by Elias Davidsson
(Initially published 12 June 2004, revised on 18 July 2005)
The URL of this article is: http://globalresearch.ca/articles/DAV406A.html
On 12 September 2001, the UN Security Council adopted resolution 1368 (2001) in which the Council condemned “in the strongest terms the horrifying terrorist attacks which took place on 11 September 2001 in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania and regards such acts, like any act of international terrorism, as a threat to international peace and security.”
The resolution “calls on all States to work together urgently to bring to justice the perpetrators, organizers and sponsors of these terrorist attacks and stresses that those responsible for aiding, supporting or harbouring the perpetrators, organizers and sponsors of these acts will be held accountable.”
On 28th September 2001, the UN Security Council adopted another resolution (No. 1373 (2001)) dealing with the same matter, at this time under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which made the resolution binding upon UN member states. In that resolution, which equally referred to the attacks of 11. September 2001, the Council required of all States to:
“(e) Ensure that any person who participates in the financing, planning, preparation or perpetration of terrorist acts or in supporting terrorist acts is brought to justice and ensure that, in addition to any other measures against them, such terrorist acts are established as serious criminal offences in domestic laws and regulations and that the punishment duly reflects the seriousness of such terrorist acts;
(f) Afford one another the greatest measure of assistance in connection with criminal investigations or criminal proceedings relating to the financing or support of terrorist acts, including assistance in obtaining evidence in their possession necessary for the proceedings;
(g) Prevent the movement of terrorists or terrorist groups by effective border controls and controls on issuance of identity papers and travel documents, and through measures for preventing counterfeiting, forgery or fraudulent use of identity papers and travel documents.”
It should be noted that neither of the above resolutions refer to special obligations by the Government of the United States. The obligations listed in these resolutions extend to all states.
While the attacks of 11. September were designated above as acts of international terrorism, there exists no UN accepted definition of “international terrorism.”
However, the attacks of 11. September fit entirely and without qualification into the definition of crimes against humanity, as established by international customary law and under the Statutes of the various International Criminal Courts. According to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, “crimes against humanity” means “any of the following acts when committed as part of a (…) systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack: (a) Murder; (b) ….”
There is no question that the attacks of 11 September were a systematic, murderous, attack targeting a civilian population. Such an attack fits the requirements of a crime against humanity under both customary and conventional international law.
The UN General Assembly adopted on 3 December 1973 the Principles of international co-operation in the detection, arrest, extradition and punishment of persons guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity (resolution 3074 (XXVIII)). In that resolution the General Assembly decided that “States shall co-operate with each other in the collection of information and evidence which would help to bring to trial the persons [guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity] and shall exchange such information [and that] 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.”
The question dealt herein is whether UN member states, in general, and the United States, in particular, have complied with its above obligations, namely:
(a) whether the have engaged in good faith efforts “to bring to justice the perpetrators, organizers and sponsors of these terrorist attacks”
(b) whether they have refrained from taking “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.”
We will begin by evaluating the compliance by the US government with the above obligations.
1. No perpetrator, organizer or sponsor convicted
While US judicial authorities detain hundreds of persons in various locations around the world, none of those has been charged as a perpetrator, organizer, sponsor or accomplice of the 911 attacks. One person only, detained in the United States since before the 911 attacks has been formally charged for complicity in the preparation of the attacks of 911. That person is Moussaoui. Moussaoui has reportedly admitted membership in Al Qaeda but denies emphatically of any participation in, or foreknowledge of, the 911 attacks. He has insisted that a testimony of a person [Ramzi Binalshibh] apparently under US custody in an unknown location could prove his innocence. The US authorities have, however, denied to allow such testimony, even at the price of releasing the detainee, or alternatively transferring his case to a military court, where rules of evidence are not as stringent.
Why have the US authorities failed to convict even a single person for any act relative to the 911 attacks?
One explanation is that the FBI is staffed by unprofessional people who are simply no match for clever Muslims. In order to uphold this explanation it must be shown that those responsible for the allegedly dismal record of the FBI have been rebuked or dismissed and that those individuals within the FBI who have taken seriously their professional commitment, have been promoted. The record, however, demonstrates the opposite. None of those who have been responsible for the unsuccessful FBI investigation of the 911 crimes have been dismissed. On the other hand a number of FBI investigators who have previously warned about terrorist suspects within the US, have been sidelined or even rebuked.
A more plausible explanation is that the FBI is wilfully refraining from investigating the 911 attacks, probably under an order from above. In fact, merely four weeks after the attacks, Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert S. Mueller “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.” [Philip Shenon and David Johnston, “F.B.I. Shifts Focus to Try to Avert Any More Attacks,” New York Times, 9 October 2001]. This explanation would fit the policy of the US government of preventing a public and comprehensive investigation of the 911 attacks, and in particular of what happened on that fateful day.
