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9/11 – fear on film

Stephen Smith is a regular Webdiarist. His last piece was Storm of envy - the fight for the 'real' New Orleans.

By Stephen Smith

9/11 is not only a moment in history – it is also a moment in television history. This leads us to our opening questions. Do we respond to the images themselves, or to what the images depict? And further, what part do these images play in cultural memory?

Cultural memory is our collective knowledge of events. It is also the process by which this knowledge is formed. Guiding us through its paths and byways we find an interpretative community that includes journalists, writers and filmmakers.

Next we can ask how the national psyche is shaped prior to, or even in anticipation of, major events. Here, we find that the Hollywood blockbuster – the disaster movie – has intriguing connections to 9/11.

9/11 appears strangely familiar to the collective mind. The live TV images of the event were, of course, widely experienced. These images find a memory slot right alongside the place the disaster movie holds in the national psyche.

In his 9/11 commentary, Welcome to the Desert of the Real, Slavoj Zizek examines how cinema informs the cultural memory. He looks at how 9/11 touched fears and fantasies evoked by the Hollywood disaster movie. According to Zizek:

"The question we should have asked ourselves when we stared at the TV screens on September 11 is simply: WHERE DID WE ALREADY SEE THE SAME THING OVER AND OVER AGAIN?"

He is not alone in raising a hint of self-fulfillment or prophesy. A few months after 9/11, senior film critic for “The Village Voice”, J Hoberman, looked back on the dozen years between the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the WTC. This interval at first resembles a golden age. (Spookily enough, the former occurred on 11-9 and the latter on 9-11.) But beneath that decade’s cool façade (once called the ‘end of history’) Hollywood was working manically on what Susan Sontag called the “imagination of disaster”. “Titantic” became the top-grossing movie of all time. A further high point in movie mayhem was “Independence Day”. As Hoberman wonders:

"What force was more pervasive? Or persuasive? By positing several billion casualties, Independence Day – to name but one blockbuster, extremely popular in the Middle East as everywhere on earth – pretended to massacre nearly as many as paid to see it."

This leads him to raise this interesting point.

"Was the terror attack then a prophetic fantasy come true? A form of perverse wish fulfillment? For over half a century, the United States has bombed nations from Japan to Vietnam to Iraq to Serbia, without itself ever suffering a single bomb falling on its own cities. But even more – and for longer – we had bombarded the globe with our images"

Self-fulfillment was also a theme taken up by Jean Baudrillard in his essay The Spirit of Terrorism. According to Baudrillard:

"At a pinch, we can say that they did it, but we wished for it."

As he continues:

"The countless disaster movies bear witness to this fantasy, which they clearly attempt to exorcise with images, drowning out the whole thing with special effects. But the universal attraction they exert, which is on a par with pornography, shows that acting-out is never very far away, the impulse to reject any system growing all the stronger as it approaches perfection or omnipotence."

Baudrillard’s point about acting-out such impulses finds its parallel in the Stephen King 1982 novella, The Running Man. Here, the character of Ben Richards lives in a hyperreal world that includes a TV game show, The Running Man. His task is to elude capture for 30 days while viewers receive rewards as “patriots” if they can turn him in. A feature of his world is the omnipotence of authority and the impunity of power enjoyed by those who broadcast the show. Richards has the chance to save himself by joining the Network. But he finds this option is morally repugnant. He chooses instead to hijack a plane and ram it into their corporate HQ.

In 9/11 terms, King’s ending embodies the impulse, as Baudrillard describes, to reject such a system. But King’s final lines also carry a portent of religious fundamentalism.

"Heeling over slightly, the Lockheed struck the Games Building dead on, three quarters of the way up. Its tanks were still better than a quarter full. Its speed was slightly over five hundred miles an hour.


“The explosion was tremendous, lighting up the night like the wrath of God, and it rained fire twenty blocks away."

Moral questions about the impunity of power began to surface soon after the former Soviet Union was vanquished at the end of the Cold War. But in the absence of an identifiable enemy, the US began to see cultural singularity itself as a threat; it began to see ‘the enemy’ everywhere.

Thus in the decade or so before 9/11 the Hollywood disaster movie conveyed a sense of dread. There was a fear, as Zizek describes, “that some ominous agent is threatening us all the time with total destruction”.

We find evidence for this in the cinematic catalogue of the era. In his Village Voice piece, Hoberman shows us how an unspecified enemy appears from everywhere in Hollywood’s vast gallery of evil. Thus we saw Euro-terrorists in “Die Hard”; narco-terrorists in “Die Hard 2”; neo-Nazi terrorists in “Die Hard With a Vengeance”; homegrown terrorists in “Under Siege”; alien terrorists in “Independence Day”; and dino-terrorists in “Jurassic Park”. Last but not least, Islamic terrorists make an appearance in “True Lies”, and in “The Siege”. (Which also showed the roundup of Arab American suspects.)

The US has long exported its violent fantasies. But it fails to grasp how its murderous images point to the actuality of terror so long experienced in the rest of the world. Further, there is a final plot twist to Hollywood’s “imagination of disaster”; its most extreme images are also its most reversible. In this effect we find a parallel in the photos of torture and abuse from Abu Ghraib. At this level of extremity Baudrillard finds:

"An immanent justice of the image: those who live by the spectacle will die by the spectacle. Do you want to acquire power through the image? Then you will perish by the return of the image."

Apart from Hollywood, what is the other great export in the US military-entertainment complex? The arms export trade has long provided the hidden reality of cluster bombs, warheads of depleted uranium, phosphorous and so-called smart bombs (that kill even more civilians). This trade has long been masked by that other export of ‘shock and awe’ – the movie blockbuster. Right on America’s doorstep, in Latin America, the arms industry found one of its best markets. By this self-deception, the ‘golden age’ – the ‘end of history’ after the fall of the Berlin Wall - was false. As Zizek puts it so precisely:

"America's "holiday from history" was a fake: America's peace was bought by the catastrophes going on elsewhere."

To say ‘the world changed’ on 9/11 is to ignore that the world changes every day for victims of terror who are outside the loop of images of jets and skyscrapers.

To escape this delusion, Zizek suggests, requires a quantum leap in thinking. It is the shift from the thought that:

"“A thing like this should not happen HERE!" to "A thing like this should not happen ANYWHERE!” Therein resides the true lesson… the only way to ensure that it will not happen HERE again is to prevent it going on ANYWHERE ELSE."

Yet to refocus on the ‘anywhere else’ is risky – perhaps even Mission Impossible. For such a change must get past the narrative of cultural memory, where like a Romero horror flick, some characters never die.

As we recoil from Osama Bin Laden’s crime, Ronald Reagan too holds his own high office in the terrorist brotherhood. It is not only that we cannot forget his boosting of US military aid to Latin America. More than this, Reagan’s legacy lives on; and his wraith hovers over the zombies who still creep with impunity in places such as Guatemala.

Many of the US cables and intelligence reports about Guatemala City were declassified by the Clinton administration. However the fear of these times outlives these documents. Its terror still stalks its streets. The BBC documentary, Killers Paradise, portrays a horrific scenario. It is one in which women are being randomly killed by paramilitary gangs. These killers are protected by a code of silence that does not recognize the murder of ‘ordinary’ women as a serious crime.

Who are the killers? They are the disbanded remnants of the old Reagan sanctioned death squads. They are the former secret police crawling out of every US linked portal that opened up under the former juntas. During the genocide of the Indian population and civil war raged against the Leftists, the death squads were notorious for the savagery of their attacks. They tagged women as ‘the enemy’ because they were seen as giving birth to a new generation of rebels.

Today, the serial killers remain on the prowl. In the last five years as many women have been butchered in Guatemala’s reign of terror as perished in New York’s 9/11 attack. But still it goes on – 665 victims in 2005 - and the toll is rising each year. This is equivalent to the WTC smoldering on past 9/11 – with 1 or 2 jumpers falling victim each day. Yet the US remains largely indifferent to this south of the border terror that is no less devastating than 9/11.

The irony is that Reagan’s pet juntas invented the use of airliners as a weapon of terror. Both in Guatemala and Argentina many of the victims of interrogation (both alive and dead) were thrown into the sea from these planes.

In 9/11, America has reconstructed the event as a loop of images. In this loop, the fear inside (the place of the disaster movie in the psyche) meets and joins the fear outside (Bush’s ‘war on terror’). Thus the US can only interpret the event of 9/11 by its images alone, not by what these images depict. Nor can America extend its gaze to global catastrophes such as the terror that is Guatemala City.

Well might the figure of Morpheus from “The Matrix” exclaim: “Welcome to the desert of the real”. After the example of Neo, can we begin to see the smoking ruins that lie behind the excess of images?

Here we realize the full impact of 9/11. Not only as mass murder - whose reality continues globally. But as mass spectacle prone to replay and repetition. On that day, live TV images were crucial to the success of the hijackers’ plot. But ironically the same images of horror sought by the terrorists are now copied into the culture of images, symbols and signs that were the very target of attack. The terrorists and America are now alike. They respond to images that are not so much a depiction of the event, but the event itself. And whose victory is this?


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Why bother Gareth?

Gareth Eastwood, it is pointless debating with conspiracy theorists. For every answer only turns up another "conspiracy". Outside of politics most conspiracy theorists would be classified as suffering mental illness.

Which is the pity about the whole 9/11 inside job industry. Many of its spruikers are obviously mentally ill. The plot though has gained some momentum by people who know better. They have aided it by sitting  and in some cases helping it along. This is for purely base political reasons.

I remember President Bill Clinton once making a similar claim. He called it something like the modern society of conspiracy. In those days it was the X-Files society. He was right than and he would be right now.

I expect most of the mentally stable people to drop off after mid-term elections. Being as a new President will have to be elected at the next election, the 9/11 conspiracy defeats the purpose. Any new President will distance him or herself from the previous administration as has always been the case.

The pity is the damage done to the system that some of these people may one day have to be responsible for. There should be no new inquiry by this present administration or any following. The reason being; is that there is no need for any new inquiry.

Only puts more money into the pockets of lawyers.

