“In the course of our investigation into the national response to the attacks, the 9/11 Commission staff discovered that the official version of what had occurred (the morning of September 11, 2001) – that is, what government and military officials had told Congress, the Commission, the media and the public about who knew what when – was almost entirely, and inexplicably untrue.”
– John Farmer, senior counsel to the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States
We are one month away from the thirteenth anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001. Since that time, America has undergone great changes as a result of the ensuing War on Terror. A number of wars have been launched by the American government and its allies. Questionable surveillance and security measures have been put into place, all in the name of keeping the people safe. Many Americans accept these changes as consequences of living in a post-9/11 world, where terror lurks behind every corner.
However, a growing number of individuals in America and around the world continue to question the events of that day, where the funding originated from, and who benefits from shunning any such questioning. Those asking these tough questions include survivors and family members of those who lost their lives on that fateful day. Despite the efforts of the corporate owned media to portray the 9/11 Truth movement as disrespectful or un-American, many people are realizing there are legitimate reasons why any critically thinking individual should support a new investigation into the attacks. Today we take a look at six of those reasons.
1. Lawsuits Against Saudi Arabia
Once it became clear that the Bush Administration was dragging its feet when it came to investigating 9/11, family members began investigations of their own and demanding the government do the same. As early as 2003 it had been reported by the New York Times that congressional reports pointed toward involvement of Saudi citizens, working at the behest of the Saudi government, in the funding of individuals responsible for the attacks. Because of this, family members, survivors, and insurance companies have been pursuing justice by attempting to sue various Saudi Arabian officials, and citizens, as well as charities, banks, and other organizations accused of financing the attacks.
The cases have been bogged down in bureaucracy and diplomatic immunity. First, in 2005 a federal District Court judge in New York said Saudi Arabia could not be sued. In 2008 an appeals court agreed with that ruling. In May 2009, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Elena Kagan – at that time serving as U.S. solicitor general – urged the Supreme Court not to allow arguments against Saudi Arabia to proceed. The court agreed with Justice Kagan. Those decisions have recently been reversed however, and the lawsuits are now allowed to go forth. There is a catch however.
In late June of this year the Supreme Court ruled that lawsuits by family members and survivors could proceed, however, the justices allowed a previous ruling from a lower court which dismissed claims against 25 defendants, to stand. This means that relatives of Osama bin Laden and Saudi businesses reportedly connected to al-Qaida would not be allowed as defendants. This decision has angered critics, especially in light of the fact that two days after the 9/11 attacks, while all flight traffic was grounded, members of the bin Laden family were allowed to fly out of the county. Close financial ties between the United States and the Saudi Arabian government has made the situation precarious for U.S. officials who do not wish to embarrass their allies. Several times Judges have ruled that Saudi Arabia is entitled to immunity under the federal Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.
With the recent Supreme Court ruling it may only be a matter of time before the victims family members find the justice they seek. While public officials proclaim to be working to support the family members, there seems to be a concerted effort to keep certain details from being released. In February 2014, watchdog group Judicial Watch revealed 79 pages of documents from the FBI further detailing the Saudi connection.
2. 28-Page Classified Report
Immediately following the attacks family members called for an investigation into what happened and what went wrong. This lead to the formation of the Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities before and after the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001, the official name for the report completed by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. The investigation began in February 2002, and the report was released in December 2002.
When the final report was released it amounted to over 800 pages. Despite the lengthy report critics immediately pointed towards 28 pages that had been classified. Since the report was first released in late 2002 family members and lawmakers have fought to release the classified pages. In December 2013, Representatives Walter Jones (R-NC) and Stephen Lynch (D-MA) introduced Resolution 428, calling on President Obama to make the pages public. The resolution has received bi-partisan support.
Representative Jones has said the 28 pages will be an embarrassment to the administration, while Thomas Massie (R-KY) said while reading the documents he “had to stop every couple of pages and absorb and try to rearrange my understanding of history for the past 13 years and the years leading up to that. It challenges you to rethink everything,” he said at a press conference discussing the bill. In order to view the documents they had to sit in a soundproof room without taking notes.
