We all know what happened on September 11, 2001 – Osama bin Laden inspired 19 Muslim extremists to hijack commercial airplanes and fly them into the World Trade Center and Pentagon. But what if it didn’t happen that way at all?
David Ray Griffin is a professor of theology, a well-respected scholar and author of more than 20 books, including The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions and The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11. Griffin maintains that the evidence contradicts the government’s official story and that, so far, nobody’s come up with a theory that can account for all of the facts.
At HUSTLER we believe the murder of 2,98fi innocent people demands hard questions and digging deeper. We’re especially troubled by the collapse of Building 7, but we’re determined to keep an open mind. As such, we sit down with Griffin to discuss what appear to be disturbing inconsistencies with the government’s story.
HUSTLER: You’ve compiled a record of the facts-but are they beyond dispute?
DAVID RAY GRIFFIN: I simply gather research that has been done by others, a lot of it based on mainline stories from The New York Times, The Boston Globe and The Guardian and so on. These reports tend to, more or less, contradict the official theory.
You say there’s reason to question the government’s official position on Osama bin Laden.
One problem with the official theory of the attacks being pulled off entirely by the 19 men named as al Qaeda terrorists is that six of them have, subsequently, shown up very much alive. This has been reported in the BBC, but not in the American mainstream press. One guy even walked into the U.S. Embassy and asked what was this nonsense about his having died on 9/11?
What are some other problems with the official story?
The government had every reason to know this was going to happen. There were some 52 warnings of the attack, many of which the Bush Administration didn’t see fit to have released until after the inauguration. A little bit came out during the 9/1 1 hearings. For example, Condoleezza Rice-who had been describing the famous August 6, 2001, memo from British intelligence as merely historical in nature-was forced to admit that the title of it was “Bin Laden Determined to Strike within the United States.” Many people have thought that was the strongest evidence of foreknowledge-but not at all.
Another example involves David Schippers, the attorney who prosecuted Bill Clinton and is highly thought of in Republican circles. Schippers says he called up Attorney General John Ashcroft repeatedly to tell him that FBI agents were warning of an attack, that they knew the date and said it was going to be in Lower Manhattan. Schippers couldn’t get the Attorney General’s office to call him back. The New American, a conservative political magazine, interviewed these FBI agents and confirmed their story.
Further evidence of foreknowledge involves the Secret Service’s seeming to not only know the attacks were coming, but know who was targeted and who was not. That morning [of September 11], Bush was in a classroom in Sarasota, Florida, publicizing his education program. After the second building was struck, there could be no doubt the country was under attack. Yet Bush just sat there for about ten minutes.
Many people have criticized the President for not getting up immediately and going into commander-in-chief mode, but really, the Pentagon handles these things. Standard operating procedure dictates the Secret Service should have sprung into action and whisked Bush out of the classroom, into a car and away to some secure location.
The Secret Service should have assumed that the President would be the next target and at least take action as if that might be the case. The head of the FAA had just reported that there were 11 planes unaccounted for; and so there might have been 11 hijacked planes at that time. Yet the Secret Service did nothing. Bush went on national TV at about 9:30 for a prescheduled talk, and then they got in the limousine and went in the caravan on the normally scheduled route to the airport. When they got to the airport, they hadn’t even called ahead to make sure there was jet fighter cover for Air Force One.
What are some of the contradictions involving the attacks?
One involves the story about the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings. We had three buildings collapse there, the North Tower [WTC I], the South Tower [WTC 2] and Building 7 [WTC 71. Each was a high-rise steel-frame building. Now, steel-frame high-rise buildings have never in the history of the universe been brought down by fire. And yet on this day, three of them were allegedly brought down by fire. There have been experiments with buildings raging with fire. In the experiments, fire made them sag a little, but never caused them to collapse. [See 9/11 and the Windsor Tower Fire] And yet on 9/11 these three buildings, which had relatively small fires in them, collapsed.
People have the image of the South Tower in their minds, and they think, Oh, these were towering infernos. But most of the jet fuel exploded outside of the South Tower, which produced the really dramatic effect. But you have to remember, that effect only lasted for a few seconds, and the fuel burned up very quickly. In the South Tower there was relatively little fuel to feed the fire inside; so it would have had to be feeding on carpets, on desks and things like that. And yet the South Tower collapsed in less than an hour after it was hit.
The collapse of Building 7 is particularly unusual, and yet the 9/11 Commission never mentions it once in their report. Somehow fire got started in Building 7, which is two blocks away and was never hit by a plane. There was no jet fuel inside to feed the fire. There are photographs that show only small fires on floors 7 and 12 of this 47-story building. And yet at 5:20 in the afternoon it comes collapsing down in exactly the same way as the other buildings.
