The 9/11 Commission v. 19 Named Muslims:
A Trial in Absentia
Gary Wenkle Smith1
[This article first appeared in The Warrior, the official journal of the Trial Lawyers College (www.triallawyerscollege.com) and is reprinted here with permission.]
Within a few hours after the 9/11 attacks, our government named a group of 19 Muslim men as the principal players in the most devastating attack on this country–even more so than Pearl Harbor, as it was mostly civilians who were murdered on 9/11, unlike the mass murder of our sailors by another military power. Further, in addition to approximately 3,000 murders, there could easily be many counts of attempted murder2 charged, as well. Assuming an indictment is issued, there will undoubtedly be dozens of kidnapping charges, some major theft counts, destruction of public and private property, and sundry other charges arising out of the death and destruction of that day’s events. Of course, the principal charge will be the conspiracy to commit these crimes. The 9/11 Commission Report, frequently referred to as the Kean-Zelikow Report3, has concluded that the 19 named Muslims were the operatives of Osama bin Laden, and that they conspired to hijack airliners and commit the atrocities of 9/11.
A brilliant lawyerly sketch of what a factual 9/11 defense might look like, and why no one in power would want to see this day in court.
I will proceed with this article as though I had been appointed to present a defense for these 19 men 4. I want to, first of all, read all of the “discovery” in the case. I am primarily concerned with reviewing any and all evidence–either direct or circumstantial–supposedly linking my clients to the crimes charged. However, any competent trial lawyer should always rely upon his own experts and investigators for discovery of evidence not provided by the government. Therefore, as part of my preparation of the defense in this case, I intend to rely upon some of the experts who disagree with the Commission’s findings, such as Dr. David Ray Griffin5, who has done extensive research on 9/11, and has presented compelling evidence of a government cover-up, as well as government complicity in the events of 9/11. I intend to call Dr. Griffin as witness at trial, and will provide you with a review of some of his anticipated testimony.
Before I begin reviewing the evidence with you, I want to remind you, as the prospective jurors, that in America we proceed in all criminal cases with the “presumption of innocence” as our foremost guiding principle, which demands that all defendants in America are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt–and that all defendants are entitled to a “fair and public” trial, with a jury of their peers6–a jury that is to decide guilt or innocence entirely on evidence presented. What this means in a practical sense is that if I asked you to vote right now, each of you must vote not guilty, as there has been no evidence introduced at trial. If you cannot, either because you have seen what you believe to be conclusive evidence of my client’s guilt, or, because you believe that my clients are not entitled to a fair trial, you should be excluded from the jury for “cause”. For those of you who remain, I ask you to remember the presumption. Finally, in order to convict, you will be required to find each of the defendants guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the highest standard of proof in the law. I will discuss this standard of proof with you more thoroughly at my Closing Argument.
I am also looking for “Brady” discovery7, which means that the government must provide the defense with all known “exculpatory” evidence. Experience has taught me that in most cases I can anticipate this will be done. However, a review of the Commission Report indicates that considerable Brady material was not provided. If this was deliberate, this could be grounds for a dismissal of all charges. However, rather than asking for a dismissal, and thereby leaving the question of innocence or guilt unresolved, we will proceed as though going to trial, dealing with the issues related to exculpatory evidence not provided, for you, the jurors, to decide. If it is shown that the government deliberately suppressed such evidence, I will ask you to consider that as evidence not only of the innocence of my clients, but of the guilt or complicity of the Commission and the government in the a cover-up as to what really happened, as I consider it reasonable to ask you to look at those who hide evidence as having a malevolent purpose in so doing.
In reviewing all of the evidence provided by the government, I will begin to outline the elements of the various crimes, and then add the evidence into the outline as it tends to support each particular crime charged, if there is any such evidence. I will also include the exculpatory evidence in the same manner. Therefore, the conspiracy allegations will be the first area of review, as the conspiracy had to have been formed before the crimes were committed8.