It's Important To Bother, Jay.

Yes, it is pointless debating with conspiracy theorists. Nevertheless it is important to ridicule, sneer at and mock them at every opportunity, even beyond the point of cruelty.

You're quite right Jay when you say we are dealing with a form of mental illness. But it is not an illness that is properly understood, and rarely called what it is. This particular mental illness is dangerous because it is contagious. People catch it like influenza. It is a form of mass hysteria. A kind of tribal stampede reflex with it origins in the darkest and most primitive reaches of our minds. Something beyond reason. Something in the realm of religion and romance. Where you see 9/11 and other conspiracy theories taken seriously, think men riding heroically on white horses and colours like black and red with swastika trimmings. It's that serious.

Wikipedia is not a blog

Roslyn Ross, Wikipedia is a useful research tool. If you genuinely believe it to be no more than “personal opinion with links”, your quest for truth is already lost, Roslyn. Here’s an interesting piece on the reliability of Wikipedia from The Age.

Wikipedia is a blog.... read the definitions

Gareth a 'blog' is information which is instantly published to a website. This information is in essence personal opinion or information which may or may not be substantiated with links.

Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia/dictionary which is information instantly published to a website. Which anyone can edit actually, which makes its content prone to 'hacking' and therefore even less reliable than a blog like Webdiary for instance.

Wikipedia is in essence, personal opinion or information, contributed to the site, which is substantiated with links to a greater or lesser degree.

There is no rigorous control over a blog and no rigorous control over Wikipedia. They are in essence the same thing.

Now, The Age story simply shows that Wikipedia may be of use, but then of course, the same argument would apply to blogs because they are created in exactly the same way and serve the same purpose.

Each allows an individual to offer information/opinion to the general public through a website.

Wikipedia or a blog may offer information of great substance, or they may not. It is up to the reader to assess the links, do further research and form an opinion as to the validity of the information offered.

Credible sources

Roslyn Ross, yes indeed WD should not be considered a substantial source.  I certainly wouldn’t expect a government to open an investigation on the basis of information presented here. WD is for debating issues and expressing views, not a source of credible evidence.

Roslyn just because the 9/11 commission has been subject to criticism (some valid) doesn’t mean yet another investigation is warranted. The 9/11 commission was independent according to my definition of the term. I really have no sympathy for the concerns expressed by the ‘notables’ at ‘Scholars for Truth’. Their interest in ‘truth’ is not evidenced by anything I’ve read on their site.

No to blogs, yes to Wikipedia. Hmmmm

Gareth: You are being disingenuous. No-one suggested a government enquiry being opened on the basis of information presented on a blog.

Blogs are vehicles for information and when it is substantiated, it makes a good research avenue. I am surprised that you reject anything you may read on a blog ...... why do you bother..... and yet find Wikipedia a worthwhile research tool? That is also personal opinion with links to substantiate..... just like a blog only called a dictionary.

At the end of the day what you think or don't think, or what I think or don't think, is irrelevant. The American people, notable or not, will continue to push for truth and no doubt, in time, get something closer to it.

Should be called 'Scholars for speculation'

Roslyn Ross, I recall this discussion on WD relating to 9/11 conspiracy theories, it got a bit nutty and personal. It might have been a factor in the decision by the WD editors. I believe Craig Warton has copped abuse from Damian Lataan ever since.

Re the surveillance footage “One presumes because it may show exactly what did crash into the Pentagon.” It was AA 77 that crashed into the Pentagon; its flight recorder was discovered by a pair of firefighters at the scene and handed over to the NTSB. That’s pretty convincing evidence don’t you think Roslyn? Is there any credible physical evidence that suggests AA 77 and all its passengers and crew ended up elsewhere?

I made an interesting discovery last night Roslyn. Apparently some surveillance footage has been released. Here’s a CNN story on the release and a link to the videos. It’s pretty inconclusive to the naked eye, unfortunately yet another one for the experts to explain and the fruitcakes to speculate on.

Re “Well, so goes the shuddering thud of a closed mind.” I looked at the site you provided and read some of the sources it links. Here’s a summary of why I think the petition is a load of rubbish.

- Makes numerous unsubstantiated claims: I do not consider a blog a substantial source.

- Asks for explanations that have already been provided: for example the destroyed traffic control tapes for which the petition demands an explanation. I found a credible explanation from May 2004 after 1 google search.

- Half of the links provided don’t even work: I suspect this petition may be an old one. As mentioned previously, the requested surveillance tapes have already been released.

- Petition adds an unrelated conspiracy theory for good measure: apparently to possession of maps of oil fields in the Middle East constitutes probable cause with regard to illegal activities. I fail to see the link to 9/11.

- It seems this 9/11 Truth movement won’t be satisfied until all federal employees have been hauled before a public hearing.

- This petition is a speculative witch hunt, not a genuine quest for truth.

So Webdiary is an insubstantial blog

Gareth, I have decided to attempt to reply to your post with a little more substance and can only hope it gets through.

By the way, when you say you do not consider a blog a substantial source I take it you include Webdiary, which is after all a blog in essence, in this assessment. A blog, is, in essence a vehicle for the exchange of views. How well substantiated those views are, or not, as the case may be, is the issue rather than the fact that the views appear on a blog. I do consider blogs to be a substantial source in terms of triggering or continuing research. Why are you on Webdiary if you consider it all worthless? And do I put your comments into the 'unsubstantial' box too?

But, in case anyone else has been following this very one-sided debate, here are some of the reasons, just a few of very many, why I am not convinced either that we know the full truth about what happened on 9/11:

Senior military, intelligence and government critics of 9/11 commission report.

Excerpt: Many well known and respected senior members of the U.S. intelligence services, military, and government have expressed significant criticism of the 9/11 Commission Report.

Listed below are highly critical statements about the 9/11 Commission Report and/or calls for a new 9/11 investigation publicly made by over 50 of these senior officials.  Their collective voices give credibility to the claim that the 9/11 Commission Report is tragically flawed. These individuals cannot be simply dismissed as irresponsible believers in some 9/11 conspiracy theory. Their sincere concern, backed by their decades of service to their country, demonstrate that criticism of the Report is not irresponsible, illogical, nor disloyal, per se. In fact, it can be just the opposite.

Some other notables calling for an independent investigation:

Excerpt: Below is a powerful petition first released in October of 2004 which continues to bring the 9/11 issue ever more into public awareness. This petition is signed by 100 prominent Americans and 40 9/11 family members demanding a full, independent investigation of what really happened on that fateful day.

The statement's list of signatories includes notables spanning the political spectrum, from Presidential candidates Ralph Nader and Green Party candidate David Cobb to Catherine Austin Fitts, a high-ranking member of the first Bush administration, as well as Washington veterans like Pentagon whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg and retired CIA analyst Ray McGovern. Other signers include former US Ambassador to Iraq Edward L. Peck and  environmentalists like Randy Hayes and John Robbins.

The top 40 reasons to doubt the official story:

Excerpt: Unanswered Questions and the "Final Fraud" of the 9/11 Commission:

a. The September 11th families who fought for and gained an independent investigation (the 9/11 Commission) posed 400-plus questions, which the 9/11 Commission adopted as its roadmap. The vast majority of these questions were completely ignored in the Commission hearings and the final report.

b. The membership and staff of the 9/11 Commission displayed awesome conflicts of interest. The families called for the resignation of Executive Director Philip Zelikow, a Bush administration member and close associate of "star witness" Condoleezza Rice, and were snubbed. Commission member Max Cleland resigned, condemning the entire exercise as a "scam" and "whitewash."

c. The 9/11 Commission Report is notable mainly for its obvious omissions, distortions and outright falsehoods - ignoring anything incompatible with the official story, banishing the issues to footnotes, and even dismissing the still-unresolved question of who financed 9/11 as being "of little practical significance."

Gareth:  I was not

Gareth I was not around for the original 9/11 discussion which may have led to the creation of the guidelines. I still think it is censorship. Many issues arouse passions and people often become insulting and abusive on WD these days. I still do not see why 9/11 as a subject should be excluded, or singled out. A medium like this will be prone to fiery disputes, that, after all, is the whole point of discussion. And given it is moderated it seems to me there is nothing which can't be edited at that point.

Evidence for the official version is out there .... evidence for the other side is out there. Those who feel they have not been told the complete truth are calling for independent investigations. If the official version is right then why oppose such calls? It does not make sense.

Yes, some surveillance images were released a couple of months ago.  That was reported in the press and I read it at the time. The pictures are so fuzzy they reveal nothing. There is no clear evidence for either side and I guess that says, either side could be right. It might have been an airliner or it might have been a missile.

But at the end of the day it is clear you have a completely closed mind on the matter. That is your choice. I remain interested in the fact that more and more Americans feel they have not been told the real truth about 9/11, whatever that may be, and that doubt is being expressed by politicians, intelligence experts, pilots, aviation engineers, structural engineers,  architects, demolition experts, firemen, policemen and many of those personally involved.

You may well be content with what you believe but clearly many Americans are not and many professionals with expertise in all of the areas involved are not. I will continue to keep an open mind on the subject until all of the unanswered questions are investigated and answered or until the doubt in the minds of Americans begins to decrease as opposed to its resolute increase.

Can we leave out the speculation

Roslyn Ross, the petition link is interesting. You dismiss my previous Wiki link as ‘the McDonalds of research’ yet are happy to provide a link where the vast majority of sources are either blogs or conspiracy websites. Bit of a double standard don’t you think, Roslyn? The site has made a number of ridiculous requests which doom any chance of it being taken seriously. For example “it has been reported that the FBI long ago found three of four black boxes from the two airplanes which hit the twin towers”, no it hasn’t. The petition links two sites, both blogs! Blogs! That’s not a source; the blogger could have just made it up. Where would an investigation into these flight recorders start and finish, Roslyn? Where would you look?

I don’t understand the importance of surveillance footage, Roslyn. What is to be gained from watching AA 77 crash into the Pentagon? What crucial questions will be answered by watching footage of the crash? What is the reasonable and credible (no more speculation please) public interest in this footage that overrides the interests of Pentagon security?

