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Mainstream, VOL LIX No 39, New Delhi, Sept 11, 2021

Understanding 9/11 – Why Less Obvious Aspects Should be Explored More | Bharat Dogra

Saturday 11 September 2021, by Bharat Dogra

The terrorist attack in the U.S.A on September 11, 2001 (hereafter referred to as 9/11) was a colossal tragedy and one of those historical events which shape the events of many years to come. All those who want a peaceful world condemned this horrible violence against innocent people with one voice. At the same time, there have been concerns that some important aspects of this tragedy have not been explained adequately, and in some contexts actually there have been strong efforts to suppress some important facts.

To give an example, while it has been offcially acknowledged that something like helf a millon dollars were needed and spent in executing 9/11 , no satisfactory and detailed explanation has been given regarding the source of this funding. At the same time there have been indications that actually efforts were made at the level of the US authorities ( as well as the authorities in some other countries like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia) to suppress information relating to this.

Some time after 9/11 head of Pakistan intelligence agency ISI Lt. Gen.Mahmud Ahmed resigned amidst allegations that he had instructed a terrorist Omar Saeed Sheikh to send 100,000 dollars from UAE to the would be 9/11 hijackers in preceding days. Ahmed had becoming increasingly fundamentalist in his views and was getting more and more close to the Taliban. Even after the post 9/11 assurances to cooperate with the USA assault on the Taliban regime, he continiued a double game to help and instigate the Taliban to the extent he could within the exising circumstances. So when there were serious allegations against such a person for financing 9/11 hijackers, why weren’t serious charges pressed against him?

A related question—why weren’t such serious charges taken up against his associate Omar (Saeed) Sheikh, particularly given his background of imprisonment in India for abducting tourists, his release under the pressure of Kandahar hijackers, his closeness to the Taliban and Bin Laden. Of course he was later arrested in 2002 for his involvement in the murder of Wall Street Journal journalist Daniel Pearl in Pakistan, a case whch continues to linger 19 years later, but questions remain as to why charges were not pressed against him earlier for his role in funding 9/11 hijackers. The Wall Street Journal was one of the few international newspapers which took up this story, and its South Asia Chief Pearl was murdered in Pakistan, with clear involvement of Omar Sheikh.

This Omar Sheikh, a British citizen known to have operated as a terrorist in Britain, India, Afghanistan, UAE and Pakistan( perhaps elsewhere too) is apparently a very brainy person. Unfortunately he has chosen to deploy his brain only in disruptive and violent activities. Even when in jail, he used fake phone calls to aggravate hostilities between India and Pakistan, as reported in The Dawn and elsewhere. Former Pakistan President Musharraf called him a double agent of sorts, although he also may have had his own reasons for spreading confusion about him.

The Times wrote about him, “ no ordinary terrorist but a man who has connections that reach high into Pakistan’s military and intelligence elite and into the innermost circles of Osama-bin-Laden and Al-Qaeda organization.” ABC reported that he was treated like a special son of Bin Laden in Afghanistan.However the Pittsburgh Tribune drew attention to another aspect of this many-sided operative when it stated that important persons within the Pakistani government believe that Omar owes his specal strength not to his links with the ISI but rather to “our own CIA”. This report, when seen with earlier reports of Omar , who grew up as a bully and strong guy in British educational institutions, being recruited first of all by British intelligence agencies, adds further to his double agent reputation. He has clearly been related closely to the ISI and bin Laden, yet at some time had western intelligence links too, so it seems.

There have been reports that Omar spoke frequently with Lt. Gen. Ahmed before 9/11 on phone , and these conversations resulted in around 100,000 dollars being sent from UAE, using an alias of course, and most probably there were previous other payments also from the same source. These and related leads shuld have been followed, but were not, both men apparently getting away with such serious allegations sticking to them, Mahmud emerging a little later as a prominent businessman and Omar as an accused in Pearl murder case. While one can undrstand why the Pakistani government ignored the serious allegation of funds transfer, it is still not clear why the USA government chose to do so.

