August 19, 2004

The New Pearl Harbor

By David Ray Griffin
foreword by Richard Falk

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From the book (as given below):

BackCover Text
Front Cover


Advance Praise for David Ray Griffin's
The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions about the Bush Administration and 9/11

"This is an important, extraordinarily well-reasoned and provocative book that should be widely read. Griffin raises disturbing questions that deserve thoughtful and truthful answers from our government."
- Marcus Raskin, co-founder of the institute -for Policy Studies

"David Ray Griffin has done admirable and painstaking research in reviewing the mysteries surrounding the 9-11 attacks. It is the most persuasive argument I have seen for further investigation of the Bush administration's relationship to that historic and troubling event."
- Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States

"David Ray Griffin has written what America may most of all need - a dispassionate, balanced, and exhaustively researched and documented account of the implausible gaps and misrepresentations of the Bush administration’s official story of 9/11. Sensitive to the `conspiracy theory' mind-stop that has disconnected his fellow Americans from the facts of this history-steering event, Griffin painstakingly marshals the evidence pro and con, and follows it where it leads. A courageously impeccable work."
- John McMurtry, author of Value Wars: The Global Market versus the Life Economy, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and Professor of Philosophy, University of Guelph

"It will be painful, and disturbing, to turn the pages of this thoughtful and meticulously researched book. But turn we must. For we owe the truth to those who died, and nothing less."
- Colleen Kelly, sister of Bill Kelly, Jr., who was killed in the North Tower of the World Trade Center on 9/11, and co founder of September 11th families for Peaceful Tomorrows

"This is a very- important book. David Ray Griffin's carefully researched and documented study demonstrates a high level of probability that the Bush administration was complicit in allowing 9/11 to happen in order to further war plans that had already been made. A must-read for anyone concerned about American foreign policy under the present administration."
- Rosemary Radford Ruether, Carpenter Professor of Feminist Theology Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California

"This is a must-read for all who want to get past the conspiracy of silence and mystification that surrounds these events."
- Professor of Theology, Emeritus, Claremont School of Theology and Claremont Graduate University

"That 9-11 has become a defining moment in our history cannot be gainsaid. But its exact significance is an exceedingly contentious question notwithstanding the seemingly clarity of prevailing accounts. David Ray Griffin deconstructs those accounts with a host of unresolved puzzles strongly suggestive of some sort of culpable complicity by US officials in the event. His book presents an incontrovertible argument of the need for a genuinely full and independent investigation of that infamous day."
- Douglas Sturm, Presidential Professor of Religion and Political Science, Emeritus, Bucknell University

"David Griffin's book is an excellent expose of so many of the deeply troubling questions that must still be answered fully and transparently if democratic control over political and military leaders is to mean anything at all."
- Michael Meacher, British member of Parliament, and former Minister of the Environment

"This book is as full of research and authoritative notes as a field full of springtime daisies. The author raises frightening questions, and the questions beg for answers. One thing we can conclude for certain. The events surrounding 9/I1, both before and after, cannot be simply swept under the rug of conventional wisdom… This book gives us a foundation to discover the truth, one that we may not wish to hear."
- Gerry Spence, trial lawyer and author of How to Argue and Win Every Time

"David Griffin's The New Pearl Harbor belongs on the book shelves of all those who, in any way, doubt the veracity of the accounts presented to the public by the Bush administration concerning the worst terrorist attack in America's history. The facts presented in this book are disturbing - and they should be. Griffin's book goes a long way in answering the age-old question inherent in American political scandals: What did the president know, and when did he know it."
- Joseph C. Hough, President, Union Theological Seminary in New York

From the BackCover:

"An extraordinary book... It is rare, indeed, that a book has this potential to become a force of history."
- from the foreword by Richard Talk human rights lawyer and Professor Emeritus, Princeton University

"[T]he most persuasive argument I have seen for further investigation of the Bush administration's relationship to that historic and troubling event."
- Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States

Taking to heart the idea that those who benefit from a crime ought to be investigated, here the eminent theologian David Ray Griffin sifts through the evidence about the attacks of 9/11 - stories from the mainstream press, reports from abroad, the work of other researchers, and the contradictory words of members of the Bush administration themselves - and finds that, taken together, they cast serious doubt on the official story of that tragic day.

He begins with simple questions: Once radio contact was lost with the flights, why weren't jets immediately sent up ("scrambled") from the nearest military airport, something that according to the FAA's own manual is routine procedure? Why did the administration's story about scrambling jets change in the days following the
attacks? The disturbing questions don't stop there: they emerge from every part of the story, from every angle, until it is impossible not to suspect the architects of the official story of enormous deception.

A teacher of ethics and theology, Griffin writes with compelling logic, urging readers to draw their own conclusions from the evidence. The New Pearl Harbor is a stirring call for a thorough investigation into what happened on 9/11. It rings with the conviction that it is still possible to search for the truth in American political life.

David Ray Griffin has been Professor of Philosophy of Religion at the Claremont School of Theology in California for over 30 years. He is the author and editor of more than 20 books.