Regarding the status of the hijackers, if your best source is the unconfirmed BBC report from a week after the original event then you are in fact just speculating. You’re interested in the truth, Roslyn? Then how about we rely on credible and proven information, not unsubstantiated speculation reported 4 years ago without a peep since. Fair enough don’t you think?

Re “Scholars for 9/11 Truth is a good place to begin.” Maybe if you are happy to rely on unsubstantiated speculation. The site is a load of rubbish in my view.

Roslyn, exactly how could an inquiry into 9/11 be performed without involving Americans? Virtually all the information, data and evidence is held within America. This is a ridiculous requirement and an absurd interpretation of the notion of ‘independent’. Besides, there is no way 9/11 evidence is going to be released to some foreign body by the Americans. You (and your unnamed “American groups”) are going to have to rely on American reports and investigations I’m afraid.

On a side note, Roslyn, I understand and agree with WD’s position on 9/11 theories, but the application of the guidelines is bound to subjective and open to interpretation. Perhaps the WD editors could post further clarification?

Garry Hudson, as per my previous post, we’ll have to wait until next year for the complete analysis relating to 7 WTC.

Gareth: I am not

Gareth: I am not surprised you agree with WD's policy on 9/11 because it is substantially weighted in your favour.

I don't agree with Webdiary's policy on 9/11. I don't believe in censorship. I find it somewhat bizarre in fact that discussing theories about 9/11 should equate with Holocaust denial. Again, I believe everything should be discussed but I can see where Holocaust denial triggers a level of hysteria which is probably best avoided. I do not see how discussing 9/11 does.

And yes, I think that, having allowed a thread to be set up which discusses 9/11 in any way, WD should post clear guidelines. I for one would be fascinated to know how this 'censorship' arose in the first place. One suggestion was that it brings out the 'nutters' but, given that the site is moderated, I fail to see how this is an issue. Also, this thread seems to have managed to maintain a level of adult exchange.

And, given the level of playground name-calling and insults which goes on throughout threads it is difficult to see how much of a challenge any more 'nutter' involvement can be.

There are some very good and credible links if one wishes to explore the 9/11 theories more closely but I have found that my posts do not get through unless I am very general and keep to things which have already made it onto the thread.

Really, given the restrictions it is almost impossible to discuss the issue in any informed way.

And if you dismiss out of hand any site which has been set up to investigate 'conspiracy theories' as not being acceptable then you are not going to get very far. There is certainly a 'nutter' factor in some of the sites but there are also some solidly professional sites as well which discuss the issue in a rigorous way.

You said: I don’t understand the importance of surveillance footage, Roslyn.

One presumes because it may show exactly what did crash into the Pentagon. This seems to be the reason people are calling for it.

You said: What is to be gained from watching AA 77 crash into the Pentagon?

Because a variety of experts are of the view that it was not an airliner which crashed into the Pentagon. The cameras set up in the area would no doubt show quite clearly what it was. I gather these were security cameras on various businesses. These were not Pentagon security cameras by the way ...... but security cameras across the road which were removed by the FBI or CIA within hours of the crash.

You said: What crucial questions will be answered by watching footage of the crash?

Any investigation benefits from as much information as possible. I would have thought this was pretty crucial information.

You said: What is the reasonable and credible (no more speculation please) public interest in this footage that overrides the interests of Pentagon security?

From what I have read of those calling for this information they simply want to see what was on those pictures. It is hard to see how confirmation of an airliner crashing into the Pentagon should be against the interests of Pentagon security. Surely.

You said: Regarding the status of the hijackers, if your best source is the unconfirmed BBC report from a week after the original event then you are in fact just speculating.

It was one link which managed to get through. I figured that WD guidelines would allow BBC. Yes, I know it was 2001 but my ability to post information is limited as I said. There is a lot more information out there. I was trying to be judicious given guidelines and given my failure on previous posts when I did not think I was posting anything untoward. As I said, it is easy enough to access the information for yourself if you are interested.

You said: You’re interested in the truth, Roslyn?

Absolutely which is why I think everything should be discussed in a free and open manner. This is a bit of an unfair debate because your side of the argument can, it seems post whatever you like but the counter side of the argument, cannot.

You said: Re “Scholars for 9/11 Truth is a good place to begin.” Maybe if you are happy to rely on unsubstantiated speculation. The site is a load of rubbish in my view.

Well, so goes the shuddering thud of a closed mind. Scholars for 9/11 Truth is made up of respected academics. Which bit of it did you find a load of rubbish?

You said: Roslyn, exactly how could an inquiry into 9/11 be performed without involving Americans?

Hmmm, well, having answered along these lines before and having my post binned I have to think carefully about how I put this. Let's just say, the people calling for an independent enquiry want it done by people who have no connections with any vested American interests. Of course they would have to involve Americans, and it is hyperbole on your part to suggest anything else could have been meant, but the enquiry itself would be as objective as possible... it would be non-government for a start. To be honest, I haven't thought a great deal about this. The suggestion comes not from me but from various groups in the US who believe there is more they should know about 9/11. How they structure any enquiry is their business.

And yes, accessing information would be hard but not impossible. I doubt such an independent enquiry would be allowed but who knows if people continue to call for it and governments change.

More data please.

Roslyn & Gareth; I had a bo-peep at the WTC -7 stuff at wiki. If I were a structural engineer I suspect I would still have a lot of questions to ask. The stuff at wiki is not supported by anything technical (and examinable) that would help the independent observer to evaluate the veracity of the report. Otherwise, is leaves us intellectually vulnerable, as with most stuff, especially that which occurs outside of our senses.

Hand's up, who's read the 911 commission report?

Roslyn Ross, a few responses.

Re “Wikipedia is a poor link. The McDonalds of research. There are other links which are more substantive and which raise other issues.”

I’ve found Wiki is a reasonable starting point for most things, it usually directs you to the substantive sources. In this case the substantive sources include the 911 commission and NIST reports I linked before, have you tried those sources? If you have a problem with the sources I’ve provided, perhaps you could provide a reliable alternative Roslyn.

Re “There have been reports that some are still alive and were never in the US at the time.”

I think someone already mentioned the prevalence of Elvis sightings here. If one or more of the hijackers are still alive, where are they now? Do you have any credible evidence or sources that confirm that any one of the hijackers remains alive to this day? You sound like you’re speculating Roslyn.

Re “The black boxes have never been released.”

Yes they have, the results from the two Flight Data Recorder’s (black box) recovered from UAL 93 and AA 77 are public and referred to in the 911 commission report. Same goes for the Cockpit Voice Recorder from UAL 93. According to the 911 commission, the FDR’s and CVR’s from AA 11 and UAL 175 were never found and the CVR from AA 77 was burnt beyond recovery. Roslyn you can even view reports from the original flight recorders on the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) website. Try the link and read for yourself.

Re “One of the big questions is why Building Seven which was not hit by anything also collapsed neatly into its own footprint.” 

Fair enough, no final conclusive reason has been reported as yet, we’ll have to wait until next year. According to the NIST website the WTC 7 report will be released early in 2007 (see below). Will you accept the findings and conclusion of the NIST study Roslyn?

With the release and dissemination of the report on the WTC towers in October 2005, the investigation of the WTC 7 collapse resumed. Considerable progress has been made since that time, including the review of nearly 80 boxes of new documents related to WTC 7, the development of detailed technical approaches for modeling and analyzing various collapse hypotheses, and the selection of a contractor to assist NIST staff in carrying out the analyses. It is anticipated that a draft report will be released by early 2007.

The current NIST working collapse hypothesis for WTC 7 is described in the June 2004 Progress Report on the Federal Building and Fire Safety Investigation of the World Trade Center Disaster (Volume 1, page 17, as well as Appendix L), as follows:

  • An initial local failure occurred at the lower floors (below floor 13) of the building due to fire and/or debris-induced structural damage of a critical column (the initiating event) which supported a large-span floor bay with an area of about 2,000 square feet;
  • Vertical progression of the initial local failure occurred up to the east penthouse, and as the large floor bays became unable to redistribute the loads, it brought down the interior structure below the east penthouse; and
  • Triggered by damage due to the vertical failure, horizontal progression of the failure across the lower floors (in the region of floors 5 and 7 that were much thicker and more heavily reinforced than the rest of the floors) resulted in a disproportionate collapse of the entire structure.

This hypothesis may be supported or modified, or new hypotheses may be developed, through the course of the continuing investigation. NIST also is considering whether hypothetical blast events could have played a role in initiating the collapse. While NIST has found no evidence of a blast or controlled demolition event, NIST would like to determine the magnitude of hypothetical blast scenarios that could have led to the structural failure of one or more critical elements.

I do not share your concerns about the independence of the reports I have linked Roslyn. I don’t understand your concept of an ‘independent inquiry’. Exactly who or what does this inquiry need to be independent from?

Independent means just that

Gareth, in previous posts which did not make it past the moderator I provided links. I can only assume those links were an issue.

However, this link will answer some of your questions. It details the information which a group called Scholars for 9/11 Truth, which has been mentioned on the thread before and is therefore acceptable, would like to be made available. They ask for things like the full Pentagon surveillance tapes and the black box recorders from the Twin Towers site which were said to have been found and then denied to have been found by the FBI. I was referring to these black boxes.

I agree that Wikipedia is a good starting point. But only a starting point. 

You said: "I think someone already mentioned the prevalence of Elvis sightings here. If one or more of the hijackers are still alive, where are they now?"

The BBC first ran a report in 2001 showing that one of the hijackers was alive and well. You can do a search on the subject and will find quite a few links. I posted links before but they did not get through so it is easier for you to do it yourself. It is not speculation.

You said: "According to the NIST website the WTC 7 report will be released early in 2007 (see below). Will you accept the findings and conclusion of the NIST study Roslyn?"

I will have a look to see who has done the report and do some research as to how independent it was and make up my mind. As I said before, this is not so much an issue for me but an issue for Americans who call for a truly independent enquiry. I have no fixed view on the issue. I merely feel that there are still things which do not 'fit' or make 'sense' so I have not formed an absolute opinion one way or the other.

