PETER'S NEW YORK, Monday, April 20, 2009--David Ray Griffin holds out more hope than ever that a sea change in public opinion will prompt a new investigation into the events of September 11, 2001.
A staunch critic of the government's account of what happened that day and author of seven books on the subject, Griffin is now touring several European capitals, armed with the topic "9-11: time for a second look." Before he left for Europe, he made a few stops in New England, including at Keene, New Hampshire, where he delivered an address and fielded questions from the audience. In particular, Griffin said the change in tone of the executive branch of government accompanying the election of U.S. President Barack Obama may auger the best chance to challenge the government storyline that 19 men from the Middle East pulled off what was arguably the greatest breach of North American security since Columbus landed in the Caribbean 517 years ago.
"We have a new president in town," Griffin told a full house of around 250 in a small auditorium on the Keene State College campus. "Some of his decisions have been spectacular."
Noting that President Obama, during his presidential campaign, promised to base government policies on good science and good intelligence, Griffin said, "Let's hold him to it." Under Obama, Griffin conjectured, there was at least a "ten percent" chance there could be an independent probe of 9-11, as opposed to the administration of George W. Bush, under which the chances had been "zero."
"Give the guy a break," Griffin urged, noting that Obama, as the new president, has an "enormous burden" placed upon him.
Asked how in practical terms Obama could actually address what he believes was the government's direct hand in orchestrating 9-11, Griffin said the tools necessary for a new investigation were available for either Congress or the president to get the ball rolling.
"We do have this system of a special prosecutor," Griffin said. "That's another route."
He said he believed that Obama was more likely than Congress to call for the appointment of a special prosecutor, noting that a mailing he sent out to each member of Congress yielded no responses, with only two or three congressional offices even acknowledging that anything had been received.
Griffin said he supports a signature collection campaign now in progress that would give New York City voters a chance to host a new 9-11 investigation. No mention was made of the possibility of establishing a "truth and reconciliation commission," which he had offered as a solution in a radio appearance in November of last year. Generally, the role of a special prosecutor is to investigate violations of the law in a politically impartial manner, while a truth and reconciliation commission would be devoted to uncovering the truth by giving amnesty in return for honest testimony, as was done in South Africa in unraveling the recent history of racial oppression in that country.
A theologian, retired professor and author of some 34 books on various subjects, Griffin turned his pen to 9-11 issues in 2004 with his book, "The New Pearl Harbor." Since then, he has authored another six books on the same subject, and plans at least two more. One, a short work he intends to call "Osama Bin Laden: Dead or Alive," will address the current whereabouts of the U.S. State Department's poster boy for worldwide terrorism. But in a humorous description of the contents, not uncharacteristic of many of the interesting anecdotes he told during his address, Griffin said he believes he has the answer to what happened to Bin Laden. "One little hint," he said, "was provided by the funeral announcement on December Fifteenth (2001)," a statement that drew laughter from the audience. Griffin also noted that after December 13, the CIA, which had been monitoring Bin Laden's cell phone communications, did not intercept a single call. Griffin said his new book would also discuss the various videos that have surfaced since then purporting to be of Bin Laden, and would show that they lacked demonstrable authenticity, and in some cases, were "obviously fakes."
Another more lengthy work will review the destruction of Building 7 of the World Trade Center, a 47-story office tower the government claims was felled entirely as a result of fires triggered by the collapses of the the neighboring Twin Towers. Although not hit by an airliner, Building 7, like its sister buildings, managed to disappear from the skyline in the late afternoon of 9-11 in a sudden collapse that took only about six seconds. Griffin's said his new book will show how the content of a report issued in 2008 by the government's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) demonstrates that the building could not have possibly collapsed by office fires alone, as the report contends.
Griffin told his audience that all of the theories of what happened on 9-11 were conspiracy theories, but that he likes to poke holes at the government's version, which he calls the "official conspiracy theory." In its elaborate explanation, the government contends that a team of 19 fanatical Muslims from the Middle East organized themselves into four teams, each of which hijacked an airliner on the morning of September 11, 2001. Two of the airliners are said to have been the ones which crashed into each of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. Another is said to have been flown into the Pentagon Building in Arlington, Virgina, although the government has not released video evidence that clearly shows an airliner hitting that building. The fourth airliner, so the story goes, was retaken by passengers, after which it crashed in a field in rural Pennsylvania. The military claims interceptor aircraft were in hot pursuit with the intent of shooting the airliner down when it fell from the skies.
