This is why 9/11 matters!
Elias Davidsson, 2 April 2007
A number of people, particularly in the Left, maintain that it does not really matter who committed the atrocities of September 11, 2001 – reactionary Muslim fanatics, the US imperialists, or whoever.
According to this view, insisting on identifying the culprits does not advance the interests of the working class or of oppressed people around the world but constitutes a bourgeois diversion.
What matters, say some, are the consequences of 9/11, such as the wars of aggression against Afghanistan and Iraq, the establishment of secret prisons, policies of prolonged detention of suspects without due process and access to lawyers, policies of torture, increased police powers typical of states of emergency, etc.
Another argument against focusing on the events of 9/11 is the fact that in terms of human harm, these events are minute in comparison to the daily deaths of about 30,000 children from preventable causes (the equivalent of 10 nine-eleven calamities, every single day), or the deaths of 4-5 million people in the civil war in Congo in recent years. The last argument has undoubtedly merit. Prioritizing problems according to their extent in terms of human suffering is certainly a legitimate approach but is not necessarily the most effective one.
To be fair, there has been no real debate whether it does or does not matter who committed the atrocities of 9/11. Most Leftists take the official account on these events for granted and show no interest in even examining the issue from a moral, legal or political perspective.
In the following article, I will attempt to show that there are a number of compelling reasons why determining the truth on the events of 9/11 is of acute relevance to all people who are concerned about world peace, justice, the rule of law and democracy. It is my view that the quest for the truth on the events of 9/11 may be the most potent, and possibly only, revolutionary strategy available today to oppose imperialism, militarism and the neoliberal agenda.
I will first dispose of the claim that combating for the full truth on 9/11 is a diversion from more important political issues. It must be remembered that most 9/11 skeptics are also opponents of the US wars against Iraq and Afghanistan and of the human rights violations committed by the US government against its citizens and foreigners in the name of the “war on terror”. The issue is thus not either/or but that of prioritizing issues. The question of priorities can only be pursued, however, once the facts are established. Governments are not forthcoming in revealing the true facts on 9/11. With this article, I attempt to demonstrate the potency of 9/11-truth as a revolutionary democratic tool.
1. The first reason why 9/11 matters is rather mundane and might seem trivial to some people. The reason is that the victims of a crime – and this includes relatives of the dead – are entitled to know the truth, namely the What, How, When, Who and Where of the crime. This entitlement is both moral and legal. While US domestic law does not provide victims of a crime with a legal right to the truth, international and regional human rights judicial bodies have inferred the right to the truth from various fundamental human rights. States have also recognized the right to the truth by the establishment of Truth Commissions. The right to the truth is also regarded as one of the remedies due to victims of crimes. To deny to relatives of victims the right to know how, when and where their loved-one died and who was responsible for the death, is cruel. In many cases, determining the facts of a crime is the key for relatives of victims to obtain compensation. In order to circumvent the obligation to provide the truth, the US government offered relatives of 9/11 victims a deal: It would provide them with a substantial financial compensation – at the average $1.8 million per victim – if they accept not to sue anyone, that is not to force discovery of incriminating evidence through the courts. To claim that it is “irrelevant” who committed the mass murder would be rightly regarded as cynical by the stakeholders.
