Posts Tagged ‘9/11’

Maidhc Ó Cathail: The United States fights and pays for Israel’s wars

October 22, 2010

By Kourosh Ziabari, Foreign Policy Journal, Oct 21, 2010

Maidhc Ó Cathail is a widely published Irish author and journalist. He has been living in Japan since 1999. Ó Cathail’s articles and commentaries have appeared on a number of media outlets and newspapers including Antiwar.com, Arab News, Foreign Policy Journal, Khaleej Times, Information Clearing House, Palestine Chronicle, Tehran Times and the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.

Maidhc joined me in an exclusive interview and responded to my questions about the 9/11 attacks, the influence of the Israeli lobby over the U.S. administration, the prospect of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, the prolonged controversy over Iran’s nuclear program, and the freedom of press in the United States.

The U.S. recently agreed to sell Israel 20 F-35 jet fighters. (AP)The U.S. recently agreed to sell Israel 20 F-35 jet fighters. (AP) 

Kourosh Ziabari: The Iranian President’s recent proposal for the establishment of a fact-finding group to probe into the 9/11 attacks stirred up widespread controversy in the United States. American politicians reacted to Mr. Ahmadinejad’s plan with frustration. Is it because they are aware of some evidence which suggests that Israel was behind the attacks?

Maidhc Ó Cathail: I would say that most American politicians are totally unaware of the Israeli “art students,” the so-called “dancing Israelis,” the Odigo warnings and other facts that point to Israeli involvement in the 9/11 attacks. Therefore, they probably considered Ahmadinejad’s questioning of the official 9/11 narrative to be yet another unwarranted provocation of the United States by the Iranian leader.

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Pentagon Author Exposes Zelikow’s Key Role in 9/11 Cover-Up

October 17, 2010

Maidhc Ó Cathail, Foreign Policy Journal, Oct 17, 2010

ln an interview on the Fox Business Network, a retired U.S. intelligence officer accused the official in charge of the 9/11 Commission of a cover-up of intelligence failures leading up to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

Appearing on the political talk show Freedom Watch, Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, a former Defense Intelligence Agency officer and the author of Operation Dark Heart, a much-hyped new book on the war in Afghanistan, spoke about his mid-October 2003 encounter with Dr. Philip Zelikow, then executive director of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States.

During a fact-finding mission to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, Zelikow’s team was briefed by Shaffer on Able Danger, a DIA data mining project that had allegedly identified Mohammed Atta as a threat to the U.S. a year before 9/11.

Operation Dark HeartParenthetically, the “Mohammed Atta” identified by Able Danger may have been an imposter operating under a stolen identity, as occurred in the assassination of a senior Hamas official in Dubai. In an interview with a German newspaper, reported by the Guardian, Mohammed Atta’s father claimed that his son had nothing to do with the attacks and was still alive a year after 9/11.

Whichever Mohammed Atta was referred to by Shaffer in Bagram, Zelikow reportedly “fell silent with shock at the news.”

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Walkout on Ahmadinejad at UN: The Craven Whores Doth Protest Too Much

September 29, 2010
Dr K R Bolton, Foreign Policy Journal,  Sep 28, 2010

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

While it is all very easy for the news media, sundry interest groups, and government functionaries throughout the world to dismiss Dr Ahmadinejad as a Mad Mullah beyond the ken of rational debate, perhaps that is because Iran’s president poses questions that are too near the mark to allow a sensible hearing.

As if it weren’t enough being the leader of a large Islamic nation that does not kowtow to the USA and to Israel, Dr Ahmadinejad put himself beyond redemption for eternity by suggesting that “holocaust revisionism” should be subjected to the same standards of scholarly scrutiny as any other historical matter,[1] and like the Left-wing Jewish academic Prof. Norman G Finkelstein, suggested that the holocaust was being exploited for political and economic motives.[2] Being Jewish, Left-wing and the son of parents who had survived both the Warsaw Ghetto and Nazi concentration camps,[3] didn’t save Finkelstein from the Zionist smear-brigade, so Dr Ahmadinejad is not about to be cut any slack.

When Dr Ahmadinejad reached the UN podium on September 24, it is certain that Israel, the USA and sundry lackeys to both states, waited with baited breath to see what the president would do this time to try and expose their corrupt system before what remains of states that have any sense of national sovereignty and dignity. The reaction of the delegates from the USA, Australia, New Zealand, all 27 delegates from the EU states, Canada, and Costa Rica was to walk out en mass — the response of those who have nothing thoughtful or honest to offer. In New Zealand’s case, our state relies of moral posturing at world forums to compensate for national impotence.

