by Nila Sagadevan
A serendipitous encounter in Prague last month revealed that the 9/11 truth movement isn’t as isolated or on the fringe as the mainstream media would have the world believe.
I’ve spoken with a few high-level foreign diplomats who have suggested that, at the very least, there are far too many lingering questions about the official story of the events of that doomful day.
And this I found to be highly encouraging. If this spreading awareness and energy at the top begins to percolate down to the grassroots, as I suspect it inevitably will, critical mass could be a lot closer than we think.
In December 2006, I was invited by a British university to attend a UN-sponsored conference in Prague. Organized to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the UN Resolution on Religious Tolerance, the event was attended by representatives from over a hundred countries who reflected theological and spiritual thinking from across the spectrum.
This unique setting gave me an extraordinary opportunity to speak, in a good deal of depth, with people from a multiplicity of religious faiths, nationalities, and backgrounds. Over a period of several days I slowly threaded my way through this eclectic throng, pausing briefly to chat and pick up on the energy and vibration of this sprawling event. I began to discover, to my dismay, that the overarching emotion that seemed to seep insidiously into many of the conversation was one rooted in fear — attributable, not surprisingly, to the “The War On Terror” and its sweeping global ramifications.
It seemed wherever I turned, it was the topic of ‘terrorism’ that was floating wispily in the air, its toxic tendrils permeating this peaceful gathering, searching for some fertile place to settle.
In addition to the broad palette of religious types in attendance, the event was peppered with dozens of officers of NGOs (Non-governmental Organizations) as well as an array of diplomats from various embassies located in Prague. And it was my conversations with some of the distinguished members of the latter persuasion that ultimately inspired me most, and what this story is about.
THE PALACE ZOFIN
A magnificent neo-Renaissance edifice built in the 1800s, the Palace Zofin was the venue of this bustling two-day affair. I had met and consorted with numerous attendees during the course of the convention, but, for reasons more of personal proclivity than professional strategy, found myself gravitating towards members of the diplomatic contingent, whom I generally found to be more affable, lively and, well, interesting.
As would be expected of any serious seeker of truth — spiritual or otherwise! — I was eager to find opportunities in this remarkably diverse mise-en-scene to pan for any potential 9/11-related nuggets. Ever vigilant for any tempting conversational openings, I set about to take full advantage of this unique opportunity to conduct field research and perform an informal ‘survey’. (The way I saw it, this scenario was vastly more productive than attending, say, another 9/11 conference where it seems everyone’s preaching to the choir).
As I deftly chiseled “awkward” little questions into every available conversational crevice, I was heartened by the almost imperceptible nods I evoked, the barely suppressed coughs I provoked, the reflexive eyebrows I raised during a few of these tentative exploratory forays. On more than one occasion I detected faint cracks in the facades on the official positions on 9/11 — especially during the nightly soirees when defenses were pleasantly lowered and tongues suitably loosened through the liberal flow of libations.
The story begins at the gala “farewell banquet” held on the eve of the second and final day. The air was alive with cheer and conviviality as stiff upper lips began to soften and defenses drop along with people’s self-conscious facades as they realized they’d all be dispersing the next day to return to their home countries, unlikely to ever see the others again.
It was party time.
VICTOR BREGEDA - "Setting the Stage"
SETTING THE STAGE
I found myself engaged in a friendly little chat with a gentleman to whom I’d been introduced the previous day, an ambassador for a European country (that I won’t name). Having just finished dinner, we, along with a few dozen other guests, had retired to the large lounge where people was mingling about, chatting, indulging in after-dinner drinks, cigars... The ambassador and I found ourselves casually standing, elbows propped against one of the islands of little stand-up ‘bars’ scattered about the place meant for small groups to congregate. The atmosphere was decidedly relaxed, my distinguished companion nursing a flute of champagne, and I a glass of Scotch.
A good a setting as any for a bit of cursory 9/11 R&D, I thought.