You have posted detailed information for the 'official' explanation but I doubt, given past experience, I could post detailed information for opposing views. But you can find it for yourself easily enough. Scholars for 9/11 Truth is a good place to begin.

You said: "I do not share your concerns about the independence of the reports I have linked Roslyn. I don’t understand your concept of an ‘independent inquiry’. Exactly who or what does this inquiry need to be independent from?"

It's not my concern per se. It is the concern expressed by American groups who would like to see an enquiry which has no links to any vested group or groups in the US. I think some have called for an independent international enquiry so one not done by Americans. What they mean by independent is exactly that..... an investigation which is purely objective, with no influence from any other source which might skew results.

I doubt that I can answer your question in any more detail given Webdiary guidelines. Well, I could, but I doubt this post would get through.

9/11 has already been investigated

Roslyn Ross, I’m sure most people are with you regarding “Surely what we should all support is thorough investigation of all theories” but there are limits on this in practice, simply because of time and resource constraints. It would be great if all questions and unknowns could be answered beyond any doubt, but do you actually think this is realistic Roslyn?

Re, “The questions which have arisen and which continue to arise in regard to 9/11 demand to be asked and to be answered no matter how 'foolish' they may appear to be at the time.” I agree there are many remaining unknowns relating to the events before, during and after Sep 11 01 (9/11). In my view the most critical is the location of Osama Bin Laden. This is where I think the most 9/11 related investigation resources should be directed.

We already know more about the events surrounding 9/11 than just about any other event in human history. It is certainly the most investigated event in the new century. I’m not convinced that there is anything to be gained from re-investigating and raking over the same events over and over and over again. There is an enormous amount of detail that has already been confirmed regarding 9/11. We already know the following:

- Organised and funded by al-Qaeda: confirmed by the FBI, agreed by the governments of the US and UK (Wiki link).

- All 19 hijackers have been identified and their activities and actions leading up to 9/11 have been confirmed: by the US Dept of Justice and the FBI.

- Which flights were hijacked, how and where they ended up: numerous sources established this, including recovered flight recorders and physical evidence recovered at the NY, Pentagon and Pennsylvania sites.

- All bar 24 people remain unaccounted for (i.e. missing) from that day.

- The building collapses were caused by a combination of factors including the aircraft impact, burning avgas and some minor structural flaws: confirmed by FEMA and NIST (Wiki link)

Numerous massive investigations have already been performed Roslyn, they include:

- 9/11 commission: independent bipartisan investigation created by the US senate. It’s enormous, try the executive summary for starters.

- PENTTBOM: FBI investigation into 9/11, the largest criminal investigation in US history, involving 7,000 federal agents.

- NIST study: The US Commerce dept’s National Institute of Standards and Technology issued findings on the towers collapse.

Roslyn, what questions remain that are so critical, they require yet another massive investigation in addition to those already performed? Who should perform such an investigation? How many more investigations would satisfy your doubts, Roslyn?

Through the minefield

Gareth,  I did reply to you  previously, but have not been able to make my way through the minefield which is Webdiary policy in regard to this topic. I shall try again to answer you without actually saying anything much at all.

You said:  "I’m sure most people are with you regarding, 'Surely what we should all support is thorough investigation of all theories', but there are limits on this in practice, simply because of time and resource constraints. It would be great if all questions and unknowns could be answered beyond any doubt, but do you actually think this is realistic Roslyn?"

I never said all questions and unknowns could be answered beyond any doubt I merely support the right of people to ask the questions until they are happy with the answers.

You said:  “The questions which have arisen and which continue to arise in regard to 9/11 demand to be asked and to be answered no matter how 'foolish' they may appear to be at the time.”

I agree there are many remaining unknowns relating to the events before, during and after Sept 11 2001 (9/11). In my view the most critical is the location of Osama Bin Laden. This is where I think the most 9/11 related investigation resources should be directed.

I agree with you to some extent. Interestingly, the CIA closed down its bureau specifically investigating this some months ago.

You said: "We already know more about the events surrounding 9/11 than just about any other event in human history. It is certainly the most investigated event in the new century. I’m not convinced that there is anything to be gained from re-investigating and raking over the same events over and over and over again."

Yes and no. We know a lot but people clearly feel, in America anyway, that they do not know enough or that some of what they know is incorrect.

You said: "There is an enormous amount of detail that has already been confirmed regarding 9/11. We already know the following:"

We know the following if you are prepared to believe it. Many are not.

You said: - "Organised and funded by al-Qaeda: confirmed by the FBI, agreed by the governments of the US and UK (Wiki link)."

Wikipedia is a poor link. The McDonalds of research. There are other links which are more substantive and which raise other issues.

You said: - "All 19 hijackers have been identified and their activities and actions leading up to 9/11 have been confirmed: by the US Dept of Justice and the FBI."

There have been reports that some are still alive and were never in the US at the time.

You said: - "Which flights were hijacked, how and where they ended up: numerous sources established this, including recovered flight recorders and physical evidence recovered at the NY, Pentagon and Pennsylvania sites."

The black boxes have never been released. If the evidence is there it should be shown.

You said: - "The building collapses were caused by a combination of factors including the aircraft impact, burning avgas and some minor structural flaws: confirmed by FEMA and NIST (Wiki link)"

One of the big questions is why Building Seven which was not hit by anything also collapsed neatly into its own footprint.

And yes, numerous massive investigations have been performed, but none of them were completely independent. That is what many Americans want. If the evidence is there then why not?

You said: "Roslyn, what questions remain that are so critical, they require yet another massive investigation in addition to those already performed? Who should perform such an investigation? How many more investigations would satisfy your doubts, Roslyn?"

The investigations are not to satisfy my doubts, but to satisfy doubts of many Americans. Recent polls in the US say those doubts are increasing. I am sure the Americans could set up an independent enquiry without much trouble if they were allowed to do so.

Is is all apples and apples really

That there are conspiracy theories and their many proponents is really quiet logical when one looks deep into it.

I would suggest that all conspiracy theorists on this thread are non-religious. The need to have something to hold onto that is outside one's control is a typical human need.  In fact, very normal and for many a belief in God etc..... fills that void.

Blame shifting is also a very human need. It is always easier to place the blame on others. Hence, a person cannot get a good job so John Howard is to blame etc etc etc.....

For non-religious people it is hard to find the reasoning for things outside of their control and explainations. Hence the need for the conspiracy theories and the need to believe that deep down somebody always controls everything. Hence a hurricane hitting is not an act of nature, but blamed on greenhouse effect (human influence that can be controlled).

Deep down for these people, understanding that many things in this world are random and just happen outside of a controlling influence is the scariest thought of all. Humans by their very nature are control freaks and wish to be kings of their domain.

I would also think conspiracy theorists would be more prone to fall under cult influence and other unscrupulous practices. The need to "believe" is very strong indeed!

The religious don't believe in random

Jay White,  you have drawn a very long bow there seeking to dismiss anyone who might be interested in conspiracy theories as non-religious (surely a plus) and possibly under the influence of cults  or other unscrupulous practises.

Surely what we should all support is thorough investigation of all theories.... whether they be dubbed conspiracy or not. Surely independent, expert investigation of all possibilities is what would put paid to theories which do not have substance.

That is all that many of the 'conspiracy theorists' who call themselves 'defenders of truth'  demand. Hardly unreasonable in the circumstances. 

Your theory is probably a tad weaker too because the US is the most religious of all Western nations and the conspiracy theories have taken hold and continue to grow in that nation more than any other. Not surprising of course.

And surely most people who are 'religious' do not believe in random events because they believe there is a God controlling everything and everyone?

The questions which have arisen and which continue to arise in regard to 9/11 demand to be asked and to be answered no matter how 'foolish' they may appear to be at the time.

Let's not forget that the world at large chose 'not to believe' the horrendous stories coming out about Nazi atrocities in the concentration camps ..... stories that seemed too incredible to be true ..... until those stories were investigated and substantiated.

Given the impact that 9/11 has had on all of our lives, particularly in terms of the betrayal of the principles of justice, law and democracy and the dangerous erosion of civil liberties, it behoves every thinking adult to ensure that what we have been told and are being told is substantiated. The truth is not eroded by close investigation; only lies wither under the glare of critical questioning and expert study.

If some or most or even all the so-called 'conspiracy theories' are untrue then surely no-one can object to having them rigorously investigated?

Well written Roslyn.

You are obviously a reasoning person and your argument is indisputable.

Labor's Kevin Rudd has just commented on the genuine commonsense of the Australian people - let's hope they realise how insecure and fearful our Nation has become under the Howard Liberals.

Terrorism is as old as time itself - as is corruption - dishonest politics and in particular, conspiracies.  The latter is a fact, NOT a theory.

You have observed viz: "If some or most or even all the so-called 'conspiracy theories' are untrue then surely no-one can object to having them rigorously investigated?" Any "inquiry" that the Howard Liberals conduct will be so narrow and restricted, no findings can touch his incompetent and corrupt Ministers.  Ask the media.

Do we dare hope that more of our citizens will realise the stupidity of the U.S. catch-cry "They hate us for our values".  Without being a rocket scientist, WHAT VALUES?  And, "They will NOT win in changing our way of life"!  Now that statement is the surely the loudest wake up call of all time!

Roslyn, the facts are that, THEY HATE OUR VALUES - the insurgents have formed together to prevent the U.S. (and client states) from taking over THEIR customs and values.

Whatever happened to the wisdom of "the Government of a people is what they deserve".  Some Australians have certainly allowed the worst government in our history to denegrate our Society.

The Howard Liberals have changed our democracy by trashing the freedoms we have enjoyed since 19001.  All in the name of "protecting" us from "terrorism" - by terrorising us themselves.

Yes, Roslyn, "they" have already won because the people who want to trash our way of life are really those in the Republican Government of the U.S. and the "New Order" Liberals in Australia. 

Probably the "take-away" drugs in Afghanistan and the U.S. stockpiling of Iraqi Oil explains why the Bush Administration and their servile Liberal government of Australia are destroying the world's once grand perception of both our Nations.

