, however, is
direct line-of-sight, and involves no such a thing.
Evildoers determined to fly planes into the World Trade
Center (WTC) could have easily overcome the latency period
issue by setting up a nearby command center, for example, in
Building 7 (WTC 7). They may also have needed rooftop
cameras or other equipment to provide a real-time video
feed. Once controllers in the command center established
visual contact, they would have merely switched from the
remote link to line-of-sight, and then, would have guided
the jetliner in during its final approach. Remember, the
final approach was the only place where slop in the controls
on the Roof?
It’s curious that in 1993,
at the time of the first WTC bombing, dozens of workers
climbed to the rooftop where they were rescued by
helicopters. But no such exodus occurred on 9/11. Many
people trapped on the upper floors did try to reach the
roof, but, unfortunately, they could not because someone had
locked the exit doors. We know this from cell phone calls
made by the victims in the final desperate moments. One can
well imagine their horror, after fleeing toxic smoke, heat
and flames, only to find there would be no escape. Surely at
this point they must have known they were doomed. We were
told the doors were locked for security reasons, but this
was never fully explained. Was the actual reason more
sinister? Yes, perhaps, assuming evildoers had installed
cameras and perhaps other equipment atop each tower to
supply a direct video feed. In that case the plotters had
good reason to lock the doors: to prevent the accidental
discovery of their foul plan by some unsuspecting tenant
wandering about the roof on his noon lunch break. Another
even darker motive may have been to minimize the chance that
survivors would live to tell undesirable stories about bombs
exploding in the core of the buildings. Due to the smoke and
heat, helicopter rescue would have been difficult, but not
impossible. Notice, this would also explain the demolition
of WTC 7. No doubt, the command center had been equipped
with a substantial amount of hardware. Nor could this be
removed after the fact without running grave risks.
Therefore, WTC 7 had to come down, to destroy the evidence.
The Mystery Plane
As for the pentagon strike,
there were multiple reports of a second plane in the sky at
the time of the attack. Eyewitnesses described it as a C-130
military transport. They say it closely followed Flight 77,
but peeled off after the crash and flew away.
The 9/11 Commission Report mentions this second
plane, confirms that it was a military C-130H, and briefly
describes its involvement, now a part of the official 9/11
According to the report the C-130H “had just taken off en
route to Minnesota.” From another source I learned it
departed from nearby Andrews AFB, in Maryland.
Supposedly, air traffic controllers at Reagan Airport
(located south of the pentagon) requested the C-130H pilot
to “identify and follow the suspicious aircraft,” presumably
Flight 77. I shook my head in disbelief when I read this
passage, since when has the FAA or the military used C-130
transports to intercept hostile aircraft? Why indeed was
this plane shadowing Flight 77? The strange rendezvous
raises questions that the panel should have investigated,
but the 9/11 report gives us no further information.
Evidently, we are supposed to believe this other plane just
happened to be in the vicinity at the time of the attack.
The panel’s failure to examine a matter of such obvious
importance is the clearest indication that the 9/11
commission was not a serious investigation, but a staged
event, like a show trial, whose purpose was not to learn the
truth but to give the appearance of an investigation.
As Flight 77 approached the
pentagon it reportedly made a sweeping 330 degree turn.
Whereupon its pilot–––Hani Hanjour?–––“advanced the
throttles to maximum power” and rapidly descended 2,200 feet
into the west wing.
The impact site was “lucky,” as we know, since this portion
of the building was undergoing renovation. In fact, the job
was only days away from completion. For this reason the
number of fatalities was sharply reduced. But wait a minute:
Why would real terrorists determined to immolate themselves
in a fiery suicide attack go out of their way to inflict the
fewest possible casualties, when they could easily have
murdered thousands in one fell swoop? Wouldn’t real
terrorists try to decapitate the US military by taking out
the high command? It was no secret the offices of Secretary
of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and the other military brass were
located in the east wing, on the opposite side of the
building. The alleged hijackers could easily have targeted
them simply by crashing into the pentagon roof. Out of 125
victims (not counting the passengers) only one general died.
Many of the fatalities were civilian personnel from the
pentagon’s accounting office, a majority of whom were
killed. Needless to say, I found all of this peculiar.
Recall that on September 10,
2001 Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld admitted in a
public statement that $2.3 trillion in military
appropriations had gone missing, i.e., was unaccounted for.
Yet, the following day, on the evening of 9/11, just hours
after the attack, indeed, even as fires were still burning
in the west wing, Rumsfeld had the chutzpah to go before the
Senate Armed Services Committee and berate its chairman
Senator Carl Levin for inadequately funding the military.
The shakedown was extremely effective. Soon after, as we
know, Congress passed a $40 billion special appropriations
bill for the “war on terrorism,” and, ever since, Congress
has essentially handed the pentagon a blank check. All of
this happened with hardly a word of protest. Notably, the
military windfall also meant sharp funding increases for the
US Space Command.
Ultimate High Ground
As a result, today the US
military is forging ahead with plans to weaponize space.
True, the basic research and development programs were
already in place during the Clinton administration, which
funded the Space Command to the tune of about $6 billion
annually. The actual figures, of course, are unknown, and
undoubtedly are higher since a good deal of this research is
classified. Much of it falls within the ‘black’ budget, the
actual size of which no one seems to know. How all of this
came to pass is extremely important, because it set the
stage for 9/11. So, let us quickly review, as briefly as
Space satellites first
proved their worth to the US military in 1991 during
Operation Desert Storm, when the US drove Saddam Hussein out
of Kuwait. Their vital communications and surveillance role
during the desert campaign led to a policy debate within the
Clinton administration about the next phase. The policy
question was: Should we weaponize space? Hawkish generals
saw this as the shape of the future, and some of them made
blunt public statements. In 1996, for example, General
Joseph Ashy, who then headed the US Space Command, told
Aviation Week & Space Technology that the agenda was
“politically sensitive, but it’s going to happen. Some
people don’t want to hear this, and it sure isn’t in vogue,
but, absolutely, we’re going to fight in space. We’re going
to fight from space and we’re going to fight into space.”
No doubt, Ashy was speaking for many in the pentagon who
believe that outer space is the ultimate high ground, from
which to dominate events on earth. General Ashy put it this
way: “We will engage terrestrial targets someday, ships,
airplanes, land targets, from space. We will engage targets
in space, from space.” Which, of course, means deploying
weapons in space. In 1997 Keith Hall, Clinton’s Assistant
Secretary of the Air Force, made a similar point in an
address to the National Space Club, when he said: “With
regard to space dominance, we have it, we like it, and we’re
going to keep it.”
