Open Letter to The Nation magazine by Jamey Hecht
Open Letter to the Anti-Defamation League by Jamey Hecht
Zelikow: Losing to Bacteria
An Open Letter to Philip Zelikow and the Washington Post
Nicholas Levis, 911Truth.org
NEW YORK, Oct. 11, 2004
Philip Zelikow, a high-level national security adviser to both Bush administrations, acknowledges that America faces a new infectious disease: lack of faith in the U.S. government's 9/11 Commission report.
As executive director of the freshly-retired Kean Commission, Zelikow was a principal author of the 567-page document, which purports to explain everything that matters about September 11th, 2001.
Sales of the 9/11 report have far outpaced those of his earlier study in statecraft, Germany Unified and Europe Transformed. He co-wrote that book in 1999 together with one of his closest associates from the original Bush White House, Condoleezza Rice.
Despite blockbuster sales for the 9/11 report, Zelikow tells the Washington Post he is alarmed by the concurrent spread of "conspiracy theories" about the attacks, which he describes as pathogens:
"Our worry is when things become infectious, as happened with the [John F. Kennedy] assassination," Zelikow says. "Then this stuff can be deeply corrosive to public understanding. You can get where the bacteria can sicken the larger body." 1
It's too late, Dr. Zelikow. The "bacteria" are winning, and your own work is to blame.
Perhaps the disease would have slowed if you had showed the courage to step down as executive director last March - when your resignation was demanded by the same Sept. 11 families who had fought the White House for 14 months to gain a 9/11 Commission in the first place.
They saw a grave conflict of interest in your having participated in White House briefings on al-Qaeda in 2000 and 2001. You did so on behalf of the incoming Bush administration, along with Dr. Rice, Richard Clarke and Sandy Berger, all of whom later testified to the Kean Commission.
"It is apparent that Dr. Zelikow should never have been permitted to be Executive Staff Director of the Commission," the Family Steering Committee wrote.
They asked you to resign, and to take your rightful place on the other side of the table, as a witness to be questioned in the investigation, in public and under oath. 2
Perhaps this might have restored some credibility to a Commission badly damaged a few months earlier when its most outspoken member, Max Cleland, resigned after condemning it as a whitewash. 3
But you ignored the families and stayed on, undeterred. You continued to steer the Commission and its agenda.
You stayed on, as one of only two staff members or commissioners with relatively unrestricted access to White House documents. (The other was Jamie Gorelick, a former high official in the Clinton administration and close associate of George Tenet. Small world.)
A few weeks later, we were treated to a star turn at the hearings by your co-author, Dr. Rice, as one of the most important witnesses before the Commission, even as you conducted behind the scenes.
And now you worry that people won't buy what you have to say about 9/11.
Guess what? They don't.
A representative poll of eight hundred New York state residents by Zogby International found less than 40 percent of them say they believe the 9/11 Commission report answered all of the important questions about Sept. 11. 4
Sixty-six percent of New York City residents are therefore calling on the state attorney general to open a new criminal investigation, one based on the 383 questions of the Family Steering Committee, most of which the 9/11 Commission report simply ignores.
The same poll found that 41 percent of state residents believe high officials knew about 9/11 in advance, and "consciously" allowed the attacks to proceed. That view is shared by one-half of New York City residents - the very people who would have the most reason to be well-informed about Sept. 11.
But 41 percent of the good people of upstate New York, a microcosm of Middle America, also believe there was foreknowledge, as do 30 percent of the state's registered Republicans.
What would the same poll questions reveal, if they were posed to residents of the entire United States? Or to a sampling of the world population?
Isn't this big news? Half the people in the city where the worst attacks occurred believe their own government may have been involved. Why wasn't it in the papers, alongside the Bush-Kerry polling numbers? Shouldn't the papers be examining the unanswered questions that make people think this way?
What have the papers given us instead?
Zelikow's worry about the spread of heretical ideas is apparently shared by the Washington Post, which published his comments yesterday in a pop-psychology piece by Carol Morello, analyzing the souls who have fallen prey to "conspiracy theories" about 9/11.
