The Right to the Truth and the Mass Killings of 11 September 2001
A gross violation of human rights gives rise to a set of state obligations, including that of providing remedies to the victims. Among such remedies is the duty to establish the true circumstances surrounding the violation and ensuring the identification and punishment of those responsible for it. The mass killings of 9/11 were, apart of being a huge crime, also a gross violation of the right to life of approximately 3,000 people. Yet legal literature has not dealt with this event from that perspective. Thus, the right of the victims to have the truth established and the perpetrators identified and punished has not been subject to scrutiny. This study is meant to remedy this failure by applying existing human rights norms to the investigation of 9/11 by the U.S. authorities and assessing, more generally,the adequacy of these norms.
Since 11 September 2001 the human rights community has faced a new challenge, namely the assault on individual freedoms in Western democracies in the name of the “war on terror”. Every day governments introduce new challenges to individual freedoms, including police powers to monitor private communications, mass surveillance methods and broadened search and detention powers.1 These attacks on human rights have been been extensively analysed and denounced by the legal community. Yet, the event invoked by governments as a justification for all these attacks on human rights, commonly designated as a terrorist act or as an act of war – the mass killings of 9/11 – was equally a gross violation of human rights, giving rise to specific state obligations. It was thus the duty of the government where this event took place to investigate this violation, establish the truth on this violation and bring those responsible to justice. Impunity arises when a state fails to meet these obligations.2 To date, nobody has been brought to trial for participation or complicity in the mass killings of 9/11.3 This fact alone warrants an appraisal of the investigation of this gross violation and the norms applicable to such an investigation.
According to the official account, all 19 alleged perpetrators of the mass killings of 9/11 died in the crashes of aircraft they allegedly had hijacked. Consequently, they were not prosecuted and their guilt was not determined in accordance with the rule of law.Designated by the political class and by world media as the embodiment of evil, no one dared to stand to their defence. Muslims around the world either condemned their action as contrary to Islam or rejected the allegations but did not undertake any legal action to vindicate the suspects’ rights to a fair hearing. A part of this article can be regarded as a belated attempt to provide a defence to the 9/11 suspects, a right to which they are entitled. Readers of this article may consider themselves as members of the jury.
Before embarking upon an appraisal of the investigations of 9/11, a review of the applicable norms is in order.
1.The right to truth as a collective right
In 2005, the U.N. Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) adopted an Updated Set of Principles to Combat Impunity. The first subset of principles is entitled the Right to Know and includes the following principles4:
Principle 2: The inalienable right to the truth
Every people has the inalienable right to know the truth about past events concerning the perpetration of heinous crimes and about the circumstances and reasons that led, through massive or systematic violations, to the perpetration of those crimes. Full and effective exercise of the right to the truth provides a vital safeguard against the recurrence of violations.
Principle 5: Guarantees to give effect to the right to know
States must take appropriate action, including measures necessary to ensure the independent and effective operation of the judiciary, to give effect to the right to know. Appropriate measures to ensure this right may include non-judicial processes that complement the role of the judiciary. Societies that have experienced heinous crimes perpetrated on a massive or systematic basis may benefit in particular from the creation of a truth commission or other commission of inquiry to establish the facts surrounding those violations so that the truth may be ascertained and to prevent the disappearance of evidence. Regardless of whether a State establishes such a body, it must ensure the preservation of, and access to, archives concerning violations of human rights and humanitarian law.
The above principles reflect states’ recognition that societies, as collectivities, possess the right to know the truth about past gross violations to human rights.
2.The right to the truth as a form of individual remedy
The first detailed study on the right to the truth was issued by the U.N. Commission on Human Rights in 2006.The study concludes
“that the right to the truth about gross human rights violations and serious violations of human rights law is an inalienable and autonomous right, linked to the duty and obligation of the State to protect and guarantee human rights, to conduct effective investigations and to guarantee effective remedy and reparations. This right is closely linked with other rights and has both an individual and a societal dimension and should be considered as a non-derogable right and not subject to limitations.”
The study provides a useful historical overview of the right to the truth, which developed from specialised provisions of international humanitarian law to the current recognition of this right as an inalienable and autonomous human right.
Although international human rights treaties do not explicitly refer to the right to the truth, this right has been referred to by human rights courts and in documents adopted by various bodies of the United Nations.5 This right is also regarded as implicit in existing provisions of human rights treaties,6 such as Article 8, 11, 14 and 25 of the American Convention of Human Rights.7
In 1989, the United Nations adopted the U.N. Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-Legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions8 (hereafter: UN Principles) and in 1991 a manual on the implementation of these principles.9 According to paragraph 9 of the UN Principles, “the broad purpose of an inquiry is to discover the truth about the events leading to the suspicious death of a victim.”
In 2005, the U.N. General Assembly affirmed the duty of states to provide victims of human rights violations with “full and effective reparation…which include[s]…where applicable…[v]erification of the facts and full and public disclosure of the truth” and “[i]nclusion of an accurate account of the violations that occurred in international human rights law and international humanitarian law training and in educational material at all levels.”10
The Inter-American Court for the Protection of Human Rights (IACtHR) has through its jurisprudence given substance to the concept of the right to truth: “[T]he right to the truth is subsumed in the right of the victim or his next of kin to obtain clarification of the events that violated human rights and the corresponding responsibilities from the competent organs of the State, through the investigation and prosecution that are established in Articles 8 and 25 of the Convention.”11 In 1998, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has for first time recognised that the right to truth belongs to members of society at large as well as to the families of victims of human rights violations.12
In its 2007 report on the right to the truth, the Human Rights Council linked this right with the need to combat impunity, to achieve justice and to provide remedy to victims.13
3.The duty to investigate: A derivative of the right to truth
States are, under international human rights law, under the duty to investigate within their respective jurisdictions “all cases of killing and other suspicious death, whether the perpetrators were private persons or State agents or are unknown.”14 The Basic Principles (2005) set out the specific obligation to investigate violations in the context of the overall obligation to ensure respect for human rights: “The obligation to respect, ensure respect for and implement international human rights law and international humanitarian law …includes, inter alia, the duty to …[i]nvestigate violations effectively, promptly, thoroughly and impartially and, where appropriate, take action against those allegedly responsible in accordance with domestic and international law.”15
Before the adoption of the Basic Principles (2005), the U.N. Human Rights Committee (UNHRC), in its General Comment no. 31, pointed out that states are under the duty to protect individuals subject to their jurisdiction,
“not just against violations of the [ICCPR] by [their] agents, but also against acts committed by private persons or entities that would impair the enjoyment of Covenant rights…There may be circumstances in which a failure to ensure Covenant rights..would give rise to violations by States Parties of those rights, as a result of States Parties’ permitting or failing to take appropriate measures or to exercise due diligence to prevent, punish, investigate or redress the harm caused by such acts by private persons or entities.”16
Part III of the United Nations Manual on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-Legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions, based on a Model Protocol for a Legal Investigation drafted by the Minnesota Lawyers International Human Rights Committee (hence, “The Minnesota Protocol”),17 lists desirable procedures of an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding a suspicious death.These include, inter alia, specific tasks to be accomplished at the crime scene, the processing of evidence, avenues of investigation and identification and interviews of witnesses. The ‘Minnesota Protocol’ also provides a guideline for the establishment of independent commissions of inquiry and the performance of autopsies.States can, therefore, avail themselves of such guidelines, if they desire to fulfill in good faith their international obligations.
4.Standards of investigation
While states are under the obligation to investigate violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, they sometimes attempt to avoid investigations which might embarrass or implicate high officials. In order to cover up official complicity, states sometimes stage an investigation designed to fail.The IACtHR explicitly warned against this eventuality: “[T]he State has the duty to commence ex officio and without delay, a serious, fair, and effective investigation which is not undertaken as a mere formality condemned in advance to be fruitless.”18
The notion, that failure to effectively investigate arbitrary killings could itself be a violation of human rights, has been confirmed in numerous judgements by the ECtHR. In its judgements the court addressed five to six criteria which allow a relatively objective evaluation of the effectiveness of an investigation, namely: promptness, thoroughness, impartiality (or objectivity), independence and transparency.
