9/11 is the Litmus Test
How can we know who to trust?
That’s been the question for any American who bothers to get involved with politics here. We know the system is corrupt, we know the politicians don’t give a fuck about us, we know things are getting worse, so who can we trust?
For myself the answer was Bernie Sanders. I trusted Bernie Sanders because he joined the Congress in 1991 and spent 30 years being right on most every major issue. He was right on NAFTA, he was right on GATT, he was right on China and the WTO, he was right on Glass-Steagall, he was right about Alan Greenspan, he was right on Medicare for All, he was right on both Iraq wars, and he was right about all those things when everyone else in the US government was wrong. And then he lost and I was left back at the beginning, wondering who I could trust.
I trusted Bernie Sanders. I don’t trust the next generation of his acolytes, or the squad as they are called. There’s many reasons, I think they’re careerists pushing their own media profiles rather than trying to change anything, I think their use of divisive identitarian rhetoric protects the status quo, I think Alexandria Occasio Cortez in particular has been working in tandem with the FBI in fomenting an unconstitutional domestic war on terrorism. However I’ll acknowledge that they just haven’t had time to build up a 30 year record the way Bernie Sanders did. Maybe after another 30 years I would trust them.
Expecting every politician to spend 30 years earning our trust is not really a solution in a society with urgent problems that need addressing now. Fortunately it’s not necessary. I’ve found that there is an instant litmus test for trust in American politics. Any member of the squad, or any member of congress for that matter, could earn my trust tomorrow. And not any sort of fleeting trust, a permanent ride or die trust. The ‘I will take a bullet for you’ trust. To do so does not require any great or impossible action. They could do it in a tweet or an instagram story, and I know tweeting and making instagram stories is not something the squad finds difficult. The only thing any politician has to do to earn my trust is this:
Just say just one fucking word of truth about 9/11.
When I say ‘truth about 9/11’ maybe you roll your eyes, maybe you see the mental image of tinfoil hats in your head or remember stoned conversions in your dorm room with the roommate who just watched Zeitgeist. For the longest time I felt the same way. I used to trust Popular Mechanic, and Democracy Now, and Matt Taibbi. They all said I should roll my eyes and see tinfoil hats when people say the phrase ‘truth about 9/11’.
We already know the truth about 9/11, right? 19 Muslims hijacked 4 airplanes at the direction of another Muslim in a cave in Afghanistan and together they carried out the largest terrorist attack in US history without any help, funding, or training from the CIA, Saudi intelligence, or the Mossad. The majority of the hijackers spoke no English and had never lived in the United States but nobody, besides that guy in the cave in Afghanistan, helped them get apartments, drivers licenses, or flying lessons while they were here. We already know the truth.
The basis of what we are assured is “the truth” about 9/11 is the 2004 9/11 commission report. Interestingly enough top Democrats have recently talked this report up when speaking about their desire to investigate the capitol riot of January 6th, 2021. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stated her wish to create a “9/11-type commission” for this purpose. I think it’s worth listing a few facts that you may or may not know about the actual 9/11 commission.
More than 25% of the citations in the 9/11 commission report rely on detainee interrogations conducted under torture: This rather remarkable statistic was compiled by NBC news, which determined that 441 of the more than 1700 footnotes in the report relied on CIA detainee interviews where torture was used. The 9/11 Commission had originally requested face to face interviews with Al Qaeda detainees such as Khalid Sheik Mohammed and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. This was blocked by the CIA and the White House. Instead the commission was allowed to submit questions to the CIA who would ask them of the detainees and return the answers in written form to the Commission. Whether or not the CIA accurately conveyed the questions to the detainees and the answers back to the Commission is unknown but it is not in dispute that no American court of law accepts any evidence obtained under torture. I do not expect that when Nancy Pelosi calls for a “9-11 type commission” for the Capitol riot that she wants the most important witnesses to be waterboarded 83 times, but I might support her if that was the case.
