THE ROVING EYE Fifty questions on 9/11
By Pepe Escobar
It's September 11 all over again - eight years on. The George W Bush
administration is out. The "global war on terror" is still on, renamed
"overseas contingency operations" by the Barack Obama administration. Obama's
"new strategy" - a war escalation - is in play in AfPak. Osama bin Laden may be
dead or not. "Al-Qaeda" remains a catch-all ghost entity. September 11 - the
neo-cons' "new Pearl Harbor" - remains the darkest jigsaw puzzle of the young
It's useless to expect US corporate media and the ruling elites' political
operatives to call for a true, in-depth investigation into the attacks on the
US on September 11, 2001. Whitewash has been the norm. But even establishment
highlight Dr Zbig "Grand Chessboard" Brzezinski, a former national security
admitted to the US Senate that the post-9/11 "war on terror" is a "mythical
The following questions, some multi-part - and most totally ignored by the 9/11
Commission - are just the tip of the immense 9/11 iceberg. A hat tip goes to
the indefatigable work of 911truth.org; whatreallyhappened.com; architects and
engineers for 9/11 truth; the Italian documentary Zero: an
investigation into 9/11; and Asia Times Online readers' e-mails.
None of these questions has been convincingly answered - according to the
official narrative. It's up to US civil society to keep up the pressure. Eight
years after the fact, one fundamental conclusion is imperative. The official
narrative edifice of 9/11 is simply not acceptable.
1) How come dead or not dead Osama bin Laden has not been formally indicted by
the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as responsible for 9/11? Is it
because the US government - as acknowledged by the FBI itself - has not
produced a single conclusive piece of evidence?
2) How could all the alleged 19 razor-blade box cutter-equipped Muslim
perpetrators have been identified in less than 72 hours - without even a crime
3) How come none of the 19's names appeared on the passenger lists released the
same day by both United Airlines and American Airlines?
4) How come eight names on the "original" FBI list happened to be found alive
and living in different countries?
5) Why would pious jihadi Mohammed Atta leave a how-to-fly video manual, a
uniform and his last will inside his bag knowing he was on a suicide mission?
6) Why did Mohammed Atta study flight simulation at Opa Locka, a hub of no less
than six US Navy training bases?
7) How could Mohammed Atta's passport have been magically found buried among
the Word Trade Center (WTC)'s debris when not a single flight recorder was
8) Who is in the possession of the "disappeared" eight indestructible black
boxes on those four flights?
9) Considering multiple international red alerts about a possible terrorist
attack inside the US - including former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice's
infamous August 6, 2001, memo - how come four hijacked planes deviating from
their computerized flight paths and disappearing from radar are allowed to fly
around US airspace for more than an hour and a half - not to mention disabling
all the elaborate Pentagon's defense systems in the process?
10) Why the secretary of the US Air Force James Roche did not try to intercept
both planes hitting the WTC (only seven minutes away from McGuire Air Force
Base in New Jersey) as well as the Pentagon (only 10 minutes away from
McGuire)? Roche had no less than 75 minutes to respond to the plane hitting the
11) Why did George W Bush continue to recite "My Pet Goat" in his Florida
school and was not instantly absconded by the secret service?
12) How could Bush have seen the first plane crashing on WTC live - as he
admitted? Did he have previous knowledge - or is he psychic?
13) Bush said that he and Andrew Card initially thought the first hit on the
WTC was an accident with a small plane. How is that possible when the FAA as
well as NORAD already knew this was about a hijacked plane?
14) What are the odds of transponders in four different planes be turned off
almost simultaneously, in the same geographical area, very close to the
nation's seat of power in Washington, and no one scrambles to contact the
Pentagon or the media?
15) Could defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld explain why initial media reports
said that there were no fighter jets available at Andrews Air Force Base and
then change the reports that there were, but not on high alert?
16) Why was the DC Air National Guard in Washington AWOL on 9/11?
17) Why did combat jet fighters of the 305th Air Wing, McGuire Air Force Base
in New Jersey not intercept the second hijacked plane hitting the WTC, when
they could have done it within seven minutes?
18) Why did none of the combat jet fighters of the 459th Aircraft Squadron at
Andrews Air Force Base intercept the plane that hit the Pentagon, only 16
kilometers away? And since we're at it, why the Pentagon did not release the
full video of the hit?
19) A number of very experienced airline pilots - including US ally Egyptian
President Hosni Mubarak, a former fighter jet pilot - revealed that, well, only
crack pilots could have performed such complex maneuvers on the hijacked jets,
while others insisted they could only have been accomplished by remote control.
Is it remotely believable that the hijackers were up to the task?
20) How come a substantial number of witnesses did swear seeing and hearing
multiple explosions in both towers of the WTC?
21) How come a substantial number of reputed architects and engineers are
adamant that the official narrative simply does not explain the largest
structural collapse in recorded history (the Twin Towers) as well as the
collapse of WTC building 7, which was not even hit by a jet?
22) According to Frank de Martini, WTC's construction manager, "We designed the
building to resist the impact of one or more jetliners." The second plane
nearly missed tower 1; most of the fuel burned in an explosion outside the
tower. Yet this tower collapsed first, long before tower 2 that was
"perforated" by the first hit. Jet fuel burned up fast - and by far did not
reach the 2000-degree heat necessary to hurt the six tubular steel columns in
the center of the tower - designed specifically to keep the towers from
collapsing even if hit by a Boeing 707. A Boeing 707 used to carry more fuel
than the Boeing 757 and Boeing 767 that actually hit the towers.
23) Why did Mayor Rudolph Giuliani instantly authorized the shipment of WTC
rubble to China and India for recycling?