4.1Effectiveness of investigations
The requirement of effectiveness of investigations has been addressed by the ECtHR in numerous court judgements. A review of these judgements reveals that the Court uses the terms “effective” and “adequate”interchangeably. While the term “effective” is sometimes used to imply an obligation of result,19 the Court also refers to it as an obligation of means.20The Court thus considered that “the nature and degree of scrutiny which satisfies the minimum threshold of [an] investigation’s effectiveness depends on the circumstances of the particular case. It must be assessed on the basis of all relevant facts and with regard to the practical realities of investigation work. It is not possible to reduce the variety of situations which might occur to a bare check-list of acts of investigation or other simplified criteria.”21 In determining whether effective investigations of alleged violations of human rights had taken place, the Court examines whether these investigations had been prompt, thorough, impartial (or objective), independent and sufficiently transparent.
While human rights courts generally avoid implying that ineffective investigations of human rights violations represent deliberate obstruction or a cover-up by the state, the ECtHR expressed its view in Musayevand Others v Russia that “the astonishing ineffectiveness of the prosecuting authorities…can only be qualified as acquiescence in the events.”22
The ECtHR has also considered that a violation by a government of the right to life can be inferred from the failure by the government to provide “a plausible explanation…as to the reasons why indispensable acts of investigation have not been performed.”23
4.2Promptness of investigations
The necessity of promptly investigating an alleged violation of the right to life “may generally be regarded as essential in maintaining public confidence in their adherence to the rule of law and in preventing any appearance of collusion in or tolerance of unlawful acts.”24 The passage of time “inevitably erode[s] the amount and quality of the evidence available and the appearance of a lack of diligence will cast doubt on the good faith of the investigative efforts, as well as drag out the ordeal for the members of the family.”25 A substantial delay in the investigation may, therefore, constitute “a breach of the obligation to exercise exemplary diligence and promptness.”26
4.3Thoroughness of investigations
A crucial feature for an adequate investigation of human rights violations is its thoroughness.According to paragraph 9 of the UN Principles:
“There shall be thorough, prompt and impartial investigation of all suspected cases of extra-legal, arbitrary and summary executions, including cases in which complaints by relatives or other reliable reports suggest unnatural death in the above circumstances…. The Purpose of the investigation shall be to determine the cause, manner and time of death, the person responsible, and any pattern or practice, which may have brought about that death.”27
The ECtHR inferred the lack of thoroughness from a garden-variety of omissions by the investigating authorities, such as failure to take reasonable steps to secure evidence;28 ignorance of obvious evidence (failure to “connect the dots”);29 failure to collect all the evidence that could have clarified the sequence of events;30 failure to report troubling facts;31 failure to interrogate certain people or to ask certain questions in interrogations;32 failure to ascertain possible eye-witnesses and failing to search for corroborating evidence;33 failure to ascertain whether certain reported documents in fact existed;34 failure to clarify important inconsistencies;35 failure to consider alternative hypotheses for unnatural death;36 lack of explanations for irregularities;37 failure to preserve evidence at the scene (of the crime) and taking all relevant measurements;38 and failure to inquire about motives.39
4.4Independence of investigations
The U.N. Human Rights Committee emphasises the need that investigations be carried out “through independent and impartial bodies.”40
The U.N. Principles specify that
[g]overnments shall pursue investigations through an independent commission of inquiry or similar procedure. Members of such a commission shall be chosen for their recognised impartiality, competence and independence as individuals. In particular, they shall be independent of any institution, agency or person that may be the subject of the inquiry. The commission shall have the authority to obtain all information necessary to the inquiry and shall conduct the inquiry as provided in these principles.41
The ECtHR also mentioned the necessity “for the persons responsible for and carrying out the investigation to be independent from those implicated in the events”.42 The Court added: “This means not only a lack of hierarchical or institutional connection but also a practical independence.”43
4.5Impartiality of investigations
Impartiality, according to the ECtHR, requires that investigators, with an open mind, examine all relevant evidence, including evidence that contradicts their “firm conviction”44 and include in the scope of their investigation the possibility of official involvement in the crime, particularly when they are put on notice about suspicious activities by official entities.45The obligation of impartiality can also be violated by judiciously restricting an investigative mandate to predefined outcomes.
In order to ensure the impartiality of an investigation, witnesses “shall be protected from…any…form of intimidation”46, particularly by state officials.
4.6Transparency of investigations
According to paragraph 16 of the UN Principles “[f]amilies of the deceased and their legal representatives shall be informed of, and have access to, any hearing as well as to all information relevant to the investigation, and shall be entitled to present other evidence.”47
The reporting requirements of an investigation are also spelled out in the UN Principles:
“A written report shall be made within a reasonable period of time on the methods and findings of such investigations. The report shall be made public immediately and shall include the scope of the inquiry, procedures and methods used to evaluate evidence as well as conclusions and recommendations based on findings of fact and on applicable law. The report shall also describe in detail specific events that were found to have occurred and the evidence upon which such findings were based, and list the names of witnesses who testified, with the exception of those whose identities have been withheld for their own protection. The Government shall, within a reasonable period of time, either reply to the report of the investigation, or indicate the steps to be taken in response to it.”48
The ECtHR explicitly related the need for transparency of investigations to the democratic right of official accountability:
“Remedies must be effective in practice, not just in theory, with a sufficient element of public scrutiny to ensure true accountability. In particular, alleged violations of the right to life deserve the most careful scrutiny. Where events lie wholly or largely within exclusive knowledge of the authorities…strong presumptions of fact will arise in respect of injuries and death, which occur. Indeed, the burden of proof may be regarded as resting on the authorities to provide a satisfactory and convincing explanation.”49
5.The mass killings of 11 September 2001: A gross violation of the right to life
The mass killings of 11 September 2001 (“9/11”) were a gross violation of the right to life of approximately 3,000 human beings. It follows that the United States, as state party to the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, is under the obligation to provide an “effective remedy” to the victims of 9/11,50 including their right to an effective investigation of these violations.
To the extent that these mass killings were also a crime against humanity, the United States government has, by U.N. resolution 3074 (XXVIII) of 1973, pledged to investigate such crimes.And by voting for U.N. Security Council Resolution 1368 (2001), the United States also pledged “to work together [with other states] urgently to bring to justice the perpetrators, organizers and sponsors” of the crime of 9/11.
Violations by the United States of international treaties to which it is party, such as the failure to investigate violations of human rights committed within its jurisdiction, are not at this point enforceable against the United States in any international court. The lack of international enforcement does not, however, void the international responsibility of the United States for its violations of obligations under international law51 nor relieve the U.S. authorities of their moral responsibility to establish the truth on 9/11.
6.The official account of 9/11
On September 11, 2001, the entire world witnessed on television the impact of an aircraft crashing on the South Tower of the World Trade Center in New York, the ensuing fires and the subsequent and sudden disintegration of both towers. Television and other media provided non-stop coverage about rescue efforts and presented live testimonies of survivors, eyewitnesses, rescue workers, fire fighters and law enforcement personnel. In addition to what was shown live on television, numerous people witnessed and experienced the events in person. After seeing a second aircraft impacting the World Trade Center, it was evident that this was no accident, but a deliberate attack aimed to destroy and kill.
Approximately 20 minutes after being informed that a second aircraft had crashed into the World Trade Center, President George W. Bush, exiting a school class, announced to the world that the United States was under attack.52 In his TV address he said: “Two airplanes have crashed into the World Trade Center in an apparent terrorist attack on our country.”53 Such wording was not self-evident: Neither at that moment nor later, did President Bush or his aides possessed any evidence that the aircraft seen crashing on the WTC had come from abroad.
On 12 September2001, the U.S. Congress adopted by acclaim a resolution that contained the following factual assertions:
•The events of the previous day had been “attacks against” the United States;
•Terrorists had “hijacked and destroyed” four civilian aircraft;
•The attacks “destroyed both towers of the World Trade Center”; and
•The attacks were intended “to intimidate our Nation and weaken its resolve.”54
There was nothing extraordinary for the Congress to condemn the mass-murder of the previous day, express its sympathy to the victims and their families and commend the valiant efforts of rescue teams and first responders. Numerous governments and international bodies did so immediately without suggesting how, by whom and why the mass-murder was executed.55 What distinguished the congressional resolution from numerous similar resolutions was the specificity of the factual allegations it included. Despite ample time for debates, Congress members displayed a surprising lack of curiosity about the actual events of the previous day. No member of Congress demanded concrete evidence in support of the allegations he or she was asked to endorse. Some members of Congress actually warned against treating the events as a crime because, as Senator Jeff Sessions, explained, “As a Federal prosecutor, I know about the difficulties that have to be overcome to prosecute a person and convict them beyond a reasonable doubt. You don’t have that burden when you are in war.”56
Already from the first hour, mass media published horrid details about the events – partly based on leaks from unidentified public and airline officials – and had talking heads speculating about the identities of the perpetrators and their masterminds. On 14 September the main features of the official account on 9/11 were finalised prior to any investigation and remained since that day engraved in stone. These can be summarised in a few sentences:
Nineteen Arab Muslim fanatics boarded four aircraft in the morning of 11 September 2001. Five of them boarded flight AA11 that departed from Boston; five boarded UA175 that also departed from Boston; five boarded flight AA77 that departed from Dulles Airport, Washington, D.C.; and four boarded flight UA93 that departed from Newark International Airport. These four terrorist teams, each led by a trained pilot, hijacked the aircraft in mid-air with knives, removed the pilots of the aircraft from their seats and flew the aircraft into buildings, killing themselves, the passengers and the crew.They flew the aircraft designated as flight AA11 into the North Tower, flight UA175 into the South Tower, flight AA77 into the Pentagon and attempted to crash flight UA93 into the White House but did not succeed to carry out their plan due to the uprising of the passengers. That aircraft then crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The hijackers were swiftly identified as having links to al-Qa’ida. Osama bin Laden later admitted to have personally selected them for these specific attacks.