2. The perpetrators have not been identified
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the United States has posted on its website the names and photographs of 19 individuals, alleged to have boarded four civilian aircraft on 11. September 2001, hijacked these planes and crashed them in murderous suicide attacks. Various Western media have revealed that at least five of these individuals are living and well. The response of the FBI has been that this might be a case of “stolen identities.” Nonetheless, the FBI has neither amended its list or removed the names of the persons claiming to be living, or provided any explanation for this anomaly.
While the FBI has alleged that the 19 individuals on its website are the “suspected” hijackers of the four aircraft on 11. September 2001, it has refused to reveal the sources of this information. Thus, for example the FBI has refused to release the original flight manifests of the four aircraft, on which one would assume that the names of alleged hijackers would appear. The FBI has equally refused to release all existing recordings of security videos from the airports from which the hijacked aircraft flew. One would assume that such recordings could help to identify the alleged hijackers.
Numerous unexplained anomalies, inconsistencies and bizarre facts suggest that no Muslims boarded the four aircraft on 11. September, hijacked those aircraft and committed murderous suicide operations with those planes.
It is indisputable that the US authorities have failed to positively identify the direct perpetrators of the 911 attacks.
3. Efforts by US authorities to prevent investigations of the 911 attacks
Under US criminal law, any act of murder would requires a proper investigation of the exact circumstances of the act that led to death. Similarly, US law requires a professional investigations of plane crashes, regardless of the cause of the crash. Finally, when buildings, bridges or other major sites crash or collapse, an official investigation is practically always undertaken to study the exact cause of the failing. This would be even more pressing in criminal cases.
Yet, the US authorities have not only failed to undertake such investigations but engaged in deliberate efforts to thwart such investigations.
As investigation is the first step towards prosecution, it follows that the US authorities have failed to comply with the above resolutions of the UN Security Council and of the General Assembly regarding the obligation to ensure the prosecution of the perpetrators, organizers and sponsors of the 911 attacks.
4. The obligation of other UN member states
The commission of crimes against humanity is of concern to all States, not only to the state on whose territory such crimes were committed. This can be inferred from the language and spirit of UN resolutions which require international cooperation in securing the prosecution of perpetrators, organizers and sponsors of such acts. States have recognized, as demonstrated above, their own obligations, under international law, to cooperate in order to secure the prosecuton of perpetrators, organizers and sponsors of crimes against humanity. It is obvious that states must establish lists of suspects before levelling charges and prosecute the suspects.
It should be recalled that nationals of over 60 nations died in the mass murders of 9/11. The international community bears thus an obligation to secure a full and impartial investigation of the crime.
The US authorities have not only failed to secure the identification of perpetrators, organizers and sponsors of the 911 attacks and their prosecution, but deliberately obstructed investigations into these crimes and refused to release incriminating evidence. The US authorities have moreover used these attacks as a justification for acts of aggression against two other states, Afghanistan and Iraq, and for curtailing human rights within its own jurisdiction.
As the United States government has grossly failed in investigating the crime against humanity committed within its territory on September 11, 2001, and refuses to release evidence in its possession regarding alleged perpetrators and accomplices, its conduct establishes probable cause for suspecting it of covering up, or even facilitating the crime.
Should US public office holders be suspected of having covered up or facilitated the 911 attacks, it cannot be expected that US judicial authorities would effectively prosecute such office holders to whom they often owe their own nomination. In such a case, it would devolve to the UN membership to institute independent criminal investigations into the crimes committed on 911 and attribute responsibilities. These attacks were designated by the UN Security Council as a threat to international peace and security. It follows that the international community must cooperate to bring the offenders to justice. This obligation rests on the collective membership of the United Nations, regardless of the dereliction or obstruction of one member state.
UN members should therefore
(a) demand that the US government act without delay to secure the identification and prosecution of all perpetrators, organizers and sponsors of the 911 attacks, regardless of nationality and status;
(b) release all evidence in its possession regarding the events of 9/11
(c) denounce legislative or other measures by US and other authorities which may be prejudicial to the international obligations they have assumed in regard to the detection, arrest, extradition and punishment of persons guilty of the attacks of 911.
Should the US government refuse to comply with its international obligations, including the need to disclose incriminating evidence, to positively and conclusively identify the perpetrators, the organizers and the sponsors of the 911 attacks, and to initiate criminal proceedings against persons known to have participated in the crime, the international community would be under the obligation to take further action, as specified in the above Security Council resolutions, including the convening of an international truth commission on the events of 9/11 and measures intended to secure the compliance and cooperation of the United States with UN resolutions relative to 9/11.