Waking up in the morning usually meant listening to NPR and the switch over from classical music to live broadcasting promptly at 6am. That particular morning was different, however, as the switch came earlier, and the announcer’s voice was nervous and frantic. Slowly the man woke up, realizing something was different. And then suddenly he was wide awake, as he realized that something strange was going on.
Waking up his partner, they both listened to the radio, unsure of what was happening, although it appeared to be some kind of attack. Since they didn’t have a TV, they quickly threw on some clothes, ran to their car, flipped on the radio, and drove to the guy’s father’s house, listening all the way. Rushing inside, they quickly flipped the TV on and sat watching in horror, as the previously described situation, which they had only understood through the context of the words used on the radio, visually unfolded live on the screen before them, and the true understanding of the situation hit home, like a ton of bricks. Not only had an airplane flown into one of the Twin Towers, the building was still billowing out smoke, and people were standing around, looking up at it, wondering what had happened, and watching as the First Responders arrived and attempted to save those still stuck inside. Shortly thereafter, a second plane hit the neighboring building. As the unthinkable became the new reality, fear began to take over, and people began to panic. Then, approximately 45 minutes later, in what can only be described as apocalyptic, the buildings themselves, spewing out more and more fire and smoke, began to collapse, first one, then the other. And just like that, in an instant, two of the largest and most iconic skyscrapers in NYC had vanished. Gone, literally almost with a trace, as if the 110-story buildings had been vaporized. This was the morning of September 11, 2001.
Now, if you are old enough, and if you were listening or watching on that fateful day, you might be able to think back, and remember something else that was also on the news that day. That’s right. It wasn’t just airplanes hitting buildings; the entire city was under attack. CNN reported live on TV that — “…. there was a van either on the New Jersey Turnpike or the Garden State Parkway, and that it was near the George Washington Bridge. (*ed – This bridge links New York to New Jersey over the Hudson River.) There were two or three men who were in the van that was pulled over. It is not clear why the van was pulled over, but when it was, law enforcers found tons of explosives inside of the van.” That’s right. Explosives in van, with two to three men in custody. The interesting part, of course, is that although it was reported not only on national news by several prominent news anchors, but by local news sources, just a few days later, this story was changed to note that there were no explosives involved, although the men were still detained. There were also reports of bombs being defused on bridges and even incidents at different tunnels being referenced in various transcripts.
Then there is the Israeli connection — The Washington Post reported, “On Sept. 11, five young Israeli army veterans who worked for a moving company were observed at a park on the Hudson River in New Jersey, snapping photographs of the burning World Trade Center and seemingly clowning around. To complicate matters, when authorities arrested them they had box-cutters in their moving van, the types of weapons used by the terrorist hijackers.” That’s right. These 5 young men were later referred to as the “Dancing Israelis”. The NY Times had a slightly different take on the matter, when it noted that — ” a group of five men had set up video cameras aimed at the Twin Towers prior to the attack, and were seen congratulating one another afterwards." So, what are we to make of this?
A possible explanation was presented by ABC news when it noted — “When the (5) men were transferred to jail, the case was transferred out of the FBI's Criminal Division, and into the bureau's Foreign Counterintelligence Section, which is responsible for espionage cases. One reason for the shift, sources told ABCNEWS, was that the FBI believed Urban Moving may have been providing cover for an Israeli intelligence operation.” It continued by noting — “After the five men were arrested, the FBI got a warrant and searched Urban Moving's Weehawken, N.J., offices. The FBI searched …for several hours, removing boxes of documents and a dozen computer hard drives. The FBI also questioned Urban Moving's owner. His attorney insists that his client answered all of the FBI's questions. But when FBI agents tried to interview him again a few days later, he was gone….The owner had also cleared out of his New Jersey home, put it up for sale and returned with his family to Israel.” Now, to be fair, the article notes that possibly, the Israelis were monitoring radical Islamic groups, possibly even the very same groups that one of the hijackers was connected to.
And what about the Saudis that were quickly and quietly flown out of the country? The Los Angeles Times wrote back in 2004 — “When the 9/11 commission resumes its hearings, it will be fascinating to see whether it addresses what may be the most serious security failure related to the attacks: the evacuation of about 140 Saudis almost immediately after 9/11. Think about it: U.S. intelligence knew that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi. Analysts also knew that Saudi money was a major force behind Al Qaeda. And, of course, Osama bin Laden, the perpetrator of the worst crime on American soil, was Saudi. It is standard practice in murder investigations to interview friends and relatives of the primary suspect. (So why would it be any different here?)”
The article at the LA Times continues by noting — “Out of several dozen passengers on those lists, the most astonishing name was that of the late Prince Ahmed Salman. Best known as the owner of War Emblem, winner of the 2002 Kentucky Derby, Ahmed was a prominent Saudi prince, but his presence is of interest for another reason…. Salman allegedly had ties to Al Qaeda and even had advance knowledge that it would stage a major attack in the U.S. on 9/11…… according to sources who were in a position to know details of the CIA's interrogation of Abu Zubeida, a high-ranking Al Qaeda operative captured in Pakistan in 2002. Not long after Zubeida's startling allegations about him, Salman died of a heart attack at age 43.” Just to be clear, was the Saudi involvement angle ever explored?
Although an official 9/11 report was released years ago, there was a 28 page section that had been held back and was only released in the summer of 2016. The Guardian noted that — “Publishing the long-awaited pages 13 years after they were first classified, the White House insisted they show no link between Saudi Arabia and the hijackers who carried out the terrorist attacks.“ That’s right. Nothing to see here folks! In fact, Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, specifically noted that — “This information does not change the assessment of the US government that there’s no evidence that the Saudi government or senior Saudi individuals funded al-Qaida.” Interesting, right?
In a number of stories that took place around Sept 11, 2001, ABC News reported on Sept 14 — “that 10 people in total had been detained (that day) trying to board flights at JFK and LaGuardia. They included nine men and one woman carrying knives, false identification cards, and flying licenses/certificate from Flight Safety International in Vero Beach, Fla.” That’s right. Apparently, there was a second team of people attempting to do something just a few days later, in addition to people with lists of buildings and other high value targets in different cities being arrested.
In fact, the list of oddities surrounding 9/11 goes on and on. Many of the smaller or lesser stories have faded away, like the tower that fell down apparently due to heat or stress, as it hadn’t been struck by anything. That’s right. There were three buildings that fell down on September 11. The Twin Towers and…. World Trade Center 7! In fact, this particular story is even more bizarre in the fact that this particular building was reported to have fallen by the BBC 20 minutes before it even fell.
As we move forwards into a brave new world 15 years later, 9/11 should be remembered not only for the horrific and shocking event that it was, but also for the dramatic turn of events that it ushered in. The Patriot Act was rushed through Congress. The Department of Homeland Security was created. The events that took place on that day were used as a pretext to begin wars. 9/11 became a rallying cry for bigger government and a larger police state, all in the name of “Security”. And anyone who disagreed? Well, they were and still are branded a traitor. If you are a politician and want to pass a bill, even today, all one has to do is say is — “because 9/11!”, and bada bing, bada boom, you will have all the signatures you will need. However, to quote Benjamin Franklin — “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety”. Recently, the Defense One website ran an article asking, “15 years after 9/11, is America any safer?” And the answer to that, of course, is whom you want to believe in, or more importantly, the story that you want to believe in.
So, what do you think dear listeners — “What do we really know about 9/11?”