Muslim-Jewish-Christian Alliance for 9/11 Truth
"The Important Thing is, Not to Stop Questioning" –
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David Ray Griffin
My lecture is entitled “9/11: Time for a Second Look.” In suggesting that it is time for people to take a second look at 9/11, I have in mind primarily people who decided long ago that the attacks of 9/11 happened essentially the way the Bush-Cheney administration and the official reports about 9/11 said they happened, and who therefore decided that the so-called 9/11 Truth Movement, which disputes that account, is comprised of crazy conspiracy theorists with no capacity to evaluate evidence objectively. Having formed these views long ago, such people, including most journalists, have been impervious to any arguments presented by the Truth Movement. They simply roll their eyes and move on.
However, both the Truth Movement and the available evidence have changed dramatically in the past three years. Because of these changes, it is not rational to reject the claims of this movement out of hand, without taking a second look. If you are a person who has had such an attitude, you cannot, in the face of these changes, simply roll your eyes without exhibiting the very irrationality of which you accuse the people you dismiss as “conspiracy theorists.”
My lecture is also addressed, albeit indirectly, to fellow members of the Truth Movement. Some members have decided that, now that Bush and Cheney are out of office and the Obama administration has reversed some of their 9/11-based policies, getting the truth about 9/11 revealed is no longer so important. Other members of the movement, seeing that the Obama administration is still presupposing that al-Qaeda attacked America on 9/11, have concluded that there is no hope that this truth will ever be revealed, so we might as well give up. To such people, I suggest that getting the truth revealed is just as important as ever, because many 9/11-based policies, especially the war in Afghanistan, have not been reversed. I also suggest that, because of the changes in the political landscape combined with developments in the 9/11 Truth Movement, we now have, really for the first time, a realistic chance of getting a genuine investigation.
I turn now to my topic: Why official conspiracy theorists should take a second look at 9/11. I use the name “official conspiracy theorists” advisedly. Quite often, people who believe the official theory about 9/11 speak contemptuously of members of the Truth Movement as “conspiracy theorists.” But this is irrational. A conspiracy occurs whenever two or more people plan in secret to do something illegal, such as rob a bank or defraud a corporation’s customers. To hold a conspiracy theory about some event is simply to believe that it resulted from a conspiracy. According to the Bush-Cheney interpretation of 9/11, which became the official account, the attacks resulted from a conspiracy between Osama bin Laden and 19 members of al-Qaeda. This official account is, therefore, a conspiracy theory.
What this means is that everyone holds a conspiracy theory about 9/11. The debate about 9/11 is not, therefore, a debate between conspiracy theorists and anti-conspiracy theorists. It is simply a debate between those who accept the Bush-Cheney administration’s conspiracy theory and those who accept the alternative theory, according to which 9/11 resulted from a conspiracy within the Bush-Cheney administration.
Those who believe the official conspiracy theory, therefore, cannot rationally reject the alternative theory on the grounds that it is a conspiracy theory. To be rational, they must ask: Which theory is better supported by the relevant facts? And once people are willing to ask that question and look open-mindedly at the evidence, they will quickly see that the official conspiracy theory cannot withstand scrutiny. It can survive only as long as people continue to presuppose its truth without examining the evidence.
Let me make clear that I do not use the term “official conspiracy theorist” as a term of reproach. There’s nothing wrong with believing the official conspiracy theory. I believed it at one time myself. It is only a problem if you are a “true believer,” meaning that you are so certain that the Bush-Cheney conspiracy theory is true that you cannot look open-mindedly at evidence that may contradict it.
Reasons to be Skeptical of the Bush-Cheney Conspiracy Theory
One reason why it is irrational to keep believing the Bush-Cheney conspiracy theory, without being willing to look at new evidence, is that there are now grounds for being skeptical of that theory that did not exist at the time this theory became imprinted on most minds.
At that time, for example, it was not known that the Bush-Cheney administration would tell enormous lies that would lead to millions of deaths, including thousands of American deaths. But we now know this. Besides the lies about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the White House after 9/11 ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to lie about the air at the World Trade Center site, saying that it was safe to breathe. As a result, about 60 percent of the people who worked in the rescue and clean-up operations are ill, if they have not died already, and the number of those who will die from these illnesses will probably exceed the number of people who died on 9/11 itself. In the face of this information, it would be difficult to claim that the Bush-Cheney administration would have been morally incapable of orchestrating 9/11 and its cover-up.
We also now have reasons, not widely known at the time, to be skeptical of the official reports.
Most people have assumed that the 9/11 Commission was run by its co-chairmen, former Republican governor Thomas Kean and former Democratic Congressman Lee Hamilton. They have thought of it, therefore, as an independent, non-partisan body. But the 9/11 Commission was actually run by Philip Zelikow. He controlled the 85-person staff and was in charge of producing of The 9/11 Commission Report. And yet he was essentially a member of the Bush-Cheney White House, being especially close to Condoleezza Rice, with whom he had co-authored a book. Thanks to a book about the 9/11 Commission by New York Times reporter Philip Shenon, we now know that Zelikow, in spite of promises to the contrary, remained in contact with Rice and also with Karl Rove, the ultimate political operator in the White House. Shenon also revealed that, before his staff had even begun its work, Zelikow had already written a detailed outline of the report that would be issued, complete with “chapter headings, subheadings, and sub-subheadings.” Shenon also revealed that Kean and Hamilton conspired with Zelikow to keep the existence of this outline a secret from the staff.
In a book they wrote about the 9/11 Commission, entitled Without Precedent, Kean and Hamilton criticized “conspiracy theorists” because, rather than forming their theories on the basis of the facts, they start with their theories and then look for facts to support them. By contrast, Kean and Hamilton claimed, the 9/11 Commission started with the relevant facts, not with a conclusion: We were “not setting out to advocate one theory or interpretation of 9/11 versus another,” they said. And yet, they admitted, Zelikow assigned “the subject of ‘al Qaeda’ to [one of the staff’s teams],” which was told to “tell the story of al Qaeda’s most successful operation---the 9/11 attacks.” If that was not starting with a theory about 9/11, what would have been?
If the 9/11 Commission was not independent of the Bush-Cheney White House, what about NIST---the National Institute of Standards and Technology---which prepared the official reports on the destruction of the World Trade Center? NIST is an agency of the US Department of Commerce. During the years it was preparing its reports, therefore, it was an agency of the Bush-Cheney administration, run by an appointee of that administration.
Recently, a former employee of this agency has spoken out, saying that NIST had been “fully hijacked from the scientific into the political realm.” Scientists working for NIST, he says, “lost [their] scientific independence, and became little more than ‘hired guns.’”
Everything that came from the hired guns was [he added] routinely filtered through the front office, and assessed for political implications before release.
Moreover, he said, NIST’s reports on the World Trade Center also had to be approved by the National Security Agency and the Office of Management and Budget---“an arm of the Executive Office of the President”---which “had a policy person specifically delegated to provide oversight on our work.”
As a result, NIST’s reports, which say the Twin Towers and Building 7 came down without the aid of explosives, are political, not scientific, reports---as any serious examination of these reports will reveal. The authors, with their PhD’s in physics and engineering, could not possibly believe the things they have written.
The New Shape of the 9/11 Truth Movement