September 11 attacks a U.S. conspiracy?

I wrote this article over the December 2001 holidays, and it was published 4 months to the day after the September 11 attacks, in the University of Waterloo Imprint student newspaper. It’s not completely comprehensive, and there’s been a lot more research and hypothesizing in the time since, but I think it provides some food for thought – basically raising some troubling questions. For some more discussion on the topic — including on the ‘psychology of belief’– please see Eric Francis’ podcast at


The World Trade Center was taken down on September 11. That much is for sure. But start talking about who did it, and you might be on shaky ground.

Apparently, we are told, there is evidence against the Al-Qaeda terrorism network, including Osama bin Laden. To date, the most compelling evidence is a self-incriminating videotape of bin Laden; yet, in an age where movies like The Lord of the Rings can be made, seeing should not necessarily mean believing.

There are many troubling questions that surround the September 11 attacks. Given that “U.S. military leaders proposed in 1962 a secret plan to commit terrorist acts against Americans and blame Cuba to create a pretext for invasion and the ouster of Communist leader Fidel Castro” [Baltimore Sun, April 24 2001], the possibility of U.S. government, military, intelligence complicity in the attacks should not be discounted.

However, we have others who tell us not to think about the possibility. Speaking to the United Nations general assembly, George Bush said, “We must speak the truth about terror. Let us never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories concerning the attacks of September the 11th, malicious lies that attempt to shift the blame away from the terrorists themselves, away from the guilty.”

Yet others are not so sure. In the first footnote to his presentation “Why there is a war in Afghanistan,” delivered at a teach-in/forum in Toronto on December 9 and sponsored by Science for Peace, University of Guelph professor John McMurtry stated, “With any such hypothesis, one looks not only for the evidence confirming it, but more conscientiously, for the evidence disconfirming it.

“The evidence confirming U.S. and allied security awareness of and possible complicity in the 9/11 attack is considerable, but I have found no evidence disconfirming it,” he said.

Let’s look at some of the questions that have been raised.


There are many reports that the surprise attacks were not really a surprise to the various U.S. government agencies — the CIA, the FBI, the military. The fact that, with all the resources they possess, these agencies were unable to do anything to prevent an attack by people they were already closely monitoring, is as surprising as the attacks themselves.

“The governments of at least four countries — Russia, Germany, Israel and Egypt — gave Washington specific warnings of terrorist attacks in the United States involving the use of hijacked airplanes as weapons, in the months leading up to September 11.” That from a January 5th article posted on the World Socialist Web site (

Former U.S. Special Forces master sergeant Stan Goff, in an essay posted on, writes, “As a former military person who’s been involved in the development of countless operations orders over the years, I can tell you that this was a very sophisticated and costly enterprise that would have left what we call a huge ‘signature.’ In other words, it would be very hard to effectively conceal. So there’s a real question about why there was no warning of this.”

Yet, despite all that, the terrorists were still able to organize, plan and successfully carry out these attacks. Even once they had successfully hijacked the planes, there was still an opportunity for the attacks to have been averted …

Events the morning of . . .

One question that has been raised is why no military planes were scrambled to intercept any of the planes once it had been determined that hijackings were taking place. One allegation being made is that orders from high up were given to stand down — to not follow the standard procedures for dealing with hijacked aircraft — which would have included sending up aircraft. Particularily troubling is how the third plane that crashed into the Pentagon was allowed to fly unimpeded towards Washington and the Pentagon for a half-hour after the second plane had crashed into the WTC.

Questions also exist as to whether Ghost Hawk remote control flying technology could have been used to take over control of the planes, and as to whether the fourth plane crashed, or was shot down by a mysterious white plane (see So far, none of the black box recordings have been released.

Investigations hindered

The hope would be that the people investigating the events of September 11 would be able to get to the bottom of everything. That may not happen.

“This is almost the dream team of engineers in the country working on [the investigation of the WTC collapse], and our hands are tied,” said one team member who asked not to be identified. Members have been threatened with dismissal for speaking to the press. “FEMA is controlling everything,” the team member said. (NY Times; December 25 2001)

The editor of Fire Engineering, a 125-year-old monthly firefighting magazine, has called for a “full-throttle, fully resourced” investigation instead of the current “half-baked farce.” (NY Daily News; January 4 2002).

The National Security Agency has been destroying evidence since September 11. “Some Central Intelligence Agency analysts and staff members of the House and Senate intelligence committees fear that important information that could aid in the investigation, and perhaps even redirect it, is being lost in the process.” (Washington Globe; October 27 2001).

An investigation into insider-trading activities on airline stocks prior to the attacks has led to a bank in Germany with connections to the CIA (

A November 6, 2001 report on BBC TV’s Newsnight detailed how some investigations into terrorist connections were being covered up by US authorities.


One of the first thing any detective does is consider the criminal’s motive. The U.S. administration, military or intelligence community has enjoyed many benefits since the terrorist attacks.

U.S. interests wanted to install an oil pipeline through Afghanistan to access oil reserves in the former Soviet states, said to be potentially the richest reserves in the world. The U.S. had pre-existing plans to invade Afghanistan in mid-October, according to former Pakistan foreign secretary Niaz Naik. In fact, it would have been nearly impossible to plan for such an invasion in the short time between September 11 and October 7 (according to Stan Goff).

As well, the attacks gave new-found legitimacy to an unelected president and consolidated power in the hands of his administration and the military and intelligence communities. The huge profits to be made off of the “War on Terrorism” lead back to American interests. Laws have been passed and civil rights stripped away; the people have lost, and the powerful have gained.

There is not enough space here to cover all the questions that are left unanswered. Further research can be done online; some sites to visit include,,

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