An interview with 9/11 antiwar author Don Paul
- Please send as far and wide as possible.
Editor, The Konformist
An interview with 9/11 antiwar author Don Paul
By Bob Feldman
June 13, 2003 - U.S. anti-war movement writer Don Paul is the author
of an anti-war book, 9/11: Facing Our Fascist State. Paul's 9/11 book
hasn't been reviewed much by the U.S. academics that generally review
books on recent historical events for the U.S. media. Yet Paul's 9/11
book provides anti-war readers with an alternative to the U.S.
military-industrial-media-university-foundation complex's official
version of what happened in downtown Manhattan on September 11, 2001.
Besides being the author of the anti-war book 9/11, Paul also holds
the New York Road Runners Club record for both running 50 kilometers
and 50 miles in its Central Park events. In 1980 the 9/11 author
finished the 50-mile run event in 5:09:58; and, in 1982, Paul
finished the 50-kilometer run in 2:50:55. In 1971 he was the youngest
winner of a Stegner Fellowship in Creative Writing at Stanford, after
Ken Kesey and Tillie Olsen and before Ray Carver, and in the 1990s he
produced albums by the jazz artists Glenn Spearman, Lisle Ellis,
India and Paul Plimley.'
Anti-war movement writer Paul lives in California's Bay Area and was
recently interviewed via e-mail.
BOB FELDMAN: September 11, 2003 will mark the second anniversary of
the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings that killed
thousands of New Yorkers. Like MIT Professor Noam Chomsky, you've
written a book about what happened on 9/11. Would the New Yorkers who
read MIT Professor Chomsky's book on 9/11 learn anything new about
why 9/11 happened, by reading your book?
DON PAUL: My views as to the why of the 9/11 attacks differ radically
from Noam Chomsky's. His view accords with the U.S. government's line
that "Arab terrorists" (i.e., al-Qaeda) committed those attacks.
Chomsky's explanation as to why differs from George W. Bush's only in
that he attributes the reason for the attacks to "blowback" from
nefarious U.S. government operations and policies in the Middle East
and Afghanistan over the past several decades, while our current
selected President attributes the attacks to envy at freedom and
prosperity in the U.S. by fanatical followers of a fundamentalist
kind of Islam.
Chomsky also limits his explanation to the confines of what's widely
known as "structural analysis." That is, he and his followers reject
the importance of individual perpetrators of crimes such as the 9/11
attacks and the ensuing invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq - just as
they reject the importance of which government politician ordered
which crime in the more distant past - such as Suharto "in" East
Timor, Kissinger and Nixon "in" Cambodia, Brzezinski "in"
Afghanistan, Reagan and George H.W. Bush "in" Afghanistan, Nicaragua,
El Salvador, et cetera. They say that structural realities,
structural inequities, are really determinative, not the villains who
come and go as heads of State.
So far as such analysis goes, I agree with it. The U.S. Presidency
has passed from a Bush to a Clinton and back to a Bush with very
little variance in the direction that material realities and an
elite's drive for profits and power have compelled "U.S. foreign
policy." Oil remains the U.S. elite's prime concern and opium from
Afghanistan remains a main mover in the world's illegal and legal
economies, just as both commodities were 15 years ago.
The failing of analysis such as Chomsky's, I think, is that it stays
short of identifying and examining the structures that are really
most powerful and determinative in the world. And so it stays short
of naming those structures' most consequential criminals. So it
doesn't name, of course, the institutions and foundations that fund
and promote the limits of "structural analysis- I mean institutions
funded by Rockefellers, Rothschilds, Pews, et cetera. George Soros
and his Open Society Institutes and Human Rights Watch, particularly,
maintain illusions of democracy and investigation that misleads
millions of people.
I think these structures and forces and their operators are far above
elected governments. They far outstrip governments in their reach and
power. At the heart of their structure and operation is, I think, the
international financial system - a cruel, abstract system that
depends upon more and more exploitation of people and resources - a
profoundly irrational system whose failings can only be disguised and
whose operations that can only be sustained by the kind of "endless
war" and Patriot Acts brought to the U.S. public after September 11,
In my view, a secret team within the U.S. government primarily
carried out the 9/11 attacks. The attacks could not have happened
without the participation of such a team. In particular this team was
responsible for the unprecedented failure to intercept hijacked
airliners on the 9/11 morning - one hour and 28 minutes elapsed
between 8:15 EDT, the time of the first off-course deviation by
American Airlines Flight 11, the airliner that hit World Trade Center
Building 1, the North Tower, at 8:48 - and the crash into the
Pentagon at 9:43.