Morello's first step is to define what the "conspiracy theorists" think in the narrowest possible way. She focuses on a single notion - that the crash of a Boeing 767 does not explain the pattern of damage at the Pentagon. Her article pretends that this is the central hypothesis for all who question the official story of 9/11, which is untrue.
Before the Pentagon anomaly first arose as an issue among American researchers of 9/11 (in Nov. 2001), a broad case for doubting the government's claims had already been built. It was based in ample evidence of foreknowledge on the part of high U.S. officials, contradictions in investigators' statements about the alleged hijackers, and many other indications of complicity in the attacks by elements other than the Bin Laden networks.
This constantly growing body of evidence caused Sept. 11 families and advocates for disclosure to lobby for an independent investigation. It ultimately became the basis for a vibrant "9/11 truth movement." 5
But Morello's presumption - that uncertainty about what happened at the Pentagon is the sole issue of concern - allows her to ignore all that. All that really matters to her is what makes these conspiracy theorists tick, and whether they can be cured.
As Philadelphia Daily News reporter Will Bunch pointed out, Morello is merely knocking down her own strawman. In a college debate, she would lose the point. 6
If we must psychologize rather than argue, as Morello does, then I daresay she is in avoidance. Taking on the facts of 9/11 with an open mind would perhaps force her, in Zelikow's words, "to repudiate much of [her] life identity," which relies on rejecting ideas that her society characterizes as outlandish, as "conspiracy theory."
But what is "conspiracy theory"? Morello rounds up the usual suspects among experts who treat disbelief in official stories as a pathology.
Michael Barkun, author of "A Culture of Conspiracy" and much-cited in these matters, wisely informs us that "conspiracy theories are one way to make sense of what happened and regain a sense of control. Of course, they're usually wrong, but they're psychologically reassuring."
"Usually wrong"? Why does Prof. Barkun hedge his bets?
We need to unpack our terms. "Conspiracy theory" describes the official 9/11 report as well as it does the alternative views. The events of Sept. 11 obviously were not the product of a single perpetrator, but of a criminal conspiracy.
Criminal conspiracy is treated in countless volumes of what prosecutors call conspiracy law or racketeering statutes. Another word for it is organized crime. Any attempt to explain a criminal conspiracy constitutes a theory. Prosecutors devise theories based on initial clues, and then try to see which of them best fit the evidence overall. Convictions often follow.
Neither Morello nor Zelikow is concerned about "conspiracy theories" per se. They are applying the term selectively, to include only hypotheses in which elements of the U.S. government were themselves involved in the attacks for political and financial gain.
If Cheney says Saddam Hussein backed the 9/11 attacks, as the vice-president did on many occasions despite his recent protestations to the contrary, this is not called a conspiracy theory, although it obviously involves a theoretical conspiracy. Yet this is the most important 9/11 conspiracy theory to date, because it was used to justify the invasion of Iraq.
If Zelikow tells us that 19 men agreed to hijack four planes and fly them into buildings and evaded all detection (although those identified as the ringleaders had been under observation by U.S. and allied agencies for years beforehand) this is not labeled conspiracy theory, although it describes a conspiracy.
The only theories branded as "conspiracies," and thus subject to ridicule and dismissal without examination, are those that suspect wrongdoing from the U.S. government - which did its best to hide and destroy evidence, and then sent out a top adviser to both Bush administrations, Zelikow, to investigate what happened.
In the case of the Pentagon, the government has suppressed videotapes of the attack taken from a nearby hotel, a gas station, highway surveillance cameras, and the Pentagon's own cameras. At a press conference following the Kean Commission hearings of Dec. 8, 2003, the chair and co-chair promised that this evidence would be released, to help dispel speculation.
That evidence has not been released, and Zelikow suggests to the Post that there is no need:
"Asked if there were unreleased photographs of the attack that would convince the doubters, Zelikow, of the 9/11 commission, said, 'No.'"
Is it any wonder that people don't believe Dr. Zelikow? First the government suppresses evidence. Then its chief investigator of 9/11 justifies this by saying it would be pointless to release the evidence, and shifts the blame to the "conspiracy theorists," who are pathologically incapable of believing the truth.