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Two Wars Don’t Make a Right

September 1, 2010

By Robert Scheer, truthdig.com, Sept 1, 2010

AP Photo/Karim Kadim
An Iraqi man and his wife watch U.S. President Barack Obama’s televised speech in Baghdad, Iraq, on Wednesday.

The carnage is not yet complete, and President Barack Obama’s attempt to put the best face on the ignominious U.S. occupation of Iraq will not hide what he and the rest of the world well know. The lies that empowered George W. Bush to invade Iraq represent an enduring stain on the reputation of American democracy. Our much-vaunted system of checks and balances failed to temper the mendacity of the president who acted like a king and got away with it.

It is utter nonsense for Obama, who in the past has made clear his belief that the Bush administration’s case for this war was a tissue of lies, to now state: “The United States has paid a huge price to put the future of Iraq in the hands of its people.” We paid a huge price simply to assuage the arrogance of a president that was unfettered by the restraints of common sense expected in a functioning democracy. Particularly shameful was the betrayal by the Congress and the mass media of the obligations to challenge a president who exploited post-9/11 fears to go to war with a nation that had nothing whatsoever to do with that attack.

With hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Americans dead and maimed and at a cost of $3 trillion to American taxpayers, the U.S. imperial adventure in Iraq has left that country in a horrible mess, controlled by a corrupt and deeply divided elite that shows no serious inclination to effectively govern. Nor can there be a claim of enhanced U.S. security when the real victors are the ayatollahs of Iran, whose influence in once bitterly hostile Iraq is now immense. The price in shattered lives and dollars will continue, as Iraq remains haunted by ethnic and religious conflict that we did so much to provoke.

Remember when most of the once respected mass media, and not just the obvious lunatics on cable, bought the Bush propaganda that democracy in Iraq, a harbinger of a new Middle East, was just around the corner? They based that absurd expectation on the fact that an Iraqi ayatollah disciple of the ones ruining Iran could order millions of his followers to hold up purple fingers. What a joke we have made of the ideal of representative democracy when Iraq is operating under an incomprehensible constitution, which our proconsul ordered, and is still without a functioning government six months after an election that our media once again dutifully celebrated.

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9/11 mind swell

August 14, 2009

By Joel S. Hirschhorn
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Online Journal, Aug 14, 2009, 00:24

As we approach the eighth anniversary of 9/11 consider this paradox. In the post 9-11 years, the scientific evidence for disbelieving the official government story has mounted incredibly. And the number of highly respected and credentialed professionals challenging the official story has similarly expanded.

Yet, to the considerable disappointment of the international 9/11 truth movement, the objective fact is that there are no widespread, loud demands for a new government-backed 9/11 investigation. The 9/11 truth movement is the epitome of a marginalized movement, one that never goes away despite not achieving truly meaningful results, which in this case means replacing official lies with official truth. What has gone wrong?

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Terrorism Is a Crime

June 4, 2009

Sheldon Richman | The Future of Freedom Foundation, June 2, 2009

Contrary to the U.S. government’s position, acts of terrorism are crimes that have little in common with acts of war. The terrorists whom Americans worry about are not trying to overthrow the U.S. government or conquer and occupy the United States. Instead, they are trying to obtain vengeance for U.S. government intervention in the Middle East. Historically, terrorism has been the tactic of the weak against the strong.

A military response is both disproportionate and unnecessary — and it inflicts suffering on innocents. Occupying and bombing a country because a group of terrorists might have plotted there is itself terrorism. Moreover, when the government assumes a war footing, it flings the doors open to violations of domestic liberty. “No nation can preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare,” James Madison said.

The Obama administration’s early signals on these matters have not been encouraging. The president is escalating in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and his intention to close Guantanamo is undercut by his plans to continue military commissions for terrorist suspects in lieu of real criminal trials and to seek authority for indefinite preventive detention of suspects whom the government fears could not be convicted.

However, the administration has now indicated that the normal criminal justice system may play more of a role in investigations of terrorism. A report in the Los Angeles Times states, “The FBI and Justice Department plan to significantly expand their role in global counter-terrorism operations, part of a U.S. policy shift that will replace a CIA-dominated system of clandestine detentions and interrogations with one built around transparent investigations and prosecutions.

