Updated 29 December 2002

What Really Happened on September 11
Remains a Mystery

by Enver Masud

WASHINGTON, DC (April 27, 2002) --The 110-story towers of the World Trade Center were obliterated. The Pentagon suffered massive damage. This much is clear. Much else remains a mystery.

On September 11, 2001, American Airlines Flight 11, a Boeing 767 out of Boston for Los Angeles, crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York at 8:48 a.m. Eighteen minutes later, United Airlines Flight 175, also headed from Boston to Los Angeles, crashed into the south tower. American Airlines Flight 77, a Boeing 757 from Washington's Dulles International Airport bound for Los Angeles, crashed into the western wall of the Pentagon at 9:40 a.m. United Airlines Flight 93, a Boeing 757 flying from Newark to San Francisco, crashed near Pittsburgh.

While Europol, according to its director Jurgen Storbeck (London, Telegraph, September 15, 2001), "was giving serious consideration to claims that there was some form of state-sponsorship involved," President Bush named Osama bin Laden, and Al Qaeda as the perpetrators. He reneged on Secretary of State Colin Powell's pledge to provide evidence.

But many insist that the U.S. government's version of events is either incomplete, or inaccurate. A best-selling French book, The Frightening Fraud, by Thierry Meyssan, claims that the "U.S. invented air attack on Pentagon."

Indeed, before one accepts the official version of the events of September 11, several relevant questions should be answered.

For starters, in the Pentagon crash site photos, there's little or no evidence of the plane that struck the Pentagon. (I live about one-half mile from the Pentagon. The first question that I asked other onlookers as we viewed the crash site was, "Where's the plane?")

Shouldn't its engines have survived in some recognizable form? An engine from one of the planes that struck the World Trade Center was shown lying on the sidewalk on network television. So was an engine from American Airlines Flight 587 which crashed shortly after takeoff in New York on November 12, 2001.

Arlington County Fire Chief, Ed Plaugher, at a press conference held by Assistant Defense Secretary, Victoria Clarke, on September 12, 2001, at the Pentagon, when asked by a journalist: "Is there anything left of the aircraft at all?" is reported to have said: "First of all, the question about the aircraft, there are some small pieces of aircraft visible from the interior during this fire-fighting operation I'm talking about, but not large sections. In other words, there's no fuselage sections and that sort of thing."

Furthermore, the damage to the Pentagon seems inconsistent with what a Boeing 757 would have caused. The hole in the Pentagon wall appears too small to have been caused by a Boeing 757, and the satellite photos show that the plane has not penetrated as far into the Pentagon as reported. Indeed, early reports claimed that a truck bomb had exploded, and the damage was similar to that inflicted on the USS Cole in Yemen. The gash in the hull of the USS Cole was reported to be about 30 feet by 40 feet.

And there are many more troubling questions. For example:

On the day of the attack on America, the Washington Times quoted a paper by the Army School of Advanced Military Studies which said that the MOSSAD, the Israeli intelligence service, "Has capability to target U.S. forces and make it look like a Palestinian/Arab act." Dozens of Israelis were reported to have been arrested, but the role played by this "huge Israeli spy ring that may have trailed suspected al Qaeda members in the United States without informing federal authorities" remains unclear, and "it is no longer tenable to dismiss the possibility of an Israeli angle in this story."

Field reports by the Drug Enforcement Administration agents, and other U.S. law enforcement officials, on the alleged Israeli spy ring have been compiled in a 60-page document.

John F. Sugg of the Weekly Planet (Tampa, Florida, April 22, 2002) reported that "DEA agents say that the 60-page document was a draft intended as the base for a 250-page report. The larger report has not been produced because of the volatile nature of suggesting that Israel spies on America's deepest secrets.

James Bamford, formerly Washington Investigative Producer for ABC's World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, and who has written investigative cover stories for the New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post Magazine, and the Los Angeles Times Magazine, describes an operation which suggests that even the U.S. armed forces may be suspect.

Mr. Bamford's book, Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency from the Cold War Through the Dawn of a New Century, reveals that the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) drew up and approved plans for "launching a secret and bloody war of terrorism against their own country in order to trick the American public into supporting an ill-conceived war they intended to launch against Cuba."