This should be seen together with other scattered but important pieces of information which indicate that important leads were often suppressed or not followed properly. In particular the facts relating to a very high-profile Saudi opertor/businessman in the USA named Yasin al-Qadi are very disturbing. After 9/11 he was officially identfied by the USA authorities for his close links to Osama bin Laden and as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist.

However before 9/11 he was known more for heading Muwaqaf Foundation, subsequently revealed to be linked closely to Bin Laden organizations, and as owner of Ptech company which supplied high-tech computer systems to the FBI , the US Army, Navy and Air Force, NATO , the US Congress and the White House! Commenting on this astonishing situation, a former FBI counter-insurgency agent Mathew Levitt later commented—For someone (like Yasin al-Qadi) to be involved in a capacity, in an organization, in a company that has access to classified information, that has access to government open or classified computer systems would be of grave concern.”

Former FBI agent Robert Wright also expressed his frustration and regret that his investigations into Yasin’s deals were not allowed to progress. In May 2002, some 8 months after 9/11, he took the unusual step of calling a press conference to offer a tearful apology for inability to stop 9/11 as his superiors had intentionally obstructed his investigations into Al-Qaeda financing. He later told Brian Ross of ABC that 9/11 was a direct result of the incompetence of the FBI’s International Terrorism Unit , specifically referring to the hindering of his investigation into Yasin Qadi’s dealings and networks. Orher media sources have recalled Yasin boasting of his close links to Vice President Dick Cheney.

In June 2001 BBC reporter Greg Palast was told by a “ highly placed member of a US intelligence agency” that “after the (2000) elections the (intelligence) agencies were told to back off investigating the Bin Ladens and Saudi Royals.”

Senator Bob Graham, Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2001, has stated—Two of the Sept. 11 2001 hijackers had a support netwok in the USA that included agents of the Saudi government and the Bush administration and the FBI blocked a congressional investigation into that relationship ( as reported in the Miami Herald). Some details of Saudi support were reported to be contained in 28 pages of the final section of the December 2002 report of the Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community by both Houses, but the release of these 28 pages of the report was held back by the Bush Administration and it was only after persistent high-level demands that the Obama administration released an edited version. It is by now well-known that these 28 pages contain very damaging evidence of how senior members of Saudi royalty and Saudi government extended financial and other help for 9/11 attack.

People who stand for peace and for ensuring that there is never any repeat of such tragedies want that suppression of such important facts and information should be avoided.

In view of the continuing concern over 9/11 and its aftermath, it is important to try to obtain a better understanding of what really happened on 9/11. This understanding can be attempted in 3 parts.

1) Some disturbing trends which had existed before 9/11 and may be important for understanding 9/11 and its linkages.

2) Some aspects of 9/11 and its aftermath which are shrouded in mystery and secrecy and have never been explained satisfactorily.

3) An explanation of what may be missing in the official version, and why.

1) Some disturbing trends which had existed before 9/11 and may have links with it
Much before the tragic attack of 9/11, some disturbing trends which are important to understand 9/11 had been revealed quite clearly.

1.a) Neo-Conservative Plans For Aggressive Foreign Policy and Their Growing Influence.
It is clear that a group of neo conservatives who advocated a very aggressive foreign policy for the U.S.A was becoming increasingly influential in the Bush government. They advocated unhindered unilateralism in foreign policy, a huge rise in defence spending and increased US dominance of the world. There was a special emphasis on the dominance of the Middle-East region, in collusion with Israel, starting with an invasion of Iraq to oust Saddam and gain more control, with support from Saudi royals and their allies in the Arab world.. Many of these neo-conservatives acquired influential positions, particularly in the defence department, when George W. Bush came to power in 2000. However they faced opposition to the implementation of their aggressive ideas from persons within the U.S.A government. Hence they were looking for various possibilities in which wider public and government support could be obtained for these aggressive policies, particularly in the Middle East.
1.b) CIA Support For Militant Muslim Groups With ISI as ’ go-between ’

