By Max Parry
“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary” — H.L. Mencken
As the global pandemic grips world attention, completely unnoticed by mainstream media was the release of a final report of an academic study pertaining to another previously calamitous event of international significance. On March 25th, the conclusion of a four year investigation by researchers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks was published which determined that the collapse of World Trade Center Building 7 on September 11th, 2001 was not caused by fire. The peer-reviewed inquiry was funded by Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth, a nonprofit organization composed of more than 3,000 building architects and engineers who are a signatory to the group’s formal appeal calling for a new investigation into the three — not two — WTC skyscrapers destroyed on 9/11. The researchers infer that the collapse of Building 7 was actually the result of a controlled demolition:
“The principal conclusion of our study is that fire did not cause the collapse of WTC 7 on 9/11, contrary to the conclusions of NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) and private engineering firms that studied the collapse. The secondary conclusion of our study is that the collapse of WTC 7 was a global failure involving the near-simultaneous failure of every column in the building.”
With or without a pandemic, it is likely corporate media would have ignored the study anyway, just as they have anything that contradicts the official story of 9/11. However, it is notable that many have drawn parallels between the COVID-19 outbreak and the 9/11 attacks based on the widespread changes to daily life as a result of the crisis going forward. Already there is talk of nationwide lockdowns as a “new normal” with many rightly expressing concerns over civil liberties, press freedoms, the surveillance state, and other issues just as there were following 9/11.
By the same measure, a false dichotomy is being established by political gatekeepers in order to silence those who dare challenge the official account as to how the coronavirus began. It is a stigmatization that is all too familiar to those who have never believed the conventional narrative that 19 Arab hijackers loyal to Osama bin Laden armed only with box-cutters were solely responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on that fateful day.
There is a common misconception that to believe in so-called “conspiracy theories” is to somehow lose sight of the bigger picture or systemic problems. Behind this phenomenon is a mistakenly presumed conflict between understanding the broader, overarching system versus the sinister motives of those in power who administer it — when they are inextricably linked. Political scientist Michael Parenti, who drew the ire of many of his fellow left-wing colleagues for his work on the Kennedy assassination, refers to it in his lecture “Understanding Deep Politics” as a perceived incompatibility between “the structural and the functional.” The anti-conspiracists wrongly assume that the more impersonal or wider the lens, the more profound an analysis. By this logic, the elite are absolved of conscious intent and deliberate pursuit of nefarious self-interest, as if everything is done by incidental chance or out of incompetence. Not to say efficacy applies without exception, but it has become a required gesture to disassociate oneself from “conspiracies” to maintain credibility — ironically even by those who are often the target of such smears themselves.
This applies not only to mainstream media and academics, but even leading progressive figures who have a mechanical, unthinking resistance to assigning intent or recognizing the existence of hidden agendas. As a result, it disappears the class interests of the ruling elite and ultimately assists them in providing cover for their crimes. With the exception of the Kennedy assassination — coincidentally the subject of a new epic chart-topping song by Bob Dylan — nowhere has there been more hostility to ‘conspiracism’ than regarding the events of 9/11. Just as they assailed Parenti, David Talbot and others for challenging the Warren Commission’s ‘lone gunman’ theory, leading figures on the left such as Noam Chomsky and the late Alexander Cockburn railed against the 9/11 Truth movement and today it is often wrongly equated with right-wing politics, an unlikely trajectory given it occurred under an arch-conservative administration but an inevitable result of the pseudo-left’s aversion to “conspiracies.” If polls are any indication, the average American certainly disagrees with such elitist misleaders as to the believability of the sham 9/11 Commission findings, yet another example of how out-of-touch the faux-left is with ordinary people.
A more recent example was an article by left-wing journalist Ben Norton proclaiming that to call 9/11 a false flag or an “inside job” is “fundamentally a right-wing conspiracy”, in complete disregard of the many dedicated truther activists on the left since its inception. Norton insists the 9/11 attacks were simply “blowback”, or an unintended consequence of previous U.S. foreign policy support for the mujahideen in Afghanistan against the Soviets during the 1980s which later gave birth to Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Norton argues “Al-Qaeda’s unofficial strategic alliance with the US eventually broke down” resulting in 9/11 as retaliation, completely overlooking that Washington was still supporting jihadist factions during the 1990s in Bosnia (two of which would be alleged 9/11 hijackers) and Kosovo in the Yugoslav wars against Serbia, even while the U.S. was ostensibly pursuing bin Laden for the bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998 and the USS Cole in 2000.