Our conversation this evening, our second in two days, began with Czechoslovakia's tumultuous Warsaw Pact years, and from there flowed effortlessly into NATO, which I then gently steered towards that organization’s current (and controversial) engagement in Afghanistan. With a touch more finesse, I nudged it in the direction of a related topic, the Taliban, until we arrived, inescapably, at...Usama-the-evildoer — the irreducible launch platform for all things 9/11.
I sort of wondered out aloud how incredibly brilliant this man must be to have outwitted all of NORAD’s sophisticated defense systems on 9/11 — especially when he was holed up in a cave thousands of miles away.
“I suppose...,” he trailed off with the hint of an indifferent shrug as he swilled the bubbly around in his glass before drawing a swig.
Continuing to watch closely for reactions, I slid gingerly into ‘wondering’ why a single fighter interceptor hadn’t turned a wheel that day when all these airliners were traipsing about the American skies.
Staring at the fast-vanishing contents of his glass, he quietly let slip there were “some things we don’t fully understand”, but dismissed anything beyond that as “just rumors.”
Having got this far, I wasn’t about to let the man’s glass run dry. A passing waiter was quickly flagged and a round of replenishments ordered. I was elated — at least he’d heard “rumors”; this would make him infinitely easier to work with than one mind-locked on the Muslim menace and who’d never strayed beyond the OCT (Official Conspiracy Theory).
Needless to say, that’s all it took for yours truly to ratchet matters up a notch and get down to deep penetration.
I didn’t have to try very hard. It soon became clear His Excellency was just warming up. His properly refined tongue loosening apace with the steady wash of Louis Roederer, I was relieved of any further burden to add momentum to the now effortlessly flowing conversation.
I shifted up a gear. I asked him if he knew that on the day before 9/11, $100,000 was wired directly into Mohammad Atta’s bank account by Pakistan’s intelligence chief, General Mahmoud Ahmed.
This round caught him in mid-sip and elicited a confused squint from over the rim of his glass.
I smoothly reloaded, took a sip of my Glenmorangie and continued.
Was His Excellency aware that this wire transfer was followed by that very Pakistani general’s visit to the White House and the Pentagon the very next day, 9/11?
He looked a little puzzled and claimed he hadn’t heard about any of this. He threw another quick glance at my name badge, which sported “Writer, USA” below my name, and probably wondered what it was that I really wrote about and how — and why — I managed to infiltrate, of all things, a conference on religion.
He set his glass down and looked at me with a look I can only describe as one of confused curiosity and asked, “How do you know all this?”
Before I could answer, three cocktail-laden, cigar-wielding gentlemen with whom the ambassador was clearly acquainted happened to stroll by. He jovially hailed them over. I realized as we were introduced that these gentlemen were of different nationalities, each from their respective embassies in Prague — a First Secretary, Chargé d'affaires, and Cultural Attache’.
A cozy little diplomatic social club, I recall thinking, noting that one of them, the Chargé d'affaires — a mid-sixtyish, rather portly chap — was already two sheets to the wind, his snifter vulgarly filled almost to the brim, doubtless with some celestially expensive cognac. [The banquet was hosted by the government of the Netherlands, and I must say they pulled out all the stops on this one; the evening was a festal cornucopia of nothing but the very best of everything.]
Surprisingly taking the initiative, the ambassador (I’ll refer to him as #1) threw out for discussion to the now considerably swollen group “...All these stories about 9/11”.
One of the new arrivals, the First Secretary (let’s call him #2,) nonchalantly let drop that he’d “heard some things” but didn’t elaborate, instead taking a puff from his cigar and not looking particularly invigorated.
The Chargé d'affaires (#3, Mr. Cognac) offered that he always thought it “strange” how “these guys flew all over America for 2 hours without getting shot down”.
I spied the ambassador shift his weight as he threw a quick glance at me; our eyes met momentarily and I instantly sensed his surprise at the coincidence of #3’s comment and my earlier ‘observation’ about the absent interceptors.
This was richer than I expected; things were moving along swimmingly.