I. THE 19 NAMED MUSLIMS: The Commission’s Case
The Commission has reported that the 19 hijackers were all Muslims, and most of them Saudi citizens. Probably every American has seen the faces of these men, as they were frequently shown in the papers and on the television stations for many days after 9/11. Whether anyone has ever identified any of them as passengers on any of the flights that were allegedly hijacked on 9/11 is another question. As David Ray Griffin points out in “The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions”9, (which I will henceforth simply call “Omissions and Distortions”) although the 9/11 Commission claimed that all of my clients names were on the flights’ manifests, it could be seen when the flight manifests of the four hijacked planes were made public, that none of them contained any Arab names.10 Thus, we have the first pieces of exculpatory evidence, as well as suppression of the same, as the Commission did not report the existence of this evidence. It is of great significance to note that the flight manifests for the four hijacked airliners were not part of the Commission report. In addition to not being named on any of those manifests, six of my clients, remarkably enough, have been reported to be alive and well in other countries.11 These reports have been broadcast by credible sources, including the British Broadcasting Corporation. The Commission, however, far from providing any reason to consider these reports false, failed even to mention their existence. On the contrary, the Commission discussed specific information about the involvement of a couple of these men in the hijackings, even speculating that one them may have stabbed one of the flight attendants on Flight 1112. It is hard to imagine that the Commission was unaware of the evidence that some of my clients are still alive. I ask you, the jury, to consider that the Commission suppressed the evidence that some of these men are still alive–which, of course, means that the government’s story about their participation in suicide missions on 9/11 is false.
Moreover, the case of the man alleged to have been the ringleader of the hijackers, Mohamed Atta, presents several anomalies. As with each of my clients, he was alleged to be a devout Muslim. The Commission claimed he was so devout as to be fanatic. As such, the use of alcohol would be strictly forbidden. However, Mr. Atta was known to frequent bars, engage in sexual activities with dancers at strip clubs, and to make numerous visits to Las Vegas where he was partying.13 This information, which was reported in the Wall Street Journal, among other places, was ignored by the Commission. It even claimed that there was no explanation for the trips to Las Vegas. The obvious inconsistency between the alleged behavior and the behavior typical of devout Muslims is most significant. I implore you as jurors to ask why the Commission failed to report these facts.
Further, it was reported by the Commission that Mr. Atta packed his Will, his passport, his international driver’s license14, a copy of the Koran, and other personal items to take with him on a plane that was going to be used as a weapon, and hence be completely destroyed. Oddly enough, those items were somehow not loaded on Flight 11, the plane he purportedly hijacked, but instead were left as evidence to be discovered. Not only is this a bizarre coincidence, but strange indeed as Mr. Atta’s name was not on the plane’s passenger manifest that was made public. The Commission does not mention these odd but important facts. Are you, the jury, interested in knowing why such evidence was not considered?
II. THE HIJACKED AIRLINERS
Now, let us view the situation on the morning of September 11, 2001. We have four commercial airliners that have been hijacked–American Airlines Flight 11; United Airlines Flight 175; American Flight 77, and United Airlines Flight 93. There is an abundance of information indicating that these planes were hijacked, and that this was known for a significant period of time as to each before three of them were used as weapons, and Flight 93 crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.
Flight 11 took off from Boston at 7:59 a.m., and hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46:40 a.m. The first sign of hijacking reportedly occurred at 8:14 a.m. Almost 33 minutes more would pass before Flight 11 hit the Tower.
Flight 175 departed from Boston’s Logan Airport at 8:14 a.m. We have all seen the impact of this flight.15 According to the timeline issued by NORAD a week after 9/11, the probable hijacking of this flight was reported to NORAD by the FAA at 8:43. According to the Commission, the FAA did not even begin to suspect a hijacking until 8:51. So, depending on which story one accepts, at least 12 and perhaps 20 more minutes passed before the plane flew into the World Trade Center.
Flight 77 took off from Dulles Airport at 8:20 a.m. It is claimed that Flight 77 hit the west wing of the Pentagon at about 9:38 a.m.–over an hour after it left the airport.
Flight 93 took off from Newark at 8:42 a.m. At 9:16 a.m. the flight is reported as a hijack. At 10:06 a.m. the plane crashes in a field in Pennsylvania.
