Start from Square One: An Introduction to September 11
June 16, 2011
by: Paul Zarembka,Professor of Economics, State University of New York at Buffalo
The majority of Americans are aware that there are many who do not accept as credible the official version of events that day. Those who are aware may have encountered derision of any questioning of the official version, others with very strong opinions and claims of proofs of lying on the part of the U.S. government about 9/11, or shades in between. The subject is vast and I will only introduce the controversy.
A Little Background
Recall that in the 19th century the Indians were claimed as the bad guys for the United States. Then, in the 20th century the communists became the bad guys (albeit for a relatively brief, but painful, period the Nazis were designated). Now in the 21st century the bad guys have become Muslims. When simply understood, Muslim terrorists engineered 9/11. End of what you need to know.
But real history is not quickly and easily understood. It turns out the Spanish did not blow up the Maine in Havana harbor leading to the Spanish-American War, that the War World I allies were not so innocent about the Lusitania sinking, that Roosevelt had allowed the destruction in Pearl Harbor to occur knowing in advance the Japanese plans, that the Gulf of Tonkin incident leading to escalation in Vietnam did not occur. We may be quite willing to believe that other governments engage in Machiavellian state acts, but it seems harder to do so when such possibilities come close to home.
The difficulty of even thinking about culpabilities of our own government eases the path for those wanting us to completely dismiss such possibilities, without our even acknowledging that there is evidence about 9/11 that needs to be confronted. An example is Jonathan Kay’s recently published book Among the Truthers (HarperCollins, Toronto, 2011), where many of those interested in the evidence are considered to be “cranks” who offer baseless beliefs “often reacting to male midlife crises.” (If he had referred to females, could he get away with a reference to “menopause crises”?)
Let me start with a point that angers me greatly.
Ziad Samir Jarrah:
“Ziad Samir Jarrah”:
Alleged Muslim Hijackers
The 9/11 Commission Report was published in 2004, nearly three years later after the terrorist event. Within it, there is no attempt whatsoever to provide any evidence that the alleged nineteen hijackers were on the planes and correctly identified. The Commission had plenty of time. That’s an insult to criminal processes, an insult to Arabs, an insult to Muslims. It is an insult to all of us.
This problem is deeper, much deeper. The FBI’s initial list of alleged hijackers after 9/11 was changed within days, without explanation. A video from the Portland, Maine airport has been cited for two of the alleged, but it is not from the Boston airport. A video from Dulles airport has been cited, but it has no date/time information. Furthermore, international press reports had many alleged hijackers reporting themselves alive after 9/11 when their identifications were made public (the Commission, like a kangaroo, judged over all these reports). If you examine published photos of the alleged hijacking pilot Ziad Jarrah for United Airlines flight 93 that ended in Pennsylvania, there are three different persons . There are also doubles for others. (Jay Kolar, “What We Now Know About the Alleged Hijackers”, The Hidden History of 9-11, P. Zarembka, editor, Seven Stories Press, New York, 2nd edition, 2008, pp. 1-44 and 293-304. See especially the Jarrah photo collage, preceding the text.)
Let me mention some other matters.
WTC 7 Collapse
Do skyscrapers fall at all, due to fire? We are supposed to have had three in New York City in the single day of 9/11/2001, but none anywhere before. Two collapses on 9/11 have been widely shown; one is rarely shown – for World Trade Center 7 (WTC 7). The last was not even hit by a plane, was separated from WTC 1 by WTC 6, and had only small fires.
If skyscrapers do fall, why would these three go virtually straight down in close to the physics of free fall, with no human intervention to initiate the collapses and ensure such symmetry? With such extraordinary collapses, why was not the evidence of the steel retained for extensive forensic examination, instead of whisked off to China? Why would the testimonies of more than one hundred fire-fighters as to explosions being heard not warrant being considered a major lead? Why would not dust samples be tested by governmental authorities for explosive materials, particularly after independent researchers outside of the U.S. government confirmed the existence of nano-thermite in the dust? What were they hiding?
