September 11, 2001
On September 11, 2001, hijacked planes were flown into the Pentagon and the World Trade Center; another hijacked plane fell into a field in Pennsylvania. The collapse of the Trade Center's twin towers killed about 3000 people that day, and released asbestos and toxic waste into the air.
Catastrophic event, agency failures & conspiracy theories
Described as "some catastrophic and catalysing event - like a new Pearl Harbor" , it has become one of the most tragic, and politically important, days in American history. Paul Wolfowitz, speaking to Army cadets three months before 9/11 at their 2 June 2001 commencement speech, cautioned graduates to be wary and expectant of surprises in the near future and referred extensively to Pearl Harbor and the failure of pre-attack intelligence.
The Bush Administration has subsequently been confronted with a stream of revelations about failure by government agencies and officials to respond to intelligence leads and warnings about the possibility of a terrorist attack.
These failings have fuelled many conspiracy theories. The most official and convenient of these was that Saddam Hussein was responsible. The 9/11 Commission Report notes that shortly after the attacks, Paul Wolfowitz "argued that Iraq was ultimately the source of the terrorist problem and should therefore be attacks. [Colin] Powell [later] said that Wolfowitz was not able to justify his belief that Iraq was behind 9/11." The Bush administration repeatedly and publicly suggested a link between Iraq and 9/11, but generally was careful not to explicitly state that there was such a connection. After the invasion, they were willing to publicly assert that there was no such connection. Shortly before the invasion, a poll indicated that 45% of Americans believed that Saddam Hussein had conspired to cause the attacks. Approximately a third of Americans still believe this.
Another popular conspiracy theory maintains that the U.S. government was complicit in the attacks either in causing them or in intentionally permitting them. One form of this theory asserts:
- "The attacks were allowed to happen to facilitate an aggressive policy of world empire, particularly in the Middle East and Central Asian oil fields, which contain energy supplies that will become even more critical in the near future as oil extraction declines in the non-Islamic world," one states.
According to former CIA analyst, Raymond McGovern, CIA Director George John Tenet "warned the President of the United States about the threat of terrorism almost ad nauseam during the entire spring and summer of 2001. In the final analysis, the president had been warned often enough and long enough. He should have done something about it."
"Bush didn't know what to do," McGovern says. "And Condoleezza Rice, his advisor on such things, didn't know a thing about terrorism. By her own admission she hadn't opened the file that [Clinton's National Security Advisor] Sandy Berger left behind that said 'Read This File First.' She knew a lot about the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, but nothing about terrorism. The charitable explanation for why nothing was done is gross ineptitude and gross malfeasance," he said. 
See Able Danger, a highly classified United States Army intelligence that was alleged to have identified four of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers before September 11, 2001.
Bush's "hijack" story
In the aftermath of the attacks, the Bush Administration launched Operation Enduring Freedom, a massive military action in Afghanistan (which hosted Osama bin Laden at the time) and subsequently Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq. A massive increase in military expenditure has boosted the stocks of companies that are part of the military-industrial complex.
Patriot Act I
Masked by a climate of fear, a series of sweeping domestic 'security' measures -- namely Patriot Act I -- which were widely criticised by civil liberties groups as leading to a National Security State, were also introduced. While Bush launched a massive domestic and international program reacting to the attacks, there has been little official reflection on their root causes or the failures of procedure and policy which precipitated this event.
Three discordant perspectives
Viewed as a single event, at least three discordant perspectives exist:
- "terrorist attacks on New York and Washington"
- counter-strikes against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon terrorists
- "a way of waving a huge red flag from Afghanistan at the American bull"  with willful intent to provoke U.S. intervention in Muslim countries, for the purpose of rallying Muslim support for the Al-Qaida cause.
Both sides of this story make exactly the same claims against the other side, each claiming for themselves a divine right and labelling the other as 'evil'. In that way, both sides of this story are nearly indistinguishable from each other.
Manhattan's air was toxic for months. The White House pressured the Environmental Protection Agency to rewrite its assessment of air quality in New York City after the attacks, diminishing the statement of risk to those breathing the contaminated air. Public health advocates who expressed concern about the hazards reportedly were placed on the no-fly list. The death toll from lung and related problems is expected to eventually dwarf the death toll from the actual attack.
"There have been few toxic events to match the explosions that pulverized the two World Trade Center towers. The short-term deaths of three thousand people will be dwarfed over the long term by the lethal fallout." 
- These were two of the last big buildings constructed with asbestos, whose health effects are infamous. Once ingested, the fibers can and do make cells cancerous. Thousands of miners and others exposed to asbestos have filed lawsuits against Johns-Manville and others.
- The EPA knew that spewing all that asbestos into New York's air was a horrific event, and that lives could be saved by taking certain public precautions. Bush stopped that from happening.
- The WTC also contained countless computer screens, light fixtures, calculators, telephones, network servers, paging systems, copy machines and much more high-tech office equipment laden with mercury and other toxic metals. The concrete, flooring, plastics, chemical cleaners, furniture, metal struts, window glass---all that was also pulverized into a horrific brew of murderous dioxins, furans and lethal powders with hideous killing power.