Answering some of the obvious questions regarding why these planes were in the air so long, while it was known–or suspected–that they were hijacked requires some detailed analysis of our nation’s defense systems, which analysis has been carried out by many authors and researchers. In his book “Omissions and Distortions”, Dr. Griffin shows that we have now been given three different stories as to why our military failed to intercept these flights before they crashed. But regardless of which of these three stories, if any, is true, none of the evidence shows that my clients were on any of the above named airplanes. Indeed, there is good reason to conclude that at least some of them were not.
III. THE ATTACK ON THE PENTAGON
Let us turn to the Commission’s claim that another of my clients, Mr. Hani Hanjour took over as the pilot of Flight 77, and then flew it into the west wing of the Pentagon. As to his piloting skills, the Commission gave conflicting reports. He was either the worst pilot, or the most highly skilled. The Commission reported both. However, all the evidence reported elsewhere indicates that he was a terrible pilot. For example, it was reported by some of his fellow flight school attendees that he was “a terrible pilot.” The Commission concluded that Mr. Hanjour was “the operation’s most experienced pilot.”17
The overwhelming evidence that Hanjour was a terrible pilot, who could not even fly a small plane, is of extreme importance. Why? Because the aircraft that hit the Pentagon was shown by radar to have executed a downward spiral that involved a 330-degree turn made at high speed. This maneuver, we have been told, would have required the skills of a “fighter jet maneuver”, and the plane was reported to have been flown with “extraordinary skill”.18
There are good reasons, furthermore, to doubt that the strike on the Pentagon was engineered by al Qaeda terrorists, or any external enemies of the United States, for that matter. Why? For one thing, the west wing of the Pentagon was under construction, and therefore most of the people killed were civilians working on the renovation. It must be questioned why these alien terrorists–who if they engineered the attacks of 9/11 obviously had excellent intelligent sources–would attack a part of the Pentagon that would cause the least, rather than the most, death and destruction. In particular, would they not have wanted to strike the east wing, which had offices of Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and all the top brass?19
Further evidence against the government’s account resides in the fact that there is no conclusive evidence that the aircraft that struck the Pentagon was even a Boeing 757, which is the model and design of Flight 77.20
Other facts not addressed by the government version include:
- The Pentagon is considered the most secure building in this country;
- No film footage of the attack on the Pentagon has been released, except for 5 frames from an alleged piece of film of that attack;
- The missile defense system at the Pentagon was not activated to shoot down whatever it was that struck it;
- There was no reported damage to the Pentagon from the 10,000 pound engines on each wing of the plane that allegedly hit the Pentagon;
- Photographs of the Pentagon after that attack provide no clear evidence of the remains of a Boeing 757.
Each of these points casts additional doubt on the official account of the attack on the Pentagon, leaving no part of this official account unrefuted.
IV. DESTRUCTION AT THE WORLD TRADE CENTER: Controlled Demolition?
Now, let us review the destruction of the Twin Towers and Building 7 of the World Trade Center.
Dr. Griffin outlines ten characteristics of controlled demolition that were evident with the collapse of the Twin Towers and Building 721, which are “produced by explosives placed throughout a building and set to go off in a particular order. Namely:
- Each collapse occurred at virtually free fall speed;
- Each building collapsed straight down, for the most part onto its own footprint;
- Virtually all the concrete was turned into very fine dust;
- In the case of the Twin Towers, the dust was blown out horizontally for 200 feet or more;
- The collapses were total, leaving no steel columns sticking up hundreds of feet into the air;
- Videos of the collapses reveal “demolition waves”, meaning “confluent rows of small explosions”;
- Most of the steel beams and columns came down in sections that were no more than 30 feet long;
- According to many witnesses, explosions occurred within the buildings22;
- Each collapse was associated with detectable seismic vibrations (suggestive of underground explosions);
- Each collapse produced molten steel (which would be produced by explosives), resulting in “hot spots” that remained for months.”
