September 10, 2010
“America’s strategic and economic interests in the Mideast and Muslim world are being threatened by the agony in Palestine, which inevitably invites terrorist attacks against US citizens and property.”
Eric Margolis. Sun Media. 2 September, 2001.
NEW YORK – Ever since 9/11, readers keep asking me my views on these attacks. I have been barraged with emails until my head spins with engineering studies about melting steel, controlled explosions, claims about nefarious plots, and wreckage analysis.
One of the most colorful theories comes from Gen. Hamid Gul, former director of Pakistan’s intelligence agency, ISI. He insists that 9/11 was staged by Israel’s Mossad and a cabal of rightwing US Air Force generals.
I inspected the ruins of the New York’s Twin Towers, atop which I often dined, right after the attack. Downtown Manhattan was enveloped by a hideous, stinking miasma from the attack. I have never smelled anything so awful. It took me days to scrub the foul odor off my body. As a native New Yorker, I was shaken to the core by 9/11 – but hardly surprised, as I had predicted a major attack on the US nine days earlier.
While visiting the Pentagon to consult on the Mideast, I also inspected its outside wall hit by the third hijacked aircraft.
I saw photos of the impact site and could not understand what had happened to all the aircraft wreckage. There was almost none.
In 1993, I was hijacked over Germany on a Lufthansa flight bound for Cairo. The Ethiopian hijacker took us all the way back to New York City. The hijacker was threatening to crash our A310 jumbo jet into Wall Street.
Our flight was shadowed by US F-15 fighters that had orders to shoot, if necessary. Where, then, was US air defense on 11 Sept. 2001?
A day after 9/11, I was asked on CNN if Osama bin Laden was behind the attack. `We have yet to see the evidence,’ I replied. I maintain this position today.
Bin Laden denied he or al-Qaida was behind 9/11 and the death’s of nearly 3,000 people. The plot was hatched in Hamburg, Germany and Madrid, Spain, not in Afghanistan. A Pakistani, Khaled Sheik Mohammed, claimed he was the mastermind – after being tortured by near-drowning 183 times by the CIA.
While denying involvement, Osama bin Laden did say he believed the attack on New York was in part motivated by Israel’s destruction of downtown Beirut during its 1982 invasion of Lebanon that inflicted some 18,000 civilian deaths.
Tapes that appeared to confirm bin Laden’s guilt were clumsy fakes. They were supposedly “found” in Afghanistan by the anti-Taliban Afghan Northern Alliance, which was created and funded by Russian intelligence.
I had met Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan and told CNN viewers that he was not the man in the tapes.
After 9/11, Secretary of State Colin Powell promised Americans the State Department would issue a White Paper detailing bin Laden’s guilt. Afghanistan’s Taliban government asked for this document before it would extradite bin Laden, as the US was demanding. The White Paper was never produced, and the US ignored proper legal procedure and invaded Afghanistan. We still wait for evidence.