President Trump is calling on all of us who are aware of the facts behind 9/11 to stand up and correct him in unison by saying: the evidence for worst terrorist attack in our history points, not to perpetrators in Afghanistan, but highly placed Americans who orchestrated openings in the United States’ air defenses on the morning of 9/11 and participated in the cover-up of the evidence for controlled demolition of the Twin Towers and Building 7. The evidence for controlled demolition alone shows technology employed on 9/11 was incompatible with the capabilities of terrorists coming from Afghanistan.
On August 21, President Trump thumbed the history of 9/11 into the faces of all peoples across the globe when he asserted a link between people in Afghanistan and the events of 9/11: “The consequences of a rapid exit are both predictable and unacceptable. 9/11, the worst terrorist attack in our history, was planned and directed from Afghanistan because that country was ruled by a government that gave comfort and shelter to terrorists. A hasty withdrawal would create a vacuum that terrorists, including ISIS and Al Qaeda, would instantly fill just as happened before September 11. And as we know, in 2011, America hastily and mistakenly withdrew from Iraq.”
Warning of “Another 9/11” Falls Flat
Support from members of Congress for president Trump’s warning about another 9/11 has fallen on deaf ears. A review of statements attributed to Congressional leaders showed that only Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) praised President Trump’s Afghanistan policy announcement and amplified the 9/11 linkage. Graham said, “I’m proud of the fact that President Trump made a national security decision … I’m relieved he did not take the advice to withdraw, which would have been disastrous or create a mercenary army.” He concluded by warning his colleagues in Congress if they fail to support Trump’s proposal,
“The next 9/11 will be your fault, not President Trump’s fault, if you shoot down this plan.”
The fact that this linkage between 9/11 and Afghanistan has gotten no traction in the media shows that the mainstream media cannot sell this canard to their audiences. With this as a sign of weakness, it is possible to turn this into a teachable moment.
The 9/11 Frame Provides Teachable Moments
In the upcoming month, Congress will reconvene and it appears likely that they will want to have their say about this military surge in Afghanistan. Because the need for this surge has been framed as a response to terrorism and invoked the past 9/11 and the fear of another future 9/11 this Afghanistan linkage will be central to the discussion – even if it is not mentioned in official channels again.
This provides a golden opportunity to rally against the surge in troop strength and educate the people about the false story of 9/11.
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Background on the War in Afghanistan
The following is excerpted from David Ray Griffin’s essay, Did 9/11 Justify the War in Afghanistan? and will provide the basis for meaningful conversations about the validity of President Trump’s linkage of the War in Afghanistan to the events on 9/11. (Please see the link for the complete text and footnotes.) There are many other questions that have been, and should be, asked about this war with the central one being: Did the 9/11 attacks justify the war in Afghanistan? According to Dr David Ray Griffin, this question has thus far been considered off-limits, not to be raised in polite company, and certainly not in the mainstream media.
It has been permissible, to be sure, to ask whether the war during the past decade has been justified by those attacks so many years ago. But one has not been allowed to ask whether the original invasion was justified by the 9/11 attacks. Was this war ever really justified by the publicly given reason: the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. This question has two parts: First, did these attacks provide a legal justification for the invasion of Afghanistan? Second, if not, did they at least provide a moral justification?
The original article by Dr. Griffin provides many references to support the points that he raises.
Did 9/11 Provide Legal Justification for the War in Afghanistan? Afghanistan did not attack the United States. Indeed, the 19 men publicly implicated with the crimes of 9/11 were not Afghans.
The other exception occurs when one nation has certain knowledge that an armed attack by another nation is imminent – too imminent to bring the matter to the Security Council. The need for self-defense must be, in the generally accepted phrase, “instant, overwhelming, leaving no choice of means, and no moment for deliberation.” Although the US government claimed that its military operations in Afghanistan were justified by the need to prevent a second attack, this need, even if real, was clearly not urgent, as shown by the fact that the Pentagon did not launch its invasion until almost a month later.
US political leaders have claimed, to be sure, that the UN did authorize the US attack on Afghanistan. This claim, originally made by the Bush-Cheney administration, was repeated by President Obama in his West Point speech of December 1, 2009, in which he said: “The United Nations Security Council endorsed the use of all necessary steps to respond to the 9/11 attacks,” so US troops went to Afghanistan “[u]nder the banner of . . . international legitimacy.”
