For Oil And Empire - Was
911 Allowed To Happen?

By Mitchel Cohen
I am indebted to Sander Hicks for much of the research for this article.
"Without superior air power, America is a bound and throttled giant, impotent and easy prey for any yellow dwarf with a pocket-knife." - Lyndon Baines Johnson
For 50 minutes, from 8:15 a.m. until 9:05 a.m. on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, it became widely known within the FAA and the Department of Defense that four domestic passenger airplanes had been hijacked.
New York and Washington DC are surrounded by airbases and defensive systems, and they have been used on numerous occasions to send fighter jets into the air within minutes of an "event" to intercept wayward aircraft. The FAA has published guidelines about what to do as soon as a plane deviates from its flight plan. Air traffic controllers are taught to assume that a hijacking is underway, if there is any doubt at all.
Flight 11, out of Logan airport in Boston, deviated from its path at 7:45 a.m. It hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46 a.m.
No fighter jets intercepted any of the three off-course aircraft that hit the World Trade Center in New York and a section of the Pentagon that was under repair in Virginia. It is estimated that 116 different safeguards simultaneously failed on that fateful day.
Did officials of the U.S. government know ahead of time of plans to hijack these planes and for various reasons did they allow that to happen? There is evidence that these same officials not only allowed 9-11 to occur, but facilitated the hijackings.
The Stand-Down of U.S. Defenses
When professional golfer Payne Stewart's Learjet stopped responding to radio contact on October 23, 1999, an F-16 was by that plane's side within 18 minutes. The F-16 "intercepted" the off course Learjet, caught up with it, and attempted to make visual contact with the crew. All of this was in line with the procedures published by the FAA. This is standard operating procedure. Deviations from this procedure require direct orders to stand-down. The question is not whether or not such orders occurred, but who gave them.
Was this question ever asked of the powers that be? Actually, it WAS.
On September 13, 2001, acting head of the Joint Chiefs of staff, Air Force General Richard B. Myers issued contradictory statements about why no fighters were dispatched on 9-11 to protect Washington D.C. and the Pentagon. Florida Senator Bill Nelson demanded an explanation.
NELSON: Perhaps we want to do this in our session, in executive session. But my question is an obvious one for not only this committee, but for the executive branch and the military establishment. If we knew that there was a general threat on terrorist activity, which we did, and we suddenly have two trade towers in New York being obviously hit by terrorist activity, of commercial airliners taken off course from Boston to Los Angeles, then what happened to the response of the defense establishment once we saw the diversion of the aircraft headed west from Dulles turning round 180 degrees and likewise, in the aircraft taking off from Newark and, in flight, turning 180 degrees? That's the question. I leave it to you as to how you would like to answer it. But we would like an answer.
MYERS: "You bet. I spoke, after the second tower was hit, I spoke to the commander of NORAD, General Eberhart. And at that point, I think the decision was, at that point, to start launching aircraft. One of the things you have to understand, senator, is that in our posture right now, that we have many fewer aircraft on alert than we did during the height of the Cold War. And so, we've got just a few bases around the perimeter of the United States. So it's not just a question of launching aircraft, it's launching to do what?"
This was a very strange non-response. Myers said: "We have many fewer aircraft." That does not answer the question of whether US air defenses responded or not; it simply provides an excuse for whatever else they say. Myers also threw in the important phrase, "At that point." "At that point ... after the second tower was hit." But the question was, What actions were taken up until that point? The Senator asked point-blank: Why did you wait so long to launch planes? and Myers responded: We decided to launch planes after the second WTC had been hit, and we didn't actually launch them until after the Pentagon was hit. This is a non-response.
As we saw with the Payne Stewart incident, the FAA and military have rules for how an interceptor communicates to a wayward aircraft. The F-16 attempts to get the pilot's attention, using visual as well as electronic signals to determine if the aircraft is in distress and is being flown by the proper pilot.
One day later, September 14, 2001, the official story changed. The FAA and the Defense Department claimed that fighter jets WERE launched -- from Otis Air National Guard base on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
Why did Myers not report this in his testimony the preceding day?
Of course, this information raises new questions: Why were the fighter jets sent from that particular base which was relatively distant, from the location of the hijacked airlines? But even these should have been able to reach the Pentagon and the second World Trade Center plane before they hit.