And as far as Howard is concerned - "Patriotism is the last resort of a scoundrel".

Cheers Roslyn.

Common sense is core

Ernest William,  I think common sense is the most valuable attribute which human beings possess. I think it is common sense which enables us to assess if and when we are being told the truth. Sometimes we know we are not but for reasons which suit us, we ignore the fact, but generally, common sense means that when the time is right we will demand the truth.

I think a lot of people, sensible people, realise that 'they hate us for our values' is propaganda. Then again, if you have a look at the sort of values we display by our actions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine and elsewhere it is hardly surprising that they hate us.

I think one of the sad things, and the most dangerous, is the way that people have gone along with things in order, I suspect, to 'not rock the economic boat.'

The Howard Government is the most immoral in Australia's history. They have set new highs, or is that lows, for dishonesty and baseness and have clearly demonstrated that ingegrity is a dirty word when it comes to politics. Without being naieve, one must admit that politics has always had a somewhat tainted reputation, but under Howard, it has descended to depths which can only dismay anyone of conscience and integrity.

We have sold our soul. We have betrayed the principles upon which our democracy is founded. We have squandered any moral ground on which we may have stood and we have sabotaged our children's future. Principles of justice, law, decency, human rights and democractic freedom has been cast aside with little thought for the many s who fought, died, wept, grieved and battled to make the world a better place ..... to give us the best of words .... a world which we have not valued and which we have now jeopardised.

But, to return to common sense, I do believe that beyond the bleakness of the moment there are better times when people will remember that it is to be human, what it is to be just, what it is to be kind, what it is to be moral and what it is to be sensible.

blah, blah, blah

Roslyn you say "They hate us for our values" is propaganda but your latest post is nothing but bland assertions unsupported by any facts whatsoever. That is what I call propaganda.

Common sense

Roslyn,  the most immoral government in Australia's history was the Whitlam crowd, if we had not voted them out goodness knows where we would have been with the "Loans Affair". Whitlam is still advising the Labor Party and that is one of the main reasons they keep losing, who will ever forget him hugging Latham and giving him the kiss of death. Mind you, for dishonesty and incompetance the NSW Labor mob run in a close second. Just look what they have done with the "TAFE Visas". I'll bet that gave Combet a nice warm fuzzy feeling.

Menzies would turn in his grave

Alan,  if you are using the brief tenure of Whitlam as a yardstick then the Howard Government would have been thrown out of office time and time again. Then again, no more 'tame' and unprofessional GG's. Both sides make sure of that.

Beyond the lie after lie after lie of the Howard Government we have the fact that this Government has betrayed and subverted parliamentary principle in a way that no other Government has done before. It is ironic that Howard seems himself as Menzies' successor when Menzies, a strict parliamentarian and a real statesman, would be turning in his grave.

Not only has John Howard presided over a Government which actively lies to the Australian people, he has presided over a minstry which is encouraged to be dishonest, disingenuous, and venal. Not to mention immoral. We have Phillip Ruddock supporting torture! Now that's a first. Amanda Vanstone presiding over human rights abuses with asylum seekers. That's a first. The list is long. No-one ever gets sacked no matter how dishonest or unprincipled they are. That's a first.

The only consolation is that Howard will get his just desserts in the history books and will go down in those books as the most dishonourable Prime Minister we have ever had. I suspect, after he goes, a lot more Australians will be prepared to admit how they detest his policies and are ashamed of his behaviour.

To Roslyn Ross.

Well written Roslyn.  It is comforting for me to know that Webdiary has some people who can step back and take an objective view of what is really happening.

Your are so right about the "benevolent dictator" - he would indeed "turn over in his grave". Whatever else he was, he was a true Liberal.

This current Federal "Liberal" Government is led by a person who is not fit to kiss the boots of R.G. Menzies - and I lived through Menzies'  entire tenures of office.

He was conservative in his views but, he had enough respect for democracy, to call a referendum on the oppressive "Onus of Proof" legislation to defeat the so-called "Anti-Communist" threat.  It was defeated dramatically.

Conversely, Howard introduced the same oppressive legislation, calling it the "Anti-terrorist threat" - and with the power of the Corporations, he has achieved his objective of trashing the real meaning of democracy, without in any way, considering the opinions of the Australian people.

That is his method and, by association, that of every member of the Federal Liberal Party.

The wealthy people of Bennelong will not consider changing their "boy" no matter what happens - so, it is up to the Australians who should NOT vote for any Liberal or National Party candidate.

Really, Howard is just a nasty, mean little schoolboy who was in the  Liberal multi-changing leadership, when the U.S. and their media, crucified the Keating Labor government.

Being objective - Labor stands for the entire people of our Nation and their rights to a "fair go".

Howard's "New Order" Liberals do not have any idea about governing - only obeying the directions and "assistance" of the U.S.

Voting Liberal in both State and Federal elections, is a vote for a continuation of servitude to the most dangerous government the world has ever known.

The American people elect the government which controls Howard's Australia - and we do not have any vote at all.

I firmly believe that Howard's statement that "any job is better than none at all" is so un-informed that he would be much closer to the truth by a statement that "any government is better than the U.S. Liberals".

Do we understand Globilisation? Do we understand what the World Trade Centre is all about?  Do we condone our employment going overseas? Do we understand why the Howard Liberal government un-funded apprenticeships - and then cried "we need foreign employees"?

Do we love our country and, can we pull it back from the precipice of just another State of the U.S.?  It seems informative that the only Nation in the World whose citizens want Globilisation - is the U.S.

I apologise for my grammar Roslyn, but not for my passion. I like to believe that I am not only logical but, I care for every single Australian citizen, poor or rich, and any faults they may have from, "bludgers" on the system to rampant corruption among the wealthy.

Surely we should look inwardly without the threats of a foreign Nation?

Cheers Ern G.

People of passion and principle

Ernest William,  yes, Menzies was a true Liberal and while he was far from perfect he was a politician one could respect.

Howard is not a Liberal, he is a conservative and he has made his party in that image.

Howard is an opportunistic politician, a manipulator rather than a man of true principle. His only goal is power and while he clearly has fixed views on some issues the real point of all that he does is to remain in power. He is cunning rather than clever and his ability to change, chameleon-like, to suit the 'flavour' of the moment has worked in his favour in this day and age. Well, it has worked to keep him in power although I do believe he will be judged harshly by history and once he is out of power the true depth of his dishonesty will become known.

I think that will be hard for Howard because I suspect he really does believe his own bulls...t. I am sure he really does believe he is acting in the interests of the nation, that he is working to the good of all and that he is the leader Australia needs. But then he has an ego which makes Paul Keating's look small and that is always effective in terms of hiding the truth of who and what we are, from ourselves.

Perhaps I am being too generous. Perhaps he knows exactly what he is doing and is so ruthless and amoral, if not immoral, that he does anything necessary to retain power.But I will give him the benefit of the doubt.

You said: "Being objective - Labor stands for the entire people of our Nation and their rights to a 'fair go'."

Well, I think we have to recognise that both sides of the political spectrum have their faults and flaws. I think at this point in time Labor does still hold to the principles of a 'fair go' in a way that the Coalition does not but I think it is important to recognise that the Liberal/National Party, has at times, also acted in the best interests of the Australian people. At least in the past.

And we should not forget people like Petro Georgiou who give us all hope. If only a Petro could be Prime Minister. Not likely because he has too much intelligence and common sense, but maybe President.

Australia desperately needs both sides of its two party system to be as functional as possible. When one side becomes debased, as the Liberals are at this point, then it does not bode well for our future.

Labor needs to do a lot of work on itself and particularly in terms of how it is structured and its relationship with the Unions, but the Liberal/National parties also have to do a lot of work if they are to be of any use to us in the future.

That work will of course not be done until the Coalition is out of office. And then maybe not. They certainly did not do enough work last time they were in Opposition but then Labor has also fallen short in that regard.

Where we are fortunate in Australia is that to date .... although the dishonesty and inhumanity of the Howard Government has debased our society significantly I feel .... we have been pretty well served by both sides of the political spectrum.

Studies show that both Labor and Coalition are equal in terms of economic management although that is a fact denied, ignored or simply not known by many. The Howard Government has had an easier  economic ride because of the courageous changes made by the Hawke/Keating governments.

You said: "Howard's 'New Order' Liberals do not have any idea about governing - only obeying the directions and "assistance" of the U.S."

Well, this Government is more in thrall to the Americans than most others but Australia has always taken something of a lapdog approach to the US. To be honest, if Beazley had been PM I suspect we would have ended up in Iraq as well.

But Labor has always been a bit more feisty and independent with our American friends and that has stood us in good stead.

You said: "Voting Liberal in both State and Federal elections, is a vote for a continuation of servitude to the most dangerous government the world has ever known."

I think this is an over-statement. Maybe you meant the most dangerous government Australia has ever known and I would agree with you. But not the world's most dangerous. We are yet amateurs although studying hard.

You said: "The American people elect the government which controls Howard's Australia - and we do not have any vote at all."

Quite a few Americans do wonder if they elect their government at all given the accusations of vote rigging and electoral fraud. But I honestly don't think we are that much in thrall to the Americans. Howard took us into Iraq because he wanted to play buddy to Bush but he was cunning enough to make sure our troops were playing a Clayton's game.... the kind of soldiering where you stay safe.

If a number of Australian soldiers were killed Howard would be in a very different place indeed. But he is cunning enough to know that. So far he has been lucky.

And no, we do not understand Globalisation or the impact it will have on us. I don't think we truly understand 9/11 either. I think outsourcing jobs to India is more about greed than productivity and while one must be pleased for the Indians, who are certainly in need of jobs, it really serves to lower wages and standards overall.

And yes, the Howard Government has been a complete failure in the area of training and apprenticeships but Howard was clearly obsessed with such a venal hatred of the unions he pushed through his IR legislation with little thought about anything else. It will, I believe, be his undoing because it is so ill thought out and ultimately so unjust .... in Howard's world the employers have all the power and the employees have little or none. They have some power when we have boom times but beyond the boom times the employees are mincemeat in the hands of business.