There have been several report by now of how the USA and its allies supported Muslim extremist and fundamentalist groups to oppose or check the emergence of leftist (particularly communist) forces or pro-Soviet Union forces. This trend was accelerated in the 1980’s following the disastrous and highly objectionable invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union. In what was perhaps the largest covert operation in its history, the CIA sought to turn the Afghan opposition to this invasion into a much broader war of fundamentalist, extremist, violent Muslim groups from around 40 countries against the Soviet Union. In this mobilisation many Muslim-majority countries with US-friendly governments played an important role. Saudi Arabia provided a lot of money, of course, but even more important was the extensive, continuing support of Pakistan and its massive intelligence agency, the ISI. Pakistan has a long border with Afghanistan and people across the border share close socio-cultural and ethinic ties. Due to this factor Pakistan’s help was most important for the CIA in mobilising a huge and prolonged resistance against the Soviet army in Afghanistan. It was no less helpful that the CIA already had a good working relationship with the ISI which expanded greatly during the massive mobilization against the Soviet Union presence in Afghanistan.

The visits of CIA and Pentagon officials to the ISI headquarters in Pakistan became very frequent and a very close relationship developed . The CIA hand in these various anti-Soviet operations was not always revealed to the Muslim militant groups fighting the Soviets as this could have been bad for their morale. An arrangement was worked out so that ISI became the conduit for channelling American arms, funds and other support to the various militant groups which were fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan. This support enabled militantl Muslim groups like Al Qaida to strengthen their position and widen support base.

1.c) Some Militant Muslim Groups turn against the USA and its allies

However it became clear soon enough, particularly after the withdrawal of the Soviet forces from Afghanistan that some of the leading militant groups had ideas of their own which differed radically from the plans of the USA and its allies. Evidence began to grow about the hands of some of these groups, particularly the groups associated with Bin Laden, in many attacks on USA/allies targets. In the 1990s there were attacks on American armed forces personnel in Saudi Arabia, on CIA operators within the USA, an attempt to blow up the World Trade Centre in 1993, the bombing of the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam in 1998 and the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemeni waters in 1999.

It is clear from these examples and several others that the militant groups armed and supported by the USA to defy the Soviet Union could easily turn their wrath from one supposed ’infidel’ to another, that the actual results of such support could easily be very different from what was the original intention.

It is important to keep in mind this background to help understand how 9/11 attack evolved and happened. But first we must see why it is difficult to accept in its entirety the official view of 9/11.

II Holes in Official View

There are several holes in US government’s official explanation of 9/11 which have been discussed from time to time without any satisfactory answers becoming available, and in addition there is the very inadequate explanation of how the 9/11 attack was funded. As pointed out earlier in this review, important facts relating to funding and the involvement of very poweful Saudis and Pakistanis in this were actually supressed not only in these countries but even by the US authorities. Here is a list of some questions raised from time to time.

II (a) Failure to take Timely Action

The USA is reputed to have the best funded, the best equipped and best trained intelligence and counter insurgency network having almost worldwide reach. So it appears strange that such highly destructive terrorist attacks could take place in the USA, that too when several warnings or indications of such attacks had been received.

Richard Clarke, the White House counter-terrorism chief, who saw the passenger lists soon after the 9/11 attacks, commented - "I was stunned... that there were al-Qaida operatives on board using names that the FBI knew were al-Qaida."

Zacarias Moussaoui was arrested in the USA on August 16 after officials of a flight school tipped off the FBI about the suspicious conduct of this French-born man of Arab descent. He had been seeking flight training on a Boeing 747 jumbo jet. This trainee was reported to be interested mainly in steering a jet plane in mid-air, not in learning how to take off or land. The officials at the flight school found it very difficult to get the authorities interested in this case. They were surprised at delayed actions such as the search of this suspect’s computer. This suspect had earlier been trained at another flight school in the USA which was known to have been used by other Al-Qaida operators. The New York Times commented on December 22 2001 that the Moussaoui case "raised new questions about why the FBI and other agencies did not prevent the hijackings." Much later, another report published in The Guardian (July 22, 2004) alleged that the trial (in the USA) of Moussaoui (who potentially could have been the 20th hijacker of 9/11 if he had not been arrested) is in danger of collapse because of the CIA’s reluctance to allow key lieutenants of Osama bin Laden to testify at the trial. Later Maussaoui wrote and stated under oath that Saudi royal members and senior persons were involved in helping 9/11 attack.

