By Craig McKee
On Sept. 11, 2001, I was part of the majority. I believed that Osama bin Laden had led a group of Islamic fundamentalists to crash planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
There were many things that made me accept this, but mostly it was because I believed what I saw on TV. Sure I was cynical about the media then, but to believe that they got it so wrong would be to believe they were complicit in the cover-up.
I believed that the attacks – while reprehensible – were a logical result of America’s imperialist policies around the world. It was the typical “liberal” reaction, which unfortunately still dominates how the left sees 9/11. We were all so sure that Uncle Sam was screwing everyone that the idea that someone would want revenge seemed reasonable – even inevitable.
This made me and people who agreed with me valuable dupes for the real criminals. We helped establish our view as the “left” end of the spectrum of 9/11 opinion. The “right” believed Bush’s claim that the “evil-doers” had attacked America because they hated our way of life.
Despite being fooled about 9/11, there were some things that made me immediately suspicious that morning. The main one was the incredible failure of the U.S. military to intercept any of the planes. I just couldn’t buy this. And I couldn’t figure out why no one in the media saw this as a red flag.
But even with that doubt, I didn’t seriously doubt the official story. I may have believed there were inexplicable examples of incompetence, but I didn’t put it all together. For one thing, I was still being influenced primarily by the mainstream media, which were all fully behind the bin Laden story.
In a way, it’s surprising to me I could be so naive. I’d spent much of my youth reading every book I could find about the Kennedy assassination, the Bay of Pigs, and about U.S. imperialism in Central America and elsewhere. I believed the CIA was a criminal organization, as I do now. If anyone should have seen through the “official government conspiracy theory” about 9/11, it should have been someone like me.
But the lie was so massive I couldn’t see it.
As I came to realize later, there were individual elements of the official story that were positively essential for maintaining the fake terrorist scenario. With the absence of any real journalism from the mainstream press, these factors kept my doubts from growing and kept me from seeing the big picture:
- The cell phone calls: If passengers had called relatives and told them hijackings were happening, then how could it not be true? I now believe that these calls were faked. The technology exists to do it. The technology to make cell phone calls from airliners flying at 30,000+ feet at 500 miles per hour did not exist in 2001. The media failed to examine this seriously.
- The Bin Laden confession tapes: Didn’t most of us take it for granted that bin Laden had taken responsibility? It turns out that there’s only one video tape that has him doing so, and a close look at bin Laden’s face in that video reveals that it’s not him! Check this out for yourself. Again, the media ignored this.
- The lack of questioning by the political left: The fact that there was a version of the story that I could be comfortable with – that the attacks were revenge for U.S. misdeeds – was enough to satisfy me. And the support for this view from people I admired, like Noam Chomsky, cemented the deal.
- Evidence allegedly found in Mohamed Atta’s trunk: This was absolutely critical to the official story. It included a letter saying he planned to martyr himself, a Saudi passport, an international driver’s license, instructional videos teaching how to fly a Boeing airliner, and an Islamic prayer book. I never thought to question how all this incriminating evidence was so easily found. Why didn’t it make it on to the plane? Classic staged evidence. And when it came out that the hijackers had been using prostitutes and drinking heavily before Sept. 11, the whole “fundamentalist” angle crumbled.
- The Pentagon was hit in broad daylight in front of hundreds of witnesses: Obviously it was Flight 77, right? To fake this was inconceivable to me. Now the idea that an airliner hit that building is inconceivable. Media ignored the overwhelming evidence that evidence was staged and explosives were placed in the building.
- It would have been too difficult to rig the towers for demolition: How, exactly, do you place explosives throughout a 110-storey office tower with no one noticing? That just seemed crazy. Now it’s the only thing that makes any sense. With no help from the media, I was unaware of the dozens of witnesses who reported massive explosions in the basements of the World Trade Center. And I was not aware that security for the buildings was being handled by a firm very closely linked to the Bush family.
- I had never heard of Building 7: When a friend told me in 2007 that a third skyscraper had collapsed in New York on 9/11, I almost didn’t believe him. This revelation, more than any other, shattered my assumptions about 9/11. The facts so obviously pointed to controlled demolition that I began to doubt everything else.
- Reports of government incompetence: Any media inquiry into how the attacks could have happened focused on whether the system broke down and whether the military failed to react properly. It never looked at government complicity. Neither did I.
- The government would never go that far: Most people believe this still. They can’t conceive of their own government showing such disregard for human life. Especially the lives of American citizens. But if they were to look at past examples of “false-flag” operations, they might change their minds. Just looking at the plans for Operation Northwoods, a 9/11-style fraud to create a pretext to invade Cuba, would open a lot of people’s minds.
- It was too big to keep secret: All it would take would be one person to spill the beans, right? This one is SO wrong. People talk all the time; if the media isn’t reporting it, how does the public find out? Howard Hunt confessed to helping kill Kennedy but this was virtually ignored by the media. David Schippers, a Washington insider who prosecuted Bill Clinton in his impeachment trial, says he was told about the entire 9/11 plot in advance by FBI agents. How much attention did this get?
Selling the official story doesn’t require that it be airtight because most people aren’t looking that closely. And with the media parroting the official line, it takes real effort for the average person to learn the truth.
Most of us won’t make the effort. Or we don’t want to know.