Posted Thursday, September 13, 2001

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 The simple three line version of the horror is this: Fanatical Muslim terrorists crash planes into the World Trade Center, as a symbolic centre of international finance, killing thousands, to punish the United States for their blind support of Nazi Israel's occupation of Palestine.

Tuesday, September 11, 2001 (Iowa, USA)

I AWAKE and switch on the television at 8:20 (Mountain) to extraordinary television pictures: the World Trade Center towers are on fire, as two commercial airliners have been flown deliberately into them.

As we watch, the tower of one collapses, and I start to pray for the dead, and for those on the planes as well. Smoke is then seen pouring from beyond the White House, I think it may be a smokescreen (which no commentators think of), then the Pentagon is crash bombed.

The TV channels are seized with it, the commentators talking of the cowardice of the men involved. Cowardice no, but reckless disregard for human life; by attacking in daytime, in working hours, they have multiplied the deathroll a thousandfold.

If it is Palestinian involvement, then America is paying dearly for Ariel Sharon and the missiles he has recently been firing into Palestinian homes. Talk about targeted killing of "the right people"! News develops that the terrorists, whoever they were, hijacked an American Airlines jet from Boston, then from New York, and flew down Fifth Avenue at rooftop height.

The damage to the US economy will run into hundreds of billions of dollars. The Stock Exchange is shut, every plane is grounded, the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels are closed.

I feel like the morning of the Oklahoma City bombing: news is happening, and each minute brings something more incredible and heart stopping than the last. The Palestinian Front disclaims responsibility. 9:22 am American Airlines says it was their flight 11 from Boston to Los Angeles. Word that the North tower is leaning. The elevators have stopped. Mammon has failed to protect its underlings.

There were 90 passengers on AA11, and 60 on the second flight, which was hijacked on a flight from Dulles. There is a report that a car bomb has exploded outside the State Department. I know the feeling, but most Americans don't.

It is 9:29 am and the second tower has just collapsed before our eyes. I try to phone London, to talk with Benté: "All circuits are busy." The ABC television commentator is almost speechless, "There is simply no way to accurately describe the emotion ..."

At 9:31 am Capitol police are told a hijacked plane is now en route to Washington. Pearl Harbor all over: caught with their pants down. "The statue of Liberty, folks, is still standing," says one voice as the camera pans across it. How flimsy those giant towers must in fact have been.

The Pentagon plane was a commercial US Air 737, the building has been evacuated. A plane is reported to have crashed at Pittsburgh. By 9:50 am they are already talking of the Taliban and of Osama Bin Laden, but these are the usual US bogeymen. The story of the car bomb is discounted. Nobody is mentioning the White House area smoke. The plane down near Pittsburgh was a wide-bodied 767, but it may have been unrelated to the campaign, they say, except incidentally: a result of the traffic control chaos; London stockbrokers must be ecstatic: New York's predominance in the financial world wiped out in one slash.

Of course, the media have not realized this, or at least they are not saying it. Nor are they asking who will most likely bear the insurance and more important the re-insurance burden, the London market

10:19 am one of the Fox commentators calls it "a Day of Infamy." A US Air spokesman says all their planes are accounted for. American airlines says their flight AA77 with 54 passengers from Dulles was hijacked.

10:30 am police sources report that a plane is flying down the Potomac at a high rate of speed. "Commerce in America is not going to come to a grinding halt but it is going to be significantly affected." They can say that again.

10:34 am Newt Gingrich says it is a twenty-first century Pearl Harbor, and blames the Americans for not having taken Bin Laden seriously enough. Any more of this and that gentleman may have to sue for libel. Oh no, NYT vs. Sullivan. He's a public figure. The flight that crashed at Pittsburgh is United 93.

10:53 am news that Disneyworld has closed in Florida, so things are getting serious. In the UK the Stock Exchange has suffered its worst fall since October 1987.

