Twenty Years On – Making Sense of 9/11. The Pearl Harbor of the 21st Century

By Richard Ramsbotham

Global Research, September 12, 2021


According to recent polls about 15% of all American and British people think that the attacks in America on 9/11, (2001), were orchestrated by people within the U.S. Government. Among young people in Britain aged between 16 and 24, about 25% think that the attacks were an ‘inside job.’ Polls in other countries show similar or even greater numbers of people who either partially or completely disbelieve the official story of what happened on 9/11. These figures represent millions of people around the world. Yet in the week of the 10th anniversary of 9/11, no single serious mention of this was to be found in all the immense amount of media coverage given to the anniversary. I only know of one exception. In his blog [an internet special interest website, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Ed.] for the New York Times, Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman wrote that “What happened after 9/11…was deeply shameful… the attack was used to justify an unrelated war the neocons wanted to fight, for all the wrong reasons. The memory of 9/11 has been irrevocably poisoned.” Krugman has been mercilessly vilified in the U.S. media for his remarks. There is plenteous evidence, however, regarding the truth of Krugman’s comments about the 9/11 attacks being ‘used to justify a … war the Neocons wanted to fight’. The main part of this article will look into this evidence – and then also begin to look at the even more disturbing claims not mentioned by Krugman.

The end of the Cold War and the ‘New American Century’

As the Cold War came to an end in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and the frozen stalemate in world politics that had existed since the end of World War Two thawed, a severe unease at the chaos that might result was felt at high levels of power and influence in American foreign policy and government. This unease was answered by an unprecedented and absolute determination for America to remain now the world’s single superpower and for American policy to now literally dominate the entire globe.

In 1986, William Kristol, an influential policy-maker in the government of George Bush Senior, declared that the aim of American foreign policy should be to achieve a: “global unilateralism”. In 1989, another columnist, Charles Krauthammer, wrote an article entitled: “Universal Dominion.” America, he stated, must now unambiguously take the lead in the new “unipolar world”. “The alternative to unipolarity is chaos’”, wrote Krauthammer, and said that what was needed was the USA: ”unashamedly laying down the rules of world order and being prepared to enforce them.” In 1992, the last year of George Bush Senior’s presidency, ideas such as this were aired for the first time in official government policy. Dick Cheney, the then secretary of defense, together with his undersecretary Paul Wolfowitz, Lewis Libby and Zalmay Khalilzad drafted a document for the Pentagon called: Defense Planning Guidance. The document was leaked to the Press, whereupon both its tone and its content caused such a strong negative reaction that the Bush administration quickly attempted to distance themselves from it. The document has been described, quite objectively, as: ‘in effect a blueprint for permanent American global hegemony.’[1]

Dick Cheney is seen as having been the prime creator of this ‘unipolarist blueprint’, helped by his above-mentioned colleagues. Between 1993 and 2001 they – and many other ‘neoconservatives’, or ‘neocons’ as they are often referred to, such as Donald Rumsfeld and William Kristol – lost their positions in government during the eight-year presidency of Bill Clinton. During their period in opposition, however, these neocons from the administration of George Bush Senior were the opposite of inactive. They laid plans and drew up manifestoes for global American domination, which later, during the presidency of the second George Bush (2001-2009), were eventually carried out as fully- fledged U.S. policy.

One of the most significant – and disturbing – activities of the neoconservatives during the Clinton presidency was the creation of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) in 1997. The project, in other words, for an American 21st Century – with America, as sole superpower, exercising dominion over the entire ‘unipolar world’. Among the founders of the PNAC were those who would hold the highest positions during the Presidency of George W. Bush: Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Lewis Libby, as well as Jeb Bush, George Bush’s brother and Dan Quayle, who had been vice-president under George Bush Senior. The (PNAC) was founded by William Kristol (known at one point as ‘Dan Quayle’s brain’) and Robert Kagan. It also included other key policy makers and thinkers, such as Francis Fukuyama, whose book The End of History set out the view that after the Cold War there were no more ideological struggles to be fought, for Western secular democracy must now be seen as valid for all places and all peoples.

