Opinion by Mark A. Dunlea
December 06, 2004
It is time for the peace movement in New York State to take up the demand to find truth about the three thousand people murdered in New York City on 9/11.
With the apparent election of George Bush as President, the likelihood that we will ever find the truth about 9/11 becomes even more remote. It is certainly not going to come from the federal government, where Bush, Congress, Republicans and Democrats, CIA, FBI and the foreign policy establishment all clearly share in some of the culpability for the deaths.
For a variety of reasons, the 2004 elections were unsuccessful in shaking Bush loose from the White House. This would be a good time to revisit two other approaches to removing Bush from office: the 9/11 truth movement, and impeachment. This article focuses on 9/11.
A poll released by Zogby International this fall found that half of the New York City residents – and more than 40% statewide – believed that the Bush administration knew about the 9/11 terrorist threats beforehand but failed to take action to prevent it. This is also largely the conclusion drawn from the work of federal 9/11 Commission – though they avoided stating it so bluntly out of their bipartisan effort to avoid “disrupting” the presidential campaign.
There are a number of approaches that New York could pursue (e.g., investigations by NYC City Council; State Legislature; criminal prosecution by the Manhattan DA or federal courts).
1. Who financed the 9/11 attacks and murders?
The 9/11 Commission reported that while “the US government has not been able to determine the origin of the money used for the 9/11 attacks, ultimately the question if of little practical significance.” (9/11 report, p. 172). The Commission felt that their estimate of $500,000 to pull off the 9/11 attacks was merely petty cash for al-Qaeda.
I believe most New Yorker would be interested in determining that issue. The most likely culprits would be various Saudi businessmen and members of the ruling family. The commission concluded that most of Al Qaeda’s annual $30 million budget came “primarily from the Gulf countries and particularly in Saudi Arabia.” (9/11 Report, p. 170). The commission acknowledges that “some of the donors surely knew…their ultimate destination” – financing terrorism. Congress’ own investigation into 9/11 included thirty pages of information about the apparent role of the Saudi kingdom that has yet to be released. Family members and Cantor Fitzgerald, who lost hundreds of employees at the WTC, have sued to identity and hold accountable the financiers.
Both the Clinton and Bush administration impeded FBI investigations into Saudi Arabia. No President has ever had such a close relation with a foreign government as the Bushes have with Saudi Arabia. More than $1.4 billion in investments and contracts went from the House of Saud over the past two decades to companies associated with the Bush family.
As John O’Neill, the FBI’s former top bin Laden investigator, said shortly before his death in the World Trade Center, “all the answers, everything needed to dismantle Osama bin Laden’s organization can be found in Saudi Arabia.” O’Neill also said that America’s failure to stop bin Laden could be traced to one word – oil.
Saudi Arabian Abu Zubaydah was allegedly one of al-Qaeda’s top operatives. After his capture by Pakistan in March of 2002, Zubaydah allegedly reported that the Saudi ruling family was actively supporting al-Qaeda and had advance knowledge of 9/11. The three high ranking Saudi contacts identified by Zubaydah all died a few months later in an eight-day period under mysterious circumstances (p. 78, New Pearl Harbor)
The other widespread allegation concerning the financing of the 9/11 plot is Pakistan. Mahmood Ahmed, the head of the Pakistani Intelligence Service (ISI) – sort of its own rogue government – reportedly ordered that $100,000 be wired to the head 9/11 hijacker the day before the attacks. (See the New Pearl Harbor, pp. 109-113). Ahmed reportedly met with the heads of the US Senate and House Intelligence Committees on 9/11 – apparently they didn’t bother quizzing him about this. The individual who implemented Ahmed’s order to send the money is now to be executed by the Pakistani government – allegedly for murdering Wall Street Journal report Daniel Pearl, who apparently happened to be investigating ISI.
2. Who were the 9/11 hijackers and who aided them?
The identity of these mass murderers needs to be conclusively established for history. And the culprits held criminally responsible.
The federal government quickly released the names of the 19 alleged hijackers shortly after the attacks. 15 were allegedly from Saudi Arabia. They also produced the passport of the alleged mastermind, Mohammed Atta (an Egyptian), whose passport they claimed miraculously survived from crashing into the WTC and floated down a few blocks away.
However, it appears that at least five of the alleged hijackers are still alive. (NY Times, 9/21/01). It is certainly not surprising the terrorists would steal or copy other individuals’ identity papers to make it easier for them to enter the US.
So the question remains, who were the actual 9/11 hijackers? Why has the federal government been unwilling to conclusively establish the hijackers’ identities?