A 1997 Congressional document by the Republican Policy Committee (RPC) throws light on how Washington never discontinued its practice in Afghanistan of using jihadist proxies to achieve its foreign policy goals in the Balkans. Although it was a partisan GOP attack meant to discredit then-U.S. President Bill Clinton, nevertheless the memo accurately presents how the U.S. had “turned Bosnia into a Militant Islamic Base”:
“In short, the Clinton administration’s policy of facilitating the delivery of arms to the Bosnian Muslims made it the de facto partner of an international network of governments and organizations pursuing their own agenda in Bosnia: the promotion of Islamic revolution in Europe. That network not only involves Iran but Brunei, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan (a key ally of Iran), and Turkey, together with front groups supposedly pursuing humanitarian and cultural activities. For example, one such group about which details have come to light is the Third World Relief Agency (TWRA), a Sudan-based, phoney humanitarian organization which has been a major link in the arms pipeline to Bosnia. TWRA is believed to be connected with such fixtures of the Islamic terror network as Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman (the convicted mastermind behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing) and Osama Bin Laden, a wealthy Saudi émigré believed to bankroll numerous militant groups…”
It was also in Bosnia where a raid was conducted in 2002 by local police at the Sarajevo branch of a Saudi-based purported charitable organization, Benevolence International Foundation, which was discovered to be a front for Al-Qaeda. Seized on the premises was a document, dubbed the “Golden Chain”, which listed the major financial sponsors of the terrorist organization to be numerous Saudi business and government figures, including some of Osama bin Laden’s own brothers. By the 9/11 Commission Report’s own admission, this same fake Islamic charity “supported the Bosnian Muslims in their conflict with Serbia” at the same time as the CIA.
It cannot go without mentioning that the common link between Al-Qaeda and subsequent extremist groups like ISIS/Daesh and Boko Haram is the doctrine of Wahhabism, the puritanical sect of Sunni Islam practiced in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and founded in the 18th century by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, the religious leader who formed an alliance with the founder of the first Saudi state, Muhammad bin Saud, whose descendants make up the House of Saud royal family. The ultra-orthodox teachings of Wahhabism were initially rejected in the Middle East but reestablished by British colonialism which aligned with the Saud family in order to use their intolerant strain of Islam to undermine the Ottoman empire in a divide-and-conquer strategy. In a speech to the House of Commons in 1921, Winston Churchill admitted the Saudis to be “intolerant, well-armed and bloodthirsty.”
This did not stop the British from supporting the House of Saud so long as it was in the interest of Western imperialism, an unholy alliance which continues to this day. However, U.S.-Saudi relations did come under scrutiny when the infamous 28 redacted pages of the December 2002 report of the “Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities before and after the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001” conducted by the Senate and House Select Committees on Intelligence were finally disclosed in 2016.
The section revealed not only the numerous U.S. intelligence failures in the lead-up to the attacks but the long suspected culpability of Saudi Arabia, whose nationals were not the focus of counterterrorism because of Riyadh’s status as a U.S. ally. The declassified pages show that some of the hijackers, 15 of them Saudi citizens, received financial and logistical support from individuals linked to the Saudi government, which FBI sources believed at least two of which to be Saudi intelligence officers. One of those Saudi agents received large payments from Princess Haifa, the wife of Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan, a stipend from the latter’s bank account which inevitably went from the go-betweens to the sleeper cell.