Full Spectrum Dominance
The same candid language can
be found in a number of vision documents released by the
pentagon during this period. All of them made the case for
US control of space. One 1997 document called Vision for
2020 outlined sweeping plans for “full spectrum
dominance,” which it defined as “the synergy of space
superiority with land, sea and air superiority.”
Another 1998 report, The Long Range Plan, much in the
same vein, used language replete with phrases like “Control
of Space,” “Full Force Integration,” and “Global
These and other vision papers emphasized the marriage of
corporate and military interests.
It’s no wonder that as the
pentagon’s R&D programs moved ahead in the 1990s, the
international community looked on with growing alarm. Many
states feared that the US had violated, or was preparing to
violate, the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. This was ironic, since
for many years the US had been a staunch supporter of the
space treaty. Indeed, the US played a vital role in its
creation. After the launch of Sputnik in 1957, Washington
and Moscow both realized that preventing an arms race in
space was in their mutual interest. The 1963 Limited Test
Ban Treaty barred nuclear tests from space, and the 1967
Outer Space Treaty prohibited weapons of mass destruction.
The latter defined space as a neutral sanctuary available to
all nations for peaceful uses.
With the disturbing prospect
of an arms race in space looming even during the Clinton
presidency, in 1999 China and Russia brought a resolution
before the United Nations to strengthen the Outer Space
Treaty. The resolution called for negotiations to add a
provision banning all weapons from space. The vote
was nearly unanimous, with 163 nations in favor, and none
opposed. However, the US and two other states
abstained–––Israel and Micronesia. The following year the UN
debated the resolution again, and it passed by the same wide
margin. Again, the US abstained. These UN votes were a
signal, obvious to everyone except perhaps Americans, who
invariably are the last to know what their government is
doing, that the world’s lone remaining superpower, in the
wake of the Cold War, might be on the verge of flexing its
military muscles. The Republican-controlled US Senate had
already put the planet on notice in 1998 when it rejected
the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTB), which Clinton
supported. The near-collapse of the 2000 Nonproliferation
Treaty (NPT) Review Conference was another hint that a
sea-change was brewing. As we know, the 2005 NPT Review
Conference did collapse, after President Bush sent a
budgetary request to Congress for nuclear bunker-busters.
The move was a blatant signal to the world that the US
government was not interested in taking even one meaningful
step toward nuclear disarmament, but, in fact, was
determined to move in the opposite direction. Bush’s
appropriations request was a clear violation of Article VI
of the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). No wonder the
conference broke up in disarray after failing even to agree
on an agenda.
Hawkish generals in the
pentagon, including Richard Myers and Ralph Eberhart, both
former chiefs of the US Space Command, viewed these
developments through their own dark lens. Pentagon hawks
strongly opposed the Test Ban, even though it would have
locked the US into a position of nuclear superiority, since
it also “threatened” to tie America’s hands–––in their view
a disaster. They believed the US must be unconstrained in
the use of its power. The generals also chaffed under
Clinton’s lackluster, i.e., centrist, performance in foreign
policy. But probably their biggest beef was his restraint on
space. Though Clinton allowed R&D to move ahead, he remained
committed to the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, and so, forbade
the deployment of space weapons. Hawks found this
unacceptable, because they believed the US had to move
quickly and decisively to take control of the high ground.
For only by consolidating its preeminent position could the
US thwart all challengers in the foreseeable future.
Hawks and Neo Cons:
A Marriage of Convenience
Not surprisingly, pentagon
hawks welcomed the new Bush administration. After all, the
neo cons shared many of the same goals. In 1999 the neo cons
had boldly released their own vision document, Rebuilding
America’s Defenses. The paper, which can still be
downloaded from the internet, calls for the “transformation”
of US military forces, and emphasizes the need to control
The document mentions with regret that most Americans do not
favor the aggressive use of US military power in the world.
For this reason–––the document states–––the necessary
changes will proceed slowly, that is, barring some new
external threat capable of galvanizing the nation, such as
another Pearl Harbor. Here, the neo cons may have borrowed a
page from Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security
Advisor to Jimmy Carter. In his influential 1997 book,
The Grand Chessboard, Brzezinski had noted with similar
frustration and puzzlement this inability of Americans to
recognize the imperial virtues. Brzezinski had argued anyway
that America must somehow overcome this “weakness” of
character and fulfill its historic destiny as global
Everything Bush and the neo
cons have done closely followed this script. A report
released by Donald Rumsfeld in January 2001 laid out the
plans in more detail. The report warned that US intelligence
satellites were vulnerable to a “space Pearl Harbor,” i.e.,
a sneak attack. Rumsfeld also favored scrapping the 1972
Antiballistic Missile Treaty (ABM), which he regarded as an
impediment to “transformation.”
Sure enough, before year’s end President G.W. Bush announced
the termination of the ABM treaty, paving the way for his
so-called missile defense initiative (SDI). Bush’s action
prompted a 2002 lawsuit by 33 members of Congress led by
Dennis Kucinich (D - Ohio), who charged that Bush’s
unilateral action was illegal, a violation of Article II,
section 2 of the US Constitution, which invests Congress,
not the executive, with the authority to make /abrogate
international treaties. By canceling a treaty without the
assent of Congress Bush assumed the powers of a dictator.
In Your Face From Outer
In fact, Bush misled the
nation about SDI, since missile defense of the continental
US was only one part of the package. SDI’s broader goal was
to secure American global economic “interests and
investments.” The neo con logic went as follows: In a world
of increasing competition for scarce resources the US
military must be prepared to fend off challenges by have-not
nations and so called rogue states; and this will entail
denying to others the use of space. Why? Simple: to maintain
US supremacy–––currently unrivaled. Moreover, and this is
crucial, the doctrine also insists that the US has the right
to preemptively attack those who seek not to defeat
the US, but simply to deter US military power. Toward these
ends the US Space Command would eventually deploy offensive
weapons such as space-based lasers and kinetic energy
weapons, possibly powered by nuclear reactors. By the way,
the motto of the US Space Warfare Center, one of the labs
where the US conducts research, is: “In Your Face From
Outer Space.” This scrap of Ramboesque doggerel is
probably a true glimpse of the future, if Americans
don’t soon retake control over their government.
The march to the right
continued. In 2002 the Department of Defense (DoD) merged
the US Space Command with STRATCOM, the Strategic Command
(the old Strategic Air Command, or SAC). The logic was
simple. The pursuit of full spectrum dominance now required
a unified command structure.