The New Yorkers who are unsatisfied with the 9/11 Commission report are not supposed to get answers; they are remanded to the nearest therapist.
For three years, the Washington Post has joined America's other major press organs in ignoring the unanswered questions that cause so many people to reject the official conspiracy theory of the 9/11 attacks.
You would think the Zogby poll results, which were at least mentioned on washingtonpost.com if not in the newspaper itself, would finally move the Post to file some real stories.
This isn't the place to go into every item the Post has failed to report about Sept. 11 - one might start by reading the book mentioned in Morello's article, The New Pearl Harbor by David Ray Griffin - but I submit that DC journalists would normally want to explore the following question:
What about the reports that the Pakistani secret service ISI wired $100,000 to Mohamed Atta? The ISI is often credited as the creator of the Taliban, and its operatives have been linked to the Bin Ladin networks. ISI is also linked to CIA, as historically close allies.
The ISI director, Mahmud Ahmed, was on a two-week visit to Washington and met for breakfast at the Capitol on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001 with the heads of the congressional intelligence committees, Bob Graham and Porter Goss. A month later, when Pakistani strongman Pervez Musharraf reshuffled his cabinet on the eve of the Afghanistan invasion, he forced Ahmed to resign, acting on a request from the FBI. 7
After 9/11, Graham and Goss oversaw the 858-page report of the congressional joint inquiry into 9/11. The term ISI never occurs in their report, at least not in the 75 percent of the text published after "redactions."
In all of the Washington Post coverage of Goss's recent confirmation hearings as director of the CIA, wasn't his breakfast with the ISI chief worth an article?
The 9/11 Commission report fails to mention reports of a Pakistani connection, not even to explain them away, but at least it offers this gem:
"To date, the U.S. government has not been able to determine the origin of the money used for the 9/11 attacks. Ultimately the question is of little practical significance... Similarly, we have seen no evidence that any foreign government - or foreign government official - supplied any funding." (p. 172)
So who financed the attacks is of little significance. Now we know the first rule of the Kean Commission: Don't follow the money!
Does the Washington Post agree?
The Kean Commission "discussed the theories," Zelikow tells the Post. "When we wrote the report, we were also careful not to answer all the theories. It's like playing Whack-A-Mole. You're never going to whack them all."
Now we know the second rule of the Kean Commission: Don't test theories. Just whack them if you can, and otherwise do your best to ignore them.
We shall conclude with two more of the "moles" that Zelikow and the Commission refused to whack. Is the Washington Post willing to take a swing?
First: The owner of World Trade Center Building 7, Larry Silverstein, interviewed for a PBS documentary of 2002 ("America Rebuilds"), seems to reveal that this building's little-reported collapse on the afternoon of Sept. 11 was the result of a decision to intentionally demolish the building.
Isn't this worthy of a follow-up call to Mr. Silverstein's offices? Is it possible to wire a 47-story skyscraper for a controlled demolition within a few hours? If not, what does this imply?
Second: The 9/11 Commission report revised the older NORAD and FAA timelines of air defense response on Sept. 11. For more than two years, these two agencies presented a series of conflicting chronologies to explain the failure of standard operating procedure, under which the errant flights of Sept. 11 should have been intercepted by jet fighters as a routine matter of reconnaissance.
Last June, the Kean Commission issued a staff statement that radically contradicted all accounts upheld until then by either NORAD or FAA, establishing an entirely new timeline. This is now Chapter 1 of the 9/11 Commission report.
It exonerates everyone of blame for the failures of 9/11, in keeping with the dictum of Kean's vice-chairman, Lee Hamilton: "We're not interested in trying to assess blame, we do not consider that part of the commission's responsibility."
Given the complexity of this issue, it may be asking too much of the Washington Post to figure out if the new timeline holds water - it most assuredly does not.8 But if the Commission's version is right, then officials at NORAD and the FAA were issuing false accounts for more than two years. Isn't that, at least, an issue?
Are none of our taxpayer-financed public officials going to be held accountable for what they say and do? Can the official story of 9/11 be changed every few months without consequence?