ISBN 1-56656-552-9


Acknowledgments - vi
Foreword by Richard Falk - vii
Introduction - xi

1. Flights 11 and 175: How Could the Hijackers' Missions Have Succeeded? - 3
2. Flight 77: Was It Really the Aircraft that Struck the Pentagon? - 25
3. Flight 93: Was It the One Flight that was Shot Down? - 49
4. The President's Behavior: Why Did He Act as He Did? - 57

5. Did US Officials Have Advance Information about 9/11? - 67
6. Did US Officials Obstruct Investigations Prior to 9/11? - 75
7. Did US Officials Have Reasons for Allowing 9/11? - 89
8. Did US Officials Block Captures and Investigations after 9/11? - 105

9. Is Complicity by US Officials the Best Explanation? - 127
10. The Need for a Full Investigation - 147

Notes - 169
Index of Names - 210


David Ray Griffin has written an extraordinary book. If carefully read with even just a 30-percent open mind, it is almost certain to change the way we understand the workings of constitutional democracy in the United States at the highest levels of government. As such, this is a disturbing book, depicting a profound crisis of political legitimacy for the most powerful sovereign state in the history of the world - a country, furthermore, embarked on the first borderless war, with no markers of victory and defeat. If The New Pearl Harbor receives the sort of public and media attention that it abundantly deserves, it should alter the general public debate and exert a positive influence on how the future unfolds. It is rare, indeed, that a book has this potential to become a force of history.

What makes The New Pearl Harbor so special is that it explores the most sensitive and controversial terrain - the broad landscape of official behavior in relation to the tragedy of 9/11 - in the best spirit of academic detachment, coupled with an exemplary display of the strongest scholarly virtue: a willingness to allow inquiry to follow the path of evidence and reason wherever it leads. And it leads here to explosive destinations, where severe doubts are raised about the integrity and worldview of our leadership in those parts of the government that exercise the greatest control over the behavior and destiny of the country, particularly in the area of national security, which includes a war overseas and the stifling of liberties at home. Griffin brilliantly makes an overwhelming argument for a comprehensive, unhampered, fully funded, and suitably prominent investigation of the entire story of how and why 9/11 happened, as well as why such an unprecedented breakdown of national security was not fully and immediately investigated as a matter of the most urgent national priority. There are so many gaping holes in the official accounts of 9/11 that no plausible coherent narrative remains, and until now we have been staggering forward as if the truth about these traumatic events no longer mattered.

Griffin shows, with insight and a firm grasp of the many dimensions of the global security policy of the Bush Administration,
that getting 9/11 right, even belatedly, matters desperately. The layer upon layer of unexplained facts, the multiple efforts by those in power to foreclose independent inquiry, and the evidence of a pre-9/I1 blueprint by Bush insiders to do exactly what they are now doing on the basis of a 9/11 mandate is why the Griffin assessment does not even require a reader with a normally open mind. As suggested, 30-percent receptivity will do, which means that all but the most dogmatically blinded adherents of the Bush presidency should be convinced by the basic argument of this book.

It must be underscored that this book does not belong in the genre of "conspiracy theories," at least, as Griffin himself points out, in the pejorative sense in which that term is usually understood. It is a painstakingly scrupulous look at the evidence, with an accounting of the numerous discrepancies between the official account provided by the US government and the best information available.

Of course, it is fair to wonder, if the conclusion toward which Griffin's evidence points is correct, why this story-of-the-century has not been clearly told before in this country. Why have the media been asleep? Why has Congress been so passive about fulfilling its role as a watchdog branch of government, above all protective of the American people? Why have there been no resignations from on high by principled public servants followed by electrifying revelations? There have been questions raised here and there and allegations of official complicity made almost from the day of the attacks, especially in Europe, but as far as I know, no American until Griffin has had the patience, the fortitude, the courage, and the intelligence to put so many pieces together in a single coherent account.

Part of the difficulty in achieving credibility in relation to issues this profoundly disturbing to public confidence in the basic legitimacy of state power is that the accusatory voices most often heard are strident and irresponsible, making them easily dismissed as "paranoid" or "outrageous" without further consideration of whether the concerns raised warrant investigation. In contrast, Griffin's approach is calm and his argument consistently well-reasoned, making his analysis undeniably compelling.

But there are troubling forces at work that block our access to the truth about 9/11. Ever since 9/11 the mainstream media have worked hand-in-glove with the government in orchestrating a mood of patriotic
fervor making any expressions of doubts about the official leadership of the country tantamount to disloyalty. Media personalities, such as Bill Maher, who questioned, even casually, the official narrative were given pink slips, sidelined, and silenced, sending a chilling message of intimidation to anyone tempted to voice dissident opinions. Waving the American flag became a substitute for critical and independent thought, and slogans such as "United We Stand" were used as blankets to smother whatever critical impulses existed. This thought-stopping equation of patriotism with unquestioning acceptance of the present administration's policies has played into the hands of those presidential advisors who have seen 9/11 not as a national tragedy but - in the phrase used by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld during a TV interview with Jim Lehrer on the second anniversary of the attacks - "a blessing in disguise."