"A new report by the Sierra Club charges that the Bush administration was guilty of reckless disregard by failing to inform Ground Zero area workers, residents and rescuers of health risks from toxic air after the collapse of the World Trade Center.
- "The report titled "Air Pollution and Deception at Ground Zero" blames the thousands of cases of long-term respiratory illness among New Yorkers on the White House and the Environmental Protection Agency, saying they downplayed health risks, shirked their regulatory oversight roles and even urged financial district workers to return to their jobs prematurely." 
- 9/11 Environmental Action website.
- "Exposure and Human Health Evaluation of Airborne Pollution from the World Trade Center Disaster" at the U.S. EPA's National Center for Environmental Assessment.
- Katherine Stapp, "9/11 Blunders Left Workers, Residents Literally in the Dust", Inter Press Service, April 7, 2004: "Even as the White House scrambles to defend its handling of the terrorist attacks of Sep. 11, 2001, the poisonous gas and dust unleashed by the disaster continue to settle in the lungs of thousands of recovery workers and New York City residents," Stapp wrote.
- National Institutes of Health Study and the EPA Response.
- New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health website.
- Mariani Vs Bush (Full Amended Complaint): "Philip J. Berg, Esquire, announced today that he, attorney for Ellen Mariani, wife of Louis Neil Mariani, who died when United Air Lines flight 175 was flown into the South Tower of the World Trade Center on 9-11 at a news conference regarding the filing of a detailed Amended Complaint in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on 11/26/03 in the case of Mariani vs. Bush et al that he is alleging President Bush and officials including, but not limited to Cheney, Ashcroft, Rumsfeld and Feinberg."
Related SourceWatch articles
- See also other notable events on this day in history
- 9-11 Commission
- 9/11 domestic conspiracy theory
- 9/11 Report Critique (see TALK for historical content)
- 9-11 Truth Movement
- August 6, 2001, President's Daily Briefing Memo
- Destruction of Evidence from Ground Zero at the World Trade Center
- Enemies of freedom
- Fortress America
- Khalid Sheik Mohammad
- Marvin J. Cetron
- National Security State
- Patriot Act I
- Patriot Act II
- Project for the New American Century, PNAC
- preemptive war
- September 11, 2001: 4th Anniversary Events
- September 11, 2001: 4th Anniversary "Freedom Walk"
- September 11, 2001: Additional details
- September 11, 2001: Evacuation of Saudi Nationals
- September 11, 2001, Remarks by President George W. Bush
- "The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11"
- "The Path to 9/11" (2006 Docudrama)
- U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century
- Why do they hate us?
Documents & reports
- National Security Archive Sourcebooks.
- Yale University Avalon Project "September 11, 2001: Attack on America." Includes links to numerous official documents and statements related to the events of 9/11/01.
- Report, Center for American Progress, March 9, 2004.
- Henry A. Waxman, Letter to Attorney General John Ashcroft, April 12, 2004: "... regarding the departure of members of Osama bin Laden's family and the Saudi royal family following the September 11, 2001, attacks."
Articles & commentary
- Jon Stewart, "Daily Show Post 911 Monologue," Daily Show, September 11, 2001, (on YouTube posted by SmithHappens.com).
- Ahmed, N. M., The War on Freedom: How and Why America was Attacked, September 11th, 2001, Joshua Tree, CA: Tree of Life Publications, 2002.
- Thierry Meyssan, 9/11: The Big Lie, London, UK: Carnot Publishing, Ltd., 2002.
- Barton Gellman, "A Strategy's Cautious Evolution. Before Sept. 11, the Bush Anti-Terror Effort Was Mostly Ambition," Washington Post, January 20, 2002.
- Jason Vest, Why Warnings Fell on Deaf Ears, American Prospect, June 17, 2002: "For the Bush administration, the Cold War never ended -- so al Qaeda had to get in line behind more serious enemies. ... What did the president know and when did he know it? Following revelations that the White House had reason to suspect an imminent al-Qaeda attack last year, even The New York Times has noted that the perennial post-Watergate question seems entirely appropriate. Nor should it be put exclusively to President Bush: In most countries, the directors of the internal and external security services would have resigned by now. ... Proponents of such blinkered defense priorities -- Andrew Marshall's Office of Net Assessment at the Pentagon, the Rumsfeld Commissions on ballistic missiles and space, and Frank Gaffney's private, defense contractor-funded Center for Security Policy come to mind -- have produced a steady stream of reports based on dubious methodology."
- George Monbiot, "Post-9/11 America Is a Religion," AlterNet, July 30, 2003.
- Eric Alterman, "9/11/01: Where Was George?", The Nation, October 6, 2003.
- David Ray Griffin, The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9-11, (Book Endorsed by Howard Zinn), 2004.
- Thompson, P., The Terror Timeline: Year by Year, Day by Day, Minute by Minute, New York, NY: Regan Books, 2004.
- Ruppert, M., Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil, Garbiola Island, BC: New Society Publishers, 2004.
- James Ridgeway, "Timeline of Tragedy. Picking up the pieces of 9-11, putting them in order, trying to make sense," Village Voice, April 20, 2004.
