Book review: Wayne Madsen’s crank science

Wayne Madsen’s crank science

Book review: The Star and the Sword (self-publication, 2014)

By Elias Davidsson, 24.2.2017

Wayne Madsen introduces himself as a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist. According to the blurb on the back cover of his book he writes: “This book, for the first time, suggests that both Israel and Saudi Arabia were intimately involved in planning and carrying the 9/11 attack on the United States.” They did so, writes Madsen “in order to plunge America into endless conflicts to bolster the positions of Israel and Saudi Arabia.”

First impression: For a provocative book of almost 250 pages, the author provides 136 footnotes, thereof 21 references to the author’s own articles, 13 to “confidential sources.”  The book contains an index. It surprisingly does not contain a number of names that one would have expected in such a book, such as that of Larry Silverstein, Dov Zakheim, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz.

Far from rejecting the official account on 9/11, Madsen imputes the attacks to Arab hijackers. On p. 5 he refers to the presence of Israelis “in the same neighborhoods where a number of the 9/11 Saudi hijackers lived and trained at flight schools.” On p. 9 he again refers to the presence of “9/11 hijackers” in southern Florida. On p. 10 he refers to “Al Qaeda terrorists and their supporters”. On p. 11 he cites anonymous agents who believe that “the real mission of the Israelis was not to sell art at federal facilities but to spy on the Al Qaeda members.” On p. 32 he claims that on the evening of September 10, 2001, “the four men who would, the following day, hijack United Flight 93” had a good time in a New Jersey strip club called ‘Lace.’ On p. 33 he mentions unreleased video tapes from a video store “showing Saudi hijackers.” On p. 34 he maintains that the passenger list from a Sept. 5 cruise on a boat owned by Jack Abramoff “matched those of some of the hijackers.”  On p. 36 he claims that the wife of Prince Bandar, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States “used money […] to pay for lodging one of the 9/11 hijackers.”  On p. 47 he refers to a box cutter, “the same brand used by the 9/11 hijackers”.  On p. 69 he claims that Mohand Al-Shehri was “one of the terrorist hijackers of United Flight 175”.  On p. 100 he names several persons, including Mohammed Atta, as participants in the attacks of 9/11.  On p. 105 he again designates Mohammed Atta as an 9/11 hijacker. In his summary chapter, on p. 238, he again claims that “Arab cells” carried out the 9/11 attacks.

The author appears unaware of the contradiction in attributing the 9/11 attacks to Al Qaeda operatives (who allegedly went gladly to their death after spending the evening whoring in a strip joint) while concentrating on the alleged responsibility of Israel and Saudi Arabia in the attacks. On p. 207 the author appears to entertain some afterthoughts, writing: “It was learned from a Pentagon source that leading Americans tied to the media effort to pin 9/11 on Arab hijackers, Osama bin Laden, and the Taliban were present in the Israeli embassy on September 10, 2001, to coordinate their media blitz for the subsequent days and weeks following the attacks.” Note, however, the conjectural formulation by the author (“It was learned”, “a Pentagon source”, “leading Americans” “tied to the media effort”, “were present”): No names, no specific facts, no sources. This kind of style pervades the entire book. Please be forewarned.

In attempting to lambast the State of Israel, the author includes in his book various episodes, which bear no relation to the attacks of 9/11. Thus he devotes 12 pages to Mossad’s alleged surveillance of domestic U.S. telecommunications, 58 pages to an alleged “coordinated global Mossad operations and bogus passports” scam run between 2003 and 2005, 32 pages to a variety of alleged Mossad operations in Houston, California and elsewhere in the United States between 2004 and 2010.  Whether and if so, to what extent the information the author presents on Israeli machinations is accurate and representative, is besides the point. For the present purpose, it suffices to note that these incidents, whatever their nature, do not present even circumstantial evidence of Israel’s (let alone Saudi Arabia’s) complicity in 9/11. Had the author presented his book as an indictment of Israeli crimes, he would equally fall the test of scientific quality because of the dubious quality of the evidence he presents and the relative irrelevance of the incidents he imputes to Israel (in comparison to far more grievous violations of international law and human rights by that State).

With many words, the author attempts to prove that the “revelations” about the Israeli “art students” and the “dancing Israelis” had been the result of upright whistleblowers who were “frustrated” by their superiors of the DEA and the FBI who leaked information to the media. This explanation does not hold water. Mainstream media, even if presented with explosive information, do not normally touch it with a mile-long pole, unless publicizing it conforms to editorial policy. The large publicity given by media to the stories of the Israeli “art students” and that of the “dancing Israelis” suggests that doing conformed, for some undeclared reason, with a pro-Israeli policy.. The fact that Fox News, a staunchly right-wing pro-Israel media house, published a four-part series on the Israeli “art students” is indicative of this reasoning.

For experts on 9/11 who read Wayne Madsen’s book, the question is not whether it possesses any evidentiary value. It definitely has little or none. The question is rather whether the author is simply incompetent or whether his book represents deliberate disinformation aimed at maintaining in the mind of a certain public the “red herring” of Israel and/or Saudi responsibility for 9/11.  The shabby quality of the book suggests rather the former answer. But I may be wrong.