An unresolved mystery: The mass murder of 9/11

By Elias Davidsson

On July 22, 2004, the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (a bi-partisan Congressional body) issued its Final Report on the events of September 11, 2001. This document of over 500 pages is posted on the internet. It has been presented as the "unanimous conclusion" of the Commission members on what happened on that day and on the reasons for the failure to prevent the attacks. The Commission exonerates American public officials from any blame for such failure, which according to its Chairman, Thomas H. Kean, resulted from failures of "policy, management, capability and, above all, a failure of imagination".

Yet, the Commission has studiously disregarded a wealth of evidence, testimonials, contradictions, anomalies and questions, which both independent researchers and families of victims have referred to. The Commission left large areas of inquiry shrouded in mystery.

The number of anomalies that has been reported by independent researchers regarding 9/11 is staggering. A simple google-search with the string "unanswered questions 9/11" yields over 20,000 sites. These extend to the alleged reasons for the collapses of the two World Trade towers and the lesser known collapse of WTC-7 (which was not hit by an aircraft), the implausibility of a passenger aircraft hitting the Pentagon and disappearing without trace, the alleged shooting down of UA 93 in Pennsylvania, the lack of debris of the crashed planes, the removal and destruction of forensic evidence, the relaxed conduct of various public leaders on the fateful day, prescient remarks by US leaders, and so forth. Many, though not all, of these anomalies are discussed in Prof. David Ray Griffin's book The New Pearl Harbor, published earlier this year. In this article, we will concentrate on a single anomaly, namely the passenger lists of the four doomed planes.

The first questions facing any crime investigator are: Who committed the crime and how was it committed. These questions would normally precede any efforts to discover the motives of the perpetrators, examining the preparation of the crime, identifying accomplices and developing means to prevent similar crimes in the future. Yet, the US authorities did not proceed in this time-proven manner. It did not initiate a proper criminal investigation at all and resisted even the call for a congressional inquiry into these events. No official investigation was conducted as to the causes of the plane crashes, as undertaken routinely in the United States regarding all types of crashes, including where criminal conduct is suspected. No official investigation was conducted on the causes of the collapses of the World Trade towers, as is the routine in cases of fire damage. The failure to conduct a proper criminal investigation of a mass murder is unprecedented in US history. Until this day no proper evidence has been presented by the U.S. authorities regarding the identities of the perpetrators and on the means of perpetrating the mass murder. Whatever has been presented in public are allegations based on undisclosed and unverifiable evidence.

For an investigator of a criminal airplane crash, the first source of inquiry would be to study the list of passengers (or flight manifest). On the base of such a list, further investigation becomes possible, such as tracing the passengers' addresses, contacting their families, tracing their credit card payments, etc. Shortly after 9/11, mass media began publishing lists of the passengers who crashed with the four planes. At least four variations of one such list (the passengers of AA 11) have been identified by Gerard Holmgren (see, each with differing numbers of passengers and partly different names. No official explanation was provided for these variations. None of these published lists include Arab names. Yet the FBI and the airlines have until this day refused to publish the original passenger lists, which presumably were the source for these multiple lists published by the media as well as the source for their own claims on the hijackers' identities. An FBI press officer who declined to identify herself, told the author in a telephone conversation on July 23, 2004 that the FBI is not required to publish the passenger lists and did not explain why the FBI would not do so. In spite of the evidential importance of the original passenger lists, the Commission of Inquiry has neither published these lists nor indicated why these lists have not been published. The primary source for attributing the 9/11 atrocities to persons with Arab-looking names has thus remained secret.

Further questions have arisen regarding the number and identities of the alleged hijackers. On 13 September 2001, FBI Director Robert Mueller was reported in the press to have said that "18 hijackers were on the four planes". Yet a few days later that number grew to 19. If the passenger lists had been the source for the former statement, how could the number suddenly increase on the base of the same lists? What person was added to the list, by whom and why? Another perplexing question regarding these lists is the fact that between five and seven alleged hijackers have been reported alive by main media, including the BBC and the New York Times. This evidence was not denied by the FBI, who demonstrated, however, little inclination to interview these "living" suicide-bombers and their families and proffered an explanation to this anomaly as caused by "stolen identities" or because Arab names are prone to misspelling. Yet the FBI maintained the original names and photographs of the alleged hijackers on its website, including of those who are currently living. On November 3, 2001, FBI Director Robert Mueller said that "investigators have established the true identities of all 19 of the Sept. 11 hijackers" (Karen Gullo, AP writer, emphasis added). Yet, attributing mass murder to 19 named individuals - who cannot defend themselves - without proving their culpability, is a case of gross defamation as well as an unconscionable attack on the honor of the families of these individuals. The very attribution of the deeds to Arabs, the identity of whom are not even proved, represents also a form of racial incitement.

The import of this single issue (the flight manifests) is far greater than it appears. The refusal to publish the flight manifests cannot be explained by security considerations. The names of the dead passengers were published shortly after the attacks. The names and photographs of the alleged hijackers appear prominently on the FBI's website and have been cited innumerable times by the media and in books. The reluctance of the FBI to publish these passenger lists suggests that they simply do not include the names of the alleged perpetrators. Should no Arab names have appeared on the flight manifests, it would suggest that the world community has been served with a monumental lie and that the perpetrators may be neither Arabs nor Muslims. It is therefore of crucial importance that these lists be published and the various anomalies surrounding the identities of the perpetrators be elucidated.

The above account demonstrates that far from closing the story of 9/11, the report of the Commission of Inquiry may be considered as evidence of a criminal cover-up by the members of the congressional Commission. Such a cover-up may have unforeseeable consequences for the American people as well as for world peace. I appeal to all those who initially felt compassion towards the families of the victims of 9/11: Please do not let these families down in their quest for the truth. They are entitled to know who committed the crimes, who assisted in their commission and in which circumstances their beloved died. We all should insist that the full truth, and nothing but the truth, on the crime of 9/11 be revealed. The publication of the original flight manifests, duly authenticated, would be one element in this quest.


Elias Davidsson lives in Reykjavik, Iceland. He is a composer, human rights activist and a member of the Icelandic chapter of the 911-Truth Movement.