In 2005 the US changed its
vote at the UN. By now, the space treaty resolution had
become an annual event. This time, however, instead of
abstaining as in previous years, the US cast the lone “No.”
It was a historic shift in policy, yet, insofar as I am
aware it went unreported in the sleepy US press.
More recently, in August
2006, President Bush authorized a formal statement of US
space policy, the first official redraft since 1996. The
declassified portion of the document states that in the
future the US will reject all arms control agreements that
might in any way constrain US flexibility in space.
The Chinese Response
All of these developments
surely explain the recent brouhaha with China. On January
11, 2007 the Chinese destroyed one of their own aging
satellites with a ballistic missile, prompting outrage in
Washington and protests from half a dozen other nations.
The Chinese exercise was a clear escalation from last summer
when, according to reports, the Chinese “painted” a US
satellite using a ground-based laser. Not surprisingly, as
a result, conservatives are now calling on Bush to take the
needed steps to defend US satellites; which, unfortunately,
will almost certainly involve deploying weapons in space–––a
huge step and a huge mistake, since precipitate action can
only make matters worse. While I agree that the recent
incidents are alarming, it does not follow that China is an
emerging threat. The Chinese are merely responding to what
the US is already doing. Two years ago Hui Zhang, a China
expert at Harvard, cautioned that the Chinese regard Bush’s
SDI program as a serious threat to their national security.
The Chinese are worried that the US is trying to achieve a
first-strike nuclear capability. They fear that if the US
succeeds in neutralizing China’s modest nuclear deterrent
(which numbers 20-30 ICBMs), Washington will then be able to
use its military prowess to blackmail Beijing, hence,
interfere in China’s internal affairs. From China’s
standpoint the issue is one of national sovereignty. The
Russians have similar concerns, and according to Dr. Helen
Caldicott have taken extraordinary measures to preserve
their deterrent. In an address at the 2006 Perdana Global
Peace Forum, Dr. Caldicott claimed that the Russians have
installed a special doomsday facility in the Ural
Mountains–––to be activated at the push of a button. Should
a US nuclear surprise attack destroy Moscow, decapitating
the Russian government, a special communications missile
will launch and transmit the attack code to all surviving
Russian ICBMs, which will then launch automatically. The
dead Russian leadership thus will reach out from the grave
to exact nuclear retribution on America.
Unfortunately, both China
and Russia have good reason to worry. In 2006 two American
professors warned that under Bush the US has indeed been
moving toward a first-strike nuclear advantage, and already
has come perilously close.
Even as I write the Bush administration is moving ahead with
the most sweeping realignment of the US nuclear force
structure since the Cold War.
SDI: back to the future
The actions of the Bush
administration, especially its SDI program, have made the
world a much more unstable place. Missile defense systems
have never been proven effective in principle, and Bush’s
SDI program is no different. For this reason the vast
expenditures that are involved amount to a huge corporate
boondogle–––a swindle of the American taxpayer. Even if the
US eventually deploys such a system, it will have no
defensive value, since it could easily be overwhelmed. For
this reason, as critics have charged, such a system only
“makes sense” as part of a nuclear first-strike capability,
for the purpose of staving off a much diminished retaliatory
response. This is the reason missile defense systems are so
destabilizing. Ironically, this was the same argument, no
less valid today, that persuaded Washington and Moscow to
draft the 1972 ABM Treaty in the first place. The treaty
banned most missile defense systems. The difference in 2007,
of course, is that the Soviet Union is no more. Evidently
the neo cons now feel unencumbered to pursue their mad
fantasies of a US global imperium, backed up by the threat
of nuclear first use.
After the recent incident,
Liu Jianchao, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson,
emphasized that “China opposes the weaponization of space
and an arms race in space.” Jianchao went on: “What needs to
be stressed is that China has always advocated the peaceful
use of space.”
He was not lying. Since 2002 China and Russia have attempted
to persuade the Bush administration to sit down and
negotiate a new treaty that would ban all weapons
from space. Such a treaty makes excellent sense, and would
benefit all nations, including the US, for obvious reasons.
Verification would present no insuperable problems. In fact,
the more nations that possess orbiting intelligence
satellites the more secure the world will become, since
everyone will be monitoring everyone else. The basic issue
is quite simple and is understood around the world,
everywhere, that is, except here in the US. The Bush
administration has obstinately refused to negotiate–––just
as it has refused to talk in the cases of Iran, North Korea,
the Palestinians, the International Tribunal, the Kyoto
protocols, on and on.
Clearly, the neo cons and
hawkish generals have set the United States on a collision
course not only with China and Russia, but, indeed, with
every nation that has legitimate scientific and economic
interests in space. The recent Chinese test is a warning of
what the future will hold if the US does not soon join with
the world community in banning weapons from the next
frontier. Yet, how many Americans understand these issues?
Few, I would bet. And even fewer understand the connection
with 9/11, the pivotal event that spawned the Bush doctrines
of perpetual warfare and the weaponization of space. Looking
back in 2004, General Peter Schoomaker, Army Chief of Staff,
had reason to feel smug when he pointed out that 9/11 had “a
huge silver lining.”
It certainly did–––for some.
Yes, Generals Do Lie
I have shown that pentagon
hawks and neo cons share a grand strategy that is inimical
to the greater good. For which reason their global agenda
was, from a political standpoint, virtually unobtainable
through functioning democratic institutions. This
establishes a powerful motive. But does it follow that they
conspired to subvert democracy to achieve their sweeping
goals? Were they complicit in 9/11? Or, worse: did they
stage the attack? Such a conclusion, of course, would not
necessarily follow–––were it not for the incriminating fact
that Generals Eberhart and Myers lied to the 9/11
Commission, and to Congress. This is not just my opinion. It
was the opinion of various members of the 9/11 Commission.
On August 2, 2006 the Washington Post reported that
“...staff members and commissioners of the Sept. 11 panel
concluded that the pentagon’s initial story of how it
reacted to the terrorist attacks may have been part of a
deliberate effort to mislead the commission and the public,
rather than a reflection of the fog of war. Suspicion of
wrongdoing ran so deep that the 10-member commission, in a
secret meeting at the end of the tenure in summer 2004,
debated referring the matter to the Justice Department for
Thomas H. Kean, panel chairman, told the Post: “We,
to this day, don’t know why NORAD told us what they told us.