Links between elements of the Saudi government and the hijackers were downplayed or covered up by the Commission: In Phillip Shenon’s book The Commission we learn that two of the alleged hijackers, Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi, spent time in San Diego where they were assisted by employees of the Saudi Arabian government. We further learn that these two members of the San Diego cell had been placed under surveillance by the CIA when they attended an Al Qaeda summit in Malaysia in January 2000, that the CIA knew their passports had entry visas to the United States, and that the CIA ‘lost track’ of them and did not alert the FBI to their presence in the United States until August 2001. Oh and the FBI agent assigned to the CIA station which was tracking them attempted to send a cable to notify the FBI but was blocked by CIA agent Tom Wilshire. Cool.
At this point no one can dispute that agents of Saudi intelligence assisted some of the alleged hijackers. Well, except for the 9/11 commission, which disputes that. The Commission refers to Omar al-Bayoumi, one of the Saudis who aided the San Diego cell, as a “gregarious” man and “an unlikely candidate for clandestine involvement with Islamist extremists.” They accept his story that he simply overheard the two speaking Arabic at an outdoor restaurant in Los Angeles then immediately invited them to move to San Diego, co-signed their lease, and gave them $1,500 to pay their rent. Bayoumi had supposedly been a student at San Diego State University since moving to the US in 1994 but only ever attended the fall 1994 semester and from that time on had his expenses and salary paid by the Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation for what appears to be a ghost job. Just recently family members of 9/11 victims filed a complaint with the DOJ inspector general alleging that the FBI either improperly handled or deliberately destroyed evidence that they are seeking for their lawsuit against Saudi Arabia. Among the missing evidence is a videotape Omar Al-Bayoumi recorded of the two hijackers at a party in San Diego. Nothing to see here.
For seemingly political reasons “much of [the 9/11 commission's] most damning material [on Saudi Arabia] was moved to the report’s footnotes” (Shenon, p. 399). Executive director Philip Zelikow fired an investigator, Dana Lesemann, who was doggedly pursuing the Saudi Arabia connection (Shenon, p. 111-113). While the San Diego-Saudi Arabia connection was minimized and downplayed by the Commission the Sarasota-Saudi Arabia connection does not appear in the report at all.
The Sarasota connection is the fact that during the year between July 2000 and July 2001 that Mohammed Atta and two other alleged hijackers spent living in Florida they repeatedly visited and spoke by phone with a wealthy and powerful Saudi citizen with a house in Sarasota, Florida. That house was lived in by “Abdulazzi al-Hijji and his wife, Anoud, and some small children'' and owned by Anoud’s father, Esam Ghazzawi, who just so happens to have a signed photograph of himself with George H.W. Bush (not that that is evidence of criminal activity but I do think it is probable cause). Abdulazzi al-Hijji and his family would flee that house and move back to Saudi Arabia two weeks before the attacks, leaving in such a hurry that they left behind mail on the table, dirty diapers in the bathroom, clothes in the closets, a computer, a full refrigerator, and three cars in the driveway including a “brand-new Chrysler PT Cruiser.” Abdulazzi al-Hijji would end up in London working for the Saudi state oil company Aramco. Neither he nor his father in law were ever mentioned in or questioned as part of the 9/11 Commission report.
The executive director of the 9/11 Commission had numerous disqualifying conflicts of interest: 9/11 commission executive director Philip Zelikow was by all accounts the most powerful person on the inquiry. He controlled “more than anyone else...what the final report would say” (Shenon, p. 390), he had the power to choose which witnesses were called and not called, and he enforced an information stovepiping rule whereby none of the staff investigators could talk to any one of the 10 members of the 9/11 commission without going through him first. He was also for all intents and purposes a member of the Bush White House.