The Cultural Attache’ (#4), however, remained virtually silent — and sober — throughout the half-hour-or-so-long conversation and simply continued to look impassively at me while he drank nothing. I must admit I found this more than a little unnerving, and it actually caused me to say less than I otherwise would have. (Once, when he briefly excused himself to use the facilities, I couldn’t help wonder who he was about to call — Interpol or the white coats). The man was about as transparent as a slab of granite. I also noted that he didn’t seem quite as tight a part of this clique as the other three who seemed far better acquainted.
Taking great care to package my points more as innocuous ‘questions’ than authoritative statements, I tossed a low ball to test the water.
Smiling, I Addressed #2, the First Secretary -- partly because he was conveniently standing directly in front of me, and partly because he was clearly possessed of an incisive wit coupled with a sharp intellect; he was a also very distinguished looking fellow, certainly the most ‘presidential-looking’ of the lot.
My smile was driven with an intensity that showed I wasn’t being flippant. “Sir, let’s for a moment say you were president of your country. One morning you find yourself in a classroom reading to a group of little children a story about a pet goat...”
Through the corner of my eye I could see #1 straighten up; it looked like he knew exactly where I was going with this. #2 continued to look directly at me, a little amused as if he’d just settled down to a game of chess.
I continued, “Your Chief of Staff rushes up to you and whispers in your ear, ‘Mr. President, terrorists have flown a plane into the Parliament Building; the nation is under attack.’ Now, I ask you, sir, how would you respond?”
Intending the question to be rhetorical, I continued with barely a pause.
“I’ll tell you what my reaction would not be: It most certainly would not be the reaction demonstrated by the president of the United States on the morning of 9/11. I would be concerned for the thousands of my fellow citizens burning to death in an inferno. But I suspect before I would have a moment to react, my highly trained security detail would be whisking me out of that school to my limousine to put as many miles between the school and I as possible.
“Why? My location that morning common public knowledge, it was widely televised. So I — and my security team — would be very concerned these clearly well-organized ‘terrorists’ would be targeting me next by diving one of their aircraft into the school where I was located. But on 9/11, the President sat in that classroom for the next ten minutes narrating a tale about some pet goat — even after he was informed again, for the second time, that a second building had been hit. What does the Commander-in-Chief then do in the midst of what is clearly a full-blown attack on the country? He stands up and casually drifts around the classroom taking advantage of a photo op by posing with some of the teachers, smiling as if he didn’t have a care in the world.”
I slowly surveyed my audience before continuing. To a man they were riveted.
“Gentlemen, that’s what I call confidence -- confidence not for this President’s ability to remain calm under fire, but confidence that he wasn’t a target of the terrorists! Mr Bush, his staff, and his entire security detail had to have known with a good deal of certainty that the president was safe, because no effort whatsoever was made to get him out of that classroom in accordance with standard emergency procedures. And when he did eventually leave the school, the presidential motorcade casually drove back to the airport along the pre-determined route — also televised and widely known in advance -- instead of following standard emergency procedure and taking an alternate route. I ask you, gentlemen: How could the president have been so absolutely sure he wasn’t a target when the nation was under a massive, concerted, clearly well-planned and ruthlessly executed attack?”
#3, the Charge’, began to laugh, shaking his head as if to say this couldn’t possibly be true, but I sensed it was laughter born of nervousness more than mirth. The First Secretary (#2), a little surprised asked, “For 10 minutes? Are you sure?”
The ambassador piped in without looking directly at me, “Yes, I’ve heard this.” I saw #4 give a barely perceptible nod as if in agreement with #1’s comment.
I addressed #1: Your Excellency, you might be interested to note that the first thing the new owners of the World Trade Center complex did was appoint a new security company—Securacom. This company was also responsible for security at Logan airport, the main 9/11-related airline hub from where the alleged hijackers departed. Securacom’s CEO as well as its managing director, were both first cousins of George W. Bush.”
Looks were richocheting faster than my rounds. This was beginning to look good.
I briefly explained the mystery behind the collapse of Building 7.
Building what? This was big news. None of them even knew what it was, much less heard of its mysterious collapse. They were all visibly surprised, with #3 asking, “Three towers? Really?” They all exchanged looks that seemed to ask, ‘did you know about this?’