As the spell cast by patrioteering has begun to wear off, there is another related dynamic at work to keep us from the truth - what psychiatrists describe as "denial." The unpleasant realities of the Iraq occupation make it difficult for most Americans to acknowledge that the whole undertaking, including the death and maiming of young Americans, was based on a willful distortion of reality by the elected leadership of the country-namely, the suggestion that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11. This unpleasantness is magnified many times over if what is at stake is the possibility that the terrible events of 9/11 were from the outset, or before, obscured by deliberately woven networks of falsehoods. Part of the impulse to deny is a desperate wish to avoid coming face-to-face with the gruesome realities that are embedded in the power structure of government that controls our lives. Griffin's book is a much-needed antidote for the collective denial that has paralyzed the conscience and consciousness of the nation during these past few years. At the very least, it should give rise to a debate that is late, but far better late than never. Long ago Thomas Jefferson warned that the "price of liberty is eternal vigilance."

There is no excuse at this stage of American development for a posture of political innocence, including an unquestioning acceptance of the good faith of our government. After all, there has been a long history of manipulated public beliefs, especially in matters of war and peace. Historians are in increasing agreement that the facts were manipulated (1) in the explosion of the USS Maine to justify the start
of the Spanish-American War (1898), (2) with respect to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor to justify the previously unpopular entry into World War II, (3) in the Gulf of Tonkin incident of 1964, used by the White House to justify the dramatic extension of the Vietnam War to North Vietnam, and, most recently, (4) to portray Iraq as harboring a menacing arsenal of weaponry of mass destruction, in order to justify recourse to war in defiance of international law and the United Nations. The official explanations of such historic events as the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the assassination of President Kennedy have also not stood up to scrutiny by objective scholars. In these respects, the breaking of trust between government and citizenry in the United States has deep historical roots, and is not at all merely a partisan indictment of the current leadership associated with the right wing of the Republican Parry. But it does pose for all of us a fundamental, haunting question. Why should the official account of 9/11 be treated as sacrosanct and accepted at face value, especially as it is the rationale for some of the most dangerous undertakings in the whole history of the world?

As Griffin shows, it is not necessary to go along with every suspicious inference in order to conclude that the official account of 9/11 is thoroughly unconvincing. His approach is based on the cumulative impact of the many soft spots in what is officially claimed to have happened, soft spots that relate to advance notice and several indications of actions facilitating the prospects of attack, to the peculiar gaps between the portrayal of the attack by the media and government and independent evidence of what actually occurred, and to the unwillingness of the government to cooperate with what meager efforts at inquiry have been mounted. Any part of this story is enough to vindicate Griffin's basic contention that this country and the world deserve a comprehensive, credible, and immediate accounting of the how and why of that fateful day. Such a step would exhibit today the enduring wisdom of Ben Franklin's celebrated response when asked what the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia had accomplished: "A republic, if you keep it."

- Richard Falk


The attacks of 9/11 have often been compared with the attacks on Pearl Harbor. Investigative reporter James Bamford, for example, has written about President Bush's behavior "in the middle of a modern-day Pearl Harbor." [1] CBS News reported that the president himself, before going to bed on 9/11, wrote in his diary: "The Pearl Harbor of the 21st century took place today.” [2]

This comparison has often been made for the sake of arguing that the American response to 9/11 should be similar to the American response to Pearl Harbor. Just after the president's address to the nation on September 11, 2001, Henry Kissinger posted an online article in which he said: "The government should be charged with a systematic response that, one hopes, will end the way that the attack on Pearl Harbor ended - with the destruction of the system that is responsible for it." [3] An editorial in Time magazine that appeared right after the attacks urged: "For once, let's have no fatuous rhetoric about `healing.'. . . A day cannot live in infamy without the nourishment of rage. Let's have rage. What's needed is a unified, unifying Pearl Harbor sort of purple American fury." [4]

Some of the comparisons have pointed out that the attacks of 9/11 did indeed evoke a response, calling for the use of US military power, similar to that produced by Pearl Harbor. Quoting a prediction made in 2000 by soon-to-be top officials in the Bush administration that the changes they desired would be difficult unless "a new Pearl Harbor" occurred. [5] Australian journalist John Pilger wrote: "The attacks of 11 September 2001 provided the `new Pearl Harbor.” [6] A member of the US Army's Institute for Strategic Studies reported that after 9/11, "Public support for military action is at levels that parallel the public reaction after the attack at Pearl Harbor." [7]

These comparisons of 9/11 with Pearl Harbor do not seem unjustified. The events of 9/11, virtually everyone agrees, were the most important events of recent times - for both America and the rest of the world. The attacks of that day have provided the basis for a significant restriction on civil liberties in the United States (just as Pearl Harbor led to restrictions on the civil liberties of Japanese Americans). [8] Those attacks have also been the basis of a worldwide "war on terror" led by the United States, with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq being the two major episodes thus far.