However, the language of “all necessary steps” is from UN Security Council Resolution 1368, in which the Council, taking note of its own “responsibilities under the Charter,” expressed its own readiness “to take all necessary steps to respond to the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001.”
Of course, the UN Security Council might have determined that one of these necessary steps was to authorize an attack on Afghanistan by the United States. But it did not. Resolution 1373, the only other Security Council resolution about this issue, laid out various responses, but these included matters such as freezing assets, criminalizing the support of terrorists, exchanging police information about terrorists, and prosecuting terrorists. The use of military force was not mentioned.
The US war in Afghanistan was not authorized by the UN Security Council in 2001 or at anytime since, so this war began as an illegal war and remains an illegal war today. Our government’s claim to the contrary is false.
This war has been illegal, moreover, not only under international law, but also under US law. The UN Charter is a treaty, which was ratified by the United States, and, according to Article VI of the US Constitution, any treaty ratified by the United States is part of the “supreme law of the land.” The war in Afghanistan, therefore, has from the beginning been in violation of US as well as international law. It could not be more illegal.
Did 9/11 Provide Moral Justification for the War in Afghanistan?
The American public has for the most part probably been unaware of the illegality of this war, because this is not something our political leaders or our corporate media have been anxious to point out. So most people simply do not know.
If they were informed, however, many Americans would be inclined to argue that, even if technically illegal, the US military effort in Afghanistan has been morally justified, or at least it was in the beginning, by the attacks of 9/11. For a summary statement of this argument, we can turn again to the West Point speech of President Obama, who has taken over the Bush-Cheney account of 9/11. Answering the question of “why America and our allies were compelled to fight a war in Afghanistan in the first place,” Obama said:
“We did not ask for this fight. On September 11, 2001, nineteen men hijacked four airplanes and used them to murder nearly 3,000 people. They struck at our military and economic nerve centers. They took the lives of innocent men, women and children without regard to their faith or race or station. . . . As we know, these men belonged to al Qaeda – a group of extremists who have distorted and defiled Islam. . . . [A]fter the Taliban refused to turn over Osama bin Laden – we sent our troops into Afghanistan.”
This standard account can be summarized in terms of three points:
- The attacks were carried out by 19 Muslim members of al-Qaeda.
- The attacks had been authorized by the founder of al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, who was in Afghanistan.
- The US invasion of Afghanistan was necessary because the Taliban, which was in control of Afghanistan, refused to turn bin Laden over to US authorities.
On the basis of these three points, our political leaders have claimed that the United States had the moral right, arising from the universal right of self-defense, to attempt to capture or kill bin Laden and his al-Qaeda network to prevent them from launching another attack on our country.
The only problem with this argument is that all three points are false. I will show this by looking at these points in reverse order.
1. Did the United States Attack Afghanistan because the Taliban Refused to Turn Over Bin Laden?
The claim that the Taliban refused to turn over Bin Laden has been repeatedly made by political leaders and our mainstream media. Reports from the time, however, show the truth to be very different.
A. Who Refused Whom?
Ten days after the 9/11 attacks, CNN reported:
“The Taliban . . . refus[ed] to hand over bin Laden without proof or evidence that he was involved in last week’s attacks on the United States. . . . The Taliban ambassador to Pakistan . . . said Friday that deporting him without proof would amount to an ‘insult to Islam.’”
CNN also made clear that the Taliban’s demand for proof was not made without reason, saying:
“Bin Laden himself has already denied he had anything to do with the attacks, and Taliban officials repeatedly said he could not have been involved in the attacks.”
Bush, however, “said the demands were not open to negotiation or discussion.”
With this refusal to provide any evidence of bin Laden’s responsibility, the Bush administration made it impossible for the Taliban to turn him over. As Afghan experts quoted by the Washington Post pointed out, the Taliban, in order to turn over a fellow Muslim to an “infidel” Western nation, needed a “face-saving formula.” Milton Bearden, who had been the CIA station chief in Afghanistan in the 1980s, put it this way: While the United States was demanding, “Give up bin Laden,” the Taliban were saying, “Do something to help us give him up.” But the Bush administration refused.
After the bombing began in October, moreover, the Taliban tried again, offering to turn bin Laden over to a third country if the United States would stop the bombing and provide evidence of his guilt. But Bush replied: “There’s no need to discuss innocence or guilt. We know he’s guilty.” An article in London’s Guardian, which reported this development, was entitled: “Bush Rejects Taliban Offer to Hand Bin Laden Over.” So it was the Bush administration, not the Taliban, that was responsible for the fact that bin Laden was not turned over.
