When David Ray Griffin, noted theologian and professor emeritus at
the Claremont School of Theology, first heard someone say that Sept. 11 was
an inside job, he scoffed.
"I can remember my exact words. ... I said, 'I don't think that even the
Bush administration could perpetrate such a thing,' " said Griffin, who
has since written two books, "The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions
About the Bush Administration and 9/11" and "The 9/11 Commission Report:
Omissions and Distortions,'' which dispute the official version of events. Specifically,
Griffin believes that the U.S. government orchestrated the attacks.
Griffin began to delve into 9/11 conspiracy theories after looking at a time
line of the events of Sept. 11, 2001 (by Paul Thompson, who later turned it
into a book) on the Internet. He found himself swayed by the catalog of inconsistencies
and strange coincidences.
When asked what the most compelling facts are to make the case that the U.S.
government was complicit in the attacks, Griffin names three things. The behavior
of Bush at the schoolhouse in Florida ("Secret Service should have whisked
him out immediately if we're under attack but he stayed over 30 minutes. ...
It's pretty clear evidence that they knew they wouldn't be attacked"),
the strange pyrotechnics that brought down the World Trade Center ("fire
has never brought down a steel high-rise building") and the poorly planned
targeting of the West Wing of the Pentagon ("all the important people are
in the East Wing -- it doesn't make any sense").
Not only that, Griffin points to historical evidence that the U.S. government
would be capable of such a thing. Operation Northwoods, a plan concocted by
the Pentagon in the '60s as a way of taking Castro from power, included ideas
about how a terrorist attack on U.S. soil could provide a pretext for military
But why now? Griffin names the neoconservative think tank the Project for the
New American Century as a motivating force. "Once you look at it, they
have lots of motivation," he says. "It's what the neocons have been
"The goals would be to get control of the world's oil and establish
a new doctrine of pre-emptive warfare. That was a difficult sell before 9/11."
While many conspiracy theories have been passed around, it's been very easy
to dismiss many of the theorists as, well, crazy. But Griffin comes to his controversial
conclusions with lucidity and calm. He even sees a connection between his long-standing
work as a theologian and his new position as a political writer.
"In both cases, the concern is for the good of the world as a whole. Those
of us who believe in God believe that trashing the world is not what God wants."
David Ray Griffin speaks on "9/11: The Myth &
the Reality." 7 p.m. today, Grand Lake Theater, 3200 Grand Ave., Oakland.
(510) 452-3556. He also appears at 11:30 a.m. Mon.,Commonwealth Club, 595 Market
St., S.F. (415) 597-6700. www.commonwealthclub.org.
Reyhan Harmanci, email@example.com