It was just so far from the truth.” John Farmer, another
member of the panel, who happened to be a former New Jersey
attorney general, described his gut reaction: “I was shocked
at how different the truth was from the way it was
described.” Unfortunately, the Post story quickly
dropped out of the news and was forgotten. Nor is the
episode recounted in the 9/11 Commission Report,
which goes to great lengths to exonerate the generals of any
wrongdoing. Indeed, the final report is a carefully
sanitized work of the imagination, with credit going to
Philip Zelikow, a Bush insider who stage-managed the 9/11
investigation from start to finish. When Zelikow’s close
ties to Condeleeza Rice were revealed in testimony before
the commission, the families of the 9/11 victims demanded
his resignation, but to no avail. Zelikow and his staff not
only controlled the panel’s schedule and agenda, and the
flow of information to panel members, they also oversaw the
preparation of the final report, hence, made key decisions
about what to include and what to leave out.[xxxviii]
We know, additionally, that Zelikow sent the draft report to
the White House for a final “proofing.” This was the devil’s
bargain finagled in return for Bush’s “cooperation.” For all
of these reasons the 9/11 Commission was in no truthful
sense an independent body. We should not be surprised that
its final product is an impeccably scrubbed rendition of the
official 9/11 narrative. This Phil Zelikow dutifully
accomplished on behalf of his boss, G.W. Bush, by smoothing
over impossible contradictions through the practiced arts of
deletion and deception.
The NORAD Tapes
The shock of panel members
cited above was in reaction to new evidence that came to
light, late in the investigation. The evidence was in the
form of certain NORAD audio tapes, which for many months the
government had refused to hand over. Thanks to a court
order, however, the panel eventually obtained the tapes,
which revealed serious discrepancies in the generals’
earlier testimony, given in May 2003. It goes without saying
that the panel should immediately have subjected these tapes
to exhaustive forensic analysis, to authenticate them, that
is, to verify that they had not been retouched. The 9/11
report makes no mention of any vetting process, however,
and, unfortunately, we must conclude it wasn’t done. This
means that the procedures of forensic analysis which are
routine in ordinary felony cases of murder and larceny were
deemed unnecessary in the case of the greatest crime in US
history. Such a glaring departure from procedures usually
taken for granted in criminal investigations fatally
undermines the 9/11 commission’s final report. Indeed, the
omission is so grossly negligent it should have sparked an
immediate public outcry. But there was not even a peep. The
US media neglected to cover the story. Have we sunk to the
level that we will swallow anything?
Based on what we currently
know, there is every reason to suspect that the NORAD tapes
were doctored before their release. Why would the pentagon
do this? Obviously, to effect damage control. As
embarrassing as the “new” information on the tapes turned
out to be, the truth might have been infinitely more
damaging. The pentagon had already changed its story, once.
According to the original version of events, as reported by
the press on September 11, 2001, NORAD quite simply failed
to intercept any of the hijacked planes on 9/11. NORAD
failed to put a fighter in the sky to defend the nation’s
capital for nearly 90 minutes. Nor did this happen until
after the pentagon had been hit. Two days later, General
Richard Myers, acting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, affirmed
this version of events in testimony given on Capitol Hill.
At which point it became clear that the pentagon had a
serious problem on its hands. The facts were not only
evidence of incompetence at the highest level, they were
suspicious on their face because they smacked of a
stand-down; which, if true, was treason. Within days the
pentagon amended its story to allay such concerns.
According to 9/11 panel member Bob Kerrey, this occurred
after NORAD briefed the president on September 17, 2001.
Kerrey’s point was that the White House instructed the
pentagon to cover its tracks.
The following day, on
September 18, 2001, the pentagon announced a new 9/11
timeline, essentially blaming the FAA for its failure to
inform NORAD about the hijacked planes in a timely manner.
For this reason–––we were told–––NORAD could not respond
effectively on 9/11. This second account stood for three
years, but had serious problems of its own. Not the least of
which is that the story was improbable. It so happens that
scrambling fighters is a frequent and routine practice. If a
commercial or private aircraft deviates from its scheduled
flight path by as little as two miles, or if there is a loss
of radio contact, or if the plane’s transponder stops
transmitting, FAA flight controllers will first attempt to
contact the pilot and remedy the problem. However, if this
fails the FAA is required to contact NORAD for assistance.
If there is any doubt, the FAA’s policy is to assume the
worst, in other words, an emergency.
The FAA made 67 such requests of NORAD during one nine-month
period alone, from September 2000 to June 2001, and in every
single case NORAD responded by scrambling planes, without a
That’s an average of about two scrambles a week, more than
100 per year. The procedure, in short, is routine. It’s done
all the time.
Why then, the sudden
breakdown on 9/11, when for no apparent reason FAA
controllers began to behave like a bunch of incompetent
morons? Another problem with the pentagon’s account is that
it is difficult to reconcile with the high degree of
competence and professionalism the FAA otherwise displayed
on 9/11, when the agency successfully shut down the entire
US air traffic system in about three hours. During this
period, FAA officials grounded 4,500 commercial and private
aircraft without a single mishap. The feat was
unprecedented, and all the more impressive given the
conditions of extreme duress on 9/11. As the commission
itself admits in its report, the FAA performed “flawlessly.”
Yet, we are expected to believe this same agency fumbled a
simple phone hand-off to NORAD four times in succession on
the same morning? Moreover, even if we assume that the
pentagon’s version of events was correct, there is an added
problem: Arguably there was still sufficient time to
intercept three of the four “hijacked” planes, Flight 175
(which hit the south tower), Flight 77 (which hit the
pentagon) and Flight 93 (which crashed near Shanksville).
The time from scramble-to-intercept normally takes no more
than about 10 minutes.
The Phantom Plane
To remedy these problems, in
July 2004 the 9/11 Commission introduced a third version of
the story that put the blame even more emphatically on the
FAA. The panel “corrected” the timeline, in effect,
declaring that the FAA wasn’t merely late in making the
hand-off, no, it failed altogether. This absolved the higher
ups at NORAD and the pentagon of any serious negligence.
The report mildly rebukes the military, but even this slap
of the wrist is not aimed at the generals, but rather, at
the scrambled fighter pilots, who, we are told,
misunderstood their assignment, or somehow got their signals
The new version can be
summed up as follows: NORAD couldn’t respond effectively on
9/11 because it had no warning that Flights 175, 77 and 93
had been hijacked. As for Flight 11, get a grip, because
what I’m going to tell you is so bizarre you probably won’t
believe it. Neither did it. But I am not pulling your leg.
