The many 'truths' behind 9-11
CONSIDER THE CURIOUS CASE OF THE LATE former FBI agent John O'Neil. Stationed in Yemen, he was looking into possible links between Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda organization and the October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole when he was pulled off the investigation for being "too aggressive," as the American ambassador to the Arab country put it at the time.
The real concern, conspiracy theorists allege, is that O'Neil knew too much about Al Qaeda's ties to oil-rich Saudi Arabia, arguably America's most important ally in the volatile Middle East. To protect its client and the flow of its oil, the U.S. government prevented a top investigator from nailing Bin Laden months before the Sept. 11 attacks.
O'Neill soon retired and, in a bizarre twist of fate, became head of security at the World Trade Center.
On Sept. 10, 2001, O'Neil, who had been in the New York office of the FBI for seven years before his Yemen post, had dinner with an expert on terrorism devices who would quote him later as saying that "at least nothing happened on my watch." The next morning O'Neil died in the towers, "killed," as one Website put it, "by the terrorist the Bush administration refused to allow him to pursue."
That scenario is tame compared to some of the conspiracy theories floating around out there. From Oliver Stone's JFK to the X-Files, Americans have always had a penchant for conspiracy theories, and 9-11 was no different. Everyone from UFO investigators to self-proclaimed experts on the Kennedy assassination have added their voices to the clamor; the cottage industry in 9-11 theories has produced several books and innumerable webpages. Here are a few of the front-runners, long shots and lame ducks of the 9-11 conspiracy theory world:
IT'S THE OIL, STUPID
Theory: The Bush administration allowed 9-11 to happen as an excuse to intervene in Afghanistan so an oil pipeline could be built.
Evidence: According to the BBC, senior U.S. officials told Pakistani Foreign Secretary Niaz Naik in July that he should expect military action in Afghanistan by mid-October. This is supposed to have provoked Al Qaeda into pre-emptive action. Meanwhile, a consortium of oil companies -- including Halliburton, Vice President Dick Cheney's former outfit -- was pushing for a pipeline to be built from the oil fields along the Caspian Sea, through Afghanistan and Pakistan and onward to the Indian Ocean.
Historical precedent: The theory that FDR cut off Japanese oil supplies in the South Pacific knowing that they would be forced to attack, and then waited for Pearl Harbor to happen.
THE HIJACKERS WEREN'T THE PILOTS
Theory: The planes involved in the Sept. 11 attacks were actually controlled from the ground by some third party.
Evidence: Global Hawk technology, which allows planes to be piloted through ground-based remote control, was installed on the planes -- and hacked into from the ground. This explains the "fighter-jet-like" maneuvers supposedly performed by some of the planes.
Historical precedent: Not many. World War II Kamikazes seemed to do fine without remote control.
THE WTC WAS BOOBY-TRAPPED
Theory: The designer of the World Trade Center said it was built to withstand a plane crash. So why didn't it? It was rigged with explosives.
Evidence: According to the Albuquerque Journal, New Mexico's largest newspaper, a demolitions expert named Van Romero believes that explosive devices planted in the towers brought them down after the planes hit. Other experts have commented that the collapses resembled controlled demolitions. Also, the investigation into the cause of the collapse was a "farce," according to Fire Engineering Magazine, an industry journal for firemen and fire investigators, because all of the evidence was toted away in record time immediately afterwards.
Historical precedent: If conspiracy Websites are to be believed, the same kind of thing happened with the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995 (no fertilizer bomb could have caused that sort of damage). Incidentally, a Maryland-based company, Controlled Demolitions, handled the clean-up of both disasters. Are you getting the picture?
THE ENEMY IS US
Theory: A more extreme version of the theory that the U.S. government allowed it happen.
Evidence: Osama bin Laden was in the employ of the CIA for years during the Carter and Reagan administrations, so how could someone in the government not have known of the plot? And anyway, get real. Who's a more likely culprit for a caper of this magnitude: vicious fundamentalists living in caves on the other side of the world or shadowy operatives in America's military-industrial complex?
The legislation expanding government police powers all over the United States needed some kind of excuse. So does the coming war with Iraq, likely to prove lucrative to the American oil industry. And not that you'd know it from the mainstream media, but Bush family interests in the defense industry, such as the Carlyle group, have received boosts from war-related spending.
Historical precedent: The burning of the Reichstag by the Nazis in pre- World War II Germany. They blamed it on the Communists and used it as an excuse to consolidate their power, centralize police control and, chillingly, create an office of homeland security.
THE HIJACKERS WERE ZOMBIES
Theory: Mind Control Devices were implanted in the minds of the hijackers a decade ago, back when they were students of Islam.
Evidence: According to conspiracy theorist extraordinaire, H. Michael Sweeney, he has a first-hand statement from an eye-witness to a conversation between Department of Defense types and a professor researching millimeter wave technology (microwave-like signals that control thoughts). The subject of the discussion? Implanting devices in unwitting Islamic students. The technology, referred to as "The voice of God which cannot be disobeyed," allows you to hold a two-way dialogue with the victim's thoughts using an ordinary radio.
Historical precedent: None. This is cutting edge!
"9-11 was the trigger" for a sticker/postcard campaign masterminded by Garberville resident Mark Huntington. "I knew the government was going to clamp down on civil liberties and that wars would be fired up," he explained.
Huntington has printed over 20,000 copies of the "Afghanistan: open for business" card. It parodies a campaign spearheaded by San Francisco mayor Willie Brown last winter with posters showing a shopping bag decorated with an American flag and the slogan "America: open for business."
On the back of Huntington's card are factoids pulled from Ahmed Rashid's book, Taliban.
-- Andrew Edwards
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