2. The second reason is simply that the perpetrators of any crime should be identified, prosecuted and punished. Law-enforcement serves both to protect society from harm, deter further crime through punishment and attempt to rehabilitate the offender. This is one of the obligations states bear towards their citizens. Due to the massive and premeditated nature of this mass murder, the events of 9/11 should be designated as a crime against humanity. The UN General Assembly has proclaimed by its resolution 3074(XXVIII) of 3 December 1973 the principles of international cooperation in the detection, arrest, extradition and punishment of persons guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity. According to Principle 1, “war crimes and crimes against humanity, wherever they are committed, shall be subject to investigation and the persons against whom there is evidence that they have committed such crimes shall be subject to tracing, arrest, trial and, if found guilty, to punishment.” According to Principle 8, “States shall not take any legislative or other measures which may be prejudicial to the international obligations they have assumed in regard to the detection, arrest, extradition and punishment-of persons guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity.” While this Proclamation by the General Assembly is not binding upon states, it contributes – because it was not opposed by any member state – to the crystallization of an international customary norm, which then becomes binding upon states even without any formal treaty. This Proclamation, incidentally, was adopted without opposition. The establishment of the International Criminal Court was one additional step in ensuring that individuals who commit international crimes be brought to justice, even when states are unwilling or unable to do so. On September 12, 2001, the UN Security Council, by resolution 1368(2001). called on all member states to “work together urgently to bring to justice the perpetrators, organizers and sponsors of these terrorist (sic) attacks [of September 11, 2001] and stresses that those responsible for aiding, supporting or harboring the perpetrators, organizers and sponsors of these acts will be held accountable; cooperate in view of securing the prosecution of those who committed this crime.” As the perpetrators, organizers and sponsors of 9/11 have not been brought to justice, the resolution of the Security Council has not been fulfilled. The United States government has failed to “investigate” the crime of 9/11. Exactly four weeks after 9/11, former US Attorney General, John Ashcroft, and former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller, specifically ordered FBI personnel to put aside the investigation of this mass murder if any suspicion arises about new terrorist threats. It is therefore no wonder that the FBI did not publicize any results of its investigation and that no person has been charged, let alone prosecuted, for planning or participating in this mass murder. Those who claim that it “does not matter” who committed 9/11, implicitly endorse the principle of impunity for a crime against humanity and show disregard for international legal norms.
3. The third reason is related to our individual and collective security. No person has been prosecuted for planning, organizing and/or participating in the crime of 9/11, because none has been actually identified and linked to the crime. This may come as a surprise to some readers. Yet, there is no verifiable evidence that the 19 individuals named by the FBI as the 9/11 hijackers, actually boarded the aircraft which crashed on that day: Their names do not appear on passenger lists; no person has testified to have seen them board the aircraft; and their bodily remains have not been identified. As far as we know, the claim that Muslim fanatics hijacked four aircraft on 9/11 remains an unsubstantiated allegation, not a fact. As for the planners of 9/11, the US holds in custody a person by the name of Khaled Mohammed Sheikh, who US leaders have designated as the mastermind of 9/11. He allegedly confessed in March 2007 to have planned the mass murder of 9/11 and 30 other terrorist crimes around the world. Yet, the person who made this confession has not been seen by any outside observer, judge, journalist or human rights worker, since his alleged arrest. That person’s identity remains shrouded in mystery. It is not certain that the person who made this alleged confession is at all Khaled Mohammed Sheikh, or any other person, for that matter. Apart from the failure to properly identify that person, it is not known under which conditions that person’s confession was made, whether that person was tortured or whether certain promises were made to that person in order to secure his “confession”. Serious questions remain about the authenticity of the confession, particularly because the alleged prisoner confessed to crimes, which he could not have planned (because he was already in prison by that time). And even if the real Khaled Mohammed Sheikh made that confession, his confession would not prove that the 19 individuals accused of having committed the mass murder, actually did it, unless he, or other persons, can prove that these 19 Muslims actually boarded the aircraft, were capable of executing their crime and did actually execute it. The bottom line is that we do not actually know who planned and committed the mass murder of 9/11. Much more evidence actually exists which suggests that the US government, not a gang of Muslims, has planned and perpetrated the mass murder of 9/11. As no conclusive evidence has been presented as to the identity of the planners and perpetrators, it follows that they may be still out in freedom and able to mount further atrocities. This danger is particularly grave if the crime of 9/11 had been perpetrated at the behest of the US government. So much is at stake here, that those who refuse to inquire who committed 9/11, appear reckless and irresponsible towards themselves, their families and their societies.
