Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Truth On 9/11 Rumors

The Seattle-PI published my letter on the previous editorial on 9/11 conspiracies. I realize now though I should have added the word "alleged" in the last sentence, since people would not claim they were actual hijackers. That's it, I am firing my editor!

Group relies on rumors distorted over the years

I have been following the 9/11 conspiracy theorists lately, but I was still surprised to see one of the theories being published in the Seattle P-I. What's next, editorials denying the Holocaust or the moon landings? The organization Scholars for 9/11 Truth, like most of the conspiracy theorists, is interested in neither scholarship nor truth. Like all conspiracy theorists, they rely not on the scientific method but by focusing on third-generation rumors distorted from the original, and then the complete avoidance of any information that might contradict their theory.

In his Tuesday guest column, "9/11 Commission report is a lie," for example, the two reasons Richard Curtis gives that the hijackers did not exist are easily explained by this "unscientific method." The first, the claim that they were not on the passenger list is derived from the fact that a few days after 9/11, CNN published a list of "victims" on the four airplanes. After conspiracy theorists repeated this claim enough times, that morphed into a list of all the "passengers," which to no surprise did not list the hijackers.

The second claim, that some of the hijackers are still alive, is because in the days after 9/11, the FBI released names of the hijackers, without many details. Of course every Arab man who had the same name started protesting his innocence. It should come as no surprise that since the FBI published the photographs of the hijackers a few weeks later, not a single person has come forward claiming that they were a hijacker.

James Bennett

Update: A reader helped make my point for me by telling me to read an article by David Ray Griffin, a popular conspiracy theorist. It contains the following statement:

Another problem in the official account is that, although we are told that four or five of the alleged hijackers were on each of the four flights, no proof of this claim has been provided. The story, of course, is that they did not force their way onto the planes but were regular, ticketed passengers. If so, their names should be on the flight manifests. But the flight manifests that have been released contain neither the names of the alleged hijackers nor any other Arab names.29

With the following footnote: (emphasis mine)

29. The flight manifest for AA 11 that was published by CNN can be seen at The manifests for the other flights can be located by simply changing that part of the URL. The manifest for UA 93, for example, is at