Former Senator Bob Graham of Florida, co-chair of the joint Senate-House investigation, recently told VICE News that the redactions are a “cover up.” Graham stated, “It’s become more and more inexplicable as to why two administrations have denied the American people information that would help them better understand what happened on 9/11.”
On several occasions President Obama promised family members that the classified pages would be released.
3. 9/11 Commission Members Embarrassed and Set up to Fail
Four hundred and forty two days after the attacks the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, also known as the 9/11 Commission, was established. The commission was chaired by five democrats and five republicans. The Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, or 9/11 Commission report, was released on July 22, 2014.
The report was wrought with controversy from the beginning, with the Bush Administration fighting testifying under oath and the public criticizing appointments that were seen as conflicts of interest. Perhaps the most telling piece of information came from the Chairman of the 9/11 Commission himself. In 2006, Chairman Thomas Kean, former Republican Governor of New Jersey, and Vice Chairman Lee Hamilton, former Representative from Indiana, co-authored the book “Without Precedent: The Inside Story of the 9/11 Commission”. In the book Kean writes that the Commission was “Set up to fail.” In an interview with CBC News Kean was questioned further on his comments.
He states, “We had a lot of people strongly opposed to what we did. We had a lot of trouble getting access to documents and to people. We knew the history of commissions; the history of commissions were they.. nobody paid much attention to ‘em. So there were all kinds of reasons we thought we were set up to fail.”
At a recent press conference for the ten year anniversary of the release of the government’s official report on the attacks, Kean and Hamilton were questioned by a family member on the 28 classified pages. Hamilton stated, “I am embarrassed that they are not declassified.” He said the pages should be released. Kean commented that 60-70 percent of the information they saw should not be classified.
If the Chair and Vice Chair of the report responsible for telling Americans what happened on September 11th, 2001 do not believe they were able to tell the full story, why should Americans believe it?
4. The High-Rise Safety Initiative
In the years following the attacks a number of efforts for transparency have been launched by supporters of the family members and survivors. A number of family members point to the collapse of World Trade Center 7 as a possible crack in the official story that might broker a new national conversation on the events of that day. WTC7 was not hit by a plane that day, however, it collapsed at 5:42 p.m. According to the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST), the official cause for the collapse was office fires. A growing number of family members, activists, architects and engineers question the official theory for collapse and are seeking a new investigation into WTC7.
One of the groups behind the efforts is the New York City Coalition for Accountability Now (NYC CAN), a coalition of families of 9/11 victims and activists. The group was recently successful at gathering over 100,000 signatures for the High Rise Safety Initiative, a measure that would require the NYC Department of Buildings to investigate high-rise building collapses in NYC that occurred on, or any time after, September 11, 2001. Despite these efforts, the NY Post reported that the New York City Council will not be accepting over 30,000 signatures for the High Rise Safety Initiative.
City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito told the Post that the City will not waste taxpayer dollars by “humoring conspiracy theorists”. New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio has previously called the measure “inappropriate”, “very insensitive”, and stated he believes City Council would not allow the measure on the ballot. The group released a statement on Friday August 8 stating that they had filed suit against the city. Representatives of the city will be required to appear in court for an initial hearing on Thursday, August 14.
Much of the media tends to paint efforts by family members, independent investigators, and concerned citizens as “conspiracy theorists” or disrespectful, yet it is clear that the much maligned 9/11 Truth movement was started by family members of the victims. For this reason alone it is important that campaigns such as the High Rise Safety Initiative be given a fair chance.
5. First Responders Continue to Show Signs of Failing Health
One week after the attacks the Environmental Protection Agency’s Administrator Christine Todd Whitman released a statement declaring the air and water surrounding Ground Zero to be safe to breathe and drink.
“Given the scope of the tragedy from last week, I am glad to reassure the people of New York and Washington, D.C. that their air is safe to breath and their water is safe to drink.”
Since that time firefighters, EMT’s, police officers, and volunteers who remained at Ground Zero looking for survivors and bodies have found themselves falling victim to breathing illnesses, cancer, and other sicknesses likely related to inhaling dust consisting of building materials, computers, and human bodies.
