Sunday, August 22, 2004

9/11 or 9/18?
An interesting theory in the Washington Post that the attacks of September 11th, 2001 were supposed to fall on September 18th, which would have been the first day of Rosh Hashana, which is a holy day to those of the Jewish faith.

A Sept. 18 timetable would account for one of the most mystifying and disturbing incidents that occurred after the attacks: The spread of the assertion, widely reported in parts of the Arab and Muslim world, that "4,000 Jews" had been absent from the World Trade Center and that their absence was evidence of "Zionist regime involvement" in planning and carrying out the plot.

Since the allegation was clearly ludicrous and demonstrably false -- there was nothing to indicate that there had been a warning to anyone to stay away on Sept. 11 -- it was quickly dismissed in the West as predictable propaganda from anti-Israeli ideologues.

It was the sheer absurdity of the story that made me wonder about its origins. During more than 30 years in the Foreign Service, including several assignments that schooled me in the inner workings of terrorist organizations, I learned that even ridiculous claims don't arise out of nowhere. Why didn't this allegation surface immediately after the attacks, but rather appear nearly a week later, right around Sept. 18? The answer I kept coming back to was that these stories were likely timed to fit with what was expected to be the reality at the time. For had Mohamed Atta and his conspirators struck on Sept. 18, a large percentage of Jewish employees who would normally have been present in the World Trade Center buildings would likely have been absent in observance of Rosh Hashanah, and would have escaped death when the planes struck.

In retrospect, these spurious accounts may have been an integral part of the plan devised by Osama bin Laden: a clever psychological warfare effort that was intended to create resentment toward Israel and Jews in America, while simultaneously impeding moderate Muslims and Arab governments from condemning the terrorist attack (since to do so could make them appear to their populations that they were defending Israel).

So why did the attacks then occur on September 11th if the theory were correct? Read the article and find out the author's theory.

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