Thursday, September 28, 2006

Review of 9/11: Press For Truth

How did the September 11, 2001 attacks come to happen? Or, more accurately, why were they allowed to happen? Our government leaders such as GW Bush, Condoleeza Rice, Dick Cheney, etc, claimed that nobody in the government imagined such an attack could have happened. But, they were lying, because many in the government had warnings, had thought up that kind of scenario, there were many warnings from foreign intelligence services, etc. We were told to believe that even with warnings the plot could not have been stopped. If so, then what of this recent plot discovered in Britain to bomb airliners, which was stopped by arrests before the attack was carried out? It goes on and on.

The movie, 9/11: Press For Truth (web site), is about the holes in the official story and some daring individuals who researched as much of the truth as can be learned from public sources. We of course cannot know what our government leaders actually did and are actually responsible for. But the public record, as reported in the news media, paints an interesting picture, one of official malfeasance and possibly official cooperation with the launching of those attacks.

Part of the movie centers on a group of relatives of people killed on September 11, 2001. They had questions that weren't being answered. In their grief they banded together to begin researching to find the truth to why their relatives had died. In part the 9/11 Commission was launched due to the efforts of those family members to find the truth.

Consider, though, the contrast in the cost of the investigation into Clintons sexual escapades, and the cost of running the 9/11 Commission. The Clinton investigation cost taxpayers over $100 million while the 9/11 Commission cost taxpayers around $16 million. Tell me, of those two investigations which would you rather have be thorough?

To a large extent the 9/11 Commission was just as satisfying as the Warren Commission was in explaining the Kennedy Assassination. In other words, we can expect conspiracy theorists to be debating the September 11, 2001 attacks for the next 40 years, perhaps. But there is a big difference in terms of technology of the early 1960's and today. Today we have web sites on which people can share information, resources, and connect with each other. One such web site is which is home to the Complete 911 Timeline.

The Complete 911 Timeline plays a major role in this movie, and is itself a massively useful piece of work. It is the work of individuals sharing data through the web site. The data is summaries and links to news reports. It is also published as a book: The Terror Timeline: Year by Year, Day by Day, Minute by Minute: A Comprehensive Chronicle of the Road to 9/11--and America's Response

The problem with this story is that while the individual pieces to the story are well reported, those pieces are widely scattered. You might have a tidbit in a front page article one day, another in an article in another newspaper buried in the back another day, another on a TV program a month later, and so on. By being so widely scattered it's almost impossible for an individual to pull it all together. On the web site the data is collected and is organized by date, by event, or by individual. You can follow the threads very easily in multiple directions and see the connections and the real history.

The movie presents a small portion of the data listed on the web site. But the part given in the movie is explosive.

For example .. al Qaeda was an outgrowth of the Mujahadeen forces. The Mujahadeen were supported by the CIA during the 1980's to give the Russian Military their own Vietnam, and to drive them out of Afghanistan. The CIA funneled money and material through Pakastan's secret service, the ISI. After Russia was driven from Afghanistan, the U.S. supposedly walked away from involvement with Pakistan and the Mujahadeen. The movie describes however that the ISI ran training camps and some people from those camps became Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, while others became geurillas in Kashmir, and that overall the distinction between Taliban, al Qaeda and the guerillas in Kashmir are very weak.

In October 2001 evidence was released by the U.S. of payments being funneled through Mohammad Atta from a specific person in Pakistan. This person was originally said to be an al Qaeda "paymaster" but the cooperativeresearch team later learned he was an ISI agent. Incidentally, the head of ISI, Mahmood Ahmed was in Washington DC on the eve of the September 11 attack, on the same day that the final payments were wired from Pakistan to Mohammed Atta.

Another detail of the ISI involvement is in the escape of al Qaeda operatives from Afghanistan.

November 13, 2001: Al-Qaeda Convoy Flees to Tora Bora; US Fails to Attack: A couple times during the invasion of Afghanistan, large convoys of Al Qaeda and others were escaping first from Kabul, later from Jalalabad, etc. Rather than bomb the convoys, they were able to drive on. Later when they were bottled up in the Tora Bora area, some escape routes were left open, and the al Qaeda people escaped along the open routes.

November 14-25, 2001: US Secretly Authorizes Airlift of Pakistani and Taliban Fighters: Another of the escape operations was a large airlift operation flying al Qaeda operatives from Northern Afghanistan into Pakistan. At that time the U.S. had a large force there, had airplanes there, no doubt had AWACS aircraft in the area, and knew very well that an airlift was flying dozens of flights between northern Afghanistan and Pakistan. The U.S. could have stopped the airlift, but it was allowed to proceed. Pakistan’s President “Musharraf won American support for the airlift by warning that the humiliation of losing hundreds—and perhaps thousands—of Pakistani Army men and intelligence operatives would jeopardize his political survival.”

I know there was a lot of details that just flew by there. But the story is that Pakistan is essentially the benefactors of both the Taliban and al Qaeda, perhaps both are merely covert branches of the ISI. And it is Pakistan which the U.S. has proclaimed to be a major part of the War On Terror. Either the U.S. Intelligence is incredibly naive about the connections between Pakistan's ISI and al Qaeda, or else the U.S. is tacitly in approval, and perhaps this explains the weak efforts to capture and kill al Qaeda?

Interestingly these reports are in the news right now:

In Britain there is a report about Pakistan's ISI aiding al Qaida and Taliban forces. Musharraf denies the claim, and Tony Blair has to make nicey-nice with Musharraf to "defuse" the situation. Musharraf rejects claim that agents assist terrorists, Musharraf denies helping al-Qa'ida, Pakistan's ISI is too close to Muslim terrorists: British Report, Document: Pakistan Agency Backs al-Qaida

And in Pakistan a couple weeks ago the ISI made a deal with some local leaders. Karzai questions whether pact will reduce terrorism

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