Critics of the government's storyline as described in the 9-11 Commission Report published in 2004, generally contend that it is far more likely that the government orchestrated the events with the active participation of its covert intelligence operations and the military, using the official conspiracy theory as a cover. Many of these critics say that 9-11 was perpetrated to create a pretext for abridging Americans' constitutional rights at home and for embarking on an ambitious war of conquest in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The main point of Griffin's address, he said, was to show that newly collected facts and an atmosphere of tolerance and even support for theories that allege government complicity will mean that the public will be far more receptive to reopening an investigation. A primary reason for continuing a push for reinvestigation, Griffin said, is that the government's belligerent policies in the Middle East that have led to the deaths of over a million Iraqis and Afghans, and laws abridging the constitutional rights of Americans, are still in place..
Griffin's talk centered around the great changes that have occurred in the past three years regarding the acceptance of alternatives to the official explanation. Griffin emphasized the following points to show that the public now has information that was previously not available when it was popular to ignore critics of the "official conspiracy theory."
* Since 9-11, the Bush Administration lied in order to justify the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and instructed EPA Director Christie Whitman to tell workers at Ground Zero that the air was safe to breathe, demonstrating a criminal disregard for workers' lives and health. These actions show that the administration was capable of staging an atrocity such as 9-11.
* The 9-11 Commission's executive director, Philip Zelikow, had closely worked with the Bush Administration on important projects. Zelikow, with the knowledge of Commission members, claims author Philip Shenon in "The Commission," had written an outline of the commission's report, complete with chapter headings, subheadings, and sub-sub headings, before any research had begun, thus calling into question the objectivity of the commission's investigation.
* The investigations of NIST into the collapses of the Twin Towers and Building 7 were conducted in a manner that would protect the Bush Administration from charges of wrongdoing or negligence. NIST was headed by a Bush appointee, and its work, according to a former employee, was highly politicized.
* The 9-11 truth movement has matured, and now includes many professional organizations, such as Architects and Engineers for 9-11 Truth, Scholars for 9-11 Truth and Justice, Lawyers for 9-11 Truth, Religious Leaders for 9-11 Truth, and Political Leaders for 9-11 Truth. Scientists and engineers have successfully had their papers on 9-11 published in peer reviewed journals.
* FBI documents have revealed that the conversation between Flight 77 passenger and CNN commentator Barbara Olson and her husband, then U.S. Solicitor General Ted Olson, in which she describes details regarding the hijacking of the aircraft that the government later claimed crashed into the Pentagon, did not occur. Other FBI documents verify that at high altitudes, cell phones were incapable of communicating with the ground.
* NIST delayed the release of its report on the collapse of Building 7 until just before the Bush Administration left office, and two days after Barry Jennings, whose testimony confirmed explosions in Building 7 before the collapses of the Twin Towers, died of unexplained causes. The final NIST report admitted that for a span of at least two seconds, Building 7 fell at free-fall speed, meaning that during that time span, the building's lower support offered no resistance to the building above, a phenomenon which the fires that NIST claims brought down the building could not have created. Scientists have recently published a paper showing the existence in World Trade Center dust of unexploded chips of nano-thermite, a high-tech explosive.
For the above reasons, Griffin believes that rational people must consider once again the possibility that 9-11 was orchestrated by the Bush-Cheney administration.
Interestingly, Griffin, as establishment a figure as he appears to be, conservatively dressed and well spoken as he is, articulate to the point of not fumbling a single word, revealed a rather anti-establishment side to his worldview in his remarks toward the end of the question and answer period.
"We live in a plutocracy (rule by the wealthy), not a democracy," he said, describing the current state of American leadership as "government of the rich, by the rich and for the rich." He noted that the founding fathers of America "were the rich, so they didn't think of themselves as a dangerous faction," and therefore incorporated no safeguards against the power of their class.
Griffin traced the cause for the unraveling of democratic institutions to laws that give corporations the same legal rights as individuals, resulting in a system of "one dollar, one vote," rather than one person, one vote, thus giving the wealthy a decided advantage. He also said he sees the corporate-owned media as a major obstacle to informing the public about 9-11 issues.
"We can't get truth out to the general public unless you can get to the public through the mass media," Griffin said. He said political pressure and strengthening of the growing number of new professional organizations demanding answers to what happened on 9-11 are key elements in a strategy to awaken the American public to the reality of that tragic day in the coming years.