The Commission reports that the Towers collapsed due to the heat of the fires, and that they “pancaked”, meaning that one floor fell on top of the other, until the weight caused each floor below to collapse. This finding, of course, does not in any manner explain how the Towers could collapse at free fall speed, which is what we, and the rest of the world saw with our own eyes. Indeed, even the 9/11 Commission reported out that the South Tower collapsed in ten seconds. (The 9/11 Commission Report, 305)
The impact of the planes was not sufficient to cause a collapse of the Towers. In fact, the buildings had been designed to withstand just such an event, and even supporters of the official theory agree that the impact of the airplanes would, by itself, have been inconsequential.23
If the crashing of the planes into those buildings could not have brought them down, could the fires have done so? Fires have never caused a steel structure building to collapse. The fires in the Towers, moreover, were not very hot–not even close to the melting point of steel, and they were not long-burning. When a steel structure hotel burned in Madrid, Spain for twenty-four hours, the steel structure remained in place.24
Building 7 presents even more questions, as there were fires on only 2 of the 47 floors. The building had not been hit by a plane, and the collapse of the Towers did not cause any known damage to Building 7. And yet at 5:20 that afternoon, it fell down at virtually free fall speed, exhibiting all the characteristics of controlled demolition.25
At trial you will see films of the fall of these three buildings. You will see close-ups, and you will see explosions on the some of the floors of the Towers. You will see them “free fall”. You will hear Larry Silverstein26–using slang for employing explosives to bring a building down–tell you that they “pulled”27 Building 728.
Perhaps the most significant of all falsehoods presented by the Commission was the claim that the Twin Towers were designed with “a hollow steel shaft, in which elevators and stairwells were grouped.”29 However, the truth is that the “core of each tower was composed not of ‘hollow steel shaft’ but of 47 massive steel columns, in between which were the elevators and stairwells. At its base, each column was 14 by 36 inches, with 4-inch-thick walls. It then tapered up to ¼ -inch walls in the upper floors, which had far less weight to support. (fn.) It was these massive steel columns that ‘bore most of the weight of the buildings”.30
Further, the rapid removal and disposal of the steel from the scene of the crime31 has prevented an analysis that could have proven whether explosives were used to break it. Why was this done, particularly when to do so was a violation of federal law–removal of evidence from the scene of a crime32 so that it could not be processed and examined? This could also become grounds for dismissal of criminal charges.
Next, I will respond to the question that must be on your minds: how a demolition crew got into those buildings, wired them and placed explosives on or prior to 9/11. It is well accepted fact that such a procedure would take days, if not weeks, particularly considering the size of the Towers. Wouldn’t security have been a problem for the alleged terrorists to conduct these activities? If you accept the premise that these buildings were demolished, a conclusion that is inescapable from the foregoing, then we must inquire about the security for those buildings. It has been established that a company named Securacom, now called Stratesec, was the holder of the security contract for the World Trade Center. That company was owned, in part, by a shareholder and director named Marvin Bush, the President’s youngest brother, and Wirt Walker, II, a cousin.33 The Commission does not address the question of security at the World Trade Center. Mr. Silverstein’s statement about pulling Building 7 was broadcast on the news, and was discussed by most 9/11 researchers for months prior to the Commission’s report, but was not addressed by the Commission. Again, it is clear that the Commission has suppressed evidence of great magnitude.
V. REVIEW OF THE COMMISSION’S EVIDENCE: A Directed Acquittal?
A common procedure or motion filed by the defense in any given criminal case is a motion for a directed acquittal. In essence, the motion addresses the lack of evidence presented by the prosecution, claiming that the prosecution did not present a prima facie showing as to each count charged sufficient to compel the defense to go forward. The Court is, accordingly, asked to take the case out of the hands of the jury, and to render a finding of not guilty. However, because I believe it is important for our fellow Americans to know that you, a jury of ordinary citizens just like them, have determined that the government’s case against my clients would be unsustainable in a court of law, I am going to forgo bringing such a motion, even though it is apparent that such a motion, if it were made, should be granted.