The panel’s new and revised timeline is supposedly based on
a previously unknown transmission, found on the NORAD tapes.
This transmission allegedly proves that in the one case
where the FAA did alert NORAD, i.e., the case of
Flight 11, the FAA got it wrong and passed incorrect
information. This sent NORAD on a wild goose chase after a
nonexistent plane. Someone at the FAA mistakenly concluded
that Flight 11 was still in the air–––did not hit the
WTC–––and was heading south toward Washington. Based on this
false information, NORAD scrambled jets from Langley Air
Force Base, near Hampton, Virginia, to intercept Flight 11,
now deemed a threat to Washington. The fighters were armed,
and the intercept was supposed to happen near Baltimore.
This, we are told, explains why there were no fighters
available to defend the nation’s capital when Flight 77
mysteriously appeared on the radar screens just six miles SW
of Washington. By then, of course, it was too late. Oh, and
by the way, when the error was finally discovered and the
fighters were rerouted to the capital, the military learned,
to everyone’s great surprise, that the jets were NOT were
they were supposed to be, i.e., near Baltimore. No, they
were out over the Atlantic Ocean flying in circles in a
holding pattern, at least 150 miles from Washington.
By the way, a similar mix-up occurred in the case of the
fighters scrambled from Otis AFB on Cape Cod to defend New
York City. Instead of patrolling the skies over Manhattan,
they ended up in a holding pattern off Long Island, more
than 115 miles away![xlvi]
This whopper is the third
(and now official) version of events as presented in the
9/11 Commission Report. Unfortunately, since we have no
assurance the NORAD tapes were vetted we can have no
confidence in their authenticity, and, it follows, no
confidence in this “corrected” story. Beyond this
fundamental problem, the revised timeline is not credible
for many reasons. For example, there is powerful evidence
that the FAA never lost track of Flight 11 on the morning of
September 11, 2001. According to multiple reports, air
controllers tracked Flight 11 on radar all the way to the
World Trade Center, and were well aware it had crashed.
For example, Boston flight controller Mark Hodgkins later
said, “I watched the target of American 11 the whole way
This flatly contradicts the official story.
The 9/11 report also fails
to provide even one checkable source substantiating the
existence of the phantom plane. The report claims that the
story was corroborated “from taped conversations at FAA
centers, contemporaneous logs compiled at NEADS [the
Northeast sector of NORAD], Continental Region headquarters,
and NORAD; and other records.”
All of which sounds impressive, but where are these
transcripts and records? They do not appear in the final
report, nor have they been made public. Without a verifiable
source, why should we believe the panel?
Moreover, after mentioning
these sources the report immediately contradicts itself by
conceding that it “was unable to find the source of this
mistaken FAA information [that Flight 11 was still
No source? What then, are the alleged records cited above?
The report never resolves this inconsistency. Worse, it
contradicts itself again by admitting that the investigation
was unable to find a single reference to the phantom plane
in any “public timeline or statement issued by the FAA or
Department of Defense.”
These admissions do nothing to boost our confidence. On the
contrary, they fuel our suspicions. Perhaps the phantom
plane does not appear in any of the timelines for the simple
reason that the story is a complete fabrication. Certainly
the generals did not breathe one word about the phantom
plane during their previous testimony before the 9/11 panel
in May 2003. This would explain NORAD General Larry Arnold’s
embarrassing moments before the panel in 2004, the day of
his final appearance, when panel members had to coach him
about the phantom plane to help him “remember.”
No wonder the commissioners were shocked and outraged, as
reported by the Washington Post, the story I cited
above. Shock would certainly be my reaction if I learned
that someone had deceived me. Of course, thanks to Phil
Zelikow’s editing skills the final report makes no mention
of any of this. Instead, we learn that NORAD’s earlier
account was merely “incorrect.”
In the absence of verifiable evidence, however, should we
believe the report? I think not. In fact, there is every
reason to suspect that Phillip Zelikow and his team
participated in the deception.
Let us be very clear. The
pentagon’s account was not merely “incorrect,” it was a lie.
This was the conclusion of Senator Mark Dayton (D -MN), a
member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who after
reading the just released 9/11 Commission Report
accused the pentagon of the “most gross incompetence and
dereliction of responsibility and negligence that I’ve ever
witnessed in the public sector.” According to Dayton, the
generals “lied to the American people, they lied to
Congress, and they lied to your 9/11 Commission.”
Of course, Sen. Dayton was laboring under the belief that
the military lied to conceal its incompetence. But what if
the motive was quite different? What if the generals lied
to conceal their complicity in the 9/11 attack–––or their
guilty role in staging it? That would explain their
unreserved acceptance of the new timeline, as well as their
previous “incorrect” testimony.
There is no doubt that the
generals lied about Flight 93 when they insisted it crashed
near Shanksville, PA, since overwhelming evidence indicates
the US military shot down the plane. The official story is a
eulogy for dead passengers who, we are told, bravely
sacrificed their lives to save Washington. It all sounds so
patriotic, but wait a moment. Have we forgotten our Greek
drama and our Shakespeare? Effusive flattery and praise for
murdered victims has long been a staple in high crimes
involving treachery. (The king is dead. Long live the king!)
Something about this threadbare tale is just not right. It
stinks of self-serving artifice. It is also convincingly
refuted by the pieces of Flight 93 that were found scattered
over at least six square miles, and by the conspicuous
absence of wreckage at the alleged crash site. And what of
the dozens of local eyewitnesses who reported evidence of a
midair explosion? Were they all high on psycho-tropic drugs?
The plane was carrying bags of mail, which reportedly fell
like confetti. David Ray Griffin has covered this body of
evidence very thoroughly in his able study of the 9/11
report, and there is no need to review the details, here.
The generals also lied about
NORAD when they claimed that its mission was solely to
defend against external threats. For which reason–––we were
told–––NORAD was blind on 9/11. General Eberhart gave this
lame excuse during his testimony before the Senate Armed
Services Committee, and General Myers repeated it to the
9/11 Commission. On that occasion Myers said: “We were
looking outward. We did not have the situational awareness
inward because we did not have the radar coverage.”
One of the 9/11 panel’s (few) finer moments occurred when
member Jamie Gorelick rose to the occasion and challenged
Myers on this point. Gorelick, a former counsel to the
Department of Defense, correctly pointed out that the NORAD
charter says no such thing. In fact, NORAD is charged with
“control of the airspace above the domestic US” in addition
to defending against external threats. Yet, incredibly, the
final report obscures the significance of Gorelick’s
important point, and meekly takes the general at his word.
