Monday, September 11, 2006

9-11 and the bizarre truth

5 years ago today, I distinctly remember having an odd feeling that morning that it was important to start looking after oneself, as events were beginning to spiral out of control. Something didn't feel right and although I couldn't out my finger on it, it was a sense that one should be more acutely concerned with self-preservation.

Later that day, one of my colleagues passed through the office and said someone had just crashed a plane into the World Trade Center. Firing up the CNN web page, sure enough there were the first reports coming through of a plane hitting the WTC. An accident? Pilot error? Strange? Yes, definitely strange.

When the second plane hit, we all scrambled across to the online newsroom where the whole company began to gather to watch the events on the satellite feed. Disbelief and and incredulity grew as confused reports of hijacked planes and an attack on the Pentagon emerged. The US Capitol was reported as bombed too. Black smoke billowed from the 2 towers and the Pentagon, and reports of crashed airliners came in too.

Then, we watched in sheer amazement as the first tower collapsed. Incredibly, the second tower came down too. We were horrified and shocked. I stepped outside for a cigarette and shared some thoughts with Miles, one of my co-workers. We wondered how on earth a terrorist operation of that size and scale could have been pulled off without the Intelligence Services knowing a thing about it.

It is said the only way to keep a secret between three people is when two of them are dead. Right from the get-go there was a glaring anomaly in the whole story; how could the entire security apparatus of the US government fail to detect such a plot?

As it turns out, there was ample warning that something was in the pipeline, and numerous foreign intelligence services did warn the US prior to the attacks. To this day though, the failure to prevent the attacks is blamed on rampant official incompetence. Interestingly, none of the officials whose job it was to prevent such an attack was fired over 9-11.

In fact, many received promotions. Weird huh?

After everything we have witnessed that has been perpetrated in the 5 years since 9-11, we still have to ask who was actually responsible for 9-11? To this day, no one has been convicted as an accomplice or of having masterminded the attacks. We can discount Moussaoui who was already sitting in jail at the time of the attacks and we can discount Bin Laden as the FBI admits that they do not have sufficient evidence to indict him.

Is this just not a wee bit absurd? That in 5 years there has been no Independent and Judicial investigation into the events of 9-11. There has not been one single successful prosecution of any alleged accomplices to the hijackings. It is beyond reason that an operation of this size would not have involved a far larger number of people than 19 alleged hijackers.

Where are these accomplices? Where is the investigation into the events of 9-11 5 years down the line? Nowhere.

We all have the right to know exactly what happened that day, because every single person on the planet has been affected by the subsequent actions that have been carried out by all governments in the aftermath of that day.

We are all watched and monitored more closely, we are scrutinized and evaluated, all in the name of counter-terrorism. But what has been achieved other than an overall loss of freedom?

Well that is where it gets interesting doesn't it? Who has benefited the most from 9-11? The military-industrial complex is having a field day. Dick Cheney and his cohorts have been having a ball. Incurious George thinks he is a crusader and the Middle-Eastern map is being redrawn in favour of Israel.

There is a mountain of evidence as to what actually happened that day, but it is locked down under the name of US National Security. But what is there in that evidence that can't be shown to the world? Why after 5 years are we all being given the mushroom treatment; being kept in the dark and fed bullshit?

The bizarre truth is that we do not know who perpetrated 9-11, and 5 years after the fact, we are still no closer to the truth.

I demand an Independent and Judicial investigation into the events of 9-11 and that the truth be told as a matter of urgency.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Unreliable, dangerous, insensible, dishonest and unfair

Somehow, that kinda sums me up ;)

Dominic Tweedie, over at Communist University: Aggression, Active And Passive, picked up on the Tim Cohen piece on bloggers. Tim Cohen is Chief Reporter at Business Day, although I would probably have missed the article as I no longer read the site as much as I used to. Sean Badal and I were responsible for the web site's redesign in 2000, where we rescued it from it's ghastly orange of the period.

Sadly to say, the site has hardly progressed in the last 5 years and the basic design is still mine. I actually got into trouble with my boss for doing such a good job on the site and was prevented from working on it any it further, but that's another story.

The Mail & Guardian site, in contrast, demonstrates a thoroughly different attitude to blogs and blogging, so much so that they make great use of Technorati and have integrated it into the site.

The point though, I guess, is that I spend more time reading blogs now than ever before. The controlled media? The media that Mister Cohen is a part of? Quite frankly, I don't see the point of schlepping print copy, that is mostly just advertising, to the recycling bin.

But if Tim Cohen is telling us that we don't read his paper anymore, maybe it's because the content isn't necessarily "reliable, safe, sensible, honest or fair" either.

I read widely on the net each day, and I prefer to assemble my own "daily paper" - something that I started doing many years ago when I first encountered raw Reuters and AP feeds and realised that 90% of international news in SA came from these 2 sources.

Maybe Tim Cohen should spend more time in the blogsphere and less time glorifying newspapers because "[t]he ethos of the news gathering and editing process are artful things". Rather, I think Dominic Tweedie makes an excellent point about the quality of the writing which makes all the difference.

I am inclined to follow blogs where I appreciate the quality of writing and no longer see why I should fork out cash for a newspaper, when the writing has been mediated through an editorial process that is careful not to offend any advertisers. There is an important debate about the future of newspapers, but panning bloggers isn't the real issue is it?