4. The fourth reason is that the events of 9/11 have been used to justify wars of aggression. The events of 9/11 have allowed the United States and NATO to legitimate wars of aggression and military occupation of sovereign states. The aggression against Afghanistan was justified directly by the reference to 9/11. On October 2, 2001, the US representative made an oral presentation to the NATO Council in which he presented “evidence” of links between Osama bin Laden and the events of 9/11. On that base the Council, representing all NATO states, invoked for the first time Article 5 of the Atlantic Charter, by which NATO equated the “attack on the United States” to an attack on all NATO members. By virtue of the concept of collective security, NATO endorsed US aggression against Afghanistan. The United Nations Security Council was bamboozled as early as September 12, 2001 to designate the events of the previous day as “international” terrorism. Yet the Council was not provided with even a shred of evidence that the mass murder had emanated from outside the United States, let alone from Afghanistan. It is not known whether some members of the Security Council had foreknowledge of the events, were bribed to designate the events in such a language or simply engaged in sloppy drafting. It became shortly later obvious, however, that the Security Council gladly espoused the official account peddled by the US administration: The Council designated terrorism as one of the “most serious threats to peace and security”, without even bothering to substantiate this factual determination. NATO and the European Union equally placed the fight against international terrorism at the top of their priorities in security issues, as if terrorism were a real threat to any country, let alone to “international peace and security”. This campaign relies on the maintenance of a public fear of terrorism. If it can be shown that the events of 9/11 were not an act of international terrorism, but a “false flag operation” by the US government, it becomes easier not only to expose the foreign policies of the United States as illegal, but to expose the deceptive nature of the counter-terror ideology promoted by the Security Council, NATO and the European Union. It must be recalled that “false flag operations”, (terrorist acts staged by secret services and attributed to enemies) have been committed both by the US and NATO in the last decades (see http://www.aldeilis.net/english/index.php option=com_content&task=category§ionid=24&id=257&Itemid=141). When citizens will become aware of the use of “false flag” operations by governments, such methods will be more difficult to use. Exposing 9/11 as a “false flag” operation would facilitate such awareness.
5. The fifth reason is that the events of 9/11 were followed by the most successful propaganda operation in contemporary history. No precedent exists for such a mass indoctrination under conditions of peace, the free flow of information and the Internet age. Historians and media scholars have not yet come to grips with this phenomenon. The success of this operation can be gauged by the fact that practically entire nations, including nations’ intellectual elites and political classes, were made to believe that the mass murder of 9/11 had been masterminded by Osama bin Laden and carried out by 19 fanatic Muslims. An analysis of this mass propaganda easily reveals the techniques used to establish this myth. Among these techniques were stories disseminated by the FBI, such as that a Qur’an and a flight instruction manual were found in a car left by the hijackers at the airport in Boston; that a will in Arabic was found in a suitcase which “did not make it to the flight”; that an intact passport of one of the “hijackers” was found in the ruins of the World Trade Center minutes after the crash of the aircraft, and other such stories impressing upon ordinary citizens that the perpetrators were fanatic Muslims. We were made to believe that the “terrorists”, who no one saw boarding the aircraft, intentionally left an easy trail of evidence for the FBI to find. At the same time, mass media consciously refused to publicize information relative to 9/11 which might have undermined the official account, such as testimonies of over 100 firefighters, journalists and other workers who reported having seen, heard or experienced multiple explosions in the World Trade towers prior to the collapse of the towers (suggesting that pre-placed explosives demolished the towers) or testimonies by residents of a village in Pennsylvania who did not see any evidence of a plane crash at the alleged crash site. Lately, as millions of Americans are beginning to doubt the official account (only 16% of the American public considers the US Government truthful on 9/11), mass media started a campaign to ridicule and disparage through ad hominem attacks those who express doubts about the official account. This campaign reflects desperate efforts to contain the proliferation of facts through the Internet, which points to official complicity in the crime. By demanding the full truth on the events of 9/11, it becomes easier to expose the role that mass media play in today’s world, as willing adjunct of the ruling elite. Demanding the truth on 9/11 can serve as a powerful antidote against media manipulation.
6. The sixth reason is that the official account on 9/11 has been one of the main justifications for restrictions to human rights and for increased police powers, verging on police-state methods. Some people claim that to oppose these measures it is unnecessary to find out who actually committed the mass murder of 9/11. On other hand, if one accepts the official discourse on 9/11 and the ideology on the rise of Islamic fundamentalist terrorism, one must accept at least some justifications for these measures. If, however, it can be shown that the official discourse on 9/11 and on Islamic terrorism is fraudulent, it becomes much easier to expose not only the various human rights and constitutional violations as unjustified, but demand the complete cancellation of these measures.
7. The seventh reason is that the events of 9/11 have helped governments to increase the level of secrecy and thus reduce government accountability. Such development is not new but reduces still further the existing vestiges of democracy. By demanding the full truth on the events of 9/11, the failure of democracy can be made more apparent. The quest for the truth on 9/11 can lead to the quest of accountability on other issues and help to reclaim democratic rights. Those who support democracy, namely the rule by the people, of the people, will find that demanding the truth on 9/11 would help to restore some of the lost features of democracy.