The Bush administration's "war on terror" is, moreover, widely perceived as a pretext for a more aggressive imperialism. Phyllis Bennis, for example, says that 9/11 has resulted in "foreign policy imposed on the rest of the world through an unchallenged law of empire." [9] Of course, a few historians have been pointing out for some time that American leaders have long desired an empire covering the whole world. [10] But most critics of US foreign policy believe that the imperialism of the Bush II administration, especially since 9/11, has been much more explicit, far-reaching, and arrogant. [11] Richard Falk has, in fact, referred to it as "the global domination project." [12] Although there was an outpouring of good will toward America after 9/11 and a widespread willingness to accede to its claim that the attacks gave it a mandate to wage a worldwide war on terrorism, this good will was quickly exhausted. American foreign policy is now criticized around the world more widely and severely than ever before, even more so than during the war in Vietnam. The American answer to all criticism, however, is 9/11. When Europeans criticized the Bush administration's intention to go to war against Iraq, for example, several US opinion-makers supportive of the war explained the difference in perception by saying that the Europeans had not suffered the attacks of 9/11.

The Failure of the Press

Given the role of 9/11 in leading to this much more explicit and aggressive imperialism, some observers have suggested that historians will come to look back on it as the real beginning of the 21st century. [13] Nevertheless, in spite of the virtually universal agreement that 9/11 has been of such transcendent importance, there has been little public scrutiny of this event itself. On the first anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the New York Times wrote: "One year later, the public knows less about the circumstances of 2,801 deaths at the foot of Manhattan in broad daylight than people in 1912 knew within weeks about the Titanic." [14] That was the case in part because the Bush administration, arguing that an investigation would be a distraction from the needed "war on terrorism," resisted the call for a special commission. But the public's lack of information about 9/11 was also due in large part to the fact that the Times and the rest of the mainline press had not authorized investigative reports, through which the public's lack of knowledge
might have been overcome. Another year later, furthermore, the situation remained virtually the same. On September 11, 2003, a writer for the Philadelphia Daily News asked: "why after 730 days do we know so little about what really happened that day?" [15]

The American press has, in particular, provided no in-depth investigation of whether the official account of what happened fits with the available evidence and is otherwise plausible. [16] Many newspaper and television stories have, to be sure, raised several disturbing questions about the official account, showing that there are elements of it that do not seem to make sense or that seem to contradict certain facts. But the press has not confronted government officials with these apparent implausibilities and contradictions. The mass media have not, moreover, provided the public with any comprehensive overviews that lay out all the disturbing questions of which they are aware. There have been many very important stories by a number of journalists, including the internationally known, award-winning journalist Gregory Palast and Canada’s award-winning Barrie Zwicker (see notes 16 and 18). But such stories, if even seen, have been largely forgotten by the collective consciousness, as they have remained individual products of brilliant and courageous reporting, having thus far not been allowed to add up to anything significant. Finally, although strong criticisms of the official account have been presented by many otherwise credible individuals, the mass media have not exposed the public to their views.

Criticisms of the official account are, to be sure, inflammatory, for to reject the official account is to imply that US leaders, including the president, have constructed a massive lie. And if they did construct a false account, they would have done so, most people would assume, in order to cover up their own complicity. And that is indeed the conclusion of most critics of the official account. That would certainly be an inflammatory charge. But how can we claim to have a free press - a Fourth Estate - if it fails to investigate serious charges made against a sitting president on the grounds that they are too inflammatory? The charges against President Nixon in the Watergate scandal were inflammatory. The charges against President Reagan in the Iran-Contra affair were inflammatory. The various charges brought against President Clinton were inflammatory. In all these cases, however, the press reported the issues (albeit in the first two cases rather belatedly). It is precisely in such situations that we most need an independent press.

But the press has failed to do its job with regard to 9/11 even though, if the official account of 9/11 were found to be false, the consequences would be enormous - much more so than with any of those prior scandals. The official account of 9/11 has been used as the justification for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which have resulted in the deaths not only of thousands of combatants but also of far more innocent civilians than were killed on 9/11. This account has been used as the justification for dozens of other operations around the world, most of which are largely unknown to the American people. It has been used to justify the USA PATRIOT Act, through which the civil liberties of Americans have been curtailed. And it has been used to justify the indefinite incarceration of countless people in Guantanamo and elsewhere. And yet the press has been less aggressive in questioning President Bush about 9/11 than it was in questioning President Clinton about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky, a very trivial matter by comparison.

The failure of the American media in this regard has been admitted by some insiders. For example, Rena Golden, executive vice-president and general manager of CNN International, was quoted as saying in August of 2002 that the American press had censored itself on both 9/11 and the war in Afghanistan. "Anyone who claims the US media didn't censor itself," Golden added, "is kidding you. And this isn't just a CNN issue-every journalist who was in any way involved in 9/11 is partly responsible." [17] As to why this has been the case, CBS anchorman Dan Rather has said:

There was a time in South Africa that people would put flaming tires around people's necks if they dissented. And in some ways the fear is that you will be necklaced here, you will have a flaming tire of lack of patriotism put around your neck. Now it is that fear that keeps journalists from asking the toughest of the tough questions. [18]

Rather's confession surely explains at least part of the press's reticence to question the official account, especially since journalists perceived as unpatriotic are in danger of being fired.

