Here are part one, part two and part three of this conversation.
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EMF: What I meant when I said it was different to infer that the higher ups knew is that based on what I have read so far, it is harder to make that inference than to infer that there were those at the FBI and CIA who knew what was going to happen. Meaning I have seen nothing yet that directly links Cheney or Rumsfeld or Bush to that information, although the fact that Ashcroft was warned is some indication that cabinet level officials knew that there were warnings. I am only saying this based on what I have read, not that there isn't other information out there that would link them to this information.
I am not sure how to tell you which links didn't work on the Coincidence site since they didn't work, other than to say two of them were those that related to Palast and Wright. (There were many bad links there - too many for me to list.) Do you have links for those two sources?
The quote about the security tapes does not surprise me, given the fact that I am already inclined to believe that the FBI knew these guys and knew what they were going to do. Of course, that's still different than saying they assisted the terrorists, but morally not enough different for me.
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RS: I meant to say earlier that David Ray Griffin, the guy whose books I was recommending, also started out laughing at the "tinfoil" types who talked about US complicity - until he started looking at Paul Thompson's Timeline.
You can check out a PDF of his "New Pearl Harbor" book here. In the introduction to the book (page 8), he discusses his evolution. Again, I would not side with all of his opinions, but it's a good opening.
EMF: I read through Griffin's introduction, and it looks like a good place for me to continue reading (since he claims to synthesize what was in the two major books that preceded his). I am curious where you disagree with him - I think you said in an earlier email that it had to do with theories about the implosions and the Pentagon attack. You know I am already inclined to dismiss that stuff as both incredible and irrelevant. Does that then undermine Griffin's credibility otherwise? I want to see what I can learn of his background also.
I did like his 8 levels of complicity because it helps me map out my own questions about what the government knew, who knew it, and when they knew it. Is that the entire book on PDF? I hate reading on line, but it is pretty convenient (and cheap!) to do so. Perhaps once I have read the book, I will have a more clear sense of where I am.
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I am curious where you disagree with him - I think you said in an earlier email that it had to do with theories about the implosions and the Pentagon attack. You know I am already inclined to dismiss that stuff as both incredible and irrelevant.
Yeah, thinking of what issues should be highlighted, it's more of a disagreement with his emphasis than his theories. Controlled demolition might be completely silly or it might be the only logical possibility. I don't know. When I read stuff from each side, it all seems plausible, plus I tend to glaze over. The fact that the official reports cannot explain the collapses is interesting (by the way, they long ago disavowed the pancake theory that was talked about right after the attacks).
Does that then undermine Griffin's credibility otherwise? I want to see what I can learn of his background also.
Some people think so. I don't. If he makes a solid, thought-provoking point about A, but also wants to spend his time on B, that doesn't necessarily make A invalid. Now, if he was promoting some of what I think are the more idiotic theories - like there were no planes used and it was all special-effects and faked video - then I might tend to ignore him completely.
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EMF: I have not given up exploring the 9/11 issue, but have been rather overwhelmed with work and family matters and the regular news and so have not had much change to look at Griffin's book until today. I have not read every word, but focused on the matters that are most credible and important to me.
Thus, I focused on the first chapter regarding the failure of NORAD to intercept the planes and on the attempts to frustrate FBI investigations in one of the later chapters. I also looked at a piece by Chip Bertel criticising Griffin's book, but which focused primarily on the claim that the Pentagon was hit by a missile, not a commercial jet. Bertel, however, also pointed out something that bothered me about the other parts of Griffin's book that I focused on. Griffin does not fully discuss the arguments and evidence that have been presented by the government or others to explain these matters. Thus, as a reader, I am left feeling like I am not hearing the whole story. Hearing only one side leaves me wondering what I am missing.
I felt this most strongly in reading a bit of the chapter on why the buildings fell. I do not know anything about the science of this, so why should I believe the scientific claims of Griffin and those he cites any more than the scientific claims of those who say the buildings fell as a result of fire and impact from the planes? Thus, I just dismissed (and stopped reading) those chapters.
So where I am today on all this? I am fairly well persuaded that the government failed to act in accordance with its SOP with respect to the hijacked planes and that there were those within the government who were blocking full investigations of some of the individuals who later were implicated in the attacks. I remain undecided on the question of what Bush knew and whether those high in the government - Cheney/Rumsfeld in particular - knew this was going to happen and wanted it to happen. And I doubt we will ever know for sure, so I am willing to accept that possibility without saying that I am convinced of it for sure.
