What really happened?

2007-11-27 00:00

ENVER Masud says he was one of the millions of Americans who accepted with little question his government’s version of what happened on September 11, 2001, when the country came under attack six years ago, ostensibly at the hands of militant Islamic terrorists.

Today, with four-and-a-half years of research behind him, the Washington-based engineer travels as widely as possible, inviting people to rethink the official version of events.

To a near-capacity audience in the DSLT lecture theatre on the local university campus recently, Masud announced: “I’m not discussing conspiracy theories. I’m giving you the facts so that you can decide.

“To counter the lies, talking about conspiracies gets you nowhere. Get the facts and communicate these to those who can do something,” he urged his audience.

During question time, he dismissed as “useless speculation”, the theory that there were no Jews at the site of the attack. “This kind of thinking gets you nowhere. As long as we think this is a Christian or a Jewish thing, we are going nowhere.”

For Masud, the thinking behind the U.S. government’s actions is clear: “Wars have been fought for two main reasons: resources and markets. It’s about controlling a disproportionate share of the world’s resources. If Islam gets in the way, so be it.”

Using news clippings from TV broadcasts at the time of the attacks, photographs and other material, Masud’s dramatic presentation, entitled Fatally Flawed: the 9/11 Commission Report, works hard to debunk some of the key findings of the official 567-page report on what happened on September 11 in New York. The presentation was followed by lively questions, which were chaired by MP Yusuf Bhamjee.

A 68-year-old engineering management consultant who has worked for the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and who specialises in electric power sectors, Masud is also founder and CEO of The Wisdom Fund, a 12-year-old non-governmental organisation which aims to advance inter-faith understanding by presenting the truth about Islam.

In 2002, Masud received the Gold Award from the Human Rights Foundation for his book The War on Islam which looks at the myths which fuel mainstream misconceptions about Islam.

The Pietermaritzburg lecture, hosted by the Muslim Students Association, was one of several Masud delivered during his two-week, 10-city tour of South Africa. Abdullah Saeed, a frequent letter writer to The Witness, was instrumental in bringing him to Pietermaritzburg.

“In 2001, I believed what I was told,” Masud told me during an interview. “However, in early 2002, I started looking more closely at the pretext for the United States’s war in Afghanistan.”

The attack on Afghanistan was launched by the George W. Bush administration less than a month after the September 11 attacks, with the stated purpose of capturing Osama bin Laden and removing the Taliban regime.

This war, together with the failure by the U.S. military to intercept the hijacked aircraft and Masud’s engagement with the work of French journalist and so-called conspiracy theorist Thierry Meyssan, raised his suspicions about what he and the international community were being told by official U.S. sources.

For the next four-and-a-half years — “I wasn’t ready to take the position I’m taking now,” he said — Masud researched the day’s events, reading widely about politics and history, trying to make sense of what happened and drawing out what he believes are inconsistencies, improbabilities and impossibilities.

He condensed his findings into a presentation that could make sense to a wider audience. His experience as an engineering consultant, which requires him to work with large numbers of multi-disciplinary teams, gave him both the ability and the confidence for what can only be described as a daunting task: taking on the U.S. government. “This is a serious issue,” he told me. “It’s not something I did lightly.”

In November 2006, he presented his argument for the first time to what he says was an “embarrassingly small” audience in Washington.

In South Africa, which he visited about five years ago, audiences have been enthusiastic. He puts this down to South Africa’s “activist population”. “Our struggles in the United States ended long ago,” he said.

Masud says he’s “not a particularly good Muslim”, but tries to emulate the values of his parents, whom he describes as “highly moral people”. Born in India, he had a “mostly Western” upbringing. His father, Mizra Nasiruddin Masud, was a descendant of Shah Waliullah, and worked with Maulana Azad, Nehru and Gandhi, and was ambassador to Saudi Arabia, a Unesco Mission Chief and an Olympic gold medallist. His mother, a volunteer social worker and teacher, worked with Mother Teresa.

As far as Masud knows, among Muslim organisations in the United States, he is the only Muslim speaking out over 9/11. But he is not a “lone voice” in the United States when it comes to disputing findings of the report. “There are many Christian and Jewish voices being raised, and hundreds of senior intelligence people and university academics who don’t agree with the report,” he said. “Groups for truth are gaining momentum.”

Masud said that although mainstream media in the U.S. don’t show much interest in 9/11 dissenters, polls show that only 16% of Americans say that their government is telling the truth about 9/11 and that 70 million Americans support the call for a new 9/11 investigation.

Will the truth out? Masud believes it will. “The government’s version is already discredited,” he said. “Deception has been going on for a long time. Now, the government is just losing the propaganda war.”

WHAT ENVER MASUD SAYS ABOUT 9/11

(Updated from print edition)

• There is prima facie evidence that the collapse at near free-fall speed of the two World Trade Centre towers and the 47-storey Building 7 (which collapsed in about seven seconds) were the result of controlled demolition.

Masud says that no high-rise steel frame building has ever collapsed from fire and cites examples from around the world of fires in high-rise buildings which burned for 17 to 18 hours. Eyewitness accounts recorded soon after the attacks make repeated references to “explosions” inside the World Trade Centre buildings.

“From a scientific point of view, there had to be another source of energy to bring the building down,” said Masud.

• Damage to the Pentagon is more consistent with a missile attack than a Boeing 757. Masud, who lives a short distance from the Pentagon, says it is physically impossible for a Boeing 757 to hit the Pentagon from the angle claimed in the official version. There was also very little aircraft debris evident on the scene.

• United Airlines Flight 93, which the official report says was hijacked and crashed in an empty field in Pennsylvania, was probably shot down.

• The identities of the hijackers are still in doubt and some have been reported alive.

• The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has no “hard evidence” linking Osama bin Laden to the attacks.

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