Due to the traumatic nature of the events, few noticed at the time the absence of hard evidence in support of these allegations. Even as the U.S. went to war against Afghanistan, the U.S. government failed to provide hard evidence to the United Nations which would link that country to the events of 9/11. In its letter to the Security Council, John D. Negroponte, the representative of the United States wrote: “[M]y Government has obtained clear and compelling information that the Al-Qaeda organization, which is supported by the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, had a central role in the attacks. There is still much we do not know. Our inquiry is in its early stages. We may find that our self-defense requires further actions with respect to other organizations and other States.”57 In a now declassified wire sent by the State Department on October 1, 2001 to all U.S. embassies around the world, ambassadors were advised that “the United States is not obliged in any way to make any kind of showing as a prerequisite or precondition to the exercise of its right of self-defense under Article 51 of the U.N. Charter, whether now or in the future”.58 As these lines are being written in late 2012, the United States has failed to produce evidence linking Afghanistan to the events of 9/11.
7.No urgency to investigate 9/11
On 12 September 2001 U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft announced in a press conference that the Department of Justice “has undertaken perhaps the most massive and intensive investigation ever conducted in this country.”59 Yet, while making this announcement, he paradoxically added that the priority of the FBI was to prevent new attacks, not to solve the crime of 9/11.60
Four weeks after the events – the New York Times revealed that John Ashcroft and Robert Mueller had “ordered [FBI] agents to drop their investigation of the attacks or any other assignment any time they learn of a threat or lead that might suggest a future attack.” A law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said to the paper: ”The investigative staff has to be made to understand that we’re not trying to solve a crime now.”61 Indeed, a new threat came soon to replace 9/11 in the minds of many Americans: On 18 September 2001, letters laced with deadly anthrax began appearing in the U.S. mail. Five Americans were killed and 17 were sickened in what became the worst biological attacks in U.S. history.62 This campaign led the FBI to start a new investigation, dubbed Amerithrax,designated by the FBI as “one of the largest and most complex in the history of law enforcement.”63 After initially toying with the temptation to attribute the mailings to Iraq, U.S. authorities finally admitted that the anthrax originated from a unique pool of spore preparations maintained at U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, Maryland.64 Interest in the 9/11 investigation disappeared. Americans focussed on the war. While Osama bin Laden was on everyone’s lips on 9/11, he soon disappeared from presidential speeches. In March 2002, President Bush, asked by a journalist why he rarely mentions Osama bin Laden, answered: “Who knows if he’s hiding in some cave or not; we haven’t heard from him in a long time…You know, I just don’t spend that much time on him, Kelly, to be honest with you.”65 In 2006 the FBI admitted that the agency has no hard evidence connecting Osama bin Laden to 9/11.66
8.1No aircraft crash investigation
Mary Schiavo, former Assistant Secretary of Labor and former Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Transportation, highlighted in her testimony before the 9/11 Commission the failure of conducting an investigation of the aircraft crashes that occurred on 9/11:
“In every other aviation disaster, including those precipitated by terrorism or aviation crimes or piracy, the National Transportation Safety Board [NTSB] examined the tragedy and issued technical, operational and policy recommendations to our government, the airlines, airports, and others. The NTSB does this to enable us to correct the lapses that permitted the tragedy to occur. (…) No such NTSB investigation occurred nor is forthcoming to examine the 9/11 crashes.”67
8.2No investigation of air defence failures
According to the official account, four large passenger aircraft, allegedly hijacked on the morning of 9/11, deviated from their planned flight paths,68 switched off their transponders (thus concealing their identities and altitudes from air traffic control)69 and flew unobserved for varying durations without being intercepted by air defences.70 Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld confirmed to the Senate Committee on Armed Services in 2004 that the Department of Defense did not conduct an “after-action review” regarding the apparent failure to intercept the allegedly hijacked aircraft.71The explanation provided by the authorities for this failure was that that the multiple hijackings had confused air defences. Yet interceptions of deviating aircraft had been a routine procedure. In the year 2000 this routine was carried out 129 times without hitch.72
Part of the confusion derived undoubtedly from the fact that air traffic controllers had to contend with far more than four suspected hijackings. According to the 9/11 Commission, there were “multiple erroneous reports of hijacked aircraft in the system” over the course of the morning of 9/11.73
NORAD Major General Larry Arnold declared that, on the morning of 9/11, a total of 21 planes had been identified as possible hijackings.74 He reiterated this statement later in an interview with the 9/11 Commission, which did not mention it in its Final Report.75 Colonel Robert Marr, the NEADS battle commander, said he was informed that “across the nation there were some 29 different reports of hijackings.”76
There was a good reason for the above confusion, although this was not reported at the time: On the morning of 9/11, the U.S. Military scheduled multiple war games (or exercises) in the very air space where the actual crashes took place. At least one of these exercises included a live-fly hijacking exercise.77 The Final Report of the 9/11 Commission mentions such an exercise, but only in passing.78
As part of these exercises, electronic blips representing simulated hijacked aircraft appeared on the radars of air traffic controllers, leading them to wonder whether the blips they saw moving on their screens belonged to phantom aircraft, real aircraft participating in the exercises or ordinary commercial aircraft.Similar exercises had been conducted just days prior to 9/11, all working with the scenario of terrorists hijacking a London to New York flight with plans to detonate explosives over New York.79
No investigation was carried out to determine the relationship between these “real-world” hijacking exercises and the deadly events.The identities of those who participated in these exercises and the scenario they followed remain secret.
8.3No investigation of WTC pulverisation
Of approximately 2,700 people who died at the World Trade Center,“not even a fragment of bone”has been found for more than 1,100 victims.80 The mother of Michael Ragusa, a victim at Ground Zero, could not fathom that there is “no trace of so many people. It can’t happen that way…People don’t just disappear.”81
Virtually all non-metallic parts of the towers and their contents were converted to microscopic dust particles or small unrecognisable fragments. According to the Scientific American, “[t]he collapse of the Twin Towers pulverized and then scattered into the air millions of tons of cement, steel, drywall, window glass and other building materials. It also crushed and incinerated82 thousands of computers as well as mile after mile of items such as electrical cable and heating and cooling ducts. Finally, the dust contained the remains of the 2,753 people killed in the attack,83 along with the hair and skin cells shed by those who worked in the World Trade Center over the decades.”84
While the dust particles may contain the key for determining the proximate cause of death of more than 1,100 human beings, no investigation was carried out to find out what energy source could have caused this massive, total and instantaneous pulverisation of the Twin Towers85 and their contents.86
9. Inadequate investigations
Some investigations or inquiries regarding 9/11 were conducted and funded by the U.S. authorities. Only those which purported to examine the actual events of 9/11 will be considered here.87 The9/11 Commission’s investigative records are meanwhile stored at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. (NARA), but the majority of these records are still sealed.88 Those released are not easily accessible online but have been posted in an accessible form on a private website. They will be mentioned in this study by their folder (Team and Box number).89
When federal crimes occur, such as on 9/11, the main investigative entity in the United States is the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Notwithstanding the low priority assigned to the investigation, as mentioned earlier, the FBI took upon itself to investigate the events of 9/11 as a crime and dubbed its investigation PENTTBOM. The precise mandate given to FBI supervisors and agents for their investigation is not known.