I still think that all the focus in Griffin's book (and in other 9/11 Truth materials) on the implosion theory, the missile theory, etc., are distracting and damaging to the truly important issues about government knowledge and complicity. Like those who said it was a Jewish/Israeli plot, those theories are just so far fetched that they make the rest of the more credible claims less believable. Someone needs to write about the core matters and omit that material.
What troubles me (about myself) is that somehow I missed so much of this, even though most of what Griffin reports on NORAD, the FBI, etc., was in the mainstream press, although presented perhaps so piecemeal and scattered that the whole picture was never made clear. Was I just in denial? Did the press just not make enough of this at the time? I am a fairly well informed person and read the NY Times every day, watch the news media on TV, and yet I never saw the big picture. I am not only disappointed in the press and in the government, but more importantly, I am disappointed in myself.
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Griffin does not fully discuss the arguments and evidence that has been presented by the government or others to explain these matters. Thus, as a reader, I am left feeling like I am not hearing the whole story. Hearing only one side leaves me wondering what I am missing.
That's entirely fair. In his book on the Commission Report, however, he goes through the Report and tries to match it up with the ton of contradictory evidence. This first book is certainly weaker, but I did not go back and read any of it. Any specific spots where you really saw this flaw?
I felt this most strongly in reading a bit of the chapter on why the buildings fell. I do not know anything about the science of this, so why should I believe the scientific claims of Griffin and those he cites any more than the scientific claims of those who say the buildings fell as a result of fire and impact from the planes?
That's my problem, too, though the bomb people are starting to make more sense to me. Plus I think that people will shy away in general from the idea of preplanned bombs. I may be wrong though - the collapses do look a lot like demolitions.
I remain undecided on the question of what Bush knew and whether those high in the government - Cheney/Rumsfeld in particular - knew this was going to happen and wanted it to happen.
Well, they certainly wanted it - or were thrilled it happened. I don't think there's any doubt of that. Look at all they have been able to do because of it.
Like those who said it was a Jewish/Israeli plot, those theories are just so far fetched that they make the rest of the more credible claims less believable.
Israeli spies in the US were tracking the hijackers for months, if not years. That's clear. But so was the US. And the agencies of other countries followed them when they were outside the US (Germany, for example). And they were clearly being protected by higher-ups in the US govt, being able to come and go from the US with expired passports and outstanding arrest warrants and being photographed and bugged when they attended Al-Qaeda meetings abroad.
Right after the attack, it was reported that five hijackers had received training at US military bases and at least three of the hijackers listed US military bases as their main address on their drivers licenses. Evidence at the Moussaoui trial showed that the email address of one of the hijackers (Jarrah) was that of a US defense contractor. Many of Atta's email contacts were also defense contractors.
What troubles me (about myself) is that somehow I missed so much of this, even though most of what Griffin reports on NORAD, the FBI, etc., was in the mainstream press, although presented perhaps so piecemeal and scattered that the whole picture was never made clear. Was I just in denial? Did the press just not make enough of this at the time?
The media made no big deal out of any of this. Things were reported one day (often buried far away from the front page) and then dropped. More importantly, when another "dot" was reported, the press made every effort to not mention the other connections they had previously reported. Even if it happened only a few days later. Every story was told in isolation, with almost no context. It is only through something like Thompson's Timeline that you can see all of these thousands of bits of information and try to put it all together. (There are contradictory reports about some events/items, but that can be informative as well.)
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That's entirely fair. I know in his book on the Commission Report, he goes through the Report and tries to match it up with the ton of contradictory evidence. This first book is certainly weaker, but I did not go back and read any of it. Any specific spots where you really saw this flaw?
I would like to know how the government explains why the warnings were ignored and why NORAD did not follow SOP. Since these things seem to be undisputed or at least indisputable, I assume the government has given some explanation. Also, what is their response to the claims that FBI investigations were thwarted? And how do they explain giving "free passes" to the hijackers? Why aren't their explanations credible? I found Griffin's chapter on the timing of the hijackings and the failure to intercept the planes most compelling, and I am interested in how the government explained that tragic failure to act.
The chapter about Bush's day I also found quite fascinating (I know it was based on what you had written previously), and the inconsistencies in Bush's accounts are troubling. But couldn't they also be explained by the fact that he was trying to keep a calm exterior to keep the country relatively calm? I mean, the guy is a big enough jerk for me to believe that he thought (or was advised) that he could not communicate panic or the country would turn to panic and chaos. What is the government's explanation for those inconsistencies and for Bush's bizarre behavior?