A key member of the House of Saud and then-Saudi Ambassador to the U.S., Prince Bandar has such a long and close relationship to the Bush family he was given the nickname “Bandar Bush.” For obvious reasons, when the congressional joint inquiry report was first published in 2003, the 28-page portion on the Saudi ties to the attacks was completely censored at the insistence of the Bush administration. Yet the Bush family’s connection to the Gulf state kingdom is not limited to the ruling monarchy but includes one of the petrodollar theocracy’s other wealthiest families— the bin Laden family itself. While Michael Moore’s film Fahrenheit 9/11 mostly whitewashed the real conspiracy of 9/11, it did reveal that numerous unquestioned members of the bin Laden family were given special treatment and suspiciously evacuated on secret flights out of the U.S. shortly after the attacks in coordination with the Saudi government.
The Bush-bin Laden connection goes all the way back to the beginning of George W. Bush’s business career prior to his political involvement in 1976 with the founding of an oil drilling company, Arbusto Energy, whose earliest investors included a Texas businessman and fellow reservist in the Texas Air National Guard, James R. Bath, who oddly enough was the American liaison for Salem bin Laden, Osama’s half brother. To put it differently, the bin Laden family and its construction fortune helped finance Bush’s start in the oil industry, a relationship that would continue through the 1990s with Harken Energy, later the recipient of an offshore oil contract in Iraq’s reconstruction alongside Dick Cheney’s Halliburton.
The Bush dynasty’s financial ties to both the Saudi royals and bin Laden family went on as co-investors in the Carlyle Group private equity firm where the elder Bush’s previous government service contacts were exploited for financial gain. In fact, on the morning of 9/11, Bush Sr. just happened to be attending a Carlyle business conference where another bin Laden sibling was the guest of honor in what we are supposed to believe is another astounding coincidence. Just days later, Shafiq bin Laden would be spirited off on a chartered flight back to Saudi Arabia in an exodus overseen by Prince Bandar himself.
Osama bin Laden himself also got an evacuation of sorts when the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in 2001. It was legendary Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh who first reported that bin Laden and thousands of other Al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters were suspiciously allowed to escape to Pakistan in an evacuation dubbed the ‘airlift of evil.’ This was corroborated in a leaked 2009 Hillary Clinton State Department email published by WikiLeaks regarding a Senate report on the Battle of Tora Bora and bin Laden’s escape where Clinton advisor Sidney Blumenthal is shown discussing the controversial airlift as having been requested by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and approved by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney — but don’t dare call it a conspiracy:
“Gary Berntsen, the head of the CIA armed operation in eastern Afghanistan, is a major source for the report. I am in contact with him and have heard his entire story at length, key parts of which are not in his book, Jawbreaker, or in the Senate report. In particular, the story of the Kunduz airlift of the bulk of key AQ and Taliban leaders, at the request of Musharaff and per order Cheney/Rumsfeld, is absent.”
Could it have anything to do with just a few years earlier the Taliban visiting Texas when Bush was Governor to discuss with the Unocal Corporation the construction of a gas pipeline through Afghanistan into Pakistan? It is also well known that the Pakistani government and its Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI) had supported the Taliban for decades and during the 1980s had been the CIA’s main conduit for supplying arms to the Afghan mujahideen, including bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri’s Maktab al-Khidamat, the organizational precursor to Al-Qaeda. As shown in the documentary 9/11: Press for Truth, little in their relations changed in the years between the Afghan-Soviet war and 9/11, as ISI director Mahmud Ahmed was reportedly busted wiring $100,000 to alleged hijacker ringleader Mohamed Atta not long before the WTC attacks. Throughout 2001 both before and after 9/11, General Ahmed had repeatedly visited the U.S. and met with top Pentagon and Bush administration officials, including CIA Director George Tenet, making Prince Bandar not the only figure to have been caught financing the operation and where a direct line can be drawn between the White House and the hijackers.
While Bandar has thus far eluded justice, one year after the release of the 28 pages a lawsuit was filed on behalf of the families of the victims against the government of Saudi Arabia which presented new evidence that two years prior to the attacks in 1999, the Saudi Embassy paid for the flights of two Saudi agents living undercover in the U.S. to fly from Phoenix to Washington “in a dry run for the 9/11 attacks” where they attempted to breach the cockpit and test flight security. This means the Saudi government was likely involved in planning the attacks from the very beginning, in addition to providing the subsidies and patsy hijacker personnel for the smokescreen of blaming Al-Qaeda and making bin Laden the fall guy, whose links to 9/11 are tenuous at best. After all, the “confession” from supposed planner Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was extracted only after his being water-boarded 183 times while bin Laden himself initially denied any role in the attacks before questionable videos were released of his admittance.