9.1.1The FBI lack of independence
Organisationally, the FBI reports to both the Attorney General and the director of national intelligence. FBI’s Director since 9/11 has been Robert S. Mueller, III, who was appointed by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the Senate. The FBI is, therefore, constitutionally, part of the executive branch. To the extent that elements of the U.S. executive branch were suspected to be involved in the crime of 9/11, the FBI could not act as an independent investigator. Reasons to consider the U.S. government as one of the suspects arose early on for numerous reasons, such as the unusual speed of “identifying the perpetrators”, drafting and adopting speedily the PATRIOT Act, initiating a global “war on terrorism”, attacking Afghanistan within four weeks, and opposing an investigation of the crime. Such suspicions grew with time. According to a July 2006 poll conducted by Scripps News Service, no less than one-third of Americans suspected that the Bush administration either facilitated the 9/11 attacks or allowed them to happen in order to provide a pretext for wars in the Middle East.90 In the light of such extensive suspicions of the Bush administration, an independent investigation of 9/11 could not have been adequately conducted by an agency of the U.S. government.
9.1.2 The lack of transparency
The FBI appears to pursue a policy of denying systematically Freedom of Information (FOIA) requests for 9/11-related documents, even those which have been released previously. For example, on 16 April 2012, the FBI denied to the author FOIA requests for copies of documents 302-1880 and 302-3005, which are already publicly available from the National Archives (NARA),91 claiming that their release “could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings.” FBI’s denial was affirmed on appeal.92
Whereas the FBI failed to issue a public a report describing its allegedly huge PENTTBOM investigation,93 mass media demonstrated a surprising lack of interest in it. I could find only a single report by a major media on PENTTBOM.94 The following paragraph is all what the FBI has released to the American people and the world about the investigation it had designated as the largest in the agency’s history:
“Our…investigation of the attacks of 9/11 – code-named “PENTTBOM” – was our largest investigation ever. At the peak of the case, more than half our agents worked to identify the hijackers and their sponsors and, with other agencies, to head off any possible future attacks. We followed more than half-a-million investigative leads, including several hundred thousand tips from the public. The attack and crash sites also represented the largest crime scenes in FBI history.”95
One of the goals of an effective investigation is to identify those responsible for a gross violation of human rights and bring them to trial.According to the CIA, its “officers worked with foreign intelligence services to detain more than 2,900 al-Qa’ida operatives and associates in over 90 countries” in the aftermath of 9/11.96 Yet as of this writing, not a single “al-Qa’ida operative”, or anyone else for that matter, has been prosecuted, anywhere, for organising, directing or participating in the mass killings of 9/11.97
The only person convicted in the United States in relation to the events of 9/11 is a mentally disturbed French national by the name of Zacarias Moussaoui. Although he was not charged to have been directly involved in 9/11, he was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole.98
9.2 The first investigations of the demise of the Twin Towers
On 12 September 2001, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its contractor, Greenhorne and O’Mara, Inc., established a Building Performance Assessment Team (BPAT) to conduct a formal analysis of what they predetermined as the “progressive collapses” of the buildings.99 The involvement of FEMA in this investigation was not self-evident. The traditional mission of the agency was to help “State and local governments…alleviate the suffering and damage which result from…disasters.”100 In February 2001, President Bush nominated Joe M. Allbaugh, formerly director of his election campaign and one of his inner circle of advisors, as Director of FEMA.101 After nominating his friend to head FEMA, President Bush announced that FEMA would expand its responsibility to include government response to terrorist attacks.102 In the wake of the 9/11 events, Allbaugh appointed Dr. W. Gene Corley of Construction Technologies Laboratories to head the BPAT team.103 Dr. Corley had previously served as the principal investigator of the bombing of the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City,104 another criminal event still marred by unanswered questions and suspicions of an official cover-up.105
The deployment of the FEMA-BPAT team was delayed for three weeks, during which a “significant amount of steel debris – including most of the steel from the upper floors – was removed from the rubble pile, cut into small sections, and either melted at the recycling plant or shipped out of the U.S.”106 According to some members of the team, they had been “prevented…from interviewing witnesses, examining the disaster site and requesting crucial information such as recorded distress calls to the police and fire departments.”107 Members of the team were also threatened with dismissal if they spoke to the press.108
The final report of the FEMA-BPAT investigation was released in May 2002.109 Bill Manning, chief editor of Fire Engineering, called the FEMA-BPAT investigation “a half-baked farce that may already have been commandeered by political forces whose primary interests, to put it mildly, lie far afield of full disclosure.”110
The FEMA-BPAT investigation left many questions regarding the demise of the buildings unanswered, and ignored most signs of the use of explosives. It started with a predetermined conclusion, namely that the buildings underwent a “progressive collapse” and fit its findings to that conclusion.
9.3 The second investigation of the demise of the Twin Towers
A thorough investigation of the demise of the World Trade Center buildings was called for because of two distinct reasons:
(a) In view of the criminal nature of the events, it was necessary to establish what led to the deaths of approximately 2,700 people, and most particularly the complete disappearance of approximately 1,100 people.
(b) Due to the unprecedented demise of high-rise steel-reinforced buildings, it was extremely important for the structural engineering community to determine what caused the structural failure on a single day of three such buildings, including one that was not hit by an aircraft (WTC no. 7).
On August 21, 2002, NIST (The National Institute of Standards and Technology) announced the initiation of its building and fire safety investigation of the World Trade Center (WTC) disaster. This investigation was then conducted under the authority of the National Construction Safety Team (NCST) Act, which was signed into law on October 1, 2002.111
A draft summary report of the NIST investigation into the demise of the Twin Towers was released on June 23, 2005. Dr. Hratch Semerjian, Acting Director of NIST, presenting this report, characterised NIST’s investigation as “thorough, open, independent.”112
According to the official account, as presented in the Final Reports of the Federal Building and Fire Investigation of the World Trade Center Disaster conducted by NIST,113 the Twin Towers collapsed due to structural failure caused by the fires and the damage from the aircraft’s impact. The $16 million study by NIST, released in September 2005, represents the official position of the U.S. government regarding the demise of the Twin Towers.
Not an independent investigation
NIST (The National Institute of Standards and Technology) was founded in 1901, as a federal agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce.114 NIST directors are presidential nominees. NIST is no academic institution but part and parcel of the Executive Branch of the U.S. government, involved even in national security issues.115While the investigation by NIST was funded by the Government and was promoted as a scientific effort, no part of any report resulting from NIST’s investigation was to be admitted as evidence or used in any suit or action for damages. Additionally, NIST employees involved with these investigations were not permitted to serve as expert witnesses.116
Not a thorough investigation
The scope of NIST’s investigation was limited to the circumstances leading to the buildings’ demise. What occurred during the demise remained outside the scope of NIST’s investigation. This was by no means an oversight. The Draft Report published in June 2005 explicitly says that the report “covers the characterization of the conditions of the WTC towers before the attacks, their weakening due to the aircraft impacts, the response of the structural systems to the subsequent growth and spread of fires, and the progression of local failures that led ultimately to the total collapse of both towers.” 117 NIST’s report does not, therefore, contain an examination of the actual demise, let alone the puzzling observations that accompanied that demise, as summarized here:
1.Witnesses reported that ground shaking precededthe demise of the towers;118
2.Observers, including television news anchors, reported that the demise visually resembled to controlled demolitions;119
3.The demise of the towers started suddenly rather than after gradual sagging120
4.More than 120 firefighters and first responders testified to have heard, seen or experienced multiple explosions that preceded and accompanied the demise of the Twin Towers121
5.Large parts of the Twin Towers and their human contents turnedinstantaneously into dust in mid-air (what has been referred to as ‘pulverisation’);122
6.Heavy steel beams were ejected forcefully and horizontally from the Twin Towers;123
7.The Twin Towers and WTC no. 7 disintegrated symmetrically;124
8.WTC no. 7 fell at virtually free-fall speed;125
9.Pools of molten steel were discovered below Ground Zero and remained very hot for weeks;126
10.Unreacted thermitic material incorporating nanotechnology was discovered in the WTC dust.127
NIST investigators (and before them FEMA-BMAT) did not deny the above facts. They simply ignored them.
NIST’s ignorance of the above 10 characteristics of a controlled demolition proves that its investigation was not thorough.128
The lack of thoroughness of NIST’s investigation prompted the establishment of an association – Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth,129 whose mission is “to research, compile, and disseminate scientific evidence relative to the destruction of the three World Trade Center skyscrapers, calling for a truly open and independent investigation and supporting others in the pursuit of justice.”130 No aspect of the 9/11 official account challenges professional expertise and physical law as much as the official explanation for the demise of the Twin Towers and WTC no. 7.This association has meanwhile got more than 1,700 professional members.