One of the chief critics of the official account, Thierry Meyssan, suggests that Americans have viewed any criticism of the official account to be not only unpatriotic but even sacrilegious. On September 12, Meyssan reminds us, President Bush announced his intention to lead "a monumental struggle of Good versus Evil.” [19] On September 13, he

declared that the next day would be a National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for the Victims of the Terrorist Attacks. And on September 14, the president himself, surrounded by Billy Graham, a cardinal, a rabbi, and an imam as well as four previous presidents and many members of Congress, delivered the sermon. In this sermon, he said:

Our responsibility to history is already clear: to answer these attacks and rid the world of evil. War has been waged against us by stealth and deceit and murder. This nation is peaceful, but fierce when stirred to anger.... In every generation, the world has produced enemies of human freedom. They have attacked America, because we are freedom's home and defender. And the commitment of our fathers is now the calling of our time.... [W]e ask almighty God to watch over our nation, and grant us patience and resolve in all that is to come.... And may He always guide our country. God bless America." [20]

Through this unprecedented event, in which the president of the United States issued a declaration of war from a cathedral, Meyssan observes, "the American government consecrated.... its version of events. From then on, any questioning of the official truth would be seen as sacrilege.” [21]

9/11 and the Left

If raising disturbing questions about the official account would be seen as both unpatriotic and sacrilegious, it is not surprising that, as both Rena Golden and Dan Rather admit, the mainline press in America has not raised these questions. It is also not surprising that right-wing and even middle-of-the-road commentators on political affairs have not raised serious questions about the official account. It is not even surprising that some of them-including Jean Bethke Elshtain, a professor of social and political ethics-have declared that the accusation of official complicity is beyond the pale of reasonable debate, so that any arguments on its behalf can simply be ignored. Elshtain, calling the suggestion that American officials, including the president, were complicit in the attacks "preposterous," adds: "This sort of inflammatory madness exists outside the boundary of political debate" and therefore does not even "deserve a hearing." [22] From this perspective, it is not necessary to examine the evidence put forward by critics of the official account, even though some of these critics are fellow intellectuals teaching in neighboring universities - such as two well-respected Canadian academics, economist
Michel Chossudovsky and social philosopher John McMurtry. [23] Although Elshtain points out that "[i]f we get our descriptions of events wrong, our analyses and our ethics will be wrong too," [24] she evidently thinks it unnecessary to consider the possibility that the official description about the events of 9/11 might be wrong. Although this attitude is unfortunate, especially when it is expressed within the intellectual community, it is not surprising.

What IS surprising, however, is that America's leftist critics of US policy, who are seldom worried about being called either unpatriotic or sacrilegious, have for the most part not explored, at least in public discourse, the possibility of official complicity. [25]

These critics have, to be sure, been extremely critical of the way in which the Bush administration has responded to 9/11. They have, in particular, pointed out that this administration has used 9/11 as an excuse to enact policies and carry out operations that have little if any relation to either punishing the perpetrators of the attacks or preventing further such attacks in the future. They have even pointed out that most of these policies and operations were already on the agenda of the Bush administration before the attacks, so that 9/11 was not the cause but merely the pretext for enacting them. These critics also know that the United States has many times in the past fabricated an "incident" as a pretext for going to war-most notoriously for the wars against Mexico, Cuba, and Vietnam. [26] But few of these critics have seriously discussed, at least in public, whether this might also be the case with 9/11, even though a demonstration of this fact, if it were true, would surely be the most effective way to undermine policies of the Bush administration to which they are so strongly opposed. Abjuring a "conspiracy theory" they accept, at least implicitly, a "coincidence theory," according to which the attacks of 9/11 were, from the administrations point of view, simply a godsend, which just happened to allow it to carry out its agenda.

An example is provided by Rahul Mahajan, a brilliant and outspoken critic of US imperialism. He analyzes the themes of US imperialism since 9/11 in the light of the document alluded to earlier that mentioned the need for a "new Pearl Harbor," this being Rebuilding Armenia’s Defenses, which was prepared by the Project for the New American Century. Three of the major themes of this document, Mahajan emphasizes, are the need to place more military bases around the world from which power can be
projected, tire need to bring about "regime change" in countries unfriendly to American interests, and the need for greatly increased military spending, especially for "missile defense" - explicitly understood not as deterrence but as "a prerequisite for maintaining American preeminence" by preventing other countries from deterring us. Mahajan then Points out that "[t]he 9/11 attacks were a natural opportunity to jack up the military budget" and that the other ideas in this document, in conjunction with the well-known preoccupation of Bush and Cheney with oil, provided the major themes of their post-9/11 imperial strategy. Mahajan also notes that this document said that the desired transformation of the military would probably be politically impossible “absent” some catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl Harbor." And Mahajan even adds that "within a year they [the authors of this document had their Pearl Harbor and the chance to turn their imperial fantasies into reality." After pointing out all of this, however, Mahajan opts for coincidence over conspiracy, saying: "Conspiracy theorists will no doubt rejoice, but this, like so many events in the history of US foreign policy, is simply another example of Pasteur's famous axiom that `Fortune favors the prepared mind."' [27]

Mahajan may, of course, be right. But he gives us no reason to think so. He, in particular, reveals no sign of having studied the evidence provided by those who have argued that the attacks could have been successful only through the complicity, of the US government.