11:00 am I phone Benté; she has been watching petrified, the US embassy is cordoned off. Jessica is irritated because all London TV channels are swamped by the live coverage, so she has lost the CITV children's channel.

United confirms that it is "deeply concerned about a second flight, Boston to LA, United 175, it is unaccounted for." It is "crashing", a location has not been given . Their Newark to San Francisco flight has indeed crashed outside Pittsburgh, 11:09 am United confirms that flight 175 has crashed. (Or shot down by US fighters, one wonders?) Bush

President Bush appears on television from Florida, and once again impresses by his total incoherence, disregard for elementary rules of grammar, and absence of what the Germans call Format.

Once again, as with the history of the Holocaust, people seem unable to ask the simple question, "Why?" The asking, and the answer to that, are essential to the prevention of future miseries. The Americans appear unable to appreciate that they have aroused the wrath of Islam, and that Islamic fighters will eagerly die for their cause. The same American government spokesmen who cheered every Cruise missile that they slammed from a long and safe range into the skyscrapers of Baghdad and Belgrade call it an act of international terrorism when their enemies unexpectedly turn out to be willing to do the same a shorter range to them. Alas, they can hardy describe the Pentagon as a non military target.

British commentators speaking on US television say Israel is keeping quiet because they don't want to make it evident that this "may be the result of American support of Israel." -- and particularly Bush's. Bush's ludicrous support for Star Wars II also comes in for question: All that money has failed to protect the World Trade Center buildings.

Belgrade tower burns
Belgrade 1999
Belgrade cars wrecked

NY towers burn
New York 2001
NY cars wrecked

Comparisons [more comparisons]
Nobody has yet (2:20 pm) pointed out that the crashed United Airlines plane in Pennsylvania must contain the bodies of the hijackers which will help to identify them. -- I hear only one television broadcast comment in the evening that the US Army has denied that they shot down the Pittsburgh plane. Ho-hum. The FBI have seized the cellphone tape in which the doomed passenger said there was an explosion and white smoke before the call went dead.

I arrive at Monticello around 7 p.m. and have a quiet evening . . . The CNN news programmes show around midnight terrifying video footage, two films, of the planes crashing into both towers; evidently the cameramen have only just released their windfall tapes to the media, holding out for the biggest price -- why else should it have taken until after midnight to appear? Money, the root of all evil. At midnight CNN headline news switches over to the BBC for three hours, and the difference is startling: unabridged criticism of the US Government for its foreign policy and the security lapses which enabled the bombings to take place, while the US programmes have dared nothing of such criticism.


Wednesday, September 12, 2001 (Chicago, Illinois, USA)

The newspapers are filled with coverage and ghastly photos. I read the Chicago Tribune accounts of yesterday's horrors. The most chilling photograph is a telephoto lens shot of the upper floors of one World Trade Center tower, smoke and flames belching out from the floors beneath, and hundreds of people cramming the windows of the floors above, holding up things, gazing out of the windows. As for the Pennsylvania crash, there are conflicting accounts. A spokesman "said that there was no evidence that the plane had been shot down but did not offer any explanation about what caused the crash. Investigators, too, were tight lipped." That is journalese-speak, indicating that they know something they do not report. Later, there are suggestions, based on a cellphone call, that three passengers mutinied against the hijackers.

We can place as much credence in that version as the White House announcement that they have evidence, which they refuse to disclose, that the terrorists were also targeting the White House and Air Force One, which was why the president appears to have gone walkabout for most of the day instead of flying straight back to Washington. It is of course easy to be wise after the event.

The simple three line version of the horror is this: "Fanatical Muslim terrorists crash planes into the World Trade Center, as a symbolic centre of international finance, killing thousands, to punish the United States for their blind support of Nazi Israel's occupation of Palestine." Nobody dares even to hint at this, at cause and effect, however. I pray again for all the innocents who have died.

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Sept 13: CNN first reports Pennsylvania crash debris found 8 miles away

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