If you read the actual 9/11 Commission report about the recruitment of the 9/11 hijackers, it reads like a bad Saturday Night Live parody. We are told that two of the main hijackers, with no prior experience in terrorism, were planning to fight in Chechnya when someone approached them on a train “because they were Arabs with beards” (page 165, 9/11 report) and “struck up a conversation about jihad.” Before you know it, they’re off to Afghanistan to learn how to fight, bringing along two of their student friends. One of the students – Mohammed Atta – after a few meetings with bin Laden, is selected by him to be the “9/11 mastermind” – even though up to this point the Commissions had reported that someone other than bin Laden was the one who conceived of the attacks. Even the Commission concedes that “in respect, the speed with which (they)… become core members of the plot…is remarkable.” (P. 166).
And who aided the 9/11 hijackers within the US? Shortly after 9/11 the media was full of reports of their extensive system of support within the US. They carried out one of the most complicated terrorist acts in history, so they needed lots of assistance. Yet despite the arrest of 5,000 foreigners by the federal government, not a single one of them have yet been shown to have a connection to the 9/11 attacks. So where is the support network?
3. Why did the US government ignore the warnings about the pending 9/11 attack?
Even the official 9/11 report provides plenty of evidence that the Bush administration received abundant warnings about the attacks. The Commission avoids blaming anyone for the failure to act; instead, we are to believe that the federal intelligence operations were so disorganized that the ample warnings were lost in a maze of bureaucracy and information overload. The Commission notes that “we detailed various missed opportunities to thwart the 9/11 plot. Information was not shared, sometimes inadvertently or because of legal misunderstandings. Analysis was not pooled. Effective operations were not launched…information were lost.” (9/11 report, p. 353; see also Chapter 8, “The System was Blinking Red,” pp. 254-60).
In addition to the myriad of warnings generated by our own intelligence services that the Commission documented, several foreign governments also issued warnings. In August, Russian President Putin said “I ordered my intelligence to warn President Bush in the strongest terms that 25 terrorists were getting ready to attack the US, including important government buildings like the Pentagon.” In late July 2001 the Taliban’s foreign minister informed US officials that bin laden was planning a huge attack within the US that was imminent. Other warnings were also allegedly given by Jordan, Egypt and Israel. A warning from Great Britain that al-Qaeda was planning an attack on the US with multiple hijacked airplanes was allegedly included in the infamous August 6, 2001 memo to the President. (The New Pearl Harbor, pp. 70-71).
The question is whether the federal government ignored the warnings out of incompetency or out of a decision to allow the attacks to proceed.
Criminal negligence “which will render killing a person manslaughter is the (failure)… to do some act which a… prudent man who do under like circumstances.” In response to the numerous warnings they received, did the federal government take prudent steps in response? If not, who is guilty of manslaughter?
In criminal cases, one looks for motive. Most Americans know by now that the Bush was looking for an excuse to invade Iraq – to implement the drive for the neocon’s global American empire, to control Middle East oil, to finish up the job that the first Bush administration had failed to complete. 9/11 was the perfect excuse. There is also significant evidence that the Bush administration had been planning to invade Afghanistan in October 2001 – over a natural gas pipeline – and had delivered such a warning to the Taliban that summer. Not surprisingly, the American military bases established in Afghanistan followed the proposed route of the pipeline.
It is certainly possible that the Bush administration were guilty of more than being asleep at the wheel. There were several instances where warnings by local FBI agents about suspicious activities at flight training schools by middle eastern men were suppressed. Other investigations into terrorists activities, including the role of Saudi Arabia, were halted or blocked. And the Bush administration acted in undue haste in enabling Saudis and members of the bin Laden family to depart the US right after 9/11 with only cursory exit interviews.
The Bush administration and Congress have worked diligently to block an independent investigation into 9/11.Both political parties and the foreign policy establishment are all implicated in the failure to prevent 9/11 and thus have no incentive to find the truth. The 9/11 Commission, established only after protests over foot dragging by family members of the victims, was a bipartisan effort in damage control. The Commission accomplished its mission so well that Bush rushed to embrace its findings.
It is time for the peace movement, starting in New York, to devote its considerable energy and grassroots membership to pursuing the truth about 9/11 and demanding that the guilty be criminally prosecuted. Ironically, it was 9/11 that ultimately convinced many voters to stick with Bush, not wanting to change the Commander in Chief in the middle of a “war.” Yet 9/11 is also Bush’s Achilles heel.
Mark Dunlea is a member of the Green Party of New York State and is the author of Madame President: The Unauthorized Biography of the First Green Party President (http://nys.greens.org/rachel).
This article is the work of the author(s) only and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Green Party of the United States.