If you were to ask a skeptic – known now as a truther due to our mindless and crude efforts to marginalize unpopular points of view – whether official accounts of 9/11 hold up, what would the skeptic’s answer be? You already know: the skeptic would answer no, official accounts do not hold up. Asked why, the skeptic would say the evidence we have does not support official accounts. In fact, the evidence we have contradicts the feds’ story. Asked to propose an alternate account, the skeptic counters that we need a new investigation before we can do that. Only a new investigation, properly conducted, can yield the evidentiary foundation we need to determine what happened.

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That raises a necessary, practical question. What person or group, in the present environment, could successfully conduct an investigation? A major task for investigators of any crime is to persuade people who have evidence to cooperate. In this case, the federal government stands accused of criminal behavior, and it holds most of the information that investigators seek! More precisely, it destroyed the evidence available at the crime scene, itself a crime, and it concealed what evidence remains behind its classification system. Given that record, how could investigators possibly persuade members of the federal government to reveal classified information about 9/11? Would the investigators set up a witness protection program for them in Russia?

Nevertheless, current campaigns for truth argue that Congress or the media, or the two together, ought to undertake an investigation. They have the resources, the argument goes, as well as independence and skills. They can be thorough and do what previous investigations did not do: follow the evidence where it leads.

We’ve already alluded to problems with this reasoning:

  • The federal government possesses information to answer the question, “What happened on 9/11?”
  • The federal government has classified most of the information it has about 9/11. Unclassified information is either destroyed or published.
  • During the first round of investigations, the federal government clearly stated that it would not release classified information related to 9/11.

Since the information required to determine what happened on 9/11 is classified, the federal government  will not release it. Another observation goes without saying. Information about 9/11, classified or simply kept secret, reveals criminal behavior. That’s another reason the government will not release it.

In this environment we have to ask, what would happen if the New York Times, or the House Intelligence Committee, convened an independent commission to investigate 9/11? What would we learn?

We know from many examples, dating back to Kennedy’s death, what suppressive measures government is willing to use when it wants to restrict information. It uses these methods whenever it wants to prevent secret information from becoming public: intimidation, distraction, impoundment, arraignments, indictments, imprisonment, solitary confinement, interrogation, detention without trial, unwarranted searches, raids, interrogation, subpoenas, murder, delay, harrassment, personal threats, threats to family members, character assassination, tax investigations, bribery, intrusive surveillance, covert surveillance, and the most common method of all – dishonesty in all its forms.

That’s why I ask: in this environment, what would an independent investigation be like? Who would conduct it? How would it be organized? What methods of inquiry would it use? What evidence would it uncover that we do not already have?

I do not want to advocate pessimism about the results of further research. I only want to say that a formal investigative body with trappings of authority and prestige can’t succeed against government’s resistance, no matter how independent it is. In light of that, independent researchers and research groups must keep up their work. They must publicize their work, too, outside of the central media outlets. For the most part, the audience for this research does not trust the major media outlets in any case.

I fear the main purpose 9/11 skeptics have in mind when they call for a new investigation is to place the imprimatur of prestige and authority on evidence we already have. They want the weight of a formal investigative body behind the evidence they have gathered, and a narrative for that evidence that is less dependent on speculative or hypothetical reasoning. That is why they mention Congress as a candidate to organize or sponsor the investigation.

Quite often, skeptics refer to the way mainstream media ignore their work. Clearly, the hope exists that if an investigative body with prestige and authority undertakes a new inquiry, that effort will receive more attention from the media. Then, they hope, more people will come to believe what the skeptics have been saying for more than a decade.

That scenario is not realistic, for the reasons given. The federal government will not release its information. A formal body, even with credibility and abundant resources, could therefore not accomplish much. Moreover, the mainstream media will not change its well established tune on 9/11 unless their putative masters in Washington call for a change.

The implication of this argument is plain: the necessary research to discover what happened on 9/11 is already underway. No person or group with more authority than Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth will appear. If existing researchers, outside of government and the media, cannot persuade people to change their minds about what happened on 9/11, people will not change their minds. Current efforts have to proceed, against government resistance, and certainly without assistance from mainstream media. In light of government’s ability to suppress evidence, we cannot hope that anyone who knows even a bit of truth about 9/11 will come clean about government’s complicity in these crimes.

The same pattern of official suppression, and gradual but persistent disclosure from independent researchers, played out over fifty years after Kennedy’s murder. We cannot rely on anyone but ourselves, as well as future investigators who have the necessary courage. We are not going to see a repeat of the Watergate hearings, I can tell you that.

That’s the answer to our question, then. Who can conduct a truly independent investigation of what happened on 9/11? The people who are already doing so: us.