No, that is not a joke. What it is, in reality, is one of the "Top 25 Censored Stories" of 2007.
by George Dance
In the summer of 2006, Muckraker Report editor Ed Haas received an e-mail asking why the FBI's Most Wanted poster of Usama (or Osama) bin Laden (UBL) -- head of the terrorist group Al Qaeda, and generally considered the mastermind behind the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 (9/11) -- does not mention UBL's involvement in the 9/11 atrocity. (1)
A glance at the FBI page was enough to confirm the e-mail's truth. Originally posted in 1999, the page was updated after 9/11, in Nov. 2001, at which time the reward for UBL was raised to $25 million. Yet the page still said (and still says today) absolutely nothing about 9/11. (2)
Haas contacted the FBI and received this explanation from spokesman Rex Tomb, at that time the FBI's Chief of Investigative Publicity:
The reason why 9/11 is not mentioned on Usama Bin Laden's Most Wanted page is because the FBI has no hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11.... He has not been formally indicted and charged in connection with 9/11 because the FBI has no hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11. (1)
That admission raises some disturbing questions, ones that any Pulitzer-seeking journalist would be expected to follow up. Yet, two years later, the mainstream media (MSM) has almost completely ignored the story.
One reason those questions are disturbing is that, immediately after the 9/11 kamikaze attack, UBL reportedly denied any Al Qaeda involvement. An interview published on Sept. 28, 2001, by the Pakistani news service Ummat has him declaring:
I have already said that I am not involved in the 11 September attacks in the United States. As a Muslim, I try my best to avoid telling a lie. I had no knowledge of these attacks, nor do I consider the killing of innocent women, children and other humans as an appreciable act. Islam strictly forbids causing harm to innocent women, children and other people. (3)
Yet, at the same time, the U.S. government was already claiming to have evidence sufficient to warrant invading Afghanistan to capture UBL and bring him to justice; and was able to persuade Congress to authorize an invasion.
After the invasion, U.S. troops occupying Jalalabad found a videotape of UBL taking responsibility for the attack, and praising the suicide hijackers. President George W. Bush reportedly called the so-called Confession video "a devastating declaration" of UBL's guilt. Added Rudy Giuliani, mayor of New York during 9/11 (and a presidential candidate this year, whose abortive campaign was based almost entirely on that one fact), "the tape removes any doubt that the U.S. military campaign targeting bin Laden and his associates is more than justified." (1)
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was careful to emphasize, in a press release accompanying the Confession video's release, that "There was no doubt of bin Laden's responsibility for the September 11 attacks before the tape was discovered." (4)
However, a couple of 9/11 Truth sites have found and noted problems with the Confession video. Prison Planet pointed out that, while UBL is left handed, the speaker on the videotape writes a note with his right hand. (5) Infowars discovered that he got two of the hijackers' names wrong. (6) Both sites concluded that the video is a fake, which fits their thesis that bin Laden was in fact innocent.
On the other hand, Haas believes the Confession video to be genuine. (4)
Indeed, none of this is proof of the Truth sites' allegations. The truth may be simpler: There may indeed be no hard evidence, but compelling evidence nonetheless. Anyone who has viewed the CSI TV series has an idea of what "hard evidence" consists of: DNA, fingerprints, ballistics, etc. Testimony, including confessions, is not hard evidence. The only plausible hard evidence would be a paper trail (or an e-trail) showing that UBL gave the orders, and that trail just might not exist. Its failure to exist is not proof of UBL's innocence.
Similarly, even if the Confession video were found to be a fake, that would not in itself be evidence against UBL's involvement in the 9/11 attacks. (Concluding that would be an example of the logical fallacy known as Denying the Antecedent.)
It may even make sense "from a legal point of view" -- as former U.S. attorney David N. Kelley told the Washington Post (the one MSM outlet that did cover the story) -- to omit mention of 9/11 as "no formal charges have been filed. (7) However, that begs the question: Why, almost seven years later, have no formal charges ever been filed?
If there is sufficient evidence to indict UBL -- if there is "no doubt" of his complicity, as Rumsfeld claims -- then why has no indictment ever been sought? If there is a simple explanation for that, then why was that not given to Haas? One would think that the authorities would be anxious to give him as full an explanation, and show him as much of their evidence, as possible, if only to get him to drop the story.
Instead, they've done and accomplished the opposite. Haas has kept on the story for two years,, submitting Freedom of Information requests to the FBI, the FBI, CIA, Department of Defense, and CENTCOM to discover how they authenticated the Confession video. Yet as of March, "not one document has been released that demonstrates the authenticity of the [Confession] videotape or that it even went through an authentication process." DoD referred his request to CENTCOM; CENTCOM has yet to reply. The FBI challenged the request, lost, and then responded that it had no relevant documents. The CIA has refused to confirm or deny whether it has any such documents. (4)
One also has to wonder why the MSM has paid so little attention to this story - so little that (on Mar. 18, 2008) Project Censored, of independent press network Voltairenet, ranked Mr. Haas's original expose as one of the "Top 25 Censored Stories" of 2007. (4)
While the story may not indicate a 9/11 conspiracy, it definitely smells of a cover-up. Why is the U.S. government so reluctant to prove UBL's complicity? If they have compelling evidence, why not seek an indictment? Why not share as much information as possible with American citizens? Why ask them to take Donald Rumsfeld's word for it to trust Rumsfeld, when Rumsfeld does not trust them?
Sadly, all this is in line with the negative conclusions of Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) (another 2008 presidential candidate, who did somewhat better than Giuliani), who has publicly called for re-opening the 9/11 investigation. In May of last year, Paul told Reason magazine that he accepts the U.S. government's account of UBL's complicity: "I don't think there's any evidence of [an inside job] and I don't believe that. The blame goes to bad policy. And a lot of times bad policy is well-motivated." However, Paul expressed his concern that much of the truth was being covered up:
I do think there were cover-ups, and I think it was mainly to cover up who was blamed, who's inept. See, they had the information. The FBI had an agent who was very much aware of the terrorists getting flight lessons but obviously not training to be pilots. He reported it 70 times or whatever and it was totally ignored. We were spending $40 billion a year on intelligence. It wasn't a lack of money or a lack of intelligence, it was a lack of the ability to put the intelligence together. Even the administration had been forewarned that something was coming, the CIA had been forewarned. So it was a cover up of who to blame. I see it more that way. (8)
Rep. Paul is right. The official U.S. government account of how 9/11 happened may be entirely factual. However, that government's continual refusal to be open and transparent with those facts, and the MSM's dogged refusal to report them, only serves to sow suspicion and distrust of their account.
(1) Ed Haas, "FBI says, No hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11," Muckraker Report, June 6, 2006.
(2) "FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitive -- Usama bin Laden,"
(3) "Usama bin Laden Says the Al-Qa'idah Group had Nothing to Do with the 11 September Attacks," robert-fisk.com, Sept. 5, 2003.
(4) Ed Haas, "No Hard Evidence Connecting Bin Laden to 9/11," voltairenews.org, Mar. 18, 2008.
(5) Paul Joseph Watson, "Washington Post Doesn't Answer Why No Bin Laden 9/11 Indictment," Prison Planet.com, Aug. 28 2006
(6) Steve Watson, "Expert Goes On Record: Bin Laden 9/11 Confession Is Bogus," infowars.net, Feb. 19, 2007
(7) Dan Eggen, "Bin Laden, Most Wanted For Embassy Bombings?", Washington Post, Aug. 28, 2006.