The PNAC’s founding principles stated: ‘The history of this century should have taught us to embrace the cause of American leadership… Such a Reaganite policy of military strength and moral clarity may not be fashionable today. But it is necessary if the United States is to build on the successes of this past century and to ensure our security and our greatness in the next.’

In September 2000, three months before George Bush became President, and provided the PNAC with its long-awaited moment to try and make their ideas into official government policies, the PNAC published a 76-page document: Rebuilding American Defenses. After an introduction, proposing that the document be seen by the incoming administration as “a road map for the nation’s immediate and future defense plans”, the opening chapter made the document’s intentions completely clear and threw down its gauntlet. To paraphrase: the supremely opportune moment after the Cold War for achieving and maintaining American hegemony across the globe had been shamefully let slip by the Clinton Administration, and without drastic and urgent measures might be lost altogether.

The chapter stressed once again the difference of America’s military priorities today compared with those during the Cold War: “America’s strategic goal used to be containment of the Soviet Union; today the task is to preserve an international security environment conducive to American interests and ideals.” (The document’s seemingly innocuous tone should not fool anyone who calls to mind the vast numbers of deaths caused by the military might and ‘firepower’ by which this ‘international security environment’ is actually ‘preserve(d).’)

Continuing in the same tone, it outlined four main tasks for the U.S. military:

  1. To secure and expand the ‘zones of democratic peace’.
  2. To deter the rise of a new great superpower competitor.
  3. To defend key regions of Europe, East Asia and the Middle East.
  4. To preserve American pre-eminence through the coming transformation of war made possible by new technologies.

We will return to this fourth point, which plays a hugely important role in the PNAC’s “roadmap”, but to carry out all four would obviously demand a massively increased U.S. Defense Budget. The PNAC document therefore set about to demonstrate the utter necessity, as they saw it, for such a budget to be granted.

First of all the document launched an attack against the Clinton administration’s “decade of defense neglect.” The document pointed to the fact that at the time of writing: “America spends less than 3 percent of its gross domestic product on national defense, less than at any time since before World War II.” Under Clinton: “approximately $426 billion in defense investments have been deferred, creating a weapons procurement ‘bow wave’ of immense proportions.”

The challenge was then thrown down to the next president of the United States: “he must increase military spending to preserve American geopolitical leadership, or he must pull back from the security commitments that are the measure of America’s position as the world’s sole superpower… This choice will be among the first to confront the president.”

“The transformation of war made possible by new technologies.”

The fifth chapter of Rebuilding American Defenses addresses the fourth task referred to above. In brief – and as, after the huge numbers of casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan we increasingly hear called for today – a new form of warfare was seen as necessary, different from that carried out by conventional ground, sea and air forces. Namely, the possibility both to detect and to intercept, from space, any enemy missile the moment it has been launched. To this end: “The first element in any missile defense network should be a galaxy of surveillance satellites with sensors capable of acquiring enemy ballistic missiles immediately upon launch. Once a missile is tracked and targeted, this information needs to be instantly disseminated through a world-wide command-and-control system, including direct links to interceptors.” (My italics.)

The PNAC describes the need, in this context, for “three new missions” in order “to maintain American military preeminence that is consistent with the requirements of a strategy of American global leadership”. These are – 1: “Global missile defenses.” 2: “Control of space and cyberspace… An America incapable of protecting its interests or that of its allies in space or the “infosphere” will find it difficult to exert global political leadership.” And 3: “a two-stage strategy for transforming conventional forces” – a first transitional stage, followed by “true transformation, featuring new systems, organizations and operational concepts”.

It does not demand much imagination to envisage the unprecedented amounts of extra Defense expenditure this would involve, or the problems the PNAC would be likely to face from international treaties concerning missile proliferation, or indeed from “ordinary citizens” concerning the presence of a new “galaxy of surveillance satellites.” Even the PNAC themselves acknowledged this.

