No sooner had the dust settled on the site of the Twin Towers than the conspiracy merchants were at work. All manner of wild and for the most part demonstrably false speculations have been flying around the Internet and the world's media these past eight months, from the claim that 4,000 Jews failed to turn up for work on that fateful morning, to the claim that the greatest atrocity in history outside of war was engineered by the American military-industrial complex to boost defence spending and secure employment for the US forces for the next twenty and more years, not to mention to use as a pretext to invade Afghanistan.
Most of these “conspiracy theories” are not theories at all but simply scurrilous gossip or wild and lurid speculation. All the same it is understandable how and why some of them take root. All Moslems are aware of both how perfidious and powerful is the Zionist lobby, and it is far more comforting to think that they might have been responsible for the Twin Towers atrocity rather than their own kith and kin. Likewise it is a fact that people with military and political agendas can and do exploit human tragedies to further those agendas, but one might just as well argue that the anti-gun lobby engineered the Dunblane Massacre. (1)
The latest, and one of the more plausible notions being peddled, is that the FBI, the American security services in general or even Dubya himself knew of September 11 in advance yet failed either out of wilfulness or stupidity to thwart it. This sort of nonsense is parrotted unthinkingly time and time again across the world and in all eras concerning all manner of terrorist, political and similar incidents.
To take just one relatively mundane example, on a dark night in April 1993, a black youth was murdered at a bus stop in South East London. Stephen Lawrence was stabbed by one member of an all-white gang. The hysteria over this senseless murder led to, among other things, charges of institutional racism against the Metropolitan Police and the ludicrous Macpherson Report. The police were, apparently, slow to act, and the five main suspects (the Acourt gang) were arrested only after they'd had time to dispose of incriminating evidence. Why didn't the police arrest them sooner, the “anti-racist” lobby screamed? The police were also attacked not just for slackness but for thoroughness, in particular for treating the victim's friend Duwayne Brooks as a suspect - at least in the very early stages - and for investigating the Lawrence family in case of a possible drug connection.
The reason the police didn't arrest the Acourt gang in the first instance is not far to seek; they had no meaningful evidence. Two anonymous letters were found which implicated the gang; in addition to that they were known to be anti-social as much as anti-black, and to carry knives. Rather than charge in like the proverbial bull in a china shop the police patiently collected what evidence they could before making their move. The gang were subsequently arrested but the case against them collapsed because it wasn't strong enough. And with good reason, because in spite of their being good suspects, and in spite of their being branded murderers by a sensationalist tabloid, the evidence indicated that they were not the killers. (2) It is all right for the victim's mother, Dotty Doreen to slag off the police and insist that they knew who murdered her son, but life isn't that simple.
In a much more recent case, a 13 year old schoolgirl named Amanda Dowler disappeared off the face of the Earth. In spite of a massive publicity campaign there has been no confirmed sighting of her, even though reports have been coming in from as far afield as Spain. All these reported sightings have to be investigated, however unlikely they may be. Now let us apply this principle to September 11, but first, let us hear what Professor Quigley has to say about this subject.
“All past history shows that espionage has been generally successful and intelligence has been generally a failure...no country had much success in keeping secrets in the twentieth as in all earlier centuries, but neither has any other country had much success in evaluating or in interpreting the secrets obtained. The so-called surprises of history have emerged not because other countries did not have the information but because they refused to believe it. The date of Hitler's attack on the West in May 1940 had been given to the Netherlands by the German Counterintelligence Office as soon as it was decided; the Western countries refused to believe it. Both the Germans and the Russians had the date of D-Day, but ignored it.” [Ditto Pearl Harbour].
"This last point was so hard to believe, once the evidence was available, that the same groups who were howling about Soviet espionage in 1948-55 were also claiming that President Roosevelt expected and wanted Pearl Harbor. Both these beliefs, if they were believed, were based on gigantic ignorance and misconceptions about the nature of intelligence." (3)
He concludes: “...the most successful kind of counterespionage work is achieved, not by preventing access to secrets, but by permitting access to information which is not true.” (4)
Okay, so the CIA, the FBI, the New York Police Department and Dubya himself knew that on September 11, 2001, "Islamic" fanatics were going to hijack four planes simultaneously and crash two of them into the Twin Towers, the third on the Pentagon and the fourth on the White House, but what else did they know?
What about the sarin nerve gas attack on the New York subway Al-Qeida planned the day before? What about the bombing of the Hoover Dam by animal rights fanatics on September 9? What about the nuclear bomb Alaskan separatists were planning to steal and explode underneath the Washington Monument the previous July? And so on.
All police forces, fire brigades and other emergency services worldwide are deluged with crank calls and anonymous letters constantly. Some of these hoaxes can be quite sophisticated. Some of them can even be massive exercises in self-deception, such as the networks of Satanists which breed babies for human sacrifice that have been reported in the United States, Britain and elsewhere. There can too be genuine misunderstandings. On occasion, innocent Irishmen have been detained in Britain on suspicion of terrorist activity. There can be diplomatic considerations. Although he was (is?) based in Afghanistan, Osama Bin Laden is a Saudi; Mohamed Atta, the ringleader of the September 11 hijackers, was an Egyptian national. Saudi Arabia and Egypt are not hostile countries, and arresting or even monitoring their citizens without good cause might have been considered more trouble than it was worth. Finally, information may come from a source which in the past has been suspect. (5)
It now seems more than likely that the US authorities had some advance information about September 11, but granted that kamikazes are nothing new, who in his wildest dreams could have imagined the scenario that unfolded the day the world changed? And who would have believed it if he had stumbled upon that information? What really matters is that the response to September 11 to date has been exemplary, particularly by the British authorities, and that the United States has so far managed to retain the moral highground, and will continue to do so unless it makes the terrible mistake of bombing Iraq.
It is easy to dismiss conspiracy merchants as paranoid. Easy but wrong. There is a conspiracy here; the Al-Qeida Network is a massive, well organised and well funded international conspiracy, although hopefully considerably less massive and less well-funded since Uncle Sam pummelled its main base, overthrew its main backer - the Taliban - and seized millions of dollars of its assets. Paranoid? Just in case you hadn't noticed, there are people out there whose raison d'ętre is to kill Americans, and these past few years they've been doing it effectively and on a large scale. The conspiracy merchants aren't paranoid any more than they are crazy, but their lurid speculations, as ever short on hard facts, reason and logic, are not helpful, although undoubtedly some of them are making a lucrative income out of peddling their wares, and will for many years to come.
May 26, 2002
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