I then mentioned the WTC’s new owner, Larry Silverstein’s serious slip-up on national television when he inadvertently admitted to having given the order to “pull” the building. “Pull,” as is commonly known, is industry parlance for controlled demolition.
I then dropped the bomb that just two months prior to the attacks, Silverstein had obtained new insurance policies for the complex with a face amount of $3.55 billion. After 9/11, Silverstein sued the insurance companies arguing that two planes were two separate attacks. He ended up raking in $4.57 billion. Not a bad payback on a 6-month investment of $100 million.
I could feel the back-slapping banter and jocularity evaporate; I’d definitely got their attention (except #4’s, it seemed).
“But that’s not all. I’ve read some reports from scores of firemen, policemen and other rescue workers who were at the WTC that they found pools of molten metal in the basements of all three towers.”
Beginning to look increasingly disoriented, the ambassador admitted he hadn’t heard about “any of this stuff”. However, I was a little disappointed the revelation about molten metal hadn’t drawn the startled wide-eyed reaction I hoped it would.
I adjusted my sights. “Have any of you gentlemen been out camping?” I asked matter-of-factly. They looked at me a little perplexed wondering where I was going with this, but when I added nothing further, I suppose they felt obliged to respond and three of them nodded or mumbled in the affirmative. #4 remained apparently unperturbed (and continued to remain so for the rest of our discussion).
Addressing no one in particular I asked, “Then I suppose you’ve used a kerosene camping stove?” Faint nods all round.
“I trust your stoves made it back home looking like stoves? Or did they come back looking like melted ingots from a smelting furnace?”
Utterly confused looks all round coupled with perceptible uneasiness. I detected what I thought was a look of mild impatience from #2.
I proceeded without missing a beat, worried I was beginning to lose traction. “Did you know that ‘jet fuel’ is nothing more than kerosene, the same stuff you put in your camping stoves?”
I could distinctly see surprise on three faces, a few eyebrows racing skywards. The ambassador was clearly surprised. “Really? Kerosene?”
“Yes, gentlemen, just kerosene. And it is impossible for jet fuel to melt high-grade construction steel.”
It took a few seconds for the penny to drop, but drop it did — and with a resounding crash, judging by the expressions on the faces encircling me.
I could see I’d sucked the fun right of the party. If I could only see their synapses firing at that moment, I thought, their heads would probably glow like light bulbs.
9/11 truth had arrived in Prague. Big time.
I cut loose another round. “A friend who’s a professor of Physics at a major university back in the States told me molten metal is the direct byproduct of a special kind of military explosive called Nanothermite. Evidently, molten metal flows copiously during a Thermate reaction.”
With that, I shut up. The floor was open for comment, but none was forthcoming.
The ambassador, in particular, was beginning to exhibit clear signs of discomfiture, standing erect and stretching, arching backwards, looking around. I could see he was trying to contain his nervousness—possibly fear, who knows—at where all this was leading. I was beginning to fear imminent disruption, or, worse, an abrupt shutdown of this now galloping drama.
At that moment, an announcement was made by a Dutch embassy ‘crier’ that the evening was “drawing to an end,” his refined, mellifluous tone concealing an underlying order: “Okay, you freeloaders, It’s time to take your parties elsewhere.”
Damn, I thought...not now. But I wasn’t altogether displeased. I’d given four members of the global diplomatic community something to really think about.
A 9/11 activist’s job is merely to help open people’s eyes, I told myself as if to mollify my own deep dejection at not being able to go the distance. But at the same I realized it would have been impossible given the limitations and constraints of the situation. Regardless, I felt I’d acquitted myself rather well by doing a yeoman’s job, especially given the caliber of the audience.
As things quickly wound down, the three late entrants, looking decidedly less spirited than when they joined, thanked me for the “interesting” conversation and politely took their leave. (#4 simply shook my hand without saying a word).