A report written by Labour MP and former (1997-2003) Minister Michael Meacher in the Guardian questioned - why the US government continues to withhold from public some very important documents relating to 9/11 which particularly throw light on intelligence failure.

A report in the French daily Le Figaro (31 October 2001) said that Osama bin Laden underwent surgery in an American hospital in Dubai in July 2001.He came with a deputy, four bodygurds, personal doctor and nurse from Quetta in Pakistan for treatment of serious kidney related ailments. During his stay in the hospital for about 10 days July 4-14 he met with a CIA official stationed in Dubai, and when Osama left Dubai this CIA official too was called back to his headquarters. Osama also met influential UAE and Saudi persons and officials. Despite the fact that he was on the ’most wanted’ list no attempt was made to arrest him during his two week stay at the hospital.

This report also stated, "According to Arab diplomatic sources as well as French intelligence, very specific information was transmitted to the CIA with respect to terrorist attacks against American interests around the world, including on US soil." Based partly on such reports US and France intelligence officials met in Paris but US officials, while worried, were strangely evasive at this meeting.

The main information of this report regarding Bin Laden’s treatment at a reputed American hospital in Dubai and the local CIA agent meeting him two months before 9/11, without any attempt being made to arrest Laden, was attributed to a member of the hospital management, but it was widely believed that the report was published only after it was well confirmed by French intelligence sources. Although the US authorities and the hospital in question officially denied it—they had to—it is highly unlikely that a reputed newspaper of record would have published such a shocking news very prominently in big headlines without being sure of this. Reports based on this appeared in several other reputed newspapers, including the Guardian. It is also known that flights between Quetta and Dubai were common on daily basis during those days, including private flights of royals and aristrocrats, some of whom said they went on hunting trips, but also used the opportunity to meet Taliban leaders and others close to them in Laden territory.

Some of the 9/11 hijackers or their collaborators who helped them in important ways were under surveillance by US agencies as suspected terrorists. Yet they could travel freely and finally carry out the horrific 9/11 attacks. There were serious lapses also in giving them visas, entry and related matters, and reports of those with known terror links entering multiple times raised several eyebrows. There were even reports that some 9/11 hijackers including their leader Atta had taken flight training lessons in some military installations and the official replies to these allegations were evasive rather than firm denials.

There were reports also of persons who gave important help to would be hijackers being treated very lightly without proper investigaton of their role. Meanwhile FBI agents had been complaining from time to time that when they had important leads they did not get adequate attention and support and sometimes were just ignored to transferred. Attorney David Schippers said that he had used these warnings and informstion from such agents to send a warning to Attorney General of the coming danger. John O’ Neill, a senior FBI agent known for his special expertise on Bin Laden related terrorism plots and actions, said oil corporate intersts with Saudi link were a reason for obstruction of some investigations. On August 22 2001 he resigned, citing obstruction of investigations. He then took up a job as security chief in World Trade Centre and died in the 9/11 attack while arranging evacuation.

II (b) Involvement of a Foreign Government or Secret Service Likely

Several experts have given an opinion that such a huge terrorist operation involving planning at several levels could not have been possible without the help of a foreign government or secret service.

Senator Bob Graham, chairman of the Senate select committee on intelligence in 2001 said, "I think there is very compelling evidence that at least some of the terrorists were assisted, not just in financing.... by a sovereign foreign government."

Horst Ekmke, former coordinator of the West German secret services, said, "Terrorists could not have carried out such an operation with four hijacked planes without the support of a secret service."

II (c) Money Sent by ISI Chief to 9/11 attack leader

As stated erlier, Lt. General Mahmoud Ahmed, the then head of Pakistan’s ISI had asked Omar Sheikh, a British-born Islamist militant, to wire $100,000 before the 9/11 attacks to Mohammed Atta, the lead hijacker. The Times of India reported on August 1, 2003 - A top FBI counter-terrorism official told the US Senate governmental affairs committe that investigators have "traced the origin of the funding of 9/11 back to financial accounts in Pakistan." In fact this 100,000 dollar payment is likely to be in addition to several other payments as well from the same source.