24) Why was metallic debris found no less than 13 kilometers from the crash
site of the plane that went down in Pennsylvania? Was the plane in fact shot
down - under vice president Dick Cheney's orders?
25) The Pipelineistan question. What did US ambassador Wendy Chamberlain talk
about over the phone on October 10, 2001, with the oil minister of Pakistan?
Was it to tell him that the 1990s-planned Unocal gas pipeline project, TAP
(Turkmenistan/Afghanistan/ Pakistan), abandoned because of Taliban demands on
transit fees, was now back in business? (Two months later, an agreement to
build the pipeline was signed between the leaders of the three countries).
26) What is former Unocal lobbyist and former Bush pet Afghan Zalmay Khalilzad
up to in Afghanistan?
27) How come former Pakistani foreign minister Niaz Niak said in mid-July 2001
that the US had already decided to strike against Osama bin Laden and the
Taliban by October? The topic was discussed secretly at the July Group of Eight
summit in Genoa, Italy, according to Pakistani diplomats.
28) How come US ambassador to Yemen Barbara Bodine told FBI agent John O'Neill
in July 2001 to stop investigating al-Qaeda's financial operations - with
O'Neill instantly moved to a security job at the WTC, where he died on 9/11?
29) Considering the very intimate relationship between the Taliban and
Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), and the ISI and the Central
Intelligence Agency (CIA), is Bin Laden alive, dead or still a valuable asset
of the ISI, the CIA or both?
30) Was Bin Laden admitted at the American hospital in Dubai in the United Arab
Emirates on July 4, 2001, after flying from Quetta, Pakistan, and staying for
treatment until July 11?
31) Did the Bin Laden group build the caves of Tora Bora in close cooperation
with the CIA during the 1980s' anti-Soviet jihad?
32) How come General Tommy Franks knew for sure that Bin Laden was hiding in
Tora Bora in late November 2001?
33) Why did president Bill Clinton abort a hit on Bin Laden in October 1999?
Why did then-Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf abort a covert ops in the
same date? And why did Musharraf do the same thing again in August 2001?
34) Why did George W Bush dissolve the Bin Laden Task Force nine months before
35) How come the (fake) Bin Laden home video - in which he "confesses" to being
the perpetrator of 9/11 - released by the US on December 13, 2001, was found
only two weeks after it was produced (on November 9); was it really found in
Jalalabad (considering Northern Alliance and US troops had not even arrived
there at the time); by whom; and how come the Pentagon was forced to release a
new translation after the first (botched) one?
36) Why was ISI chief Lieutenant General Mahmud Ahmad abruptly "retired" on
October 8, 2001, the day the US started bombing Afghanistan?
37) What was Ahmad up to in Washington exactly on the week of 9/11 (he arrived
on September 4)? On the morning of 9/11, Ahmad was having breakfast on Capitol
Hill with Bob Graham and Porter Goss, both later part of the 9/11 Commission,
which simply refused to investigate two of its members. Ahmad had breakfast
with Richard Armitage of the State Department on September 12 and 13 (when
Pakistan negotiated its "cooperation" with the "war on terror") and met all the
CIA and Pentagon top brass. On September 13, Musharraf announced he would send
Ahmad to Afghanistan to demand to the Taliban the extradition of Bin Laden.
38) Who inside the ISI transferred US$100,000 to Mohammed Atta in the summer of
2001 - under orders of Ahmad himself, as Indian intelligence insists? Was it
really ISI asset Omar Sheikh, Bin Laden's information technology specialist who
later organized the slaying of American journalist Daniel Pearl in Karachi? So
was the ISI directly linked to 9/11?
39) Did the FBI investigate the two shady characters who met Mohammed Atta and
Marwan al-Shehhi in Harry's Bar at the Helmsley Hotel in New York City on
September 8, 2001?
40) What did director of Asian affairs at the State Department Christina Rocca
and the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan Abdul Salam Zaeef discuss in their
meeting in Islamabad in August 2001?
41) Did Washington know in advance that an "al-Qaeda" connection would kill
Afghan nationalist commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, aka "The Lion of the
Panjshir", only two days before 9/11? Massoud was fighting the Taliban and
al-Qaeda - helped by Russia and Iran. According to the Northern Alliance,
Massoud was killed by an ISI-Taliban-al Qaeda axis. If still alive, he would
never have allowed the US to rig a loya jirga (grand council) in
Afghanistan and install a puppet, former CIA asset Hamid Karzai, as leader of
42) Why did it take no less than four months before the name of Ramzi
Binalshibh surfaced in the 9/11 context, considering the Yemeni was a roommate
of Mohammed Atta in his apartment cell in Hamburg?
43) Is pathetic shoe-bomber Richard Reid an ISI asset?
44) Did then-Russian president Vladimir Putin and Russian intelligence tell the
CIA in 2001 that 25 terrorist pilots had been training for suicide missions?
45) When did the head of German intelligence, August Hanning, tell the CIA that
terrorists were "planning to hijack commercial aircraft?"
46) When did Egyptian President Mubarak tell the CIA about an attack on the US
with an "airplane stuffed with explosives?"
47) When did Israel's Mossad director Efraim Halevy tell the CIA about a
possible attack on the US by "200 terrorists?"
48) Were the Taliban aware of the warning by a Bush administration official as
early as February 2001 - "Either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or
we bury you under a carpet of bombs?"
49) Has Northrop-Grumman used Global Hawk technology - which allows to remotely
control unmanned planes - in the war in Afghanistan since October 2001? Did it
install Global Hawk in a commercial plane? Is Global Hawk available at all for
50) Would Cheney stand up and volunteer the detailed timeline of what he was
really up to during the whole day on 9/11?