Noam Chomsky disdains to consider such a conspiracy ("I think such
speculations lead us away from issues of prime significance, not
towards them . . . Personally, I don't think it's worth the
effort."). But I find such a conspiracy from the inside of the U.S.
government far more likely than the absurd cartoon which is the
official story - made up of physical impossibilities, incapable
pilots, hard-drinking Muslims, indestructible passports, et cetera -
a cartoon that both Corporate and supposedly "Left" media continue to
parrot and thereby promote.
Why were the attacks carried out? Why were such mass murder and
horror and suffering visited on New York City in particular? The
super elites' exploitative, irrational economy needed a pretext to
avoid the consequences of its failings - over 1.1 million jobs had
been lost in the U.S. between January and August 2001 - and needed a
pretext to grab control of oil and gas reserves from Central Asia and
to regain control of the opium potential in Afghanistan - the Taliban
had cut the opium crop there from 4600 metric tons to 173 over the
year before 9/11/01, removing $150-200 billion from the world's
illegal economy in one year and an amount 20 times greater than $150-
200 billion from Banks and Stock Markets and other legal institutions
through laundering of profits from the narcotic. Economic
vulnerability and the grab for reserves of oil and gas are also
leading the U.S. to invasion and occupation of the Middle East-Iraq
first - mass murder on top of mass murder - and all these invasions
are based on the cartoon-like lies about 9/11 that Corporate
and "Left" media refuse to examine and expose.
BOB FELDMAN: What actually caused the collapse of the Twin Towers in
Manhattan on September 11, 2001?
DON PAUL: To tell the truth, I'm not sure. My book states: "Neither
jet fuel's fire nor anything else that was in the Towers that morning
burns hot enough (1022 degrees Fahrenheit) . . . to deform steel."
And that: "to not topple sideways, but to instead fall straight-down
within their foundations, the 110-story Towers had to be imploded by
explosives set off against their load-bearing columns and beams."
I remain sure of those statements. I'm also sure that the Twin
Tower's central columns must have been severed at their bases, 7
stories underground, by explosives comparable to nuclear devices. The
largest seismic spikes that Columbia University's Laboratory record
on the 9/11/01 morning, 2.3 and 2.1 on the Richter scale, came within
the first five seconds of each Tower's fall, not at the moment of the
collapses' impact with ground. Also, temperatures 7 stories
underground of the Towers' sites remained above 2000 degrees F. three
weeks after 9/11/01, suggesting that something very hot and
independent of the need for oxygen must have continued to burn there.
Recent analyses on the internet, however, suppose that the volume of
dust in the Towers' in-air collapse - 3 to 5 times each Tower's
diameter - points to other, explosive causes in the Towers' collapse.
I can say for sure, too, that the U.S. government's explanations for
the collapse of both the Towers' and WTC Building 7 are grossly
inadequate. In May of 2002 the Federal Emergency Management Agency
(FEMA) issued its "World Trade Center Building Performance Study."
FEMA's group of professorial experts had a budget of only $600,000 to
investigate the collapses that killed almost 3000 - compared with the
$40 million that was spent for investigation of Bill Clinton's
activities with Monica Lewinsky in 1998-99. FEMA's Study
states: "With the information and time available, the sequence of
events leading to the collapse of each tower could not be
FEMA's Study is even more waffling in regard to WTC Building 7, the
47-story Building 7 that fell straight-down in classic controlled-
demolition fashion at 5:25 on 9/11 afternoon. FEMA's Study
states: "The specifics of the fires in WTC 7 and how they caused the
building to collapse remain unknown at this time."
WTC 7 and the Twin Towers were owned and heavily insured by
BOB FELDMAN: What actually caused the initial fires at the World
Trade Center buildings to start on September 11, 2001?
DON PAUL: So far as I know, collisions by airliners started the first
fires in the Twin Towers on 9/11. Regarding WTC-7, the origin of its
intern fires appears more mysterious.
FEMA's Study says that fires burned in WTC 7 for 7 hours before its
collapse. That puts their start in the same hour as the North Tower,
WTC 1, which fell at 10:29.
There's no evidence I know, however, that debris from 1 ignited
anything inside 7. Video and photographs show that 7 remains wholly
upright and scarcely marred at mid-afternoon of 9/11, only small
fires visible on the 7th and 12th floors. Its upper floors begin to
fall straight down from its base at 5:25.
