[We have nearly forgotten the victims of 911, as memory of the event that has defined our lives moves into the dim-lit past. After ten years of watching the young march off to fight and die in Afghanistan and Iraq, while our economic prosperity dried-up and blew-away like the dust bowl days of the previous Great Depression, 911 has become nothing more than an excuse to wage war upon the world, as our great war of retribution has been turned into another opportunity for looting defenseless nations. If we let this tenth anniversary of the meticulously planned attacks fade-away, without demanding an accounting from the government servants who have helped to suppress the facts, while they have ridden this war as perhaps the greatest opportunity for self-promotion of all time, then it will truly be forgotten for all time, as something far worse takes-up our entire field of view. Once this war proceeds to its final state, the awesome awfulness of the American police state will be our only concern. Towards that dreadful day, I am posting the following call for reopening the 911 investigation.]
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|WRITTEN BY CHANDRA MUZAFFAR
|On the 10th anniversary of the 9-11 tragedy, it would be instructive to reflect on the disastrous impact of that tragedy upon the entire human family.One, hundreds of thousands, perhaps a couple of million, lives have been lost in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Afghan-Pakistan border and other places as a direct or indirect consequence of the so-called “war on terror” that followed 9-11. It is not just the violence generated by the US helmed occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan that is responsible for this. Terror groups that resist occupation or are seeking to avenge the death of innocent children and women at the hands of the occupiers, or those who are embroiled in the tussle for power or enmeshed in inter-sectarian and inter-factional feuds–like Al-Qaeda– are also culpable.
Two, it is estimated that at least 3.7 trillion US dollars have been poured into the two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. This colossal military expenditure has emasculated the US economy and is one of the major causes of the nation’s chronic debt crisis which in turn has serious implications for economies everywhere.
Three, the war on terror has led to the marginalisation of other more important wars that the global community had pledged to fight at the beginning of the 21st century, such as the war against global poverty and global illiteracy. It has also diverted attention from the challenge of widening disparities between those who have a lot and those who have a little which has become a global phenomenon threatening social cohesion and stability in many parts of the world.
Four, the obsession with terrorism has prompted a number of governments to introduce or expand repressive laws that curtail legitimate civil rights and liberties. Illegal incarcerations, torture and assassinations have been carried out in the name of fighting terror.
Five, the terror war has spawned a new wave of Islamophobia. Fear and hatred of Islam and Muslims which is deeply embedded in the psyche of a segment of Western society has been thrust to the fore through the equation of the religion and its adherents with terrorism. Some politicians, religious leaders and a section of the mainstream media are responsible for this diabolical bigotry. Consequently, Muslims and their religious symbols have become targets of venom in various parts of the Western world. A fanatical fringe within the Muslim ummah( community) has reacted to this by venting anti-Christian and anti-Jewish bile in their sermons and their writings. The end result is a general deterioration in relations among people of different faiths.
How do we overcome, or at least reduce, the negative impact of the 9-11 episode? Both the centres of power in the West and certain elements in the Muslim world should be prepared to come to grips with some irrefutable truths.
One, those who are committed to truth and justice in North America and Europe should try to convince their fellow citizens through all the democratic channels available to them, that Western elites are the real perpetrators of terror and violence. In their quest for hegemony—often related to oil, or geostrategic interests or Israel or simply power – these elites have created fear and terror among millions of innocent people by subjecting them to continuous bombing raids and missile attacks for months on end. This is the terrorism of the militarily powerful, of the hegemonic state or empire. In the last 10 years since 9-11, we have seen that invariably it results in much more death and destruction than the terrorism of those who act in retaliation. Western elites should be made to understand this simple truth by their own people.
Two, in order to reach out to the truth, these elites should begin by re-visiting the 9-11 tragedy. There are many unanswered questions about that event that men and women of conscience have continued to ask in the last 10 years– questions such as the actual identities of the hijackers; why the hijacked airliners were not intercepted; what was the real cause of the collapse of the Twin Towers and Building 7 of the World Trade Centre; and whether the Pentagon was hit by a Boeing 757. Scholars of repute in Europe and the US like Hans Kochler, David Ray Griffin, Peter Dale Scott and James Fetzer have challenged the official version of 9-11. It is because the doubts about 9-11 are so widespread that JUST is of the view that the UN General assembly should establish a truly independent international panel to ascertain the truth once and for all.
Three, while Western governments and peoples have their roles to play vis-à-vis 9-11, the Muslim ummah as a whole has also got the responsibility to ensure that the militant fringe within the community renounces terrorism as a weapon to achieve its goals. Apart from the vile and vicious cruelty inherent in terrorism, it is a mode of operation that has tarnished the image of Islam and Muslims worldwide. Whatever its short-term gains, the use of violence and terror against civilians has encouraged a sort obscurantism which prevents both Muslims and non-Muslims alike from realising that the essence of the Islamic message is the struggle for justice and peace without force or coercion.
This is why it is in our interest, in the interests of everyone –10 years after 9-11– to strengthen our resolve to combat terrorism, and its underlying causes, in all its manifestations.
Dr. Chandra Muzaffar is President of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST) and Professor of Global Studies at Universiti Sains Malaysia.
(Reuters) – Ten years after al Qaeda’s attack on the United States, the vast majority of the 9/11 Commission’s investigative records remain sealed at the National Archives in Washington, even though the commission had directed the archives to make most of the material public in 2009, Reuters has learned.
The National Archives’ failure to release the material presents a hurdle for historians and others seeking to plumb one of the most dramatic events in modern American history.
The 575 cubic feet of records were in large part the basis for the commission’s public report, issued July 22, 2004. The commission, formally known as the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, was established by Congress in late 2002 to investigate the events leading up to the 9/11 attacks, the pre-attack effectiveness of intelligence agencies and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the government’s emergency response.