The expressed need for an event like 9/11

The opening words of the chapter had expressed unequivocally: “To preserve American military pre-eminence the Department of Defense must move more aggressively to experiment with new technologies”. But how, given the obstacles mentioned in the last paragraph, could the need for this central element of the PNAC’s Defense Plan gain acceptance – and so become reality? And do this quickly, moreover, for, as the PNAC never stopped restating, the opportunity was fast running out for America to secure its role as the world’s single superpower. There was, in fact, only one way the PNAC could envisage which would enable this to happen. Only some massive, catastrophic event, which would be etched into people’s minds and psyches, might so change things that the currently prevailing obstacles of funding, international law and public opinion might be overcome. This led to the document’s most ominous statement: “(T)he process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.”

Remarkable as these words are for expressing the need, in advance, for an event such as 9/11, they are in fact only one of several such comments made between 1997 and 2000 from people at the highest levels of U.S policy making. Enter Philip Zelikow – the person who, after 9/11, would be given the main responsibility by the Bush Government for overseeing and authoring the 9/11 Commission Report – the supposedly complete and unbiased official report into the events of 9/11.

Zelikow, together with Condoleezza Rice, the National Security Advisor at the time of 9/11, had played hugely significant roles in forming U.S. policy regarding the direction it took at the close of the end of the Cold War. At the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the final end of the Soviet Union (1989-1991) Rice was Senior Director of Soviet and East European Affairs in the National Security Council. In this capacity she helped to determine U.S. policies in favour of German reunification, aided by Zelikow, who was later to be described in the Washington Post as: “a one-person think-tank for Rice.”[2] In 1995 he and Rice co-wrote a book called: Germany Unified and Europe Transformed: A Study in Statecraft. Zelikow was also the director of a major ‘think-tank’ on addressing the ending of the Cold War, called the Aspen Strategy Group. This counted among its members Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and other founder members of the Project for the American Century.

In 1997 Zelikow co-edited a book called Why People Don’t Trust Government, in which he described that history, far from being definable as truth, is in fact “defined… by those critical people and events that… form… the public’s presumptions about its immediate past… Such presumptions are beliefs thought to be true (although not necessarily known to be true with certainty), and shared in common within the relevant political community.” (These remarks are of great interest coming from the person who would be given responsibility for the official ‘presumptions’ about 9/11.)

The need to imagine an event like 9/11

After this, Zelikow became project director of the Catastrophic Terrorism Study Group. (This stemmed from the Kennedy School of Government’s project: Visions of Governance for the Twenty-First Century.)

Zelikow co-authored an article on the work done by the group, entitled: Catastrophic Terrorism: Elements of a National Policy, which was published in the November/December 1998 issue of Foreign Affairs. The article stated:

“(T)he danger of Catastrophic Terrorism is new and grave… The objective of the Catastrophic Terrorism Study Group is to suggest program and policy changes that can be taken by the United States government… to prepare the nation better for the emerging threat of Catastrophic Terrorism.”

The title of the article’s first section described the first thing the authors saw to be necessary: Imagining the Transforming Event. The authors couldn’t help mentioning the assistance already given for this by Hollywood movies:

“Long [a] part of Hollywood’s and Tom Clancy’s [author and scriptwriter for espionage and military techno-thriller storylines. Ed.] repertory of nightmarish scenarios, catastrophic terrorism is a real possibility. In theory, the enemies of the United States have motive, means, and opportunity… A successful attack with weapons of mass destruction could certainly kill thousands, or tens of thousands. If the device that exploded in 1993 under the World Trade Center had been nuclear, or the distribution of a deadly pathogen, the chaos and devastation would have gone far beyond our meager ability to describe it.”

Friend and colleague of many of the founders of the PNAC, Zelikow then reiterated the need for the U.S. to transform its conventional approach to warfare, especially as others were already doing this: “Practically unchallengeable American military superiority on the conventional battlefield pushes this country’s enemies toward the unconventional alternatives.”

A fascinating footnote inserted at this point appears to point to the presence of highly detailed research into all aspects of such “threat scenarios” which would never be widely known about:

“The most detailed and credible threat scenarios, based on close analysis of specific vulnerabilities, should not be published at all. These would be indispensable but quite sensitive documents to be prepared by relatively small groups of knowledgeable officials and expert consultants.”