9.4The investigation by the 9/11 Commission
9.4.1Government opposition to a public investigation
While public inquiries into past national calamities, such as the attack on Pearl Harbor, the sinking of the Titanic, the assassination of President Kennedy and the explosion of the Shuttle Challenger, were established within less than 10 days,131 the U.S. government opposed for more than a year a public inquiry of 9/11, or in today’s terminology, a Truth Commission. According to Philip Shenon, whose book The Commission was reviewed in the New York Times in 2008, Dick Cheney called Tom Daschle, then the Senate majority leader, in January 2002 to warn him that a proper investigation of 9/11 would be a “very dangerous and time-consuming diversion for those of us who are on the front lines of our response today.”132
On the first anniversary of 9/11, Jim Dwyer of the New York Times highlighted the difference between the reactions of the respective governments to 9/11 and to the sinking of the Titanic: “One year later, the public knows less about the circumstances of 2,801 deaths at the foot of Manhattan in broad daylight than people in 1912 knew within weeks about the Titanic, which sank in the middle of an ocean in the dead of night.”133
9.4.2The establishment of a investigation “set to fail”
Due to pressure by victims’ families, supported by media and some members of Congress, President Bush relented and grudgingly permitted the establishment of a National Commission of Inquiry. On 15 November 2002 the U.S. Congress established the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, whose mandate was to “examine and report on the facts and causes relating to the September 11th terrorist attacks” and “make a full and complete accounting of the circumstances surrounding the attacks.”134 By its very title – “Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States” – the Commission’s focus was predetermined to assume a foreign attack.
In order to limit the Commission’s resources, it was initially accorded $3 million,135 a derisory sum in comparison with the $40 million price tag of the Kenneth Starr investigation into President Clinton’s relation with Monica Lewinsky136 or the $112 million spent by NASA to investigate the Columbia space shuttle tragedy in which seven people died.137 When asked for an additional $8 million for the 9/11 Commission’s work, President Bush initially refused the request.138
9.4.3The 9/11 Commission’s lack of independence
Most members of the 9/11 Commission had a conflict of interest.139 The Commission’s Executive Director, Philip D. Zelikow, appointed by President Bush, had huge conflicts of interest that prompted the Family Steering Committee (a group of victims’ families) to repeatedly demand his removal.140 He managed the Commission’s staff, decided whom to interview and served as a gate-keeper between his staff and the Commissioners.141
Commissioner Tim Roemer discovered by chance that Zelikow had made a secret agreement with the Department of Justice to cut Commissioners’ access to documents from the Joint Congressional Inquiry142 until the White House was able to review them. Roemer was reportedly furious and asked: “Why is our executive director making secret deals with the Justice Department and the White House? He is supposed to work for us.”143According to another secret agreement between the Zelikow and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the Commission was required to advise DOJ in case it intends to interview individuals who appear on a list provided by the Government.144
9.4.4The 9/11 Commission’s partiality
The very title of the Commission manifested its inherent partiality, namely the assumption that 9/11 constituted an attack from outside the United States.By March 2003,before the Commission began its actual work, Executive Director Zelikow and his former professor Ernest May had already prepared a detailed outline of the final report, complete with chapter headings, subheadings, and sub-subheadings.145 May said that he and Zelikow agreed that the outline should “treated as if it were the most classified document the commission possessed.”146The work of the Commission remained to fit the facts into the predetermined outline.
9.4.5The 9/11 Commission’s lack of thoroughness
Several categories of persons were not invited to testify before the Commission. These include witnesses to a second, mysterious, aircraft above the crash site in Pennsylvania; witnesses who had reported explosions and other indications of a controlled demolition prior or during the demise of the Twin Towers; air traffic controllers confused by the military exercises on the morning of 9/11; individuals who met the alleged terrorist Mohamed Atta at various locations in the United States; airline employees who witnessed the boardings of the four aircraft; FBI officials responsible for the crash sites; personnel responsible for security at the World Trade Center; and many other eyewitnesses who possessed knowledge that would have undermined the official account.
The Commission should also have impartially determined the relevance, veracity, reliability and probity of allegations and findings presented by the various government agencies. The 9/11 Commission, instead, relied heavily, as can be gauged from its Final Report, on irrelevant, unreliable and unverifiable information provided by the CIA, the FBI, the FAA and the Department of Defense.
In a book specifically analysing the Final Report of the 9/11 Commission, Prof. David Ray Griffin lists over 100 relevant facts omitted from that report, because their inclusion would have prompted doubts about the official account on 9/11.147As for the thoroughness of the 9/11 Commission’s work, he wrote with subtle irony: “The report’s lack of thoroughness is, in fact, one of its outstanding characteristics.”148
9.5Ineffective investigation: The perpetrators were not identified
The U.S. government has officially accused nineteen individuals, whose names and photographs appear on the FBI website, as being the perpetrators of the mass killings of 9/11. Yet on the website of the FBI, we read that “attempts to confirm the true identities of these individuals are still under way.”149 Leaving aside whether the four alleged suicide-pilots possessed a motive to kill themselves, commit mass-murder and the skills to steer large passenger aircraft at 500 mph into buildings150, there exists no evidence that they and their alleged 15 companions boarded these aircraft in the first place.151No authenticated passenger lists with their names have ever been released. No one has testified to have seen these young men board the aircraft. No authenticated CCTV exist that would show them boarding the aircraft or even present at the respective airports. And their bodily remains have not been formally identified.The most basic forensic evidence to prove the presence of the accused at the site of the crime (aboard the aircraft) has never been produced by the US authorities.
10.Proactive measures to suppress the truth
In its jurisprudence regarding states’ obligations towards victims of human rights violations, the ECtHR invoked numerous times failures by State parties to conduct adequate or effective investigations. Failures to establish the truth on gross violations of human rights are not, however, limited to acts of omission. They may also include acts of commission, such as concealing, destroying and planting of evidence, as well as inducing witnesses and victims to keep silent by bribes or intimidation.
Despite popular suspicions of wrongdoing, the U.S. authorities have chosen to conceal evidence from the public, including documents which would confirm what is already known to the public. Among suppressed records are the original passenger lists of the four flights, video recordings depicting the impact of an aircraft on the Pentagon, documentation of the retrieval of the aircraft wreckage from the Shanksville crash site, audio recordings of the cockpit voice recorder from flight UA93, audio recordings of phone calls for which transcripts had been released, and many other documents, the release of which would neither endanger national security or interfere with law-enforcement efforts or privacy.
When a crime occurs, it is a legal obligation to safeguard the crime site. Destruction of criminal evidence raises a presumption of guilt against the person who participated in such destruction. Among destroyed criminal evidence figures prominently that of the steel from the Twin Towers and from WTC no. 7. The complete demise of the skyscrapers remains a unique event in the history of high-rise, steel-reinforced buildings. Such demise never occurred before or after 9/11, even after wider, longer and fiercer fires. In order for structural engineers to understand what caused such demise, it was crucial to preserve the steel beams from the buildings. In addition to this professional interest, the site of the Twin Towers was evidently a crime scene that had to be preserved.
Yet, most of the steel from the crime scene was not only swiftly removed from the site, but sold to scrap metal dealers, who shipped it for recycling to China,152 India,153 South Korea,154 Malaysia,155 and reportedly to other destinations. The steel was also removed from the site of WTC no. 7, which was evacuated seven hours before its sudden collapse.156 The steel from that building was removed, unmarked, and shipped overseas, leaving not a single beam for a forensic examination of the demise of that building.WTC no. 7, let us recall – a building of 47 floors that would be the highest structure in many countries– was not hit by an aircraft, was not subject to widespread and fierce fires, and yet collapsed at free-fall speed at 5:20 p.m. on 9/11.
The U.S. authorities claim that documents belonging to the suspected hijackers of flight UA93 were found at that flight’s alleged crash site in Somerset County, Pa. Among these documents were the passport of Al-Ghamdi,157 Alnami’s Florida driver’s license158, his Saudi Arabian Youth Hostel Association ID card159, a visa page from Ziad Jarrah’s passport160, and a business card of Jarrah’s uncle.161Local inhabitants who went to the alleged crash site within minutes of hearing an explosion and seeing smoke, told media that they did not see human bodies, blood, or even a hint of an aircraft crash at the site.162The site was swiftly taken over by the FBI, which kept activities within the site secret. Merely twelve days after 9/11, the FBI announced to have recuperated 95 per cent of the aircraft wreckage, and handed it to United Airlines. No journalist was, however, allowed to document the recovery of the aircraft and photograph the recovered wreckage. It was not explained how the above paper documents would survive the aircraft crash while their owners could not be identified.