I was alone again with the ambassador, but, surprisingly, he seemed in no great hurry to leave; to hell with the crier. There was no doubt in my mind he was rattled, but I could see he was working hard not to show it. He said he found all this “very interesting” and very nonchalantly asked me, “So when are you leaving Prague?” When I told him I’d be in town for four more days, he suggested we meet for lunch in the “next few days” so we could have a “longer chat.” So we exchanged cards, I gave him the name of the hotel where I was staying and we parted on his promise to call me “soon.”
I was sure I’d seen the last of the man.
That night, it was Sunday, I walked out of the Palace Zofin for the last time. The conference was over, and I felt a little saddened. The past two days had been hectic, at times almost overwhelming...the pageant of personalities, the riveting discussions, the intellectual intensity – and of course the fun.
Wrapped tightly in my coat I walked out into the cold winter night and strolled back to my hotel, just ten minutes away.
Two days later, early on Tuesday afternoon, I took a cab back to my hotel to drop off a load of shopping. There was a message awaiting me at the desk. On very impressive ambassadorial stationery—embossed, gilt-edged cotton stock—was a handwritten invitation to lunch the next day, Wednesday. RSVP.
It was from the ambassador.
Amazing! And in the nick of time, I thought — I was scheduled to fly out to London on Thursday. Calling the number on the card summoned the ambassador’s personal assistant who appeared to be expecting my call, and I accepted the gracious invitation. I was told a car would be at my hotel at 12:45 p.m. the following day to take me to the Cafe Slavia for “lunch with His Excellency.”
[The Café Slavia turned out to be the most famous Cafe in Prague...its Art Deco interior sumptuously decorated in cherry-wood and onyx and polished limestone topped tables, big windows overlooking the river Volta. The Czech National Theatre was just across the street. I was told intellectuals gathered here to read papers, discuss politics, plot artistic activities — even political coups...apparently Vaclav Havel’s bloodless coup was hatched within its hallowed walls.]
The next day, a perfectly punctual, chauffeur-driven, but otherwise unremarkable black Mercedes materialized outside my hotel to pick me up. It was empty of occupants save for the frosty, expressionless chauffeur. Upon arriving at the Slavia, I was met by a black-suited “security” type who briskly escorted me into the café and on to the furthest end of the L-shaped interior where about a 10-table section had been cordoned off with a red velvet cord. Standing guard at the ‘entrance’ to this partitioned little sanctuary was another dark-suited type, this one visibly more brutish than the first, who struck me as the sort best avoided at all cost.
Sitting in a large cherry-paneled booth overlooking the river was my smiling diplomatic host. And did he have a surprise for me.
Seated around him were the three others from the initial meeting.
I was stunned. I hadn’t at all expected this. Nonetheless, their greetings were warm and cordial and seemed quite genuine (but then, isn’t diplomacy the trained art of always appearing genuine, I couldn’t help wonder). Even the enigmatic #4, seated at the furthest end of the longish table, managed to crack a smile. I was politely directed to a chair opposite #4, where he held me in his icy sights thereafter. For some strange reason this chap made me a little nervous.
The ambassador, clearly in charge, wasted little time getting down to business. He told me they were very interested to hear more about “the subject” we’d touched upon the other evening. Lunch was ordered without further ado, giving me the impression he wished to get trifling social formalities briskly out of the way.
Sitting amidst this distinguished little coterie for the next five straight hours, well past dusk, I had the singular pleasure of engaging in what I consider to be one of the most intense discussions of my life. I believe it was also the most persuasive and effective presentation I’ve made on any subject. We spoke of nothing but 9/11...every imaginable aspect of it. We covered it forwards, backwards and sideways (within the confines of my own knowledge base, of course, which is not inconsiderable).
When the meeting finally wound down around six o’clock I found #1, my amiable, chatty host who’d been drinking nothing but Evian with a twist all afternoon, clearly shaken. It seemed every detailed response I’d offered to his frequent questions through the course of the afternoon caused him to sink deeper into some dark abyss. In the end he seemed a different man...sullen, somber, pensive, shaken.