VI. CLOSING ARGUMENT
Reasonable doubt exists in abundance in this prosecution. There is no need for a lengthy dissertation about the meaning of reasonable doubt in this case. The simple definition is that you, the jury, must find the defendants not guilty, unless you can say with an abiding conviction to a moral certainty that they are guilty. Considering the evidence that I have presented against the government’s claim, you must conclude, at the very least, that there is reasonable doubt about this claim. In fact, the government’s claims have been shown to be false. The 9/11 Commission, which sought to defend the government’s case, has failed to discuss the most important evidence related to 9/11. It has failed to explain, or show any proof of how it came to the conclusion that my clients were on any of the flights that were hijacked on 9/11. The Commission simply states their presence on these flights as a matter of fact. The Commission did not use its subpoena power to acquire documents, e.g. the flight manifests, to see if any of their names were on them, as it could have easily done. The claim that the luggage of Mohamed Atta was left behind for discovery by law enforcement is absurd. There was even a claim that a passport of one of the alleged hijackers was discovered in New York City, but away from the crime scene, as if it could have survived the crash and the resulting fire said to have brought the building down. Such a ridiculous claim should be given no consideration. All else was completely obliterated, yet a passport remained intact, and was discovered several blocks from the rubble of the Twin Towers?34
There is the evidence provided by Dr. Griffin that the Twin Towers and Building 7 were brought down by controlled demolition. These facts were not discussed by the Commission. The government’s explanation of the collapse of Building 7 is not plausible in any manner. Indeed, FEMA, which was given the responsibility of explaining the collapses, admitted that its own best attempt to explain why Building 7 collapsed–without, of course, mentioning controlled demolition—had “only a low probability of occurrence.”35
Each member of this jury has seen the film footage of these buildings collapsing, yet the Commission embraced the “pancake” theory, even though this theory is simply not rational, and could not have occurred in the ten seconds it took for the buildings to collapse. Even if the “pancake” theory were somewhat believable, how does the Commission explain that the buildings collapsed at virtually “free fall” speed? And how does the government explain the absence of any remaining standing steel beams? The 9/11 Commission evidently knew that it could not explain this, and so took the extraordinary, incredible step of simply denying the existence of the 47 massive steel columns that constituted the core of each building. That’s right. Although it is very well known, to everyone who knows anything about the Twin Towers, that these massive core columns were their most unique feature when they were built, the Commission simply denies their existence. Since you may find this difficult to believe, the very words in the Commission’s report bear repeating:
“the outside of each tower was covered by a frame of 14-inch-wide steel columns…These exterior walls bore most of the weight of the building. The interior core of the buildings was a hollow steel shaft, in which elevators and stairwells were grouped.36
As Dr. Griffin has shown, “Their implicit explanation, however, involves a complete fabrication, because the core of each tower was composed not of “hollow steel shaft” but of 47 massive steel columns, in between which were the elevators and stairwells. At its base, each column was 14 by 36 inches, with 4-inch-thick walls. It then tapered up to ¼ -inch walls in the upper floors, which had far less weight to support.(fn.) It was these massive steel columns that ‘bore most of the weight of the buildings’.”37
Are you, the jury, expected to ignore that which is in plain sight, as the Commission has done? How does the “pancake theory” explain the collapse of Building 7? Obviously, it does not. There is no rational explanation, other than that the building was “pulled”, i.e. brought down by a controlled demolition, as reported by Larry Silverstein.
Finally, it is fact that the well established procedures for handling hijacked airliners were not followed on 9/11, which would have included shooting down the airliners before they were able to hit their targets. Obviously, the alleged hijackers could not have had any influence over the non-employment of those procedures. Why these procedures were not employed on 9/11 has never been clearly answered by the government. Indeed, the 9/11 Commission, evidently recognizing that the story that the White House and its Pentagon had been telling for 2 and 1/2 years was so indefensible that it constructed a brand new story. But, as has been shown,38 this new story is no more believable.
It has not been the obligation of the defense to prove what really happened on 9/11. It was the burden and obligation of the Commission to do so. It should be apparent that we must look elsewhere to determine who was behind the attacks of 9/11. Without providing a list of suspects, I pose the question: who benefited from 9/11? That is the real question that must be answered before the truth is seen and heard. There is an abundance of evidence showing that the Commission’s report is not just flawed, but not truthful, and its conclusions are false. Therefore, we must look elsewhere for an answer to “Who did it?” When the truth is hidden, those who are responsible for hiding it must be suspect.