According to the 9/11 Commission, Mohamed Atta and Abdulaziz Alomari, two of the persons alleged to have hijacked flight AA11 from Boston, had driven on 10 September from Boston to Portland, Maine, from where they reportedly returned on the very morning of 9/11 to Boston with an early connecting flight, before allegedly boarding flight AA11. The 9/11 Commission wrote it could not explain this detour,163 by which they risked – had their connecting flight been delayed – to bungle their “attack upon the United States” that they had allegedly planned for years.164This detour necessitated, however, that their luggage be manually transferred between the flights. Atta’s bags somehow failed to be transferred to flight AA11 in Boston and were swiftly discovered by the authorities.165
Amongst the items reportedly found in Atta’s bags were a hand-held electronic flight computer, a simulator procedures manual for Boeing 757 and 767 aircraft, a slide-rule flight calculator, a copy of the Qur’an and a handwritten testament written in Arabic.166 According to later testimonies by former FBI agents, the luggage also contained the identities of all 19 suspects involved in the four hijackings, information on their plans, backgrounds, motives, al-Qa’ida connections, a folding knife, and pepper spray.167 According to FBI Special Agent Fitzgerald, Abdul Aziz Alomari’s passport was also found in one of the bags.168 According to an FBI document, the bags also contained three English grammar books, a perfume bottle, anti-dandruff hair dressing, a check book, photographs, and a handkerchief.169 When Dieter Snell, Senior Counsel of the 9/11 Commission, addressed the Commission at its 12th Public Hearing, he said that Atta and Omari’s luggage had also contained, amongst other items, “correspondence from the university Atta attended in Egypt and Omari’s (sic) international driver’s license.170
The Guardian commented at the time with wry irony: “The finds are certainly very fortunate, though some might think them a little too fortunate.”171
As mentioned above, no one apparently saw the owner of the bags at Boston airport, let alone boarding flight AA11.
It was revealed in 2009 that the luggage discovered in Boston “had a covert tag from US Airways to warn that Atta and his luggage were a security issue”.172 The 9/11 Commission and its staff did not show any interest to find out who put this covert tag on Atta’s bags, and on what grounds was he considered a “security issue” before the events?
10.4Buying the silence of witnesses and victims’ relatives
Shortly after 9/11, the Congress established the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund for victims’ families, as a part of the Air Transportation Safety and System Stabilization Act (ATSA).173 The fund was administered by Kenneth Feinberg, appointed as “Special Master” by Attorney General John Ashcroft.174 In order to apply for compensation, families had to waive their “right to file a civil action…in any Federal or State court for damages sustained as a result of the terrorist-related aircraft crashes of September 11, 2001.”175 Feinberg confirmed that this provision was intended to deter victims’ families from suing the airlines176, although ATSA demands that they waive their right to sue anyone, including security firms, the New York Port Authority, the U.S. Government, or any other domestic entity.177
Ninety-six families opted not to apply to the government compensation fund. Their motives varied. Some were seeking larger settlements than the compensation fund was likely to offer them. Others hoped to use the litigation process to compel disclosure of a fuller picture of what the airlines did – and left undone – on 9/11 and before: “For some, it’s blood money, a repugnant payoff they feel they have no choice but to accept.”178Monica Gabrielle was amongst those who rejected the government compensation offer. She told Tim Harper of the Toronto Star: “This is about mass murder. I want to know who was responsible. No one has been fired. No one has been demoted. The same people who are guarding us today on an elevated security alert are the same people who were working that day.”179
Those who chose not to apply for this compensation brought a cause of action against the airlines and security firms. But they did not count with the hurdles the government had placed in front of them. ATSA limited their forum choice to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York,180 where they had to contend with Judge Alvin Hellerstein. Hellerstein, as evidenced throughout these cases, was determined to protect defendants from disclosure. He also decided to reverse the traditional judicial procedure where liability is determined before damages are discussed, in the hope that more cases might settle out of court “once families get a sense of how much money they are likely to get from a jury”, as he explained to the media.181 And indeed, 95 of the families who initially refused to apply to the Compensation Fund and wanted to know “who was responsible” for 9/11, gave in to Hellerstein’s pressure, by settling out of court. They received far more than what they would have received from the Fund.182 Collectively they received $500 million, making the average pay-out slightly greater than $5 million. The court prohibited the families to reveal how much money they received.183 These secret settlements were made at the expense of the public’s right to know the truth.
By their conduct, “Special Master” Feinberg and Judge Hellerstein, representing respectively the executive and the judicial branches of the U.S. government, intentionally and successfully thwarted the quest by families of 9/11 victims to establish the truth on the mass killings of 9/11.
The primary purpose of this study was to apply criteria developed by the case-law of the ECtHR to the investigations into a crime against humanity that affected in some way most inhabitants of the world.
Paraphrasing the ECtHR,184 I can sum up the above findings by stating that even if the failings of some U.S. authorities would not alone warrant a finding of the inadequacy of the investigation, their cumulative effect are more than sufficient for such a finding. Indeed, I am struck by how the different agencies and branches of the U.S. administration acted in concert in preventing the establishment of the truth regarding this epochal crime.
The ECtHR has in the past identified numerous methods by which states undermine investigations into violations of the right to life.Due to the case at hand, this study was able to identify more types of state conduct leading to impunity: (a) Predetermination of facts, prior to investigation; (b) Overt opposition to a public inquiry; (c) Destruction of forensic evidence; (d) Planting of evidence; (e) Bribing victims to ensure their silence.In examining State investigations of gross violations of human rights, international and regional bodies are urged to stay alert to these additional forms of suppressing the truth.
States must, under international law, fulfill in good faith their treaty obligations. The Human Rights Committee, which monitors the implementation of the ICCPR by State parties, might wish to avail itself of the findings presented herein in its examination of the United States’ periodical report in order to call the State party to task for its gross violation of the aforementioned obligation.
Concerned citizens in various countries, including members of several parliaments, have called for the establishment of an independent, international commission of inquiry on the events of 9/11, possibly modeled on the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), set up to try the alleged murderers in 2005 of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri.185
Within the United States, a large truth-seeking movement has emerged, composed of eminent personalities from all walks of life, including former administration and military officials. Some of these personalities have established functional groups, such as Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth186, Firefighters for 9/11 Truth187, Lawyers for 9/11 Truth188, Medical Professionals for 9/11 Truth189, Military Officers for 9/11 Truth190, Pilots for 9/11 Truth191, Political Leaders for 9/11 Truth192, Religious Leaders for 9/11 Truth193, Scholars for 9/11 Truth and Justice194 and Scientists for 9/11 Truth.195 Local and regional chapters have also emerged in the United States196, Canada, Australia and European countries.197
Those who have given thought to the implications arising from the findings presented in this paper may have realised the depth of the abyss revealed hereby. Those mustering the courage to face this abyss with open eyes may be rewarded by overcoming fear and speaking the truth to power.
1 Collection of writings and documents under the heading ‘The Police State as the emerging form of governance’. Available at <www.juscogens.org/nj001>.
2 Updated Set of principles for the protection and promotion of human rights through action to combat impunity, Commission on Human Rights, 8 February 2005, UN Doc. No. E/CN.4/2005/102/Add.1, Principle I: General Obligations.
3 One person, Zacarias Moussaoui, has been tried by a U.S. court in relation to 9/11. He was not, however, charged as accomplice to the crime. He was accused to have known about the plans for 9/11 and not reporting his alleged knowledge to the authorities after he was arrested a few weeks before 9/11.There is no evidence, however, that he possessed such foreknowledge.A collection of articles on Moussaoui’s trial can be found at <www.juscogens.org/nj002>.
10GA Res. 60/147, Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law, 16 December 2005, Articles 18 and 22.
15UNCHR Res. 2005/35, Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law, U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/2005/ L.10/Add.11 (19 April 2005), Article 3; also GA Res. 60/147, supra note 10.
19 In Enukidze, supra note 14,for example, the Court held that the “investigation must be effective in the sense that it is capable of leading to the establishment of the relevant facts and the identification and punishment of those responsible.” (para. 242).
20 See, for example, Kelly and Others v. the United Kingdom, no. ECtHR, Application no. 30054/96,Judgment of 4 May 2001, para. 96-97; and Anik and Others v. Turkey, ECtHR, Application no. 63758/00, Judgment of5 June 2007, para. 72.
45 Tepe v Turkey, ECtHR, Application no. 27244/95, Judgment of 9 May 2003, paras. 179-180; Buldan supra note 34, para. 86; Finucane v United Kingdom, ECtHR, Applicationno. 29178/95, Judgment of 1 July 2003; Kaya, supra note 44, para. 88, Semsi Önen, supra note 44.