Well, they certainly wanted it -- or were thrilled it happened. I don't think there's any doubt of that. Look at all the have been able to do because of it.
I agree that they used it to their every advantage, but that is different from planning it or sponsoring it or even sitting back and allowing it to happen.
Israeli spies in the US were tracking the hijackers for months, if not years. That's clear.
Tracking the hijackers is not necessarily suspicious in and of itself. But what I was referring to were those assholes who claimed Jews did not show up at work on 9/11 at the WTC because they were forewarned of the attacks. Those claims make my blood boil.
My current state of mind is that there is certainly enough evidence to suggest that the government, or those within the government, were aware that something was being planned and that they did not aggressively do what was necessary to stop it. There is also evidence that leaves open to question whether there were those in the government who actually participated in the attacks, at least to the extent that they let them happen intentionally.
But there is also the possibility that many people in the government were just incompetent or unwilling to believe that anyone could and would pull off an attack of this scale. After all, if someone had said to me on 9/10/01 that a group of terrorists was going to fly planes into the WTC and the Pentagon, I would have suggested an immediate trip to their psychiatrist to get their meds adjusted.
Having said that, I find it very disturbing that so little has been made of what is not even disputed: ignoring warnings, not following SOP, frustrating investigations, etc. In some ways this reminds me of Watergate, where it took over two years for the full story to even START to come out, two years after Nixon was re-elected. But now it is going on seven years since 9/11, and the consequences of that were obviously far worse than Nixon's re-election (as disastrous as that was), and yet the facts are still not being explored or investigated in any widespread way. I keep wondering why, especially in an election year, the Democrats aren't all over this story. Are they afraid of being portrayed as unpatriotic, as weak on terrorism, or are they also afraid of what would be uncovered once Pandora's box is opened?
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[This was not part of the original conversation.]
I would like to know how the government explains why the warnings were ignored and why NORAD did not follow SOP. Since these things seem to be undisputed or at least indisputable, I assume the government has given some explanation.... I am interested in how the government explained that tragic failure to act.
Bush/Cheney et al have offered only lame excuses and explanations, and the so-called liberal media [sic], along with the Democrats, have accepted those statements at face value. They contain obvious contradictions, but no one has bothered to follow-up. To my knowledge, no one has even pointed out the outright impossibility of something like Bush's statement that he watched the first crash on live television.
As I said earlier, the military and NORAD have offered six different accounts of the military's non-response on the morning of 9/11. The 9/11 Commission, in its final report, put forth a seventh account.
Think about it:
How is it possible that the most powerful military in human history allowed four hijacked planes to travel hundreds of miles off course, through the most crowded airspace in the world, and crash into three buildings (and not just any three buildings, but the two WTC towers and the Pentagon), without making one single attempt for roughly 90 minutes to investigate any of the planes?
It defies belief.
Each story they have advanced to explain their inaction has been an attempt to stuff the gaping holes in their previous excuse. Nothing they have said makes any sense. They just keep throwing stuff against the wall and hope it sticks - but no one seems to care.
The US government has also offered no proof that bin Laden or Al Qaeda had anything to do with the attacks. They've offered absolutely zero evidence that the 19 men they say are the hijackers have been positively identified.
All they have done is make statements and expect the public to accept them without any evidence. And sadly, for the most part, the American public has. But since we have been shown over and over and over again, that these people have lied about everything, why should we trust them when they attempt to explain what happened on September 11, 2001?
Earlier this year, I read the book War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning, by Christopher Hedges. I blogged about it here, here, here and here.
Hedges studied and analyzed war, both historically and across different cultures. He writes about how governments whip populations into a war frenzy. In this almost (and sometimes literally) insane state, the people don't merely accept that war is necessary, they relish it. They have a blood lust. It's like a lynch mob on a grander scale. The normal social checks are ditched, all morality is put on hold, and they'll do or condone nearly anything in the name of their war.
Later, when the fog lifts, society hides the evidence and everyone pretends it didn't happen. Truth-telling of the kind seen in Winter Soldier is rare. Usually there is no healing, there is just a numb moving on.
Hedges writes that one of the necessary precursors to this war frenzy is the population perceiving themselves as weakened and threatened, either from without or within. But how could people in the US ever see themselves as weak or threatened? No known country would dare to attack the United States. It would be suicidal.
But without that perceived threat, how will the populace buy the war? The government can't force the war down the people's throats. There has to be a willing acceptance of it, at least from a large portion of the people.
Hedges never mentions September 11 in this context. But over and over, and in light of what I hope you've read here, I kept thinking, That's how they did it.