In August of 2009, President Obama, who had criticized the US invasion of Iraq as a war of choice, said of the US involvement in Afghanistan: “This is not a war of choice. This is a war of necessity.” But the evidence shows, as we have seen, that it, like the one in Iraq, is a war of choice.
B. What Was the Motive for the Invasion?
This conclusion is reinforced by reports indicating that the United States had made the decision to invade Afghanistan two months before the 9/11 attacks. At least part of the background to this decision was the United States’ long-time support for UNOCAL’s proposed pipeline, which would transport oil and natural gas from the Caspian Sea region to the Indian Ocean through Afghanistan and Pakistan. This project had been stymied through the 1990s because of the civil war that had been going on in Afghanistan since the Soviet withdrawal in 1989.
In the mid-1990s, the US government had supported the Taliban with the hope that its military strength would enable it to unify the country and provide a stable government, which could protect the pipeline. By the late 1990s, however, the Clinton administration had given up on the Taliban.
When the Bush administration came to power, it decided to give the Taliban one last chance. During a four-day meeting in Berlin in July 2001, representatives of the Bush administration insisted that the Taliban must create a government of “national unity” by sharing power with factions friendly to the United States. The US representatives reportedly said: “Either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs.”
After the Taliban refused this offer, US officials told a former Pakistani foreign secretary that “military action against Afghanistan would go ahead . . . before the snows started falling in Afghanistan, by the middle of October at the latest.” And, indeed, given the fact that the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon occurred when they did, the US military was able to mobilize to begin its attack on Afghanistan by October 7.
It appears, therefore, that the United States invaded Afghanistan for reasons far different from the official rationale, according to which we were there to capture or kill Osama bin Laden.
2. Has Good Evidence of Bin Laden’s Responsibility Been Provided?
I turn now to the second point: the claim that Osama bin Laden had authorized the attacks. Even if it refused to give the Taliban evidence for this claim, the Bush administration surely – most Americans probably assume – had such evidence and provided it to those who needed it. Again, however, reports from the time indicate otherwise.
A. The Bush Administration
Two weeks after 9/11, Secretary of State Colin Powell said that he expected “in the near future . . . to put out . . . a document that will describe quite clearly the evidence that we have linking [bin Laden] to this attack.” But at a joint press conference with President Bush the next morning, Powell withdrew this pledge, saying that “most of [the evidence] is classified.” Seymour Hersh, citing officials from both the CIA and the Department of Justice, said the real reason why Powell withdrew the pledge was a “lack of solid information.”
B. The British Government
The following week, British Prime Minister Tony Blair issued a document to show that “Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaeda, the terrorist network which he heads, planned and carried out the atrocities on 11 September 2001.” Blair’s report, however, began by saying: “This document does not purport to provide a prosecutable case against Osama Bin Laden in a court of law.” So, the case was good enough to go to war, but not good enough to take to court. The next day, the BBC emphasized this weakness, saying: “There is no direct evidence in the public domain linking Osama Bin Laden to the 11 September attacks.”
C. The FBI
What about our own FBI? Its “Most Wanted Terrorist” webpage on “Usama bin Laden” does not list 9/11 as one of the terrorist acts for which he is wanted. When asked why not, the FBI’s chief of investigative publicity replied:
“because the FBI has no hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11.”
D. The 9/11 Commission
What about the 9/11 Commission? Its entire report is based on the assumption that bin Laden was behind the attacks. However, the report’s evidence to support this premise has been disowned by the Commission’s own co-chairs, Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton.
This evidence consisted of testimony that had reportedly been elicited by the CIA from al-Qaeda operatives. The most important of these operatives was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed – generally known simply as “KSM” – who has been called the “mastermind” of the 9/11 attacks. If you read the 9/11 Commission’s account of how bin Laden planned the attacks, and then check the notes, you will find that almost every note says that the information came from KSM.
In 2006, Kean and Hamilton wrote a book giving “the inside story of the 9/11 Commission,” in which they called this information untrustworthy. They had no success, they reported, in “obtaining access to star witnesses in custody . . . , most notably Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.” Besides not being allowed by the CIA to interview KSM, they were not permitted to observe his interrogation through one-way glass. They were not even allowed to talk to the interrogators. Therefore, Kean and Hamilton complained:
“We . . . had no way of evaluating the credibility of detainee information. How could we tell if someone such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed . . . was telling us the truth?”