The article then urged readers to: “imagine the possibilities for themselves, because the most serious constraint on current policy is lack of imagination.” It then went into considerably more detail than the PNAC document had as to the exact consequences that would ensue from such an event – fitting in very many ways to the event that did take place three years later on 9/11:

“An act of catastrophic terrorism that killed thousands or tens of thousands of people and/or disrupted the necessities of life for hundreds of thousands, or even millions, would be a watershed event in America’s history… Constitutional liberties would be challenged as the United States sought to protect itself from further attacks by pressing against allowable limits in surveillance of citizens, detention of suspects, and the use of deadly force. More violence would follow, either as other terrorists seek to imitate this great “success” or as the United States strikes out at those considered responsible. Like Pearl Harbor, such an event would divide our past and future into a ‘before’ and ‘after.’ ”

The article then reiterated the PNAC’s demands for necessary changes in defence policy and massive increases in defence funding: “The threat of catastrophic terrorism is therefore a priority national security problem…” The threat thus deserves the kind of attention we now devote to threats of military nuclear attack, as in(…) the resources we devote to defense.”

Further expressions of the need for a “New Pearl Harbor”

The third person who spoke in this way was Zbigniew Brzezinski. In his book The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives (1997), Brzezinski wrote that in America “the pursuit of power is not a goal that commands popular passion… except in conditions of a sudden threat or challenge to the public’s sense of domestic well being.”

Both economic and human sacrifices would need to be made for “imperial mobilization”, and the only thing that would make the American people willing to make these would be “a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat.” Earlier on in the book, Brzezinski, like both Zelikow and the PNAC, had named the great precedent in recent American history where a reluctant public had completely changed its views and given its support to a massive war effort – when they had supported: “America’s engagement in World War II largely because of the shock effect of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.”

A fourth example is Donald Rumsfeld, founder member of the PNAC which had described the urgent need for a “transformation of warfare”, involving, among other things, the ability to intercept ballistic missiles from space. In preparation for putting this into practice, in 1998 Rumsfeld chaired the Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States. In late 2000 he further chaired the U.S. Commission to Assess National Security Space Management and Organization. This latter so-called “Rumsfeld Commission”, announced identical needs, not surprisingly, to those expressed by the PNAC: military “transformation” and the “weaponization of space.” Yet again, the problem was raised of such essential changes being blocked by “resistant bureaucracies”. Yet again, the image was given of what might prove the only possible means to effect such change: “The question is… whether, as in the past, a disabling attack against the country and its people – a “Space Pearl Harbor” – will be the only event able to galvanize the nation and cause the U.S. Government to act.”[3] Rumsfeld chaired this commission right up until the end of December 2000, when he was nominated U.S. Secretary of Defense in the new presidential administration of George Bush.

‘No Defense’!

One may well have imagined that with George Bush as President, Dick Cheney as Vice President, Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense and Paul Wolfowitz as Rumsfeld’s deputy – all the PNAC’s hopes might now be fulfilled. But, during the first nine months of 2001, the leading neocons found, to their horror, that their demands for massive increases in Defense Funding received no more support than they had under Clinton. Having spent eight years in opposition, preparing for this moment and being, by their own admission, the opposite of pacifist in their approach, they were furious at having their expectations thwarted in this way.

On July 23rd, 2001, the main founders of PNAC, William Kristol and Robert Kagan, wrote an article in The Weekly Standard[4] called ‘No Defense.’ From its opening words its message could not have been clearer:

“Here’s some unsolicited advice for two old friends, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz: Resign… (I)t may be the only way to focus the attention of the American people – and the Bush administration – on the impending visceration of the American military. If our suggestion sounds extreme, consider the following… A few weeks ago Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld went to the White House to present his Fiscal Year 2002 budget request… Rumsfeld was mauled… This was the third time in six months that Rumsfeld had had his head handed to him on a platter… Those of us who expressed concern about the Bush administration’s shorting of the military were told not to worry… But (n)ow it’s clear that there is no real prospect for a meaningful defense increase – this year, next year, or for the remainder of Bush’s first term.”

