Zaitchik’s concern is that “over the two last decades, a far-right conspiracy culture of self-proclaimed ‘Patriots’ has emerged in which the United States government itself is viewed as a mortal threat to everything from constitutional democracy to the survival of the human race.” As many of these theories seem to be getting more traction, Zaitchik’s response was his “compilation of 10 of the most popular [ones] currently circulating on the radical right and, increasingly, on points of the political spectrum much too close to the center for comfort.”
Charles Scaliger reviewed each of the theories in a point-by-point commentary, strongly suggesting that Zaitchik had engaged in an “artful blend of legitimate debunking and smear by association … [considering it a] carelessly-concocted catalogue of conspiracies.” The authors at The Daily Bell gave each theory a closer look and concluded that Number Six, “9/11 Truthism” was “the biggest conspiracy theory of them all.”
Scaliger stated that, regarding the events of September 11, 2001, “there is plenty of evidence showing that elements in the US government were aware that a mega-terrorist attack was coming, that it might involve coordinated takeovers and strikes by civilian airliners, and that ... FBI agents [knew] that Arab men had been training themselves to fly airliners using flight simulators.” He concluded, however, that “none of this adds up to proof that ... the government of George W. Bush knew of 9/11 beforehand and let it unfold, or worse, that American government agents…carried out the attacks.”
The writers at The Daily Bell had covered 9/11 before, but concentrated their attention this time on an article from the Washington Times back in February
which raised serious and unanswered questions about 9/11. The key question was: “How did 200,000 tons of steel disintegrate and drop in 11 seconds? A thousand architects and engineers want to know, and are calling on Congress to order a new investigation into the destruction of the Twin Towers [as well as] Building 7 at the World Trade Center.”
Richard Gage, an architect from San Francisco and founder of Architects & Engineers for 9/11Truth, said that “in order to bring down this kind of mass in such a short period of time, the material must have been artificially exploded outwards.” He claimed further that “The official Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA] and National Institute of Standards and Technology [NIST] reports provide insufficient, contradictory and fraudulent accounts of the circumstances of the towers’ destruction. We are therefore calling for a grand jury investigation of NIST officials.” According to his website,
1255 architectural and engineering professionals and 9045 other supporters including A&E students have signed the petition demanding of Congress a truly independent investigation.
Others disagree. In 2003, Popular Mechanics said that it had “assembled a team of nine researches and reporters who … consulted more than 70 professionals” regarding some of the 9/11 conspiracy theories “and in the end we were able to debunk each of these assertions with hard evidence and a healthy dose of common sense.”
PM concentrated its study on what happened (or did not happen) on 9/11, as opposed to examining the question of whether the government had sufficient knowledge of the upcoming attack to be able to prevent it, and if so why not.
The Daily Bell backs away from claiming that the 9/11 attacks were the result of a conspiracy inside the government, saying in February: “We have no idea what happened on 9/11.” The Daily Bell staff report continued:
But since 9/11 Commission members have reportedly disavowed the…government’s story — and one [member] has written a book claiming [that] the commission was serially lied to by the Bush administration, the FBI, CIA, etc. — we have to conclude that there are elements of the official story that are not entirely accurate....
We have, for instance, thought long and hard about why law professor and Rutger’s Dean John Farmer would want to come out with a book that basically accused the entire Washington establishment of lying about 9/11.... Perhaps [he] realized one day that he was right in the middle of what would appear to be a cover-up [and] so he set out to rectify his situation.
Jacob Hornberger, founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation, wrote that many people find it “simply inconceivable that federal officials would ever do such a dastardly thing [as to allow or cause 9/11 to happen].”
Unfortunately, Hornberger said, there is one “very discomforting fact ... that unequivocally confirms that U.S. officials are indeed capable of committing such a dastardly act. I’m referring, of course, to Operation Northwoods, the plan conceived in 1962 by a unanimous Joint Chiefs of Staff to implement fake hijackings and fake terrorist attacks, with the objective of serving as a pretext for a U.S. military invasion of Cuba.”
Author James Bamford told about Operation Northwoods in his book, Body of Secrets :
Operation Northwoods, which had the written approval of the Chairman and every member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called for innocent people to be shot on American streets; for boats carrying refugees fleeing Cuba to be sunk on the high seas; for a wave of violent terrorism to be launched in Washington, D.C., Miami, and elsewhere. People would be framed for bombings they did not commit; planes would be hijacked. Using phony evidence, all of it would be blamed on Castro, thus giving Lemnitzer and his cabal the excuse, as well as the public and international backing, they needed to launch their war.
“Fortunately,” said Hornberger, “President Kennedy, to whom the Pentagon proposed Operation Northwoods, rejected it.”
Was the government complicit in the 9/11 tragedy? As Scaliger concluded in his review of conspiracy theory Number Six, “It is safe to say that ... the full truth of what happened on September 11, 2001 has yet to be disclosed, and may be left to generations yet unborn to uncover.”
Photo: AP Images