Now I stress in the same way because they all came straight down into their own footprint for the most part. They collapsed very quickly, within about ten seconds. That’s amazing when you think about it, that fire could produce that kind of effect, just like controlled demolition. In fact, on that very night, Dan Rather-viewing the collapse of Building 7-blurted out, “It looked just like one of those controlled demolitions.”
Further evidence of Building 7 being brought down by controlled demolition came from Larry Silverstein, the man who had recently taken a lease on the entire complex. In a PBS documentary from September 2002, Silverstein said he told the fire commander that the smartest thing to do was “pull it.” Next, he says, they “made that decision to pull” and watched the building collapse. Pull is a term commonly used to describe using explosives to demolish a building. Silverstein allegedly made almost $500 million in profit from the collapse of Building 7.
If the Twin Towers did come down by controlled demolition, wouldn’t they have to be wired for the event well in advance of the attack?
They would have had to be wired, and then closer to the time [of the attack] the explosives would actually have to be placed. Several people who worked in the towers reported that there were times [shortly before the attack] when a certain part of one tower or the other was sectioned off for several days, and no one could go there except these special workers who were called “engineers.” So it does appear that there could have been this kind of advance planning and that there would have been time to do this.
Also, because of terrorist alerts, they had been taking bomb-sniffing dogs through the buildings, checking for explosives. There is a report that the bomb-sniffing dogs were called off the weekend prior to 9/11.
Are there also inconsistencies involving the hijacked aircraft?
Let’s start with Flight 77, which is credited with crashing into the Pentagon. There are many problems with the official story, which is that it took off from Washington, D.C., went west, then got hijacked, then turned around and came hack. Somehow it flew through American airspace, toward the Pentagon for about 40 minutes, without being detected.
Our multi-trillion-dollar defense system proved to be worthless. Even more striking, whatever hit the Pentagon hit the West Wing. These terrorists are supposedly so brilliant that they defeat this trillion-dollar system, and yet they didn’t know that the West Wing was the worst part of the Pentagon to hit because all the top brass and Rumsfeld, whom you would presume they would want to kill, were in the East Wing.
Secondly, the West Wing was being renovated. It had been reinforced; so fire would not spread from the West Wing to the other parts, causing much less damage. Furthermore, very few regular workers were there because of the renovation. Most of the people killed were civilian workers, not Pentagon employees. We were told that the facade of the West Wing was hit by this Boeing 757, which weighs 100 tons and was going 300 miles per hour. Yet the facade of the West Wing didn’t collapse until a half hour later. Photographs taken by a Marine and an AP photographer show there was a relatively small hole in the facade. And we’re supposed to believe the 757, with a 120-foot wingspan and 40-foot-high tail, went through there. The wreckage should he out on the yard, but the photographs show no Boeing visible.
Were aircraft parts ever found in the Pentagon wreckage?
‘There is clearly good evidence that plane parts were photographed in the Pentagon. But that they were parts from a Boeing 757 is highly and vigorously contested by many students of ‘this event. What passes for the official story is that somehow this airplane hit the building, went into this tiny hole, which forced the wings back, and so they folded up and slipped inside the building.
The fire chief in charge of putting out the fire was asked if he saw any plane parts inside. He said no big pieces, no fuselage, no engine, nothing like that. So the people who try to defend this story respond by saying the fire was so hot it vaporized the plane. It not only melted the steel and the aluminum, but it vaporized them; and that’s why they disappeared.
We’ve since learned that a lot of the bodies in the WTC were so destroyed that they were not able to identify them using any modern techniques. Yet this fire in the Pentagon that was hot enough to vaporize steel and aluminum left the bodies so they could be identified.
If the government did allow or enable the 9/11 attacks, what is the motivation?
The September 11 attacks are being used as the excuse for virtually everything the Bush/Cheney Administration is doing. Although Iraq had nothing to do with it-everybody agrees on that now-9/11 was used as the basis for this war. These guys had been champing at the bit to attack Iraq since 1992.
In 1997 some of them formed The Project for the New American Century, a think tank that claims to promote American global leadership. This organization involved Cheney, Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld and many others who became central members and ideologues of the Bush Administration. In 2000 the group produced a report titled “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” that outlines transforming the military and points out that this will be very expensive.