Sen. Mark Dayton of Minnesota doesn't think so. At hearings on the 9/11 Commission report, Dayton said NORAD officials "lied to the American people, they lied to Congress and they lied to your 9/11 commission to create a false impression of competence, communication and protection of the American people." 9
This, at least, made the Minneapolis Tribune. But where is the follow-up? Isn't the reality that either NORAD or the 9/11 Commission (or both) must be lying about what happened on Sept. 11 worthy of coverage in the newspaper that was once synonymous with investigative reporting?
Or is the Post too busy making fun of "conspiracy theory"?
1 Re: "Conspiracy Theories Flourish on the Internet," Carol Morello, Washington Post, Oct. 7, 2004
2 "Statement of the Family Steering Committee for the 9/11 Independent Commission," March 20, 2004. See http://www.911independentcommission.org/mar202004.html
3 On the history of the Commission and its conflicts of interest, see my earlier article "The Rice/Zelikow Connection," May 15, 2004 at http://www.911truth.org/article.php?story=20040527201054793
4 "Poll: 50% of NYC Says U.S. Govt. Knew," press release. See http://www.911truth.org/article.php?story=20040830120349841
5 As portals to the kingdom of 9/11 research and truth movement sites, the author recommends 911Truth.org, the New York activist site ny911truth.org, and his own collection at http://summeroftruth.org
6 "Putting on our tin-foil thinking cap," William Bunch, http://www.pnionline.com/dnblog/extra/archives/001002.html
7 Timeline of reports on allegations that ISI Director Mahmood Ahmed ordered a $100,000 wire transfer to Mohamed Atta in the weeks prior to Sept. 11. http://www.cooperativeresearch.org/essay.jsp?article=mahmoodahmed
8 "Analyzing the 9/11 Report, Chapter 1," by Michael Kane: http://www.williambowles.info/911/911_analysis_1.html;
for a series of links showing the official timelines for air defense on 9/11/04 being rewitten over time, see "The Emperor's New Timelines" at http://summeroftruth.org/#timelines
9 "Senator Dayton: NORAD lied about 9/11," following up on Minneapolis Star-Tribune, July 31, 2004 http://www.911truth.org/article.php?story=20040731213239607
Earth to The Nation Magazine…
An Open Letter from Jamey Hecht
This is my second open letter to The Nation. The first can be found here: "Bad Faith Again: An Open Letter To The Nation Magazine"
When you're writing to somebody on another planet, you're more likely to reach them if you broadcast outside the confines of a sealed paper envelope. And planet Nation is far, far away.
Their September 27, 2004 issue has a review of David Ray Griffin's The New Pearl Harbor written by Robert Baer, a celebrated CIA agent whose career involvement with the agency is acknowledged on the review's lead page. Griffin's book has a foreword by Richard Falk, who sits on The Nation's advisory board. But that hasn't inhibited the editors from frying the book in lard.
Baer's review is a heavy load of condescension, flustered contempt, false dichotomies, and a few undisputed facts, borne along by that old workhorse: the claim that elites can't possibly conspire in something horrible (like the murder of an American President in 1963, or three thousand people in NYC in 2001) and then execute it, because (1) too many people would need to know in advance, and (2) once done, it wouldn't remain a secret.
Well, FBI field agents like Robert Wright and Colleen Rowley who desperately tried to prevent 911 were stopped by one man, Special Supervisory Agent David Frasca - not by the entire FBI. All that's required are a few well-placed, key people. As for keeping it a secret, of course the big crimes can't be kept secret. That's where The Nation comes in.
The best way to cope with the emergence of uncomfortable truths is to declare that they can't possibly be true, since if they were, they would have emerged by now - ahem. Let's go to a commercial.
The facts have come out. Read Michael C. Ruppert's new book, Crossing The Rubicon (New Society Publishers) and Paul Thompson's The Terror Timeline (Harper Collins). Both are built entirely from mainstream news sources and direct testimony. Then ask yourself whether Dick Cheney and elements in the Pentagon would have foregone trillions of dollars and decades of oil out of concern that the facts might come out. They're out! But if they're not in The Nation, they're not facts.