He had written a book with Condoleezza Rice and considered her a close friend. He was in regular contact with both Rice and White House political director Karl Rove throughout the investigation (he ordered his secretary to stop logging his calls to and from the White House). He served on the George W. Bush 2000 transition team where he encouraged his friend Rice to demote Richard Clarke, who would become an important part of the very investigation he oversaw. At the direction of Rice he authored a paper for the White House in 2002 which served as the basis of their doctrine of preemptive war against Iraq. And then after all of that when the report was complete he formally joined the Bush White House, serving as Counselor to Secretary of State Rice. It’s hard to think of somebody less qualified to oversee the investigation of the Bush White House than an actual employee of it.
Bush and Cheney spoke together before the commission, were not placed under oath, and no written record was kept of what they said: A basic rule of detective TV shows is to put suspects in different rooms and see if they tell the same story. You’d think if it was good enough for Law and Order SVU it would be good enough for the investigators of the largest homicide in American history. Alas the Stabler/Benson rule wasn’t followed in the questioning of the President and the Vice President by the 9/11 Commission. Not only were they allowed to be interviewed together but neither of them were sworn under oath and no written transcript was kept of anything they said. Both men are still alive and this could easily be rectified with a new investigation.
The 9/11 commission covered up insider trading by people who knew 9/11 was coming: There are now three different econometric papers in peer reviewed journals that each establish a near certain probability of informed insider trading being carried out before the attacks by persons with pre-knowledge. The strategies included shorts on American and United Airlines, shorts on the broader S&P 500 index, and shorts on companies such as Morgan Stanley which had offices in the World Trade Center. There were also suspicious purchases of stock, like the security company Stratesec, which almost doubled in value when the markets reopened September 17, 2001.
The 9/11 commission does briefly address some (but not all) of these trades in a rather careful fashion ultimately concluding “[s]ome unusual trading did in fact occur, but each such trade proved to have an innocuous explanation.” They only provide one example of such an innocuous explanation, pointing to an options trading newsletter faxed to subscribers on September 9th to explain shorts on United Airlines which were entered on September 6th. More importantly all 3 of the above papers were published after the 9/11 commission wound down in 2004 and have never been addressed or responded to by any US investigative body. When a researcher filed a Freedom of Information Act request to get the documentary evidence the 9/11 commission used to conclude there had been no insider trading they received a response that “the potentially responsive records have been destroyed.” The models used by the papers showing insider trading are readily available.
Several prominent US government officials received advance warning of the attacks: Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, of fucking Vice President Kamala Harris fame, tells a rather odd story. Immediately after the attacks he let it be known that he had received a phone call the night before warning him not to fly to New York in the morning. Who called him with this warning? He would only say his “security people at the airport.” Similarly Newsweek reported that some top pentagon brass received an “urgent warning” the night before the attacks causing them to cancel their planned trips. During the month of July 2001 Attorney General John Ashcroft stopped taking commercial aircraft entirely and began exclusively flying private chartered jets. That same month on July 12, 2001 he interrupted the acting FBI director during a briefing on Al Qaeda threats to tell him “There’s nothing I can do about that...I don't want you to ever talk to me about al-Qaeda, about those threats. I don't want to hear about al-Qaeda anymore." So why did he take these threats seriously enough to change his personal flying behavior but not seriously enough to take any action at the Justice Department? I would like to hear him answer that under oath.
I could go on. And on and on and on. I’ve limited the above facts to those that can be sourced to mainstream news outlets that nobody disputes. I’m not relying on any websites that link to the protocols of the elders of zion or that sell brain pills with untested amounts of heavy metals in them. I’m not even getting into the weeds of Norman Mineta’s testimony to the 9/11 commission and Dick Cheney’s lies about the timeline, or the ABC news report regarding the Mossad agents in New Jersey observed celebrating as they watched the towers burn, or the reports of the CIA station chief meeting with Osama Bin Laden in Dubai in July 2001, or the fact that the 9/11 commission itself admits it didn’t have time to review all relevant NSA documents (Shenon, p. 373), or the Able Danger whistleblower the commission ignored, or the fact that the commission members believed they were lied to by the pentagon, or CIA director George Tenet’s perjury etc etc etc.