The generals also lied when
they claimed that NORAD could not track the hijacked planes
on 9/11 after the transponders went off because of
antiquated 1970-1980’s era radar equipment. Every member of
the commission should have erupted with outrage at this
brazen lie, since even during the Cold War NORAD’s primary
radar was fully capable of tracking hundreds of planes or
missiles simultaneously over the continental US.
The 9/11 panel should have
vigorously pursued this vital question. But, once again,
incredibly, they unreservedly accepted the pentagon’s
explanation; and so does the final report.
The Botched Langley Scramble
The 9/11 commission reached
its all time low, however, in its handling of the fiasco of
the scrambled pilots. The report suggests that the lead
pilot from Langley misunderstood his orders.
The report contradicts itself, however, because another
passage concedes that the pilot was never briefed. As the
pilot himself explained: “I reverted to the Russian threat,”
meaning that in the absence of an order he reverted to “plan
B”, a default or backup order.
This explains the holding pattern over the Atlantic Ocean.
(Were the fighters from Otis flying in circles off Long
Island for a similar reason?) But why would the panel fault
the pilot? The issuance of orders is not the responsibility
of the pilot, but the commanding officer. Evidently, the
9/11 panel members had never heard of a thing called the
chain of command. Here was a golden opportunity to find the
truth. The key to what happened on 9/11 lay within reach.
All the panel had to do was interrogate the pilots closely
and trace the orders (or lack of them) up the food chain.
But where are the transcripts of these crucial interviews
with the pilots? Conducted in private, they are
conspicuously absent from the 9/11 report. Nor have they
been made public. Why not? There can be only one reason: to
shield the guilty, i.e., certain high-ranking officers, from
scrutiny and accountability.
Incredibly, the report also
faults the FAA for the botched scramble.
This would pass the laugh test, were the matter not so
grave, since we know that once the FAA makes a phone
hand-off to NORAD in such cases, the responsibility for the
intercept then rests with the military. In short, the
fighters scrambled on 9/11 were under NORAD’s control, not
the FAA’s. This statement in the report is sheer
obfuscation, and, given the panel’s mandate “to provide the
fullest possible account,” amounts to malfeasance. There’s
no other word for it.
Of course, an evildoer
familiar with NORAD’s radar system would have known its
weaknesses, and how to exploit them. This might explain why
honest technicians at NORAD were confused on September 11 by
phony blips on their radar screens, blips generated as a
result of military drills. We know that at least 10 and as
many as 15 such exercises were underway on the morning of
Fighters had been dispatched to northern Canada, to Iceland,
and to North Carolina, sharply reducing the number available
for scramble in the event of a real emergency. The 9/11
Commission Report mentions several of the drills, but
studiously avoids delving into them. This is very strange,
since at least one of the exercises involved crashing a
hijacked plane into a building. The panel should have
investigated the drills, and brought the facts to light, but
it chose not to go there. More serious omissions.
The panel also failed to
explain why fighters were not on highest alert at Andrews
Air Force Base, located just 10 miles from the Capitol. The
base has always been Washington’s port of exit/entry for US
presidents and diplomats. Three squadrons of fighters are
based at Andrews, and their role has always been to defend
the nation’s capital. One of these squadrons even boasted on
its web site that its mission was to “provide combat units
in the highest possible state of readiness.”
This particular squadron was away in North Carolina on 9/11,
involved in a drill. But what about the other two?
Inexplicably, the 9/11 panel failed to explore this
question. Curiously, on September 12, 2001, the day after
the attack, someone altered the squadron’s web site,
amending the above-cited passage to reflect a lower state of
readiness. Was this a blatant attempt to destroy evidence of
Did VP Cheney Order a
The most compelling evidence
of a stand-down, however, came to light quite unexpectedly
during the 9/11 Commission hearings. Secretary of
Transportation Norman Mineta told the panel how, at 9: 20 AM
on September 11, he entered the command center located under
the White House, where he joined Vice President Cheney, who
was already present. A few minutes later Mineta overheard an
exchange, but failed to comprehend its significance. On May
23, 2003 Mineta told the commission what happened:
MR. MINETA: There was a
young man who had come in and said to the vice president,
“The plane is 50 miles out. The plane is 30 miles out.” And
when it got down to, “The plane is 10 miles out,” the young
man also said to the vice president, “Do the orders still
stand?” And the vice president turned and whipped his neck
around and said, “Of course the orders still stand. Have you
heard anything to the contrary?” Well, at the time I didn't
know what all that meant. And --
MR. HAMILTON: The flight
you're referring to is the --
MR. MINETA: The flight that
came into the Pentagon.
Mineta told the panel he
believed the vice president had given an order to shoot down
Flight 77. But, of course, this interpretation makes
absolutely no sense. Given the context, plus the fact that
the plane was not shot down, the exchange can only refer to
a stand-down order. The technician was obviously tracking
the incoming plane on radar. Notice, this means the
presidential command center was equipped with a real-time
radar link to the FAA and NORAD. This is not mere
conjecture. The link was confirmed by Richard A. Clark,
counterintelligence czar, in his book Against All
According to Clark the Secret Service was fully in the loop.
So we see that Norman Mineta’s testimony flatly contradicts
the official explanation that the pentagon was not informed
about Flight 77. It also places Cheney at the center of
everything, disputing the official story that the vice
president did not arrive at the command center until much
later. Obviously, the timeline presented in the 9/11
Commission Report is a fabrication designed to distance
Cheney from events, hence, to absolve him of any
responsibility. Not surprisingly, Mineta’s explosive
testimony is nowhere to be found in the 9/11 report.
The Pentagon Controversy
Controversy surrounds the
attack on the pentagon, and for good reason, because of the
anomalous nature of the evidence. Notably, the conspicuous
absence of visible wreckage has led many to conclude that
something other than a Boeing 757 hit the building. In the
process of reviewing the case, however, I was surprised to
discover that, contrary to what many people believe, some
wreckage was indeed recovered, mainly from within the
building. Several of these parts have been positively
identified, and they appear to be a match for a Boeing 757.
With regard to the crash, we now understand why the exterior
windows near the impact zone did not shatter: because they
were made of 2 inch-thick blast-resistant material.
I suspect that the special design characteristics of the
exterior blast wall in this hardened section of the building
might similarly explain the small size of the entry hole. Of
course, the debate on this will continue, as well it should.