In a Reuters interview this week, Matt Fulgham, assistant director of the archives’ center for legislative affairs which has oversight of the commission documents, said that more than a third of the material has been reviewed for possible release. But many of those documents have been withheld or heavily redacted, and the released material includes documents that already were in the public domain, such as press articles.
Commission items still not public include a 30-page summary of an April 29, 2004 interview by all 10 commissioners with President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, conducted in the White House’s Oval Office. This was the only time the two were formally questioned about the events surrounding the attacks. The information could shed light on public accounts the two men have given in recent weeks of their actions around the time of the attacks.
Several former commission staff members said that because there is no comprehensive effort to unseal the remaining material, portions of the records the commission had hoped would be available by now to scholars and the public instead will remain sealed indefinitely.
In 2004 Commission Chairman Thomas Kean said publicly that he was eager for most of the records to be released as quickly as possible. In a Reuters interview last week, Kean said he was not aware until told by Reuters that only a small portion of the records have since been unsealed, and he saw no justification for withholding most of the unreleased material.
Kean said the commissioners had agreed on the January 2, 2009 date for release so that the material would not come out until after the 2008 elections. “We didn’t want it to become a political football,” he said.
But he added: “It should all be available now… We (commissioners) all felt that there’s nothing in the records that that shouldn’t be available” once the election had passed.
Photo by: REUTERS
15 of 19 hijackers and Osama Bin Laden were Saudi Arabian; section of 9/11 report detailing Saudi financial support to Al-Qaida classified.
This Sunday marks the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks against New York and Washington, which were a defining moment in the modern era.The world is still reeling from the effects of that dark day, when radical Muslim jihadists hijacked passenger jets and transformed them into homicidal projectiles, murdering 3,000 innocents and scarring a generation.A decade later, many of those behind this horrifying act have, thankfully, been made to pay for their actions.
The Taliban regime which harbored al-Qaida was swept out of power by the might of the American military, while terrorist chieftain Osama bin-Laden was subsequently hunted down and eliminated.
But there is one key player that has escaped largely unscathed, and it is time for this to change.
Ten years after the deadliest attack on American soil, the Saudi sponsors of this atrocity have yet to pay for their actions.
Almost everyone knows that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis, as was bin Laden himself. But what most people don’t realize is that the Saudi connection to the attacks may have been even deeper and more profound.
In the wake of the attacks, the US Congress established a bipartisan commission headed by Democratic Senator Bob Graham and Republican Senator Richard Shelby which eventually produced a comprehensive document that came to be known as “the 9/11 report.”
The report surveyed the origins of the attacks and offered a detailed account of what was known about the plot and its perpetrators. It was made available to the public and even became a national bestseller.
But the 28 pages which make up Part Four of the document, entitled “Findings, Discussion and Narrative Regarding Certain Sensitive National Security Matters,” were almost entirely redacted. These pages are virtually blank, as if a hidden hand of some sort had blotted out all the material contained therein, which is in fact what happened.
For reasons that remain unclear, in 2003 the Bush administration refused to countenance the publication of this section, insisting that to do so would hurt US intelligence operations and compromise the national interest.
It remains classified to this day.
And just what, you might be wondering, was so incendiary that it had to be kept hidden from the public? By all accounts, the material in those pages relates to Saudi officials and their alleged links to the attacks.
As CBS news reported on July 30, 2003, “the redacted section lays out a money trail between Saudi Arabia and supporters of al-Qaida.”
Among others, it singles out Omar al-Bayoumi, a Saudi intelligence agent who provided financial assistance to two of the hijackers prior to the attacks. Al- Bayoumi is said to have received funds from a charitable trust run by the wife of the Saudi Ambassador to the US.
A recent book, The Eleventh Day: the Full Story of 9/11 and Osama Bin-Laden, by journalists Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan, offers still more damning evidence.
Summers and Swan cite a US official who said there had been “very direct, very specific links” between Saudi officials and some of the al-Qaida hijackers.
Others have suggested that members of the Saudi royal family may have been involved.
Earlier this summer, Senator Graham, who is now retired, sought to redirect the spotlight in the direction of the Saudis. In an op-ed piece, he wrote that, “still unanswered after nearly 10 years are the questions of the full extent of the Saudi pre-9/11 involvement.”
Graham also blasted the US government for its ongoing and inexplicable cover-up of the Saudi role.
In the past, Graham sought to get the redacted material in the 9/11 report released, but he was repeatedly rebuffed. His co-chair, Senator Shelby, also supported its publication, as did top Democratic representative Nancy Pelosi and others.
In 2004, Graham went so far as to write a nonfiction book, Intelligence Matters, but US officials succeeded in censoring key portions on grounds of national security, though Graham says much of the material was about “the role of the Saudis in 9/11.”
Now, to circumvent the restrictions, he has written a novel called Keys to the Kingdom, which mixes fact and fiction, in an attempt to raise questions and provide answers.
It should not have to come to this. The American people and the entire Western world deserve to know the truth about the role played by the Saudi sheikhs in the most brazen assault on the United States in two centuries.
It is time to hold the Saudis to account for their actions and to stop covering up the extent of their involvement.
Shortly after his inauguration in 2009, Obama met with relatives of the victims of 9/11.
According to Summers and Swan, the president told Kristen Breitweiser, whose husband died at the World Trade Center, that he was willing to get the censored material released.
Two years have passed, but that has yet to happen.
President Obama: On this, the tenth anniversary of the attacks, it is time to keep that promise.
Lift the veil of secrecy behind which the Saudis are cowering. Release the redacted section of the 9/11 report and let the world finally know the truth about Riyadh’s treachery and duplicity.