Before 9/11, no buildings of structural steel had ever collapsed due
to fire. In February of 1991 a fire burned for 19 hours in the 38-
story building at One Meridian Plaza in Philadelphia, spreading to 8
floors and causing the death of three firefighters. But this building
WTC 7 contained offices of the FBI and CIA and then-Mayor Rudolph
Giuliani's Command Center. Many people speculate that WTC 7 served as
the base for executing operations that took down the Twin Towers. It
offers a wide, open view to both Buildings 1 and 2. Evidence of the
operations would be largely destroyed with Building 7's demolition.
We're not likely to know for sure what happened to the three
collapsed WTC Buildings and their thousands of victims, however, till
courageous witnesses offer testimony. Evidence from the Buildings'
sites - where more people lost their lives than at Pearl Harbor - was
removed and destroyed with unprecedented speed in the weeks after
The company responsible for this removal, Controlled Demolition of
Maryland, also took care of the wreckage left after bombing of the
Murrah Building in Oklahoma City killed 168 people (none of them the
personnel of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms who were the
attack's supposed target) on April 19, 1995, prompting passage of the
federal Anti-Terrorism Act.
BOB FELDMAN: Was there any connection between what happened at the
World Trace Center on 9/11/01 and a previous 1990s
alleged "terrorist" attempt to destroy the World Trade Center?
DON PAUL: Again, you'll have to draw your own conclusions.
For one fact, bolstering supposition that a secret team within the
U.S. government primarily carried out the 9/11 attacks, the FBI is
directly connected to the bombing of the World Trade Center Twin
Towers on February 26, 1993, a blast that killed 6 people and injured
more than 1000. Israel's counterpart to the CIA, the Mossad, is also
connected to this bombing.
The FBI is on record that an Egyptian, Emid Ali Salem, was its
informant within this admitted conspiracy. According to a New York
Times piece of October 28, 1993, Emid Ali Salem secretly recorded
talks between himself and his FBI supervisor, John Anticev. Salem's
tapes reveal that the FBI's Anticev stopped a plan to substitute
harmless powder for the nitrate that eventually exploded the huge
bomb under the Twin Towers.
Remember that 6 people were killed and more than 1,000 were injured
by this bomb. Salem's statement is that he built the bomb and
received $1,000,000 from the FBI for his work. We also know that the
rental agreement for the truck that carried the 1993 WTC bomb gives
the phone number and address of a Mossad agent, Josie Hadas.
There are parallels with the official story for 9/11. The
supposed "spiritual leader" of 1993's group of "Arab Terrorists"
and "Muslim extremists," their name the Gamaa Al-Islamya, was Sheikh
Omar Abdel-Rahman. Sheikh Abdel-Rahman resembles both "al-Qaeda
mastermind" Osama bin Laden and 9/11's supposed "terrorist
ringleader" Mohamed Atta in his history.
Like Osama bin Laden, Sheikh Abdel-Rahman was a CIA asset in
Afghanistan in the 1980s. Like Mohamed Atta, Sheikh Abdel-Rahman
received U.S. government assistance in entering this nation. In 1996
Sheikh Omar was sentenced to life-imprisonment for his part in
planning the first World Trade Center attack.
Attorney Ron Kuby represented one of the 1993 defendants. In response
to the New York Times article of October 28, 1993, Ron Kuby said in
the Atlantic Monthly: "The article on the FBI being involved in the
World Trade Center bombing actually understated the evidence, believe
it or not. The informer, Emid Salem, is actually on tape saying that
he built the bomb that ultimately blew up the World Trade
Center . . . The mastermind is the government of the United States.
It was a phony, government-engineered conspiracy to begin with. It
would never have amounted to anything had the government not planned
BOB FELDMAN: To what degree was the U.S. government responsible for
the deaths of so many New Yorkers on September 11, 2001?
DON PAUL: In my view, 100 percent responsible, whether by neglect or
BOB FELDMAN: Do you see any similarities between what happened on
September 11, 2001 in New York City and what happened on November 22,
1963 in Dallas, Texas?
DON PAUL: I see a skein of conspiracies that have benefited a tiny
super elite within the U.S. over at least the past 40 years -
from "Dallas" to "9/11" and beyond. They've caused numberless
atrocities - assassinations, wars started with false pretexts,
invasions, massacres, entire countries and generations devastated by
imported violence, oppression and addictions. These conspiracies'
endgame, I believe, is a "New World Order" that will rob everyday
people of their rights and powers to resist the super elites'
accelerating degradation of once natural environments. By degradation
I mean, in part, the plagues and disasters that are arising now.
The conspiracies follow a pattern. Lee Harvey Oswald called
himself "a patsy" before he was somehow shot by Mafia nightclub-owner
Jack Ruby in the basement of police headquarters.