I’m not going to spend any time on Tower 7 or thermite explosives or jet fuel melting steel beams or any of that shit because I’m not an engineer. I don’t fucking know. What I do know is that the collection of evidence above, and even more that I held back for the sake of brevity, has convinced me beyond any doubt that the 9/11 commission was a fraud and a joke. The official government body charged with investigating the largest homicide in American history was a cover up. Why doesn’t anybody care? Patton Oswald’s dead wife wrote a bestseller about 13 unsolved murders dating from 40 years ago. Shouldn’t 2,996 unsolved murders from 20 years ago get as much attention?
My question above is partly rhetorical. Most of the media does not care because there are strict boundaries for mainstream political discourse that do not permit those who want the easy money, no work career of doling out their half-assed opinion to dabble in these sorts of issues. Even reliable leftist dissidents and critics of the US government such as Noam Chomsky, Chris Hedges, and Aaron Mate are willing to take the 9/11 Commission report and the George W. Bush administration at face value on this issue. None of them can offer any response to any of the evidence I’ve presented here except for the understandable fact that they’d like to continue appearing on Democracy Now and being published by The Nation.
The fact that 9/11 truth is a third rail in US politics is precisely why it is to me the litmus test of political trust. I’ve seen enough fucking careerists in politics and the media. I sent that snake Alexandria Ocasio Cortez $27 that I’ll never get back. You want my trust? Show me that you’re willing to lock yourself out of this vile system for the sake of the truth. Fuck the cocktail parties and the book publishing deals and the MSNBC appearances. Show me that the truth of who murdered 2,996 people on September 11th matters more to you than all of that.
There are some who argue these questions of who is truly responsible for 9/11 don’t really matter, it’s all in the past. I very much disagree. The last US troops left Afghanistan on August 30th, 2021 but we’re still living in the same post 9/11 world that put them there. The 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force is still in effect, it’s still being cited as the legal basis for US military actions in at least 14 different countries including Djibouti, the Philippines, and Kenya. We still have the Patriot Act and have come to accept as a fact of life warrantless unconstitutional mass surveillance of our entire population. The US Federal government still claims the right to kill and indefinitely detain US citizens without trial. We have been in a national state of emergency for 20 years now, with numerous classified executive orders attached to that. We are living under a quasi military dictatorship totally unknown to any previous generation of Americans. The justification for all of these things is that we were attacked by 19 Muslim terrorists on 9/11. I don’t know how you even begin to undo this tyranny without making people aware that the real story is a little more complicated.
There are those who say all of this is just a fool’s errand. Any government powerful enough to cover up 9/11 this long would never allow you to expose them. While it is true that the US national security state is undeniably powerful it is not omnipotent. The George W. Bush White House did not want any 9/11 Commission at all, they yielded to public pressure to create one. Nobody in the US security state wanted the families to be able to sue Saudi Arabia, the congress yielded to public pressure and overrode Barack Obama’s veto to allow them to do so. In my opinion 9/11 truth is an organizing issue: it offers one of those rare occasions where mass popular coalitions between the left and the right are possible. We don’t have to agree on abortion or guns to demand with one voice that the federal government stop fucking lying about this.
Donald Rumsfeld died recently and while I certainly don’t mourn him it is bittersweet that he got to take his place in hell without ever going under oath to answer questions about his odd behaviors both on and leading up to that day. It’s a reminder that we’re running out of time. Dick Cheney is on his 7th pig heart by now. If we want to interview these people, if we want a real investigation of this monstrous crime, we gotta start today.
If you feel so compelled please urge your Senators and Congressperson to sponsor the Bobby Mcilvaine Act to empower a new congressional select committee to investigate the events of 9/11. You have my promise that any politician or commentator who does so will, whatever our other disagreements, earn my trust.