The usually-recommended response to a review like Baer's is a Letter to the Editor. Since The Nation prints this sort of CIA-driven disinfo quite often, there are ample opportunities to find out what happens to such Letters to the Editor at that particular publication. They go into a pretty trashcan with a peace sign on it.
Fortunately, it is still possible to find analysis that transcends the marshmallow-bellyache of this Babyboomer Flagship Publication - in the peace-trashcan and in some other places:
Here, Mark Robinowitz has assembled an excellent set of resources about left-gatekeeper phenomena - the politics, the psychology, the practice, the personnel:
And here, Nafeez Mossadeq Ahmed offers a major treatment of left-gatekeeping targeted at Z-Net in particular (especially David Corn and Michael Albert): "9/11 'Conspiracies' and the Defactualisation of Analysis: How Ideologues on the Left and Right Theorise Vacuously to Support Baseless Supposition -- A Reply To Z-Net's 'Conspiracy Theory' Section"
Here, I take a shot at The Nation for its embrace of a disingenuous book by Mark Riebling that alleges a tragic "wedge" (Jamie Gorelick, who learned so much from this book, called it a "wall") between the CIA and FBI: "Failure and Crime Are Not The Same" 9-11's Limited Hangouts":
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor
An Open Letter to the Anti-Defamation League
Dear Anti-Defamation League,
Some years ago I wrote to ADL to report a genuine incident of hate-speech against my fellow Jews which I had chanced upon somewhere on the web. You were responsive and concerned and I thank you for your attention.
I hope that attention will be equally available today, as I contact you for a somewhat different reason. Your current "Anti-Israel Protest Calendar" contains a paragraph which seems to me both unfair and potentially damaging to causes espoused by people of good will:
"The conspicuous presence of conspiracy theorists in both New York City and San Francisco was worrisome. A group called the 9/11 Truth Alliance, which contends that the Bush administration staged the attacks, distributed signs saying "Stop the 9-11 Cover-Up" at both rallies. It also handed out "deception dollars," large replicas of paper currency covered with links to conspiracy and also anti-Israel and anti-Semitic Web sites. While some conspiratorial groups were present at past rallies, their profile was much higher at the March 20th demonstrations."
Please provide me with any evidence you may have for the claim that the Deception Dollar, or any other aspect of the specific groups www.911Truth.org and its New York chapter www.ny911Truth.org, holds any "anti-Semitic" views whatsoever.
I can only hope that you recognize a distinction between criticism of the policies and practices of the state of Israel, about which reasonable people can disagree, and the indefensible hatred often directed against the Jewish people, a hatred we all deplore.
Let me state clearly that I am personally acquainted with the designer of the "Deception Dollar," and I am active in the 911Truth movement. I hold a PhD from Brandeis University, and am the Assistant Managing Editor of From The Wilderness Publications, a non-sectarian media outlet which is often critical of Israeli policy and practices but which espouses an explicitly multi-cultural, multi-ethnic worldview. For a detailed statement of FTW's position on the issue of an alleged relationship between the Israeli government and the 911 attacks, please see Chapter 15 of Michael Ruppert's new book, Crossing the Rubicon. Appended to the bottom of this email is an excerpt from that text which, I think, represents the views of many people in the 911Truth movement.
I suggest that you rethink your use of the term "conspiracy theory." The term is so common in American discourse that I can't blame you for adopting it. But I can encourage you to drop it, and I think you might do so if you consider its anti-intellectual, thought-stopping character.
Used in an almost invariably contemptuous tone, the phrase "conspiracy theory" implies that human affairs are entirely driven by individual "lone nut" villains, or by amorphous faceless elites who occupy impersonal power structures. In reality, groups of people can and do plan activities all the time, every day, including picnics, theater, bank robberies, and political killings like those which afflicted the United States during the 1960's. To conspire is simply to plan with other people; nothing more and nothing less. As for "theory," it's a term in legal discourse that simply means: a hypothesis about what happened.