#2, the First Secretary, though rather stoic, remained piercingly engaged throughout. He didn’t miss a beat. He continued to bury me in a torrent of questions, mostly technical (radars, transponders, etc.), while feverishly filling page after page of detailed notes on a large, fat pad. I envisaged a new presentation taking shape, his own, for audiences yet to assemble that I’d likely never see.
#3, the chubby Chargé d'affaires (Mr. Cognac was on a strict regimen of Sapphire-Tonics, clearly the noonday prescription) had difficulty containing his enthusiasm during much of the afternoon, nodding vigorously in agreement with a lot of what I said with an undisguised look of almost childish excitement, as though he were being let into some clubby fraternity secret. I was actually a little perplexed by his insouciant reactions to revelations this profound, and could only attribute it to the euphoric effects of good English gin.
#4, the incorrigibly stone-faced Cultural Attache’, had pretty much remained his stolid self throughout, occasionally muttering something to #1 or #2 who were seated closer to him, but mostly listening, fiddling, staring impassively, sometimes at me, mostly at the river, imbibing an endless chain of espressos occasionally interspersed with a shot of Ouzo. The man seemed impervious to stimulus, incapable of emotion. Not only did he ask no questions, nothing I said seemed to faze him, to the extent I wondered if his mind was there at all.
I was certain 1, 2, and 3 were convinced beyond a reasonable doubt there were far too many ‘coincidences’ and inconsistencies for 9/11—at the very least—to not have received considerable assistance from within the halls of power.
Precisely which power that might be was something that was never discussed. Being the quintessential diplomats, I suppose, none of them broached the subject, and I wisely concluded it would be a serious faux pas to start tunneling in that direction.
#3 (Mr. Cognac) was the only one who took this delicate point furthest when he almost irreverently (for a diplomat) blurted out that he “knew all along 9/11 was homemade”.
Then, out of the clear blue, the ambassador dropped a bombshell.
He asked me—me—what I thought he should do with this information!
I was flabbergasted, and left momentarily speechless. This, I had never expected.
Here I was, a little nobody from Boonesville USA, sitting amidst a group of diplomats in an elegant café in a European city, and an ambassador was asking me for advice on how best to proceed with this earthshaking newfound information?
I found the flood of feelings and emotions that engulfed me to be maddeningly confusing. I felt at once flattered, empowered, inadequate, disheartened, terrified...
In retrospect, flattered, I suppose, because the ego, after all, falls prey all too easily to homage. Doesn’t a faint sliver of narcissism live in each of our hearts that yields, even unconsciously, to adulation?
Empowered, because I realized I had before me a brilliant opportunity to possibly influence meaningful change at a significant level.
Inadequate, because I felt I wasn’t capable, or even sufficiently worthy, to proffer anything truly substantive in a matter of such overwhelming global moment.
Disheartened, because I realized this whole 9/11 thing is far bigger that it might appear on the surface even to hardened ‘veterans’, and, perhaps, lies beyond our power to fully expose let alone understand; it’s truly a tough nut to crack—a lot tougher than many of us realize.
And terrified, because of a sudden, the raw reality of 9/11 hit me like a sledgehammer; for the first time, I realized this whole thing’s scarier than hell. The sheer gravitas implicit in the ambassador’s question had helped reinforce that jarring realization.
I recovered quickly. Hoping they’d mercifully attribute my temporary stupification to some weighty geostrategic rumination I was churning around in my head, I respectfully offered something quite anticlimactically prosaic.
“Sir, I’m greatly honored that you ask me, but all I am is a simple messenger. Besides, I prefer to stick to the fields of physics, engineering, aeronautics and the like than venture into the vagaries of geopolitics. The question you ask me is one that can best find its answers within your own knowledge, experience and ambit.”
While I felt this modest response was respectfully received by all, it has bothered me ever since. It haunts me as having been a missed opportunity. Then again, was it? What more could someone like I possibly have added, I wonder. Opening up a discussion along those lines surely would’ve been beyond the scope of any casual café gathering...I could see it flowing into days, weeks even, covering vast historical and geopolitical terrain, international banking, elite power blocs, secret societies and other esoterica.
