September 12, 2009

On September 11, 2001, nineteen hijackers, wielding nothing more lethal than box-cutters, commandeered four airliners, and turned them into lethal missiles, three of which managed to hit their targets”€”the World Trade Center and the Pentagon”€”while a fourth crashed in a field before it could strike its intended target”€”the White House. One of the hijackers had been in the United States since the mid-1990s, and the others, according to subsequent investigations, entered, exited,  and re-entered the United States regularly starting in 2000. 

In the years and months prior to 9/11, the terrorists remained undetected: there was not a hint, and certainly no warning, that we were about to experience the worst terrorist attack in our history. In spite of all the billions spent on “€œanti-terrorism”€  programs during the Clinton years, and the combined efforts of our intelligence community and those of our allies, Mohammed Atta and his cohorts managed to evade detection until the day they emblazoned their vengeance across the sky and pulled off the biggest terrorist attack in US history. 

That, at least, is the official story. As to what the real story is”€”well, we’re not allowed to ask.

President Obama’s “€œgreen czar,”€ one Van Jones, was recently pressured into resigning. His crime? He had once signed a letter originating with one of the “€œ9/11 Truth”€ organizations calling for a new investigation of the terrorist attacks. No, he hadn”€™t declared that 9/11 was an “€œinside job,”€ as some of the more flamboyant “€œtruthers”€ assert: indeed, he hadn”€™t challenged any one specific aspect of the official story. All he had asked for was a new investigation “€“ and once this got out (thanks to Fox News nut-job Glenn Beck), he was shown the door.

This is the way our society deals with uncomfortable questions about “€œofficial”€ explanations for the inexplicable “€“ by purging all dissenters, and even anybody who asks a question without necessarily having a ready-made answer. To the stake with them! Burn the heretics! Move along, nothing to see here “€“ and don”€™t ask questions unless you want to completely marginalize yourself, lose your job, and be subjected to an intensive hate campaign.

We are asked to believe that 19 men, armed with the most basic weapons, somehow managed to elude the biggest, most expensively-accoutered intelligence apparatus in the world”€”and the intelligence agencies of our allies, to boot. Utilizing nothing but box-cutters and the knowledge gleaned from a few weeks at flight school, these supermen somehow managed to steer those planes into two of the most visible potential terrorist targets in the US, one of which had been successfully targeted by terrorists before. They did this with no help from any foreign intelligence agency, no nation-state in on the plot, and they did it for less than $100,000.    


The more distance in time from the actual event, the odder such an assertion seems. Eight years to the day, the official account of 9/11 seems more anemic”€”and inadequate”€”than ever. Yet anyone who questions the official story”€”the narrative of 19 Arab dudes going on what would seems to be a rather quixotic jihad, haphazardly making their way through a strange foreign country on their own, all the while readying themselves for The Day That Changed History “€“ is denounced as a “€œconspiracy theorist,”€ a crackpot, and worse.

Of course, some of the people who challenge the official story are, indeed, crackpots: they think some kind of “€œcontrolled demolition”€ took place inside the World Trade Center, and that no plane hit the Pentagon.

This is very convenient for enforcers of the Official Truth: it’s easy to write these people off as nutso, and even easier to tar everyone who questions crucial aspects of the approved narrative with the same broad brush.

More critical minds, however, will not be deterred, and will certainly home in on the many discrepancies and holes in the official version of events, as well as the central implausibility of the whole affair, which is this: those nineteen hijackers simply could not have pulled it off without outside assistance of some sort, by which I mean to say help from a foreign power acting covertly in this country. The sheer complexity of the operation would no doubt have been enough to deter anyone, even al-Qaeda, from launching it in the first place: the sheer odds against it succeeding were simply too great.  There had to have been some form of outside assistance”€”outside al-Qaeda, that is “€“ for the plot to have gone as far as it did right up until zero hour: and I believe there was, because there is plenty of evidence that strongly suggests it.

A few weeks after 9/11, I was the first—and, as far as I know, only”€”writer to draw attention to the fact that, along with the thousand or so Muslims rounded up in the wake of the attacks, as many as 200 Israelis were also taken into custody by then Attorney General John Ashcroft and the feds. The subhead in the Washington Post story was quite explicit that these guys weren”€™t picked up for ordinary visa violations: “€œGovernment calls Several Cases ‘of Special Interest,”€™ Meaning Related to Post-Attacks Investigation.“€

What, I wondered, was the Israeli connection to 9/11? In any case, from that point on it was a legitimate question to ask, and, indeed, unknown to me, the news department over at Fox News was asking it —  and, a few weeks after my column appeared, they answered it.