Many questions remain. I only hope, meanwhile, that our
differences do not distract us from the big picture. It is
quite possible that the government has withheld the security
camera videos confiscated from the CITGO station on
Washington Boulevard (across the street from the pentagon),
from the roof of the nearby Sheraton Hotel, from the highway
department, and from the pentagon itself, NOT because this
footage would show a missile or a smaller plane, but for a
very different reason. The videos might reveal that no pilot
could possibly have flown the plane that hit the pentagon.
In short, the footage may show that the steep banking turn
made by Flight 77 exceeded the software limitations
built-into Boeing 757 flight-controls. Which would be
conclusive evidence that Flight 77 was being flown by remote
I will ask, again: Why was a
military C-130H in the sky near the pentagon on 9/11? Was
this transport plane in fact an airborne control center,
outfitted with cameras and ROV hardware? And was it mere
coincidence that the final tally of victims included a
majority of the pentagon’s accounting staff? Or, do we
discern here the faint but unmistakable imprint of a
deliberate and cunning hand? Was the accounting office in
the west wing sacrificed because its pecuniary staff were
deemed nonessential, hence, expendable? What better way to
scotch the DoD’s books than by targeting the
number-crunchers, thereby mooting democratic oversight far
into the future? That would imply a contempt for democratic
principles and the separation of powers that is almost
The Other Mystery Plane
This brings us, finally, to
the coup de grace. On September 11, 2001 CNN Live reported a
second large plane over Washington. It circled high above
the White House. This report is very strange because,
remember, we are talking about the most tightly restricted
airspace on the planet. With a terrorist attack known to be
in progress, the only planes that should have been on patrol
over Washington were F-15 and F-16 fighters, for the purpose
of defending the capital. In fact, fighters should have been
ordered up from the first indication of a multiple
hijacking. Yet, Washington lay completely exposed. Is it
really believable that this was solely the result of
bungling by the FAA? Or, that it happened because a lead
pilot misunderstood his orders? The 9/11 commission should
have thoroughly investigated this important sighting of a
second large plane over Washington. But, of course, the
panel did nothing of the kind. Yet another omission.
Why was this other plane
circling above the White House? Was this another control
center, awaiting the arrival of Flight 93 in order to guide
it into the Capitol building? A guided crash would likely
have killed many Congressmen (and Congresswomen) and
Senators, crippling our government. Best-selling author Tom
Clancy described such a scenario in a 1994 novel. In the
story terrorists fly a radio-controlled plane into the
Capitol. The following year, Senator Sam Nunn described this
as “not farfetched” in an article featured on the cover of
Nunn had it exactly right. A
strike on the Capitol would have plunged the US into the
deepest Constitutional crisis in our history, and might well
have occasioned the imposition of martial law. Was this the
attacker’s ultimate objective, all along? In short, was the
9/11 attack a new kind of coup d’etat, as Webster Tarpley
has suggested, for the purpose of abrogating the legal
framework of our nation, i.e., the US Constitution?[lxvii]
Such a thought is scary off the charts, but is entirely
plausible. We would do well to ponder how close we may have
come to such a nightmare.
Did the last part of the
gambit fail only because of dumb luck? We know Flight 93 was
delayed at Newark airport due to heavy runway traffic, and
departed 42 minutes late.
Did this unforeseen wrinkle compel the evildoers to scrub
the last and most ambitious part of their plan? An unopposed
“terrorist” crash so late in the morning would have been
impossible to explain in terms of FAA incompetence or pilot
error, and would have aroused immediate suspicion. Did
someone give the order to shoot down Flight 93 for this
reason? Something else might have gone wrong, as well.
Perhaps the passengers did gain control of the cockpit in
the final moments. Assuming that 9/11 was an inside job,
they could not be allowed to survive. This would explain why
the pentagon adamantly insists that the passengers
themselves crashed Flight 93. The departure of Flight 77
from Dulles was also late, but only by 10 minutes, not late
enough to abort the pentagon strike, but even so, late
enough to threaten the cover story and expose the
stand-down. This would explain the urgent need for the
hastily revised second timeline announced on September 18,
2001, and, when that failed, the more calculated third
rendition in the 9/11 report.
It’s understandable that
many Americans deeply resist the scenario I have just
described. Most have a difficult time wrapping their mind
around something so big, so shocking, and so evil. To think
that a group within our own government would do this to us
is almost incomprehensible. But the most frightening thing
of all is that it’s not only possible, it’s probable. Adolf
Hitler well understood and was perfectly willing to exploit
this Achilles heal of society. In Mein Kampf he wrote
that “the broad mass of a nation....will more easily fall
victim to a big lie than a small one.”
How strange that a psychopath like Hitler saw so deeply into
human nature. Are we not facing a similar phenomenon today
in America? None of our countrymen were fooled by Bill
Clinton’s trivial lie that he did not inhale a marijuana
cigarette, or his denial of sex with Monica Lewinsky. Yet,
most of us internalized a vastly bigger lie, without a
second thought, the no less transparent 9/11 narrative.
Human psychology has changed little. Must history now also
repeat and disgorge itself upon us, indeed, on an even
greater scale? If Americans fail to confront the truth about
9/11, what is to prevent it?
Our nation and the world
will never be secure until the conspirators who staged the
9/11 attack are brought to justice. We must therefore insist
that the Democratically controlled Congress immediately
launch a new and truly independent 9/11 investigation, one
that is non-partisan, adequately funded, and empowered with
the authority to subpoena witnesses and evidence. The
pentagon security videos and the black boxes, currently
being withheld, may hold the answers.
If we have the courage to
face the fact that our nation has descended into a swamp of
corruption and evil, perhaps we can still salvage the future
for ourselves and our children. We should draw strength from
the knowledge that the 9/11 nightmare, bad as it was, might
have been even worse. So long as freedom lives we can choose
to be masters of our fate. In the coming days, let us choose
Mark H. Gaffney’s first
book, Dimona the Third Temple (1989), was a
pioneering study of the Israeli nuclear weapons program.
Mark’s latest is Gnostic Secrets of the Naassenes
(2004). Mark can be reached for comment at
Visit his web site at <www.gnosticsecrets.com>
The July 1997 order can be downloaded at
Several excellent web sites are recommended. http://www.fas.org/irp/program/collect/global_hawk.htm
“Robot plane flies Pacific unmanned,” ITN News,
New York Times, September 28, 2001.
cited in Jim Marrs, The Terror Conspiracy,
Disinformation Company Ltd., 2006, p. 137.
