Frequently Asked Questions
Aren't those who question the events of 9/11 just "conspiracy theorists"?
No. Most 9/11 sceptics do not profess to know what happened, only that the official story cannot be true and that mainstream media refuse to investigate. For them the "conspiracy theorist" tag is a smear that could amount to defamation. The official 9/11 story, a simple tale of a spectacular but tiny conspiracy run from Afghanistan, is more like a classic conspiracy theory and is known in some circles as the Official Conspiracy Theory.
Hasn't the 911 Commission Report proven the official story to be true?
No. The Commission assumed the official story was true. It was starved of resources and its report was mostly based on the original 2001 FBI probe under the control of leading neocon Michael Chertoff, a political appointee at the Department of Justice. The Commission did however find out some interesting details which it failed to investigate further, notably the Pentagon's anti-hijack exercise running on the day of the attacks, and alleged 9/11 ringleader Khaled Sheikh Mohammed's links with the US-allied Northern Alliance. The Commission's report is also of interest to some researchers for its omissions. For instance there is no clear eyewitness evidence from ground staff that the alleged 9/11 hijackers boarded the planes and no explanation for 20 minutes of total inaction by the operational leadership in the Pentagon at the height of the attacks.
Was the 911 Commission independent?
No. The commission was established as an arm of the executive branch. All of its personnel were long-standing Washington political operatives from the centre ground, with the exception of Commissioner Cleland, who resigned in disgust calling it a "whitewash" and a "national scandal". Several members had glaring conflicts of interest. All investigators reported to Executive director Phillip Zelikow. Zelikow was a consultant to the Bush White House and only months earleir had helped with the appointments of the key security officials under investigation. He was a close associate of Condoleeza Rice before and after the attacks and authored the 2002 National Security strategy outlining the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive war.
If the official story was wrong the media would have told us.
History shows this is not true, there are many instances of the media parroting government lies when they should have known better. In recent years the media have become more concentrated and easier to control. There are hundreds of thousands of people in the US for whom state secrecy is part of their job - leaks are rare. The media might have been told that at a time of war they had to co-operate in hiding embarrassing mistakes made by the CIA or the Pentagon. It is possible that secrets about 9/11 are kept from the public by "superinjunctions" where courts order that even the existence of an injunction must be kept secret.
Here are some examples of massive and important media omissions. The media were told by activists and experts before the Iraq invasion that there were no WMD to find, but as the BBC's Nick Robinson put it "we are not investigative reporters". Even though scores of people from several phone companies were involved in the switch to massive illegal phone tapping after 9/11, only the New York Times discovered it, and they kept the news from readers for over a year. The second set of torture photos from Abu Ghraib, said to be much worse than the first set, has never been released and has not leaked out. In November 2009 it emerged that the Bank of England had made a huge loan to some big banks a year earlier - and kept the matter entirely secret.
Doesn't the NIST report explain the collapses of the World Trade Centre buildings?
No. The NIST scientists were employees of the Commerce Department and were not independent. Their computer models were secret and their report has not been peer reviewed. The report into the collapse of the Twin Towers makes no attempt to explain the most bizarre aspects: the speed and symmetry of the collapses, and the total destruction of the buildings' massive central cores. NIST found no evidence that the high temperatures, necessary to make their theory work, were ever reached. The report into the collapse of WTC7 (later in the day) admitted that the top part of the building was in perfect free fall for over two seconds, but offered no explanation for why there was zero resistance from below.
For these reasons, many architects and engineers have come to think that the only explanation for the collapses is controlled demolition, perhaps prepared as a safety mechanism to minimise the damage from any attack like the 1993 bombing or 9/11. Reinvestigate 911 does not espouse any particular theory of how the Towers collapsed, but we call for a thorough open and independent investigation.
Haven't leading experts spoken in support of the official story?
No. There are a few vocal experts who seem to appear on most mainstream media documentaries, and they mostly have close links to the Washington establishment. Most genuinely independent experts are reluctant to state an opinion because the evidence is not available. For instance the FBI "failures" which many suspect were the intended result of meddling by the CIA, are covered by routine secrecy, reaffirmed by a policy of refusing, even 8 years later, to give any information to the public. In the case of the WTC collapses, most of the steel sections were recycled soon after 9/11 and the few samples that were retained have been withheld from independent scientists. Although they said at the time that the samples were adquate, NIST admitted in 2008 that they did not corroborate its theory of how the Towers collapsed. Similarly, the damage at the Pentagon was inspected by scientists from Purdoe University, which receives massive volumes of research funding from the Pentagon. Nonethless these scientists were described by the BBC as independent.
Can't the mistakes or changes in the official story be explained as the result of "the fog of war"?
Conceivably, but the facts point to deliberate cover-up and deception. For instance the 9/11 commission determined that Pentagon officials probably committed criminal offences when they gave false information to the commission. Official documents show that when people like Bush Blair and Rice said the 9/11 attacks were "unthinkable" they were lying: officials had been warning of the possibility of hijackings within the US in summer 2001, and were aware that planes might be used as missiles.
They are probably just covering up for incompetence
Conceivably, but again the facts seem to point to something more proactive than pure incompetence. For instance some 9/11 sceptics suspect that the CIA actively blocked the FBI to protect an operation which has not yet come to light. Others argue that amateur pilot Hani Hanjour could not have flown Flight 77 into the Pentagon at top speed at ground level, and ask who did.
Covering up for incompetence would be serious enough though and in itself warrants a new investigation, because it distorts the judgement about going to war to deal with terrorism. Thomas Kean, the 911 Commission chair, told the media the attacks "could and should have been prevented". In that case why invade Afghanistan and Iraq?
The FBI was not structured to deal with Al Qaeda.
This plausible sounding idea has been put to journalists by CIA-linked officials, but the FBI has many decades of experience in long term infiltration of criminal organisations. For instance the FBI recognised the threat from the mafia at a time when journalists were still calling it a "conspiracy theory". John O'Neal, the FBI's top expert on Al Qaeda, was forced to resign in summer 2001 and died in the collapse of the World Trade centre buildings. There are multiple documented instances of FBI field officers being aggressively blocked by the CIA in the months before 9/11.
Aren't those who question the official story further distressing the families of 9/11 victims?
This may be true for some of the victims' families. However many of them are distressed by the failure of the authorities properly to investigate the murder of their loved ones. A large proportion of the victims and relatives do not believe the official story and are demanding a genuine enquiry, but the media normally report comments from those who do. Misleading statements in the media cause a great deal of pain to victims and relatives who doubt the official story.
Aren't 9/11 "conspiracy theorists" a small minority?
Opinion polls show that only a small minority of people in the US believe the official 9/11 story is accurate. A larger proportion believe the official story to be "mostly lies". In many parts of the world it is taken for granted that the 9/11 attacks were some sort of an inside job.
The truth will never be known
Some cynics say that if 9/11 was an inside job "they" will never admit it. They argue that activists wasted their time trying to discover the truth about the Kennedy assassination. However in this case there is a far greater evidence field, ranging from dust samples and steel from the World Trade Centre to the CIA officers who blocked the FBI and the immigration officials who allowed known terrorists to enter the US. In addition the balance of power is tilting away from London and Washington and with it their control of the global media. They may be forced by public opinion to address the huge gaps in the official 9/11 story as awareness seeps in from abroad and from the internet. Already sections of the media have "defected" in key countries like Russia, Venezuela and across the Middle East.