“Under the ‘global justice’ initiative, … FBI agents will … expand their questioning of suspects and evidence-gathering to try to ensure that criminal prosecutions are an option, officials familiar with the effort said.”

It’s too soon to know how much of an improvement this policy will be over the Bush administration’s war policy, but if the government is thinking more in terms of traditional criminal trials, with the presumption of innocence and the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, that is indeed an improvement.

Of course former Vice President Dick Cheney wouldn’t approve. He recently said the Clinton administration wrongly treated the 1993 World Trade Center bombing as a crime. The government tried some of the suspected bombers, won convictions, and imprisoned the offenders for life. Cheney pointed out, however, that since the Twin Towers were brought down some eight years later, the criminal-justice approach to terrorism was an obvious failure. As he put it in a recent speech,

“The first attack on the World Trade Center was treated as a law enforcement problem, with everything handled after the fact — crime scene, arrests, indictments, convictions, prison sentences, case closed.

“That’s how it seemed from a law enforcement perspective, at least — but for the terrorists the case was not closed. For them, it was another offensive strike in their ongoing war against the United States.”

But Cheney left out an important part of the story. One of the planners of the 1993 bombing, Ramzi Yousef, explained that the 1993 bombing was a response to the decades-long U.S. interventionist foreign policy in the Middle East. While that policy cannot justify attacks on innocents, Yousef was right to object to the intervention. For decades the U.S. government has supported Middle East despotisms (sometimes instigating coups) and unconditionally supported Israel against legitimate Palestinian grievances. In the 1990s the U.S. embargo on Iraq took the lives of hundreds of thousands of children, while American bombings terrorized the Iraqis. And the U.S. military kept troops near holy Islamic sites in Saudi Arabia.

The U.S. government acknowledges that such conduct created Muslim resentment. Yet that aggressive policy did not change after the 1993 bombing — quite the contrary. So Cheney cannot reasonably conclude that it was the criminal-justice approach to terrorism that failed. Rather, continued intervention produced “blowback” on 9/11.

Sooner or later, all empires are targets of terrorism. If Americans are really serious about keeping safe, the first step must be to renounce interventionism and adopt a foreign policy of peace and free trade. Treating terrorism as a crime is consistent with that policy.

Sheldon Richman is senior fellow at The Future of Freedom Foundation, author of Tethered Citizens: Time to Repeal the Welfare State, and editor of The Freeman magazine. Visit his blog “Free Association” at www.sheldonrichman.com. Send him email.

Twin Terrors of the Holy Land: The Sexy Fundamentalist and a White-Haired Zionist

September 22, 2008

Robert Weitzel, Sep 21, 2008

Mention 9/11 to most Americans and the two numbers are considered sufficient to give meaning to that day. But mention 9/12, the day after when “terror” became our national mantra and the “smoking gun” brandished by a neocon-infested administration for its devilish designs in the Middle East and the numbers are meaningless beyond the platitudinous, “they hate our freedoms” and “God Bless America.”

Such platitudes, hawked ad nauseam by TV “faith-healers” and political snake oil peddlers, may act as a balm to soothe a body politic traumatized by the attacks on 9/11, but they do not explain—only obfuscate—the real causes that brought terror to our “blessed shores.”

Like many Americans on the seventh anniversary of 9/11, I turned to the Bible for an answer, a problematic move for an atheist such as myself. Predictably, I went straight to verse 9:11 in the Book of Revelation—the Bible’s most terror filled text—and found a short blurb about Abaddon the Destroyer; admittedly, an interesting coincidence, but not a “big picture” explanation.

However, thanks to Providence or serendipity, the very next verse, 9:12, was a godsend: “One terror now ends, but there are two more coming.”

Considering the last seven years, plagued to biblical proportion as they have been by the Bush administration’s criminal domestic and international response to 9/11, no prophet is needed to give meaning to the first half of Rev 9:12, while only a cursory vita review of the Republican and Democratic vice presidential candidates is needed to illuminate the rest of the verse.

John McCain will be the oldest man ever elected as a first-term president. He is also the fellow who made an enemy of the religious right in 2000 when he blasted them for “the evil influence that they exercise over the Republican Party.” McCain needs youth and sex appeal and religious right muscle to prevail. He needs Sarah Palin . . . who happens to be an “end times” fundamentalist.

Barack Obama will be the first “black” man ever elected president. He is young and inexperienced in foreign affairs. He is also not polling well among influential older white voters. Obama needs age and white hair and foreign policy muscle to prevail. He needs Joseph Biden . . . who happens to be a self-professed Zionist.