Kristol and Kagan went on: “(T)he consequence of an underfunded military will be the steady erosion of our ability to defend all of America’s vital interests, not only in Europe but in Asia and in the Persian Gulf as well… It now seems certain that the Bush administration will officially abandon the so-called ‘two-war’ standard that has served since the Cold War as the rule of thumb for what is needed for American global pre-eminence.”

[The ‘Two-War’ standard relates to America’s policy at this time of retaining a force capable of rapidly and decisively conducting two large regional wars. Ed.]

Towards the end of the article they then laid down their challenge to the Bush administration:

“Perhaps it’s an isolationist’s dream. For everyone else it’s a nightmare. It ought to be George Bush’s nightmare. For if the president does not reverse course now, he may go down in history as the man who let American military power atrophy and America’s post-Cold War pre-eminence slip away.”

This ‘nightmare’ scenario could clearly not be allowed to continue: “Surely George W. Bush did not seek office to preside over the retrenchment of American power and influence. Surely Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz did not come back to the Pentagon to preside over the decline of the American military.”[5]

‘No Defense’ (July 2011) may have been offering one last chance to those capable of providing the necessary increases to the American Defense Budget. It sounds far more, though, like a clear call to action, in the face of the certainty that these increases would not be granted. Another article in the Weekly Standard, published on the day before 9/11, (Sept 10th, 2001), stated categorically that all chance of any such increases was over. The article, called ‘The Phony Defense Budget War’ was written by Gary Schmitt, Co-Chairman of the PNAC, and Tom Donnelly, the chief author of Rebuilding America’s Defenses which had mentioned that without “an event like a new Pearl Harbor” the PNAC might never see its aims realized.

The article repeated its own and Donald Rumsfeld’s diagnosis of the present crisis: “Over the past decade, hundreds of billions of dollars in weapons research and procurement has been deferred… The challenge of transformation is real. ‘The proliferation of weapons with increasing range and power into the hands of multiple potential adversaries means that the coming years will see an expansion of risk’ to American cities’, warns Rumsfeld.”

The article’s conclusion then gave its verdict on the “disgraceful” failure of the U.S. Government to respond to that crisis:

“(T)he promise of conventional-force transformation, global missile defenses protecting America and its allies, and control of space will be deferred until the distant future… As Rumsfeld himself recently said, ‘Each year we put off these critical investments, each year we kick the can down the road, we are digging ourselves deeper and deeper in the hole’… (T)he president and the Congress, Republicans and Democrats – (are all now) irresponsibly kicking the can down the road. A pretty disgraceful performance all around, but particularly disappointing for an administration that assured us help was on the way.”[6]

September 11th, 2001 – ‘The Pearl Harbor of the 21st Century’

For the neocons, though, even if for nobody else, help already was on the way. The events of the following day, September 11th, 2001, as we know, changed everything. Hard as it may be for many people to look past the immense personal tragedy and suffering wrought by the events of 9/11, we must recognize that 9/11 for the neocons was the ‘Pearl Harbor’ moment they had been waiting for.

They themselves were the first to note this. President Bush was reported to have written in his diary that evening: “The Pearl Harbor of the 21st Century took place today.”[7] Donald Rumsfeld admitted that 9/11 created: “the kind of opportunities that World War II offered, to refashion the world.”[8] Philip Zelikow – who, remember, would later be given responsibility for the 9/11 Commission Report – the supposedly unbiased report into what took place on 9/11 – authored in 2002, the National Security Strategy of the United States of America, stating: “The events of September 11th, 2001… opened vast, new opportunities.”