I recently spoke at a 911Truth conference in Toronto, Canada on this very issue. A transcript can be found here:
It is true that there are persons and groups claiming to pursue the truth about 911 who have used that pursuit for purposes of anti-Jewish bigotry (among other bigotries), promulgating false claims that Israelis were warned not to go to work in the WTC that day.
No doubt some of these are motivated by a genuine racism, while others are cynically intended to discredit the 911Truth movement by falsely linking it with despicable sources of Holocaust-denial, et cetera. I am making the gesture (perhaps futile, perhaps just quixotic) of demonstrating that 911Truth is not in the former category. Perhaps you can make a similar gesture showing that ADL is not in the latter.
Again, it's a matter of considerable moral importance that you provide some evidence for your claim regarding the Deception Dollar. If you can demonstrate that there is some anti-Semitic content in it, I will bring that to the attention of its designer and probably succeed in having it removed in the next edition. If not, I ask that you retract and remove your defamatory paragraph about the Deception Dollar and the 911Truth organization, of which I remain a proud and active member. Thank you.
I close with a passage from Crossing The Rubicon:
The term "anti-Semitism" refers to a European social and political phenomenon (which, like much of European pre-WWII ideology, still lingers in some places, e.g. Japan). Anti-Jewish feeling, thought, and behavior are as old as monotheism itself, and have undergone almost as many transformations. There's the anti-Judaism of Late Antiquity; the massacres against Jews in the Crusades and the Inquisition, the murderous pogroms by rural European peasants in the 18th and 19th Centuries, the middle-class resentment, mythologizing, and persecution that led to the Dreyfuss Affair in the French 1890's, and a massive wave of hatred toward Jews that came upward from European folk ideology and downward from Fascist and rightist parties and governments in the first half of the 20th Century. Like all forms of bigotry, "Anti-Semitism" remains a serious problem all over the world. But the phrase itself has no real anthropological basis; it dates from the 1870's, when most European writers still divided up the world's peoples according to Biblical categories - "Semites" were thought to be descended from Noah's son Shem, while everybody else came from either Ham or Japhet. In fact, Antisemitismus was invented as part of an effort by German racist authors to replace the religion-based Jew-hatred (Judenhass) of the past with a more modern, ethnicity-driven contempt. Of course, this apparently intellectual construct barely masked a deep reservoir of anti-rational, virulent hatred. It formed the basis for the pseudo-scientific racism of the Nazi movement.
So the term shouldn't be used to refer to the attitudes of either side in the Arab-Israeli conflict, where it's misleading and inapt. As is often pointed out, Arabs and Jews are both called "Semitic" peoples. More importantly, "Anti-Semitism" is worse than useless in any discussion of Israeli domestic and international affairs. To talk about Israel as if its every citizen thought, felt, and acted as a unit in some giant monolithic crowd is as unfair as assuming that every American supports all of the U.S. government's actions, its economic policies, and its militarism with exactly the same degree of feeling and for exactly the same reasons. Clearly, within Israel there are hugely divergent opinions on everything including the occupied territories and settlements, Palestinian history and politics, the conduct of Israel's foreign and domestic policies, and the vexing issue of compulsory military service. And Israel has a sizeable antiwar movement opposing the invasion of Iraq by the U.S. So what is important (indeed, essential) to examine are the actions of the Israeli government, in exactly the same way that we have examined the actions of the U.S. government. Supporters of the state of Israel are often hysterically unable to tolerate that kind of critique, as though they know (all-too consciously in some cases, perhaps unconsciously in others) that a clear examination of Israel's national conduct reveals a pattern of stark horrors. This sort of denial is best maintained by ad hominem attacks, the most effective being the easy slander of anti-Semitism; if you're having any trouble preventing criticism of Israel, call the critic a bigot and it's all over.
Sometimes those reactions are triggered by the genuine anxiety that remains a permanent feature of Jewish life since the Holocaust. But it's very common for journalists (say, Chris Matthews), politicians, officials, and disinformationists to squander, sabotage, or abort an exceedingly important debate by turning on the red megaphone that warns against what isn't there.