Behold the twin “terrors” of the Holy Land: a sexy fundamentalist and a white-haired Zionist.

Introducing Governor Palin to Master’s Commission graduates, a youth ministry whose vision is to “see young men and women who are not afraid to lead and are violent in their pursuit of righteous,” Ed Kalnins, pastor of the Wasilla Assembly of God church where Palin was baptized, told the audience that she is the “real deal.”

Pastor Kalnins is the same guy who believes that certain parts of the world are controlled by demons—guess which parts—and preaches an “end times” theology, the radical fundamentalist belief that the corruption of the Holy Land, that would be Muslims, Jews, sundry heretics and unbelievers, must be purified by God’s cleansing fire before the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ can occur.

Knowing Palin is the “real deal” and that several of the churches she’s attended are associated with the likes of Christians United for Israel, a right-wing “end times” organization dedicated to leading the charge to Armageddon (beginning with the nuking of Iran), odds are good Palin embraces this apocalyptic vision.

Frederick Clarkson, author of “Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy” recently told Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!, “[Palin’s] well-documented belief that she’s living in the “end time” . . . and her interpretation of the Book of Revelation may be driving her public policy and particularly her foreign and military policy views.”

Palin clarified one of her foreign and military policy views for the Master’s Commission graduates by assuring them that the invasion of Iraq was “a task from God.” For a would-be vice president this policy view, one first held by medieval Crusaders as they whacked off Muslim heads, is a real diplomatic nonstarter for the 325 million Arabs living in the Middle East, not to mention the billion-plus Muslims worldwide.

But the mother of all diplomatic nonstarters among Middle East Arabs is a comment Joseph Biden, the current chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Obama’s would-be foreign policy advisor, made during an interview with the Jewish-American cable network, Shalom TV, “I am a Zionist.”

Having a declared Zionist as the vice president of Israel’s most ardent—to the point of irrational—ally waves a shoe in the face of Arabs who are convinced (rightly or wrongly) that Zionism’s ultimate goal is to fulfill the 3000-year-old biblical mandate in Genesis 15:18 to reclaim the land between the Nile and Euphrates rivers as Eretz Yisrael, a territory that includes all or part of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, a slice of Turkey and upwards of 160 million Arabs.

Considering the brutal tactics used by a succession of right-wing Israeli governments—backed by U.S. dollars and military hardware—to secure the Vermont-sized “Eretz Yisrael-lite,” it’s little wonder that Arabs living within the biblical boundaries of Eretz Yisrael feel terrorized by Israel’s chutzpa and its 200 nuclear warheads and have long since elevated their terror alert to blood red.

Keep in mind that when a terrorized people lack a superpower ally and more sophisticated means, their only recourse is to throw stones or strap explosives to their backs or pack suitcases with mini-nukes and deadly microbes or hijack airliners with box cutters and visit their enemy’s “blessed shores” This is not to excuse it. This is not to condone it. This is to explain it.

Come November Americans will choose one of two “terrors” (since our political system allows only two choices): the Middle East in flames to fulfill a biblical “end times” prophecy or the Middle East in flames to secure a biblical Eretz Yisrael. Either way, 325 million Arabs will have an answer that will undoubtedly send a twinge of terror, and most likely rage, down many a “radicalized” spine.

If the Bible or patriotic platitudes or political snake oil continue to be the extent—or sincerity—of our search for understanding the cause of 9/11, we will sooner than later have two more numbers of national significance and another annual occasion for remembering and mourning.


Biography: Robert Weitzel is a contributing editor to Media With a Conscience. His essays regularly appear in The Capital Times in Madison, WI. He can be contacted at: robertweitzel@mac.com

Poll shows many still doubt 9/11

September 11, 2008
Al Jazeera, Sep 11, 2008
Many find it hard to accept the official version of what happened on 9/11 [GALLO/GETTY]

More than 50 per cent of people reject the official belief that the attacks on the World Trade Centre on September 9, 2001, were carried out by al-Qaeda, a new survey has revealed.

The findings, released late on Wednesday, suggest that the official version of events – that the attacks, which killed more than 2,900 people and sparked the US so-called “war on terror”, were carried out by al-Qaeda – is still a long way from being generally accepted.

Only 46 per cent of respondents named al-Qaeda, while 25 per cent said they did not know and 15 per cent said the US government was behind the attacks.

