US Congress has called for an investigation into the CIA's destruction of interrogation videotapes claiming there may be an illegal cover-up. The call follows an admission by the agency’s Director-General Michael Hayden that in 2005 the CIA destroyed two videotapes of interrogations of al-Qaeda prisoners. Hayden said the tapes were destroyed to protect the identities of the CIA interrogators. But his admission has raised questions about trust and what other evidence the CIA has destroyed.
Because the tapes featured 9/11 suspect Abu Zubaydah, these latest revelations are a boon to those who believe in the 9/11 conspiracy theory. Writing in Time magazine ex-CIA operative Robert Baer says that although he didn’t believe the World Trade Center was brought down by explosives, or that a rocket struck the Pentagon, he says he has “felt the pull of the conspiracy theorists”. But he dismisses the idea as something the CIA were capable of doing. “I spent a career in the CIA trying to orchestrate plots, wasn't all that good at it, and certainly couldn't carry off 9/11,” he said. “Nor could the real pros I had the pleasure to work with.”
Veteran Canadian political activist and journalist Barrie Zwicker is less certain that Baer knows the truth about 9/11. In 2002, he was one of the first mainstream journalists to question the official word on what happened that day. In 2006 he published the book “Towers of Deception: The Media Cover-up of 9/11” which forensically examines much of the evidence and finds the official record wanting. His book provides 26 exhibits (conveniently labelled A to Z) which he claims provides proof “beyond a reasonable doubt” that 9/11 was an inside job. Zwicker calls this a “false flag” operation and in the book he describes many examples of similar operations from history.
The subtitle of Zwicker’s book alludes to the heart of what he sees as the problem: a media cover-up. Zwicker says that the world’s media and their wealthy owners have colluded to prevent discussion of alternative scenarios of what might have happened on 11 September 2001. He claims the three biggest secrets about 9/11 are a) the size of the constituency of non-believers in the official story b) the body of evidence that disputes the official record and c) the fact that the media have steered clear of this evidence, although it is readily available. Zwicker castigates the politically motivated 9/11 Commission report which found that 19 Arabs, funded by Bin Laden and others, organised and planned the operation catching the entire US intelligence, military, political and diplomatic establishment off guard.
Exhibit A in Zwicker’s repudiation is the collapse of the third building, WTC7, at 5:20pm on 9/11. The 9/11 commission report does not describe how the building collapsed but the official story is that the building was struck by debris falling from the collapsing twin towers and then fires made it unstable. Firefighters evacuated the building after they heard creaking sounds. The building collapsed a couple of hours later. The official cause was “loss of structural integrity likely as a result of weakening caused by fires”. Zwicker disputes this. He says the building was the home to CIA and Secret Service offices and the collapse had all the hallmarks of a controlled demolition.
Zwicker’s next five most important pieces of evidence all relate to North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD). He says NORAD did not follow standard operating procedures (SOP) that day. SOP states that in the event of a major problem such as a hijacking, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) contacts NORAD who can scramble fighters to the scene ‘within a matter of minutes’. The 9/11 report says NORAD had just nine minutes notice for the New York attacks and none at all for the others. Zwicker says this is contradicted by evidence from the FAA’s Laura Brown.
Once scrambled by NORAD, the F-15s from Otis air base did not know where to go and were ordered out into the Atlantic in a holding pattern awaiting further instructions. Meanwhile Andrews Air Force Base less than 20km from Washington was unable to protect the capital. The commission claimed Andrews had no fighters on alert but Zwicker cites Aviation Week which said three F-16s were nearby on a training mission. Zwicker also says NORAD has had plans for precisely just such an emergency since the Soviet threat of 1961. Scrambling fighter aircraft had been a routine occurrence for years before 9/11.
Zwicker quotes Michael Ruppert who said in 2004 that the “mysterious and inexplicable failure” of US’s air defences is the “most glaring and gaping hole” in the official story. Barely mentioned in the official testimony is the fact that the US was conducting major war games on the day of the attacks. These included Northern Vigilance, Vigilant Guardian, Vigilant Warrior and Tripod II. These games included scenarios of hijacked airplanes in the area where all four attacks actually occurred. The flood of “noise” from these games caused what Ruppert called a “paralysis of fighter response”.