In an astonishing four-part series on Israeli spying in the U.S., top Fox News reporter Carl Cameron detailed how Israeli agents on American soil had tracked the hijackers, as they moved amongst us, and, in addition, had launched what appeared to be a wide-ranging and quite aggressive intelligence-collection operation directed at US government offices across the country. The allegations contained in his report were denied “€“ and the story (which soon disappeared from the Fox News web site) was never followed up, but Cameron’s reportage haunts us today, and mocks us from the archives where it has been gathering dust for eight years. “€œSince September 11, more than 60 Israelis have been arrested or detained, either under the new patriot anti-terrorism law, or for immigration violations,”€ reported Cameron:

“€œA handful of active Israeli military were among those detained, according to investigators, who say some of the detainees also failed polygraph questions when asked about alleged surveillance activities against and in the United States. There is no indication that the Israelis were involved in the 9-11 attacks, but investigators suspect that the Israelis may have gathered intelligence about the attacks in advance, and not shared it. A highly placed investigator said there are “€˜tie-ins.”€™ But when asked for details, he flatly refused to describe them, saying, “€˜evidence linking these Israelis to 9-11 is classified. I cannot tell you about evidence that has been gathered. It’s classified information.”€™”€

Over the next three nights, Cameron detailed the existence of an underground Israeli army in the US armed with a dazzling array of hi-tech spying devices and techniques that enabled them to penetrate our vital communications, including those utilized by law enforcement. His reports also described the consequences for any law enforcement officials who dared raise questions about this: their careers, Cameron told us, would be effectively over.

Cameron’s reporting was viewed by millions. Of course, the Israelis and our own government denied everything. Mark Regev, a spokesman for the Israeli government, scoffed: Israel, spying on the United States?  Why, who ever heard of such a thing?! The US government, for its part, disdained all such reports as “€œan urban myth.”€ The Israel lobby moved quickly to make sure the Cameron reports were thrown down the Memory Hole, and Cameron was accused of “€“ you guessed it! “€“ “€œanti-Semitism,”€ on account of having spent time in the Middle East in his youth.

Yet the story persisted. Die Zeit, the respected German weekly, ran a piece entitled “€œNext Door to Mohammed Atta,”€ in which further evidence the Israelis had been tracking the hijackers quite closely was cited as coming from French intelligence sources. This was followed up by a story in Salon “€” hardly a bastion of anti-Semitic agitation “€“ which gave a long and detailed account of the Israeli spying operation, as outlined by Cameron, and concluded that it was in large part meant as a diversionary tactic. The same author did a comprehensive follow-up in Counterpunch, after The Nation spiked it. Reputable newspapers like the Scottish Sunday Herald reported the known facts.

Yet the 9/11 Commission did not so much as mention this aspect of the 9/11 story. Nor has Fox News ever followed up on Cameron’s reporting: they haven”€™t disavowed it, either. They, along with the rest of the “€œnews”€ media in this country, simply pretend it never happened. When Arianna Huffington purged me from blogging on the Huffington Post, she cited my own reporting on this story as the reason: “€œOh, come on, Dhaaa-link! You know dat’s anti-Semitic!”€

Really? Is Fox News anti-Semitic, too? Is Die Zeit? Salon? Le Monde? How about The Forward?

Of course, Arianna is an airhead, but her instinct for self-preservation at all costs”€”yes, even at the cost of the truth”€”is indicative of what’s involved here. I was told, before I undertook to challenge the “€œofficial”€ 9/11 story, that I would pay for it by being cast out of the “€œmainstream”€ whilst being mercilessly smeared. In any event, since I was never all that interested in being considered “€œmainstream”€”€”in part because I knew the whole concept of “€œmainstream”€ was very over“€”and because the prospect of being viciously attacked didn”€™t faze me in the least, I was undeterred. And I remain so to this day.

What I want to know is this: does Fox News stand by Carl Cameron’s reporting on the question of Israeli foreknowledge of the 9/11 terrorist attacks? Yes”€”or no? If so, then what is their loudest mouth”€”I refer, of course, to Glenn Beck”€”doing smearing someone as a “€œTruther”€ who is asking the same sort of questions asked by Fox News reporter Cameron? If Van Jones must go, because he’s supposedly a “€œTruther,”€ then Cameron must go, too.

No, I don”€™t expect an answer to my question any time soon”€”or, indeed, any time at all. I just want my readers to contemplate the implications of that, and what it says about the veracity of the “€œofficial”€ 9/11 narrative.


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