According to Aviation Week and Space Technology, at the time of the first WTC crash, 8:46 a.m., three F-16s assigned to Andrews Air Force Base 10 miles from Washington were flying a training mission in North Carolina, 207 miles away from DC. They were already in the air. The F-16s top speed is 1,500 miles per hour -- 25 miles per minute. They could have been over DC airspace in 8.3 minutes. They could have been there at 8:55 a.m., a half hour before the Pentagon was hit. Instead, they were recalled. They are reported to have landed at Andrews Air Force base AFTER Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon.
So what do we have? According to the first version of the official story, no planes were scrambled. It was not until 9:35 a.m. that planes were ordered up in the air. Yet Vice President Cheney made the following statement -- an apparent slip-up -- on "Meet the Press," that "The Secret Service has an arrangement with the FAA," and that around 8:46 a.m. on September 11, 2001, "They had open lines after the World Trade Center was ... "
Cheney cut himself off mid-sentence. Why? Because if he admits that the FAA was communicating with the Secret Service on "open lines" right after 8:46 a.m., when the first tower was hit, then this would be proof that George W. Bush and company in Florida would have been informed BEFORE HE EVEN BEGAN TRAVELING TO THE SCHOOL TO READ TO CHILDREN, in contradiction to the official story.
This is supported by two journalists who were with Bush on 9-11: ABC's Jon Cochran and Associated Press' Sonya Ross, who reported that the President stated that he knew of the terrorist attacks before he left his hotel.
Were the US defense planes ordered to stand down? I believe there is sufficient evidence to indicate that that is indeed the case.
There are certainly many crucial questions about the sequence of events on the morning of 9-11 that remain to be answered. Unfortunately, the official commission investigating 9-11 did not ask them.
Additional questions that need to be asked:
- Who ordered aircraft to pick up the scores of bin-Laden family members in the United States and fly them out of the country when every other plane in the U.S. was "grounded," and why?
- Was a war against Iraq already "in the cards," awaiting the right pretext? Ex-Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neil states in his new book that the war in Iraq was planned from the first day of the Bush Administration and that there was no evidence then, and there is no evidence now, that Iraq was involved in 9-11. Former "terrorism czar" Richard Clarke says that after 9-11, Donald Rumsfeld instantly wanted to attack Iraq. And so what had been originally called "Operation Iraqi Liberation" (OIL) was launched.
- Two of the alleged hijackers were trained in Florida at the Hoffman School of Aviation. Why, immediately after 9-11, did Jeb Bush -- the President's brother and Governor of Florida -- seize the alleged terrorist pilots' records at Hoffman Aviation, order them placed onto a government cargo plane, and have them flown out of the country? [This information is raised in the lawsuit filed by Ellen Mariani, whose husband was a passenger on one of the planes that crashed on 9-11.]
- Why in March of 2000, did an FBI agent destroy all of the FBI's Denver-based intercepts of messages from bin Laden's colleagues who were under investigation? (He claims he became angry because the Carnivore email monitoring system had somehow mixed what he called "innocent emails" with those allegedly belonging to Al Qaeda. Shouldn,t investigatory bodies be the ones to make such a decision? What exactly were these "innocent emails? Who sent them? What did they contain?)
- What was the involvement of Pakistan,s secret police, which had close relations with the U.S. government? On Sept. 10, 2001, the day before the attacks, the head of the Pakistani ISI, General Ahmad, wired $100,000 to Mohammed Atta, who the US government says was the ringleader of the hijackers. (The Times of India reports that the total amount transferred was actually around $325,000. We'll ignore for now the statements from Atta's father that his son is alive and that unspecified "others" had used his identity, along with that of several of the other alleged hijackers.) A Federal News Service reporter questioned National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice as follows:
"Are you aware of the reports at the time that the ISI chief was in Washington on September 11th, and on September 10th $100,000 was wired from Pakistan to these groups here in this area?"
That was the actual question. The White House provided the press with the following written transcript: "Are you aware of the reports at the time that [inaudible] was in Washington on September 11th?"
The words: "Pakistan's ISI chief" is the only part of the message, according to the White House transcript, that was "inaudible".
- Why were 29 pages of the US Congressional 9-11 committee reports (on Saudi/US connections) censored and blanked out, at Bush's request? Did these pages include the names of U.S. corporations and the weapons (including biological and chemical weapons) they sold to Saudi Arabia, Israel, Iraq and other countries in the region?