No, 9/11 is far too immense, too frighteningly gargantuan to be readily resolved through some naïve, formulaic, UN-style boilerplate action. This is an indescribably pernicious cancer that needs to be ripped from its roots — and that’s going to take serious unconventional thinking, unique strategies, and unprecedented action to achieve.
Ghandian “Sathyagraha”, or civil disobedience, comes to mind as the benign extreme of a spectrum of possibilities; a V For Vendetta-style mass uprising falls at the other...but I’m obviously speculating beyond my bailiwick
Frankly, the most I had expected to accomplish from this little ‘meeting’ in Prague was to be able to plant some serious seeds of doubt so these influential individuals would begin to dig deeper on their own. I’m pleased I also managed to recommend David Ray Griffin’s The New Pearl Harbor (in my opinion the finest introduction to the subject), and point them towards a few good websites in the hope they’d be sufficiently inspired by the newfound information to take it from there.
Given the responses I received and the powerful emotional energy that enveloped us all at the end, I felt I’d achieved far more. This presentation, in my estimation, was an unqualified coup (the undemonstrative #4 notwithstanding).
In the end, I believe these men were most impressed by the following important points, which I expanded:
The 10 Important 9/11 Points I Covered:
1. Building 7 — The impossibility of a 47-storey skyscraper that was not struck by an airplane to have collapsed neatly into its own footprint in a 6.6-second freefall;
2. Molten metal in the basements of all three towers — Kerosene cannot melt steel;
3. Freefall speeds of all three towers — A violation of the laws of physics;
4. The complete and utter pulverization of the three buildings, and the transmutation of over 400,000 cu. ft. of concrete into 50 micron particles of dust;
5. The discovery of shards of human bones and flesh deposited on rooftops 600 feet away;
6. The Pentagon — The small entry hole, the absence of crash debris...no seats, luggage, bodies, etc.; the ‘failure’ of all 90 external CCTV cameras; the deactivation of surface-air-missile batteries; IFF (Identification Friend/Foe) handshakes;
7. NORAD — A discussion on types of radar, intercept protocol, FAA emergency procedures, etc.
8. The six military “war games” that were being enacted at exactly the same time the alleged hijackings were taking place; the fact that two of these war games involved the hijacking of airliners;
9. The shocking increase in stock market activity prior to 9/11 – especially the put options on United and American Airlines;
10. The hijackers — Their nonexistent flying skills; the fact that seven of the men turned up alive in the Middle East;
Finally, our meeting concluded on an important point that was made clear to me in no uncertain terms by the ambassador.
It had never occurred.
I’d half expected this. Further, they entreated me to keep their identities confidential, and wished to have no further communications, of any kind, on this matter. They lauded me for my “courage,” and thanked me profusely for my time.
On an impulse, I looked directly at #4. I’d decided I was going to approach this chap, look him in the eye and level a few straight questions; at this point I knew I had nothing to lose.
I didn’t need to. As we all stood up to leave, he ambled up to me.
He stood still for a few long seconds looking into my eyes, then slowly clenched my hand firmly in a beefy fist and spoke in a gravelly, deeply accented voice: “I have known of everything you have told us. You have studied the subject well. Now I will give you a tip: Follow the money.”
He shook my hand firmly, gave me a warm, sincere smile and added, “Hope you have a safe trip home.”
With that, he quietly walked away.
Cultural Attache’ indeed, I thought.
The ambassador said he’d call me if he ever passed through California. He offered me a ride back to my hotel, which I politely declined; I had this impulse to get lost in some crowded bar, sip a Scotch and slowly replay in my head the emotive events of this unforgettable afternoon.
I felt utterly drained, vulnerable and, yes, admittedly a little daunted. Of one thing I was certain: I needed time to myself, to just sit and think.
I wriggled into my coat, flung my scarf about my neck and stepped out into the chilly Czech winter evening. The icy wind from the river to my back, I started walking slowly up Narodni towards the bustle of Wenceslas Square.