I for one think it is a betrayal of principles of law and justice to enact legislation which relies upon the 'goodwill' of human beings as Howard's IR legislation does. Human beings are selfserving and as others have said, even those with integrity, when they see their business heading for the rocks because those without integrity have taken a 'meaner' course, will have no option but to follow.

You said: "Do we love our country and, can we pull it back from the precipice of just another State of the U.S.?  It seems informative that the only Nation in the World whose citizens want Globilisation - is the U.S."

To be honest I don't think we are as much the 51st state as people think. I have spent long periods in the US and Australia, like many other developed nations, while taking on some attributes of American culture, remains, radically different.

At this point in time we have diminished our reputation in the world because we have taken part in an immoral, illegal and unnecessary war against the Iraqis and we will have ground to make up. But it can be made up. Once this Government is gone we have to ensure that nothing as dishonest and amoral, if not immoral, ever sits in Parliament again. And that goes for all sides of the political spectrum.

Let's not kid ourselves that self-serving venality is confined to one side of the political spectrum. We get the governments that we deserve because we allow them to continue. Australians have chosen not to punish the Howard Government for its dishonesty and human rights abuses and that has been self-serving on our part.

Then again, the country has always been pretty well split 50-50 in elections so half of all Australians have always been prepared to take a stand for principles of justice, law and democracy.

Keep your passion and use it well. Australia needs people of passion and principle.

To Roslyn Ross.

Your article is another to your credit as a fair and compassionate Australian.

The policy of defence is to meet or exceed the attacks by your opposition - otherwise, you are indeed lost.

The policies of the US puppets ("New Order" Liberals) is to deny the exposure of dissent to ANY person, organisation, religion or political party, who would contradict the lies and untruths which the corporations spin in favour of their corporations’ government.

It is unfortunate that the Howard Liberals have been able to stack the High Court; the entire Public Service; the Royal Commissions; the Senate Committees; the so-called expert Committees to advise the Liberals that what they want is right and to even "pay for favourable comment" by the venal media et al.

Roslyn, it goes on and on. There is definitely no truth - only the powers that be.

It concerns me that, while these tactics gut the intestines of true democracy, we have been blind-sided by the "freedom of the press".

I would love to agree with your summary, but my experience tells me that the behaviour of the "New Order" Liberals is no different than that of the Nazis of the 1930's. Even now to the banning of books which the powers that be do not want you to read is a part of the burning of the books in those years of unheeded warnings. That was called the German "New Order" by the Nazi party.

I lived through that period and I know how we believed Churchill and Roosevelt. Because it DID appear that the entire world was in danger.

Now, I note an entire 180 degree turn by the good guys (the US, the UK and the "New Order" Liberals of Australia), and the Muslims being the Jews of that period of massive destruction.

Roslyn, I like your style and I appreciate your attempts to be fair with these un-Australian policies which cannot even accept constructive criticism. They make that a 7 year secret prison sentence.

So, I believe that the people of Australia, including the true Liberals, have to realise that the Liberals will continue their destruction of our once egalitarian society - as R.G. Menzies would say - "as long as the market will bear". Meaning of course, until we stop them. While we still can.

Roslyn, I truly believe that the "fair go" attitude of decent Australians like yourself will never stop this disease unless we treat them with the same contempt as they treat us.

Wouldn't you truly like Kim Beasley and his shadow ministers, to show more robust outrage at the corruption so prevalent in the Howard government?

But - there is no truth -.....?

Cheers, Roslyn.

Australians will turn on Howard

Ernest: Believe me I do share your concerns and I do agree with what you say. I suppose I make a choice to err on the side of optimism but that does not prevent me seeing what you see.

I did not live through the period of the Nazis but I have read enough to see how much that is happening today mirrors that time. The same sort of ignorance and denial and demonising of others. The only thing I would say is that there is a greater capacity for people to access information these days. I do think it is harder to lie to the population, or to lie as effectively as they could then.

And yes, I also feel the same about Beazley and his shadow ministers. They are playing the game Howard's way in the same way that Howard's ministers are because they think it means success. In reality, they are betraying their principles and the Australian people.

Whatever his flaws, and clearly he had psychological problems, one of the things I liked about Mark Latham was his straight talking. Oh for a politician to call it as it is. There are some: Bob Brown speaks out and the likes of Petro Giorgio should not be forgotten.

I once believe Beazley had the capacity to be a statesman, in a way Howard never could. Maybe he still could but I am not so sure he has not become debased on this path of safely, safely catchee monkey.

Then again, Beazley is a conservative Laborite. Nothing wrong with that, of course, and perhaps the party believes that he has a chance of winning because of this. I think Beazley has a very good mind..... something which Labor tends to attract more than the Liberals/Nationals, and perhaps that intelligence will come to the fore if and when he is elected. One can only hope.

To be honest, I think most Australians, even the ones who support him, don't really like Howard and may well despise him. He makes people cringe because he is so dishonest, so divisive and so manipulative, but the hip-pocket vote has kept him there and the fact that people are up to their eyeballs in debt has meant they have been afraid to rock the boat.

We shall see with the next election. Australians have a habit of turfing out any government after a goodly run and the IR legislation is going to make a lot of people very angry. Then again, Australians have also had a tendency to be influenced by what is happening in the States...... I think there is a wariness about giving it all to one side or the other, both State and Federal, and that may have an impact.

But yes, Howard and his lot are dangerous because they appear so ordinary. And of course, those who vote for them have an immediate knee-jerk reaction to any criticism because they know, any of them with any intelligence, that in voting for Howard they are voting for dishonesty and dishonour. The people are not stupid. Even within that pragmatism they feel uncomfortable voting for someone who is guilty of outright lies, human rights abuses, taking us into illegal and immoral wars and so guilty of war crimes, and who is happy to divide the community if it suits his ends. Howard is a nasty piece of work masquerading as Mr Ordinary but I don't actually think people are fooled by that. They just feel guilty keeping him in because they know him for what he is and they know they are only voting for him because of their own fears and needs. It has ever been thus.

But Howard will go, one way or the other, and then the real truth will emerge. When Australians no longer 'need' him I think they will turn on him with a vengeance because he has had in essence made them feel so bad about themselves. The ones with conscience anyway. Every bit of dirt which has ever existed will be out there and Peter Costello, who must know a heap of it, will be out at the front. Costello will never be PM and will have no career after the Liberals are turfed out and I suspect he will want to wreak as much vengeance on Howard as possible.

The trouble with dictators, and in political terms Howard is a dictator, is that just as with countries, rule by force and tyranny means people do not mature, do not grow up ..... citizens or politicians..... all the same. So, when the dictator is removed, off comes the lid and you have a bunch of emotionally immature and functionally dwarfed people who create havoc. All hell breaks loose as they say.

Perhaps Howard's greatest betrayal of the Australian people is his potential 'destruction' of the Liberal/National Party ..... we need two viable parties in a two party system .... and when Howard goes and the Liberals are out the whole thing will fall apart. No doubt they will rebuild but that will take time. Howard's ego means that everything he does he does for himself. If he cared about the Party he would step aside and allow a graceful transition. If he cared about the Australian people he would step aside and give the Liberals time to get their house in order before an election. But he cares about no-one but himself.

The best Government comes from a functional Government and a functional Opposition. John Howard is working very hard to ensure that we do not have that when Labor returns to power.

Rudd's rubbish

Ernest William: "Labor's Kevin Rudd has just commented on the genuine commonsense of the Australian people." He is going to find out for sure at the next election when they reject his stupid ideas. He wants to pull our troops out of Iraq and station them around the Iraqi borders, to stop infiltration from Syria and Iran. Has this idiot any idea how many troops will be needed for this? Beazley wants to bring our troops home (Latham policy which was rejected at the last election) but leave enought there to protect any Australians working there, perhaps you could ask him to tell us how many he is going to keep there. More Labor policy on the run.

"The Howard Liberals have changed our democracy by trashing the freedoms we have enjoyed since 19001". I assume by this that you mean he has curbed the power of the Unions, most people would consider this a good thing for democracy. Apart from yourself, not too many people want to go back to 2001.

What values??

Go to here for a recent example of the difference in values between "us" and "them." Terrorist leader Abu Bakar Bashir claims that seeing scantily clad women is more harmful than being blown up by terrorists!

For other examples of differences in values between "us" and "them," consider that while gay marriage is not yet legal in Australia, gays are hanged from cranes in Iran, as are young female rape victims who dare to report the rape to police (there was a doco on SBS a few weeks ago about this - shocking stuff).

More examples: in the West, there is religious freedom and thus no penalty for blasphemy or apostasy (changing one's religion), but in theocratic Muslim countries the penalty for either is death. Recently in Canada the Canadian Muslim Association has argued for the imposition of the death penalty for blasphemy against Islam, and for conversion from Islam to another religion, in Canada, a nation that abolished the death penalty for murder years ago.

So yes, the West does have values that Islamic radicals hate, such as: women's rights, gay rights, religious freedom, freedom of speech, and so on.

Follow The Money III

The main reason the CIA deals drugs:

1. Is not just to barter for weapons.

2. Is not just to weed out the gene pool (Afro Americans particularly).

3. It IS to support the US economy.

.... and no understanding of 9-11 is possible unless it is seen through the economy of drugs and oil.

In particular, the monetary economy is just an idea. It is a way of organising the world. It is enabled by an abundant free energy supply - compact, irreplaceable fossil sunshine.

Money creates dreams that only oil energy can fulfil. To share in the American Dream, you must stay asleep. If the sleeper wakes, the dream will vanish.

Even the contemplation of such ideas requires that the seeker after truth leaves his / her comfort zone. It is not necessary to pursue esoteric byways, although these sometimes have their uses. It requires above all, that the seeker is prepared to un-learn the things that we take for granted - because so many of those things are not as they seem.

"How dare you try to argue something I have known all my life", is a well worn phrase.

Over on the other thread, Bob Wall is doing a sterling job linking Webdiary to the outside world. With your permission, I will offer some landmark links that have influenced me over the past couple of years. They are not necessarily in chronological order, because clues just don't happen that way. One sometimes has to revisit history with a fresh eye.