52 Remarks by President Bush at Emma Booker Elementary School, Federal News Service, 11 September 2001, cached at <www.juscogens.org/nj004>.
53 Transcript of George W. Bush’s address to the nation, CNN, 11 September 2001, cached at <www.juscogens.org/nj005>.
55 On 12 September 2001, the G-7 Ministers of Finance and Central Bank Governors condemned the “appalling terrorist attacks carried out in the United States”; the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council condemned these “brutal and senseless atrocities”;the U.N. General Assembly condemned the “terrorist attacks in the United States of America”, and so forth (emphasis added).
57 Negroponte Letter to U.N. Security Council President, 7 October 2001, at <www.bits.de/public/documents/US_Terrorist_Attacks/negroponte.htm>, cached at <www.juscogens.org/nj007>.
58 ‘Declassified wire from the U.S. Department of State to U.S. embassies around the world’, 1 October 2001, No. 170698, Subject: ‘September 11: Working together to fight the plague of global terrorism and the case against al-Qa’ida’, cached at <www.juscogens.org/nj008>.
59 John Ashcroft, Media Briefing, 12 September 2001. Available at <www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/sept_11/ashcroft_briefing01.htm>.
61P. Shenon and D. Johnston, ‘F.B.I. Shifts Focus to Try to Avert Any More Attacks’, New York Times, 9 October 2001, at <www.juscogens.org/nj010>
62Amerithrax or Anthrax Investigation, FBI, at <www.fbi.gov/about-us/history/famous-cases/anthrax-amerithrax>.
64 Science Briefing on the Anthrax Investigation, Opening Statement by Dr. Vahid, Majidi, 18 August 2008, FBI website at <www.fbi.gov/about-us/history/famous-cases/anthrax-amerithrax/science-briefing>.
66 E. Haas, ‘FBI says, it has “No hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11”’, Information Clearing House, 18 June 2006, at <www.informationclearinghouse.info/article13664.htm>.
67Mary Schiavo, Statement to the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, 23 May 2003,at <www.9-11commission.gov/hearings/hearing2/witness_schiavo.pdf>.
68 Flight AA11 deviated from its flight path at 8:28 (official crash time 8:46); flight UA175 deviated from its flight path at 8:58 (official crash time 9:03);flight AA77 deviated from its flight path at 8:54 (official crash time 9:37); flight UA93 deviated from its flight path at 9:41 (official crash time 10:03) (Source: Final Report of the 9/11 Commission).
69 Flight AA11 turned off its transponder at 8:21 (official crash time 8:47); flight UA175 changed twice its transponder code at 8:47 (official crash time 9:03); flight AA77 turned off its transponder at 8:56 (official crash time 9:37);flight UA93 turned off its transponder at 9:41 (official crash time 10:03)(Source: Final Report of the 9/11 Commission).
72 L. Slobodian, ‘Norad on Heightened Alert: Role of air-defense agency rapidly transformed in wake of Sept. 11 terrorist attacks’, The Calgary Herald, 13 October 2001.
81 R. Hampson and M. T. Moore, ‘Closure from 9/11 elusive for many’, USA Today, 3 September 2003, att<www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2003-09-03-sept-11-son_x.htm>.
82 There is no evidence that the computers and other items were “crashed and incinerated”. Visual evidence suggests rather that they were transformed into dust as the building was disintegrating downwards.
84 D. Biello, ‘What Was in the World Trade Center Plume?’, Scientific American, 7 September 2011, at <www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=what-was-in-the-world-trade-center-plume>.
87 Among the main investigations not considered here, are the Joint Inquiry Into Intelligence Community Activities Before the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001 and an investigation about suspected inside trading, the results of which have not been published.
88 9/11 Commission Records, National Archives. <www.archives.gov/research/9-11/>, last visited 2 October 2012.
89 9-11 Commission Records are posted in accessible form at <www.911myths.com/index.php/9-11_Commission_Records>.
90 T. Hargrove, ‘Third of Americans suspect 9-11 government conspiracy’, Scripps Howard News Service 1 August 2006, cached at <www.juscogens.org/nj012>.
93FBI 9/11 Investigation (PENTTBOM); Press Release of 27 September 2001,at <www.fbi.gov/pressrel/penttbom/penttbomb.htm>.
95. 9/11 Investigation (PENTTBOM) at <www.fbi.gov/pressrel/penttbom/penttbomb.htm>.
96 George J. Tenet (Director of CIA), ‘Testimony Before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’, 6 February 2002: Support to the War on Terrorism and Homeland Security <www.cia.gov/cia/reports/Ann_Rpt_2002/swtandhs.html>.
98 A list of court documents regarding Moussaoui’s case was posted on the website of FindLaw, at <news.findlaw.com/legalnews/us/terrorism/cases/index.html> but has meanwhile disappeared. Trial transcripts can meanwhile be found on <http://cryptome.org/usa-v-zm-dt2.htm> (as of February 19, 2014)
99Committee on Science, U.S. House of Representatives, Hearing Charter: Learning from 9/11: Understanding the Collapse of the World Trade Center, 6 March 2002, cached at <911research.wtc7.net/post911/docs/cos_charter.htm>. The formulation “progressive collapses” predetermined the conclusions of the investigation.
102 J. Gerstenzang, ‘Bush puts FEMA in charge of domestic terrorism response’, Los Angeles Times, 9 May 2001, last visited 19 February 2014.
105 J. Ridgeway, ‘Did the FBI Bury Oklahoma City Bombing Evidence?”, Mother Jones, 21 July 2011, at <www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/07/trentadue-fbi-oklahoma-city-bombing-evidence>, last visited on 29 September 2012.
106 ‘Learning from 9/11 – Understanding the Collapse of the World Trade Center’, Hearing Before the Committee on Science, House of Representatives, 6 March 2002, p. 14
107 J. Glanz and E. Lipton, ‘Experts Urging Broader Inquiry in Towers’ Fall’, The New York Times, 25 December 2001, last visited 19 February 2014.
110 B. Manning, ‘$elling out the investigation’, Fire Engineering, 1 January 2002, at <www.fireengineering.com/articles/print/volume-155/issue-1/departments/editors-opinion/elling-out-the-investigation.html >.
113 Final Reports from the NIST Investigation of the WTC Disaster, September 2005, at <www.nist.gov/el/disasterstudies/wtc/wtc_finalreports.cfm>.
115 ‘Computer professionals call for public debate on new government encryption initiative’, Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR), 16 April 1993
116NIST, ‘Questions and Answers about the Overall NIST WTC Investigation’, 19 September 2011, no. 14, at <www.nist.gov/el/disasterstudies/wtc/faqs_overall.cfm>.
118 The Sept. 11 Records (“Oral Reports”), New York Times: File 9110369, Interview of Fire Patrolman Paul Curran, December 18, 2001, p.11; File 9110369, Interview of EMS Lieutnant Bradley Mann, November 7, 2001, p.11; File. 9110200, Interview with EMT Joseph Fortis, November 9, 2001, p. 7; File. 9110203, Interview with EMT Lonnie Penn, November 9, 2001, p. 3; File 9110194, Interview with EMT Lieutnant Bradley Mann, November 7, 2001, p. 3; File9110431, Interview with Battalion Chief Brian O’Flaherty, January 9, 2002, p. 3; G. MacQueen, ‘Did the earth shake before the South Tower hit the ground’, 9 July 2009, Journal of 911 Studies, Vol. 29,July 2009. At <www.journalof911studies.com/>.
119 Among witnesses are Reporter John Bussey (Wall Street Journal), Dan Rather (CBS), Deputy Fire Commissioner Thomas Fitzpatrick, Assistant Fire Commissioner Stephen Gregory andFirefighter Richard Banaciski.
121 G. MacQueen, ‘118 Witnesses: Firefighters’ Testimony to Explosions in the Twin Towers’, Journal of 9/11 Studies, August 2006;On 12 September 2001 Senator Mary Landrieu (Louisana) referred to “explosions which brought down skyscrapers” (Congressional Debates, September 12, 2001, p. S9306) and Senator Olympia Snowe (Maine) referred to the “sounds of blasts [which] echoed across Manhattan and our Nation’s Capital.” (Ibid.).