How This Book Came About

Whether or not it is true that Mahajan dismissed the evidence without examination, it was certainly true of me. Until the spring of 2003, I had not looked at any of the evidence. I was vaguely aware that there were people, at least on the Internet, who were offering evidence against the official account of 9/11 and were suggesting a revisionist account, according to which US officials were complicit. But I did not take the time to try to find their websites. I had been studying the history of American expansionism and imperialism quite intensely since 9/11, so I knew that the US government had fabricated "incidents" as an excuse to go to war several times before. Nevertheless, although the thought did cross my mind that 9/11 might likewise have been arranged, I did not take this possibility seriously. It seemed to me simply beyond belief that
the Bush administration - even the Bush administration - would do such a heinous thing. I assumed that those who were claiming otherwise must be "conspiracy theorists" in the derogatory sense in which this term is usually employed - which means, roughly, "crackpots." I knew that if they were right, this would be very important. But I was so confident that they must be wrong - that their writings would consist merely of loony theories based on wild inferences from dubious evidence - that I had no motivation to invest time and energy in tracking these writings down. I fully sympathize, therefore, with the fact that most people have not examined the evidence. Life is short and the list of conspiracy theories is long, and we all must exercise judgment about which things are worth our investment of time. I had assumed that conspiracy theories about 9/11 were below the threshold of possible credibility.

But then a fellow professor sent me an e-mail message that provided some of the relevant websites. Knowing her to be a sensible person, 1 looked up some of the material on the Internet, especially a massive timeline entitled "Was 9/11 Allowed to Happen"' by an independent researcher named Paul Thompson. [28] 1 was surprised, even amazed, to see - even though Thompson limits himself strictly to mainline sources [29] - how much evidence he had found that points to the conclusion that the Bush administration did indeed intentionally allow the attacks of 9/11 to happen. At about the same time, I happened to read Gore Vidal's Dreaming War: Blood for Oil and the Cheney-Bush Junta, which pointed me to the most extensive book on 9/11, The War on Freedom: How and Why America Was Attacked September 11, 2001, by Nafeez Ahmed, an independent researcher in England. [30] Ahmed's book provides an organized, extensively documented argument that directly challenges the accepted wisdom about 9/11, which is that it resulted from a "breakdown" within and among our intelligence agencies. [31] Ahmed, like Thompson, suggests that the attacks must have resulted from complicity in high places, not merely from incompetence in lower places. Ahmed's and Thompson's material taken together, I saw, provided a strong prima facie case for this contention, certainly strong enough to merit an extensive investigation by the American press, the US Congress, [32] and the 9/11 Independent Commission, [33] all of which had thus far operated on the assumption that 9/11 resulted from intelligence and communication failures.

I also saw, however, that the work of Thompson and Ahmed was not likely to reach very many of the American people. Thompson's timelines, while extremely helpful for researchers with the time and patience to work through them, were not easily readable by ordinary citizens, partly because they were available only online and partly because, as the name “timeline" indicates, the evidence was arranged chronologically rather than topically. [34] And, although Ahmed's evidence was in a book and was arranged topically, the book was quite long and contained far more material than needed to support the basic argument. Much of this additional material was, furthermore, in the book's early chapters, so that one had to work through several chapters before getting to the evidence that directly contradicted the official account. If the important information provided by Ahmed and Thompson were to reach many people, including busy members of Congress and the press, something else would be needed.

I decided, accordingly, to write a magazine article that would summarize the main evidence and also point interested readers to the studies of Thompson, Ahmed, and others presenting a “revisionist account” of 9/11. But that article grew into a book-length manuscript, because I soon found that, even though I tried to limit myself to the most important evidence, it was impossible within the confines of an article to present an intelligible account that would do justice to the evidence that has been provided by these researchers.

After I began writing, furthermore, I learned of the work of the previously mentioned French researcher, Thierry Meyssan, in particular his hypothesis that the aircraft that hit the Pentagon could not have been a Boeing 757, which is what Flight 77 was, but must have been a guided missile, When I first learned of this “revisionist hypothesis”, I - probably like most people now reading my report of it - assumed it was completely absurd. Surely the difference between a gigantic 757 and a relatively small missile is so great that if the Pentagon had been hit merely by a missile, Pentagon officials could not have convinced anyone that it was a 757! Did we not learn from press reports that the hole created in the side of the Pentagon was 200 feet wide and five stories high? Had we not learned from one of the passengers on Flight 77 -TV commentator Barbara Olson - that it was headed toward Washington? And had not eyewitnesses identified it? Virtually everyone, including most critics of the official account of 9/11, accepted the idea that the Pentagon was hit by
Flight 77. How could they all be wrong? Nevertheless, after I got Meyssan's books and read them for myself, I saw that his case, as absurd as it had seemed at first glance, is quite strong. I eventually became convinced, in fact, that it is with regard to the strike on the Pentagon that - assuming Meyssan's descriptions of the evidence to be accurate - the official account seems most obviously false. Or at least that it is tied for first place for this honor. The fact that the official account of the strike on the Pentagon is still widely accepted provides an especially good example, therefore, of the fact that most of the public has simply not been exposed to the relevant evidence. The present book seeks to bring together all the major strands of this evidence.