1. The corporate and economic reasons for war, brilliantly explained by Robert Newman in London earlier this year. (narrowband Realplayer

 2. Mike Ruppert's lecture on the interplay of oil and drugs, given one month after 9-11.  (Google video)

3. John O'Neill was a top FBI terrorism specialist, whose research was thwarted by his superiors. He died in the collapse of the twin towers. This is the story of the threads that converged on that day - all are verifiably true. A superhuman one man show. I'm giving it four and a half stars Margaret.  (Google video)  This video above all, shows the personal clutter that researchers must dispense with.  Not for the faint hearted.

 More.... much more, if you like....


Keep up the good work Chris.

To Chris Shaw.  I always savour the expose` of the filthy politics of Conservatives because the media IS conservative and truth is at a premium. Your articles are excellent in my view and I look forward to more of them.

The most dangerous Nation on Earth is changing the natural decency of the human race - and all for money. Like their history of provoking war - 911 was no different.

I see the enormous difference between the Democrats and the Republicans as a simile for the "Old" Liberal Party and Howard's "New Order" Liberals. There are so many examples.

Loyalty is becoming another euphemism for slavery - just as Democracy is for the U.S. Military/Corporate' pre-emptive invasions.

Can you imagine Chris, what sort of a society we would have if Howard's Liberals were able to control the thoughts, minds and opinions of all Australians - like those we express on Webdiary?

They are already close and a significant slice of our misinformed community are being told that "poor" is necessary for the "greater good".  Sacrifice for the benefit of the Corporations.  Prosperity is for the "chosen".

Sad, isn't it?

Reality check

Ernest William: "I always savour the expose of the filthy politics of Conservatives."

How about the filthy politics of the Unions which will be shown on 4 Corners this week?

What a fine bunch of public minded people this group are. Is this what you really want for Australia? Because this sort of thing will become the norm if Labor is elected Federally.

Would you really like the wharves to go back to the old days where the Maritime Union run things, and containers piled up because the poor dears said they could only move 14 per hour?

 Still I suppose with all those containers lying idle it was easier to do a little pilfering, which was the norm in the "good old days".

Commitment to long war reaffirmed

The Australian Government has today reaffirmed its absolute commitment to the ‘war on amphetamines’.

Fear is the drug

Chris, if you are indeed on to something with your claims about the CIA and the drug trade it points to this paradox in the 'war on drugs'. Under the zero tolerance policy of most US states, there are more inmates in US prisons for drug offences than the total prison population of all of Europe.

You suggest the war on drugs and war on terror are part of the one operation. However your claims about Gitmo as a node on the drug highway need hard evidence.

By analogy we can also describe the culture of fear as a 'narcotic'. Fear is a drug peddled to strung out public opinion.

If so, part of the crime is the injection of funds to the national security industry since 9/11. Ramping up the war on terror is good for business. As The Guardian reports:

"Five years after the World Trade Centre fell, a highly lucrative industry has been born in America - homeland security. There has been a goldrush as companies scoop up government contracts and peddle products that they say are designed to make America safe."

"The figures are stunning. Seven years ago there were nine companies with federal security contracts. By 2003 it was 3,512. Now there are 33,890. The money is huge. Since 2000, $130bn of contracts have been dished out. By 2015 annual federal spending on the industry could be $170bn."

Now we can bring it all back full circle to my original posting. Hollywood is also part of this narcotic of fear. In this respect we must look past the 'military industrial complex'. Look instead to the 'military entertainment complex'. Many of the big names who produce movie and entertainment content and its hardware are also players in military R&D.

Simply put, the computer geek in some games workshop in Texas would be just as comfortable swapping joysticks. Before you can say "Xbox" he is flying a remote drone over the Afghan frontier to vaporise a sus looking robed and bearded villager.

Remember the old Brian Ferry tune? Substitute one word and you have 'George Bush and the Destroyers' rockin' to his anthem. "Fear is the drug for me", he croons, with that mad look in his reptilian eye.

Finally - Chris and Richard - the 9/11 twin towers flash game and that card game are awesome. Truly digital artifacts. Just goes to show that in the digital world nothing ever really exists but at the same time can never be completely erased.


We are all Americans..

Another effect of media-brainwashing: We all describe the date as the Americanised "9-11" instead of the Australian "11-9".

S11, Solomon,

...is the expression I've seen used from the UK, and much prefer.  I'd only use 911 if I was in the US and wanted to report an emergency.

Where's Ossy?

Chris Shaw, re “We can all agree that whoever "did" 9-11 is still running around free.” Sure, but I wouldn’t really call it “running around free”. Most reports suggest he’s hiding someone in the mountains of southern Afghanistan and northern Pakistan.

Creepy Card Game

And this card game Tonkers - said to have been made in 1995.

Google 9-11 card game.

Care to play a video game?

I noticed the story of this game's voluntary disappearance from the net when it was broadcast in September 2001, and just had a flick around to see if it was back.  You're defending the towers from attack from crashing aircraft.

As you enjoy it, remember that it was online until the tragedy. 

This, as far as cultural erasure goes is an interesting case.

Follow The Money II

Cheers Roslyn, no-one was more surprised than I.

We can all agree that whoever "did" 9-11 is still running around free.

They will not be defeated until we strangle their money supply.

Afghan Heroin: The ability to look at something, yet not SEE it.

1. The use of high potency drugs for currency is well known. Drugs are an extremely compact medium of exchange, tradeable pretty well anywhere for any other commodity or currency. Unlike gold, drugs are destroyed by consumption, ensuring a constant demand value.

2. In 2000, Afghanistan produced about 4000 tons of opium. The following year (February 2001) it produced virtually none, by edict of the Taliban Mullahs who said it was anti-Islam. Whether that was sincerity or just market manipulation is hard to say, but it may have produced a spastic colon effect amongst the Wall Street money launderers.

3. Opium production in Afghanistan before and after 9-11; before and after the present crusade:


2000 - 4000 tonnes

2001 - almost nil

2002 - 3400 tonnes

2003 - 3700 tonnes

2004 - 4200 tonnes

2005 - 8000+ tonnes

2006 - 6000+ tonnes

The last two years have been achieved despite adverse growing conditions and at the expense of food production. What acreage of poppy crops does this production represent? The UN survey estimates approximately 165,000 hectares.

4. Where are these crops? Are they in the cracks and crannies of Tora Bora, or are they cultivated in arable fields for all to see?

5. Why don't we simply purchase the poppies (at market value) and make the farmers happy? It's far cheaper than sending ever more troops and equipment. Why do we permit the refinement and export of heroin? How is this achieved under the noses of the most well equipped surveillance apparatus the world has ever seen?

6. Did you ever consider the utter idiocy of rendition flights? A whole fleet of aeroplanes burns tons of fuel carting poor patsies to and fro between "secret" prisons all over the world. Few or none of the prisoners ever end up being charged with anything. So we are asked to believe that this is the result of misguided or over-zealous intelligence agents in the "war on terror".

7. Isn't it far more likely that rendition flights are actually part of the heroin highway? We know that those flights pass through almost every country uninspected and officially "non-existent".


Alfred W. McCoy is professor of Southeast Asian History at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. In his book, "The Politics of Heroin; CIA Complicity In The Global Drug Trade", the basic modus operandi is laid out in plain view. On Lateline a few months ago, Prof McCoy pointed out that Guantanamo is in fact a node in the CIA network, ostensibly to receive the worst of the "bad guys".

Those of us who realise that the incarceration of Australia's David Hicks makes no sense, must look elsewhere for a plausible justification for the Guantanamo facility.

As a US owned "island" of lawlessness i.e. beyond the jurisdiction of US lawmakers, Guantanamo makes perfect sense if it is looked at as a major node in a CIA drug network. Small wonder the Administration twists and turns in it's efforts to hang on to it's hapless "terrorists", against world opinion. The facade must be preserved at all costs.

The rapacious hunger for funds by the US secret service agencies long ago exceeded the limits of their bloated "black budgets". We saw this spectre emerge briefly during the Iran-Contra Affair, only to disappear again under the cloak of secrecy. The principal players retain their positions of authority to this day and there is no reason to suppose that they have not refined their craft under the amorality of the Bush Administration.

Therefore I feel justified in asking:

1. Why do our NATO forces seem to be so impotent in Afghanistan?

2. Are they all singing from the same hymn book?

3. Why are the plucky little insurgents so successful? They are portrayed as an ethereal blob - labelled collectively as Taliban.

4. Why not Al-qaeda too? Has that label become threadbare?

5. Why has so much reconstruction money been repatriated to America as profits? Why has so much expenditure on Afghan reconstruction been squandered on inappropriate white elephants? Was it set up to fail?


No proper understanding of 9-11, nor all the war-for-profit that has broken out since, is possible without the simple recognition that high potency drugs are a dynamic currency in their own right.

Thanks to unbridled capitalism, money has become the bloodstream of humanity, while drug currency serves as the lymphatic system. The nervous system remains dulled by propaganda, omission and political correctness.

Only puny secrets need protection. Big discoveries are protected by public incredulity.  --- Marshall McLuhan

Interesting scenario

Chris,  the drug scenario you posit is interesting. I suspect, as with many things, there is more than one 'answer' or factor in the real story of 9/11.

I am sure there are many reasons why the Coalition is losing in both Afghanistan and Iraq but there is one major reason why it is impossible to win: You simply cannot win a war of occupation in the modern age and you simply cannot work through 'puppet governments' like those established in Afghanistan and Iraq no matter how clever you are at making the case for their legitimacy or semi-legitimacy because the people who are living under occupation and such 'stooge' governments know the truth and will fight to free themselves from literal occupation, economic occupation and covert occupation which hides behind puppet government.

But then 'never-ending war' is a goldmine for the arms dealers who may well be working hand in glove with the drug dealers to ensure their profits continue to rise.