John Croft, “Diagrams: Boeing patents anti-terrorism
auto-land system for hijacked planes,” posted at
The page has been archived at
This was reported by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on 911.
“Government Official Has New Evidence Regarding Hijacked
Airlines,” CNN Live Event/Special, September 11,
2001, 23:52 ET. Posted at http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0109/11/se.07.html
The following site is home to a group of the most
indefatigable debunkers on the internet:
An audio file of one of these interviews is available at
For an interesting discussion and additional sources go
This was reported by the Wall Street Journal,
online edition. Go to:
At least eleven eyewitnesses saw a C-130 flying behind
the American Airlines plane.
Thomas Kean, The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report
of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the
United States, authorized edition, New York, W. W.
Norton, 2004, p. 25-26.
Matthew L. Wald and Kevin Sack, “The Tapes: ‘We have
some planes,’ Hijacker Told Controller,” New York
Times, October 16, 2001.
The 9/11 Commission Report, p. 9-10.
The 9/11 Commission Report, p. 314.
“The War on Waste: Rumsfeld : The Pentagon cannot
account for $2.3 Trillion, CBS News, September
10, 2001. See the video at
Department of Defense News Briefing on the Pentagon
Attack, cited in David Ray Griffin’s The New Pearl
Harbor, Northhampton, Olive Branch Press, 2004, p.
Aviation Week and Space Technology, August 5,
cited by Karl Grossman, “Nukes in Space: Bush and the
New Push for Galactic Warfare,” Alternative Press
Review, Summer 2001, posted at http://www.altpr.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=Sections&file=index&req=viewarticle&artid=60&page=1
US Space Command Vision for 2020, posted at
cited by Karl Grossman, “Nukes in Space: Bush and the
New Push for Galactic Warfare,” Alternative Press
Review, Summer 2001, posted at
The report can be downloaded from the Project for a New
American Century web site. Go to
The seminal report of the Rumsfeld Space Commission is
available for download at
“ABM Treaty still lives, say congressmen who sue to undo
its ‘unconstitutional’ knifing by Bush without OK of
A WALL news
21, 2002 posted at
The details are posted at the Center for
Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) web site at
Jeff Hecht, “US takes unilateral stance in new space
policy,” NewScientist.com news service, October
Marc Kaufman and Dafna Linzer, “China Criticized for
Anti-Satellite Missile Test,” Washington Post,
January 19, 2007.
“China Ready to Counter U.S. Space Plans,” China
Daily, May 23, 2005.
Keir A. Lieber and Daryl G. Press, “The Rise of U.S.
Nuclear Primacy,” Foreign Affairs, March/April
Ralph Vartabedian, “U.S. Rolls Out Nuclear Weapons
Los Angeles Times, April 6,
Joseph Kahn, “China Confirms Test of Anti-Satellite
Weapon,” The New York Times, January 23, 2007.
“Wars ‘Useful’ Says US Army Chief, BBC News,
January 23, 2004.
Dan Eggen, “9/11 Panel Suspected Deception by Pentagon,”
The Washington Post, August 2, 2006.
David Ray Griffin,
The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions,
Olive Branch Press, 2005, pp. 282-290.
Remarks made by Bob Kerrey during 9/11 Commission
hearings, June 17, 2004.
For the press release go to http://www.public-action.com/911/noradresponse/
The source here is the FAA’s Aeronautical Information
Manual. Official Guide to Basic Flight Information and
Air Traffic Control (ATC) Procedures,posted at
AP report, August 13, 2002.
The 9/11 Commission Report, p. 31.
The panel even admits this. The 9/11 Commission
Report, p. 34.
The 9/11 Commission Report, p. 27.
The 9/11 Commission
Report, p. 20
Christian Science Monitor,
September 13, 2001; ABC News, September 6, 2002;
New York Times, September 13, 2001.
ABC News, September 6, 2002
The 9/11 Commission Report, p. 34.
The 9/11 Commission Report, p. 26.
The 9/11 Commission Report, p. 34.
A verbatim transcript of his testimony may be found in
David Ray Griffin, The 9/11 Commission Report:
Omissions and Distortions, Olive Branch Press, pp.
The word “incorrect” becomes a mantra. The 9/11
Commission Report, for instance p. 34.
Minneapolis Star-Tribune, July 30, 2004.
David Ray Griffin, The 9/11 Commission Report:
Omissions and Distortions, Olive Branch Press, 2005,
chapter 15, especially p. 252.
FDCH TRANSCRIPTS, Senate Armed Services Committee
Holds Hearing on Role of Defense Department in Homeland
Security Congressional Hearings, Oct. 25, 2001;
National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the US,
12th Public Hearing, June 17, 2004, posted at
9/11 Commission Report,
9/11 Commission Report,
The report informs us of this fact in a passage so
cryptic it remains unexplained to this day: “Third, the
lead pilot and local FAA controller incorrectly assumed
the flight plan instructions to go “090 for 60”
superseded the original scramble order.” Whatever that
means. The 9/11 Commission Report, p. 27.
Webster Griffin Tarpley gives the fullest account I have
yet seen in the latest edition of his book 9/11
Synthetic Terrorism: Made in USA, progressive Press,
2006, see the preface and pp. 203-215.
cited in David Ray Griffin, The 9/11 Commission
Report: Omissions and Distortions, Olive Branch
Press, 2005, p. 163.
As far as I know, Michael Ruppert was the first to
report this. See Michael Ruppert, “The Truth and Lies of
The military web
sites have been archived at
NATIONAL COMMISSION ON TERRORIST ATTACKS UPON THE UNITED
STATES, Public Hearing, Friday, May 23, 2003, posted at
Richard A. Clark, Against All Enemies, New York,
The Free Press, 2004, p.7.
It was widely reported that the few pieces of wreckage
recovered from the pentagon crash did not come from a
Boeing 757. This was incorrect. The 9/11 truth movement
needs to do a better job of researching evidence and
following through. In fact, the Rolls Royce expert who
reportedly disavowed the parts was not an engineer, but
worked in public relations. Furthermore, he was employed
at the Rolls Royce plant in Indianapolis, which makes a
different engine. The 9/11 reporter who delve PAGE 49d
into this never received a confirmation, one way or the
other, from the Derby facility, where Rolls Royce
produces the 757 engine. Two internet web sites have
posted detailed analyses of the parts recovered from the
pentagon crash. I urge you to make up your own mind.
Los Angeles Times, September 16, 2001.
Synthetic Terrorism, p.125.
Newsweek, September 22, 2001.
Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, chapter 10.