Niggling doubts

Einde O'Callaghan einde.ocallaghan at
Wed Sep 19 06:55:31 MDT 2001

For the last few days I've had niggling doubts about the official theory
that the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were carried
out by Islamic fundamentalists. It isn't as if the Islamic
fundamentalists have a monopoly on potential suicide bombers. Even
Timothy McVeigh of Oklahoma fame could be described as a suicide bomber.
And there are numerous other groups of various religious persuasions and
none, both within the USA and elsewhere, that might be capable of such
an apocalyptic act.

But, of course, if it wasn't Islamic fundamentalists, then the whole
rationale for Bush's crusade, to use his own politically, culturally and
religiously loaded word, falls apart.

Last Friday a major story appeared in the London Independent supposedly
identifying one of the hijackeers as Mohammed Atta. The story is called
"The Face of Hate" and can be found in the Independent Archive at - this story was
obviously the result of major investigative effort and fills two whole
broadsheet pages in the newspaper including pictures.

The first few paragraphs of the article are as follows:

 The Face of Hate

 Most people who came across Mohamad Atta in Florida
 found him a pretty objectionable young man. They
 never dreamt, though, that he would one day murder so
 many Americans 

 by Andrew Buncombe

 14 September 2001

 Last Friday afternoon, one of the men believed to have
 reduced American might to rubble was sitting at a table in a
 Florida bar, drinking vodka and arguing about the size of his

 Four days later, with the September sun reflecting off the
 Hudson river, Mohamad Atta is thought to have been strapped
 into a cockpit seat on board one of the two airliners flown with
 such devastating effect into the twin towers of the World Trade
 Centre. He, along with everyone on the planes and hundreds,
 maybe thousands, of people who were in the building, were
 killed. That was the intention. That, it seems, was the very
 master-plan burned into Atta's soul.

 But last Friday, as he sat in Shuckhums Oyster Pub and
 Seafood Grill in Hollywood, 30 miles from the thriving
 metropolis of Miami, throwing back Stolichnaya and orange
 juice, Atta's mind was fixed not solely on death.

 Waitress Patricia Idrissi remembered that Atta had entered
 the bar at around 3pm with two other men. One of them
 wandered off to play a video machine at one end of the
 restaurant, while Atta and his other colleague – named as
 Marwan al-Shehhi – sat drinking and arguing between
 themselves. Al-Shehhi's drink of choice was Captain Morgan
 rum mixed with coke. Over the next 90 minutes, both of these
 supposed Islamist extremists, polished off five drinks each.

 But as they were preparing to leave, Atta questioned his bill of
 $48 and Ms Idrissi called her manager, Tony Amos, to come
 over to try and help sort out the problem.

 "I said to the guy, 'Hey, if you can't pay, let me know upfront
 and we'll work something out'," recalled the manager, Mr

 At this point, Atta got annoyed, pulled from his pocket a wad
 of $100 and $50 bills, paid his bill and left Ms Idrissi a nominal
 tip of just $3. Mr Amos added: "He got angry and said 'You
 think I can't pay my bill? I'm a pilot for American Airlines. I can
 pay my fucking bill'."

These men knocking back spirits and getting belligerently drunk were
supposedly associates of Osama bin Laden, a profoundly religious man of
extremely fundamentalist Islamic beliefs. But a major prohibition of
Islam is the prohibition on drinking alcohol. I feel this description of
the supposed hijackers doesn't quite fit with the allegation that they
were Islamic fundamentalists.

All the discussion of the supposed links is so hedged by phrases like
"it is believed" (rarely any mention of who believes and what evidence
they have), "it seems", "apparently" etc. Or if sources are mentioned
they are usually very hazy as in "security services suspect" or
"intelligence sources believe". In other words nobody has a fucking clue
who really did it - and yet they are prepared to risk starting World War

I'm not making any attempt to apportion blame here. I think that our
main effort has to be directed to opposing the war drive and patiently
explaining that, yes, there really are some people that are so pissed
off by the actions of American imperialism that they really might
contemplate and carry out such an act. But it's also worthwhile to pick
holes in the official story, even if we shouldn't go to the extreme of
believing that the CIA or some shadowy conspiracy set the whole thing

Einde O'Callaghan

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