- Michael C. Ruppert, Address to the Commonwealth Club, San Francisco, August 31, 2004. Speech includes Ruppert's opinion on the "who, why, what, when and how" of 9/11, war in Iraq, and the relationship to peak oil.
- Robert Scheer, ""The 9/11 Secret in the CIA's Back Pocket: The agency is withholding a damning report that points at senior officials,", Los Angeles Times, October 19, 2004.
- David Ray Griffin, The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions, Northampton, MA: Olive Branch Press, 2005.
- Professor James H. Fetzer, Thinking about "Conspiracy Theories": 9/11 and JFK, Scholars for 9/11 Truth, 2005.
- "Bush calls terror fight WWIII. US President George W. Bush has said the September 11 revolt of passengers against their hijackers on board Flight 93 had struck the first blow of 'World War III'," Agence France Presse (News.com.au), May 6, 2006.
- Michael Bronner, "9/11 Live: The NORAD Tapes," Vanity Fair, August 1, 2006.
- Dan Eggen, "9/11 Panel Suspected Deception by Pentagon. Allegations Brought to Inspectors General," Washington Post, August 2, 2006.
- John Amato, "60 Minutes: White House Officials Changed EPA Reports after 9/11," Crooks and Liars, September 10, 2006.
- Alexander Cockburn, "The 9/11 Conspiracy Nuts. How They Let the Guilty Parties of 9/11 Slip Off the Hook," CounterPunch, September 9/10, 2006.
- Mark G. Levey, "Why 9/11 happened: Bush curtailed Operation CATCHERS MITT," Daily Kos, September 11, 2006.
- Gretchen Peters, "Where Is Osama Bin Laden? Five Years After the 9/11 Attacks, There Are Few Explanations About Why He Has Not Been Caught," ABC News, September 11, 2006.
- Billmon, "The Sixteen Acre Ditch," Whiskey Bar, September 11, 2006.
- "EXCLUSIVE...9/11 Debate: Loose Change. Filmmakers vs. Popular Mechanics Editors of Debunking 9/11 Myths," Democracy Now!, September 11, 2006.
- Jamie Holly, "Keith Olbermann’s Special Comment on Bush: Who has left this hole in the ground? We have not forgotten, Mr. President. You have. May this country forgive you," Crooks and Liars, September 11, 2006.
- John Amato, "Jon Stewart reaches out to the president while Little Richard gives us the low down...," Crooks and Liars, September 13, 2006. re Stewart's "take" on Bush's 9/11 speech.
- Judd Legum, "FULL TRANSCRIPT: Clinton Takes On Fox News," Think Progress, September 22, 2006.
- Joe Sudbay, "Condi, who lied to Americans about the Iraq War, challenges Clinton," AMERICAblog, September 26, 2006.
- John Aravosis, "Condi Rice and George Bush did NOTHING after the CIA warned them that Bin Laden was determined to strike in the US" and "Bush refuses to give evidence that he did anything to stop Bin Laden pre-9/11," AMERICAblog, September 26, 2006.
- Larry Womack, "2001 memo to Rice contradicts statements about Clinton, Pakistan," The Raw Story, September 26, 2006. See January 25, 2001, memo from Richard A. Clarke to Condoleezza Rice.
- Billmon, "Arroz Con Pollo," Whiskey Bar, October 2, 2006.
- Dan Eggen and Robin Wright, "Tenet Recalled Warning Rice. Former CIA Chief Told 9/11 Commission of Disputed Meeting," Washington Post, October 3, 2006.
- Evan Derkacz, "Rice was warned of 9/11 in 7/10 meeting," AlterNet, October 3, 2006. Includes YouTube video link to Keith Olbermann segment.
- Christopher Ketcham, "A CounterPunch Special Investigation: High-Fivers and Art Student Spies. What Did Israel Know in Advance of the 9/11 Attacks?" CounterPunch, March 7, 2007.
- Angela Doland, "France Knew in 2001 al-Qaida Had a Plot," Associated Press (Guardian (UK)), April 16, 2007.
Websites on 9/11
- The Memory Hole: 9/11 - Collection of source documents related to 9/11.
- September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows - a site of friends and families of victims opposing the use of the attacks to justify war.
- 9/11 Citizens Watch - a site monitoring developments of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks on the United States.
- 9/11 Environmental Action- a site dedicated to advocating proper cleanup of wastes created in the collapse of the World Trade Centre and subsequent demolition/removal works.
Sites claiming 9/11 was a hoax
- 9/11 Conspiracy: Finding Truth - Site with a large collection of information making the case for a conspiracy
- Deception Dollar project- Links concentrating on investigations into the attacks.
- Peace Resource Project - a site that proclaims 9/11 as a hoax.
- Oil Empire: election coups, 9/11, fascism and peak oil - a site that claims the attacks were an 'inside job'.
- 9/11 Confession Video Compares images said to depict Osama bin Laden and argues the "confession video" is fake
- Scholars for 9/11 Truth
- "A New Movement" - Indymedia site claiming the government was complicit in the attacks