Within one day, all the expressed intentions of the neocons suddenly proved possible and many received almost immediate public and government support. With regard to Defense Spending the Pentagon was immediately granted by Congress an extra $40 billion, with far more to follow. According to Zelikow, writing this September, 2011: “Measured in constant dollars, spending on national defence in the last ten years has gone up about 67 per cent.”[9](!) The wars in Afghanistan and then Iraq had also been on the neocons’ agenda and the obstacles to fighting them were immediately removed. These wars in turn made possible the much called for military “transformation” or RMA – “revolution in military affairs.” As Andrew Bacevich writes: “After 9/11, the Pentagon shifted from the business of theorizing about war to the business of actually fighting it. This created an opening for RMA… War plans… became the means for demonstrating once for all the efficacy of the ideas advanced by… Rumsfeld and his deputy Paul Wolfowitz.”[10]

This “transformation”, as we quoted earlier, demanded the ‘control of space and cyber-space’, necessitating a “galaxy of surveillance satellites.” The huge U.S.A. PATRIOT Act, (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism), brought in with incredible speed after 9/11, and under whose restrictions everyone in America has since then had to suffer, instigated a gigantic increase in both public and private surveillance. Last but not least, the neocons had admitted that much of what they intended encountered difficulties from – frankly – inconvenient international treaties about what was permissible and impermissible regarding rules of war, interrogation, surveillance, etc.

The 2002 National Security Strategy of the United States of America, authored by Zelikow, took unprecedented new steps, permitting the U.S., for example, to take preemptive military action against enemy threats, even ‘before (these threats) are fully formed.’ As David Ray Griffin writes: ‘This is a step of great significance, because it involves an explicit statement by the United States that the basic principles of international law, as embodied in the United Nations, does not apply to its own behaviour.’[11] This viewpoint, that as regards international politics, America needs only be obedient to itself, has all too frequently been encountered since that time. Already in March 2001 PNAC member Charles Krauthammer had starkly and brutally expressed it: “The U.S. can reshape, indeed remake reality on its own… America is no mere international citizen. It is the dominant power in the world, more dominant than any since Rome. Accordingly, America is in a position to reshape norms… and create new realities. How? By unapologetic and implacable demonstrations of will.”[12]

Merely a coincidence?

Let us briefly recapitulate: individuals and groups at the highest levels of American policy-making and power had announced unambiguously what role in world politics they saw it necessary for the U.S. to play after the end of the Cold War. Namely: “undisputed masters of the world.” (Krauthammer.) Four of the most influential of voices – Donald Rumsfeld, Philip Zelikow, Zbigniew Brzezinski and the Project for the New American Century – had even declared that it might take an event something like a ‘New Pearl Harbor’ to create the support both from government and from the public necessary to bring this about. With the start of the Bush Presidency, at the beginning of 2001, these individuals and groups then moved into leading postions of power. To begin with, as they had predicted, little public support could be found for the huge defense budget increases and military (and security) changes and actions they envisaged. Then… 9/11 happened. A “watershed event in America’s history.” (Zelikow – Catastrophic Terrorism.)

Almost immediately all their plans were able to be realized, and have continued being implemented until today.

Were the crime of 9/11 to be investigated like any other murder inquiry, where it would be foolish just to accept whatever may appear to have happened, there is little doubt as to which direction one would first wish to look in for suspects. For those who not only had a motive for the event, but had openly expressed this motive and who had, in fact, achieved from the event everything they had hoped. (The PNAC would certainly be one such starting place. Nine days after 9/11, they wrote an open letter to George Bush which began: “We write to endorse your admirable commitment to ‘lead the world to victory’ in the war against terrorism.” They outlined all the actions that would “constitute the minimum necessary if this war is to be fought effectively and brought to a successful conclusion” and stated: “We urge that there be no hesitation in requesting whatever funds for defense are needed to allow us to win this war.”)[13]

Of course, there was no question whatsoever of the events of 9/11 being investigated like an ordinary murder inquiry. The whole reason that the event galvanized public opinion in the way it had been predicted it might, was because of the utterly overwhelming impression it produced that America was under full-scale attack from foreign Islamic terrorists, providing full justification, therefore, for the “global war on terror” that was announced.