In the assassinations of JFK, MLK and RFK a patsy was used, I
believe, to distract attention from the real killers. With Oswald, an
elaborate history was developed over years, connecting him with
Communism and especially with sympathy for the Cuban Revolution. With
Atta, in particular, of those blamed for 9/11, a similarly elaborate
history is shown. But with Atta the fiction is much cruder. Mohamed
Atta goes from being an abstinent recluse in Hamburg, averse to
touching women, to a coke-snorting habitué of strip-clubs in Florida.
The whole story of the 19 "hijackers" seems to me a crude fiction. At
least 5 of the 19 who were indicted in the United States District
Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in December of 2001, these
19 named by an FBI attachment in the case against Zacarias Moussaoui,
had vigorously declared themselves alive, after all, in Saudi Arabia
or Morocco, in the few weeks immediately following 9/11.
The killing of JFK and the attacks on 9/11 both served objectives
that the super elites deemed urgent. JFK was threatening to pull
troops out of Vietnam and to dismantle the Federal Reserve Bank and
to further arms-reduction treaties with the Soviet Union. He'd
already yanked former Wall Street attorney Allen Dulles as Director
of the CIA. He threatened financial and militarist super elites'
profits and plans. So they took him out.
Nine-one-one is more complicated. Nine-one-one was planned for many
years, as pages in Brzezinski's 1997 The Grand Chessboard and the
2000 Project for a New American Century study (Dick Cheney, Donald
Rumsfeld, Richard Perle and Zalmay Khalizad among its authors)
suggest when they imagine that "a new Pearl Harbor" might be
necessary to arouse public support for more military spending and
U.S. wars in Central Asia and the Middle East.
The colossal, crude crime of 9/11 is also a far more desperate move
than the murder of JFK. By August of 2001 the U.S. economy was
foundering even for super elites. Nine-one-one and its subsequent
transfusions of Federal capital gave several months of respite. By
July of 2002, however, material vulnerabilities threatened to sink
even the biggest capitalists. Through their holdings
in "derivatives", the JP Morgan Chase Bank, Citigroup, and the Bank
of America are at risk for a combined amount of over $40 trillion -
an amount of liability many, many times greater than their combined
amount of assets. On July 23, 2002 - on a single day of trading - JP
Morgan Chase lost 18.1 percent of its total value. July of 2002 was
also when government and media drums began to beat for U.S. military
action in Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
What I see more comprehensively is a skein of conspiracies and
pretexts by which the U.S. super elites have ruthlessly killed people
and launched wars and grabbed territories and multiplied their
profits since the late 19th century. The sinking of the Maine, the
sinking of the Lusitania, the attack on Pearl Harbor, the
fraudulent "Gulf of Tonkin incident" are a few of the conspiracies
and pretexts we know. Why Noam Chomsky and other ostensibly moral
critics don't call out these conspiracies is a question they'll have
to answer. It may be that examination of these conspiracies would
reveal the real structures and criminals behind them.
All that said, let me end with hope. Only one force on Earth can
directly confront and defeat the U.S. Corporate State and its
criminal government. That force is us, the overwhelming majority of
the people in this country. Despite the horrors of 9/11, the
overwhelming majority in New York City are with that same majority
around the world, I think, in opposing any American Empire.
BOB FELDMAN: Have the mainstream or alternative radio show producers
in New York City been eager to invite you onto their shows to discuss
before a New York City audience the issues you raise in your book on
the 9/11 events?
DON PAUL: I've gotten no contact from either mainstream or
alternative radio producers in New York City about the book. Although
it lacks a distributor and exposure of it has not been widespread, it
has been up on the www.onlinejournal.com and
www.questionsquestions.net sites and orders for it are coming from
across the country and around the world. I should also add: Neither
has anyone from KPFA or any Pacifica station contacted me about the
book, though I gave it last December to Dennis Bernstein and Davey D
and others with whom I was allied in "the fight for Free Speech
Radio" four years ago. There's an interview with the warm and
wonderful Sue Supriano up at www.suesupriano.com and I understand
that more stuff through other outlets is upcoming.
BOB FELDMAN: How can readers in New York City go about obtaining a
copy of your book?
DON PAUL: The easiest way online to access purchase of it is through
Online Journal. Front cover of book can be clicked at the top of
books and tapes in the right-hand column at www.onlinejournal.com.
There is a direct URL to the book's page on my
www.wireonfire.com/donpaul/911.html site. But going through
www.onlinejournal.com will get people to some good pieces posted