Mr. Bamford writes: "Codenamed Operation Northwoods, the plan . . . called for innocent people to be shot on American streets; for boats carrying refugees fleeing Cuba to be sunk on the high seas; for a wave of violent terrorism to be launched in Washington, D.C., Miami, and elsewhere. People would be framed for bombings they did not commit; planes would be hijacked. Using phony evidence, all of it would be blamed on Castro, thus giving Lemnitzer [Chairman JCS] and his cabal the excuse, as well as the public and international backing, they needed to launch their war."

September 11 was a godsend for the U.S. military-industrial complex. A $48 billion increase in the "defense" budget sailed through both houses of Congress, bringing U.S. military spending to $379 billion.

This, according to the Washington Post (January 27, 2002), represents "the biggest one-year rise since the Reagan buildup two decades ago and a suspension of 'the peace dividend.'" . . . It matches the combined military spending of the 15 countries with the next biggest defense budgets. (The proposed increase alone is about the same as the entire defense budget of the next biggest spender--Japan.) . . . It would roughly match, in inflation adjusted terms, the U.S. defense budget in 1967, at the height of the Vietnam War.

U.S. energy companies may also be about to receive a dividend.

The events of September 11, led to the U.S. war on Afghanistan--a war apparently planned prior to September 11, and possibly after U.S. negotiations with the Taliban for a pipeline broke down. According to the BBC (September 18, 2001), Niaz Naik, a former Pakistani Foreign Secretary, was told by senior American officials in mid-July that military action against Afghanistan would go ahead by the middle of October.

The events of September 11 also led to an open-ended "war on terrorism," which helped justify enormous increases in "defense" and "security" spending, and the passage of "anti-terrorism" legislation long desired by some in the Justice Department.

According to The Irish Times (February 11, 2002), "The Pakistani President, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, and the Afghan interim leader, Mr. Hamid Karzai, agreed yesterday that their two countries should develop 'mutual brotherly relations and cooperate in all spheres of activity' -- including a proposed gas pipeline from Central Asia to Pakistan via Afghanistan."

It's curious that these two leaders, who only later vowed to "bury the recent history of poisonous relations" between their nations (Washington Post, April 3), could agree so quickly to the pipeline. Zalmay Khalilzad, the Bush-appointed special envoy to Afghanistan, may have facilitated the agreement.

Khalilzad's previous place of employment was Unocal. He drew up Unocal's risk analysis on its proposed trans-Afghan gas pipeline according to the Irish Times. The Taliban, after initially negotiating with Unocal, had begun showing a preference for Bridas Corporation of Argentina--could this possibly be the reason why the Bush administration has let Argentina's financial crisis spiral out of control?

While relevant questions regarding the September 11 attack went unanswered, without the benefit of UN resolutions, and despite the fact that the Taliban stated their willingness to give up Osama bin Laden for trial to an international court, the U.S. launched it's war on Afghanistan--one of the world's poorest countries, already devastated by 23 years of war and civil strife following the Russian invasion of 1979.

Irwin Arieff of Reuters reported (October 8, 2001) that U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte said, in a letter to the 15-nation Security Council, that the investigation into September 11 attacks on his country "has obtained clear and compelling information that the al-Qaeda organization, which is supported by the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, had a central role in the attacks." The letter added, "there is still much we do not know. Our inquiry is in its early stages."

Negroponte added, however, that "U.S. military raids on Afghanistan, joined by Britain, were launched Sunday under the authority of Article 51 of the UN charter, which allows nations under attack to defend themselves." This despite U.S. statements that 15 of the 19 alleged hijackers were citizens of Saudi Arabia.

The war in Afghanistan created a million new refugees (adding to the existing five or six million), caused the death of 4000 civilians (about 2800 civilians were killed in the September 11 attack), and President Bush seemed intent on continuing his father's Crusade.

Former president Bush is reported to have told the U.S. troops in Kuwait (AFP, Janurary 19, 2000) that they were "doing the Lord's work."

Begun as Operation Infinite Justice, President Bush has expanded his Crusade to the brutally repressed Moros of the Philippines. Israel's attack on Palestine has delayed the U.S. attack on Iraq. Vowing to save our freedom, Mr. Bush rushed through legislation designed to curtail our freedom.

The British, in building their empire, sought to civilize the natives. Mr. Bush, in building the new American empire, has vowed to save civilization itself.

[Enver Masud is an engineering management consultant, and was recently presented a Gold Award by the Human Rights Foundation for his book The War on Islam.]


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