Whatever the truth or truths it is only by free and open discussion that we will ever find our way behind and beyond the deceptions and outright lies.

cultural erasure plus X Files

Richard, in reply to your question about cultural erasure of the twin towers. Wikipedia has an entry called: “List of audiovisual entertainment affected by the September 11, 2001 attacks”. Your Spiderman scene is one of the best examples of the twin towers being erased. There are numerous other cases. The 2002 Men in Black 2 featured a climax that included the World Trade Center. The building was changed to the Statue of Liberty. Editors also had a go at other more obscure film references. There is the ending to the 2002 animated movie Lilo and Stitch<!--[if !supportEmptyParas]-->. It had Stitch taking a 747 on a joyride and swerving around buildings. But in the new ending, Stitch takes a spaceship on a joyride and swerves around mountains.

There are some interesting film and TV coincidences around 9/11. (Or synchronicity, if you like). The most controversial was the pilot episode of Chris Carter's X-Files spin-off The Lone Gunmen. There is this fascinating entry in Wikipedia - which you can find under the topic of “The Lone Gunmen”. In summary:

In a foreshadowing of the 9/11 attacks and the war on Iraq, the plot of the March 4, 2001 pilot episode of the series depicts a secret US government agency plot to crash a Boeing 727 headed for Boston into the World Trade Center via remote control. The purpose of this is to increase the defence budget and blame the attack on foreign "tin-pot dictators" who are "begging to be smart-bombed." This episode aired in Australia less than two weeks before the 9/11 attacks, on August 30.

The whole X Files casebook is fertile ground. Indeed, this pilot for The Lone Gunmen might be seen as sparking much of the 9/11 conspiracy theory industry.

I prefer the realm of more general cultural prophesy in Hollywood. For example: The Siege; Minority Report; and Coppola's The Conversation (1974) which anticipates the modern surveillance industry. 

Stuff ups, stuff ups and probably more stuff ups.

The 9/11 event and subsequent investigation certainly raises a lot of questions. Not so much about the perpetrators and consequences, rather the investigation itself. Apparently it was hurried (as to re assure the public) and poorly informed, probably to save a large and cumbersome bureaucracy the embarrassment of being caught out behaving like a large and cumbersome bureaucracy. Anybody who has had the pleasure of working with a large, disconnected bureaucracy will know.

Yes there are questions that I would like to know the answers to; such as, Building Seven, why did the fire chief say on camera they decided to “pull it”. Still haven’t heard anything more on that. Why?

A bureaucracy that  has something to hide will invite speculation; this is the breeding ground of conspiracy. But the reality is there are a lot of people who have something to hide, their laziness, inefficiency or dishonesty but that does not mean what happened that day was a conspiracy.

Arab galoots flew aeroplanes into buildings. Two buildings pancaked, which for buildings of that structure is highly possible and with enough heat most probable. Why? Ask an engineer. I did and it all made sense. Have you? Do you know how many building are built of like structure?

You never know this tragedy may even have exposed a possible home grown crime. If “the experts” claim there was not enough heat to warp the steel structure (skeleton) that supported the entire WTC towers then maybe the steel itself was not up to scratch? The bastards tried (and party succeeded) doing same with the Brooklyn Bridge maybe they did it again on the WTC. Who built the WTC, who are their mates; what quality control tests (if any) have been published on the steel salvaged and removed from the sight, etc etc.

Now how’s that for a possible conspiracy theory within a conspiracy theory? Best write a book on it.

As far as the Pentagon goes is it very easy to get seduced into all sorts of hypothesis, especially when led step by step, frame by frame, by media experts who want you to believe what they want you to believe. But in reality, there were eye witnesses and from the separate accounts I’ve read they seemed genuine and concurred that a jet plane flew into the Pentagon.

Don’t get seduced by footage of CCTV showing something that looks like a missile flashing towards the Pentagon. With CCTV clicking away about 20 or so frames a second, even a flying giraffe would look like a missile to CCTV if it was travelling close to a 1,000k.

As far as the expertise of the pilots goes, then I would guarantee a little experiment would solve that debate. Why not get a couple of willing volunteers who have never flown, train them for months at a time and take them up in a plane. See if they can steer the thing into an imaginary target. I’m sure anyone with the will, and the time to learn how to steer a plane could do it.

Finally, people are going to argue about 9/11 for years but that will not change the fact that it was a vicious attack by terrorists on innocent human beings, which has eventually exposed the minor (and some major), but collectively significant, f**k ups and weaknesses of the bureaucracy and others.

Follow the money....

Nice try CP, but I'm not curious about any religion except the profit religion, so I follow the money:

1. Several war games, some "live" taking place on that morning, depicting elements of the "real" scenario. Cheney in command. Condi lies, "We didn't imagine..."

2. Missing $ Trillions from the defense budget, announced the previous day by Rumsfeld, forgotten on the big day.

3. Silverstein buys WTC 1 & 2 seven weeks before 9-11 (with only $14 Million of his own money), then insures it against terrorist attacks. He is awarded nearly $5 Billion payout.

4. WTC 1 & 2 were condemned because of electrolysis problems between the outer steel verticals and the aluminium cladding. The buildings were lousy with asbestos, requiring careful deconstruction at a cost exceeding $10 Billion.

5. Mayor Giuliani, the "hero" of 9-11 was well aware of the WTC status. His office and records were handily destroyed in the unexplained demolition of WTC7. Giuliani went "free enterprise" with his own security company and enough insider knowlege to guarantee success.

6. Handily, crucial evidence from the Enron / Arthur Anderson fiasco was destroyed, along with several FBI investigations of money laundering by major banks.

7. The banks were laundering money from heroin and cocaine shipped courtesy of elements of the CIA (ref. Prof Alfred McCoy, Univ Wisconsin-Madison).

8. The FBI assign CONVAR (Germany) the task of recovering data from WTC hard drives, but CONVAR is quickly bought out by private spy agency Kroll Inc, a subsidiary of Maurice Greenberg's AIG.

9. The money launderers win the day and Wall Street breathes a collective sigh of relief.

10. Ah... that's where we come in, if we have the drive and the guts to pursue it...

Chris:    You raise

Chris:    You raise some interesting issues which it seems meet Webdiary criteria in terms of what can and cannot be discussed in regard to 9/11.

Scholars for Truth is another group which is worth looking at. A group of academics calling for an independent international enquiry into what happened.

Bill Christison,  who was a National Intelligence Officer and the Director of the CIA's office of Regional and Political Analysis before his retirement in 1979 us a former sceptic who has come to believe that significant elements of the official story were false.

A leftist viewpoint on September 11

Chris Shaw: "Maduro is known, along with Chavez, to be keenly interested in the alternative theories that the 911 attacks involved more than 19 Muslim "insurgents" taking their orders from a religious zealot living in an Afghan cave."

This is hardly surprising as Chavez is closely politically allied to Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad.

Jew baiting is at the core of Ahmedinejad's standard rhetorical mode, and it's not infrequent for the state controlled media of Middle Eastern states and Islamist commentators to imply that Jews were actually responsible for the September 11 attacks.

This is popular also with neo-Nazis, so we shouldn't be surprised that a Marxist demogogue like Chavez would also be keen to belittle the victims of the September 11 attacks if it affords him opportunities to besmirch Americans and Jews.

This is another indication of the subordinate status of the political Left in these times as a running dog of Islamo-Fascism.

In fact, almost immediately from the time of the attacks, Leftists were gloating over the corpses.



Cultural erasure

I have at home a piece of footage, albeit fiction, that didn't make it to public screens..  It's the original trailer for the first Spider-man movie, which concludes with a helicopter being hung from a web between the Twin Towers.

Of course, in the aftermath of the attacks all vision of the towers was erased by a reshoot.  I wonder in how many other instances this may have occurred, and how many movies showing the buildings may have been released by broadcast schedules?  I can't recall seeing any old movies with the towers in the background for some time after the event.

I can understand that scenes of Spidey duking it out with the Green Goblin at the WTC may have been a little cutlurally sensitive at the time.  However, to erase the buildings from every  scene to me made it more obvious that the towers had been wiped from existence in more ways than one. 

I would hate to think that footage and schedules were altered to increase dramatic impact, but still consider the idea. 

Venezuela in the pooh too....

This from today's Wayne Madsen Report:

Sep. 25, 2006 -- Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro,  was detained for 90 minutes and rudely treated by Homeland Security agents while trying to board a plane for Caracas after the UN General Assembly appearance of President Hugo Chavez, likely irritated Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff by meeting with a number of 911 skeptics.

Maduro is known, along with Chavez, to be keenly interested in the alternative theories that the 911 attacks involved more than 19 Muslim "insurgents" taking their orders from a religious zealot living in an Afghan cave.

Maduro also has an extensive collection of books on 911. The Homeland Security Department appears to have acted independently of the State Department in detaining Maduro. The State Department was forced to apologize to Maduro and the Venezuelan government for the treatment he received from Chertoff's goon squad.

Just as I suspected.  The laws of physics apply in Venezuela too.

Theories Are Unneccessary

On the evening (Australia time) of 9-11, Marlene and I sat up all night channel surfing. We saw and heard eyewitness reports from a variety of fixed and mobile camera teams throughout New York and Washington.

We finally went to sleep, convinced by what we had seen and heard, that the WTC was demolished by a combination of destructive forces.

Over the next couple of days, so much of that reportage simply "disappeared" - expunged from the official narrative.

Here is a video made by the bereaved families. It has no references to conspiracy theories. It merely re-inserts the missing footage and shows what the officials actually said on or around the day. Very illuminating. 

People Are Waking Up

In the afterglow of all the anniversary documentaries, I've been amazed at how many people have engaged me in conversation (knowing the slant of my point of view) over the veracity of aspects of the S11 tragedy.  In particular there's apparently been a piece on the History Channel called Loose Change that has hit a few raw nerves.

Three years ago you'd never have such a yarn over a beer.  I was listening to a media monitor on the ABC the other day stating that  the fifth annual marker has created more examination of the event than any other.

Perhaps we've decided that the mourning period is over, and want to know everything that truly happened.. or didn't.   At  any rate the fact that such conversations are ongoing in front bars restores my faith in human nature a little.  If the mainstream populace decides that it has been deceived, things may get a little more interesting.

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