No previous book has done this. Ahmed's book, while easily the most comprehensive, does not have much of the evidence contained in Thompson's timelines and in Meyssan's books. And Meyssan's books, while containing important evidence not available elsewhere, do not have most of the information provided by Ahmed and Thompson. The same is true of the other most important book in English on the subject, Michel Chossudovsky's War and Globalisation: The Truth Behind September 11. As its subtitle indicates, it focuses on the background to 9/11, dealing with 9/11 itself only briefly. In the present book, I have brought together what seems to me the most important evidence found in these [35], and some other sources. [36]

The Book's Contents

As I see it, five major types of evidence have been raised against the official account. The first type, which involves inconsistencies and implausibilities in the official account of what happened on 9/11 itself, is discussed in the four chapters of Part I. The four other types of evidence are discussed in Part II. All this evidence is organized in terms of a number of "disturbing questions," [37] which are disturbing precisely because they suggest that the official account is, as the title of the English translation of Meyssan's first book on the subject calls it, a "big lie." [38] They are also disturbing because they suggest the “revisionist thesis” that the attacks of 9/11, which President Bush has rightly called evil were carried out with the complicity of some officials of the Bush administration itself.

In the Conclusion, I ask whether the best explanation of the evidence presented in the prior chapters is indeed, as the “revisionists” suggest,
official complicity in the attacks of 9/11. I then discuss the implications - the kind of investigation now needed.

Possible Meanings of "Official Complicity"

Although the “revisionist” writings on which this book draws charge official complicity in the attacks of 9/11, one thing missing in them is any careful discussion of just what they mean by "official complicity." There are at least eight possible views of what official complicity in the attacks of 9/11 might mean. In order that readers can decide, as they examine the evidence, which kind of official complicity, if any, the evidence supports, I list these eight possible views here in ascending order of seriousness - meaning the seriousness of the charge against the Bush administration that the view would imply.

1. Construction of a False Account: One possible view is that although US officials played no role in facilitating the attacks and did not even expect them, they constructed a false account of what really happened - whether
to protect National Security, to cover up potentially embarrassing facts, to exploit the attacks to enact their agenda, or for some other reason. Although this would be the least serious charge, it would be sufficiently serious for impeachment - especially if the president had lied about 9/11 for personal gain or to advance some pre-established agenda, such as attacking Afghanistan and Iraq.

2. Something Expected by Intelligence Agencies: A second possible view is that although they had no specific information about the attacks in advance, some US intelligence agencies - such as the FBI, the CIA, and some intelligence agencies of the US military - expected some sort of attacks to occur. Although they played no role in planning the attacks, they perhaps played a role in facilitating them in the sense of deliberately net taking steps to prevent them. Then, having done this without White House knowledge, they persuaded the White House after 9/11 not only to cover up their guilt, by constructing a false account, but also to carry out the agenda for which the attacks were intended to gain support.

3. Specific Events Expected by Intelligence Agencies: A third possible view is that intelligence agencies (but not the White House) had specific information about the timing and the targets of the attacks.

4. Intelligence Agencies Involved in Planning: A fourth possible view is that intelligence agencies (but not the White House) actively participated in planning the attacks.

5. Pentagon Involved in Planning: A fifth possible view is that the Pentagon (but not the White House) actively participated in planning the attacks.

6. Something Expected by White House: A sixth possible view is that although the White House had no specific knowledge of the attacks in advance, it expected some sort of attacks to occur and was a party to facilitating them, at least in the sense of not ordering that they be prevented. [39] This view allows for the possibility that the White House might have been shocked by the amount of death and destruction caused by the attacks that were actually carried out.

7. Specific Advance Knowledge by White House: A seventh possible view is that the White House had specific foreknowledge of the targets and the timing of the attacks.

8. White House Involved in Planning: An eighth possible view is that the White House was a party to planning the attacks.

As these possibilities show, a charge that 9/11 involved "complicity" or conspiracy 11 on the part of US officials can be understood in many ways, several of which do not involve active involvement in the planning, and most of which do not involve presidential involvement in this planning. One reason these distinctions are important is that they show that discussion of the idea of official complicity - whether such complicity is being charged or rejected - needs to be more nuanced than is often the case. For example, the charge that Jean Bedike Elshtain rejects as "preposterous" is the "charge that American officials, up to and including the president of the United States, engineered the attacks to bolster their popularity." [40] In so wording it, she not only equates the charge of official complicity with the eighth of the possible views listed above, which is the strongest charge, but also ties this charge to the imputation of a specific motive to the American officials allegedly involved-that of bolstering their own popularity. Having dismissed that highly specific charge as
preposterous, she evidently assumes that the whole idea of official complicity has been laid to rest. But there are many other possibilities.

