Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

HuffPost’s Attack on Academic Integrity, Truth and Justice – Global ResearchGlobal Research – Centre for Research on Globalization

Posted by M. C. on December 9, 2018

By Elias Davidsson

On 4 December 2018, HuffPost published an article by senior editor Chris York, whose single purpose was to discredit Professor Piers Robinson of the University of Sheffield (UK).  Prof. Robinson is Chair in Politics, Society and Political Journalism and researches communication, media and world politics, focusing on conflict and war.  His current teaching includes research methods, introduction to political communication as well as propaganda, media and conflict. The University of Sheffield’s Department of Journalism Studies is considered one of the most prestigious in the U.K. 

While mass media are certainly entitled to criticize whomever they wish, it is quite rare that they devote an entire article to destroy the reputation of an academic. One can, therefore, assume that the attack on Prof. Robinson’s reputation was ordered by higher-ups for reasons that will become evident in this essay.

The introductory paragraph of the article reveals its slanderous intent.

“An academic teaching journalism students at one of the UK’s top universities has publicly supported long-discredited conspiracy theories about the 9/11 terror attack, HuffPost UK can reveal.” 

The journalist left no stone unturned in his efforts to discover controversial statements by Prof. Robinson. He found three academics willing to berate Prof. Robinson: Lydia Wilson, an Oxford and Cambridge research fellow and editor of the Cambridge Literary Review, Yasser Munif, a Lebanese expert on middle eastern politics and society at Emerson College, Boston and  Nader Hashemi, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver. They offered nothing more than their personal opinions. Disregarding the rule of neutrality, HuffPost did not talk with academics who support Prof. Robinson or with any of the thousands of academics and experts who share his conclusions.

It is not, however, bad journalism that prompted me to write the present essay, but HuffPost’s deliberate attack on people of integrity who dare question the official account of 9/11.  In order to discredit Prof. Robinson, the author cited Lydia Wilson to express her personal opinion about the book “9/11 Unmasked”, to which Prof. Robinson had given good marks:

It’s ridiculous that Piers Robinson is teaching propaganda. The most troubling thing for me is how did he get this job? It’s not hard to uncover this man. [The review of ‘9/11 Unmasked’ by Prof. Robinson] is conspiracy-theory driven. There’s no academic who should write a post like – there’s no argument and there’s no evidence. It’s dangerous to students – he’s working in a journalism department and he can’t analyse journalism sources.” 

Prof. Robinson is entitled, like any other person, to the presumption of good faith. To insinuate that his research is “conspiracy-theory driven” is unconscionable.

HuffPost’s attack on the quest for truth and justice

The attack on Prof. Robinson was no personal vendetta. It rather represents an attack on all scholars who dare question the official account on 9/11, including myself.

In the present article, I intend to expose one particularly grievous lie promoted by the U.S. government with regard to 9/11, namely the legend that 19 fanatic Muslims boarded and hijacked four aircraft, in order to crash these aircraft on known landmarks.  A comprehensive study of this particular question is found in my book “Hijacking America’s Mind on 9/11” (Algora Publishers, New York, 2013).

(1) The purpose of a murder investigation

One basic goal of a murder investigation is to identify the perpetrators. In order to prove that particular individuals could have hijacked an aircraft, it must be first demonstrated that they boarded that particular aircraft. In order to demonstrate this fact, the following four classes of evidence should have been produced by the US authorities in September 2001 or shortly thereafter:

  1. Authenticated passenger lists (or flight manifests), listing the names of all the passengers and crew members, including those suspected of hijacking;
  2. Authenticated security videos from the airports, which depict the passengers (and the alleged hijackers);
  3. Sworn testimonies of personnel who attended the boarding of the aircraft;
  4. Formal identification of the bodily remains from the crash sites, accompanied by chainofcustody reports.

Did the US government produce the above four classes of minimal evidence and if so, is that evidence admissible, relevant and compelling? If such evidence does not exist or is deemed to lack credibility, it is likely that these individuals did not board the aircraft and that, consequently, no “Islamic hijackings” had taken place.

(2) The living dead hijackers

Shortly after the FBI released names and photographs of the alleged hijackers, questions about their identities began to emerge. The family of Hamza al-Ghamdi, one of the alleged hijackers, said the photo released by the FBI “has no resemblance to him at all”. CNN publicized a picture of another alleged hijacker, identified as Saeed al-Ghamdi. That man, a pilot, hailed from Tunisia alive.  The photograph of a Saudi pilot by the name of Waleed al-Shehri was released by the FBI as one of the alleged hijackers: he protested his innocence from Casablanca, Morocco. Two people with the name of Abdulaziz Alomari presented themselves, surprised to see their names on the FBI list of suspected hijackers. One of them, a Saudi engineer, said he lost his passport while studying in Denver, Colorado, in 1995. Of the FBI list, he said:

“The name is my name and the birth date is the same as mine. But I am not the one who bombed the World Trade Center in New York.”

Another Abdulaziz Alomari was found working as a pilot with Saudi Airlines.  Salem al-Hazmi, also listed by the FBI as an alleged hijacker, was indignant at being named as a suspect for a mass murder.  He said he works in petrochemical plant in Yanbu (Saudi Arabia). Abdul Rahman alHaznawi, brother of another suspect, said

“There is no similarity between the photo published [on Thursday] and my brother.”

He said he does not believe his brother was involved in the crime: “He never had any such intention.”  Gaafar al-Lagany, the Saudi government’s chief spokesman in the United States, said that the hijackers probably stole the identities of legitimate Saudi pilots. The above findings have been corroborated independently by Jay Kolar.

The FBI disregarded these stories and maintained the names and photographs it originally posted on its website as those “believed to be the hijackers” of 9/11,  including those of living individuals. The 9/11 Commission of Inquiry did not even mention these conflicting identifications.

(3) No authenticated passenger lists

The primary source used by airlines to identify the victims of aircraft crashes is the passenger list (sometimes designated as the flight manifest). A passenger list is a legal document proving – also for insurance purposes – that particular individuals boarded an aircraft. In order to serve as legal documents, passenger lists must be duly authenticated by those responsible for their issuance.

With regard to the four 9/11 flights, American and United Airlines have consistently refused to demonstrate that they possess authenticated passenger lists of these flights.  Surprisingly, neither corporate media nor the 9/11 Commission demanded to see these authenticated documents.

Between September 11 and 14 September 2001, mainstream media published names of alleged hijackers and passengers. Some of these names were deleted and replaced by other names. Some of these irregularities are examined below.

Adding and deleting passengers’ names after the crashes

On 14 September 2001, the name of Mosear Caned (phon.) was released by CNN as one of the suspected hijackers on “a list of names (…) that is supposed to be officially released by [the Justice Department] sometime later today”. His name disappeared a few hours later from the list of suspects and replaced with that of Hani Hanjour when CNN posted a new list of suspects released by the FBI.  It was never revealed where Caned’s name came from in the first place, who this person was supposed to be and why the name was later replaced by Hani Hanjour. No other passenger (or “hijacker”) bore a name resembling Mosear Caned….

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