Thinking the unthinkable

But… slowly at first, then gradually snowballing to the percentages mentioned in this article’s first paragraph, people started to look more closely at what had happened on September 11th, 2001, not just blindly accepting what appeared to have happened, employing their wide awake faculties of thinking and perception. As they did so, they began to realize that the never to be forgotten images of the Twin Towers almost exploding before people’s eyes, pulverizing into huge, surging dust clouds, then collapsing straight downwards at almost free-fall speed, with the colossally thick and strong steel core of the buildings – built to withstand almost anything – bursting and shattering into small pieces, could not have been brought about through the fires, however horrific, caused by the aeroplanes plunging into them. No steel-framed buildings have ever, before or since, collapsed in this way as the result of fires.

There are, as everyone who has even lightly researched the issue will know, scores of other contradictions and anomalies regarding the official reports about what happened on 9/11. People can – and should – read or view these and think them through for themselves.

There is one event, however, that occurred on 9/11, whose official explanation is so obviously impossible that it has, rightly, been seen as the one unmistakable ‘smoking gun’ pointing to U.S. complicity, at the highest levels, with what took place on that day. As everyone will remember who watched the events on television, there were three buildings in New York that collapsed on 9/11. After the collapse of the Twin Towers, a third building also came down, another massive steel-framed skyscraper, known as World Trade Centre 7. It had not been hit by any planes. There had been fires in the building caused by burning debris falling from the neighbouring Twin Towers. But its fires were not remotely comparable to those in the two buildings hit by aeroplanes – (WTC1 and WTC2.) Yet this whole vast skyscraper, WTC7, collapsed “into its own footprint” in a matter of seconds – 6 1/2 seconds! For the first eight stories it fell at what has officially been recognized as ‘freefall speed’. Television commentators on the day unhesitatingly pointed out that there was only one thing they had ever known to make buildings collapse in this way: carefully planned controlled demolition, using explosives.

Not only have many firefighters and demolitions experts confirmed this view, but an ever increasing number of professional scientists, engineers and architects have also now demonstrated in great detail – for anyone willing to consider the evidence – that the collapse of WTC7 was unquestionably caused by controlled demolition.[14] Architect Richard Gage, for example, founder of Architects and Engineers for 911 Truth, shows in a ten minute video clip how the collapse of WTC7 provides evidence of all ten features of a standard controlled demolition.[15] Another short video: ‘Architects and Engineers: Solving the Mystery of WTC7’ presents the voices of many scientists, architects and engineers on the issue, such as Kamal Obeid, who describes the utter impossibility that fire could have made every single core column of the building collapse simultaneously, as had to happen for it to fall as it did.[16] And once we see that the collapse of WTC7 could only have been caused by controlled demolition, we also see that a different kind of controlled demolition[17] is the only thing able to explain the explosive pulverization and collapse of the Twin Towers themselves.

This research has greatly increased, over the years, in its thoroughness and exactitude, thanks to the work, for example, of physics professor, Steven Jones or of architect Richard Gage, so that everyone now can, and should, examine this evidence for themselves. I have merely pointed to the existence of this evidence in relation to Building 7. The official reports about all the other events of 9/11 have also been subjected to detailed examination, revealing many other glaring inconsistencies and falsifications. Most of these can be looked into, for example, in David Ray Griffin’s groundbreaking book, The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions about the Bush Administration and 9/11 (2004) where he presents what he calls prima facie evidence and then, in Debunking 9/11 Debunking, (2007), where, by also examining the inevitable attempts to ‘debunk’ this research, he is able to describe the evidence for U.S. complicity in the events of 9/11 – in other words that it was an ‘inside job’ – as being “overwhelming”.