- Why was the 9-11 WTC wreckage swiftly removed and sold off as scrap metal, and melted down within days of the attack, preventing federal investigators from being able to fully reconstruct the "crime scene" and determine the cause for the buildings' collapse?
- Why haven't the voice recorders and black boxes from Flight 11 and Flight 175 been made available to public officials and media so that they could be examined?
- How did the passport of one of the alleged hijackers miraculously find its way unharmed to the top of a pile of rubble a short distance from the World Trade Center, enabling US government officials to establish the identity of the hijackers?
- Why would seismographs in the NYC area register two small quakes at Ground Zero many moments after the planes hit but just each tower began to collapse? This leads to speculation that -- as hard as this is to believe -- the twin towers suffered explosions apart from the impact of the two passenger jets.
- How did building #7 at the World Trade Center "collapse"?
This latter is terribly important, and it may turn out to be the key to the whole mess. That building housed, among other things, Mayor Giulianis impenetrable bunker, established and originally run by Jerome Hauer and the Office of Emergency Management. It also housed the largest CIA offices outside of Langley Virginia.
Building #7 was not hit by any airplane. It was a large office building, 47 stories tall. To date, however, the common view is that the building somehow caught fire and collapsed along with the two towers. No investigating committee has been examining its "collapse."
Originally, it was claimed tha illegally stored diesel fuel and emergency generators exploded in building 7, setting fires that compromised its structural integrity. Mayor Giuliani had been warned repeatedly by fire marshals that storing thousands of gallons of fuel in that way was a serious violation of all fire codes. But the Federal Emergency Management Agency report stresses that the fuel tanks remained fully intact. In pictures of building 7 at 3 pm on September 11, two and a half hours before it collapsed, the only fires are on the 7th and 12th floors; they are considered small and containable and could have been forseeably put out by the building's sprinkler system. FEMA was puzzled in its report about what happened to building #7 and could only conclude, The specifics of the fires in WTC 7 and how they caused the building to collapse remain unknown at this time.
The report is available at
In a September 2002 PBS documentary called "America Rebuilds," the owner of the World Trade Center Complex Larry Silverstein, who had bought the entire complex but a short time before the attacks, states in reference to World Trade Center Building #7:
"I remember getting a call from the, er, fire department commander, telling me that they were not sure they were gonna be able to contain the fire, and I said, "We've had such terrible loss of life, maybe the smartest thing to do is pull it. And they made that decision to pull and we watched the building collapse."
The term 'pull it' means to bring the building down by means of explosives. In the same documentary a cleanup worker refers to the demolition of WTC Building #6 in December, 2001, when he says, "...we're getting ready to pull the building six."
Silverstein's remarks are critical here in understanding what occurred. Why would FEMA commission a report into how building #7 collapsed if it was already known that the owner, presumably in conjunction with the government, made the decision to destroy it on the evening of 9/11?
Thus, it is crucial to establish what exactly happened to building #7: Did Silverstein (and the government?) make the decision to 'pull' the building on September 11, 2001 as Silverstein indicated a year later in the PBS interview, amidst the ongoing chaos, endangering rescue workers and equipment? If so, when was this decision made?
And if, as Silverstein says, he decided to "pull the building, how did they manage to rig explosives in a matter of hours that would successfully and safely take down a 47 story building in the middle of the chaos on 9-11? Could explosives could bought (and from whom? Where is the paper trail, the order receipts, etc.?), brought to the location and carefully put into place within a couple of hours on the afternoon of September 11, 2001, and the 47-story building safely "pulled" at that time? If not, then the explosives would have had to have been in place for such an eventuality PRIOR TO 9-11. The implications of THAT scenario are even scarier and profound - the entire official story about what happened on 9-11 would have to be discarded.
Silverstein Properties' estimated investment in WTC 7 was $386 million. In February of 2002 Silverstein Properties won $861 million from Industrial Risk Insurers to rebuild on the site of WTC 7. This one building's collapse alone resulted in a profit of about $500 million!
One would think that these are the sort of questions that any high school student would ask. The problem is, why haven,t the official investigating bodies asked them?
Mitchel Cohen
© Mitchel Cohen
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Brooklyn, NY 11214
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