09/12/07 "Guardian" --
-- Six years after 9/11, the American public have
still not been provided with a full and truthful
account of the single greatest terror attack in US
What they got was a
9/11 Commission was hamstrung by official
obstruction. It never managed to ascertain the
whole truth of what happened on September 11 2001.
The chair and vice
chair of the 9/11 Commission, respectively Thomas
Kean and Lee Hamilton, assert in their book,
Without Precedent, that they were "set
up to fail" and were starved of funds to do a
proper investigation. They also confirm that they
were denied access to the truth and
misled by senior officials in the Pentagon and
the federal aviation authority;
and that this obstruction and
deception led them to contemplate slapping
Despite the many
public statements by 9/11 commissioners and staff
members acknowledging they were repeatedly lied to,
not a single person has ever been charged, tried, or
even reprimanded, for lying to the 9/11 Commission.
From the outset, the
commission seemed to be hobbled. It did not start
work until over a year after the attacks. Even then,
its terms of reference were suspiciously narrow, its
powers of investigation curiously limited and its
time-frame for producing a report unhelpfully short
- barely a year to sift through millions of pages of
evidence and to interview hundreds of key witnesses.
report did not examine key evidence, and
neglected serious anomalies in the various accounts
of what happened. The commissioners admit their
incomplete and flawed, and that many questions
about the terror attacks remain unanswered.
Nevertheless, the 9/11 Commission was swiftly closed
down on August 21 2004.
I do not believe in
conspiracy theories. I prefer rigorous,
evidence-based analysis that sifts through the known
facts and utilises expert opinion to draw
conclusions that stand up to critical scrutiny. In
other words, I believe in everything the 9/11
Commission was not.
The failings of the
official investigation have fuelled too many
half-baked conspiracy theories. Some of the 9/11
"truth" groups promote speculative hypotheses,
ignore innocent explanations, cite non-expert
sources and jump to conclusions that are not proven
by the known facts. They convert mere coincidence
and circumstantial evidence into cast-iron proof.
This is no way to debunk the obfuscations and
evasions of the 9/11 report.
But even amid the
hype, some of these 9/11 groups raise valid and
important questions that were never even considered,
let alone answered, by the official investigation.
The American public has not been told the complete
truth about the events of that fateful autumn
morning six years ago.
What happened on
9/11 is fundamentally important in its own right.
But equally important is the way the 9/11 cover-up
signifies an absence of democratic, transparent and
accountable government. Establishing the truth is,
in part, about restoring honesty, trust and
confidence in American politics.
There are dozens of
9/11 "truth" websites and campaign groups. I cannot
vouch for the veracity or credibility of any of
them. But what I can say is that as well as making
plenty of seemingly outrageous claims; a few of them
raise legitimate questions that demand answers.
Four of these well
known "tell the truth" 9/11 websites are:
Scholars for 9/11 Truth, which includes
academics and intellectuals from many disciplines.
250+ 9/11 'Smoking Guns' a website that cites
over 250 pieces of evidence that allegedly
contradict, or were omitted from, the 9/11
911 Truth Campaign that, as well as offering its
own evidence and theories, includes links to more
than 20 similar websites.
Patriots Question 9/11, perhaps the most
plausible array of distinguished US citizens who
question the official account of 9/11, including
General Wesley Clark, former Nato commander in
Europe, and seven members and staffers of the
official 9/11 Commission, including the chair and
vice chair. In all, this website documents the
doubts of 110+ senior military, intelligence
service, law enforcement and government officials;
200+ engineers and architects; 50+ pilots and
aviation professionals; 150+ professors; 90+
entertainment and media people; and 190+ 9/11
survivors and family members. Although this is an
impressive roll call, it doesn't necessarily mean
that these expert professionals are right.
Nevertheless, their scepticism of the official
version of events is reason to pause and reflect.
More and more US
citizens are critical of the official account. The
Zogby polling organisation last week found that
51% of Americans want Congress to probe President
Bush and Vice-President Cheney regarding the truth
about the 9/11 attacks; 67% are also critical of the
9/11 Commission for not investigating the bizarre,
unexplained collapse of the 47-storey World Trade
Centre building 7 (WTC7). This building was not hit
by any planes. Unlike WTC3, which was badly damaged
by falling debris from the Twin Towers but which
remained standing, WTC7 suffered minor damage but
suddenly collapsed in a neat pile, as happens in a
In a 2006
interview with anchorman Evan Soloman of CBC's
Sunday programme, the vice chair of the 9/11
Commission, Lee Hamilton, was reminded that the
commission report failed to even mention the
collapse of WTC7 or the suspicious hurried removal
of the building debris from the site - before there
could be a proper forensic investigation of what was
a crime scene. Hamilton could only offer the lame
excuse that the commissioners did not have
"unlimited time" and could not be expected to answer
"every question" the public asks.
There are many, many
more strange unexplained facts concerning the events
of 9/11. You don't have to be a conspiracy theorist
to be puzzled and want an explanation, or to be
sceptical concerning the official version of events.
Six years on from
those terrible events, the survivors, and the
friends and families of those who died, deserve to
know the truth. Is honesty and transparency
concerning 9/11 too much to ask of the president and
What is needed is a
new and truly independent commission of inquiry to
sort coincidence and conjecture from fact, and to
provide answers to the unsolved anomalies in the
evidence available concerning the attacks on the
World Trade Centre and the Pentagon. Unlike the
often-stymied first investigation, this new
commission should be granted wide-ranging subpoena
powers and unfettered access to government files and
officials. George Bush should be called to testify,
without his minders at hand to brief and prompt him.
America - and the world - has a right to know the