To say that Israel did not perpetrate the attacks of 9/11 is not to deny that the Israeli government was very close to those attacks and may have played a role in them. There is evidence that points both ways. On the one hand it is clear that Mossad made several attempts to warn the U.S. government that the attacks were coming - in one case even providing the U.S. government with a list that included the names of four of the 9/11 hijackers, including Mohammed Atta and that charmed pair, Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almidhar. Everybody knew the attacks were coming. Yet even after this information was in American hands, various agencies of the U.S. government allowed Alhazmi and Almidhar to roam free and unmolested.
The analysis of insider trading by the Herzliya Institute for Counterterrorism (ICT) is another example of Israeli action pointing toward, rather than away from, evidence that the CIA knew what was going on and allowed the attacks to happen.
But perhaps the most compelling reason to discount assertions that Israel was the executor of the attacks is the following UPI story, which is one of the most overlooked bombshells in the whole 9/11 saga:
A leaked Federal Aviation Administration memo written on the evening of Sept. 11 contains disturbing revelations about American Airlines Flight 11, the first to hit the World Trade Center. The "Executive Summary," based on information relayed by a flight attendant to the American Airlines Operation Center, stated "that a passenger located in seat 10B shot and killed a passenger in seat 9B at 9:20 a.m. The passenger killed was Daniel Lewin, shot by passenger Satam Al Suqami." The FAA has claimed that the document is a "first draft," declining to release the final draft, as it is "protected information," noting the inaccuracies in reported times, etc. The final draft omits all mention of gunfire. Lewin, a 31 year-old dual American-Israeli citizen was a graduate of MIT and Israel's Technion. Lewin had emigrated to Israel with his parents at age 14 and had worked at IBM's research lab in Haifa, Israel. Lewin was a co-founder and chief technology officer of Akamai Technologies, and lived in Boston with his family. A report in Ha'aretz on Sept. 17 identified Lewin as a former member of the Israel Defense Force Sayeret Matkal, a top-secret counter-terrorist unit, whose Unit 269 specializes in counter-terrorism activities outside of Israel.
This particular story raises a multitude of questions. Guns were on the hijacked flights? How did they get there? Why have they not been mentioned? What was someone with Lewin's background doing sitting in front of one of the hijackers on the day of the hijackings? Was he still active? Mere coincidence is nearly impossible here. So the question becomes: did the hijackers - all nineteen of them - plan their activities to kill Lewin, or was Lewin following the hijackers even into the gates of death? Did they have to kill him to complete their mission? Who had penetrated whom, and who had compromised Lewin's presence on the plane hijacked by Mohammed Atta? One thing is absolutely clear from my vantage point: someone at the highest levels of the Israeli government deemed Lewin expendable.
Behind the fragile logic and the false rumors that thousands of Jews didn't show up for work at the World Trade Center on 9/11 lie deeper truths that raise darker questions. As a classic piece of disinformation, the rumor about Jews not showing up for work - latched onto by prejudiced and undisciplined minds - made it impossible to rationally discuss such things as the Zim Israeli-American shipping lines having vacated their offices in the World Trade Center just a week before the attacks and moving to Norfolk, Virginia. Two sources told me on condition of anonymity that Zim broke its lease to make the move.
The disinformation worked like a charm. Here's one example: an African-American poet, Amiri Baraka, nearly lost his post as Poet Laureate of New Jersey in an apparent reprisal for his embrace of this particular rumor. Just a month after 9-11, Baraka published "Somebody Blew Up America," a passionately internationalist poem against fascism in all its forms. But he didn't do enough homework, and a single line, "Who told 4000 Israeli workers at the Twin Towers / To stay home that day?" touched off a small storm of boring controversy that clogged much of the Black press, the Jewish press, and the regional mainstream press for weeks. It's unfortunately true (and rarely noted) that Baraka has written some very bigoted poems in the past 35 years, but "Somebody Blew Up America" is not one of them. Yet it's the one that got all the noise, and the whole episode helped to shut down any legitimate discussion of Israeli foreknowledge and possible involvement in 9-11. Those who believed the rumor think they needn't look further, and those who rejected it think the same, for opposite reasons.
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