122 ‘Damage to Buildings Near WTC Caused by Falling Debris and Air Pressure Wave, Not by Ground Shaking’, The Earth Institute, Columbia University, 16 November 2001 (“The fall of the towers was similar to that of a pyroclastic flow down a volcano”); See an excellent but ominous video documentary(9/11 Debris: Investigation of Ground Zero, Pt. 1, at <www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnnXTrw88P4>, which provides testimonies of eyewitnesses who corroborate the puzzling absence of office equipment, furniture and other human artifacts from the rubble of Ground Zero.
125 D.Chandler, ‘Freefall and Building 7 on 9/11’, Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, 22 December 2010, at<www.ae911truth.org/news/57-news-releases-by-others/426-freefall-and-building-7-on-911.html>.
126 J. Lin, ‘Recovery worker reflects on months spent at Ground Zero’, Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, 29 May 2002; F. Lyman, ‘Messages in the Dust’, National Environmental Health Association, September 2003, p. 40; M. H. Gaffney, The 9/11 Mystery Plane (Trine Day LLC, Walterville, OR, 2008), p. 129, 132-136; G. Lounsbury, ‘Serving on sacred ground’, National Guard, December 2001, author’s document #471; ‘Mobilizing Public Health – Turning Terror’s Side with Science’, Johns Hopkins Public Health, Late Fall 2001.
128 D.R. Griffin points out that while in its Draft Report, NIST qualified its calculations of the fall of the 18 top floors of WTC 7 as “consistent with physical principles”, this reference to “physical principles” was not included in its Final Report.
129 Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth. See <www.ae911truth.org>.
130 Ibid. See <www.ae911truth.org/en/about-us.html>.
132 J. Heilbrunn, ‘A lack of intelligence’, New York Times, April 13, 2008, at <www.nytimes.com/2008/04/13/books/review/Heilbrunn-t.html>.
136 T.Frieden, ‘Price tag for Starr investigation: $40 million plus’, CNN, 1 February 1999
137 P. Recer, ‘NASA: Columbia Cleanup Cost Nears $400M’, NewsDay.com, 11 September 2003, at <www.newsday.com/news/science/wire/sns-ap-shuttle-investigation,0,7895931.story>.
139 “The Kean Commission: The Official Commission Avoids the Core Issues”, 9-11 Research, at<911research.wtc7.net/post911/commission/index.html>; also “Conflicts Of Interest On Sept. 11 Panel? 6 Of 10 Panel Members Allegedly Have Ties To Airline Industry”, CBS News, 5 March 2003. At <www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/03/05/eveningnews/main542868.shtml>.
144 The agreement, in the form of a letter of 11 July 2003, is posted on </www.scribd.com/doc/14579358/SK-B9-Tier-aB-Interviews-1-of-2-Fdr-Letters-Re-Minders-Interviews-Recording-Etc170>.
147 D.R. Griffin, ‘The 9/11 Commission Report: A 571-Page Lie’, 22 May 2005, 911Truth.Org, at <www.911truth.org/article.php?story=20050523112738404>.
150 One of these alleged suicide-pilots by the name of Hani Hanjour is officially alleged to have flown a Boeing 757 (flight AA77)horizontally into the first floor of the Pentagon at over 450 mph. According to his flight instructors, he could hardly control a single-engine Cessna. Professional pilots say they themselves would have difficulty in maintaining a Boeing 757 horizontally attwenty feet above the ground while flying at450 mph.
151 For a comprehensive examination of these issues, see E. Davidsson, ‘There is no evidence that Muslims committed the crime of 9/11’, 10 January 2008. At <www.juscogens.org/noevidence> Visited on 27 September 2012.
152 “Baosteel Will Recycle World Trade Center Debris”, China.Org, 24 January 2002, at <www.china.org.cn/english/2002/Jan/25776.htm> (“Baosteel Group, [China’s] largest steel firm, has purchased 50,000 tons of the scrap steel from ‘Ground Zero’”); also “Mangled WTC Steel Bought by China“, Chicago Tribune, 27 January 2002
153 “On WTC debris, these Indian buildings stand”, REDIFF.COM, 14 September 2006 (“The Indian Steel Alliance […] estimates that scrap processing companies across India […] imported nearly 50,000 tonnes of the WTC steel wreckage.”).
154 D. Watson, ‘60,000 Tons of WTC Steel Recycled’, WASTE360.COM, 31 January 2002 (“Approximately 60,000 tons of steel from the WTC have been shipped to recyclers around the world, mostly to South Korea and certain U.S. cities.”).
155 “WTC scrap melted near al-Qaida site”, Associated Press (the Enquirer), 10 September 2002, at <www.enquirer.com/editions/2002/09/10/fin_wtc_scrap_melted.html> (“Company executives and government officials confirmed that Megasteel [Malaysia] took delivery last month of a 35,000-ton shipment of scrap metal that included some World Trade Center steel.”).
156 Final Report on the Collapse of World Trade Center Building 7, NIST NCSTAR 1A, p. 16 and 56, At <www.nist.gov/customcf/get_pdf.cfm?pub_id=861610>.
157 Moussaoui trial exhibit PA00108, at <www.vaed.uscourts.gov/notablecases/moussaoui/exhibits/prosecution/PA00108.html>.
158 Moussaoui trial exhibit PA00110, at <www.vaed.uscourts.gov/notablecases/moussaoui/exhibits/prosecution/PA00110.html>.
159 Moussaoui trial exhibit PA00102, at <www.vaed.uscourts.gov/notablecases/moussaoui/exhibits/prosecution/PA00102.html>.
160 Moussaoui trial exhibit PA00105.08, at <www.vaed.uscourts.gov/notablecases/moussaoui/exhibits/prosecution/PA00105-08.html>.
161 Moussaoui trial exhibit GX-PA00109, at <www.rcfp.org/moussaoui/>.
164 Had flight AA11 not hit the North Tower of the WTC, no TV camera would be recording the aircraft impact on the South Tower.Osama bin Laden and his bosses would not have been able to present the worldwith a real-time, visual evidence, of a plane crash on the World Trade Center.
165 United States of America v Zacarias Moussaoui, U.S. District Court, Alexandria Division. Cross-examination of FBI Special Agent James M. Fitzgerald. March 7, 2006, 10:00 A.M. Transcript p. 222. Available at <cryptome.org/usa-v-zm-030706-01.htm>.
166 FBI Affidavit, at <www.abc.net.au/4corners/atta/resources/documents/fbiaffidavit1.htm>.
167 M. Dorman, ‘Unravelling 9-11 was in the bags’, Newsday, 17 April 2006, at <www.newsday.com/news/unraveling-9-11-was-in-the-bags-1.591192>.
170 Dieter Snell, Senior Counsel of the 9/11 Commission, addressing the 9/11 Commission at its 12th Public Hearing, June 16, 2004.
173 Air Transportation Safety and System Stabilization Act (ATSA), 107th Congress (2001-2002), H.R.2926. At <thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c107:H.R.2926:>.
174 R. L. Rabin, ‘September 11 through the prism of victim compensation’ (Abstract), Columbia Law Review, March 2006, Vol. 106, No. 2, p. 464.
176 ‘Who gets what: Putting A Price On Human Tragedy’, Interview with Kenneth Feinberg, NPR Talk of the Nation, 27 June 2012, at <www.npr.org/2012/06/27/155850506/who-gets-what-putting-a-price-on-human-tragedy>.
177 J. Taglieri, ‘9-11 Lawsuits: Saudis, Airlines, Bush Face Litigation’, From the Wilderness, 27 August 2002. Available at <www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/082702_lawsuits.html>; also W. Gilberti, ‘Bush administration moves to stifle discovery in 9/11 lawsuits’, World Socialist Web Site, 2 August 2002. Available at <www.wsws.org/articles/2002/aug2002/bush-a02.shtml>.
178 T. Harper, “Families Sue U.S., Reject 9/11 ‘Bribe’”, Toronto Star, 23 December 2003, at <www.commondreams.org/headlines03/1223-02.htm>.
181 ‘Jury Can Hear Part of Flight 93 Tape’, CBS News, February 11, 2009. At <www.cbsnews.com/8301-500249_162-3254501.html>.
182 B. Weiser, ‘Family and United Settle Last 9/11 Wrongful-Death Lawsuit’, New York Times, 19 September 2011, at <www.nytimes.com/2011/09/20/nyregion/last-911-wrongful-death-suit-is-settled.html?_r=0>.
183 A. Harocollis, ‘More 9/11 Lawsuits Are Settled’, The New York Times, 18 September 2007. At <www.nytimes.com/2007/09/18/nyregion/18cnd-settle.html?hp&_r=0>, last visited 30 September 2012.
197 9/11 Truth Europe (the list represents the status in 2007).