“Back in May 2007, a Congressional investigation was launched into the EPA’s role in properly responding to the environmental crisis and air quality emergency in the immediate wake of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Former EPA commissioner Christine Todd Whitman refused to testify – despite the fact that her statements on air quality after 9/11 had immediately affected hundreds of thousands of rescue workers and New York residents, and more broadly millions – until she was pressured under threat of subpoena by Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) whose district includes lower Manhattan. However, she was officially cleared of any wrongdoing, and defeated multiple lawsuits.”
In September 2013 the NY Daily News reported that “as of August, 1,140 responders and people who worked, lived or studied in lower Manhattan have been certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety.” This was based off a Mount Sinai Medical Center study that found 15% higher cancer rates among first responders compared to those not exposed to the dust at Ground Zero. More recently the NY Post reported on a growth in cancer rates among first responders. According to the latest data from Mount Sinai Hospital’s World Trade Center Health Program, over 2,500 first responders now have cancer.
Congress for its part, did pass the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which is designed to provide medical services and compensation for first responders. Critics say the government is not doing enough to help those who volunteered their livelihood in the wake of the largest terror attack on American soil. If these brave men and women chose to put themselves in harms way based on a lie, that needs to be investigated and those responsible held accountable.
6. The Public Supports a New Investigation
Thirteen years after that horrific day many Americans have had the opportunity to calmly and clearly revisit the events. Sure, there are those who have placed the memory in an uncomfortable location in their psyche. It is often painful to recall the emotions that surged through one while being told the nation was under attack. However, it remains as important as ever to look into the facts and put aside dissonance that comes with questioning something so emotionally charged.
In late August 2013, a poll conducted by YouGov found that nearly half of Americans polled had doubts about the official story of 9/11. The poll found that 38 percent had doubts, while 10 percent did not believe it at all and another 12 percent were unsure. Other findings include 46 percent of those polled were unaware of the collapse of WTC7, and another 46 percent suspected controlled demolition after viewing footage of the buildings collapse. Only 28 percent believed the building could have collapsed due to office fires.
Ben Swann did an exclusive report on the survey in September 2013.
The poll was sponsored by the ReThink 911 campaign, a global public awareness campaign launched on September 1, 2013. YouGov surveyed 1194 adults between 27th – 29th August 2013. Although the sample size is admittedly small, it does indicate that Americans do still have questions regarding September 11, 2001.
Indeed, when Matthew Mills interrupted a press conference following the Super Bowl in February 2014 with the message “Investigate 9/11, and 9/11 was perpetrated by people within our own government”, the internet blew up with support (and hate). Obviously, the world still has quite a bit to say about 9/11.
13th Anniversary Plans
It has become painfully obvious that Americans do not know the full story of September 11, 2001. Earlier this year Freedom of Information Act Requests revealed FBI documents that point towards “an antagonist in Jerusalem” being involved in the attacks in some way. The heavily redacted documents say this person was someone of great wealth who “denounce and criticize the United States of America and its policies.” This connection is yet another lead that goes uninvestigated.
For these reasons (and many more) activists, family members, and investigators continue to gather in New York City and around the country every year on September 11th. On the this years 13th anniversary Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth and the Ground Zero 911 Coalition are organizing three days of events for those concerned with the U.S. governments lack of accountability and transparency.
The groups are planning outreach at Ground Zero, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, Union Square, Times Square, and other locations. A&E 9/11 Truth will hold a press conference at 11 a.m. on September 11th at Zucotti Park discussing their recent appearance on C-SPAN and future plans for the movement. There will also be a screening of the documentary “Anatomy of a Great Deception” and a symposium with speakers, including A&E 9/11 Truth founder Richard Gage, AIA, former Reagan/Bush campaign and White House staffer Barbara Honegger, firefighter Rudy Dent, and a 9/11 survivor who will be speaking for the first time at an anniversary event. Also family members Bob McIlvaine, Vance Green, and Catherine Montano will be speaking. A&E 9/11 Truth also has plans for a new billboard questioning 9/11 to be placed outside of the NY Times building.
If you care about this issue please come to New York City, or organize locally. Spread awareness by using the hashtags #IQuestion911 and #Investigate911