II (d) Cover-up in Murder of Daniel Pearl

Daniel Pearl, a Wall Street Journal senior journalist was murdered in Pakistan in 2002 (after having been kidnapped). Omar Sheikh was convicted for his involvement in the cruel killing of Pearl.

However it is disputed whether the lead role in this murder was of Omar or of Khalid Mohammed, who is officially regarded by the USA as the main architect of 9/11, ie the main collabortor of Bin Laden in this attack. The New York Times reported on October 22, 2003, "American officials said on Tuesday that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (KSM), once Al-Queda’s operational commander, personally executed Daniel Pearl, ... other officials said Mr. Mohammed, who is being held at an undisclosed location as a suspected terrorist, might be charged with Mr. Pearl’s murder at a military tribunal. However they said he was unlikely to be accused of the crime in an American criminal court because of the risk of divulging classified information."

This report also said that during the earlier court proceedings on Daniel Pearl murder case in Pakistan, there were suggestions that Mr. Mohammed might have had a direct role in Mr. Pearl’s death, but some Pakistani officials remained "unconvinced". Further this report says that Mr. Mohammed is widely suspected by American intelligence and law enforcement authorities as one of the chief architects of Sept. 2001 attacks.

To complete the story, there are some reports that Daniel Pearl was probably investigating ISI-CIA links (Guardian July 22, 2004).

Incidentaly Omar Sheikh was one of the militants released by India after the hijack of IC-814 (an Indian Airlines plane) in 1999. Khalid Sheikh Ahmed , arrested in Pakistan in 2003, is likely to have had some ISI links and he is believed to be also the man who gave the final go-ahead to Atta a day before the 9/11 attack.

II (e) Continuing Closeness of US-Pak relations and their intelligence/defence establishments in adverse circumstances

When, soon after 9/11 attacks it was revealed that the chief of Pakistan’s main intelligence agency had sent $100,000 to the lead hijacker, one would’ve normally suspected that the USA will adopt a very hostile attitude towards Pakistan. But in reality co-operation between Pakistan and USA continued to grow - particularly in intelligence and defence issues.

It was also revealed that at one point Pakistan’s leading nuclear scientist had been running almost a nuclear supermarket providing assistance to nuclear programmes of Iran, Libya and North Korea, and there were some other serious issues on nuclear weapon matters. Normally one would’ve expected such knowledge to elicit an extremely hostile response from the USA. But this too was allowed to pass. Close cooperation between the USA and Pakistan, particularly their defence and intelligence establishment, continued to grow.

III Filling the Gaps For A Better Explanation of 9/11

Although nearly two decades have passed since the terrible and very tragic 9/11 attack, some questions still remain to be answered satisfactorily. One likely reason why the official view is less than convincing and complete is that earlier in the course of mobilizing militant and fanatic organizations to oust the Soviet army from Afghanistan, US inteligence and armed forces had reached agreements and entered into collaboration—either directly or through the ISI— with the kind of forces and persons collaboration with whom would be difficult to admit officially. What is more, some of these collaborators later turned against the USA and hence the US authorities feel the need to conceal a lot of information regarding these activities involving not just illegalities but also poor understanding of national interest.

Why is the USA so reluctant to act against certain powerful persons in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia or elsewhere even when there are strong reasons for their involvement in 9/11, or support for 9/11 perpetrators? One explanation may be that even post 9/11already a decision had been taken to work with support from Pakistan and for this very inconvenient past truths were ignored or set aside. Or else the ISI is so aware of a lot of wrongdoing by the USA while assembling militants and letting them use opium money to finance their militancy that the USA ignores much wrongdoing on the part of the ISI.