For example, Michael Parenti, one of the few well-known leftist thinkers to have suggested some form of official complicity, points out, like Mahajan, that the attacks were so convenient that they have provoked suspicion: "The September terrorist attacks created such a serviceable pretext for reactionism at home and imperialist expansion abroad as to leave many people suspecting that the US government itself had a hand in the event." Parenti at first seems to dismiss this suspicion as completely as Mahajan, saying: "I find it hard to believe that the White House or the CIA actively participated in a conspiracy to destroy the World Trade Center and part of the Pentagon, killing such large numbers of Americans in order to create a casus belli against Afghanistan." [41]

Parenti, however, does not stop there. Citing an article by Patrick Martin, who refers to some facts suggesting official complicity, Parenti endorses Martin's conclusion - that although the US government did not plan the details of the attacks or anticipate that thousands of people would be killed, it "expected something to happen and looked the other way." [42] Parenti thereby illustrates the second or, more likely, the sixth of the possible views.

In any case, I have found, as I have said, that the “revisionists” have made a strong prima facie case for at least some version of the charge of official complicity, To say that they have made a convincing case would require a judgment that the evidence that they cite is reliable. And, although I have repeated only evidence that seemed credible to me, I have not independently verified the accuracy of this evidence. As the reader will see, this evidence is so extensive and of such a nature that no individual - especially no individual with very limited time and resources - could check out its accuracy. It is for this reason that I claim only that these “revisionists” have presented a strong prima facie case for official complicity, strong enough to merit investigations by those who do have the necessary resources to carry them out - the press and the US Congress. If a significant portion of the evidence summarized here holds up, the conclusion that the attacks of 9/11 succeeded because of official complicity would become virtually inescapable.

I should perhaps emphasize that it is not necessary for all of the evidence to stand up, given the nature of the argument. Some arguments
are, as we say; "only as strong as the weakest link." These are deductive arguments, in which each step in the argument depends on the truth of the previous step. If a single premise is found to be false, the argument fails. However, the argument for official complicity in 9/11 is a cumulative argument. This kind of argument is a general argument consisting of several particular arguments that are independent from each other. As such, each particular argument provides support for all the others. Rather than being like a chain, a cumulative argument is more like a cable composed of many strands. Each strand strengthens the cable. But if there are many strands, the cable can still hold a lot of weight even if some of them unravel. As the reader will see, there are many strands in the argument for official complicity in 9/11 summarized in this book. If the purported evidence on which some of these are based turns out to be unreliable, that would not necessarily undermine the overall argument. This cumulative argument would then simply be supported by fewer strands. And some of the strands are such that, if the evidence on which they are based is confirmed, the case could be supported by one or two of them. [43]

"Conspiracy Theories"

Before turning to the evidence, however, we should pause to consider the fact, to which allusion has been made, that it seems widely assumed that any such case can be rejected a priori by pointing out that it is a "conspiracy theory." Indeed, it almost seems to be a requirement of admission into public discourse to announce that one rejects conspiracy theories. What is the logic behind this thinking? It cannot be that we literally reject the very idea that conspiracies occur. We all accept conspiracy theories of all sorts. We accept a conspiracy theory whenever we believe that two or more people have conspired in secret to achieve some goal, such as to rob a bank, defraud customers, or fix prices. We would be more honest, therefore, if we followed the precedent of Michael Moore, who has said: "Now, I'm not into conspiracy theories, except the ones that are true. " [44]

To refine this point slightly, we can say that we accept all those conspiracy theories that we believe to be true, while we reject all those that we believe to be false. We cannot, therefore, divide people into those who accept conspiracy theories and those who reject them. The division between people on this issue involves simply the question of which conspiracy theories they accept and which ones they reject. [45]

To apply this analysis to the attacks of 9/11: It is false to suggest that those who allege that the attacks occurred because of official complicity are "conspiracy theorists" while those who accept the official account are not. People differ on this issue merely in terms of which conspiracy theory they hold to be true, or at least most probable. According to the official account, the attacks of 9/11 occurred because of a conspiracy among Muslims, with Osama bin Laden being the chief conspirator. “Revisionists” reject that theory, at least as a sufficient account of what happened, maintaining that the attacks cannot be satisfactorily explained without postulating conspiracy by officials of the US government, at least in allowing the attacks to succeed. The choice, accordingly, is simply between (some version of) the received conspiracy theory and (some version of) the revisionist conspiracy theory.

Which of these competing theories we accept depends, or at least should depend, on which one we believe to be better supported by the relevant facts. Those who hold the revisionist theory have become convinced that there is considerable evidence that not only suggests the falsity of the received conspiracy theory, which we are calling "the official account," but also points to the truth of the revisionist theory. I turn now to that evidence.

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