Since the Cold War is over, the report said, we don’t have that excuse to keep military spending up. Many were talking about cutbacks on defense, i.e. military spending. Americans won’t be willing to pony up money for defense unless there’s an event that makes them feel insecure and threatened by external forces. Therefore, according to the report, any transformation of military affairs will go rather slowly, “absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event-like a new Pearl Harbor.”
You’ve suggested that we will know what happened on 9/11 when those in power are arrested or forced to give sworn testimony. Who should that be?
Cumulative evidence would seem to suggest that it was people such as Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and General Richard Meyers who probably would have led the activities. Somebody had to give stand-down orders. Standard FAA operating procedures involve contacting the military if there’s any sign a plane may have been hijacked, if a plane goes radically off course and they can’t call it back, or if it loses radio contact or the transponder’s turned off.
The FAA calls the military, which calls the nearest Air Force base, which sends out jet fighters. They typically scramble a couple of fighters; and they have a regular routine where they tell the pilots you’ve been intercepted, follow me. If they won’t comply, then the military pilot requests permission to take more drastic action. None of that happened on September 11. Not a single plane was intercepted. Normally, this occurs within about 15 minutes after signs of problems. In the case of Flight 77, after almost 40 minutes, there’s no jet fighter on the scene.
But it gets more problematic. In the-first few days we got three different stories about why there were no interceptions. The first story Meyers and NORAD [North American Aerospace Defense Command] told was that we didn’t send planes up until after the Pentagon was hit. In other words, an hour and a half went by before any planes were scrambled. That story created lots of questions, and so they immediately changed it. On September 18, NORAD came out and said we did send up fighters, but the FAA was slow in contacting us, and we tried to get there in time, but didn’t make it.
Then researchers examined the timelines. Those jets can go from scramble order to 29,000 feet in 2.5 minutes and fly 1,850 miles an hour, which means they should have arrived in time, even if the FAA was late.
With the 9/11 Commission, we get a third story from the military, which is the FAA didn’t notify us late; they didn’t notify us at all. More precisely, they had only nine minutes notice with Flight 11, the first flight, and no notice about the other three flights until after they had crashed. Of course, this ignores the fact that the military has a radar system by their own account that is far superior to that of the FAA. But for now this is the official story.
Are there also inconsistencies regarding Flight 93, the airliner that crashed in Pennsylvania?
With the first three flights the question is, why weren’t they intercepted or possibly shot down? With Flight 93 the question is, why does it seem the government shot this plane down after it appeared the passengers were about to wrest control of it? There was a certified pilot aboard as a passenger who would have been able to bring the plane down safely. You would have had live people, presumably live hijackers, to interrogate.
There’s an enormous amount of evidence that Flight 93 was shot down. The government denied it. It’s strange that they did, because they could have said, “This plane was heading toward the Pentagon or the White House, and we were protecting Washington, doing our job.” For some reason they chose to deny that they had shot it down; and that became the official story. In the 9/11 Commission Report they do big-time damage control and remove the possibility that it could have been shot down by changing the timelines rather drastically.
Everybody knows and agrees that Cheney gave the shoot-down order. Prior to the 9/11 Commission Report, we were led to believe that permission was given at about 9:45. Many news reports suggest that the shoot-down order was given before 10 a.m. By his own testimony, Cheney was in charge, down in the underground bunker-the emergency operation center.
Norman Mineta, Secretary of Transportation, testified that when he got down to the underground bunker at about 9:20, Cheney was already there and had been there for some time. That supports the view that he got down there at least by 9:15. The 9/11 Commission ignores that evidence and says Cheney didn’t get there until almost 10 a.m. and issued the order after 10:lO a.m. They conclude the military couldn’t possibly have shot down Flight 93 because it went down at 10:03 or 10:06.
Standard operating procedures don’t require a call from the President; the Pentagon chain of command can do it. So Rumsfeld, Meyers or a subordinate could have done it. In any case, they created the idea that only the President or the Vice President could order it. This is one of the biggest lies in the 9/11 Commission Report.
Do you think the truth will ever come out?
It is extremely difficult to get the truth to come out in America because the mainstream media are not only co-opted, but accomplices in these matters. This is understandable because we have a corporate-owned media.
Take NBC, for example, which is owned by General Electric, one of the major producers of military equipment in the world. It’s very unlikely you’re going to get some reporter on NBC to expose this stuff. Thus far we’ve seen nothing about this in any mainstream magazine, newspaper or television show in this country.
An international commission with prestigious people would be able to command attention-so much so that even the American press would be unable to ignore it.
Among the many Web sites devoted to this topic are 91lResearch.com, WTC7.net and 91lTruth.org.