The Saudi nationals who participated in the hijacking rehearsal were posing as students. However, the Sunni dictatorship was not the only country conducting a mass espionage operation in the U.S. prior to 9/11 under such a front. In the first half of 2001, several U.S. federal law enforcement agencies documented more than 130 different instances of young Israelis impersonating “art students” while aggressively trying to penetrate the security of various government and military facilities as part of a Mossad spy ring. Several of the Israelis were found to be living in locations within the near vicinity of the hijackers as if they were eavesdropping on them. The discovery of the Israeli operation raised many questions, namely whether Mossad had advanced knowledge or involvement in 9/11. Ironically, Fox News of all places was one of the few outlets to cover the story in a four-part series which never re-aired and was eventually scrubbed from the network website.
The Israeli “art student” mystery never gained traction in the rest of the media, much like another suspicious case in the “Dancing Israelis”, a smaller group of Mossad spies posing as furnishing movers who were arrested in New Jersey on the morning of 9/11 taking celebratory pictures with the twin towers burning in the background of the Manhattan skyline. The five men were not only physically present at the waterfront prior to the first plane impact but found with thousands of dollars in cash, box-cutters, fake passports, and Arab clothing after they were reported for suspicious behavior and intercepted at the Lincoln tunnel heading into Manhattan. Initially misreported as Arabs by the media, the men were connected to Mossad by an FBI database and held for five months before their deportation to Israel while the owner of the front moving company fled to Jerusalem before further questioning. It should be noted that if Israel were to have participated in a ‘false flag’ attack on the U.S., it would not have been the first time. During the Six-Day War in 1967, the Israeli Air Force and Navy launched an unprovoked attack on the USS Liberty, a U.S. Navy spy ship that was surveilling the Arab-Israeli conflict from international waters in the Mediterranean, an “accidental” assault which killed 34 Americans in an attempt to blame Egypt and provoke U.S. intervention.
If Israel turned out to be co-conspirators with the Saudis, it too is not as unlikely a scenario as it may seem. Wrongly assumed to be sworn enemies, it is an open secret that the two British-created states have maintained a historical covert alliance since the end of World War I when the first monarch of the modern Saudi state, King Abdulaziz Ibn Saud, defeated his rival the Sharif of Mecca who opposed the Balfour Declaration. Authored by British Foreign Secretary Lord Balfour and presented to Zionist leader Baron Rothschild, the 1917 letter guaranteed a Jewish homeland in Palestine by colonization with European Jews. Once Sharif was out the way, the Zionist movement had the green light to move forward with its colonial project. Although Ibn Saud publicly opposed Zionism, behind the scenes he negotiated with them through an intermediary in his advisor, British agent St. John Philby, who proposed a £20 million compensation to the Saudi king for delivering Palestine to the Jews.
Ibn Saud communicated his willingness to compromise in a 1940 letter from Philby to Chaim Weizmann, the president of the World Zionist Organization and later the first Israeli president. However, Philby himself was an anti-Zionist and sabotaged the plan by leaking it to other Arab leaders who voiced their vehement opposition and it was only after this exposure that the Saudi king claimed to have turned down the bribe, something the Zionists would only solicit if they thought he would accept. Ever since, the ideologies of Saudi Wahhabism and Israeli Zionism have been center to the West’s destabilization of the Middle East which contrary to misperceptions was not uniquely plagued by conflict historically more than the Occident until the West nurtured Salafism and Zionism. Predictably, discussing either the Saudi or Israeli role in 9/11 has been strictly forbidden in corporate media, since both are among Washington’s geo-strategic allies and each hold immense lobbying power over large media institutions.