Why kid gloves were used against Saudi wrongdoing? One reason could be corruption as the Saudis could have bought over important persons in US decision making, or else involved them or those linked to them in very lucrative military, civilian and oil contracts, concessions and purchases. This, plus a longer-term decision to work in the Middle-East with Saudi royals and aristrocracy as important supporters , utilize this support for invading Iraq and checking Iran influence, may have led to ignoring wrongdoing by important Saudis.

Probably all these factors played an important role in the cover-ups and suppressions. This must be seen within the overall framework of the US foreign policy—supported by very powerful persons there— to work with the support of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Israel in this troubled region. The relationship of the USA with Pakistan may be a love-hate relationship, but it has remained strong over a very long period. Further the planned invasion of Iraq and the continuing hostlity wirh Iran made it further important for the USA to work in a special relationship of frienship with Saudi Arabia, not to mention the most enduring friend Israel. Also it was important to find reasons and gain support for invading Iraq. Saudi Arabia and Israel ( with its strong lobby in the USA) would be useful in this.

While all these explanations taken together can explain some of the curious aspects of suppressons and inadequate response , these do not by themselves provide an adequate explanation. This has led to much speculation and surveys have indicated that millions of people even within the USA believe in some kind of inside involvement, at some level, of at least some US authorities. But such a suggestion has been ridiculed by an even larger number of people who say that it is just not possible for any authorities to harm their own people to such an extent. While staging an event can be done in a clandestine way by the authorities of a country, they would never risk so many lives in it. However staging of a bloodless event, in which human lives are not lost, to achieve aims that are considered important by some powerful authorities, is much more of a possibility.

So let us consider a different possibility that a clandestine event was actually planned by perhaps a very small section of US authorities which was to be bloodless and would carefully avoid the loss of lives but would nevertheless convey a dramatic message that terrorists can harm the USA in a big way. Such a staged event would provide the reason for very aggressive policy particularly in the Middle-East, involving also an invasion to oust Saddam. Around the same time a lot of propaganda was in any case being unleashed regarding Saddam having secret weapons of mass destruction and arranging certain imports from China or elsewhere to increase these further.

Such a staged dramatic but bloodless event could also have taken the form of attempted hijacking of airplanes which would be foiled by timely and brave response of authorities. If such a staged bloodless event was to be planned this would involve issuing some directions within the intelligence networks to ignore certain suspicious activities relating to airplanes.

Unfortunately this could have got mixed up with a real and bloody attack plan by Bin Laden and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and so some links whch could have led to timely exposure of the real attack also got missed or ignored. Or it is even possible that some agents contacted for a staged bloodless event played a double game and actually crashed planes while they were supposed to only stage a hijacking drama.

Of course the entire details can only emerge if a complete and unbiased investigation is allowed which can explain many disturbing aspects—illegal or unethical or embarassing aspects of US covert policies particularly those involving collaboration with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, corruption of US politicians involving relationships with Saudis in particular, compulsions of a foreign policy based on close cooperaton with Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Israel under all circumstances and opposition to Saddam Hussain leadership in Iraq and to Iran, the overwhelming aggressiveness of policies promoted by neo-conservatives and lastly, the possibility of a planned bloodless but dramatic staged terrorist event which possibly ( by no means certainly) also got mixed up with the real strike planned by Laden and KSM at certain levels, longer-term US policy of unethical collaboration with fundamentalist militants. If a staged event was actually planned, the authorities needed to contact some radical Muslim groups. As in the past they had used the ISI as a conduit to use such groups, they may have followed the same course to some extent. It is likely that within US authorities minimal number of persons were informed about such a staged event.

If a staged event was actualy planned ( and there is a big if) the original plan may have comprised hijackings which will end without any loss of life but will create a scare about future strikes by terrorists. However certain members of terrorist groups that were contacted may have had other ideas. They may have seen this as an opportunity they had been waiting for to inflict very heavy damage on USA land. As the planning progressed, the initiators within the USA government (and possibly the ISI) continued to believe that only a dramatic event which will not cause human loss will take place.But the hijackers made preparations to use this opportunity to inflict maximum possible damage on the USA including a huge loss of human lives.