9/11 and the Threshold of Knowledge

Time-wise, though, we have jumped ahead of ourselves, for it would be absurd not to recognize the immense hurdles – both in the outer world and within themselves – that individuals had to, and still have to overcome, before first of all imagining, and then becoming able to accept that only ‘insider’ U.S. involvement is able to explain the events of 9/11. David Ray Griffin describes this well: “It seemed to me simply beyond belief that the Bush administration – even the Bush administration – would do such a heinous thing. I assumed that those who were claiming otherwise must be ‘conspiracy theorists’ in the derogatory sense – which means, roughly, crackpots… I fully sympathize, therefore, with the fact that most people have not examined the evidence. Life is short and the list of conspiracy theories is long and we must all exercise judgement about which things are worth our investment of time. I had assumed that conspiracy theories about 9/11 were below the threshold of possible credibility.”[18] Physicist David Chandler also describes how: ‘It took some kind of consciousness-raising on my part before I was willing to look at the possibilities.’[19] Richard Gage describes how for a long time he had simply accepted the official story. And then how, when he realized that he wasn’t being responsible if he didn’t try and take stock of the inconsistencies that were being reported, he had the experience of waking up again to his usual ability to bring his own thinking to bear on his perceptions and experience. And once he did so, as an architect with years of experience behind him in designing steel-framed buildings, like the boy able to see quite clearly that the “emperor has no clothes”, he realized that of course fires could never have led WTC7 to collapse in the way it did; that of course the only explanation for the phenomena everyone witnessed is controlled demolition.

And once people began waking up to this, they woke up to very much else as well, such as all the intentions described in the main part of this article. And millions of people, the world over, are also now waking up to or are already awake to all this. Meanwhile, the ‘official’ view remains impervious to these developments. The 9/11 Commission Report, headed by Philip Zelikow, did not even include a mention of the anomalies in the collapse of WTC 7. In a recent issue of Prospect magazine, in an article entitled: ‘Ten years after 9/11 what have we learned?’ Zelikow merely writes: “The historical work of the commission about what happened before and on 9/11 does not yet need any significant amendment.”[20] Zelikow was publically challenged as to why his report had included no discussion of Building 7, for example, and he answered, significantly, that many things were not discussed in the report, for “you couldn’t have sustained the narrative.”21 We will discuss this comment further in Part Two of this article, look further at how the 9/11 Truth Movement and the official “narrative” have developed, and also attempt to see a wider perspective or ‘narrative’ which is able to include all that has been pointed to in this article.


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This was first published in New View magazine, issue 61, Autumn 2011.


  1. Andrew Bacevich, American Empire: The Realities and Consequences of U.S. Diplomacy. (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2002), 44.
  2. Close Adviser to Rice Plans to Resign, Glenn Kessler, Washington Post, November 28, 2006.
  3. Report of the Commission to Assess US National Security Space Management andOrganization.
  4. The neoconservative journal started by William Kristol and financed by Rupert Murdoch.
  5. ‘No Defense’ on PNAC website: ‘Defense and National Security’ section – 2001:
  6. Same as note 5 – ‘The Phony Defense Budget War.’
  7. According to the Washington Post, January 27th, 2002.
  8. New York Times, October 12th, 2001.
  9. ‘The twilight war. Ten years after 9/11, what have we learned?’ Philip Zelikow. ProspectMagazine, September, 2011.
  10. Bacevich, The New American Militarism, p.173.
  11. ‘Neocon Imperialism, 9/11, and the Attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq’, David Ray Griffin.Available on the web at ‘Information Clearing House.’ I am greatly indebted to Griffin’s wonderfully clear and thorough piece which has been the source for several of the quotations in the present article.
  12. ‘Bless our Pax Americana’, Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, March 22nd, 1991.
  13. Letter to President Bush on the War on Terrorism, September 20, 2001. ‘Letters/Statements’section of PNAC website.
  14. See “9/11 Blueprint for Truth Video” in 10, 30 or 60 minute version – Architects andEngineers for 911 Truth website: See: ’Videos by AE911Truth’.
  15. Same as note 14.
  16. 15-minDocumentary: “Architects & Engineers: Solving the Mystery of WTC 7” at
  17. WTC7 first exploded at its base, whereas with WTC1 and WTC2 the collapse began at the tops of the buildings.
  18. The New Pearl Harbor – Disturbing Questions about the Bush Administration and 9/11 – David Ray Griffin – Foreword by Michael Meacher, MP – Arris Books, 2004 – pp. xvii-xviii.
  19. See Video in note 16.
  20. See note 9.
  21. See: ‘Zelikow’s parallel universe’ – Snowshoe films – after3:25minutes:

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23 May 2006The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Richard Ramsbotham, Global Research, 2021

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