Less than five months after 9/11, Bush notoriously declared the nations of Iran, Iraq and North Korea as comprising an “axis of evil” in his 2002 state of the union address. In reality, the phrase is better suited to describe the tripartite of Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the U.S. government itself who are likely the real trio of conspirators behind 9/11. The infamous choice of words were attributed to neoconservative pundit and Bush speechwriter, David Frum, who claimed to have taken inspiration from Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “a date that will live infamy” speech given the day after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941. It was a continuation of a theme present in the manifesto of the neoconservative cabal authored one year prior to 9/11 — “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” by the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) think tank, whose members included Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Jeb Bush. The strategic military blueprint called for a massive increase in U.S. defense spending in order to “fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theatre wars”before ominously predicting:
“The process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event — like a new Pearl Harbor.”
Ten members of PNAC would be subsequently appointed to positions in the Bush White House where their vision of a “new Pearl Harbor” conveniently materialized. Then again, there is plenty of evidence that Pearl Harbor itself was a ‘false flag’, or that U.S. intelligence and President Franklin D. Roosevelt had foreknowledge of an impending Japanese attack on the naval base in Oahu, Hawaii, on December 7th, 1941. As pointed out by the filmLoose Change, it is probable that Roosevelt allowed it to happen on purpose in order to win public support for a U.S. entry into the European theatre of World War II, a move opposed by a majority of Americans prior to the ‘surprise’ Japanese attack. Given what is known about Pearl Harbor and the abandoned Operation Northwoods, which proposed both fabricating and committing terrorist attacks on civilian aircraft to be pinned on Fidel Castro in order to justify a U.S. invasion of Cuba in 1962, there are no grounds to assume that such false flag operations were ever phased out of military procedure before 9/11 or since.
Loose Change also made a useful historical analogy between 9/11 and the Reichstag fire, the 1933 arson attack on the German parliament building that occurred a month after Adolf Hitler was inaugurated as Chancellor and pinned on a 24-year old half-blind Dutch communist named Marinus van der Lubbe. While there is no denying the incident was used a pretext by the Nazi regime to consolidate power and suspend law and order, there is still a heated debate between historians as to whether van der Lubbe was the real culprit. However, it was coincidentally in 2001 when a group of historians uncovered evidence that a Nazi stormtrooper who died under mysterious circumstances in 1933 had previously confessed to prosecutors that members of Hitler’s Storm Detachment had set fire to the edifice under orders from paramilitary leader Karl Ernst, lending credence to the widely held suspicion that it was a Nazi-engineered ‘false flag’ all along.
Most Americans are unaware that a similar coup d’etat nearly took place during the same year in the United States in an attempt to remove President Franklin D. Roosevelt and install an authoritarian government modeled on Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany as part of a scheme hatched by an inner circle of right-wing bankers otherwise known as the the ‘Business Plot.’ It was a conspiracy that only became public after it was heroically thwarted by a whistleblower in decorated Marine Corps veteran turned anti-imperialist, Major General Smedley Butler, after he was recruited to form the junta. Incredibly, one of the prominent business figures allegedly involved was Prescott Bush, George H.W. Bush’s father and George W. Bush’s grandfather, who at the time was the director and shareholder of a bank owned by German industrialist and Nazi financier Fritz Thyssen seized by the U.S. government under the Trading with the Enemy Act.
After his transformation, in 1935 Smedley Butler famously penned War is a Racket and there is perhaps no better phrase that would sum up the so-called ‘War on Terror’ today. Not only did the American Reichstag fire of 9/11 trigger a domestic police state transformation that overrode the U.S. constitution in an American equivalent of the 1933 Enabling Act and the Heimatschutz (“homeland protection”) defense forces with the passing of the USA-Patriot Act and founding of the Department of Homeland Security, but it fulfilled the prophecy of political scientist Samuel Huntington’s The Clash of Civilizations in a face-off between Islam and Christianity abroad.
The prediction that religion and culture would be the primary source of geopolitical conflict in the post-Cold War world was an apocalyptic paradigm envisioned by right-wing orientalist philosophers like Huntington and Bernard Lewis which the PNAC neocon ideologues put into practice. Today, the ongoing COVID-19 crisis appears likely to have similar broad and long-term political, social and economic consequences and those who have doubts about the official explanation for the pandemic can hardly be blamed for their distrust given this history unless the lessons of 9/11 have gone unlearned.
Max Parry is an independent journalist and geopolitical analyst. His writing has appeared widely in alternative media. Max may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org