American Airlines 77 flight path
How can it be explained away that the most important operational structure of the American military is left undefended fifty minutes after the first plane hits the World Trade Center, in fact, about one hour and twenty minutes after the first warning? Is it at all credible that the alleged pilot Hani Hanjour is capable of maneuvering a Boeing 757 in such a fancy manner into the Pentagon? How is the absence of identifiable debris of the American flight 77 to be explained, even against a survivor who crawled through the hole in the building and saw no plane debris? How do we reconcile the independent research finding that many eyewitnesses of the flight path going toward the Pentagon say that the plane approached in a manner that could not have been consistent with the official story of AA 77? Security cameras were all around the Pentagon. Why were these videos and images confiscated so quickly after the incident and are still not released?
Calls from Planes?
United flight 93 had the most reported calls from inside the planes, but American flights 11 and 77 and United flight 175 also had them. Immediately after 9/11, there were many reports of cell phones having been used for these calls. However, many statements came later that such cell calls were then impossible at anything but low altitudes. One pilot even told me that he or other pilots might forget to turn off their private cell phones when entering a cockpit, and only received voice-message alarms from their cell phones after descending down to 1000 to 2000 feet at the end of their flights. I can confirm my own inability to use cell phones above such an altitude, albeit without nearly the experience.
By the time of the 2006 Zacarias Moussaoui trial, the government was claiming that all flight 93 calls were air phone calls except the last two. However, this government claim is in direct contradiction of Tom Burnett’s wife Deena who, in her book, explicitly states that she knew that Tom was using his cell phone because she was looking at her own phone’s caller ID (Deena Burnett with Anthony Giombetti, Living Life Beyond Ourselves: Fighting Back, Advantage Books, Longwood, Florida, 2006, p. 61). Furthermore, Deena said she received four calls from Tom, while the government acknowledges only three, of which times and durations differ from Deena’s report. Of course, phone company reports could be produced, but no one has.
All this matters because flight 93 had those movies made about “heroes”. A book about flight 93 by the New York Times reporter Jere Longman was entitled Among the Heroes (HarperCollings, New York, 2002). For example, it discussed four phone calls by Tom Burnett (p. 107 for a cell, p. 110 for an airphone, p. 111 for a cell, and p. 118 but type of phone not indicated). One can wonder about the truth regarding the reported calls when such direct contradictions to the government’s statements appear. There are even witnesses that flight 93 was actually shot down, rather than having been taken over. (Many more details regarding the alleged calls are discussed in my update on pp. 305-310 in The Hidden History of 9-11, mentioned above in connection with Kolar’s work.)
In the month after 9/11, there was much discussion in the financial press regarding the insider trading occurring in the days before in put options on American and United stocks. The levels were quite high. But suddenly all discussion stopped until a brief, unsatisfactory mention in the Commission’s 2004 report. I sensed that those reporting the data (sometimes, not quite correctly) thought it would lead to proof of Osama bin Laden’s role. I further sensed, but cannot prove, that the word got around in October 2001 that no such proof would surface and interest fell like a lead balloon.
In 2006, a professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Allen Poteshman, published a scientific study leading to the empirical conclusion that insider trading was, indeed, highly probable before 9/11 in those put options for American and United. Furthermore, his research was published in the Journal of Business, an outlet no one can accuse of being anti-American. In my evaluation as an economics professor who has worked with similar methodology to that used by Poteshman, it is even more striking that these results have not been challenged by other scholars: important results have almost always led to disputes, but not this time. The only good challenge I have seen is by Mike Williams at www.911myths.com/index.php/Put_Options, particularly the version dated on May 17, 2011, relying on a ‘secret’ Commission document made public. This work causes me to reconsider my prior conclusion of high probability of insider trading in put options for those two airlines.
If I had to give the reader one recommendation, it would be to think and to examine at least some evidence for yourself. Try to get past the idea, if you have it, that certain elements in your government, or in our power structure outside government, would never go so far as large-scale murder in the pursuit of major profits.
Paul Zarembka is Professor of Economics, State University of New York at Buffalo, and editor of The Hidden History of 9-11 Seven Stories Press, New York, 2nd edition soft-cover.