They could not.
Accordingly, neither the Bush administration, the British government, the FBI, nor the 9/11 Commission ever provided good evidence of bin Laden’s responsibility for the attacks.
E. Did Bin Laden Confess?
Some people argue, to be sure, that such evidence soon became unnecessary because bin Laden admitted his responsibility in a videotape that was discovered by the US military in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, in November 2001. But besides the fact that bin Laden had previously denied his involvement many times, bin Laden experts have called this later video a fake, and for good reasons. Many of the physical features of the man in this video are different from those of Osama bin Laden (as seen in undoubtedly authentic videos), and he said many things that bin Laden himself would not have said.
The FBI, in any case, evidently does not believe that this video provides hard evidence of bin Laden’s responsibility for 9/11, or it would have revised its “Most Wanted Terrorist” page on him after this video surfaced.
So, to review the first two points: The Taliban said it would turn over bin Laden if our government would give it good evidence of his responsibility for 9/11, but our government refused. And good evidence of this responsibility has never been given to the public.
I turn now to the third claim: that, even if there is no proof that Osama bin Laden authorized the attacks, we have abundant evidence that the attacks were carried out by Muslims belonging to his al-Qaeda organization. I will divide the discussion of this third claim into two sections: Section 3a looks at the main support for this claim: evidence that Muslim hijackers were on the airliners. Section 3b looks at the strongest evidence against this claim: the collapse of World Trade Center 7.
F. Implications for the Al-Qaeda Theory of 9/11
And with that implicit admission, NIST undermined the al-Qaeda theory of 9/11. Why?
For one thing, the straight-down nature of the collapse of WTC 7 means that it was subjected to the type of controlled demolition known as “implosion,” which is, in the words of a controlled demolition website, “by far the trickiest type of explosive project,” which “only a handful of blasting companies in the world . . . possess enough experience . . . to perform.” Al-Qaeda terrorists would not have had this kind of expertise.
Second, the only reason to go to the trouble of bringing a building straight down is to avoid damaging nearby buildings. Had WTC 7 and the Twin Towers – which also came straight down, after initial explosions at the top that ejected sections of steel outward several hundred feet – instead toppled over sideways, they would have caused massive destruction in Lower Manhattan, destroying dozens of other buildings and killing tens of thousands of people. Does anyone believe that, even if al-Qaeda operatives had had the expertise to make the buildings come straight down, they would have had the courtesy?
A third problem is that foreign terrorists could not have obtained access to the buildings for all the hours it would have taken to plant explosives. Only insiders could have done this.
The science of the collapse of World Trade Center 7, accordingly, disproves the claim – which from the outset has been used to justify the war in Afghanistan – that America was attacked on 9/11 by al-Qaeda Muslims. It suggests, instead, that 9/11 was a false-flag operation to provide a pretext to attack Muslim nations.
In any case, the official rationale for our presence in Afghanistan is a lie. We are there for other reasons. Critics have offered various suggestions as to the most important of those reasons. Whatever be the answer to that question, however, we have not been there to apprehend the terrorists responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Besides never being legally justified, therefore, the war in Afghanistan has never been morally justified.
This war, moreover, is an abomination. In addition to the thousands of US and other NATO troops who have been killed or impaired for life, physically and/or mentally, the US-led invasion/occupation of Afghanistan has resulted in a huge number of Afghan casualties, with estimates running from several hundred thousand to several million. But whatever the true number, the fact is that the United States has produced a great amount of death and misery – sometimes even bombing funerals and wedding parties – in this country that had already suffered terribly and that, even if the official story were true, had not attacked America. The fact that the official story is a lie makes our war crimes even worse.
But there is a way out. As I have shown in this paper and even more completely elsewhere, the falsity of the official account of WTC 7 has now been demonstrated, leaving no room for reasonable doubt. In his inaugural address, President Obama said, “We will restore science to its rightful place,” thereby pledging that in his administration, unlike that of his predecessor, science would again be allowed to play a determinative role in shaping public policy. By changing his administration’s policy with regard to Afghanistan in light of the science of WTC 7, the president would not only fulfill one of his most important promises. He would also prevent the war in Afghanistan from becoming known as “Obama’s Vietnam.”