The next five pieces of Zwicker’s evidence (H through L) relate to the Twin Towers. He says the WTC collapse revealed many features of controlled demolitions (including oral testimony from firefighters), and the Twin Towers were designed to withstand the impact of a Boeing 707. He also cited evidence from similar out-of-control highrise fires in Los Angeles and Philadelphia that showed steel-framed towers don’t collapse because of them. Finally, Zwicker says the steel from the WTC was removed from the scene before it could be examined which was a federal offence.
Exhibit M looked at President Bush’s immediate response. Zwicker says that Bush’s decision to stay in the Florida classroom for eight minutes after being told of the second attack was inconsistent with official protocol. Zwicker asks why didn’t the Secret Service remove him? His answer is that their behaviour suggested they knew what was going to happen and they did not fear for his life.
The next two points cover the Pentagon. The 9/11 Commission claims Pentagon officials did not know about the hijacking of Flight 77 which it says struck the building at 9.38am local time. Again Laura Brown disputes this saying the FAA shared details of all hijacked flights to NORAD. Zwicker also disputes what hit the building saying alleged pilot Hani Hanjour was too incompetent to fly a Cessna let alone a jetliner. He also claims the hole was not big enough to cover the wings and the videotape evidence shows no airplane.
Exhibits P and Q related to Flight 93 which crashed in Pennsylvania after a passenger revolt. Zwicker claims the flight was shot down and parts of the airplane were found scattered over a wide radius. He also disputes the use of cell phones aboard the plane. He claims that cell phones don’t work above 2,500 m and the countryside of rural Pennsylvania has no service anyway. He says the cell phone stories were a “real-time channel for lies necessary to the official story’s ‘Script’”. Presumably Zwicker did not interview relatives of the dead to corroborate this claim.
The next three pieces of evidence relate to the 9/11 Commission itself. President Bush waited 441 days before reluctantly establishing a commission to investigate 9/11 and then starved it of funds (the commission had a $14m budget compared to the $40m available to investigate Clinton’s sex scandals). He tried to put Henry Kissinger in as chair and when that failed he appointed Philip Zelikow as executive director. Zelikow was a member of George Bush Snr’s administration. Their eventually report was “571 page lie” according to David Ray Griffin, who says he has found at least 100 inaccuracies in the report.
Exhibits U through W examined the role of the CIA and FBI. The CIA has long been the training ground for terrorists around the world. According to Michael Springmann, the US consulate in Jeddah in Saudi Arabia was run by the intelligence services. They are also linked to the Pakistani Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) agency who apparently wired $100,000 to 9/11 leader Mohamed Atta shortly before the attacks. The FBI also provided protection to suspected terrorists and agent Sibel Edmonds who was gagged by Attorney-General John Ashcroft after she queried issues ignored by the 9/11 Commssion.
Exhibit X was the apparent unusual behaviour of Wall St traders in the days before 9/11. The two airlines impacted had “put” options 90 percent greater than normal in the week before. Exhibit Y documented the close connections between Osama Bin Laden and the CIA and the final one, Exhibit Z looked at how the Bush neo-con Project for a New American Century (PNAC) called for a “New Pearl Harbor” as a catastrophic event that would allow the US to play a more dominant role in securing oil in the Gulf.
Zwicker says the original Pearl Harbor was one of many examples of a ‘false flag’ operation. He says that President Roosevelt had advance warning of the attack but deliberately stood by in order to bring the US into the war. Zwicker quotes other examples from history including the Guy Fawkes gunpowder plot which ended the influence of Catholicism in England, Hitler’s Reichstag fire in 1933, the Tonkin Incident which escalated the Vietnam war in 1964 and the Kuwaiti incubator baby deception in 1990 which swung US support around to an invasion of Iraq.
Many of Zwicker’s arguments are demolished in an article in Popular Mechanics which provides valid reasons to support the official cause of the WTC7 collapse, as well as the Pentagon attack and other kinks in the evidence. Nonetheless Zwicker’s book is a useful attack both on the politicised nature of the 9/11 Commission (and its refusal to pin blame on internal incompetence and political interference) and the refusal of the mainstream media to even countenance an argument of the conspiracies on their merits. Zwicker also rightly counsels people to question what they see and read in the media.