Steven Kull, the director of WorldPublicOpinion.org, which carried out the survey, told Al Jazeera: “Broadly what this says is that there is a lack of confidence with the United States and so people mistrust the narrative the US puts forward.”

Officially, hijackers took control of four passenger aircraft in the September 11 attacks. Two of the aeroplanes crashed into the World Trade Centre in New York and the “Twin Towers” subsequently collapsed, bringing down two other buildings nearby. The third aircraft hit the Pentagon while the fourth is said to have crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.

Kull’s organisation asked more than 16,000 people world wide “Who do you think was behind the 9/11 attacks?”, leaving the question open-ended.

Blaming Israel

While a substantial number of those polled believed the US government was in some way behind the attacks, seven per cent point the finger at Israel.

The 2001 attacks prompted the so-called US ‘war on terror’ [EPA]

Of the countries surveyed, Egypt and Jordan had the highest percentages of people who believed Israel was behind the attack, polling 43 and 31 per cent respectively. Nineteen per cent of those polled in the Palestinian territories claimed Israel was in some way responsible.”In Muslim countries – where we’ve carried out a number of focus groups – it’s clear there is a feeling that the US had some kind of motivation, such as invading Iraq,” Kull said.

“There are also some difficulties with the idea that Muslims carried out attacks on civilians – which is widely seen as wrong and contrary to Islam… And there are plenty of people in Muslim countries who say it would have been too technically difficult [for al-Qaeda] to pull off.”

In Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, a majority 57 per cent said they did not know who was behind the attacks. Only five per cent said that Israel had been involved.

‘Conspiracy theorists’

In 2002, the US government set up the 9/11 commission, chaired by Thomas Kean, a former governor of New Jersey, to investigate the event. It published its report in 2004, concluding that the 19 hijackers were all members of al-Qaeda. It also concluded that there had been intelligence failures on the part of the CIA and the FBI, the US’s spy agencies.

But the World Trade Centre attacks quickly proved fertile ground for “conspiracy theorists” and sceptics have a wide range of alternative theories to choose from – including that US military personnel were involved in the attack or that the towers were brought down with the help of a controlled explosion.

“There are people who are saying that US soldiers were flying the planes … or people who say simply that the US government turned a blind eye to the threat or that they somehow got them to do it through some means,” said Kull.

One of the proponents of an alternative version of the events has been Willis Carto, editor of the American Free Press newspaper, which frequently points the finger of blame at Israel.

He told Al Jazeera the attacks were “perpetrated by the Israeli Mossad [secret service] in conjunction with the American government”.

“There’s no real evidence whatsoever that the official story of the planes smashing into the building was true. It’s impossible to believe that a few furtive little characters armed with box cutters who had no idea how to fly … could have manouvred the planes like this,” Carto said.

“There are so many holes in the story that no one in his right mind can believe it.”

Classroom politics

Those who expound alternative versions of the events have themselves become the targets for debunking. Loose Change, a popular series of internet videos that counters the official version of events, has itself inspired a blog called Screw Loose Change.

More than 2,900 people died in the attacks of September 11, 2001 [GALLO/GETTY]

Reports in engineering publications have sought to counter alternative theories that say the towers could not have collapsed as they did simply by being hit by an aircraft.In 2007, research by Keith Seffen, a senior lecturer in Cambridge University’s engineering department, used analysis of an engineering model to show the tower collapse had been “quite ordinary and natural”.

The US has also seen the debate enter the university classroom.  Both Ward Churchill, of the University of Colorado, and Kevin Barrett, of the University of Wisconsin, provoked a public outcry over the fact they professed to believe alternative versions of the events.

Their critics feared the academics might be tempted to bring there beliefs into the classroom. Their supporters said that even if they did, a university classroom was the place for alternative theories.

‘Structural failure’

Michael Newman, from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (Nist), which worked for several years on reports about how and why the World Trade Centre towers collapsed, told Al Jazeera the debate was unlikely to ever go away.

“Whenever we put out one of our reports, we get phone calls and emails from those with alternative views,” he said.

“And you always get a lot of interest around the time of the anniversary – it’s a part of history now.

The Nist reports say the towers’ collapse was due to “structural failure” after the aeroplanes hit them. The reports have been welcomed by building code regulators and many of Nist’s recommendations from its investigations have been adopted, but those with alternative viewpoints have continued to dispute the organisation’s findings.

“We’ve heard opinions from all sides,” Newman told Al Jazeera.

“At the end of the day, people are entitled to their own opinions and we probably won’t be able to convince them otherwise.”


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