This possibility can explain why incoming intelligence on a possible terrorist action did not elicit the necessary response at the highest levels in the US intelligence set-up.This appears to be a possible explanation for the events of 9/11 which can also explain the many alleged ’failures’ to prevent the hijackings, the subsequent efforts at many levels to hide facts behind a wall of secrecy, the huge funding by the ISI chief of the hijackers and the continuing closeness of the intelligence and security agencies of the USA and Pakistan in the face of very adverse information on highly sensitive issues.

The assassination of the popular nationalist Afghanistan leader Ahmad Shah Massoud, commander of the Northern Alliance, on September 9, 2001 should also be examined in this wider context. This 9/9 serious tragedy is likely to be related to 9/11 in more than one way. Massoud had travelled to Europe earlier in April this year, addressed the European Union Parliament and given a clear warning that a big terrorist attack on the USA is likely to be planned from Afghanistan as an important base for this planning.

Massoud was the most courageous, learned, principled and committed among various Afghan leaders and commanders . President of European Parliament Nicole Fontane had referred to him as ‘pole of liberty in Afghanistan ‘ while inviting him to address European Parliament. However the US had consistently disfavored him while extending more help to unprincipled military leaders. At the same time there are some indications that this attitude was perhaps about to change. Based on reports from two competent US intelligence field officers who met Massoud and returned very impressed by him, the US attitude towards him was probably beginning to change, but this is not certain, and the fact remains that powerful interests in the USA remained opposed to supporting an independent nationalist with a very strong base among people, like Massoud.

Massoud had started getting help from India, and after being attacked was in fact taken to a field-hospital set up with Indian help. In the areas controlled by him Massoud had encouraged education and rights of women as well as democratic governance. He was the most consistent opponent of the Taliban, their terribly narrow views and the support extended by Pakistan to the Taliban. In a 1999 interview he had stated that Pakistan was treating Afghanistan as a colony and obstructing the peace process that he and his colleagues were trying to pursue. He had stated that but for the support extended by Pakistan and Bin-Laden the Taliban regime would collapse within a year as people were fed up with it.

It was becoming clear that many in the interational community had started seeing Massoud as the most acceptable leader of Afghanistan in future who could bring peace to the troubled land. However his leadership was opposed strongly by Bin Laden and Pakistan. Bin-Laden and/or the ISI are likely to be behind his assassination. His assassinators, posing as journalists, were reported to be desperate to get the interview with Massoud at the latest by September 10, not willing to wait beyond this. Why they were so keen to finish the job assigned to them before September 11 can be understood by later events,

There is nothing very exceptional about planning a staged bloodless event that can advance the foreign policy interests of a super power. But tragically, as past experience has shown several times, what is planned as bloodless can end up costing many human lives when things go wrong and particularly when groups known for their extreme sense of hatred and revenge are involved.

To summarize, then, if a bloodless staged terrorist event was actually planned by a few authorities, it is likely to have had one of these two , or both impacts. Firstly, at the very least, it created confusion lower down in intelligence ranks, resulting in neglect of important clues relating to the real attack. Secondly, there is the possibility that terrorists took advantage of the opportunity to inflict very bloody harm.

It is important for the peace movement to attempt an alternative explanation particularly when many cover-ups are all too visible. Without an understanding of what actually happened, it is very difficult for the peace movement to plan its strategy and actions for a more peaceful world.

So even if the above explanation is not satisfactory, efforts for a better understanding of 9/11 events should continue. At the very least this much is confirmed that very damning evidence of the help extended for 9/11 by prominent Saudis and Pakistanis was ignored or neglected. In addition in all likelihood very damaging aspects of evidence relating to Bin Laden’’s treatment and meeting with a CIA official in a Dubai hospital in July 2001, the big role allowed to Al-Queda links like Yasin in pre 9/11 days in the USA and some other tragic episodes like Massoud’s assassination, have been neglected or ignored.

(The writer is Honorary Convener of Campaign to Save Earth Now.He has written consistently for 49 years from a perspective of peace, justice and environment protection. His latest books include Planet in Peril, Protecting Earth for Children, Man Over Machine and Earth without Borders. )

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